that moment when kid quotes

that moment when your husband points out to you that the strangely liquidy laundry soap you’ve been washing clothes in for a week is actually fabric softener

well, that explains a lot

In Other News

4yo: You be Twilight Sparkle, and I’ll be Nightmare Moon.

Me: Well, Twilight Sparkle reads books, so let’s go read some books.

4yo: And Nightmare Moon kills people, so let’s go kill some people.

_______________

Um.

#kidssaythecreepiestthings
_______________

4yo: Mama, you are a normal person.

Me: Thank you, so are you. What does normal mean?

4yo: It means that you’re alive.

_______________

This seems rather deep and #existential for a preschooler.

Finis.

Exeunt.

what is her back beach

And now for something that only I might find funny. But I do confess I laughed so hard, I cried.

I recently had the toddler (2 years, 10 months) leave Ed a voicemail message. The audio is utterly endearing and cute. But I was in stitches reading the Google Voice transcription:

“Hey. And yeah, Hi. Hey, got it, call me. Hey, Yes, Hi Blooms Here it is and hi hey. Les, Hi Sara of it. Yeah, Hi Ed, It’s Yeah, it’s tyler perry mass HI bye HI. Hello, doing. Thank you. Hi Ed, Donahue, west, but calling to see you, alright bye bye, bye bye HI I don’t, right ohh, Hi, it’s set. Okay, bye love. Colorado dot Bob, Ed mcelroy back. Hello You. Okay bye. I have, I just, hey message, Hey it’s me. Hello. No, but HI Well, ohh but either camp control. I don’t doubt it alright. Bye, alright so. What is her back beach. I kayaking with G that shows how that came Please. Good morning Yeah, okay as far as I get to know if this message is over. Pouring so hope you enjoyed that. We are headed to you already have and After I drop her off possibly and Carlos Carlos friends are going to come, finish the coffee needs So that’s what’s going on the plane. We love you. Yeah man, Bye, I.”

So.

  • Tyler Perry mass
  • Donahue
  • Colorado dot Bob
  • camp control
  • WHAT IS HER BACK BEACH
  • kayaking with G
  • finish the coffee needs
  • that’s what’s going on the plane
  • yeah man.

I ❤ modern technology so much. : )

finishthecoffeeneeds

Movies, books, and hobbits

Hile, my beloved inklings. I hope this finds you in fine fettle and pie.

This is yet another post that has gestated long in my Drafts folder. Its conception occurred when I watched the first of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and then read John Scalzi’s review of the same. Since that all happened a few minutes ago, I won’t go into review mode concerning that movie specifically. Instead, here are a few thoughts about Jackson’s Hobbit films, Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and, in brief, my position on books vs. movie versions.

Jackson’s Hobbit Movies

I love them. Unabashedly. Radagast is ridiculous and drives me a little batty (bird poop? really?). I wanted the Beorn scene to go more like the book (dwarves arriving two and three at a time). I might be forgetting my appendices and Silmarillion, but I’m not entirely sure what Galadriel and Legolas are doing in this trilogy. The Tauriel-Kili romance seems gratuitous and far-fetched.

But Radagast isn’t there for me. He’s there to make the kids laugh. The Beorn scene as Jackson filmed it makes far more sense in the movie than would Tolkien’s far, far slower (dragging?) approach. Galadriel makes a great addition for showing us the grave, behind-the-scenes power struggle of Good vs. Evil (as opposed to the more light-hearted material we get from Bilbo and the dwarves). Legolas…well, what would a Middle-Earth movie be without our resident surfing elf, he of the subtly snarky facial expressions?

And I adore Tauriel. She’s a hero, she’s vulnerable, she’s conflicted, desperate, determined, passionate, soft, and unyielding. She’s a female character with power and influence over the course of the story, which is something Tolkien missed the boat on. Another good reason for including Galadriel as well. Two female characters with agency aren’t nearly enough, but they’re better than none.

Side note: Seeing Galadriel’s story brought to the big screen would be FABULOUS. BRING IT, JACKSON.

So, although I admit that Jackson’s movies do have their issues — both internally and from a Tolkien-canon standpoint — I still enjoy the heck out of them. Besides, Martin Freeman is the utterly perfect Bilbo, Richard Armitage is brilliant, and Benedict Cumberbatch is exactly the Smaug I’ve always pictured. It just doesn’t get any better.

