Hippo Bloat and Implausible Gnus: Closing the Loop On My Let’s Phlog Monday Post

Following on from my last post about a collective of bloggers, here are the answers to the collective noun matching game:

Mumeration of starlings
Weyr of dragons
Storytelling of ravens
Rabble of butterflies
Ascension of larks
Fesnyng of ferrets
Convocation of eagles
Generation of vipers
Bloat of hippopotami
implausibility of gnus


Surprised? Think some of these are wonderfully appropriate? Humoured? Feel more educated? Couldn’t Give a Collective Noun F…?  The last is so implausible,  it could be a group of these!

 And now for the announcement of the winners of the 100 Curtain Credits (drumroll please):

The winner is….Sisyphus 47 for his answers and a bonus 20 Credits for giving it a go.

Also 50 Curtain Credits to btg5885, also affectionately known as Old Fart (he is anything, but) who blogs at Musings of An Old Fart. OF’s blog is thoughtful and compassionate and if there were more people in the world with OF’s sentiments, it would be a much better place. The Credits are rewarded for coming up with the groovy collective term “blogosophers” to describe the group of thinking man’s bloggers and for stating that I am one of them. Thanks OF, you too are a blogosopher of the first order.

Can we have collective noun of applause for these true winners, please?

Take a NY Times Bestseller And Twist: Cracked Book Titles

Every good woman deserves a fabulous hair treatment once in a while. This good woman had exactly that earlier this week after a prolonged dry spell. For there comes a point in time when an ever expanding regrowth just needs to be dealt with and the good woman needs to catch up on her magazine reading. For some unknown reason this good woman only ever reads print magazines at the hairdressers or in doctor’s offices.

The trip to the hairdressers prompted me to think about books because of course any trip by a normal person to the hairdressers would. Books made me think about Fifty Shades of Grey because the Fifty Shades trilogy seems to have taken over the universe. It is everywhere, at least in these parts, and I see also on the NY Times bestseller list. In my mind and on that day, hairdressers and Fifty Shades Of Grey were braided together because it is a book title that begs to be word-played with.

For your entertainment pleasure, I present to you my list of recently created cracked book titles. All of these are based on books that are currently on the NY Times best seller lists and inspired by my hairdressing trip.

Perspectives on Hairdressing: Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Yards of Foil  – ammonia free and gets to the very roots of the industry. Offers a rare top of the head perspective on all things hairdressing, free scalp massage included.

Perspectives on Blind Installation: Fifty Shades Darker with Wooden Slats – a story full off hangups. Pull up a chair and drape yourself in the inside story on shutters versus blinds, wooden versus aluminium. Come, darken your world.

From The Magic of the Electric Eel to Fifty Shades Freed: Highlights of a Plumbing Career  – Marvel at the electric eel and its flexibility to fit around your S bend. Admire the men and women who plumb your depths and never leave home without a plunger. Free can of room freshener provided with every copy.

A Game of Thrones: The Diamond Jubilee and Beyond. Based on the book,  A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Self explanatory and I thank Her Majesty in advance for the long weekend we are about to receive in honour of her not-real birthday.

Memoirs of a Teacher in the New Millenium: A Dance with Parental Dragons and Wizards. Based on the book, A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martins and the sequel, In the Garden With Beasts And Sporting Parents, based on In the Garden with Beasts by Eric Larson. We have all seen this sort of unruly behaviour at schools and school sporting fixtures. Get the inside scoop on how to deal with parents behaving badly.

Vision in White: Memoirs of Waiting Patients Who Made An Appointment. Based on the book Vision in White by Nora Roberts. 1,000 pages of easily digestible memoirs that can be devoured in one sitting whilst you wait to see your doctor for that scheduled appointment.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: Tales From a Teenage Crash Pad,  Fondly Known as The Parental’s Home. Based on the book, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Both perspectives are covered in this one authoritative volume. The author gains real insight into the teenage mind…. prepare to be dazzled and waited on and get your laundry done. On the other hand, be prepared to be bemused as you see only the back of your teenage child as he races out the door. Learn to recognise the signs that your teenage child actually spent some time at home… the empty fridge, the laundry over the floor and crumbs on the kitchen bench… bitter and sweet in one entertaining package.

This is what happens when I go to the hairdresser…. you have now been warned. Any writers out there who are struggling to come up with book titles, I’m free most weeknights…

Do you have any other cracked book titles you wish to add to the list? What do you look forward to about a trip to the hairdresser? Do you have hair or do you miss it?

