Saturday, March 24, 2007


So, I'm quietly browsing through blogland when I chance on Miss Snark's remarkably enjoyable and informative blog (I am a regular visitor, of course), where I read that the Snarkacious One is hosting one of her last-minute writing competitions: 100 words or less, to include the following terms - 'Reacher', 'Helicopter', 'snazzy', 'moonbeam', 'Dan Lazar', 'griffin'.

'kay, thinks I. Can this be difficult? Then I check the entry window. I check the international clock to see what the time is in New York. I think: 'kay, I have 20 minutes maximum to write and send 100 words to Snark Central before the Great Window Of Opportunity guillotines the nit-savvy from the nitwits.

Like the small child with the snotty nose in the sweetshop, I accept the challenge. My entry wings its way through the aether with a good five minutes to spare. And now it is posted on the SnarkBlog for everyone to see (in this thread, #133 to be exact).

Only after writing the 100 words, and seeing my words on the blog in their full glory, do I bother to check out some of the other entries. At which point, the truth trundles up to my front door and posts a note through the letterbox: "you've missed the point of the exercise, Roots!" My entry includes not a single mention of MS, or KY, or even George Clooney. My words do manage to reference Dan Lazar as some sort of publishing figure, but all the rest of the clues in the list of words to be included have flocked in formation over my head: I expect wingtips may have been pointing in my general direction, and beak-like sniggering may have been heard. And checking back on my entry, I realise that my writing doesn't so much stand out from the crowd, but cowers in the corner of the schoolyard, a scribbled note pinned to its jacket saying "Please ignore me! I am not here!"

Shit. Who needs Miss Snark when I can denigrate my own writing so bloody effectively.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Logographic scripts

Whoever came up with the Chinese writing system was out of his tree and off down the garden path in his three-wheel trolley. Even developing a system of writing that uses thousands of stylised pictures over the course of hundreds of years is, in my view, an act of bedlamic proportions on the part of the society that did it.

So of course I had to try it for myself.

The script below says: "The food has lost its taste" in my constructed language Ákat. I think it looks rather nifty. Of course, it isn't the full logographic swuush (that's a technical term, by the way) - my logographic script will be restricted to no more than a thousand different logobits (another technical term) which can be combined to form phrases and sentences.

More stuff on the various Ákat scripts can be found here and here. Enjoy!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Flame Warriors

I love the Flame Warriors website. Mr Reed is to be congratulated, especially on his cartoons.

Of course, I'm a Big Cat. Whispers to the contrary shall be dealt with in the normal manner: I like my litter to be lined with the corpses of malicious rumour-mongers. Now rub my belly!