blaugust #22: wordswordswords.

“What exactly is he sniffing?” I asked, as Phil was uploading this fellow to Tumblr this morning. “Pocket lint,” he says, “All the pocket cruft from all the pockets in all the world.”

I saw stars for a minute. “Cruft?,” a stupid grin spreading over my face.

“Yeah, cruft.” He looked puzzled.



“I might be a little giddy. I’ve never heard that before.”

I was a little giddy. I love words. I love collecting them, I love learning about them, I love coming across my favorites in everyday use. I love hearing other people’s favorites. I have a column in Tweetdeck just for etymology tweeters. My favorites are archaic ones, like Haggard Hawks and Old English Wordhord. I also really love Wordnik, which is a site devoted to archiving, defining, and curating words. You can create your own lists of words, you can Adopt a Word, you can look up history and usage of words, and you can subscribe to the Word of the Day email. Words.

Here, in no particular order, are some words I like. Just a few, I don’t want to spoil you.

  • Salacious: adj. lascivious, bawdy, obscene, lewd.

It’s a word that does what it says on the tin. It’s just fun to say. Salaaaaaaaaacious.

  • Rundle: n. a moat with water in it; a small stream; a rung, a step; a ball.

This was a Word of the Day find, and it came with a usage example from Viviette that has stuck with me – “I should get to be a fright – a bundle of ones and a rundle of skin – and you’d be horrified – I couldn’t bear it.”

  • Nefarious: adj. wicked in the extreme; abominable; iniquitous; atrociously villainous; execrable; detestably vile.

I don’t know how this extremely grim word came to be associated with a lighter side of villainy for me, but it always calls up a sort of obvious, hokey baddie. Mustache and cloak. Hamburgler stuff. It’s also really fun to say, as are most of the words in its definition. Iniquitous. I like that one too.

  • Snood: n. a small netlike cap worn by women to keep the hair in place.

Oh my, long-time favorite. Possibly my first favorite word. Never used to better effect than in White Christmas when Bing Crosby asks Danny Kaye, “What did you do with it, leave it in your snood?”

  • Flosculation: (archaic) n. an embellishment or ornament in speech; to speak in flowery language.

Well, yeah. Another one that does what it says on the tin. Very unlikely to appear in ordinary conversation, but I would place bets on seeing it appear in a novel by China Mieville.

I could do this all day, but I don’t think you’d stick around for that. It’s Saturday. It’s probably nice out. You run along.

(This is day 22 of the Blaugust initiative.)

blaugust #21: murder she drank.

A while back, I was talking to my friend Kathy and she mentioned that she wanted to watch Murder, She Wrote all the way through from the beginning. I was in for that, and doubly in when she suggested that we make a game out of it. She’d found a drinking game for the show, and suggested that we modify it into bingo cards (to avoid the alcohol poisoning that would surely occur if we followed the list on the original game). Not one to sit around, she did that, and we made a Hangouts date with a few friends to watch the first episode. It was such a success that Kathy made a website for it, and it’s been a regular once a month event for us ever since. This Sunday, we’ll be finishing Season 1 and starting on Season 2.

I love Murder, She Wrote. It’s campy and hilarious, fun to watch on nostalgia merits or to mock the whole of the 1980’s. But it’s also groundbreaking television, and worth watching in its own rights. No one is ever going to claim that the mysteries were original or challenging, but the character of Jessica Fletcher certainly is. If it’s possible that there’s anyone alive who doesn’t know the premise of the show, here it is: a late middle-aged widow living in rural Maine write best-selling murder mysteries, and keeps running into real life mysteries in her small town and elsewhere. She, of course, helps the (absurdly open-handed and cooperative) police solve them. What’s unusual about this show is that Jessica Fletcher is single, has no children, and there is no love interest for her for the entire run of the series. The very first episode dallies with a romance for her, but very firmly shuts the door on it. She is a middle aged professional woman, portrayed as gracious but private, intellectually limber, and competent. The mysteries, she dispatches without fuss. The more trying challenges for her come from business relations – insulting radio hosts on book tours, or movie producers who completely rewrite her stories. She navigates these difficulties with grace and toughness. Yes, she’s officious. Yep, she’s a busybody. That’s what detectives are. It only seems overblown sometimes because it’s not what you expect from the woman who looks like a retired schoolteacher. Put Peter Graves in the exact same role with the exact same dialogue and I bet you a fin nothing about it would seem pushy. Furthermore, every single episode of Murder, She Wrote passes the Bechdel test. It’s been 20 years since the show was on the air, but that’s still not being achieved in most tv shows now. It’s impressive.

When not solving crime, JB enjoys relaxing with a video game. #MurderSheDrank

A photo posted by Kateri Morton (@katerimorton) on

So I’ve been delighted, although not really surprised, at the number of people who get excited when they hear about Murder She Drank. The show has a tremendous following, and people of all ages and backgrounds love it. Every month, we have more and more people participating on Twitter and Instagram, with the hashtag #murdershedrank.

