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February 24th, 2008

10:57 am
More toucan stuff...

I've discovered a toucan group in Yahoo Groups! I would have discovered it sooner, had I poked more around Emerald Forest's homepage rather than just going straight to the bird info. *facepalm* The list is pretty active, too, so that's a good. I'll get to pick some brains, maybe, before we make a decision. I've already found out that, yes, fruit can be frozen.

I've also decided that the aracari I like best is the Ivory Billed Aracari. LOOK AT THE COLORS. And they're all cute and little! Seriously, they weigh five ounces. That's, like...a cheeseburger. *dies* And they're sexually dimorphic (which means males and females actually look different--the male has a black head and the female has a brown head, in this case). The price on them isn't outrageous, either... Erm, at least, it's not outrageous for an aracari. They're not the least expensive, but they're not the most expensive.

I have a deep and burning need to visit Emerald Forest, y'all.

In other news, we've decided not to buy the airplane. We really can't justify the expense. A toucan, though... The Hubby has eleven days off in a row next month for the Moab Jeep Safari--which we're not even sure we're going to go to, because it's early and the Willys doesn't like snow. Like, at all. San Diego is looking GOOD...

09:07 pm
On the use of "there."

I'm going to discuss one of my linguistic pet peeves right now. Those of you who have no interest in writing meta can just scroll on by. These thoughts were brought to the surface by a discussion of the Oscars with the handsome and talented kurukami, and the movie title "There Will Be Blood."

Which has to be, like, the lamest title ever.

Now, I freely admit, I've come up with a few clunkers in my time. My least favorite title for an original story of my own is "Guardians of Public Safety." However, if I ever put the word "there" in one of my titles, unless it's referring to an actual place? Shoot me.

Seriously, "There Will Be Blood"? It sounds like a bad zombie movie with giant spiders and vampires thrown in just for fun. It's cliche, it's tired, it's boring, and it's pretentious. Many other words can do the job of the "there" in that title, and do it better and more descriptively. What will the blood be doing? Flowing? Spattering? Running? "Blood Will Run in the Streets," while not much better, is better than that. Even if a character in the movie says this line (which I can totally picture in an Oscar-nominated film, don't get me started), "There Will Be Blood" is still a horrible title.

And this brings me to the use of "there" in prose. "There was a dog sitting in the doorway." UGH UGH UGH. NO. DON'T DO THIS. Not only does it start with the hated "there," but it's passive. "A dog sat in the doorway." Doesn't that sound better? Nine times out of ten, you can either expunge the word completely or rephrase the sentence to make it do more work and sound stronger.

The only time I'll tolerate that word at the beginning of a sentence in my own stories is in dialogue, because that's the way people actually talk. Otherwise? Horrible horrible word. I just went through the Giant Bugs fic and got rid of all but one instance, and that instance was part of a "here, there, that other place" sequence.

"It" is another one of those words. "It was raining." WHAT was raining? This doesn't tell us anything about the rain. Make your sentences work harder than that. "Rain drizzled from the sky." "Rain slashed at the ground in torrents." Don't get urple with it, but for Pete's sake, you can do better than "there" and "it."