Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Review: Deception

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once again in the interest of transparency, I will note that I know the author. I will also say that Romance is something I tend to avoid because it all runs more or less the same. Man sees woman. Woman sees man. For some reason (be it mutual loathing, social systems, or some other equally dull reason) they cannot be together. Love eventually wins out and they marry. The end.

This book was, very happily, nothing like that. Despite being labelled a Historical Romance, I found it more of an Adventure story. Certainly, there is the usual guy meets girl element, which forms a large part of the book, the larger part is the heroine's past and the result of that. Marriage does not happily end the book as it tends to with Romance novels (the majority that I've read, in any case).

For this reason, and others, I really loved this book.

It might have something to do with the historical setting of the book, which, of course, I adore. I have to confess my greatest delight in the language of the book (yes, I'm a language geek), most specifically the first correct spelling and use of the word 'arse' I've seen in a long, long time.

I have a pet peeve. The use of the word 'ass' to mean bottom. It doesn't mean bottom at all. It's a short form of the word 'jackass' which is, of course, a donkey. Every time someone say 'asshole,' what they're really saying is 'donkey hole.' 'Arse,' on the other hand, does mean bottom.

It's silly thing, and I know I'm being oddly pedantic, since I realise language changes, but the whole 'ass' vs. 'arse' thing really does bother me. I don't quite know why. Seeing 'arse' in proper form made me smile.

I also read a number of time-specific words which, thanks to my very handy Christmas present of a Forgotten English calendar I actually knew. I didn't struggle with the language at all. It would probably be helpful for the average reader to Google the words they don't understand, or else put them in context as demeaning descriptives no longer used today.

As I said before, what I genuinely adore about this book is that marriage and 'happily ever after' (I think I'm going to be ill) is not the end of the story. There's a whole of exciting stuff that happens after the wedding, which I'm not going to give away here. You'll have to buy the book.

At first I was a little confused by the plethora of names and titles to which the reader is hurriedly introduced (established readers of Jaimey Grant may already be familiar with the characters), but it didn't take long to sort this all out and it certainly didn't detract from the story.

The couple in question are Levi and Aurora, but I find myself much more enchanted by the dark, belligerent, outwardly hostile character of Derringer. I fear that says a little too much about myself, but there you go. As a character, Derringer was by far the most intriguing.

In short, a very plump four stars. Jaimey Grant did a fabulous job with this story, and I'll definitely be looking into getting more of her books in the near future ... especially the ones that have Derringer in them ...

And today's Forgotten English:

Medicinal Days:

The sixth, eighth, twelfth, sixteenth, eighteenth, etc. days of a disease, so called because, according to Hippocrates, no crisis occurs on these days and medicine may be safely administered.
- Ebenezer Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Delightful, amusing. [From] French chatouiller, to tickle, to provoke with delight.

- Walter Skeat's Glossary of Tudor and Stuart Words, 1914

Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Review: Web Secrets

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Again, in the interest of honesty, I know the author. Like others I've read, this book is typically out of my reading field, it not being Fantasy, and all.

That out of the way, I really, really liked this book.

I generally don't read these type of books because I find them terribly predictable. Indeed, in this one, I spotted the villain the moment I met him. I also guessed at his connection to the heroine and was spot on the money. However, a nice little twist at the end made me groan - I should have caught it, but didn't. That put a smile on my face. Nicely done, Ms. Dauber!

Do yourselves a favour, read the Prologue. I have a habit of reading them because, at least in Fantasy, they contain wonderful details and back-story that enrich the world the characters inhabit. In this case, the Prologue set a really, really interesting scene which was the main driving force behind me wanting to read the rest of the book. It really ought to have been the first chapter, rather than just a prologue. So read it.

The text is dense with descriptives, which put me in a state of constant emotional alert, and it was rather draining. However, the story moved nicely, and by the last four chapters, it moved very quickly indeed. I just had to keep reading to find out what happened.

If you like murder mystery, I'm sure you'll really like this book as well.

And today's Forgotten English is:


A piece of bread eaten immediately after bathing.
- Alexander Warrack's Scots Dialect Dictionary, 1911

[From] chitter, to shiver; to tremble. Hence, boys are wont to call that bit of bread which they preserve for eating after bathing a chittering-piece.
- John Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 1808.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Review: Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

InfidelInfidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book came to me at the right time. I have only this to say, this book was brilliant. It was so good it had me doing something I hadn't done since High school - I walked home with my nose pressed between the pages. In fact, I finished the book last evening as I walked.
It was that good.
Infidel was the first ever book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali I have ever read, and it won't be the last. I found it open, honest and often inspiring. It tackles that sticky question no one really wants to deal with for fear of how they will be perceived - Islam and the clash with rights and freedoms, especially against women.
It begins with the shocking death of Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh, a friend of Ms. Ali's. The man's throat was slit, he was shot, and then a note to Ms. Ali was pinned to his chest with a dagger. The note says, basically, "You're next."
What follows is a journey through Ms. Ali's life beginning with her home country, Somalia, her Muslim upbringing, and her inability to reconcile her faith with her questions as she grew up in various countries in Africa, some Muslim, some not.
It ends with her very strong views on Islam and the damage it does to women, and thus to societies as a whole, and her quest to bring her views to light, to shed light on the plight of many thousands of Muslim women and children and with the hope that, in some way, her work will help shape a better tomorrow for all.
I'm not going to go into too much detail about Ms. Ali's life. That's what the book is for. I will say, however, that I am filled with a deep respect and admiration for the strength, passion and compassion of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Knowing what she has faced, and how she has turned her own life around, not least of all coming to grips with a faith she could not believe in and all the guilt and grief it caused, has created for me something I never thought I'd need as an adult - a role model.
Read this book. It's an eye-opener; often depressing, but always fascinating.

