Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Comments (for 2010)

Anonymous commenting has now been disabled, due to spam. (Catchpas isn't enabled for comments, because I hates it.) Not that too many people do ever comment, but even so.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mister Disaster

(In response to writing prompt 167.)

Mister Disaster doesn’t know he has that name. In folders that are classified 36 levels of security above the President (and this is the real one, not the show one that gets elected), there is a very thick file with his real name on it, and this one as well.

The file contains every trip he has taken in his life. And at each one, precisely two days and six hours after he leaves, a major natural disaster happens. No one knows why, but he had been awarded ‘free’ vacations in the mail and sent places the secret government wishes to damage. Sometimes he goes, othertimes Mister Disaster does not.

Despite the danger he could be to both king and country (and there is always a king, as long as there is a country), no one has ordered Mister Disaster suicided, because there are levels of government more secret even than that, where nothing is written down and only steel-trap memory records their comings and goings; and there, they worry Mister Disaster is something far more than a mere man, and keep a careful watch upon him.

And, naturally, they never vacation where Mister Disaster goes.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Novel research

Useless fact of the day while researching surnames for novel: Parents are not permitted by Urhobo cultural practices to count their children. The number of fingers often represents a count of one's children.

What the heck? you wonder, and rightly so. All I needed was to find out how common Johnson is as a surname in Canada (I was pretty sure it was #2 in the USA, though did check to make sure that was actually correct). Which led to the interesting oddity that the Canadian Census does not release that kind of information, that Li is the most common surname in Canada, and from that to the reason behind the few Chinese surnames, and from that information about Welsh, British, Irish, Urhobo and Byzantine naming conventions.

I surfaced from that with a deeper understanding of some oddities in such conventions, how they change over time and if the next fantasy world I do will even have surnames, beyond son of X and so forth. (Probably not.) The Chinese practise of giving everyone kin region C the same surname made me wonder about applying that to said settings but for now it's going to the back corner of my mind and the MC's last name is, simply, Johnson.

Mostly because another main character has Smith as hers and she's going to complain about it a fair bit, while it's never occurred to Terry to even really think about his.And for this little tidbit of characterization, the internet stole half an hour of my life :)

Friday, April 02, 2010