The Monday Mess – Pah, Search terms – 4 Feb 2013

searchweb

Humor me here if you will. Try the following Nonet:

The internet is full of knowledge

Of that we can all be so sure

but do I try improve my brain?

check sports scores? or erm, porn?

no, there is another

question to answer

Oh Google

here I

go

And in the spirit of a cheap ass monday post here is some ways the search above found its way to my blog over the last month or two.

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The Monday Mess – When I moan about U.S. food, I moan – 4 Dec 2012

Once upon a time I lived in a quaint old place, old enough to have history. Oh hang on, I opened with this line a few posts ago. Anyhoo, said place wasn’t the greatest place for food until loads of europeans, and people from Bangladesh moved in, bringing good food with them. Spoiled with this, and the Brits ability to make decent snack chocolate, moving to the US provided some, we shall call them “annoyances”.  Your average American who is more tuned into simple, easy to understand food and beverages, like Hamburger, Cola, Burrito and Hamburger just doesn’t see what they are missing. Um I used a variation of that line a few weeks ago also. But joking aside, where I live in Southern California is good for a lot of foods, and most of it good. There is choice and plenty of it. But I am a Brit, and I do need to find something to moan about, because I sure cannot moan about the weather here. Furthermore, my grievance is more to do with snack foods than meal foods, but I kind of liked that intro so I kept it. On the snack front, and using an inappropriate metaphor in line with the introduction, here is a few “choice cuts”:

Avoid this thing or use it as a frisbee.(image courtesy of microsoft clipart)

Avoid this thing or use it as a frisbee.
(image courtesy of microsoft clipart)

  • Pretzels – In one of my sons books, Sesame Street’s Cookie monster is out of cookies and goes on the hunt for some. Big Bird offers him some Pretzels, and rightly so, Cookie monster complains about them being too salty. I always have to add the line “Uurgh, Pretzels are the worlds most overrated snack”. What? Best teach them early eh? Unless they are the tiny pretzels they serve on the Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow to LAX, those are the exception to the rule. But otherwise, what a piece of crud. I cannot think of a single redeeming quality on those large ones, having neither good flavour, or texture, and erm, taste. Cover them in chocolate? I say why? I now also say, Big Bird is not to be trusted.
  • Cheese – This is where I know I’ve been out of the UK too long when the cheese is starting to grow on me. We complain the US cheese is tasteless, which it mainly is, but that is because they prefer their cheese to be creamy with a vague hint of cheese. The Brits prefer cheese to taste of something. Sharp cheese in the US. About as sharp as a rubber door stop.
  • Salted Caramel – Me I love caramel and toffee. I f**kin love it. (Thats two “O”s there). Here, what is the obsession with adding salt to it? If I wanted salt I would add it. Caramel is supposed to be sweet. And while we are on the subject, why does toffee always have to arrive with nuts on it? I don’t mind nuts, I would just like some toffee without it from time to time.
  • Fudge – Something else I love but slightly ruined in the US by it adding chocolate to the mix. Now chocolate with many things, except Pretzels obviously, is a good thing. Fudge, it just doesn’t mix like it should. The fudge has its own taste, it can live without chocolate. But then it is also somewhat ruined as described in my next point.
  • Chocolate – Generally speaking, US chocolate is pretty ropey. Hershey chocolate has a slight waxy texture, a slight soapy taste. Licensed Cadbury’s chocolate isn’t bad but not quite the same, I cannot put my finger on why. But it isn’t called chocolate here because of some rule I don’t recall, or have no wish to look up on google, about what ingredients are considered to be chocolate. Still I am addicted to Cadburys Creme eggs, and partial to a bit of the old “fruit and nut”. Oh, Trader Joe’s caramel chocolate bars aren’t bad either.

And this being monday, annoyance in Nonet:

If I were religious, I would ask

for a cheese with a mature taste

or chocolate that does not

taste like washing dishes

or caramel not

been seaside dipped

I’m not. Still

pretzels

no

And that concludes my tongue in cheek wishes for this week.

Have a nice week, and tune in at a later date, for the next brainsplats blog post.

Lexicon word of the day: rollick.