View all my reviews

And today's Forgotten English:


A concluding piece or movement played at the end of an oratorio or the like; formed on post, and ludus, play, on analogy of prelude, interlude.
- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1909

I've never heard it used, but it's pretty easy to guess at its meaning, no?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

There's a Song for That

My foul mood has worsened. I'm not just down, I'm also really ticked off.

Of course, that might have a lot to do with the stress of waking up to find you ought to have left the house 15 minutes ago, finding you have no bus tickets, rushing to the store to get some to find two people with baskets of groceries before you (at a Shoppers Drug Mart... really?), have the first one count out pennies only to find out they don't have enough, have the cashier do a price check, realise they have the wrong product, then the second lady comes along and does the exact same thing, while you're standing behind them watching your bus drive off from the stop across the street.

It's been a stressful morning. Already.

Quite normally, I'd go to training to relieve my stress, but I just don't want to be around people right now. So I'll be going home this evening and trying to de-stress with the kitties. Failing that, I'll sleep. That's my usual stress response!

Today's Forgotten English is strangely appropriate.


Patch was at one time a term of contempt. It did not... necessarily mean a fool, but dignified what we now mean by a contemptible fellow. Shakespeare has [Midsummer Night's Dream]: "A crew of patches, base mechanicals." Crosspatch is the only remnant of the word. It is very expressive of a cross, ill-tempered, disagreeable person.
- Eliezer Edwards' Dictionary of Words, Facts, and Phrases, 1882

My grandmother always used to sold me using this word. "Oh, don't be such a crosspatch!" I had no idea it was forgotten....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cleverness Here

I really couldn't think of a clever blog post title today. I'm in a mood. The kind of mood that has me wanting to stay home and curl up under a warm blanket with a large bottle of some kind of strong spirit. Not gin, though.

This morning, I was almost hit by a car. When I say almost, I'm praising air brakes, otherwise I'm pretty sure I'd be in the hospital by now. The thing was, it was totally my fault (poor driver). I crossed the road when the light turned green, though the walk signal, for some reason, didn't go on. See, totally my fault. Quite normally, I'm much more observant when crossing. Just today I was distracted a bit - thinking on stuff - and not paying attention. So, despite glaring evilly at the driver, I'd like to apologise to her. You didn't do any damage, whoever you are (other than a fright and a wake-up call). It's totally my fault.

Incidentally, almost being hit by a car didn't put me in my current mood. I've been like this for almost a week now - the longest low I've had for a while. It's just one of those things, I guess.

I'll stop depressing you all right about now, and give you today's Forgotten English:


A wanton wench that is ready to ride upon the men's backs, or else passively to be their rompstall. The word mutton, when applied to a woman, whether alone or as part of a compound epithet, seems always to have been opprobrious, [as in Shakespear's] Two Gent[lemen] of Verona: "Ay, sir; I a lost mutton, gave your letter to her, a laced mutton; and she, a laced mutton, gave me, a lost mutton, nothing for my labour." From rig, rigging, ready to bestride any inactive stallion, and give him a quickening spur.
- Frederick Elworthy's Specimens of English Dialects: Devonshire, 1879

Rigmutton rumpstall, a wanton girl. West Country.
- Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary, 1898-1905

Monday, February 21, 2011


A leader, a great man.
- J. H. Nodal's Glossary of the Lancashire Dialect, 1882

One possessing more knowledge than the common people. Lancashire.
- Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary, 1898-1905

An here I was thinking it would be a little more like this:

Saturday, February 19, 2011


An expletive denoting surprise. "Bezonter me! bu aw'm fair gormed."
- Robert Holland's Glossary of Words Used in ... Chesire, 1886

Also written bezounter and bezountee.
- Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary, 1898-1905

Friday, February 18, 2011

Random Moods

I've had a very up-and-down week emotionally. I'm not sure why, after all I haven't queried anyone and so have gotten no rejections. Rejections always bring me down.

Monday I was fine, if a little tired. Tuesday I was miserable - all day. Even three hours punching stuff didn't improve my mood as it usually does. Last night and this morning it switched. I now feel great.

I don't get it.

There isn't much news on my end as I am still reading. I should be finished the book today, though. I think. We'll see.

It's a long weekend this weekend, so I'll not be posting anything except the Forgotten English word of the day on Monday. Speaking of Forgotten English....


To confuse. Halliwell says moppil is a mistake or blunder.
- Rev. Alfred Easther's Glossary of the Dialect of Almondbury and Hudderfield, 1883

A state of disorder.
- Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary, 1898-1905

Of an overgrown hedge, "In such a mopple."
- Francis Havergal's Herfordhire Words and Phrases, 1887

On that note, have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

So Much SQUEE!

Squee is a noise I stole from my High School pal Leonie Allan. It adequately describes that perfect mix of joy and excitement as no other sound has yet to do.

The first Squee is the delightful thought that late next week, my little brother will be landing on Canadian soil, looking to make a life for himself here. He'll be staying in Vancouver for a while, which means that I won't get to see him until late March, but whatever. Vancouver is far closer than Australia.

