(My mother's favourite saying was, "She was a good [ ] as [ ]s go, and as [ ]s go, she went." It was not for some considerable time that I realised this was Saki and I'm not sure if Mum knew the source or not.)
Anyway, it's a great shame she had to die so comparatively young.
In other news, the silly season seems to have come out for people being loudly and aggressively Wrong about Writing on the Internet. First, someone over at fanficrants went off on one about how
Over many years of reading fanfic, I've come across my fair share of authors who misuse words to various degrees. Mostly not even to the point where I can't hit the backbutton fast enough, just to where I can't help wondering whether they've ever paid attention at all in language class -- specifically, when they were told about Dictionaries, And How To Use Them.
Sometimes, it's simply a case of confusing homophones (eg. "rein/reign"), or not listening closely enough to the proper pronunciation (eg. "dominate/dominant"). At other times, an author may just want to impress their readers with their Mad!Skillz of vocabulary (aka Thesaurus Abuse©) and just succeeds in looking exceedingly foolish because quite often they're getting it oh-so-wrong.
However, when the word in question only has a passing acquaintance (at best) with what the author means to say, and isn't even a real word ... then I start looking for fat hardcover dictionaries to throw at said author's head. Repeatedly.
Oh, the word that sparked this rant over an otherwise decently-written fic? Was "dubitatively". For "dubious". *sigh*
Of course, when various people pointed out that if the fat hardcover dictionaries in question included the OED, say, "dubitatively" could be found to be a perfect genuine word with a clear Latin root, from which it had not fallen far over the centuries, she swapped quick as lightning into automatic "Thesaurus Abuse" mode and accused the author of using a word they didn't need to use, just to show off. It reminded me rather of the occasion when having had a rather frustrating argument with someone in comments to someone else's journal I expressed my exasperation as "Frankly, I've met less viscous pig-shit" and she then ragged me (to the point of creating a specific icon to do it) about how ignorant it was not being able to spell "vicious".
But that paled into insignificance besides the story of the poor bloke who had his book taken down from Amazon on the basis that it contained hyphens:
“As quality issues with your book negatively affect the reading experience, we have removed your title from sale until these issues are corrected ... Once you correct hyphenated words, please republish your book and make it available for sale.”
How some fuck-witted jobsworth can unblushingly use a phrase like "negatively affect the reading experience" while criticising someone else's use of English boggles the mind. Also, since when has the hyphen been outlawed? First they came for the semi-colon...
Put it this way, anyone proposing to write about the African-American experience or books set in Guinea-Bissau, Baden-Württemberg or, for that matter, Ankh-Morpork had better avoid doing it via Amazon Kindle. And no doubt the platform would get its finks in a nottle with Wodehousian surnames, let alone anyone out of the Almanach de Gotha.
Of course, they're blaming an over-zealous text bot. They would.
But Amazon Kindle don't even manage to get the "To Err is Human, to really fuck it up requires a computer" award of the week, let alone of 2014. This goes to Sony , who have been complaining bitterly that they've been hacked by North Korea but have somewhat belatedly had to admit that, by including a large number of files in a file marked "Password" it was possibly a bit less James Bond and a bit more Johnny English when it comes to espionage.
*I do know - as this makes clear - that the form my father preferred is a slight misquotation, but it sounds better. When the aphorism sounds better than the truth, print the aphorism.
It can be a new achievement or adventure, or just that you climbed and had fun; it can be that your favourite climbing wall is expanding or that you bought new rock shoes or that you found a cool ice-climbing vid on YouTube. No glee is too small -- or too big. Members are encouraged to cheer each other on and share the squee.
N.B. Please feel free to post your glee on any day of the week; the Friday glee is just to get the ball rolling.
To enhance this week's glee: The Gritual, Guy Van Greuning's full-length chronicle of a gritstone year.
Still looking for a last minute holiday gift? Know someone who knits or crochets? Here’s a project that costs less than $15 and takes about 30 minutes to complete. You’re welcome.
Full disclosure: this is not an Elyse original design or anything. I was standing in JoAnn’s, looking at this eight-pack of tiny skeins of yarn and wondering “WTF do you do with those? Are those for teaching your hamster to knit? What the shit?” These skeins are literally, and I do mean literally, the size of an egg.
Then this nice lady told me how she made them into ornaments. I then went home and Googled and saw lots of examples of the same project.
But we at Smart Bitches are here to make it better so we’ve added our own Smart Bitches labels that you can print out and affix to your ornament thereby making it super awesome.
Stuff you need:
1. A package of Lion Brand Bons Bons.
3. Wooden beads. I got mine at JoAnn’s.
4. Krazy Glue.
5. A little scrap yarn.
1. Look at this picture of Hugh Jackman. You’re welcome.
You can either cover the existing label on the little baby yarn or replace it entirely.
