Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Little rant here

WHO's idea was it that using lots of adjectives and no passive voice is a good way to write? Let me say it right here. THEY WERE WRONG.

"A smile curved her pink lips."

Give me a break. The girl was eight. Of course she had pink lips. For an adjective describing the color of her lips to be appropriate, they would need to be a color OTHER THAN pink. And really. The smile curved her lips? (Pink ones, don't forget.) She smiled, okay?

To continue just a little further in my rant... When an author avoids any form of the word "say," it gets really irritating. It pulls you out of the story, for one. Secondly, when an adjective or other verb would be necessary, it weakens the strength of the exception. Let me explain. If a person declares, states, answers, announces, asserts, etc... all the time, it really detracts from those same words when they are used sparingly.

Okay. I'm being really vague here, but I'm trying not to pick on particular authors. I could give you all sorts of concrete examples from real books, but I will restrain myself. All I'm saying is I remember being taught in English class that I should NEVER use passive voice (Have you ever read a book that didn't use passive voice very often? It's a horrible experience.), avoid boring verbs like "say," and put in adjectives wherever I could. Maybe those teachers were just trying to get us to expand our vocabulary, but unfortunately, the lesson often sticks too hard.

It all comes down to balance. That's all I'm saying. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Arden's Vale

Morgan has spent some of his downtime over the last couple of years making a computer adventure game a la old school adventure games. He put it out so people could play it about a month ago. Last night, he looked it up on Google and found all sorts of fun things!

You can find some reviews here.

He even found websites from Germany and France that gave reviews. :)

But best of all, it's on YouTube!

The guy is British and has all sorts of fun comments. We enjoyed watching it. You don't have to watch the whole thing, but check it out. [Watch out. There is a very tiny bit of language.] If you only want to watch a little bit, start at about 7:08 to 7:38. Fun-ny. (By the way, check out his tags. They're hilarious! Very clever guy.)

I'm proud of him for this game. It's really great! He and his sister came up with the story. He did all the coding, animation, music, puzzles, etc... There are all sorts of references to the old adventure games like King's Quest and Quest for Glory. Yay for Morgan!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What do you get...?

What do you get when you put Joseph von Eichendorff, Robert Schumann, and Barbara Bonney together? Something beautiful, of course!

Joseph von Eichendorff wrote a beautiful poem in 1837 (I think) called "Mondnacht" (Night of the Moon). I learned this in a German class a long time ago. I won't even attempt to translate it, but it sure is beautiful in German.

Es war, als hätt' der Himmel,
Die Erde still geküßt,
Daß sie im Blütenschimmer
Von ihm nur träumen müßt.

Die Luft ging durch die Felder,
Die Ähren wogten sacht,
Es rauschten leis die Wälder,
So sternklar war die Nacht.

Und meine Seele spannte
Weit ihre Flügel aus,
Flog durch die stillen Lande,
Als flöge sie nach Haus.

Or if you want a different interpretation of Schumann's song.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm so proud of myself

Okay, really this is easy, but I figured this out yesterday:

The first picture is better, but the second picture is more what the colors actually look like. (Our camera stinks inside!)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

This and that

My favorite word:


For an example, listen particularly to 1:21 - 1:27

Doesn't it just roll off the tongue? :)

Also, I found a quote of which I feel all sorts of fond right now:

"Personally, I am always ready to learn - although, I do not always like being taught." -Winston Churchill

I am working on my attitude about being taught. In theory, I am grateful for it. Now I am working on "in practice." :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beauty and the, uh ...Beast

Once upon a time, there was a mink farmer* who had three beautiful daughters. The oldest daughter was really great at making the pelts shiny, so she was known as 'Beauty.' The second daughter was especially good at scraping the guts off the pelts, so she was known as 'Stinky.' And the third daughter was particularly good at catching the minks, so she was known as 'Sneaky.'"

One day, the mink farmer noticed he was running out of mink, so he got ready to go into the woods to set traps. The traps he set were special because the minks' feet need to stay in tact for their fur to be valuable. Women who wear fur coats (or who did when it was socially acceptable to do so) think it's extra special to have all four feet still attached. In order to bait these special traps, the farmer used elderberries because everyone knows no mink can resist an elderberry. He went out into the woods to search out elderberries and ALL the elderberries had already been eaten by the mink out in the forest! So the man kept searching and searching.

He came to a castle in the middle of the forest and walked around it. On the far side of the castle, the mink farmer came to a bush full of gorgeously ripe elderberries! He started picking the berries off the bush and putting them in his pouch. After he had picked all the berries he could find, he turned around to leave and what did he see but a beast that had a mink's head! The man was, of course, frightened, especially when the mink beast began to speak.

"Why have you picked all my elderberries? I have waited and waited for those berries to be perfectly ripe and I was going to pick them tomorrow night at the height of the full moon, when they are the best," the mink beast said in a great and scary voice.

"Um... I was picking them to catch mink for my fur trade," the man answered, trembling.

"You are one who catches my mink children for fur? Go home and bring me back of your children so that I may have her pelt. If you do not, I will eat you right here."

The man hightailed it away from the castle and ran all the way home to his daughters. "Daughters, one of you needs to sacrifice herself for the family." He explained about the mink beast and said, "I have to take care of the other two daughters, so one of you needs to go." He really was a very selfish man.

The oldest daughter, Beauty, volunteered to go back to the mink beast thinking that she could appeal to his mercy. Well, she couldn't. The mink beast ate her. The End.

*No animals were hurt in the telling of this story.

I wish I could have transcribed the way Morgan told it. I tried to get the various details, but some of his wording was so exquisite. So here's my attempt to stay true to the feel, at least. Isn't he a born storyteller? :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Music and a teaser

A friend passed this piece of music on this evening. For your enjoyment:

As for the teaser, my husband told me his version of Beauty and the Beast tonight. It was a little different than the usual. I'm too tired to write it fully right now, but it started "Once upon a time, there was a mink trapper who had three beautiful daughters. The oldest daughter was really great at making the pelts shiny, so she was known as 'Beauty.' The second daughter was especially good at scraping the guts off the pelts, so she was known as 'Stinky.' And the third daughter was particularly good at catching the minks, so she was known as 'Sneaky.'"

Are you intrigued?