May Catchup: Three Accolades and A Badge

It’s been another aMAYzing month in Curtaindom, so much so that I’m just catching up with some bloggy housekeeping.

During the last week of May, I was awarded not one, but three, blog awards from some amazing bloggers. I am truly humbled. Thanks to:

Sisyphus47 who blogs at Of Glass and Paper for awarding me the One Lovely Blog Award. Sisyphus has a wonderful writing blog covering one of the broadest range of subjects I have ever seen. Talented… much!

Lisa who also goes by the blog name Life With the Top Down blogging at Fretym. Lisa’s blog was one of the first blogs I landed on and I have never looked back. Fretym is one of my favourite blogs and puts either a knowing smile or a jovial smile on my face with every read. Lisa awarded me the Versatile Blogger award.

Jennifer aka News Of The Times who blogs at News Of The Times, a blog about the issues of today. Jennifer has some amazing insights into these issues and tackles the serious and the humorous with great aplomb. Jennifer awarded me the Sunshine Award.

There are some rules I have to comply with. The first is to answer some questions about myself. I’m going to use some poetic licence and use the same set of questions for each award. There has to be something left to reveal when I finally do Raise the Curtain ;)!

What is a real fear you have? That the mark I leave on this world is not what I wish it to be. I do not want “She was a great office worker” on my epitaph. Also I have this irrational fear of loose buttons. Don’t ask me why.

How would you describe yourself? Forthright, spontaneous, energetic, a wisdom monger in training, compassionate and down to earth. I love a challenge and embrace differences in people.

What Countries have you lived in? Just Australia, but have travelled a lot. Had I been born 15 years later I most certainly would have lived and worked for a while in England, the US or Hong Kong.

What is your style? Laid back, casual.

What is your favorite breakfast food? A sausage and egg roll with BBQ sauce cooked at a local sports event on an outdoor BBQ.

What are some of your hobbies? Reading, writing, bush walking, any other type of walking, dogs, listening to music, photography, road trips and parenting.

If you could tell people anything, what would be the most important thing to say? Be yourself and live your dreams. Do something you are passionate about and feed your soul every day.

What is one of your passions? Travel and rights for people with a disability.

What is the one truth you have learned? We are all humans with feelings and judging others is for the small-minded.

Now to pay these awards forward. I am awarding these awards as a triple treat. The nominees receive all three awards unless they nominated me for an award, in which case they receive the remaining two awards to avoid an endless loop. The awards go to:

Finally Wendy Wonders – read about a fellow Red Sox fanatic and road trip adventuress.

Dearanonymousfriend – a wonderful blog written straight from the heart.

Word Play – join Chris on his wonderfully witty musings about life. Chris can go head to head with me on banter and I respect him immensely for that talent alone. His blog was a great find.

Laughing At Everyday Life – Tammy and her daily servings of fun and laughter light up my day. Together we have scheduled to change the world this Tuesday. Come join us by visiting her blog.

The Write Transition – Carrie Rubin’s wonderfully witty writers blog written from Carrie’s den with the squirrel outside the window. Definitely worth swinging by.

The Left Write Brain  – written by Jim Wright. Jim lives in Jordan and shares some aspects of his life there and his writings. A really interesting blog.

Queen Gen – as Gen says “nothing says modesty like a crown”. Gen has a wonderfully dry sense of humour and an entertaining blog.

How the Cookie Crumbles – also one of the first blogs I found here and have stayed to visit everyday. Tess, who also goes by the name “Let’s Cut the Crap” writes with a generosity of spirit that always gives me pause. She is a spunky boomer whose attitude to life is something I aspire to. Tess’ beautiful blog is really worth a visit.

The Tawnys Blog – I was lead to Tawny’s blog through a mutual non blogging friend and what a prize! Tawny is insightful and wise and her writing is always interesting.

Cricket’s Corner in Australia – another non blogging mutual friend introduction and a great blog find. Cricket is an American living in Australia and blogs about both her US home and Australian home. Thoughtful, wise and informative blog posts.

Jensinewall – a blog that’s got class written all over it and a wonderfully new and interesting find.

News Of the Times – because the blog is informative and entertaining and deserves both the Beautiful Blog Award and the Versatile Blogger Award.

Fretym – because this is the blog that keeps on giving and deserves both the Sunshine Award and the Beautiful Blog Award.

Of Glass and Paper – because this blog is always interesting and deserves both the Sunshine Award and Versatile Blogger Award.