Side Note II: Jackson’s trilogy is so superior to the 1977 Hobbit, it’s barely worth mentioning, but for one element. The 1977 version of Gollum terrified me at age 9 to the point that I refused to watch the movie again until I was 16. And since then, that 1977 Gollum has remained the creepiest version of the character that I’ve ever seen. I adore Andy Serkis’s performance, but that animated Gollum from 38 years ago will always be my monster in the closet.

Tolkien’s The Hobbit

I didn’t read the book — or any of Tolkien’s works, for that matter — until I was in my mid-teens. Likely, this “delay” came about partially because I was scared of Gollum and didn’t want him in my head any more than necessary. But part of the reason was that I picked the book up at age 12, found the style of writing dull, and put it down again after reading the first page. Looking back, I find this peculiar, as I maintained an advanced reading level throughout my childhood. Why I didn’t “get” Tolkien back then is a mystery to me. When I picked up LotR a couple of years later, I enjoyed it thoroughly. So I don’t know what my deal was with Hobbit.

In my mid-teens, I came across the book at a German bookstore. I wasn’t interested in reading it in German. I wasn’t interested in reading it at all. But I did wonder why the Germans shelved this book in the children’s section. I’d been a child and tried to read it without success. Silly Germans. Imagine my surprise when I followed where curiosity led and discovered that American and British publishers considered this a children’s book, as well! Stuff and nonsense!

So, at age 17? 18? I read The Hobbit, loved it, and admitted that maybe this did qualify as a children’s book. Maybe my 12-year-old self wasn’t as highbrow a reader as she’d considered herself to be.

Books vs. Movies

There is no “books vs. movies.”

It’s apples and oranges. No. Not even that, because film and print are more different from each other than that. If we’re gonna stick with food metaphors: Books are meat and potatoes, and movies are lasagna.

I heartily enjoy meat and potatoes.
I heartily enjoy lasagna.

I can’t like one more than the other. I enjoy each at different times and for different reasons.

Both are food, but their forms are different. They require vastly different ingredients. They require different seasonings and cooking times and cookware and serving dishes. They belong to different cultures. One person will always like lasagna best. Another person will always prefer meat & potatoes. (What’s taters, precious, eh? What’s taters? >>PO-TAY-TOES.) Comparing one dish favorably over the other means stating that one person’s tastebuds and brain are superior to another’s, and that just ain’t gonna fly.

I can’t sit down to a meal of lasagna and complain that there aren’t french fries in it. Well, I can complain — but everyone will peg me as a lunatic or a bumpkin. “Don’t take Courtney out to dinner — she’ll gripe that there isn’t any sushi in the center of her cordon bleu.” I can’t order meat & potatoes and then demand to know what happened to my sausage & ricotta. It doesn’t make any sense to expect the ingredients of one dish to be mixed into another dish.

In the same way, I’ve decided it doesn’t make any sense for me to compare books and movies. Characters that work great onscreen aren’t going to function the same way on paper. Pacing that is comfortable and familiar and readable in a book is going to be deadly dull in a film. Events a writer has time to portray in a 600-page novel just can’t take place in a 140-minute movie.

The recipe for a book won’t translate directly to film. Just as directly translating German to English can result in ridiculousness, so can directly translating a book to a movie. The 1977 Hobbit pretty much tried this, and the result was a cute but not fantastic movie. Watchmen suffered translation problems. (I will say it has more issues than that, though.) From what I’ve heard, The Great Gatsby did, too; I can’t judge because I hated the book and haven’t seen the movie. But I’m sure any one of you can think of great examples where a book-to-film movie flopped because it contained too many book ingredients and not enough movie ingredients.

So I don’t compare books and their movie versions anymore. If it’s a good book, great. If it’s a good movie, great. I take each for what it is and don’t expect the same from either. It makes my mental life easier and allows me to enjoy more of the entertainment available to me. I can’t complain about that.

Don’t Forget Your Porn Bucket

So, my husband works in hardwood flooring. A customer comes into the store, and the following exchange takes place between the customer and Ed’s co-worker. We’ll call the co-worker Adam and the customer Greg.

Adam: What can we do for ya?

