Don’t Pet the Peeves

My water was orange this morning. Not a nice Sunkist orange, but a rusty brown-orange. We had a big thunderstorm last night, and the river is very high, but I’m not sure whether those things are responsible.

If this happened all the time, I would put it at the top of my Pet Peeves List, but it rarely happens, so I haven’t exercised that peeve enough to get ratcheted up all the way to ‘annoyed.’

I have pet peeves. I regularly feed them and take them out for walks, but I don’t let them up on the furniture. Most of them are linguistic peeves, like when people say, “My eyes literally popped out of my head!”

After the orange water I ran into a couple of them.

It seemed like a good morning to go out for breakfast, so we did. My first question to our server was, “Is your water orange?” Because it’s difficult to tell when coffee has been made with orange water.

She gave me a funny look. “Is your guys’s water orange?” she asked, coffee pot poised to pour.

I replied in the affirmative, making a mental note to check whether ‘guys’s’ is really a word. It raises my hackles.

Those restaurant guys’s water was not orange, so we allowed her to fill our cups.   More

Caveat Scriptor

Writer, beware.

One of the things I love most about writing fantasy is world creation, exploring a world where anything can happen — as long as it follows your rules. Fantasy writer Orson Scott Card has explained world-building better than I can, so I will limit my thoughts to word-building — the invention of names.

It was word-building that first dragged me into the messy world of fantasy. Before I ever read Tolkien, I was making up languages and drawing maps. Reading Lord of the Rings was a confirmation of what I already knew: there were other worlds to explore. All I had to do was stick my flag in the ground and start naming things.

In the advertising world, people are paid to make up new words. What they realize (most of the time) is that we are all neck-deep in words these days — slang, product names, new terms for things that didn’t exist an hour ago. On an average day of reading, I may run into half a dozen words I’ve never seen before — because they are so new they haven’t made it into the dictionary.

Usually I just Google unfamiliar words, and most of the time figure out what they mean in the context I’m reading. I also see a lot of things they might mean. When I Google dax, I learn that it may refer to the German stock index (Deutscher Aktien Index), a hair-care company, a character on Star Trek, a company that makes eco-friendly products, a singer, an actor, a really funny guy, and (apparently) a transsexual prostitute.


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