And last, but certainly not least, to the badge. I have been inducted into the not normal club, being run out of Tammy’s blog at Laughing At Everyday Life. I’m out and proud to be a member of this most esteemed association and hope to contribute to the humour collective found amongst its constituency. New members always welcome.

Time to jump right into June and a not a moment too soon!

Sorry For My Escapee Post

Release the Hounds! Escaped undercooked post on the loose!

Profuse apologies to my blog followers who received the very early draft of the “Words That Make You Go MMM” post. That was unintended. The final, updated version has now been posted. I still don’t know how I did that, my mouse was nowhere near the publish key.

Living and learning quite visibly!


Words That Make You Go Mmmmm!

The Punch ran an article recently about words that were loved. You can read the article here: “Fizzy”, “Gusto”, “Disco” And Other Words We Love.

Some of the words listed in the article are terrific. I love “discombobulate”, “lascivious” and “deplane”. The reason is because these words sound like they mean. Not so much in the onomatopoeic sense a la “sizzle” but more so in the mood and tone of the word. My English teacher would be proud that I actually remembered the concept of onomatopoeia since I never paid much attention in English class at school.

Being a bit of a wordsmith and now loving word play, I thought I would join in and add to the list. Some of my favourites are:

Castigate – the word just sounds punitive.

Pizzaz – dazzling style, flamboyance, flair. Vigorous spirit; energy or excitement. All conveyed by six simple letters.

Panache – a flamboyant word imported from one of the most flamboyant of languages, French. Ooh La La!

Ruminate – let’s chew the cud fat over something that we think deeply about. To me, this is such a slow, deliberate word.

Serendipity – a happy, light, happenstance (another good one!!) kind of word. My absolute favourite and one that I love dropping into conversation.

Stupendous – an extremely impressive and marvellously clever word. It means the opposite of what it starts out to be.

Tempest – sounds harsh and violent, like the storm it depicts.

Vacillate – the word by the sound alone sounds indecisive.

Whimsy – playful and quaint and well… whimsical!

Do you have any favourites? What words float your creative boat?

Facebook Spam Party

A couple of days ago ahead of the Facebook IPO I uploaded a post on my Facebook wall about how much my Facebook data was worth in light of Facebook having been valued at US$104billion. It was worth about US$356 according to a website, FBME and I jokingly posted that I wanted the value in cash and not Facebook share options.

Ever since then, my blog SPAM folder has been playing host to a multitude of comments from various, mostly foreign, Facebook profiles. The comments seem intelligent and pointed, but directed at something other than my blog posts and comments to which they are targeted. I appear to be throwing a Facebook SPAM party and didn’t even know it.

Ever the gracious host I must have served up $356 in SPAM refreshments by now. I’d be grateful if you guys could find somewhere else to party. There have been about 30 of you in the last 24 hours alone and not a flatterer amongst the bunch! And not one request for my bank account number or news that a long lost wealthy relative has died and left me millions. Please move on and let the garden variety SPAM sleep in peace – they need their energy for their Viagra. Alternatively, I am sure there are a few Facebook shareholders with share options they wish to unload.

The good news is that WordPress spamware has caught about 98% of the comments, so whilst it’s my party, I don’t feel the need to cry.

I moderated the rest into the trash bin.

Are you having the same issue or am I the only one with the party balloons tied to the gateposts?

The ABC of Reflection Curtain Raising Style #atozchallenge

We have been asked to write a post reflecting on our A to Z April Blogging Challenge experience. This is mine. I have an alphabetical reflection list written out but during writing, this post morphed into something else, so I am going to let it go where it wants.

My blog had been up and running for exactly two weeks before the Challenge started so I was itching to get going. Being the noob that I am to the blogging world, I didn’t really understand all the talk amongst the experienced bloggers of having a theme for the Challenge. I now understand the utility of that – keeping your posts confined in that way gives you focus and simplifies the task somewhat. I’ll be heading into next year’s Challenge with a theme.

The where many highlights of the Challenge for me. Living in Australia, I was one of the first to post on day one which felt awesome! I visited some amazing blogs to see how it’s done, the creative talent out there is incredible! I felt connected in most instances to the Challenge blogs I read simply because the author and I were facing the Challenge together. Visited by some incredible bloggers, I felt very fortunate to also have some of the Challenge convenors swing my way.