The second Squee is the wonderful feeling that sunshine and warm weather has brought to me. It's supposed to reach 9 celcius (that's right, plus 9) today, and go as high as 12 by Sunday. While I find that slightly scary - plus 12 in February? - it's awfully nice to be able to ditch my heavy long coat for something a little lighter, and much shorter.

The third Squee is my new name. No, I didn't legally change my name. I was given a Chinese name last night (I've kinda always wanted one). This was the result of mucking about after training on Tuesday, when all the white people around the dinner table were wondering what their names would be in Chinese. There might have been some slight culture envy happening that night... Luckily, K.C. was there and able to bestow everyone with a Chinese name.

One would have thought that my name - Sonia - would have translated well in Chinese. Not so! Poor K.C. quickly scribbled down "sun ya." It meant something like elegant modesty (sun = modesty/humility and ya = elegant).

The name bothered K.C., who is not only a traditionalist, but a perfectionist as well, so he hunted for a more appropriate name for me. Apparently "sun" is never used in names. He hunted, and hunted, and hunted. A few promising candidates for a "sun" replacement (based on sound) turned out to be masculine. K.C. wouldn't let me have a masculine Chinese name (even if "ya" is especially feminine). It's not traditional. Also, he complained that giving a girl a masculine name would somehow make them butch.


After a few more attempts and the better part of an hour mucking about on his nifty phone/computer thingy-ma-jig, we decided on a better name. It sounds less like Sonia than the other candidates, but the important sounds are more or less there and the meaning is just plain, well, beautiful!

Thus, my Chinese name is "Shi Ya." It means "elegant poetry" ("Shi" = poetry, poem, verse, ode and "ya" stayed the same at elegant, graceful... which I'm not, by the by). I'd give you the actual Chinese characters, but I don't know how to do that on this computer.

In any case, I am very pleased to have a Chinese name at last. I have a Hindi name (thanks to my dear friend, T.H.'s, grandmother (we shared the same name in Hindi, actually)) as well. I think I'm just going to collect as many names in as many different languages as humanly possible.

Excluding Europe, of course, as Sonia is an Indo-European name and so translates to "Sonia" in every European language... and Slavic languages now that I think on it.

In any case, SQUEE, SQUEE, SQUEE!

So, onto today's Forgotten English.


Mutton of a maiden sheep; Gloucestershire.
- Samuel Pegge's Supplement to Grose's Provincial Glossary, 1814

Thanks to BBC's Qi, I knew this already!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Still on Break

Taking my mother's advice, I'm continuing with my writing break and am, instead, reading. I'll have the book review soon, but you'll have to wait for it!

In the meantime, here is something that made me giggle.

David Mitchell is a regular guest on my favourite panel show, BBC's Qi. I stumbled across his channel rather by accident. While many of his rants are funny, this one stood out. It seems Mr. Mitchell and I are on the same page when it comes to this.

And here's something that ought to make you think:

And now onto today's Forgotten English:


Cracked. Eggs which have been set upon are said to have become spretched a day or two before the liberation of the chicken is effected. Lincolnshire.
- James Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, 1855

I don't know how I knew this, but I knew this one.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thank Heavens That Day is Over!

The only good thing about Valentine's Day is that chocolate goes on sale immediately afterwards!

Today is, apparently, Singles Appreciation Day. Seriously? Why does someone's marital status have to be mentioned at all, on any day? It's no more pertinent to their worth as a human being as is the size of their left foot. I mean really, why do we care so much about whether other people, or ourselves, are single, taken or "it's complicated"? It doesn't matter one iota!

Days like Valentine's Days create a backlash by those who are single and think that there's nothing special about being in a relationship, or, rather, that being in a relationship shouldn't be held in higher esteem than any other kind of arrangement.

Thus, days like Singles Appreciation Day are born... and it's just as lame as Valentine's Day ever was.

That's my rant for the day.

I've been getting really, really, really bored not doing any writing these past couple of days. I think I'll go through and format Hunter today, and I'll likely start writing Overlord tomorrow. We'll see.

Maybe I'll just get lazy and do nothing whatsoever.

Trying to make this as short as possible, here today's Forgotten English.

Up To The Hub:

A proverbial expression in America signifying "to the utmost." The allusion is to a vehicle sunk in the mud to the hub, which is as far as it can go.
- Henry Reddall's Fact, Fancy and Fable, 1889

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

I was going to go on my typical, "Valentine's Day is the Stupidest Day of the Year" rant, but I thought I could sum up the entirety of my feelings with a simple image:

Valentine's Day  Reflex

There are some funny gifts floating around these days designed especially for people like me. Check here and here for some.
Celebrating the finishing of Hunter has been going well. I managed to refrain from writing all of Friday. I'm supposed to not write for the rest of the month and give my brain and my fingers a well-deserved break. It's not going so well. Already I am itching to get writing again.

A reader left a comment on the post announcing my small victory, along with a question. I answered it in the comments, but did so quickly and I don't think I answered it very well. So I'm going to try again.

I am so jealous of you I almost hate you! I've been through I don't know how many re-writes of the same story and it never felt right. Then I started taking Stephen King's advice and I'm gonna keep writing until it's finished. Anywho, CONGRATULATIONS. Would you be willing to share some advice on what you did or didn't do to finally get the job done? Fellow scribbler, Joanna

Thanks, Joanna. I'm sorry for my dismal reply the first time around, and I hope this attempt is much more helpful.

