Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Word: Ship



[ship] Slang.
1. a romantic relationship between fictional characters, especially one that people discuss, write about, or take an interest in, whether or not the romance actually exists in the original book, show, etc.:
popular ships in fan fiction.
verb (used with or without object), shipped, shipping.
2. to discuss, write about, or take an interest in a romantic relationship between (fictional characters):
I'm shipping for those guys—they would make a great couple!
 Kelly looked over at her roommate, Sara, who was furiously typing something on her laptop.  The constant clicking of keys made Kelly more curious than annoyed.  After all, Sara usually typed in small, contained bursts, rather than the sustained duration that was currently being presented.  This led Kelly to do the obvious.
    “What’re you writing?” She asked.  
    Sara paused just long enough to look up from the screen.  “Only the best fan fic ever written in the history of fan fics.”
    This got Kelly even more curious.  She pushed herself off the couch and moved behind Sara, reading over the other girl’s shoulder.  After a few minutes of reading, Kelly cringed.  THe story as it was was horrible.  It was not only filled with spelling and grammar problems, the writing was just bad.
    “Uh, Sara…”
    “I know, I know.  Sometimes I amaze myself.” Sara said proudly.
    “This is a first draft, right?”
    “Only in that it’s the first time I’m writing it.  Why?”
    “Wait, does that mean you’re not planning on editing it once you’re done?”
    “Nope.  Why should I?”
    Kelly rubbed the back of her neck.  She hated to do this to her friend, and Sara looked so proud of her work.  But it had to be done.
    “You’re going to want that editing session, trust me.”
    “Why?  It’s perfect.”
    “Sara, it’s terrible.  This is the kind of thing that gets made fun of by everyone else.”
    “Now, I’ve only read a little bit of it, so I can’t talk about the entire thing,but let’s start with the basics.  The pairing is just...just wrong.  Now, I won’t say anything about the genders, but they’re mortal enemies who would rather gut each other than anything else.”
    “That’s only because they don’t realize that they’re soulmates.” Sara said dreamily.
    “It...that...that doesn’t make any sense at all.  Seriously, you’re completely ignoring all the established canon.  The characters act nothing like they do in the show, their relationships are all wrong, and there’s nothing of the actual base material left.  You can’t even call this a fan fic anymore.”
    “Oh, like you’re one to talk.  You ship characters all the time in your fics.”
    “Yeah, but I make my ships based on what could happen.  I use the canon to build the world in ways that could theoretically happen.  I keep characters consistent with the source material, relationships make sense and the story fits in with the wider world.  The only thing yours uses from the show is the character’s names and basic appearances.”
Sara looked up at Kelly with a deer-in-the-headlights look.  Everything Kelly had just said seemed to go over Sara’s head.
“But...but...they’d make such a hot couple.”
Kelly sighed.  “It’s not always about how they’d look together.  It’s about chemistry.  Your characters don’t have any in the show.  And what’s worse, they don’t have any chemistry in your story.”
“Well, I think it works.” Sara said with a huff.  “I’m not changing it, just because you think it’s bad.  I bet everyone else will love it.”
“If that’s what you think, I won’t stop you.” Kelly turned to head back to the couch and Sara resumed her typing.  “Although I should point out that your grammar is atrocious.”
Happy Singles Awareness Day everyone!
Also, there actually is a lot of fan fiction out there like this. It's kind of funny, actually. Just be careful, a lot of it is not child friendly.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Word: Cerebrate