The Challenge gave me a wonderful opportunity to build my blog content and to play around a little to see what works and what doesn’t. I am still scratching my head because there doesn’t appear to be any real rhyme or reason as to what an audience will like. Some days you nail it, some days all you do is hit your thumb! Whilst the Challenge was a demanding mistress, it taught me the benefits of a daily blogging discipline and it was comforting to have a daily programme. I admit I often changed my blog topics and I went into the Challenge knowing I would have to wing some of the letters. But inspiration always came and sometimes at the VERY last minute.

I commend the Challenge to all bloggers when it is run next year…

…especially if you are new to blogging!

A suggestion for next year. As a noob, I would have liked to get to know and talk to a few novice bloggers before the Challenge so we could make all our mistakes and grow as bloggers together and support each other. There didn’t appear to be an appropriate Challenge forum to do that or I didn’t know about it. The Facebook page swept up all non convenor posts. Maybe Twitter was the way to go, but I only recently became a member. I would have also appreciated the chance to join a couple of basic blogging workshops  or opportunities for test runs ahead of the Challenge run by some of the experienced bloggers. If the convenors take up this suggestion, then I would be happy to be involved/facilitate because as a noob you are grateful for any advice and attention thrown your way  – at that stage of the game a little bit of cyberkindness goes a looooooooong way.  I realise all it takes is time, which is a scarce commodity for most.

Otherwise a fantastic concept and a great job, well done!

A big thanks to Arlee Bird from Tossing it Out and Tina Downey from Life is Good, two of the convenors who showed me some cyberkindness during the Challenge. It is much appreciated.

Ryan Seacrest Is Now On The Carpet… For The ABC Blogging Award

A sense of humour is a beautiful thing. A sense of humour with a touch of irony is not only a beautiful thing but a match made in heaven. Give me a sense of humour, with a touch of irony sautéed in creative word play butter and I’m in orbit.

So having just landed back to earth and having waited for Ryan Seacrest to get his crispy clean tux back from the dry-cleaners after that OTHER award show, I am now in a position to pay the ABC Blogging Award forward. Some time back in April, Wendy from Finally…Wendy Wonders presented me with the ABC Blogging Award for Awesome Blogging Content. Not only did Wendy present me with the award, but she did so whilst I was partway through the A to Z Blogging Challenge and with a requirement that I have to make an alphabetical list of 26 things about myself (still laughing at that one) – that’s a home run into orbit, right there!!

Here is the award:

which I think is so much better dressed than these:

You’ll excuse me if I dispense with the alphabetical list of things about me with the paint on my Z post only having just dried. If you really want an alphabetical look into me, please read my Challenge posts.

So I have consulted with the PWC auditors, who have kept the results of the awards secret until now and they have handed me the envelope. The results have been audited and verified and well…let’s try and forget all about Enron, shall we?

I have come across some great bloggers in my short time here. You have made me think, made me laugh, made me nod my head and marvel at your talent. Whilst it is hard to choose only 5 blogs to receive the award, I hope you will agree with me the following 5 are mighty fine.

And the award goes to:

Fretym by Life With The Top Down – a fabulously fun blog involving wisdom, humour and a convertible that never fails to satisfy.

Of Glass and Paper by Sisyphus47 – a blog about writing, imagination and the soul written by a scholar and a gentleman who makes you think.

Wordsmatter by Tammy Davis – a well written family orientated blog that covers a diverse range of topics.

The Sound of One Hand Typing by John Holton – a really interesting blog by the fact king, once again covering a great diversity of topics with some baseball thrown in.

Grown and Flown: Empty Nest Parenting by Grown and Flown – a wonderfully wise and often times witty blog about life in the empty nest.

Please swing past and read these great blogs and maybe even leave a comment or two.

Congratulations to you guys and now a reminder that with glory comes responsibility. Compose a list of 26 things about you alphabet style and then pass on the award to five blogs which you consider are worthy of the title Awesome Blog Content.

May the fourth (which is tomorrow   – in my world anyway) be with you!

1 is for The First Day Of The 1 to 100 Day Blog Challenge

photo from flikr -
leo reynolds'

Ok, so here it is day one after the conclusion of the A to Z Challenge, wondering what I’m going to do with myself now that the structured impetus for daily blog posts is over. Wandering the wilderness of the Internet, looking for avenues to appease my blogging bug. Folks, I have now got it bad.

The 1 to 100 Day Blog Challenge means a blog a day for the next 100 days based on numbers. After that, I am moving to symbols and next colours (and we all know how good I am at those) …the Challenge possibilities are endless. All you have to do is stick with me for the next 100 days.

