What’s this about? Some kind of words myth?

How do you pronounce the word “pronunciation”?

English is tricky and it doesn’t get any easier when you only half read words. I don’t know when I stopped saying “pronoun-ciation”, but I do know it was after being called on it. I remember being dismayed that “Kayne West” was opening for U2 before I’d heard anyone say his name (circa 2006). To this day, I consider it a pretty cool alternate spelling of Kane. You can’t tell me nothing otherwise. “Omnious” also got corrected on the back of a call out. In my head it kind of made sense. Like some kind of all pervasive evil. I don’t know how “ous” as a suffix brought “omni” into ill repute, but until my friend gave me shit about it, I thought it more often than I said it. I literally just realised the connection between “ominous” and the word “omen”, a lesson that only came a decade and a half too late. Just think of the face I could’ve saved.

How many people pronounced “Hermione” right first time? Did Rowling give any kind of pronunciation guide in the story? Surely she couldn’t have known it’d become such a global phenomenon and get umpteen movies. How would people have known if not for that? It’s all sorts of unintuitive. I went with “her-me-own”, but I’d say “her-my-own” would be defensible too. It sure doesn’t look like a four syllable name. Then again, it’s a world of magic and the supernatural. A polysyllabic central character was hardly the most outlandish thing in the series. May I remind you once again that they wasted a time travel device on a chimera?

I raised the question on Facebook and friends chimed in with their unintuitive pronunciations (A.K.A. We’re All Idiots Or Maybe English Is Just Difficult). The military was highlighted as having particularly tricky titles. In full honesty, I’m gonna try to spell a word before looking it up. Ready? Colonel. Did I spell it right? YUS. FINALLY. I don’t know how many times I’ve spelled it “coronel” or “colenel”. It’s especially damning considering it’s pronounced “kernel”. The whole “lef-tenant” (lieutenant) thing still doesn’t make sense to me. Not to mention “sergeant”. The “a” is in the last syllable. Shouldn’t it be “sargent”? Definitely not “seargent”, which sounds like someone piloting a BBQ grill. Also while we’re there. Why BBQ? One of those “B”s is right, but mind your “Bar”s and “queue”s good “ser”.

Wait, “cue-oos”? Who the what now? Where do we draw the line?

Really though, I’m kind of in love with English being such a backwards bastardly language. So many contradictory rules and single serving usages that are unintuitive and lend themselves profusely to nimbly worded loops and shit. Even poems don’t need to rhyme, and when you want them to, you can manipulate tenses for the best sounding schemes. I’ve mentioned it before, but a former French flatmate once told me how much larger the English dictionary is than the French. I’m not in favour of things being needlessly convoluted for the sake of it, but boy howdy I do enjoy how expansive this language is. How it lends itself to neologisms and reformation, to updating and expanding. Now that’s not limited to English. Language in general is a living thing and I think that’s kind of beautiful. English, however, is the language I know best. I’ve been speaking it for ~30 years at this point and I’m still learning more about it day by day.

That’s either important or impotent, or both simultaneously.

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What would a polytheist talk about first?

Puns. Today is puns, at least until it isn’t.

As an aside, I’m ashamed it took me this long to start calling my wrist cast the “Infirmary Gauntlet”. Anyway.

If you were psyched for a play session with a dom, but you turned up and they were timidly masturbating, would that be a batin’ switch?

I asked this to my Facebook friends, and one chimed in that it’d happened to her before. Immediately I was moved to action. I told her that she had to admit, their shenanigans were a master bae shun. But also…

  • Sounds like a jerk move.
  • Guy wasn’t Onan his shit.
  • Wait, more like a jack off all trades. Master of none.
  • Did he pull a fast one on you?
  • Better ejaculate than never?
  • Surely you got the jizz’t of it by now?
  • Suffice to say, I’m in a seminal mood.

Then I wondered, do those ignorant folk who still believe female ejaculate is urine consider it the Piss De Résistance?

After Fargo won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, why didn’t they call them the Co-win Brothers?

Why do they call it tempo and not ear conditioning?

When the smoking gun is finally pulled on Trump, will he be considered Dead to Rights?

Where do old female monkeys go to drink? Barnanas.

Why do they call them pancakes and not flatjacks?

Technically aren’t all whales sperm whales?

If France wins the World Cup, will they drink Le Monde-ade out of it?

If the World Cup was anybody’s game, would that make it a Fifa all?

If someone burned incense despite their friend’s aversion to strong smells, would that make them incensitive?

Like a candle in a dark room, I’m out.

When pregnant partygoers snort coke, do they call it a baby bump?

If you eternally felt like you needed to shit, but nothing ever came out, would that be pooer-gatory?

If you were subjected to scenes of tortured crocodiles until the end of time, would that be poor-gator-y?