Greg: Do y’all have any porn buckets?

Adam (stares): Do we have what?

Greg: Porn buckets. You got any?

Adam: I…I don’t understand. What?

Greg: PORRRRN buckets.

Adam: Dude, this is hardwood (stifles snort) flooring. We don’t have anything about porn here.

Greg: Flooring! Yes! That’s why I’m here — I need porn buckets!

Adam: Um…okay. What do you want to…um…do with these buckets?

Greg: Pour the finish in the bucket and then pour it over the floor.

Adam: Oh. Pouring buckets?

Greg: Yeah! Porn buckets!

________

Don’t do drugs, kids.

Best hardwood floor drawing EVAR.

Best hardwood floor drawing EVAR.

Fantasy/Sci-Fi Resource: Ent Larva and Dances With Testicles

Or: Writerly shenanigans with words, cuz that’s how I roll.

In case you didn’t know, I grew up in Germany and speak German fluently. I also speak a fair amount of French and a smattering of Italian, and I’ve had four years of Ancient Greek. This is the reason why in many of most of my novels, I make up words such as “Saltmarch” and “banegold” and have characters who speak in dialects. (I’m trying to dial back the dialect stuff, since it turns off some of my readers. See? I love y’all enough to kill my darlings!)

*ahem* Where was I?

Oh. Languages. Yes. Well, today I read something German that included the word “heimsuchen.” I’ve always considered it a peculiar word. It’s used to describe uncomfortable or scary events, mostly related to natural disasters. It’s translated as beleaguer, infest, devastate, afflict, obsess, haunt.

So, a stalker “heimsucht” a victim. Or Moore, OK, was “heimgesucht” by tornadoes on May 11th. Or the spirits “heimsuchen” the graveyard. Et cetera.

But directly translated, “heimsuchen” means “homeseek.”

That just flips my bangerang switch penchants all over the place. Homeseek. It could be a verb: the action of a specially programmed missile. It could be a noun: a tiny creature you carry around with you on your quest, only for emergency use when you’re hopelessly lost in Thornbird Forest. It could even be an adverb, although I don’t recommend those and don’t know how you’d use “homeseekily,” anyway.

Ooh. A title. Pillars of the Twelve: Homeseek (totally arbitrary number). Go do something with that.

The more I thought about this strange word “heimsuchen” and its incorrect translation “homeseek,” the more excited I got about finding other German words or phrases to translate into fantasy/sci-fi inspiration. So I did some pondering and came up with the following. Use at will–it’s all free inspiration! Credit me if you like, or not. But don’t be surprised if I use some of these myself. ; )

German word: PECHVOGEL

Correct translation: jinx, unlucky person

Direct translation: tar bird

A mech bird that dumps tar or something equally unlovely upon citizens for public infractions? A bird made of tar, created by a wizard to plague people?

German word: SÄUFERSONNE

In this case, the correct and direct translations have to be one and the same, because I don’t know of an English phrase for this. The word translates to “drunkard’s sun” and refers to the moon: Either the person is too drunk to tell the difference and thinks the moon is the sun; or s/he spends the day sleeping off a hangover and never sees the actual sun, so the moon must suffice.

But it makes me think of the phrase “drinker’s sun,” which leads to “drink the sun,” which could be really creepy in some evil ritual by the bad guys in a fantasy story.

German phrase: HEILIGER STROHSACK

Correct translation: Holy mackerel!

Direct translation: Holy straw sack (Batman)!

German word: HEUSCHRECKE

Correct translation: grasshopper, locust

Direct translation: hay scare

German phrase: SCHWEIN HABEN

Correct translation: to be lucky

Direct translation: to have pig

I think this would be awesome in a fantasy novel with villager characters. : )

German word: EISBEIN

Correct translation: knuckle of pork (in cooking)

Old usage: ice skate (noun)

Direct translation: ice leg

German word: ENTLARVEN

Correct translation: to unmask

Direct translation: to de-larva

Maybe Tolkien’s ents start out as larva? I dunno. O_o

German word: ELFENBEIN

Correct translation: ivory (the dentine, not the color)

Direct translation: elf leg

What’s the connection between elves and elephants? Write it!