First off, Stephen King is right. You just have to keep on keeping on until you get the job done. You can change it around as much as you like after the fact. First, however, you have to write it. The best thing you can do is to just sit down and write.

I'll start off my list of things I did or didn't do with a disclaimer. Every person is different, therefore their approach to anything they do will be different. I have no formal training in fiction writing. I am simply an avid reader with stories of my own. Someone with a formal education in fiction writing will likely do things differently from myself. All the same, here's what I did and didn't do that allowed me to get Book 3 written.

  • Set myself daily goals. A word count that is small and attainable that will be the least you can do each day would be a good place to start. I am extremely fortunate that I do not have children, and I do have a steady income that affords me plenty of time to write. I tend to write between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, which affords me an unusually high daily word count of roughly 3 000 words. To be honest, sometimes I just can't make it to 3 000 and I am forced to content myself with something a little lower. For most people (the normal sort who have obligations and lives...), about 1 000 words is a good word count to strive towards.
  • Took breaks often. Some breaks were scheduled. I do not write on the weekends, for example. Other breaks weren't at all. Every so often on a Friday, I would sit in front of the computer with my hands on the keys and... sit. Though I knew what I wanted to write, I just didn't have the will to do it. I just couldn't. I call this "writer's fatigue" and I'm pretty sure everyone gets it every so often. Basically, it's burnout. I've done too much, and I need to rest. Despite it being simply sitting in front of a computer, writing can be exhausting work! Also, quite emotional if you are like me and happen to get too attached to characters that eventually up and die. I once stopped writing after 1 000 words because I was far too distressed over a death to continue for the day. It's alright to take a break! As long as you come back.
  • Exercised! This is so important I can't even begin to explain it adequately. Exercise was what kept me from burning out more often. Sitting in front of a desk all the time can be very tiresome. Getting active improved my mood and my ability to think. Even if it's just a walk after dinner, get away from that desk!
  • Celebrated much and often. I rewarded myself every time I reached my goal. I did a happy dance in my chair and bought myself some chocolate, or left my desk to walk around outside for a bit. Sometimes I really splurged and bought wine. Celebrating the small stuff makes the big stuff seem a little easier, and much more fun to get to.
  • Allowed the story to flow. I've had many debates about this with fellow writers. This doesn't work for everyone. I used to be a control freak when it came to my stories. If it didn't go the way I expected, I fought the story. In every single case, the story won the fight. If I fought really hard, all I could expect was a protracted period of profound writer's block. As soon as I let go, and let the story do whatever it wanted, I found that reaching 3 000 words a day really wasn't a problem (most of the time). Of course, this did lead to a few, very emotional surprises. In The Great Man series I am currently working on, one character decided (of his own accord, I might add) to go into battle knowing full well he'd end up dead at the end of it. I was rather attached to this character, and fought the decision tooth and nail. Six months later, the story hadn't moved anywhere. When I finally let go, in three weeks, the rest of the book was written. Of course, I cried a lot those three weeks... Now I have had discussions with fellow writers who cannot write that way, and I don't blame them. They've often said they don't understand how an author can feel they have no control over their stories - they're the author. I believe that, ultimately, I am the author and I'm probably drawing from some sub-conscious part of myself when I write. All the same, it feels to me as if I have very little control over my stories!

  • Beat myself up if I didn't reach my daily goal. Life happens, and there often isn't anything you can do about it. I might have gotten a little mad at myself if I hadn't reached my daily goal by the time I had to leave the computer and get ready for training. I'd forgive myself just as quickly though. After all, in most cases, I managed to write a least a little something.
  • Outline. Much. At all, really. This is directly related to letting the story flow as it will. When I first sat down to write The Great Man, it was in no way a series. It was a single book about the tragic life of a remarkable young man named Julian. When I threw the outline I had made into the rubbish bin and just wrote, I ended up with six books (four at first, then, just when I thought I had finished, other little bits of story flooded in, demanding attention, so now it's six books). I require only the protagonist, and the way their tale ends in order to write. Using the Seraphimé Saga as an example (it's a much better example, as I have been writing The Great Man since I was fourteen and the details get hazy), I had, suddenly, the image of a young woman in a sage green cloak standing on an ancient ruined plaza and staring out over a windswept Tundra. Beside her sat an enormous black wolf. Then I saw her having a conversation with a lanky blonde man who was obviously foreign to her. That conversation told me everything I needed to know about her. I had my protagonist. I sat down to write that scene (which occurs somewhere in the middle of the first book now), then I wrote the end. After that, I just let the story write itself. How it gets to the ending is really up to it. I quite like writing this way. I find myself continually surprised and intrigued by the interactions of my characters! That said, most of the writers I have networked with online are enormous fans of outlines. Many cannot write without one.
That's what I did and didn't do to get my books done. Do bear in mind that what works for me won't work for everyone. You need to find the time you write best, what surrounds you write best in, whether or not outlining is something you need, or if it detracts from the organic feel of your writing. It's not an easy task, but the best thing to do is to experiment and most important of all, keep writing.

There, I hope that helped you more. You're a champ, by the by, if your read through all that.
And now here's today's very appropriate Forgotten English word of the day:


The word (from Dutch opzitten, to sit up) is descriptive of the peculiar method of courting which in earlier days was in vogue among the Dutch farming population, the duration of the lovers' evening interview being determined by the burning of a candle, which conveys a hint of the lady's feelings towards her wooer. Should she favour the suitor, a long candle is employed. But if not, she produces "ends" and he at once understands the his [absence] is preferred to his company.

