Friday, February 17, 2017

Celebrate the small things: salt and pepper

When teaching my students how to improve their writing, one of the things I stress is the importance of adjectives and adverbs. I explain to them that adjectives add information to nouns and adverbs add information to verbs. Without them, adjectives especially, writing can be dull, and the one thing you don't want as a writer is to bore your readers. I tell them that adjectives and adverbs add flavour to their writing. Without descriptive language, writing can taste very bland to the reader's palate. (with more advanced learners I can also discuss metaphorical language as exemplified by my previous sentence.)

I recently chose a book based on the title and the blurb. Had I also read the first chapter or even the first few pages, I would not have bought it. Why? As far as descriptive and metaphorical language goes, it was a desert. I won't name the book here, but I did, after much deliberation, review it on Goodreads with a rating of two stars. I read through it quickly without feeling engaged or especially interested at any point. At first, I didn't know why, and then I figured it out. Aside from other faults, like excessive use of passive voice, it lacked descriptive language. I might be wrong, but I don't think there was a single metaphor or simile to be found between its covers. 

Quickly moving on to the next novel, I was immediately relieved. To continue my desert metaphor from above, I had made it to an oasis where I was able to jump in to beautiful literary writing, full of wonderful descriptive passages and powerful metaphors. My soul was refreshed after just one chapter of The Water Horse by Julia Gregson.

That is also the reason I love classic novels so much: they feature such beautiful and fascinating language, as well as unusual and complex sentence structures.

So today I am thankful for adjectives, adverbs and metaphors: salt and pepper, and mushroom sauce on my reading steak. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things: A taste of metal

None of my friends, in real life, or in my online life are major heavy metal fans like myself which means I have no one to talk to about one of the loves of my life. My son used to be. He was once obsessed with Metallica, and he introduced me to the band which is now one of my favourites: Australia's own, Parkway Drive. Sadly he has moved on from his metal phase.

To overcome this problem, I did what everyone does when they have no one to talk to...I turned to social media. I found a Facebook group for heavy metal fans, and now I can exchange opinions and music with headbangers from all over the globe. This gives me pleasure, so today I am giving thanks for Crescent Heavy Metal Rock Music.

I also want to give thanks for the genre itself, which contains surprising diversity. Bach is said to be the originator of heavy music, and many of the great early heavy metal bands, Black Sabbath for example, credit this influence. I don't like all the sub genres of heavy metal, but I doubt anybody does. Whilst some think heavy metal is just noise, the bands I like, impress and move me with their musicianship and the lyrical content. I actually find loud, fast and aggressive music relaxing. Okay, so that sounds weird, but each to their own right?

My top five metal bands are, in no particular order: POD, Metallica, Disciple, Parkway Drive, and Trivium.

Here's something moderate for your possible enjoyment:

Friday, February 3, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things: Fluff and Bubbles

Social media represents different things to different people. For some it is an addiction, for others a time filler/waster. To some it is a weapon of activist/fundamentalist warfare, for others it's all about relationships, (sharing and connectedness). For some it's about information, for other it's about entertainment. For some people it's a mixture of all these things with recipes as diverse as humanity itself, while for others it's nothing at all.

I have an eclectic group of friends on Facebook so I get exposed to a wonderful variety of people and their worldviews. I love it! It's so fascinating - irritating and offensive at times, to be sure, but nonetheless engaging, informative and entertaining.

From time to time, I like to take my friends on by making provocative comments because I like a good discussion. At other times, I just want to 'share' my own thoughts. I also, on occasion, simply want some fluff and bubbles. I think most memes are stupid so I just ignore them. It still mystifies me how a video of ducks walking along a road gets millions of views on YouTube, but...whatever. I don't tell anyone what they should or shouldn't like or share because I respect people.

Today I feel grateful for the World Wide Web, and in particular, social media which is, on balance, a wonderful thing. So today because I'm feeling light and fluffy, here's a video of ducks; just for you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Healthy Choice Lasagne

Oops...this isn't supposed to be here. Maybe this 'accident'  happened for a reason.

It's what I also feared (perhaps too strong of a word) about microwave low fat/no fat meals: a lack of taste. This cost $4, and was quite filling, but lacked punch, and cheese. This is easily the worst of the microwave lasagnes I've had. Not terrible, just not as good as the others. 2 mangoes.

I bought myself another half pineapple for $2.50 from Coles, and had some tonight. Great. Sweet and juicy. 5 mangoes.