I didn’t get time to finish off a post for wednesday, so this week it’s going up on a friday instead. It’s quite possible I may stick to this schedule. Anyhoo, todays post is a poem, somewhat In keeping with the theme of recent posts, like the one here and this other one here. It came out quite quickly so I finished it up using the “15 minute rule” that I was using as a writing exercise a few months back (example here):
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
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.
The Monday mess, a weekly post that I have fun writing and playing with, and experimenting with small poetry forms, over the last few months, has something to announce. I am taking a break. I have too much work on over the Xmas and New Year period, which is a good thing, and the time I can get off I wish to spend with my family, relaxing or doing family things. At a push I could get in some writing, but realistically, I should use the time wisely. If I write, it should be on my other projects. Will I get chance to? I do not know.
So with that in mind, I’m taking the next four to five weeks or so away from the blog, with the intention of being back somewhere around the 14th January or the 21st January, depending on how it goes. This also means, because I shall be severely limiting my internet time, that I will not have much time for your blogs during this period either. Maybe a little reading, here and there, but will I get chance to? I do not know. So please, during this period, do not think I am ignoring you, I shall continue to read and hopefully catch up a bit when I return.
The Monday mess, aka me, is looking forward to the return of “Justified” in January. Although I like my deep, layered drama shows, I also love this one. It has a great mix of fun, good dialogue, good characters, story, and guns. I suppose that implies the show isn’t multi layered, thoughtful, like The Sopranos was, or The Wire was. Well it isn’t, but it never tries to be. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. It is pretty much an Elmore Leonard novel correctly brought to screen (the character is Elmore’s from his short story “Fire in the hole” which Elmore used again inspired from the series, in the recent novel “Raylan”). It is great. Hmm. It inspired me to give some thoughts on this years TV drama. Run away if you wish, but here they are, with added highly useful / useless, three word summary:
- Justified – Maybe not as rounded a story as Season 2, but still great. Criminally ignored at the awards shows in favour of supposedly more serious fare. Loved the show. If you recall the line “They are saying I disarmed him”, you’ll know what I mean. – 3 word summary: Crisp dialogue king.
- Breaking Bad – Short 8 episodes, but sweet as you like. The drama seemed a little bit rushed in some ways due to the reduced episodes, but there were plenty of good set pieces, wow moments, I cannot believe they did that moments, and the usual great acting. It opened with a clever scene from a year further down the line, which we have still to get to, and ended with a good cliffhanger. Cannot wait for the final 8 episodes next year. If you have netflix, and haven’t seen this show, catch up now. – Walter, Holy sh*t.
- Mad Men – Back after a break and still on form. Slight dynamic change, some interesting character endings and repositioning of characters. Roger’s acid trip perhaps the highlight. Clever and stylish still. Again, if you have netflix, and haven’t seen this show, catch up now. – stylish, cool, thoughtful.
- Game of Thrones – Beautiful to look at and well acted. Some things trimmed from the second book, some moments appearing in different form from the early part of the third. Looking forward to how they deal with the rest of the third book. Best episode this time was the episode focused around the assault on Kings landing, was the best. – Tyrion, the tall.
- The Killing – Finished off the story. Improved on the first season in some ways, and made mistakes in other ways, like the “mad for a day” moment the two main characters had in separate episodes. One also took a bad beating but seemed ok enough a day or two later. The show was cancelled after this. That I wasn’t disappointed, says it all. Glad its over.
- The Walking dead – perhaps on it’s strongest run so far. Good stories, good zombie kills / special effects, more tension between human vs human characters which drives the story much better. Nice ending to the mid season finale. Looking forward to this one coming back. – No, Andrea, no.
- Boardwalk Empire – Despite that they killed off my favourite character at the end of the previous season, I think I enjoyed this season the most. This show for me has always been very stylish, but maybe lacks the tension and tight dramatic drive of other shows. It is still decent though, employs great actors, for example Stephen Root who did a great job this season, and I loved the way they wrapped this season up. Great to see Richard involved. Interested to see where they go next year, as I was a little apprehensive to begin with this year. – Go Richard, go.
- Hell on Wheels – Beautifully shot, never really had the dramatic tension that it ought to have. Quite a bit of it is well, a bit obvious. I tend to know where this is going most of the time. I will still watch it if it returns for another season. Needs more tension.
- Treme – Have this season on the recorder but not watched it yet. Nothing to add. – Better watch it.
- Homeland – Half of the season watched which was excellant. They changed track, but really this had to happen in the story. I have heard reports that the second half of the season is a bit weaker, but I guess I shall see. – Better catch up.
My Fave show of the year through nonet:
Oh sunday evening drama time
what a great selection to see
but when I look back and think
which of these is my fave
gut feeling selects
the dialogue cool
Have a nice week, and tune in somewhen further down it for the next brainsplats blog post.
Lexicon word of the day: specious.
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”:
- 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
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.
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:
- “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
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.
I’m posting this on Thursday this week, instead of Friday, where in the US it is Thanksgiving. So happy Thanksgiving to the US folks. For those readers who like notebooks, check out the picture of this notebook that my wife got me as part of my birthday gift last week. It has the brainsplats blog on it. I thought it was a good idea. Now it just needs notes in it. More on that below.
- I’ve mentioned before, my wife and I take it in turns on alternating nights to read books to my son, and put him to bed. He used to be slightly fussy getting to sleep, because of his age, so we would hang round in his room for a little while whilst he settled down. I would use this time, lets say 10 minutes, or a little longer, to think about story ideas, that I would then note down after I left the room. One time I had an idea for a short story collection with a common theme. I thought about different story ideas, using this time, over a month, and now I have notes enough for a whole book. When I write the stories of course. This time worked well. Now though, my son is settling down a lot quicker, so I am out of there a lot quicker. Perhaps I still need to find this 10 minutes elsewhere.
- Slightly related to this point is choosing a spare five minutes during the day. Just find a quiet place. Decide whether to write down blog ideas, perhaps of a certain kind, for me like “Monday Mess”, or something else such as story ideas. Just put down what you can, and only for the five minutes. Again the focus is interesting and I seem to be able to get things down. Not all of it useful, but most of it is. Maybe ideas are floating round my head waiting for the focus opportunity, I don’t know, but either way it seems to work.
- I sometimes do 100 word fiction, such as “Jack and the beanstalk revised“, where I will get a prompt about something, maybe an idea I’ve been thinking a little about, may not. Then I will take a max of thirty minutes to write something in the word limit, with no revision allowed after the time limit. Sometimes I may have an idea of what I am wanting to write about in terms of the actual mini story, other times no idea. But the time limit brings focus and I can normally get something out, which is coherent and sometimes interesting. It is as though, with the time limit, I can find an angle or a way to investigate
So I suppose what I am getting at here is that ideas freely float round our heads. Especially those of us who consider ourselves creative in some way. Getting the ideas out and turning them into something can be difficult. A little focus for a short period of time, can actually go a long way. Maybe I can add some of these notes in my new notebook.
What focus exercises do you do, if any, to work on ideas?
Lexicon word of the day: ethnography.