German word: HOTTEHÜ

Correct translation: horse (babytalk)

Direct translation: rightleft (noun)

German word: FRIEDHOF

Correct translation: graveyard

Direct translation: peace yard

German word: EIERTANZ

Correct usage: to beat around the bush

Direct translation: egg dance

BONUS: can also translate to “testicle dance” O_o

German word: JEMANDEN MUNDTOT MACHEN

Correct translation: to muzzle someone, to shut someone up

Direct translation: to make someone mouth-dead

So there you have it, folks! Some of my favorite, inspiring mistranslations. Feel free to share which of these inspires you — and then go write it! Or draw it, or paint it. Whatever you want!

Me, I’m having visions of mouth-dead elves made of ice, tending to peaceyards full of larva that hatch into tiny trees, all whilst dodging the tar birds sent to drink the sun.

Dances With Eggs. Because really, why wouldn't you?

Dances With Eggs. Because really, why wouldn’t you?

Three Poetry Faves: Existentialist Slithy Flues

I had the following stuck in my head earlier today, so I thought I should share it:

A fly and a flea and a flue
Were in prison,
So what could they do?
Said the fly, “Let us flee!”
Said the flea, “Let us fly!”
So they flew
Through a flaw
In the flue.

~Ogden Nash

I’ve read the fifth line with a different word order, namely: “‘Let us fly!’ said the flea.” But I’ve written it as I learned it back in 8th grade or whenever that was.

The fly and the flea and the flue naturally reminded me of another favorite, which goes like this:

There was a young man who said, “God
Must think it exceedingly odd
If he finds that this tree
Continues to be
When there’s no one about in the Quad.”

REPLY
Dear Sir:
Your astonishment’s odd.
I am always about in the Quad.
And that’s why the tree
Will continue to be
Since observed by
Yours, faithfully,
God.

~Richard Knox

That one just gives me a little existentialist chuckle. ; )

And finally, I’d be quite remiss if I didn’t make note of the master of all nonsense poems, in which the poet tells a complete and comprehensible story by way of words that make no sense at all because he made them up. BRILLIANT.

Jabberwocky

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought —
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

~Lewis Carroll

Dragon Vs. Turkey, Death by Hamster, and Writing Advice

Um. Hi?

I feel like I should be tiptoeing in here, and it’s my own blog. I’m sorry for the extreme silence lately, y’all. Honestly, the only thing I can tell you is that I’ve been pureeing pears and prunes. Seriously. Since the Itty Bitty started her foray into solid foods, I’ve felt as though I’ve been living in the kitchen.

Fortunately, I shall soon acquire a brilliant gadget unfortunately named “Babycook,” which shall do the cooking and pureeing for me and is, fortunately, not made from real babies.

Furthermore

My grand and good intention is to get back into blogging regularly — at least once a week. There won’t be another month-long hiatus if I can possibly help it (and I do think I can, Pauly). In the meantime, I’m also planning an updateish post to let you know what’s been happening in my writing world.

But that’s for later. Right now, I’m in the mood for silly, so silly is what you’re gonna get. Specifically, silly related to keyword searches.

You people are weird, and I love you for it.

Without further ado or adon’t, here are some of the keyword searches that, according to Google Analytics, have recently led y’all to my blog. And also my reactions to said keyword searches. BANGERANG.

1. would you please do me a favor

I never take requests unless asked, so yes!

2. what can be the misuses of having banana
common misuses of a banana

I take it back. You don’t get any favors. Sicko.

3. upside down scrambled cat

I don’t really understand, but okay….

scrambledcat

I didn’t know how to do the scrambled part, but perhaps this will suffice anyway.

4. what to do when your novel gets too complicated

SIMPLIFY.

No, really. Cut a character, erase a subplot or two, delete some scenes. If the novel’s too complicated, it means you’ve got too many cats in your frying pan. Toss a few of them out. You’ll end up overcooking them anyway.

5. sometimes a lady

…will have her cat cake and eat it, too.

6. should a writer listen to suggestions

For the love of all that’s good and true and writerly in this world, YES. Don’t be a precious snowflake.

7. scary hamster
hamster kiss
hamster suicide
dumb hamster
death by hamster
cool hamster

Okay, I can see why the hamsters might be kissing. Even furfaces like a little lip once in a while. And if a dumb hamster and a cool hamster are kissing, it might have entertainment value. Locking braces, awkward positions, AND SO FORTH.