- Charles Pettman's Africanderisms: A Glossary of South African Colloquial Words and Phrases, 1913

Saturday, February 12, 2011


To go woolward was to wear woollen next to the skin as a penance. "Woolward and wetshod went I forth." [William Langland's Piers Plowman, c 1399]
- William Toone's Glossary and Etymological Dictionary of Obsolete Words, 1832

Friday, February 11, 2011


There'a a party going on in my head right now. Why? Well, the biggest and best news is that Hunter, Book 3 of The Great Man series was finished late yesterday afternoon.

Everybody dance now!

At 106 543 words, it falls short of the expected 110 000, but man it feels good to be finished the book! It'll be even better when I've finished the series, but that won't be for another year I don't think. I have to write two more books and rewrite another. All the same, come payday, I am buying myself some wine and celebrating! In the meantime, I'm celebrating by not writing for the rest of the month (yeah, right! Let's see if I can actually hold off that long...). It's the small things that make life worth the living.

Six books is a fairly long series, and is, frankly, a lot of work. Thank heavens I love writing!

Outside of writing, life is going along much as it always does. My terrible, yet hilarious luck had righted itself by the time the Wutan Lion Dance troupe gathered and performed. It was a high-profile occasion, with Canadian dignitaries and an ambassador or two. I shook hands with many politicians. There really was only one I much liked. I'm not naming any names.

The dance actually went very well. Again I was demoted from cymbal-player to extra body. Luckily, there was one duty I was able to perform, and it wasn't pulling a cart around! I collected the New Year's blessing banner near the end of the performance. Go me!

Actually, this was one occasion where I wouldn't have minded being in the lion. When we first arrived there were so many video cameras... I hate having my photo taken, let alone being filmed. At least being in the lion, I wouldn't be able to see the crowds, and the cameras, and the reporters, and the video crews...


Excuse me. I just shuddered.

All the same, Wutan Lion Dance will be in a couple of papers, I'm sure. This is a good thing for the group, and, despite having to have my photo taken with several politicians (not to mention being in the background of countless other shots), and being filmed, I'm rather stoked about it.

Go team!

Alright, I ought to go and... do nothing... Here's your Forgotten English word:


This punishment, which is called running the gantlet, is seldom inflicted except for crimes as will excite a general antipathy among the seamen, as on some occasions the culprit would pass without receiving a single blow, particularly in cases of mutiny or sedition.
- William Falconer's Universal Dictionary of the Marine, 1771

From Ghent and Dutch loopen, to run, because the punishment was first inflicted in that place.
- Joseph Waorcester's Dictionary of the English Language, 1881

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Comedy of Errors, or, My Bloodied Foot

Good morning!

Have you ever had one of those days? You know, one of those days, where nothing goes right and things just get so absurd they become funny?

Well, that was the passed twelve hours for me.

After training on Wednesdays, the gang from the C.U. location goes out to eat and shoot the breeze. It's a tradition that started last year and emulates the tradition at the A.C. location whereby the gang goes out to eat and shoot the breeze every Thursday after training (the last training day of the week).

That's not the story. The dinner went well, and there were many laughs all 'round. As a side note, I really do adore my Kung Fu family.

The trouble started afterwards. I got home to enjoy some incredibly awesome chocolate cake made my J.M-B. Persephone had an issue going potty and dragged her pooey butt all over the place depositing foul-smelling 'presents' all over the house. I chased up after her to clean up.

Then the laptop, for no apparent reason, took a spill backwards, tipping over the teapot which fell all over the floor. Loose-leaf tea is a pain to clean up. Then a friend, who had also come over for chocolate cake, lifted up the laptop to get it out of harm's way as I cleaned... only to drag a glass off the table and onto the floor.

I was in the kitchen washing off the cloth when I heard the smash.

I burst out laughing. What else could I do? I had come home to enjoy a piece of delicious cake, and spent the night chasing a smelly cat, cleaning up spilled loose-leaf tea, and picking up shards of broken glass.

(By the by, J.M-B., it was a polka-dotted glass.... I'm sorry!)

All I wanted was cake.

With everything more or less settled, I did manage to enjoy my slice of cake, and even sit and chat a while. When my friend left, I chased the smelly cat again, because she still smelled. My suspicions that she hadn't gotten everything clean were confirmed when I tipped her onto her back and had a look.

So I spent the next hour struggling with her in the bathroom, trying to get her butt clean and not smelling quite so bad. She was very resistant at first, but as soon as she figured out what I was trying to do, she relaxed, and even started to purr.

If I can handle a cat, I'm going to be a whiz with a baby!

That putrid task complete, I could finally have a shower and go to bed; and so I did.

I slept like a log. Too much like a log and woke up fifteen minutes later than I should have. Swearing like a sailor, I got ready for work, stepped into the living room to put on my boots and promptly got a shard of glass in my heel.

It was just a teeny tiny shard of glass, but it went in pretty deep. It was also a thin shard of glass, so I couldn't see it. All I saw was the blood. Already late, I had to sit on the couch for a while and fight to remove this teeny tiny, extremely painful piece of glass before I could put on my boots and, oh, walk.

I managed to do it, but was running so late I didn't have time to fetch a band-aid. I threw on my boots and hoped for the best as I ran for the bus stop.