Day one: the number one, what a wonderful sleek-looking number it is. A powerful number and a common denominator for all. Let’s marvel at the number 1:

photo from flikr -
leo reynolds' photostream

I can hear the collective groan now, 100 days?

yep, 100 straight days of curtain raising posts

wisdom roast followed by a sinfully rich dessert of self deprecating humour

chicken soup for the blogging soul

88 is looking real good, excited about 25 too. 45 though, I think is going to be trouble – too many jagged edges.

I am kidding……there is no 1 to 100 Day Challenge!!

However, I do want to say a big thanks to those who joined my A to Z blogging Challenge party – no matter how briefly. If it were not for your readership, enthusiasm and support it would have been much harder going than it was.  Whatever challenges we may face (whether by choice or by circumstance), it is good to know that there are those who are prepared to share some aspects with us. For a novice blogger trying to make her way, this means much. For those who read my posts the whole way through, commented, liked or ended by following me you guys are numero uno!

photo from flikr -
leo reynolds'

Thank you!!

Y is for Yoda and Yarn: Connected, They Are (#atozchallenge)

photo from flikr -
leo reynolds'

I am not a procrastinator by nature. In fact, I’m the opposite. Once I have made up my mind, I go for it, totally zonal and focused. That was until it came to starting a blog. Just six short weeks ago I knew very little about blogging other than how to read and subscribe to one. What a journey it has been.

It was the A to Z Challenge that really put an end to the procrastination. I had to get the blog up and running for 1 April to be able to participate and really knew nothing about the tech side of things. Once I became aware of my blogging options, I got caught in the analysis paralysis trap, too many choices as I really wanted my blog to look sleek and welcoming. Of course, I was modelling my expectations by looking at blogs that had been up and running for years. Big mistake! At that point I realized that blogs evolve, are not just made and let my preconceived ideas go. It was then simply a matter of putting a pin in WordPress and typing.

I still pinch myself that I am sharing the blogosphere with real writers. My aim with this blog is to entertain by sharing my life experiences and to polish my writing along the way. Others of course have different aims. To those of you who can create characters and write fiction or achieve publication you have my utmost admiration.

A couple of weeks ago I started a writing course. I have learned some techniques that will help me get inside a character’s head and develop a story line. The classes have been fun and because I am already putting my writing out there in the form of this blog, I am less conscious about sharing my work with others. Creating, I have learned, is about just letting go, silencing the inner critic and keeping the pen moving.

Science fiction is not my movie genre of choice, I’m more of a chickflick girl. But one science fiction character I dig is Yoda. If ever there was an epitome of a wise oracle type of character, Yoda is it. From his wisdom to his ears to his speech, I wouldn’t change a thing. So it was with some delight that the convenors of the course chose to motivate us by giving us the following well-known Yodaism:

So here I am, doing!

As for the yarn, I am talking about this:

Informal A long, often elaborate narrative of real or fictitious adventures; an entertaining tale.

not this:

One of the writing exercises we had to do this week was to create a character and write on the topic “Love Hurts“. A short two minutes of creating, keeping the pen moving and practicing conveying emotion. With Yoda’s wise words firmly in my head I did just that and I thought I would share with you the yarn that I produced in those two minutes.

Lilly knew she had to do it today. She knew it wasn’t fair to string Brett along any longer. She had to break it off, let him go his own way to find a girl who could really appreciate him for who he was. Being at work in a busy restaurant wasn’t ideal. But Brett was here now, having started his shift as a short-order cook not twenty minutes before.

Lilly always felt lousy at times like this. She was always the one that instigated the break up. She had no desire to be the dumpee and Brett had gotten too close. She hated these moments, hated being the bitch… but her upbringing had taught her that love hurts. Yes, fear could do that to you.

Nervously looking to her left, she followed Brett’s every move. Distracted she almost dropped the plate of food she was carrying to table four. That just wouldn’t do, laden as it was with peas, carrots and gravy.

J. K Rowling I am not (nor do I want to be), but I am really liking this character and feel that I want to bring Lilly more to life. I’m not sure where I will go with her, but this is a huge leap for someone who is used to being overly descriptive in her writing style. I am starting to let go and leave matters to the reader’s imagination.

So this blog is a little different today and now I’ve put it out there and done more than try. I’d love to hear any feedback you want to give me, good or bad.

As Yoda would say, curtain you have started to raise. Go a little higher, you should.