verb (used with or without object), cerebrated, cerebrating.
1. to use the mind; think or think about.
Vince was not good at puzzles.  It did not matter what type it was, he was just bad at them.  From jigsaw to logic to games and everything in between.  If the term puzzle could be used to describe it, Vince was apt to fail.  His friends had often joked that he could not solve a puzzle to save his life.  He was fine with that as long as it was just figurative.
The problem was that it was now literal.
His breathing was fast as his sweat soaked fingers fumbled with the colorful plastic cube.  He twisted and turned the different segments until the different colors started to bleed together.  He saw a glimmer of hope when a few sides showed the same color.  With a final twist, another side was complete.  When he looked at the cube he saw that two segments were wrong.  Just two, and they were on opposite sides of the cube.  To him, that presented an impossible situation.  
“You got close that time.” A heavily distorted voice said.  
It came from a speaker placed above a timer.  Vince risked a glance at the timer, seeing his ever dwindling time.  It made him panic even more than he already was.
He opened his mouth to speak, but closed it before any words escaped.  He had been connected to the guillotine-like death trap for an hour and a half.  He had yet to get any information out of his captor other than that he had to solve a single puzzle to escape.  In front of him, just within arms reach, was a partially completed jigsaw puzzle, a sheet of paper with a paragraph of text on it, and a small wire ring puzzle.  
At first, Vince had tried to finish the jigsaw puzzle.  He could mostly do those, given enough time and a clear enough picture to work from.  But alas, he had neither of those.  THe only other option he had was the Rubik’s Cube, since he knew those had a set solution.  He had even looked it up once.  
But that solution eluded him now, when he needed it most.  He continued to work on the cube, twisting and turning it until the near complete state it had been in was utterly destroyed.  Vince let out a pained yell as he felt the weight of the device on his back.  He was about to throw the cube away in defeat when the voice chimed in again.
“What’s wrong?  Giving up?  You only have half an hour left you know.”
Vince growled and ground his teeth.  No.  Not now.  He would not give up so easily.  He took a deep breath and calmed himself as much as he was able.  He closed his eyes and thought.  He thought about the cube in his hands.  He thought about past experiences with such things.  He thought harder than he ever had before.
And then his fingers started moving.  Without even looking at the puzzle, his fingers worked the rotating segments.  All the while, his mind continued to work.  It started to drift to other subjects, but Vince forced his mind back into place.  He ignored the timer. He ignored the blade hovering above him.  He ignored the occasional taunt of his captor.  He ignored everything but his own thoughts and the tactile sensations of his hands.
And then he opened his eyes.  In his hands was a cube, with each side a single, solid color.  He looked up in triumph.  He had done it.  He had solved a puzzle to save his life.
“Well, I’ll be.  Good job.” The voice said.  The timer stopped.  “But, think you can do it again with something else?”
The timer reset, this time with an hour instead of two.  
“You’ve got three more to choose from.  Good luck.”
 Like this guy, I am not particularly good at puzzles. I can do some easy ones, but beyond that...well, it's definitely not my strong point, that's for sure. Of course, I've never been captured by a Saw-esque villain and forced to solve puzzles or anything like that. I consider that a good thing, really.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Word: Fenestrated


or fenestrate

[fen-uh-strey-tid, fi-nes-trey- or fi-nes-treyt, fen-uh-streyt]

adjective, Architecture.
1. having windows; windowed; characterized by windows.
The house seemed nice.  Eggshell walls, clean hardwood floors, and all the amenities of modern life.  Sunlight streamed through the windows, giving the various rooms a warm, bright feel.
    “And here we have the living room.” The real estate agent said as she guided the young couple through the pleasant house.  “Note the beautiful windows.  They’re perfectly positioned to let in just the right amount of natural light.  Plus, they have an excellent view of the yard.”
    “Uh huh.” Ted, one of the potential customers, said.  He did not look so enthused.  His fiance, Heather, looked much more interested.
    The agent continued on, “And they’re very well made.  Top of the line.  Well insulated, so you don’t have to worry about getting too hot or too cold.  And they’re also very sturdy.  It’ll take more than a thrown ball to get through these.” She said with a knowing grin.
    “Oh that sounds wonderful.” Heather said.  She was already picturing a future child throwing things against it and not breaking the glass.
    “Plus, they’re long lasting.  In fact, all the windows in this house are.  Guaranteed to last a lifetime and more.”
    “Great, great.” Ted said.  “Now what about the rest of the house?”
    “Excuse me?”
    “You’ve talked a lot about the windows so far.  In fact, that’s pretty much all you’ve talked about.  What about other parts of the house?”
    Heather leaned in close and spoke quietly.  “Don’t be rude Ted.  She’s just doing her job.”
    “I’m not being rude.  It’s a reasonable question.”
    “Uh, well, if you look around, this living area is quite spacious.  You’ll be able to do quite a bit in here.” The agent said.  Her eyes darted around the room and her smile was a bit too wide for Ted’s taste.  “Now then, why...why don’t we move on to the next room?”
    “Where we’ll no doubt see a lot of excellent windows.” Ted said.
    “Well, yes, we will.” The agent said quickly.  “Top quality windows.  Really, the best.”
    The agent continued to expound on the quality of the house’s many windows.  Ted grumbled while Heather took in every word the agent said.  Finally, Ted could take no more.  He stopped dead in the middle of a hallway.
    “You know what?  This is getting ridiculous.”
    “Uh, Ted…”Heather started to say.  Ted held up his hand to stop her before continuing.
    “No, Heather, it is.  She’s talked about nothing but windows this entire tour.  Listen, this looks like a lovely house, but if you can’t tell us about anything other than some pieces of glass in the walls, we’re leaving and looking for a different agent.”
    The agent recoiled against the threat.  “W-well...I...uh...this...this hallway is...very well positioned for foot traffic and…” Her forehead developed a fine sheen of sweat as she floundered to find something to say.  Ted continued to glaire.  His gaze finally broke the agent.  “Okay, fine, you want an honest tour?  You want me to tell you about something other than the windows?  I will.  This house is junk.  Complete and utter junk that’s beyond repair.  The windows are the best part of it, I wasn’t lying.  They really are top of the line.  Nothing else is though.  The pipes are rusted to the point of bursting.   Everything creaks and rattles while the wind is blowing.  The wiring could fail at any moment. The walls are so thin and rotten that the paint is sturdier.  Seriously, I can punch through the walls right now without much trouble.  I’m actually a bit surprised it hasn’t collapsed from us walking in it.”
    The agent paused a bit and took a deep breath.  “Wow.  That...that actually felt good.  You have no idea how hard it is to try and sell a junker like this.”  She smiled a much more genuine smile than any before.  “Thanks for making me say that.”
    “’re welcome?” Ted said, confused.  
    “Let’s get out of here.  I know a few houses that are a lot better than this one.  They aren’t as pretty but the quality is a lot better.” The agent said.  “And yes, I am telling the truth right now.”
    The young couple looked at each other and followed the agent out of the skin deep house.  It really was amazing what a little brutal honesty could do for a person.  
I've said it before and I'll probably say it again: English is weird. I mean, look at fenestrated and defenestrated. If fenestrated means having windows, shouldn't defenestrated mean something like not having windows? Instead it means throwing someone out a window. Doesn't make much snese does it? I still think defenestrated is an awesome word though, just because of that definition.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Word: Maladroit