The bleeding has stopped now, thanks for you concern.

So, that was my ridiculous twelve hours.

Tonight our Lion Dance troupe has a performance at a Gala downtown. Hopefully my ridiculous luck has changed for the better, and I won't be bringing down the performance!

Writing, however, has proved much better. I finished my Prologue yesterday, and all I have to write now is my Epilogue. Then Book 3 is finished.


The only issue there is, I will have to wait until next week (payday) until I can celebrate properly. However, I'll be done another book and will only have to write two more for the series to be complete.

Then I'll have to edit like mad, but I think I'll give myself a break before I go back to that particular story.

Well, this is a ridiculous post. I'll leave off here with today's Forgotten English:


Thirsty. The puckfyst is a dried toadstool. Hence, "A feels puckfyst" [means] I feel as dry as a dried toadstool.
- Appleton Morgan's Study in the Warwickshire Dialect, 1900

Don't ask me how, but I knew this one!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This is the song I'm currently listening to. Sung by two greats of the Australian music industry - Jimmy Barnes and John Farnham. I listen to John Farnham every time I get homesick. His greatest hits lives happily on my iPod (favourite songs include You're the Voice, Have a Little Faith, and That's Freedom. Look him up, it's worth it!).

Needless to say, I'm a little homesick right now.

On the bright side, I've passed the 100 000 word mark for book 3 of The Great Man series. There's still a fair amount to write, but I think I'll be finished the rough draft of the book by the end of this week. It all depends on how long the Prologue and Epilogue take.

I'm sore and tired from training last night. So, I'll keep this post short. Here's today's Forgotten English:


Toothache and neuralgia. From Dutch zinkings, rheumatism.
- Charles Pettman's Aficanderisms: A Glossary of South African Colloquial Words and Phrases, 1913

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This Post is Late, or, a Brand New Monitor

Good morning world!

I apologise for this post being tardy. I have a new monitor (YAY!) and so had to turn off the computer to plug it all in. Of course, that means the computer is all grumpy and slow as it usually is every Monday morning. Apparently, my computer hates Mondays.

I'm very pleased with myself this week already. I made my 3 000 words yesterday, and then struck on a great idea for the Prologue and Epilogue for the book, neither of which have been written yet. Since I'm also not quite finished the main body of the story at 97 000 odd words, I'm thinking that this one is going to be around the 110 000 word mark.

Also, at 97 000 odd words, I'm almost done, and that makes me happy.

Since there is nothing else to report, I'll just give you today's Forgotten English word of the day.


To dispirit by chiding; or to depress the energies of life by excess of bodily toil.
- Charles Mackay's Lost Beauties of the English Language, 1874

To submit tamely; to cringe; to crawl meekly or humbly.
- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1919

Monday, February 7, 2011

Oddly Rested

Despite having a fairly busy weekend, and waking up ridiculously early this morning, I'm feeling oddly rested.

Saturday went fairly well. Lion Dance responsibilities kept me from teaching as is my usual schedule. Our Lion Dance troupe had it's first ever New Year's event. Considering the number of people in the store and the length of the show, the poor sods having to dance in the lion did extremely well.

The show ran almost an hour from beginning to end. We had two lions inside a very packed T & T Supermarket. There was barely room to breathe, let alone dance around.

The beginning was hasty. Though we had been told the start time was 11:45am, they decided we should start at 11:30 instead. A slight problem with that - we were missing one Lion head. We had the actual head, we just needed to body to go in it. There was barely time for him to get dressed before the ceremony began.

The first part of the ceremony began with the Eye Dotting. Don't know what that is? Neither did I before last week. Red liquid is placed onto the eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth and down the back of the Lion for good luck. The red liquid used to be rooster's blood. You'll be happy to know, they don't used that any more. They use a red stone that has a sizable amount of mercury in it. We're all slowly going insane.

In any case, the rest of the dance was fairly routine, just very, very, very, very long. As I was a girl, and not allowed in the Lion with a boy, the four people in the Lions had to do the entire hour long show.

Like our Kung Fu, our Lion Dance troupe is traditional, not the new style. The Lions are longer, the heads heavier, and the movements are much more aggressive. We're not cutesy Lions; each movement is martial and is supposed to have martial intent.

That is why the show was so exhausting for the performers.

Having been kicked out of the Lion, I was to play the cymbals or gong. However, they didn't bring enough. So, I was demoted once more to puller of the drum trolley. It was surprisingly hard work.

At first, the drum kept falling off. So I had to bend down and drag the trolley from the base (no, we didn't bring rope). To spare my back, I crouched down and walked backwards. That's not easy. My glutes are still hurting.

There were many errors, but for our first real performance, I think we did alright. We'll hear about it from our resident expert K.C. I'm afraid...

Sunday was equal parts restful and productive. I went grocery shopping (finally!), did some cooking and washed a huge load of dishes before settling in with friends to watch Supernatural. Then we settled in to watch Glee after the Superbowl.

It was like a zombie double rainbow.

Gleeks will understand that pun.

I was up super early this morning, so I went back to bed to snooze, but didn't really sleep.

Despite all that, I feel pretty good, actually. Perhaps I'll make a habit of getting up this early more often!

I think I've bored you enough with my weekend. Her's today's Forgotten English word/phrase:

Pig's Whisper:

A very short space of time.
- Jon Bee's Slang: A Dictionary, 1823

Synonymous with "cockstride," a cock's tread.
- John Hotten's Slang Dictionary, 1887

You'll find yourself in bed in something less than a pig's whisper.
- Charles Dickens' Pipwick Papers, 1837

Speaking of Charles Dickens, it's his birthday today. Happy Birthday, Mr. Dickens!