If you were forced to eat a dish of feline prepared “hunter style” (with onions, herbs, usually tomatoes, often bell peppers, and sometimes wine), would that be purrgiatore?

If your torment was to spend eternity under the purview of Gator Law, would your existence be as per-gatory?

I’m done with that game for now.

I want my arm back. I know I have to wait, but like Veruca Salt, I want it now. I want to not have to think about which arm gets strapped into my backpack first. I want to no longer consider whether or not I can be bothered blowdrying my arm post shower (and if not, keeping my arm clear of the stream). I want to use a can opener stress free. I want to open doors without considering which hand to use. I want for my arm to not smell like old rot. I want to be able to prop myself up on my elbow without pain. I want for removing my socks to not be a process. I’d like to see my forearm again. I want to lift and throw things with my right arm. I want full range of motion when using a spoon. I want those careless days back where I had no immediate worry of damaging bones/ligaments through regular use. I want to climb surfaces. I want an unencumbered life back. I want it all, and like Freddy Mercury did, I want it now.

But it’s still two weeks until I get my cast off (which doesn’t even mean it’s cleared for regular use) so I can’t have any of that. I’ve got one day of anti-inflammatories left, so things will become interesting. Typically it starts throbbing around 10.30-11pm each night. It hasn’t been a pleasant sensation. I’ve got no idea what it looks like under there. I’m imagining it’s a pale harbinger of doom, withered and misshapen. After all the time I’ve spent in the sun, at the very least I’ll come away with a mean tanline. Best case scenario I get super powers, but that’s a fail-safe best case for any scenario.

I know this is not realistic, which is why right now I’m hoping fate will settle for delivering me this bum bomb tout de suite. It’s a normal bodily function. Is that too much to ask for? Hell no.

Oh shit, maybe I’m pregnant.

Try walking a miel in my shoes for once

After a long weekend of sun, I’m tapped out. Expect nothing and you’ll still be disappointed.

I’ve been sitting here for two minutes, staring at the page. I have yet to find a thread that’s worth pursuing. Oh wait, some dude just walked past my desk offering free ice creams. That went from zero to absolute zero in an instant.

I’m saying it was “cool”, folks.

I was thinking this morning (while on the toilet, in full transparency, where all good ideas come from), of a fun comedy set idea. I’m 99% sure it’s been done before, but if not, I like the cut of it. Rule of 18, straight up. The basic set up is to tell a cheesy joke that’s unlikely to get much response. Then, after your chilly reception, you go overboard into explaining it. Then dive deeper. Then start to go into your next joke, but interrupt it with another thought on why the joke was worth more than it got. Lather, rinse, repeat, but getting increasingly more abstract each time. I sorta feel like it’s an art to make the inital set up enough that you have fertile terrain for mining. Then again, perhaps I’m just aping something Rory Scovel did when I was half awake. Maybe the set ends by closing with the initial bit? In all honesty, there’s absolute zero chance I’ll actually do this ever.

I’m saying if anyone wanted to steal this idea, that’s cool, folks.

If French Stewart made a fortune off honey would that make him a miellionaire?
If I made a fortune off windmills would that make me a mill-Leon-air?
If Miley Cyrus was paid $1,000,000+ for a televised appearence would that make her a Miley-on-air?
If Meek Mill never made a million dollars would that make him a Mill-eo-ne’er?
Did the creator of a popular hair removal product make a Million-on-Nair?
If someone inherited a million dollars would that make them a million-heir?
Would the owner of Weber grills be Char-Millionaire?
Would a Pokémon plane be called Charmeleon-air?
If someone had their arms replaced by morays and suspended in mid-air throughout eternity would they be be arm-eel-eon-air?
If someone travelled through time, was conscripted in the Roman army, obtained priceless artifacts and sold them in the present day would they be an army-legionnaire?

That turned out sweeter than I thought. More like amieli-alright!

In my day, we had flesh and blood corporeal forms and reproduced sexually instead of memetically.

I feel like I’ve been using the word “perfunctory” a lot lately. Is that a reflection on my life choices? Or just a recently expanded vocabulary leading to unnecessary shoehorning of an otherwise innocuous word?

I’m leaving for the airport in an hour, so the word seems particularly apt.

This trip seems unreal. I don’t mean that in some wide eyed dreamer style ZOMG ALL MY LIFE I’VE BEEN WAITING. Rather, it’s been shoved in the back of my mind for so long, it looks a little messy holding it up to the light. I feel like I just came back from Austin and now I’m jet setting off to London. England, not Ontario as everyone around here has assumed. I’ve done very little in the way of planning. My girlfriend and I have been particularly laissez-faire (is that a euphemism for “negligent”?). We have no itinerary outside of a wedding, and a beer/curry catch up with some friends. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made a colour coded interactive Google map with an assortment of activities and coffee spots, it’s just that we haven’t pinned down particular days to anything. We’re as free as the wind, or Willy the whale.

