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Laboratory Blues

Bubble, bubble—I’d wish for a little less toil and a lot less trouble . . .

But all in all and my laboratory is back in working order.  The flesh and limbs and mortal clay are all back on their shelves and in their jars and viscera soups.  My tools are each in their place, shining and humming and sparking.  And I think I’m ready to get back to work on the quivering thing on the vivisection table.

Yes, I’ve made the transition from my dying PC to a brand new MAC.   I just barely got out alive too . . . as on my last trip back to my ailing computer, to get the last little bit of data to transfer, and it would not start.  Now it is dead.  But we discovered it was a registered organ doner and some of its innards now reside in my brother’s computer.

I’m mostly acclimated to the i-mac now and mostly like it.

Best of all, I just bought an awesome new bit of creative writing software . . . it’s called SCRIVENER.  Check it out.  It deserves it’s own blog entry…at a later date.

I’m a Brilliant Future

Looks like I’m a Brilliant Future.  Go ahead.  Give it a click.  See.  Growing up, I was a poor gang banger from the projects . . . but someone gave me a chance—and look at me now!

Te-he . . . I am flattered that they thought of me (though a much better picture of me is summoned up if you click the link at the bottom of that page).

Also, I’ve been emailed some interview questions for an article on me that will appear in the UIS development magazine (name still pending).

Representing hard for the UIS yo!


Black envelopes marked in colored ink get my attention.

I just got an invite to an invite only event at my favorite café, CAFÉ AEON, and I’m quite excited.  They have a new website to boot.

Something Wicked . . .

I can feel the shift in season, the trip wire is tripped, by the trip-trap of autumn.  Memories like the smell of cider, pumpkin pie, and the sticky-sweat seal of a rubber mask are the phantom limb itch in my head.  So, I knew it was the right time to start listening to the audio recording of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.  Ray knows autumn better than anyone.  He knows why monsters under the bed are important to child development.  I had a water bed growing up—no spaced underneath, no room for anything to hide.  Incidentally, my college writing teacher/mentor, Nancy Perkins, is convinced that, that is the reason I write what I write . . . to make up for lost time.

Of Comic Books and Kenning

For you comic fans, check out the trailer for IRON MAN.

For you epic literature fans, check out the rated R trailer for the new BEOWULF movie.

I can’t wait.  I especially like the part where Beowulf is spouting off his descriptive nick names:  “I am ripper, tearer, slasher.  I am the teeth in the darkness!”  That sort of comic book/hero contrivance where they say “I am the shadow in the night,” or some such—it’s actually from the ancient tradition of epics and mythology, the magic of formulaic naming disciplines like kenning and epithets.

There are different types in different cultures…but they all come down to giving clever nick names for a person, place, or thing.  You could just take an appropriate verb and turn it into a noun to describe something—Beowulf is “Ripper!”

Or maybe a deed becomes the name of the person—“I am Cyclops Slayer!”

Or maybe you get a little more poetic—“I am the teeth in the darkness.”

And sometimes these become set formulas for referring to famous figures…like in mythology.  Gods get many different names…or different descriptors attached to that name…and sometimes you use one so that your reader/listener knows what aspect of the god you refer to.  You might call Odin, “Gallows god” or “Glad-of-War.”  You might call Loki, “Wolf Father” or “Sky Strider.”

Kenning gets really formulaic.  It’s a system of putting two or more words together to give them a combined meaning that neither word had before—for example—one of my favorite is “bait-gallows” which means “hook.”

But then kenning gets even cooler and more deceptively complex—because you can layer it.  Let’s say a pirate strides up to me, and like some ancient, Norse poem spinner, I want to call him by kenning rather than his usual name.  I might call him “Hook-Wrist.”  And that might catch on (because kenning is simple and descriptive and it catches on just like nick names in high school)…

…but if I am a master kenning slinger, I might layer the kenning.  I can take those two words and use kenning on each of them (and we go to four words).  For example, the kenning for hook (as we said) is “bait-gallows.”  The kenning for wrist is “wolf’s-joint” (this is an allusion to the Norse myth where the god Tyr’s hand is bitten off by the demon wolf Fenrir).

So now the pirate’s kenning name becomes “Bait-Gallows-Wolf’s-Joint.”  Someone who knows their kenning could break that down and know that I’m really saying “Hook-Wrist” and deduce that the pirate I’m talking about has a hook for a hand.  But even if not…it’s a fucking cool name.  It’s a conversation starter.  The pirate, let’s say his real name is Bob, would probably thank me for the bit of poetry I’ve blessed him with.

On that same line, I might be a Viking who finds himself lost in Egypt (worm-holes can happen to anyone) and I see the crazy hooked swords of the ancient middle east ( the kopesh).  Seeing these strange, sickle shaped swords, I might call them “Hook-Sword”…or “Bait-Gallows-Blood-Worm” (“blood-worm” means “sword”).

And this takes us to the ultimate conclusion of this post . . .

Who wants to join me and start a band called Bait-Gallows-Blood-Worm?

And finally, A CHALLENGE TO THE READER:  I’m curious what someone might use as kenning to refer to themself…click on the above links, read up on it, and then reply to this post with your own kennings.  If anyone replies, I’ll join in the fun too.

Parting Wisdom

Give a cannibal a severed arm, and you feed him for a day.

Give a cannibal a cleaver, and you feed him for life.