Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cutting Right Down the Middle of the Cheese.

Yellow ribbon against American flag    Hope everyone had a delightful Memorial Day weekend and took the time to thank those who made it possible for you to scarf down all that grilled flesh and homemade ice cream. To my great-grand and grandfathers' I say thank you for serving, to my great-uncle Curly I raise a thank you prayer for making the ultimate sacrifice and to The Brother-In-Law and all my school chums who are still serving I say a huge thank you! America wouldn’t be the place we know today without your willingness to stand up for it.
    I posed the question today to my Facebook friends for a blog topic. Can you tell my creative tank is running on fumes? Trust me it is. Surprisingly, my school chum Scott presented me with a question which turned into a full blown idea the more I thought about it.
 Yeah why do they say cut the cheese when anytime I have ever actually cut a block of cheese it doesn't make that sound or stink? Just throwing an idea.” -Scott
view detailsMy next thought after reading this was, “Cripes, how did I get myself into discussing farts?”  Anyway, the question is out there so here we go.
Colorful slang and old sayings … where do they really come from?
    Now if you live in the south, you know our language patterns are full of these things. They’re as much a part of us as sweet tea and pecan pie. But where exactly did most of them originate? I know for my family, some are passed down from grandparent, parent to child then some have evolved over time. My family has some doozy’s and the stories to go along with them. Don’t think we in the south are the only ones with these elaborate sentence enhancers though.
    I learned living in Minnesota for a year they’re eat up with oddities in their speech patterns, not counting the obvious ones concerning the accent. Where we tend to fill our sentences with color and texture, Minnesotans clip and cut necessary pieces. It's a heat conservation thing I think. They can't waste the heat and energy filling their sentences with extra words. An example, for the first six months we lived there folks kept asking me if I wanted to “go with” but never would tell me where the hell they wanted to go! It drove me nuts until I figured out the pattern. As you can imagine, we bumpkins were quite the funhouse freaks in Hermantown, MN.
    Now to answer Scott’s question.
 CUT THE CHEESE - Vulgar Slang To expel (a discharge of intestinal gas). (www.thefreedictionary.com)
Businessman straightening tie    According to my research, this slang originated in the 1965-1970’s because there're actually some kinds of cheese that are quite odoriferous when sliced. The slang took hold due to an increase in the marketing industry's need to draw in more consumers through shocking photos, jingles and vulgar phrasing. This also proves you can research ANYTHING on the internet.
    Scott, I hope that answered your question on the subject. *face to palm*
    Thanks to my cheeky friend, I also wondered just where a lot of my own favorite slang originated. Here's a few so you can see what I mean.  
“A hit dog hollers” for those times when no one will own up to an especially awful bit of methane. Can also be related to the more modern “he who smelt it delt it”.  
“You look like a Vardell Manassco” *one of my grandmother’s originals* Used when your clothes or appearance is unacceptable.
“She needs to be smacked upside her head” This one is self explanatory.
    Mulling these and some others over, I came up with three definite sources: family, environment and my love of reading. You’d only have to attend one Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s house to know that’s the truth. We’re a loud, long-winded bunch, but southern to the core and slam-full of more of these colorful sentence fillers than you can imagine.
     I’ve said this before, to write you must read. On the flip side though, to write about life you must live it, gas bubbles and all. If you want to write about it, well then after you’re done experiencing it, you have to research your ideas to make them viable. It's a delicate balancing act of learning we must perform don't you think?
    Reading is one of the best things you can do for your brain besides math, which I can’t in good conscience recommend. Reading expands your vocabulary, your knowledge base and opens you up to things you may never actually see or touch in real life. Will I ever go to Sweden? Doubt it, but I can read about it. Will I ever understand intestinal gas and why all male humans think it’s so dang funny? Sheesh, I sincerely hope not. But I can research its causes, compare my own experiences to others and expand my mind with new knowledge. Who knows, I might need to write about it someday.
Emoticon blushing     In closing, never be afraid to find out more about a subject, no matter how embarrassing or disgusting. There's always the possiblty that one bit of grossness will pull you out of a sticky part of life later on. Thank you Scott for tickling my brain with this bit of ick. Your question gave me quite a few giggles and helped produce a nearly 800 word discussion on toots. May all males that read this be joyful--but not too joyful. Otherwise, please keep THAT to yourself. *pinches off nose and runs away*
Till Then,