3. Use the Krazy Glue to glue a wooden bead to the tip of a toothpick. If you’re making 8 ornaments you need 16 bead/toothpicks. Let the little “knitting needles” dry.
4. Insert two “knitting needles” into each little skein of yarn. I held them in place with a drop of glue.
5. Use your scrap yarn to make a loop and glue it to the back of the label. This lets you hang the ornament on the tree or wreath or your nipple piercing or wherever.
The hardest part of all of this for me was keeping Dewey, Cat of Adorableness, out of the Krazy Glue. I actually put my ornaments on a paper plate and left them in the microwave to dry.
I haven’t figured out how to make a little crochet hook, so if anyone has any brilliant ideas, please let us know in the comments. Happy crafting!
Wait, you want more knitting patterns? We are here to help!
You can also find knitting patterns for:
- The Smart Bitches Outlandish Cowl
- The Smart Bitches Outlandish Arm Warmers
- The Smart Bitches Last Minute Neck Warmer
- The Smart Bitches Two Hour Scarf - includes knitting & crochet instructions
- The Smart Bitches Lacy Cowl
- The Smart Bitches Think Pink Cowl
It’s a cliche to blog about how seldom you blog, so I won’t. Instead I’ll just take the opportunity to reflect a bit on 2014 in terms of my home life.
It’s been a dog of a year. It’s been difficult to focus on anything much, let alone communicate about it. The first half of the year I was buried in personal stuff, and the second half of the year had more of that and then a lot of travel and busy-ness piled on top.
Most days I’m happy if I eat regular meals. I’ve had some great food this year, but mostly it just seems like a slog, trying to balance my body’s need for fuel, my inner self’s food-related hangups and issues, and the logistics of having food in the house, and having space and time to prepare it. I’ve had to cut myself a fair bit of slack on convenience foods and on food waste. Sometimes it’s better to buy a pile of fruit and vegetables just so I have them as an option, even if in the end I don’t eat them all and some of them wind up in the compost. Or to open a jar of something perishable so I can eat well now, even if I’m going away tomorrow or the next day and know I can’t finish it.
When times are hard I just keep trying to slog through it, do what I can, and remember nobody’s standing over me with a clipboard awarding points or writing down criticisms in red pen.
Some things I cooked/ate this year and didn’t post to the blog:
I’ve been doing a lot, a lot, of knitting and other crafts. Not least because I’ve had periods where all I can do is watch soothing TV and do something calm and repetitive. I’ve not been good at posting about it, though, nor updating Ravelry, and I have to admit that I’ve been casting on an awful lot of things for the “whee!” feeling of a new project, and not completing them. By my count I currently have at least 17 WIPs, most of which haven’t yet hit the “half done” mark.
I’ve instituted a kanban board on the wall of my living room for my craft projects (with an extra, innovative “> 1/2 DONE” column, because casting on and then putting it aside is a big issue for me) so I can see how many I have to finish. Sadly, it doesn’t work all that well to stop me casting on new things, because I just conveniently “forget” to add a sticker for the new project. Sigh. Oh well, at least every so often I can bring it up to date and it helps me remember what I have going, better than a pile of mystery project bags in the coffee table drawers ever could.
A week or so back I decided to try and reduce my WIPs considerably. My new rule (and let’s see how long I stick to it) is to have one large and one small/portable project out and work-on-able at any time, choosing the easiest to complete at any given time, according to the debt snowball method. Right now I’m working on a pair of fingerless mitts made from the tail ends of two colours of Mountain Colors Bearfoot, and a deathly dull product-knitting slog: a black hoodie in Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic 8 ply and in mostly stocking stitch. Both are made-up patterns, the hoodie being vaguely EPS-based, and the mittens basically just tubes with thumb-trick thumbs.
My only escape from the “get through some bloody WIPs” effort is that I’ve told myself that I can knit hats for charity using wool from my charity-knitting basket, which I gathered up from all the odd scattered places and put in one pile last week. A hat usually takes about 2 evenings and is a quick distraction if I really must cast on something new. There’s at least a dozen hats worth of wool there, or roughly one for each reasonably-finishable project on the WIP list. (Some of the WIPs aren’t reasonably finishable, as they’re things like a mitred sock yarn blanket that will take years to gather odds and ends to make, or are super low priority, like the charming half-finished Scandinavian cross stitch table runner I found at a craft swap day — I have no qualms about that sitting quietly where it is for a long time.)
As for the garden… it’s a mess, and I’m late with planting everything, and that’s okay. I’m eating from it if not every day, then definitely every few days, and I have tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant coming along nicely for later in the summer. No clipboard, no red pen, right?