But…but…why hamster suicide? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? And by Grabthar’s Hammer, what is death by hamster? Diana from “V” swallows one and chokes on it?

And why did these searches lead to my blog?!?

#whatisthatidonteven

8. novels — how long is too long

If you keep writing after the story is finished, then your novel is too long.

9. i have a bachelors in writing now what

Yes. Quite.

(READ: When I find out, I’ll let you know.)

10. dragon vs. turkey

dragonvsturkey

Vorpal Unicorn Morphing Powers and an Ode to Vacuum Cleaners

Once upon a time, according to the wise sage that is Google Analytics, someone typed “writing a story about court” into the search engine and came up with my blog.

I assumed that this meant the seeker intended to write a story about me, so in a resulting blogpost that also included figs and the 9th Circle of Hell, I asked for vorpal unicorn morphing superpowers.

when i nerd out, things like this happen

So far, I haven’t seen anything on Amazon to indicate that anyone has written and published this story.

I hold out hope.

In the meantime, as part of my Blog-Every-Day August (BEDAug) experiment, I’ve been checking Google Analytics again to see if anything unusual is happening yet. So far, the only oddity is that I had a spike in blog visitors last Friday. It seems to have been in response to this post — which, interestingly enough, has yet to receive a single comment as of this writing.

The intarweebz is weird.

Anyway, nerding out over Analytics has me looking at keyword searches again, so I thought I’d share my three favorite recent ones with you. Here they are in no particular order:

1. what can i write on all my stars

How excellent a question is this?! It flips my bangerang switch but good.

I have no idea what it means.

But it makes me want to run outside and look up at the sky with a telescope to see who’s been writing what out there in the universe. This is incredibly inspiring and makes me fiercely happy.

Hon, those stars are yours. Write on them whatever you want.

2. what does meshare reth mean in rethana’s surrender

Sha-ZAM, y’all. You know what this means? This means somebody was looking for information relating specifically to my “kissing book” epic fantasy novel, Rethana’s Surrender. And by doing so, they found my blog.

I don’t think I’ve blogged about Lirren Eamnaya, the language I invented for Rethana’s universe. So the poor visitor did not find what s/he was looking for.

But s/he spent 32 minutes and 19 seconds on the blog anyway.

Thank you, dear Rethana fan. You just made me whole week. : )

And in appreciation, here’s the answer you sought: In Lirren Eamnaya, meshare reth means “beautiful lady.” It’s what Manases, Rethana’s unwelcome (?) suitor calls her. I’d hoped to make the meaning clear within the context of the story. But since I apparently didn’t do that well enough, there you have it spelled out.

Let me know if you want more. ; )

3. poems about vacuum cleaners

I never knew such existed.

And I have no clue why such a search string would lead to my blog. Have I written about poetry and vacuuming in the same blog post? My memory is not what it once was, ’tis true, so it’s possible I just don’t recall pairing these two unlikely subjects.

But in case I haven’t actually written about poems and vacuum cleaners yet, here’s something to satisfy the hapless seeker of such:

Ode to My Vaccum Cleaner

Dear vacuum cleaner: Look, my dear,
I really have to say,
You’re rather kind of bulky
And you oft get in my way.

I try to push you back and forth,
but you refuse to move.
Your stubborn lack of cleaning
Gets me right out of my groove.

Seriously — that pile of lint?
And those there kitty litter crumbs?
You’re supposed to pick those up,
My dear, my vacuumating chum.

But no — instead of cleanéd floors,
I’m left with piles of dust.
You seem to think your job is done,
Though cleaning is a bust.

(And by the way, that smell you make?
The one of burnéd rubber?
Why can’t you smell of lemon fresh
Just like the kitchen scrubber?)

O, vacuum! You perplex me
And you make me run amok.
O, vacuum! I abhor you.
Dear vaccum: Dude, you suck!

An Extremely Brief History of How I Got Gotten

Once upon a time, busyness and pregnancy exhaustion got me today.

Therefore, what you see here is the entirety of today’s blogpost.

Please to be forgiving the brevity thereof.

And they lived happily ever after.

Which, in German fairytales, reads: “And if they haven’t died, then they’re still alive today.”

The End