It’s also meant that today has been a shitshow. Not because there was an overwhelming amount of stuff to take care of. More so that we created hurdles for ourselves to then o’erleap. I’ve created this bizarre tradition where, before a big flight, I create an enormous sandwich to take on board. I figure in flight meals are excessively costed, so why not have a little fun and bring something made with love… and a gratuitous amount of deli meat? The plus is, that since I’m not travelling alone this time, I have someone to share it with. We bought a gluten-free loaf (for my GF GF) and hollowed it out a bunch. We’ll use the innards to make gluten-free stuffing at Thanksgiving. First up was the mayo layer. The mayolayer, if you will. I mixed a healthy spoonful of mayo (is that an oxymoron?) with sriracha, then spread it across the base. I sprinkled lemon pepper, then grated in some sharp cheddar. Then it was meat time. In went 125g of aged black forest ham and 75g of paio hot salami. I folded the slices in half on the borders of the sandwiches, crescent side pointed inwards. Then I made little bi-folds and did a centre line to keep a dense consistency to the sandwich. I ain’t no schoolyard sandwich architect. Then a layer of gouda to break up the meat selection before tossing on 100g of smoked chicken. I wanted a little more moisture on my half, so I put in some chipotle barbecue sauce. My girlfriend opted to leave it au naturale. Next came slices of sour dill pickles and sundried tomatoes. One layer of dijon mustard on top and we closed the lid on it. It must’ve weighed about a kilo.

I must stress, that sandwich was the most planning we put into our entire trip.

Then I decided for some reason it’d be a good idea to go for a swim. I hadn’t swam in a few years, but why not then, right? Turns out it was an excellent idea. My muscles (and back in particular) were munted from going all out at the Kpop party on Friday. The swim really sorted everything out and I left feeling relaxed. That was maybe two hours ago. I came back and at the consummate protein packed lunch: A tin of tuna tipped into the remainder of our cottage cheese tub. If it was gonna go off while we were in London, why not, right?

I came home and decided it’d make sense to start packing. As always, I put too much stuff in there. Imagine the horror of wanting a yellow hoodie and not having one? Madness, right? I learned once more how to fold a suit, remembered to stuff in both of my knee braces and most importantly, packed my bluetooth keyboard. It’s been a godsend for travel writing. One day I’ll tell my future grandchildren how their grandfather used to write by hand on his tiny little phone screen.

They’ll be like “hey grandad, what are phones?” “What’s typing? You mean you weren’t all connected on a grand scale mindmeld? How archaic and inefficient.”

Then I’ll tell them about how I boarded a plane and the thought of non-instant teleportation will blow their sweet little minds asunder.

“How perfunctory” they’ll say. My grandkids, after all.

I would hope it involves tuna for lunch. Some things never get old.

Today at work I…

Normally this is a statement that leads right to the middle of nowhere. I arrive at my desk. I make coffee. I small talk with co-workers for longer than is reasonable and leave at the end of the day entirely unfulfilled. It’s my job, it pays the rent and feeling dissatisfied is better than destitute in my mind. At the same time, it taxes me. Have you ever felt like your day to day takes more than it gives? Like you’re running on a wheel going nowhere, just getting tired?

Well today at work I…

Knew that I had a lot to do and less time than normal. Still didn’t stop the morning coffee and small talk. I was doing some voicing for a smaller market. They needed a golf announcer voice. Naturally I went to youtube for some research and stumbled upon this little gem. I was voicing with one of the production engineers that really digs in and gets to the heart of it. We’ll do tons of takes, trying alternate reads, going for specific styles and unintuitive angles. It’s considerably more fun than my desk job and helps to make said desk job more bearable.

With less time, I loaded up a Kpop playlist (and to be honest, I think I’m deeply, sincerely in love with Kpop now) and got down to business. I churned through a stack of work in an hour, before deciding that I could probably still fit my day’s  tasks in if I went off to engage in a company supplied pilates class. So I vanished for an hour to do pilates.

You know what? It was a fucking hard class and that was awesome in itself. The instructor has done a fantastic job of ramping up the learning curve over the past month or two. She’s funny, plays great music and structures the class with easier exercises that lead into those that’re more difficult. It’s been so much of a boon for the company to have shelled out for an instructor to come in and take these classes once per week. A nice way of redirecting energy in a physical manner that brings us into the afternoon all refreshed.

Having gotten my sweat on, I had about an hour before my next engagement. So I got some lunch and once again did my job (you know, that thing they pay me to come in for?). For that hour. Then it was off for two hours to one of our optional, company supplied lectures.

