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Words Matter: Hens, cocks, etc.

8 Apr

*briefly wonders how much spam and how many misdirected clicks will result from that second-to-last word*

Today’s post over at Sleep Talkin’ Man (which is hilarious, by the way, and you should subscribe or add it to your RSS feed or whatever you do to track these things) highlights one of my enduring stances: the words we choose to use matter (I’ve been meaning to write more on this…maybe someday). I don’t care if it is “only” a text message or tweet or message board posting. Use a word incorrectly, spell it wrong, muck up your grammar, and don’t be surprised when you’re misunderstood. But I digress.

STM also reminded me of a story from my high school days. So I thought I’d break my chain of non-blogging days (#postaweek, ha!! …can I blame it on preparing to move?) by sharing it.

During my senior year, I took what was, I believe, the only psychology course (surprise, surprise) on offer in the entire school. One day, the teacher read us brain teasers, and we tried to answer them, discussing the logic involved, challenging our assumptions in thinking, etc. One of the teasers was:

“If Mr. Brown’s peacock lays an egg in Mr. Green’s yard, to whom does the egg belong?”

(I’ll put a break here in case you want to consider that for a second.) Continue reading

Write a haiku about something that drives you nuts.

14 Mar

DailyPost’s idea for today: Write a haiku about something that drives you nuts. So here’s mine:

Haikus are poems
With really specific rules.
They drive me insane.

I majored in English at university (if you missed that about me). During one of my poetry classes, we were required to write a sonnet. I wrote an entire 14-line poem, in iambic pentameter, with an ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyme scheme, about how much I hated writing sonnets.

My professor loved it.

Unapologetic Randomness

6 Mar

I know I’ve used the phrase “unapologetic randomness” at least once before here in The Refuge. It stems from an email exchange just over three years ago in which I said, “Sorry, this email seems to be a bit random,” and my friend wrote back, “Don’t apologize for randomness.” It’s quite a relief to be told something like that: “It’s okay. You can relax and be you, and I’ll still like that.”

Since then, “unapologetic randomness” has become one of my personal mottoes. Which explains a lot about this blog.

I know all the so-called blogging experts say that a blog should be focused on one particular subject. By their rules, you’re allowed to have a cooking blog or a health and humor blog or a psychology blog or a blog about the interesting shapes your dryer lint forms. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone give “permission” for there to be a jumbled up, random blog.

I actually do have a second blog specifically for HousemateF’s and my crafting (knitting, crocheting, sewing). It started with the mission of documenting her steps in creating a CONvergence costume, but when we started needing a place to post patterns for submission to Ravelry, the blog morphed.

The problem, as I see it, is that I’ve never been very good at being one-dimensional. I will certainly obsess about one game, film, book, or subject for a long time, but then my attention will shift to the next obsession and the one after that. Right now, I’m juggling interest in psychology, hypnosis, knitting, film, gaming, and various other topics. If I had to maintain separate blogs for each of those…well, I shudder to think. I’d have six or a dozen blogs scattered across cyberspace, each only being updated once in a blue moon as the particular topic tickled me. And anyone who’s paid any attention to this blog will know that I have enough trouble posting regular updates to one.

So this is a potentially new species of blog: the Unapologetic Randomness blog. As you know from experience, dear readers who have been here at least once before, there will be psychology-related posts, I will talk about hypnosis quite a lot, I will occasionally rant about the state of politics (though I tend to keep those locked away in my Facebook), maybe talk about my cats…whatever strikes my fancy. Because that is who I am: a Jill of many trades, a woman of many passions.

You are welcome to ride the roller coaster with me. Just ignore the posts that don’t interest you; or don’t, and maybe learn something new.

Although given that I seem to have a constant audience of maybe 10, three of whom have commented more than once, I figure I’m mostly talking to myself and therefore free to natter on as I wish and just hope that someone somewhere is entertained, amused, or educated. I’m even okay with you being bemused. It’s far more important to me to be writing because I have something I want to say; if someone else also happens to read it… Hi. How are you? Hope you enjoyed. Feel free to comment. I don’t bite.

Going forward, I’m pondering the possibility of taking a couple of topics that have generated interest and making them more regular, just to bring a semblance of structure into the madness. Stay tuned.

Are the voices in my head bothering you?

4 Mar

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” ~ E. L. Doctorow

I’ve long (semi-jokingly) maintained that all writers are at least mildly schizophrenic.

Let’s get the definition out of the way. Contrary to the confusion caused by many films and television, schizophrenia is not synonymous with Multiple Personality Disorder (or is it Dissociative Identity Disorder now? I’ve lost track). According to, schizophrenics “interpret reality abnormally” and may suffer “some combination of hallucinations, delusions and disordered thinking and behavior.” Some theorize that the reason Van Gogh famously cut off his ear was in an attempt to stop auditory hallucinations.

Beyond blogging, I haven’t done much of my own writing in quite a long time, but I can say with a straight face that the protagonist of my intended Young Adult book is still in the back of my mind, whispering to me. Continue reading

When the Leaves Didn’t Fall

4 Oct

Now retired, my father has taken to writing down his mental collection of short stories – hunting anecdotes, old Native American tales, etc. It didn’t take long before he started being accepted for publication, knocking on their collective ear all the dire warnings about struggling, first-time writers and rejection letters. To be fair, Dad was a pastor for more than 30 years, writing what amounted to a multi-page essay (sermon) to deliver every Sunday morning; it’s not like he’s just started writing.

You might even blame him for the blog you’re reading now. Because Dad is “where I get it” – he’s largely responsible for my own love of language and precision grammar. From him I inherited the pet peeve regarding the near-constant misuse of “decimation” (for an example of correct usage, see Doctor Who – I knew I loved that show for a reason).

Dad’s blog is here, and his first story, “When the Leaves Didn’t Fall” – a Native American legend explaining why the oak tree retains its leaves late into winter – has been published in the Wilderness House Literary Review.


“I Remain Living”: Portal theme redux

11 Jul

As with most silliness these days, this began on Twitter, when I said, “Since I mentioned #portal: Someone at #cvg2010 was wearing a #thecakeisalie T-shirt. Made me grin lots.”

In reply, @fetfet50 said, “@ButMadNNW That is a triumph.” And from there, well, this happened:

Continue reading

Geesh, journalists

26 May

Why do they feel the need to write over-complicated sentences? I just saw this as the top story on my Yahoo! Mail page:

“Art Linkletter, who as the gently mischievous host of TV’s ‘People Are Funny’ and ‘House Party’ in the 1950s and ’60s delighted viewers with his ability to get kids — and grownups — to say the darndest things on national television, died Wednesday. He was 97.”

Aw, sad news. (And I apologize to anyone who objects to me grammar-nazi’ing such a story.) But EditorBrain™ spoke up: Continue reading

Frizztastic Shakespeare

5 May

(Okay, okay, my hair’s not that frizzy.)

This is a bit of an experiment on my part – since I’ve never before recorded myself like this – as well as being an exercise in speaking/presenting. Strictly speaking, it’s not psychology-related; and yet it is, as an exercise in expressive speaking for the online course I’m currently taking Continue reading

Tricksy typos

4 May

Just a quiet English major / editor squee:

I’ve recently started following several editor-minded people on Twitter, and a few days ago one of them asked people for their most common typos – words they consistently type incorrectly and immediately realize they’ve gone and done it again.

It’s an amusing read and some of my tweets (as ButMadNNW, of course) were quoted, so go have a look.

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