Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Whadda Ya Mean, Whadda Ain't in the Dictionary?


It's true. I just checked in with Mr. M and W, and whadda isn't in there. They do offer a heckuva (heckuva ain't in there, either) lot of spelling suggestions, though, just in case I don't know what I'm talking about. Words such as whydah, waddy, wadi, what all, and Waldo. Other possibilities are wedgy, rawhide, and whitey. Excuse me, Sir Merriam and Sir Webster, but I know the difference between a whadda and rawhide. And wedgy, well, if we've ever been adolescents, which I'm guessing most of us have, we know that's not how you spell wedgie.

Also, the SpellCzech in Blogger just plain doesn't like whydah or waddy at all. It red flags them as though they were words I had confabricated myself.

Ain't is in the dictionary, and I know my mom's spinning rapidly in her grave to find that one out. Means either: am not, are not, is not, have not, or has not. I think they couldn't make up their minds on that one, or lost a bet, and I ain't kiddin'. Sorry, Mom.

Back on January 1, 2014, we had 1,025,109.8 words in the English language, according to the Global Language Monitor. I don't know who this Global Language Hoop-de-Doo is, but he sure ain't no mathematician. Maybe that's what happened to whadda. Point eight of whadda would be roughly whadd, and everyone knows whadd ain't no word.

Keep writing, friends.

Monday, August 29, 2016

This Post is About a Myriadinous Plethora of Large Words


I was wandering through some of my older posts this morning when I happened upon this little morsel of word play: http://writefromthegitgo.blogspot.com/2016/03/if-there-are-silent-letters-are-there.html.

In the post I meander off on a riff about silent letters and some of our peculiarities in the English language. I noticed also some of my pet peeves--words such as bombastic and ostentatious. Actually, I like those words. The ones I have problems with are plethora and myriad. Why can't we just say 'many', or 'a lot', or 'a whole bunch'. I don't think I've ever said I own a plethora of comic books or movies. And myriad, I see it all the time (could that be a plethora of time?), but I'm not sure of it's exact meaning, so I'll head over right now to see what Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webster have to say about them.

Hmm, I entered 'plethora' by mistake, but it gave me an interesting answer. It means "a very large amount or number : an amount that is much greater than what is necessary", which seems to encompass the way I feel about 'plethora', anyway--much greater than necessary.

So, myriad means: "a very large number of things", essentially the same as 'plethora'. But here's what I also noticed. Both words are described by the word 'very', and this gets into the whole size question. How 'very' is 'very'? If we have something that's 'very very' large, would that be a 'myriad plethora' of things, or perhaps a 'double plethora' or 'plethora squared'?

These are the things that keep me awake at night and wake me up earlier than I want.

Keep writing, friends.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

When is Bad Writing Good Writing?



After our Sharknado-fest yesterday, got interested in what a group of sharks is called. And no, I'm not going for the tired old lawyer or politician jokes. No, it's called either a gam, herd, frenzy, school, frenzy, or shiver. Naturally, the first thing I wonder is, "Couldn't they just agree on one name for a group of the beasties?" Myself, if I was in the water and saw a batch of them, a shiver seems the perfect description.

But I didn't stop in here today to pick nits about name-calling. After watching the three 'Nado flicks yesterday (There's a fourth one available on DVD, but I don't own that one yet--but I will.) we joked about the awful writing and acting for the shark-infested movies. But was it really? First question we have to ask ourselves is, "Were we entertained?" And the answer is, "Hell, yes!"

So, it gets back to the age-old problem of, okay, this movie, book, TV show, or whatever is a top-notch, well-crafted work, but did I get my money's worth? If the answer is no, then perhaps it wasn't so well-written after all.

Just something to consider.

Keep writing, friends.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Who Turned Off the Tap?


Yep, there are days when you go to the well and it's dry. The words just won't flow. So, you (meaning me) sit down and start typing anything. Anything at all. Like this post. Okay, still nothing.

Oh, wait. Movies. I can always write about them. But they don't have anything to do with writing, do they? Why, sure they do. You've seem me stretch to make that point before. Which leads me to...the most recent Trek movie, Star Trek Beyond.

This is the best of the three newest Trek films, with the all-new cast. The actors are wearing their roles as the Enterprise crew like a pair of Duluth work gloves. Whether individually or together in a scene, they know who their characters are and what they would do in a given situation. Direction, acting, and writing all fit together to make this film a cohesive whole, and to give us a Trek story in the classic sense--plenty of action, a bit of angst, and some dashes of humor.

Did I mention action? Yep, this one wastes no time, as any good story should, with getting into some serious shit. And it does what Stephen King says to do, which is to take characters you  give a hang about, shake them up, then toss them into the fray. And, like Gene Roddenberry said oh so many light years ago (and I'm paraphrasing here), Star Trek is about people. They just work in space.

The thrust of this one asks the question, "Who am I?" Kirk, Spock, and our villain are all lost. Not lost in a physical sense, but spiritual. Emotional. They don't know who they are, and they'll spend the rest of the movie sorting that out.

Directing, acting, writing all came together on this one. This is one I'd pay good money to see at an IMAX theater.

Keep writing, friends.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Editing



Wendy and I have been thinning out some possessions at home recently in an effort, basically, to find things. We have become frustrated with clutter, and the inability to easily lay our hands on items we really need. And along the way, we've found ourselves saying, "Huh! I didn't know I still had this."

Sometimes, though, we'll say, "Huh! Wonder why the hell I kept this." And at other times it's "Huh! Wonder what the hell thing is and where it came from." At which point we'll carry said curiosity to the other partner in crime and ask, "Honey, any idea what this is?" Usually, the partner will stare at it and respond with, "No idea," which begins a running dialogue of questions such as, "Think so-and-so gave it to us?" and so forth.

Writing is much the same way, and it makes no difference the length of whatever it is we're working on. After completing a piece and giving it an appropriate cool-down time, we're likely to read it over later, at which point many similar questions as the above will arise. Questions such as, "I didn't know I left that word/sentence/paragraph in there," or "Huh! Why the hell did I write it this way?" or just generally, "Huh! Aliens must have taken over my brain at that point while I was writing...yep...aliens, definitely...aliens who didn't know a lick of English or any other human language, for that matter."

And that's why we edit.

Now, what I should have done is edit the above post. But that's never stopped me before. And don't let it stop you from writing, either.

Keep writing, friends.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Accidental Mistakes and Torrential Downpours



Amazing the things you can learn (or unlearn) by turning on the TV. Within a span of about ten minutes, I heard both of the terms in my post's title.

The announcer of a new-fangled weed whackin' thingy said something about this model preventing "...accidental mistakes...", and proceeded to demonstrate how the device did indeed prevent mistakes, accidental or otherwise.

Returning to one of my favorite sources once again (what's the difference between 'once again' and just plain again? Figured since we're going for overkill words, I'd toss in a quite a few of my own), Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webster, accident is defined as "an event that is not planned or intended : an event that occurs by chance," and a mistake, paraphrased, means "...to understand or identify something incorrectly." Generally, mistakes are accidental, so... The announcer must have made an accidental mistake by saying, "...accidental mistake".

Likewise, one of the weather stations reference to a torrential downpour must have been an accidental mistake, too, as the downpours I've experienced were already torrential enough without the need of making them any more torrential.

Aren't adjectives fun?

Keep writing, friends.