I’d been on the waiting list and just got my acceptance this morning. Today’s lecture was on storytelling. Out of no vocational necessity, but pure interest, I figured I could learn a thing or two regardless. The instructor was great, and the course brought to mind a lot that I’d never considered. He had a manner of putting into words things that were maybe subconsciously known, but I hadn’t tacitly heard.

Here’s the thing. I feel like humans are natural storytellers. It’s innate to our upbringing. We’re told parables and fairy tales to teach us lessons. The entertainment we so eagerly consume is all based on fundamental rules that’ve evolved over generations. We so rarely put into words what makes a compelling story, but we know it. If the tale doesn’t hit those points, we switch off. Just like that.

Something the instructor raised really stuck with me. It was about audiences. He said that people don’t care about the how, they care about the why. That intrinsically what they care about is what’s in it for them. So to tell a truly effective story, you need to consider what the audience stands to gain from hearing your story. Don’t tell a story just because you want to, but shape it into a tale that benefits those who hear it. Can they learn something? Will it make them laugh? Excited? Emotionally invested? Will it endear them to you and the struggles of the central characters?

When you’re telling a story, don’t just list the facts, plot and outcome, invite the audience inside your story. You’re not giving them empty words, you’re creating a narrative perspective and it’s your goal as a storyteller to bring their view in line with yours. Help them see the world of your mythology as you do. Cause them to invest in the characters, conflict and stakes. Understand the type of story you’re telling and its structure. Is it a rags to riches tale? A quest? A triumph over insurmountable odds? A story of tragedy or rebirth? If you know where you’re going, you’re better able to guide an audience there.

It was all kinds of gratifying to hear this stuff, to participate in discussion and feel like I’d given something back. To feel involved and cared for, to learn little tips of how to expand my knowledge in an area I care deeply about.

After that kind of day, I’m wondering what tomorrow at work could hold.

Are you?

They’re pretending to be something they’re not. Doesn’t that make Autobots as deceptive as Decepticons?

Do you know what’s cute? Looking back at stories you wrote as a child. That’s cute. I’ll always remember one of my most salient pieces of kid fiction: “Optimus Prime met Megatron. The Decepticons shot the Autobots with their lasers. The Autobots died.” There’s a clear arc. The stage is set, characters established. We see the characters take action and overcome adversity. Then there’s a satisfying conclusion. I couldn’t write better these days if I tried. Do you know what’s not cute? Looking back at any writing after the age of ten.

Teenage stuff? Oh geez it’s dreadful. I remember, as an adult, finding my diary from age 15. It was firmly couched in the exact time and age to be classified as “emo”. Lots of “I like all the girls, but they don’t like me. Something something System of a Down. Why do adults treat teenagers like kids? We’re way more mature than they give us credit for. Man, getting drunk is so cool.” That wasn’t verbatim, but not far off. Of course there’s no value in criticising our past selves, but fuck it’s fun to rip them new orifices. It’s so easy to shred the versions of us who bled hormones, who felt like adults undergoing constant body dysmorphia. When we could understand more of the world around us, without realising how much wider the world was than our viewpoint captured. There’s a question I oft see floated “would you restart your life with the knowledge and experience you have now?” Each time it’s those teenage years that give me pause. Could all the intelligence in the world counteract the ever-present fear of cumming in your pants at any moment?

A different experience is reading your writing from later. As a 25 year old, you’re technically considered an adult. I’m barely considering myself an adult going on 31. I still don’t consider whoever I was at 25 the kind of bloke who would’ve paid taxes (I mean, I did. No need to come at me, IRD). At 25 I flew to the U.S. with a bunch of mates, rented an RV and drove across The States. Today I stumbled across our old travel blog and read it again. It was about what you’d expect. Some parts were bafflingly hard to digest, either in message or perspective. Certain references are too insular, based around group dynamics or New Zealand memes. Others have fallen by the pop-cultural wayside. A 2012 Twilight reference seems a lot less inspired in 2018. Some viewpoints still needed a few years to slow cook before becoming fit for human consumption. In a few parts it was just poorly written or made scant sense. It’s nice to know some things haven’t changed.

At other moments I was surprised to find passages that read well. Vocabulary I’ve since forgotten or cycled out. There was a creativity and excitement about the world I found refreshing. Occasional lucid moments that still resonate. Most pieces were basically journal entries (what’s changed?), but I found workarounds to lighten them up. One of them I did time based mental snapshots, using certain moments to create a larger picture of the day. Our New Orleans adventure was structured as a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. It was silly and gratuitous, but remains a neat read.

I can’t deny that any of it happened, it’s all there for the decades to lay bare. On the other hand, why would I care? None of us would be who we are without the steps we took. If they didn’t leave an imprint, what would be the point?