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A wedding, A Really Long Drive and Character Building...

view details    *As a happy anniversary shout out to my cousins, I thought I'd bump this post up in case you guys missed it. Happy anniversary you two crazy kids! Hope your first year was filled with joy!* -Katie

(May 2011) The two weeks of single parenting, while The Hubs jetted off to Topeka and Fort Worth, came to an end finally. *YAY* I survived unscathed but my work schedule suffered tremendously, couldn’t be helped though. I made a few attempts at writing but finally threw up my hands after the one hundredth time son#2 interrupted my thought with a “Hey Mom…uh...I forgot what I was gonna say”. Trying to work with kids in the house and no help is similar to sticking your head in a tiger’s mouth. You can do it, but it rarely turns out well.
Jessica Cuchens Jefcoat    So now that The Hubs is home normal can return to our schedule (I hope!). To start the weekend off, Saturday we traveled to Newton, MS to see The Cousin get hitched.  The wedding was beautiful and the bride and groom made a gorgeous couple. Seeing all the attention to details and care The Cousin and his bride put into the ceremony and reception, I realized what an amazing bunch of guys my family has been blessed with.
    Being the oldest sister, Aunt and cousin of this gnarly bunch, I’ve had the chance to watch all the boys in my family, and in my husbands, grow up and find girls to marry. They’re each one handsome, caring men who’ve turned out to be amazing husbands and, now for some, fathers. The Cousin is no exception. After hearing about the surprise honeymoon and fun activities he’d planned for his new bride, I was completely thrilled for his bride. (Pictured: the brand new Mr. and Mrs. The Cousin)
    The four hour drive home last night gave me a chance to think on this … a lot … it was four hours after all. Think on what you ask? Well, since you asked, on how I create my male characters. I’ve told you all before that I never pattern a character after a real person. That’s still true. BUT, I do pull bits and pieces from people to build a character. Not the same thing. I swear.
view details    I’ve found in my writing that I enjoy creating both good and bad-to-the-bone male characters. Both are fun in different ways and can be very challenging . The reason for this lies in the men of my family. I know a good man’s ways after having so many wonderful examples to chose from. And on the flip side, I also know exactly how to build a dweeb of a man in a manuscript. I know, I know. I hear your question. “With all these good men, how can you possibly create a believable evil one?” Uh … well duh … because I had some real asshats for boyfriends that’s how. Cheaters, liars, weirdoes and at least one who I’m sure spits on puppies when no one is looking. True story, one time I had this date with a guy someone set me up with. First mistake, he drove up to my house and honked the horn for me to come out. Bad move. I made him take me to Chesterfields and ordered the most expensive thing on the menu then didn’t eat it. Then, take me to the movies, popcorn, drink, candy, the works, and I wouldn’t even hold his grubby hand. Finally, he drove me home and I slammed the car door in his puckered-up face without so much as a bu-bye. My friend obviously forgot to tell him Wood girls don’t play that way.
view details    So to all the wonderful men in my family, I salute you. My life is better because you're in it and my characters are more wonderful and loveable because of your influence.  I feel blessed to have you for my boys to look up to. And of course to all those who fall into the asshat category, raise your own boys to treat girls better than you did. Because you never know, that little girl from the county you treated badly might grow up and use you as the booger-eating, psychotic nerd who gets run over by a train in her book.
Till then,

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What's on the Nightstand? #44 - #58