1. lacking in adroitness; unskillful; awkward; bungling; tactless:
to handle a diplomatic crisis in a very maladroit way.
Recruit Killman’s hands shook as he took aim.  The readout of his targeting array blinked chaotically
 as it tried in vain to correct for the shaking.  His breath came in short, fast bursts as he pulled the 
trigger.  The shot went wide, missing the stationary training target by several feet.  He sighed and 
lowered the rifle.
    “Recruit!  Who told you to lower your weapon?”
    The loud, rough voice sent shivers down Killman’s spine.  He felt like his spine would jettison itself 
when he stood straight.
    “Nobody, sir!” Killman shouted.
    “Then why did you stop?” The Drill Sergeant asked.  The large man stood far too close for comfort.
    “I...was catching my breath, sir.”
    “Catching your breath?  This is target practice, not a marathon.  Or are you telling me you’d rather 
be running laps?”
    “N-no, sir!”
    “Oh no?  Because if you aren’t shooting, you’re running.  Is that clear, recruit?”
    “Sir, yes, sir!”
    “Good.  Get back to it.”
    Killman raised his training weapon and took aim.  Or at least, he tried to.  Once again, his nerves 
took over and his shoot went even farther off target than his previous attempt.
    “My god, that was the saddest, weakest attempt at shooting I have ever seen.”  The Drill Sergeant 
said.  “How can you miss a stationary target so badly?”
    “Well, speak up recruit.”
    “I can’t shoot, sir.”
    “That’s obvious.  Have you hit the target once?”
    “No, sir.” Killman said weakly.
    “What was that?”
    “No, sir!”
    The Drill Sergeant tapped on his wrist consoul.  He brought up Killman’s training records and read 
over them.
    “You have got to be the single worst recruit I have ever seen.” He said.  “No weapon skills, no 
vehicle skills, not even basic physical ability.  Son, why the hell did you join the army when you’re so 
    “Stop stuttering.  You’re not a machine.  Although I wish you were.  Maybe there’d be some use to 
you then.”
    “Yes, sir.  My worth is less than an auto turret, sir.”
    “Well, at least you have a functioning brain.  Now spit it out, why are you here recruit?”
    “I...didn’t want to be, sir.” Killman said.  His voice became quieter, so the other recruits would have a
hard time hearing.  Although, with their sensory boost gear they probably could anyway.  He would 
probably be the focus of every prank and insult for the next week, if not longer.
    “Is that so?  Well too damn bad!  You’re here, and you’re going to damn well act like it, you hear me?”
    “Sir, yes, sir!”
    “Good.  Now, get back to it, recruit.  And I want to see some actual hits before you leave, understood?”
    “Y-yes, sir.”
    The Drill Sergeant leaned in close, whispering in Killman’s ear.  “We’ll continue this conversation in 
my office after training tonight.  Don’t be late.”
    “Yes, sir.”
    “And for god sake, remember to breath when you pull the trigger.  If you can’t figure that out here, 
then you don’t stand a chance on the battlefield.”
    The Drill Sergeant backed off and headed towards the next recruit, already shouting at the man.  
Killman struggled to calm his nerves took a deep breath and slowly pulled the trigger.  His shot hit the 
target of a different recruit. 
Okay, yeah, there was no real reason for this to be sci-fi, I admit. But I wanted it to be, so it was. Got 
a problem with that?