I'm running late, I must get writing.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Or stirrup-dram (also stirrup-glass), a glass of ardent spirits, or draught of ale, given by the landlord of an inn to his guest when about to depart [on horseback].
- John Jamieson's Supplement to eh Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 1825

Tib Mumps will be out w' the stirrup-dram in a gliffing.
- Sir Walter Scott's Guy Mannering, 1815

In the north of the Highlands called "cup at the door."
- Ebenezer Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898

Friday, February 4, 2011

It Been... A Week...

Thank goodness it's Friday has never applied more than this Friday. It's been, well, a week; a stressful, stressful week.

Emotions were running pretty high in the middle of the week, when category 5 tropical cyclone Yasi hit the coast of North Queensland. I feared for my family there for a long, stressful afternoon until I got word that they were all alright. My sister's house withstood the 280+ km/h wind fairly well. No word yet on my mother's house. She was a little north of my sister, and north was hit harder. Also, the house was right on the beach. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything is alright and Mum's house is still right on the beach.

With training every evening of the week except Fridays, I had plenty of opportunity to work through my stress. The side-effect is, however, absolute exhaustion. 12 hours of hard exercise in 4 days takes its toll sometimes. I always feel brilliant right after, though, so I'm not really complaining.

Speaking of Kung Fu, our Lion Dance troupe has a performance tomorrow at the T & T in Ottawa for Chinese New Year. I blogged about how I was booted out of the lion 'cause I was a girl tail, and the lion had a boy head. I'm not ticked about it, though I did make a feminist fuss. However, I'm nervous about the performance. It's a big deal for us - a high-profile gig - and I'm really hoping we don't muck it up.


Sunday, thankfully, I have nothing planned save sleep; blissful, blissful sleep.

As I was keeping track of the cyclone and waiting for news from the family, I didn't do any writing at all Wednesday. I did manage 3 000 words yesterday, and that puts me past the 90 000 word mark as of this morning. I'm hoping for another 3 000 words today, but I'm feeling pretty drained, so I might just muck about on the computer instead.

We'll see.

Also, someone posted this on their facebook wall yesterday. I loved it so much that I had to share. Prepare to enjoy!

And today's Forgotten English word is:


One who treats of heroes; from hero, and Greek logos, a description.
- Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon of the English Language, 1850

One who writes or discourses on heroes. [From] heroology, also herology, a history of, or treatise on, heroes. Heroolgical pertaining to the history of heroes; heroogony, generation of heroes.
- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1901

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Magnificent Sigh of Relief

They're safe!

I got word late yesterday afternoon that everyone survived the night. My sister's abode did very well, considering. No news yet if my Mum's house survived. It was right on the coast. Fingers crossed that it still is.

It was a tense wait for me. I was extremely worried. My friends will attest that I was stressed to the max over this, but as it turned out, Yasi was not as destructive as she could have been. A lucky break - she was more powerful than Hurricane Katrina (and only a wee bit smaller).

No fatalities have been reported, though, according the the CBC, two people are reported missing in the Innisfail area.

When my sister messaged me yesterday afternoon to tell me the news, I almost cried for the relief.

Needless to say, my mood is much improved since then. I might even get to writing a little something today.

Oh, and before I forget, we have just entered the Year of the Rabbit. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Here's today's Forgotten English:


If the stay of the guest exceeds a week, it should be called "a visitation." If it includes a dining, or a tea-drinking, or evening-spending, it may be termed "a visit," while a mere call can be mentioned as "a vis."
- Eliza Leslie's Behaviour Book, 1859

If you cannot make me a visit, at least make me a vis, if you can.
- Charles Southey's Life of the Rev. Andrew Bell, 1844

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Not Coping Well

Hi all,

Today's going to be a bit of a depressing post, so bear with me. I am extremely stressed at the moment.

As most of you know, my mother, my sister, her daughter and my sister's boyfriend live in tropical North Queensland. You may have heard of the floods that recently passed through Queensland. Well, mother nature is at it again.

Tropical Cyclone Yasi, a category 5 cyclone with a front of 500 km, has crossed into North Queensland near Mission Beach. A category 5 is about the worst you can get. Wind speeds in a category 5 exceed 250 km/h. Yasi has wind speeds of an estimated 300-330 km/h. The size of this storm is simply massive and would cover much of the U.S.

My mother lives right on the beach in North Queensland, but has moved into Townsville with my sister and her family to try and weather out this storm. She doesn't expect to have a house to return to when this storm is over.

There is already flooding caused by storm surges. They reckon Yasi will be the worst storm ever to hit Australia.

As of about an hour ago, they are all alright. There is a tree down in the yard, and power outages throughout Townsville. I haven't heard from them since, so I expect the power has gone out for them as well.

I have no choice but to sit tight and wait for news.

In the meantime, I'm ranging between gentle calm and panicked tears. I'm at work, so I'm trying not to stress out too much over this.

Be gentle with me today, though. I'm feeling way more fragile than usual!

Mother nature is unimpressed with southern Ontario as well. We are in what media outlets are calling "Snow-mageddon." Frankly, it's not that bad. Just a lot of snow and high winds. It is the biggest storm in the past two years. Toronto experienced a peculiar weather anomaly - lightening and thunder with their snow dump. Lightening and thunder along with snow are most usually unheard of.