    What’s on the nightstand this week? Well technically, nothing since I returned them all to the Hernando library. LOL! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Never fear fellow readers, the “to be read” pile in my office is calling to me in a loud and unrelenting voice even as I type. There’re quite a few titles I’ve been saving to help build up the anticipation before I dive into them. What can I say; I have to get my jollies in the little things.
     A bit of news to pass along, the blog topped 2000 last week and collected another country, Russia, which brings the total to 29 different countries that have visited. WOOOOHOOOO! Thanks to everyone who helped the blog reach this milestone. I really appreciate it and hope you’ve enjoyed reading.  
    With a bit of luck, everyone had a wonderful weekend because I know I did. My family, Mom, Dad, The Sister, The Pups and The Nephew came up for a little visit. Saturday, we treated the boys to a trip to Memphis Zoo and couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather. No sun, temperature stayed around 70-ish and the wind kept up a nice breeze. Crowds weren’t heavy and we enjoyed a nice picnic just outside the farm animal exhibit with the music of a bubbling creek in the background. We saw all the lions, tigers and bears of course and even a few other things. My personal favorite is the panda house. I could sit and watch those buggers eat bamboo for hours, it’s fascinating! Before the day was done, all three boys nearly walked their little legs off, even The Nephew who insisted on pushing his stroller instead of riding in it. Once we loaded them in the car, they were asleep before we reached the highway.
    On the way back, I drove over the flooded Mississippi River. If you’ve seen the photos of the river the last week or so, trust me, it’s nothing compared to seeing it in real life. The landscape is unrecognizable under all that muddy water. I couldn’t help but be heartsick for all the lives I know will be forever changed by the mighty Mississippi, who from what I saw, lives up to its name. Worst of all, it's not over as these same waters keep rolling south to the ocean.
    Now on to the books! We’re at numbers #44 - #58 in the quest for a hundred and I’m totally pleased with this progress. There's some really great stories on this list. If you’re looking for new things to tickle your noodle, this is a nice mix to dive in to. In this round of reading, I discovered a new personal favorite, Ms. Libba Bray. It’s been a while since I laughed that hard at an author’s acknowledgement page. That's before I even read the story! Her work is phenomenal!! Her wit is razor sharp and I rolled laughing which is odd considering the subject matter. Also, I finished out Kim Harrison’s series and I’m quite anxious to see what happens to Rachel, Ivy and Jenks in the next one. Fellow members of WJH Choir will find a point of interest in Nancy Werlin’s book as it’s centered on a very lovely song we sang during the Mr. Johnson years called Scarborough Fair. Most exciting read goes to Charlaine Harris’s book which I’ve been anxiously awaiting. Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!
    So without anymore yammering on by me, here’s the list. If there’s nothing here to interest you, I highly recommend Fantastic Fiction’s web page.http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ Search your favorite author’s and scroll to see what they recommend. It’s a wonderful way to discover new reading treasures. So get to reading people!  
Till Then,

#44 The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
This is the third Maze Runner story and coming October 11th is the final installment, The Death Cure. For more information visit his blog http://jamesdashner.blogspot.com/  and follow him on Twitter.

Impossible#45 Impossible by Nancy Werlin.
Nancy's next work, Extraordinary was named A Teens Top 10 Book for 2010. For more information on Nancy's work visit http://www.nancywerlin.com/impossible.htm 

Going Bovine#46 Going Bovine by Libba Bray
http://www.libbabray.com/  Okay, so this stupid blog took me an extra hour to finish because I found Libba's home page and journal. This chick rocks so hard! Still laughing! Anyho, For more information on the many titles she's penned visit her website. But enter at your own risk and only if you can spare an extra hour to roll on the floor.

Pale Demon (The Hollows, Book 9)#47 Every Which Way but Dead by Kim Harrison
I'm not going to try and post all the photo's for Kim because she has so many, so I'm only going to include the most recent. For more information or to view each cover, visit her website. http://www.kimharrison.net/index.html
#48 Fist Full of Charms by Kim Harrison
#49 For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison
#50 The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison
#51 White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison
#52 Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison
#53 Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Product Details#54 Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
Sookie's adventures never disappoint! For more information on Charlaine and her projects visit her website. http://charlaineharris.com/index.html

Alabama Moon#55 Alabama Moon by Watt Key
This story was actually made into a movie by the same title staring in 2009. You can view the movie trailer here http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1300155/ Watt's continuation of this story is Dirt Road Home. For more information on this author visit his web site http://www.wattkey.com/Home.aspx

The Orange Houses#56 The Orange Houses by Paul Griffin
Very interesting story and a good read. Paul does have social sites from what I can tell from my research but no website.  

#57Evermore and #58 Blue Moon by Alyson Noël
Alyson is on Twitter and for more information on all her books, visit her website. http://www.alysonnoel.com/
Evermore: The ImmortalsBlue Moon (The Immortals, Book 2) 

      There are several more books in Alyson's Immortals series: those titles are pictures below.
Shadowland (Immortals)Dark Flame (Immortals, Book 4)Night Star (Immortals)Everlasting (Immortals)