One thing that has been going well for me is that I’ve been making a pretty steady practice of getting rid of stuff. Somehow I’ve got to a point where it gives me a good, clean feeling to finish something and not have it any more, or to put something unused in the pile for the op shop (which seldom gets bigger than I can carry in my bike basket). Yesterday I had a momentary bout of “what if I applied for this amazing job and had to move house again?” and it made me think even more about how much stuff I have that I don’t need. I’m not going to apply for the job, but it did give me a kick in the pants about all my stuff.
A friend’s recently been talking up a decluttering guru who talks about getting rid of things that don’t spark joy, and it’s been good for me to think of my excess stuff in that way. It makes it much easier to say “no”. I don’t think I’m anywhere near Japanese minimalism (lol, no) but it does make it easier to get rid of things I’m keeping out of a sense of “ought”.
Finally, today I got a cleaner in, and she’s going to be coming regularly. I’ll be interested to see how much it changes my sense of overwhelmedness and whether it helps me get back on a more even keel with some of the other stuff I want to spend my energy on. I’ll give it a few months and then evaluate the costs/benefits; it’s a big chunk of my fairly tight budget, but I hope a worthwhile one for my mental health, which in turn is good for my so-called “actual” work.
I’m not going to make any new year’s resolutions, because they don’t work well for me. But here’s hoping 2015 is a good one!
This is a bit of a long Friday Video at over 7 minutes, and it’s in Japanese with English subtitles, but it’s terrific. Fix yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy.
This one comes from Castiron, who wrote: Hebocon – in spite of the name, not a Jewish SF convention but rather a Japanese robot-building contest for people who are crap at building robots.
The parts you want to pay attention to, aside from the gleeful silliness of the whole freaking thing, is the supreme excitement that is the robot at 4:55.
Castiron adds, When that [robot] appeared on the screen, my husband said I should send this to SBTB. (We won’t discuss what this says about the things I share from you all.)
THIS IS SO FUN. Also, I’m a very big fan of young Tsukuru. Go Tsukuru!
I hope your weekend is filled with innovation and a lot of silliness!
Recently, Maureen sent us an email that read, in part, “Besides being a longtime reader of the site and of romance, I’m a children’s librarian by day, and a YA book blogger by night [at Confessions of a Bibliovore]. Basically you can’t shut me up when it comes to kids’ books. With the holidays coming up, I thought your readers might like to hear from somebody who can suggest books to wrap up for kidlings in their lives that may or may not be their actual child. There’s a lotta good stuff out there under the radar, and I love to spread the joy.” So, you ready for a ton of books for young readers? Here they come.Listen to the podcast
Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:
Maureen also mentioned The Cybils, the annual YA awards from kitlit bloggers. Their shortlist should be published around 1 January 2015.
This podcast is brought to you by InterMix, publisher of My Cowboy Homecoming, the steamy new novel from Z. A. Maxfield.
Love can heal the deepest wounds…
A sense of duty brings a soldier home…but a passionate cowboy makes him want to stay.
After his brother’s tragic death, Tripp has to leave the army and return to New Mexico to take care of his mother while his father is in prison for arson. Seeking work at the J-Bar Ranch, Tripp is immediately drawn to injured cowboy Lucho Reyes, whose foot was accidentally crushed by a rescue horse. But will the sins of the father interfere with the desires of the son? Tripp’s father may be responsible for the death of Lucho’s grandfather. Now Tripp must balance caring for his mother, repairing his father’s damages, and trying to win the heart of a man who has every reason to hate him and his family…
On sale December 2nd!
Our music is provided by Sassy Outwater. This is Deviations Project, again again, from their album Adeste Fiddles. Because it is so great.
This track is Lieutenant Kiji (Troika), originally composed by Prokofiev.
What did you think of today's episode? Got ideas? Suggestions? You can talk to us on the blog entries for the podcast or talk to us on Facebook if that's where you hang out online. You can email us at email@example.com or you can call and leave us a message at our Google voice number: 201-371-DBSA. Please don't forget to give us a name and where you're calling from so we can work your message into an upcoming podcast.
Thanks for listening!
One Direction/Radio 1 RPF, NC-17, 6855 words, Harry/Nick, for Gryles Fic Exchange
Breaking her ankle because of an illegal hit gutted Nick. Coming back from time away and falling for the opposing team's new skater definitely made things better, though.
Remember how I said I had three stories incoming? Here's the first! It's actually been up since earlier this week, but reveals just happened.
( Couple of thoughts. )
Still reading vol. 1 of Kurage Hime. Because I'm now reading manga on my phone only when I'm at work, and reading on the ipad before bed, I'm not reading Kurage Hime very much at all.
On the ipad I've been reading quite a bit more. I'm back to my Kindaichi reread, which I abandoned about a year ago after reading the first twenty volumes. I've read a couple more now and am totally hooked.
What did you recently finish reading?
Just those couple volumes of Kindaichi.
What do you think you'll read next?