A photo posted by Kateri Morton (@katerimorton) on

If you want to join in, our next event will be on Sunday, August 23 at 8 pm Central/6 pm Pacific. We typically watch two episodes in an evening, and Kathy posts the titles on the website ahead of time. Watch along with us, and if you’re tweeting or posting to Instagram, use the #murdershedrank hashtag. I keep a column open in Tweetdeck so I can keep an eye on the hilarity as it develops.

I’ve got my Sharpie picked out, my screenshot fingers at the ready, and a bottle of wine in the fridge. Maybe this week one of us will actually get bingo! (So far, that’s never happened, but it doesn’t stop us.)

A photo posted by Kateri Morton (@katerimorton) on

(This is my 21st post for the Blaugust initiative.)

blaugust #20: too many.

Dear Reader, oof.

I did not anticipate this one month challenge being so difficult. Normally when I have trouble sticking to a one-a-day thing, it’s because I run out of things to say, but that’s not the trouble this time around. My struggle at the moment is not having nothing to write about, but not having long enough to do the posts I want to do properly. I threw my hat into the Blaugust ring with more than a dozen posts in mind, and some rough ideas for the rest. It seemed so very doable.


It’s been busier than I anticipated. This has been great, because it’s all good stuff. And it’s been great, because it’s shown me that there are a couple of taps I need to turn off for a month or so in order to regroup and recharge. All of which is to say that I am once again not able to do the post I had in mind for today, and have to stick this extremely dull pin in just here to hold its place.

The next few days will be more relaxed, so I will go ahead and make a promise: tomorrow I’ll write about Murder She Drank, a Murder She Wrote bingo/drinking game that I’ve been participating in for almost two years. It’s one of my favorite things in my life, and every month our band of online bingo-ers grows. Our next event is coming up on Sunday night, so I’ll have details here as well as some of our funnier highlights.

Yoda out.

blaugust #19: soldier on, salad.

GW2 - Tristis - Kessex Hills 8-17-15b

I couldn’t sleep last night, and I’ve been out all day today. I had a longer post planned, but I’m staggering tired. It will keep. So just a short post tonight.

I revived Tristis and have spent a couple of evenings in Guild Wars 2 this week. She’s got better gear on now and is looking like a steampunk schoolgirl run amok. If that needs translation, I mean she looks good. Following advice,  I’ve abandoned all pretense of crafting and am selling everything I farm and any drops that aren’t useful. I’ve got a couple good salvage kits, but when those are kaput I probably won’t buy more. There is a surprising amount of money to be made in butter and pristine toxic spore samples! I upgraded her weapon and sigils and am sitting on a tidy pile of gold now. I could buy better armor, and probably should, but earning it feels nice.

I spent my first few forays in Kessex Hills, where I died a lot. I mean, A LOT. More than I should have, even for reacclimating and being under-geared. This is because I am crap at playing an elementalist. I can see how it should work. I know she can be a whirlwind of fiery death. But my dodging and spec-switching skills just aren’t there. It’ll take a lot of work. I stuck with it long enough to get decent gear for my level, but then departed for easier fare last night. It’s too hot to die 20 times in an evening. Map completion is a good motivator for me, and I still haven’t done all the starting areas. Last night I did Hoelbrak, and wow! I fell in love. The giant scale of it, and all the Viking-esque snow and ice were really appealing (it is so hot here, so hot). And I totally did not fall off a giant ice sculpture of a bear and plummet to my death in the powdery snow below. Neeeever happened. It was a fun night. So my salad soldiers on in frozen climes (salad crisper?), although I’m now dreaming of a Norn alt in a melee class. Bashing is so simple, y’know?

blaugust #18: tell me a colorstory.

I spent a lot of time this past weekend making new necklaces for urban legend. Well, cleaning up a dire mess in my supplies and work area, and then making new necklaces. Whenever I’m planning a weekend session of making, I collect sources for color inspiration. Depending on how specific they are, I’ll either make a list or I’ll print out a sheet of thumbnail photos that I’m planning to work from. These come from all over – photographs that I’ve taken, posts I’ve liked on Instagram, spreads in magazines, color boards on Pinterest – the list is endless. In the last couple of years, though, outfits I’ve spotted while riding public transportation have played a huge role in my creative process. I never used to sneak pictures of strangers, but the fashion in Portland is so good that I do it at least once a week now. When I sit down to collect that sheet of thumbnails, it always includes a scroll through the photos on my phone. That’s right: I am that woman surreptitiously taking a photograph of the back of your dress while you, all unsuspecting, ride the train. Because it’s a really sensational dress. In the first place, I’m a huge fan of stripes cut on the bias like that. And in the second place, I’m a sucker for a punch of black right in the middle of those juicy summer melon colors. So I’ll hold the phone up as unobtrusively as I can, and grab a picture that just shows enough of a pattern so I’ll remember it. Thanks, fellow commuter and your outstanding dress. And then I’ll just happen to glance out the window as the train goes over the river, and I’ll see that boxy mustard yellow building that I see every day, but today it’ll have a perfectly blue sky behind it and a towering rusted crane in front of it. That’s another necklace right there. I hadn’t realized until I made my list this week how much commuting has featured in my color work lately, but it’s nice to know that all those hours soaking up what I see eventually get used in the studio.