Friday, January 19, 2018

Word: Enfant Terrible

enfant terrible

[ahn-fahn te-ree-bluh]

noun, plural enfants terribles
[ahn-fahn te-ree-bluh] (Show IPA).
1. an incorrigible child, as one whose behavior is embarrassing.
2. an outrageously outspoken or bold person who says and does indiscreet or irresponsible things.
3. a person whose work, thought, or lifestyle is so unconventional or avant-garde as to appear revolutionary or shocking.

Maggie was in the supermarket.  Had she been there before?  Well, it was not important.  She was there, 
and that was that.  Besides, she was more interested in the small child standing in front of her.  It was an 
angelic little one, although the gender was impossible to tell at such a young age, it did not matter.  
Maggie knew this child.  It was hers.  Her child, and she felt a swell of pride in seeing it.

“Mommy, come on!” The child called to her.  

The child rushed away, leaving Maggie to dash to keep up.   She found her child looking at a 
suspiciously empty aisle.  Why was it empty?  Why wasn’t anyone attending to the issue?  Such 
things were minor concerns.  Maggie looked up at the sign above them.  Apparently, when 
stocked, the entire aisle was dedicated to candy.

“Mommy, where’s all the candy?” Her child asked.  Maggie opened her mouth to answer, but found
 herself unable to do so.  “Mommy, why can’t I get candy?  I want candy.”

The child continued to talk about how much it wanted candy.  When Maggie failed to produce the 
desired treats, its voice became louder.  The child began to cry and scream and thrash around.  Its
 voice filled the store, becoming almost deafeningly loud.

Maggie tried to comfort her child, but could only watch in horror as it thrashed more violently and 
screamed louder.  The child seemed to tear the very floor apart with its tantrum.  And that was 
when Maggie felt the stares.

The stares of the other shoppers.  They stood around, unmoving, unspeaking.  There was no 
need for them to say a word.  Maggie knew what they were thinking.  They were watching her. 

Judging her.  Criticizing her with their eyes.  They all thought she was a bad mother.  Her 
inability to quiet her child’s tantrum made her unfit for the mantle of motherhood.  Even though
 the lack of candy was not her fault, it did not matter to them.  She was a bad mother, and that 
was that.

Maggie rushed into action.  She did everything she could think of to calm her child down.  She 
spoke soothing words.  She made promises.  She even tried being stern and commanding.  
Nothing worked.  Nothing she said quieted her child.  In fact, it screamed even louder and 
thrashed around even more.  And the stares continued.  

She heard the whispers start.  Even over the screams of her child, she could hear them.

“Terrible mother.”

“Can’t even handle one little tantrum.”

“She should never have had a child.”

“I feel embarrassed for her.”

They fell over her like a heavy cloak, wrapping her up in the scathing reviews of her mothering 
skills.  And she had no choice but to tolerate them, even as she tried to resolve her child’s wild 
thrashing.  It was no use.  The cloak of words became heavier and heavier, making her bend 
with the weight of disappointment.  It quickly became so heavy that she crashed through the 
floor of the supermarket, leaving all behind but the voices.

Maggie woke up, breathing deep and quick.  She felt her forehead, feeling a light coating of 
cold sweat. She looked around the dark bedroom, seeing the familiar silhouettes of the various
 items around her.  She looked down at her large, protruding stomach.

“You had better be a damn good kid.”   
So, do any first time pregnant women out there have nightmares of this general nature? I'd
imagine someone must. I mean, having a child is a big thing, and must be really nerve wracking.
Plus, with all the hormones rushing around, it must be some serious nightmare fuel.