The Monday Mess – Odd English slang part 1 – 26 Nov 2012

Once upon a time I lived in a quaint old place, old enough to have history. The island has a surprising amount of different regional accents, given the size of it, most likely somewhat unintelligible to your average American who is more tuned into simple, easy to understand terms, like Hamburger, Cola, and taxes. Anyhoo, I digress, said place has some interesting slang terms which might sound a bit odd if you’ve never heard them before. Here is a selection:

But what does it mean?
(Click to see)

  • how’s your father – Something I heard my old man say a few times when I was younger, and he was referring to other people. Well hopefully not my mother and him. It means getting your leg over, or er, giving her one, you know, sex. According to the Urban Dictionary its origin can be traced back to several places, but it is basically about covering up the deed with polite language. I would often hear it as a teen in the context of “I think they went for a bit of how’s your father”.
  • “getting your leg over – See above. It’s about having your way with a lady. The phrasing would imply more that it is for a male conversation.
  • “feel a right tit” – Not literally to feel a woman’s right breast, which was once taken that way when I used it to comment on Mr Faulkner’s blog. Or on this T-shirt link here. It is more along the lines of “I felt like a complete idiot” or more slang like “I felt a right idiot”.
  • Taking a slash – Not whipping your knife out, and thrusting it across a smooth surface causing a tear, but actually to whip something else out, no thrusting required, in order to relieve oneself. Yes it means you are off to urinate.
  • “bloody nora” – is one I still like a lot now. Where I grew up you would sometimes hear the variation “Chuffing Nora“. It is used in a situation where something bad is happening but not panic / really awful bad. Like a pile of papers you have stood up three times, slides down again. You deal with it in a relative calmness, like the whole thing is a joke, hence “bloody nora”. You could also use it when someone is asking you to do something for the 15th time as a way to register some annoyance, without making it a big deal, and more of a joke. An interesting explanation on the potential origins of the phrase can be found here.

And this being monday I have to try cram it into some form of poetry. This week Nonet:

Bloody nora! I felt a right tit

Looked at her, said How’s your father?

she said he’s in hospital

that aint good then, said I

no leg over then

so off I went

to take a

big long

slash

And that concludes a short story of a caring individual. Well I crammed all the phrases in so “jobs a good un”

Have a nice week, and tune in somewhen further down it for the next brainsplats blog post.

Lexicon word of the day: ameliorate.

Try this Lexicon practice to improve your writing – 1

I’m a bit tired this morning. My Son managed to keep me up for two hours plus last night, very generous of him. Part two of “Is the art of the computer game underrated?” will likely appear tomorrow. Today I’m going for a short writing exercise on Lexicon. It is a useful tool as a writer, it may sound a little dull, but I promise you, it is simple and very useful.

One writing book I find useful is “The Writer’s Portable Mentor, A guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life” by Priscilla long. On page 28, Priscilla refers to a Lexicon practice she used to partake in during the early hours of the morning as a means to start her writing day. She used to note words from her childhood. No meanings, context, explanations, emphasis, or anything, just the words themselves. She built up a library of the words she used to use in childhood, which in turn were relevant to the context she grew up in.

 

You may have noticed that I pick a Lexicon word of the day(see menu above) which to me are interesting words, words I’ve discovered, or words I have forgotten about. An alternative Lexicon list is to choose a subject or item, then try to think of all the words you can that you associate with it. These do not have to be words you think others may associate, just ones you yourself do. For example if your prompt was “The barbers” you may have a list of things you recall in the shop itself, but this may include “Model ship”. This might seem odd to some but correct to you if your barber had one in his shop. You might also include “Cracked pavement” if the pavement outside was cracked. The idea is to build a word list and see where it takes you. It will give you a context, maybe remind you of some small details that you can use in other writing. And that is where it is useful. It provides a resource of words to use in your other writings. It is up to you whether you use singular words or double words in the list. Myself I prefer a mix.

Here is an example list for me (in the often used tradition on this blog of “off the top of my head”) for “River”:

  • swampy mud
  • flat stones
  • skimming stones
  • Reeds
  • Daffodils
  • stale smell
  • Green pipe bridge
  • rope swing
  • Cold water
  • butane gas
  • tarmac path
  • bike ride
  • water dams
  • pebble island
  • tin cans
  • mossy wall
  • remote control boat
  • Historical monument
  • Burnt Plastic
  • Running dogs
  • sunbathing
  • historic bridge
  • warm summer evenings
  • thick air
  • midges
  • stinging nettles
  • scratched graffiti
  • dirty magazines
  • wet jeans
  • muddy shoes
  • cold fingers

This list took less than five minutes, I could go on and add a lot more. If you took time to browse the list you will notice things like “rope swing” or “remote control boat” which are not necessarily directly related to river. All the items on the list came from a small section of river that I used to go to as a child. However the point is now that I have a reference, if I want to use something with a river in it, in other work. I could easily use some items to add a bit of colour or concrete descriptions to the piece. Or I could use the list as a jumping place to something else, or a means to stimulate my mind.

Building up a notebook or similar on computer is a valuable little tool to add to your writing arsenal. It has the added benefit of stimulating your mind or getting the creative flow going, should you choose to build one.

Lexicon (regular) word of the day: rattletrap.