Still, we have it pretty lucky up here.

Yesterday was a difficult day for writing, not because I found it difficult to write, but because what I was writing was difficult material. I spent the lunch hour after writing my 3 000 words crying in the washroom. Yes, it was that difficult.

News of Yasi's upgrade to category 5 and stress over my family in Australia didn't help either.

Right now I just was to disappear into my bedroom with a hot cuppa and some sad music. Instead, I'll just bury myself in the story I'm writing. Someone else's misery is much easier to handle!

In the meantime, here's today's Forgotten English word:


A lawyer whose record would not be regarded in a desirable light; this term is equivalent to black-leg.
- John Farmer's Americanisms - Old and New, 1889

An incompetent or unskilled or unprincipled person; frequently used of lawyers and preachers.
- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1901

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Weekend and Worries

Nice alliteration, no?

With everything all caught up yesterday (I'll tell you about my stupidity later), I can now tell you all about my weekend.


Saturday was, at least. It was an epic day. Epic.

It started fairly early in the morning (for a weekend day) for me. I left the house at 9:oo am and walked to Chinatown for Lion Dance rehearsal at 10:00 am. There I learnt that our Lion Dance troupe has been invited to perform at the New Year festivities at the city's only T&T (huge, massive, giant Chinese grocery superstore). This is a enormous performance, extremely high profile, with a number of dignitaries present.


After the hour and a half practice, we all went out to lunch, as usual. At lunch, I learnt that I could not be in the lion for the performance because I was a girl.

Say WHAT?!

Apparently, tradition dictates that a guy and a girl cannot be in the same lion. It's either two guys or two girls, but not one of each.

You can't see me, but I'm making an angry feminist face right now.

Here's the thing, right - I'm not much of a performer. I get the worst stage fright ever imaginable. I shake and tear up and forget everything. I HATE being in front of people. Only now, I want to be in that lion, dammit! I want in because I was told I can't be in.

I might have a problem with authority...

In any case, the client for whom we are dancing is Chinese, and while he might not be traditional, dignitaries from the Chinese Embassy probably will be.

So, despite this being Canada, and the 21st century, I'm out of the lion. On any other auspice, I'd be thanking my lucky stars. As of now, I'm just mad!

Not mad enough to quit. I like my Lion Dance troupe.

Saturday afternoon, immediately following lunch, I took off to teach Kung Fu for an hour. That was largely uneventful. I walked home (roughly an hour), stopping off to buy groceries for dinner that evening.

I got home at roughly 4:00pm. I had enough time to unpack the groceries, have a shower, dress and have a quick nap before the first guests for the WINE PARTY! arrived. Sorry. I get excited about seeing the two words "wine" and "party" together like that.

Can I just say, it was a brilliant evening, reserved only for my closest Kung Fu brother's and sisters (well, also my flatmate and my Kung Fu brother's most excellent girlfriend, S.D. who are welcome just by Wutan association). There was more wine than I knew what to do with - six bottles, all of which were new to us.

We took great care to hide the type and origin of the wine, and then we tried them all. We had a guide as to the colour, aromas and flavours and we wrote them all down, as well as giving the wines a score based on appeal. I have to say, P.B. is quite the expert when it comes to wines. I was duly impressed.

Later on, we played Balderdash. I won. By a long shot. I'm still rather chuffed about it.

Sunday was spent doing absolutely nothing at all. A little tidying after the party, then lounging around trying to find the will to keep my eyes open. CBC's Republic of Doyle helped with that a little. It's a great show about a Private Detective in Newfoundland. I'm now caught up with them all.

On that note, my lucky flatmate is off to see the star of Republic of Doyle on Thursday. He's having a sit down with his fans here in Ottawa. My friend entered the competition to attend, but didn't win. However, a friend's friend did win, and scored two tickets out of the deal. So no, J. M-B. is off to see Alan Hawko. I'm fully expecting a tonne of photos and the best stories ever.

I was so relaxed and happy all weekend that I totally forgot that I had something due no later than Sunday. I came into work Monday morning to find a reminder email waiting for me. Really, it was asking if I was going to hand in the damned thing or not. The "damned thing," by the by, were scores for a short story competition I was one of the judges for. Yeah. I'm a tool.

I am such an idiot.

I really hate being late with anything. It drives me up the wall, mostly because other people are depending upon things like this. Also, I'm almost never late. I have been known to show up half an hour early just to avoid being five minutes late.

This thing really bugged me.

I apologised profusely before spending yesterday morning judging. I handed it in that morning. I have to say, there were some high calibre stories this month!

Last night, I found out some pretty stressful news.

Cyclone Yasi.

As if Queensland didn't have enough natural disaster to deal with.

My family lives in the area expected to take the full brunt of the angry storm. The papers say that the coastal towns are being evacuated. I'm not sure if this is so. I haven't heard any plans from my family as to what they're going to do. I'm a little stressed. You can read this to find out why.

It's moments like these I hate being so far from my family.

And now we're at the end of my extremely long post. All that remains is today's Forgotten English word/phrase. Thus:


A feminine masterpiece; after masterpiece. Compare French mâtresse pièce, the principal piece of a work; [1640s to early 1900s].
- Fir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1908

Rosamund... being the mistress-piece of beauty in that Age.
- Thomas Fuller's History of the Worthies of England, 1662