[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

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The player scrapbooks forum is literally a place for writers to warm-up, brainstorm, keep little scraps of notes, or just post things to encourage themselves and each other. Each player can feel free to create their own thread - one per account - and use them accordingly.

[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Montaine on September 2nd, 2012, 11:25 pm

You know, for a moment I didn't get the off-green British dungeon comment, then I looked up and yeah...yeah...

My family and I used to go on frequent walks when I was a child, and I certainly wouldn't change that. I hated it back then and I'd hate it if I had to do it again now but hey, I remember them which is more than I can say for most of last week.

I guess because I spend most of my time indoors I rarely feel homesick. I've never lived in the city proper, but I doubt it'll be any different. All I miss about where I grew up is being cooked for, and my prize mooching skills generally gets that from other people. I'm a terrible friend.

Also, you bastard. You bastard.

You know what you did.

Bastard.
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[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Minerva Agatha Zipporah on September 3rd, 2012, 12:11 am

Being that I'm a regular visitor and participant in Monty's scrap (whether he likes it or not!), it's probably fairly clear to anyone who reads it that I like to ramble on about words. Many of my contributions here tend to have a strong focus on etymology (my hobby), writing (my college major), and communication (my minor).

Thus, the first thoughts that pop into my head after reading both Monty's blurb at the top about 'Autumn' and Seven's quite clearly deliberate use of the alternative word 'fall,' was to wonder about WHY we have two words for this season, but only one word a piece for each of the other three?

(Don't worry, I'll segue this into an actual discussion of nature further down below. Those who wish to skip Tock's Etymology Corner can simply Ctrl-F to skip ahead to that discussion, which for convenience shall begin with the word 'Vermont.')

So. Why the two words? The obvious answer for where we get 'fall' is because leaves fall from the trees, and in an amazing leap of creativity, our ancestors decided this event was profound enough to warrant naming the whole season after it. It actually used to get called a somewhat more formal 'Fall of the leaves,' before being chopped short.

The root of Autumn itself can of course be traced back to Latin. It seems to literally mean 'drying up season.' But I found it interesting to learn the entire season was once simply called Harvest, which is about as original of a designation as 'fall,' stemming from the fact that this is when crops are harvested. People largely stopped using 'harvest' when most of the population started moving into cities, and the connection between the seasons and farming practices became less important to most.

But all of that aside, we only have one common word each for spring, summer, and winter. Spring of course means plants 'spring up' from the ground, but there's also things like the Spanish 'primavera,' prima simply being 'first' and vera being related to 'vernal.' We know vernal from 'vernal equinox,' but the root traces back to the same as the word 'spring' itself, so that doesn't really lead us to 'two words for the season,' since they literally mean the same thing. And no one says they're looking forward to the vernal season, so it's clearly not in common use.

Summer is an interesting one. Being that it is the halfway-point of the year, and the root origins are related to 'semi' and 'year.' So 'summer' literally translates into 'semi-year.'

The origins of 'winter' trace back to roots meaning 'wet' or 'white.' So it's the wet white season, fairly obvious unless you live in an area where it never snows.

So the answer, it seems, is that these three seasons each have a single source for their names. Whereas Autumn meaning drying up and fall meaning, well, fall came from slightly different sources (Autumn traces back to old French, Fall to old English and beyond that, germanic). And, like so many things in our shared language, the two words developed into common use in England and America, respectively. Over time, Englishmen like my dear friend Montaine gradually stopped using 'fall' the same as they don't favor the use of 'elevator' instead of 'lift'. Whereas Yanks like me, mostly dropped off the use of Autumn in favor of the shorter word. Of course, some Americans do USE the word Autumn, but over here it definitely isn't as much in common use. Kind of like how we still have the word 'automobile,' but absolutely everyone just says they drive a car.

Likely if we didn't have to share a language, one of these words or the other would have fallen out of use completely, going the way of 'thou' and 'peon.'

Anyway. I've rambled on about words enough. Let's talk about nature.

Vermont. Vermont to me is practically synonymous with 'nature.' If you want to see some truly beautiful changing of tree colors, look no further. I have an aunt who lives up there, and we used to visit there frequently in the fall (I use this word here, rather than Autumn, not to prove any point, but simply because it rolls more naturally off my American tongue). Part of it, I think, is the mountains. When you look across the mountain slope, the vertical layout of the trees lets you see thousands of trees at once, instead of just the ones right in front of you. From a high point in Vermont, you can see for miles on end, a patchwork quilt of trees turning different colors.

Except those damn evergreens. Nonconformists.

Where I live, in New Jersey, nature isn't quite as magnificent, but it still has its perks. At least once a week I get to see some deer wandering past when I deliver pizzas to some of the more heavily wooded areas. They don't even get spooked when you drive by. They're completely used to humans. I doubt that applies so far that they'd let you touch them, but still.

Anyway that's enough rambling from me. Tl;dr.
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[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Montaine on September 7th, 2012, 12:30 am

A Series of Brief Reviews

Image


Okay, let's get this thing on the road, shall we? Many thanks to Paragon for grading Nobody's Got No Class, an important look at Monty's integration into high society. It was a lot of fun to write for plenty of reasons but oddly enough what I liked most was giving the wheezy lad an opportunity to see all of Zeltiva from one place. Sure magic is all shiny and fancy and dangerous but you can see the entire city from up there. For a boy who was always unable to appreciate the full scale of things from his little cage, I like to think that meant a lot. Anywho, onto today's topic. It's not so much a discussion one, more of a report, but I wanted to share.

About a week back I returned from that most wonderful of exotic holiday destinations: Scotland. I was in Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Fringe, the world's largest arts festival most famous for its stand-up comedy. It's home to the E4 Udderbelly, an immense tent in the shape of an upturned purple cow, the head of which is the oddly phallic looking object in the image above. It also spawned the careers of most of Britain's comedians, or was at least a turning point. It was the first place that the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was performed and, well, it's pretty great. Established comedians test new routines there, often in tiny venues. Last year, for example, I sat not three metres from Phill Jupitus in a tiny little pub in his first show after a long hiatus. There are also a tonne of free shows from the unknowns who plaster you with flyers as you walk down the Royal Mile.

This year I saw five established comedians whom I shall now discuss in order of viewing. The first was Susan Calman, she's Glaswegian, recently married her girlfriend of nine years and is an oft-heard voice on BBC Radio 4, of which I am an avid listener due to having an inner child in his forties. While I do like her on the radio, I feared that holding her own on the stage she might not be quite as funny as she was riffing off of other people, but I'm glad to say she exceeded my expectations. Not immensely, but enough to leave me pleasantly surprised. The entire performance was in essence a love letter to her wife, explaining all of her deep, inherent flaws, such as dressing up her cats and being passionately in love with fictional detective Jane Tennison, and culminating in her breaking down in tears at how she had actually managed to find someone who still wanted to marry her, and how they couldn't officially call it a marriage. It was good fun, and ranked third of the five.

The second I saw was Marcus Brigstocke, who I had seen before and loved. He's more televisually inclined but also spends a fair amount of time on Radio 4 and is highly political. That is to say, if you're of conservative inclinations he's probably not going to be your cup of tea. However, this time he was rather disappointing. He's an excellent comedian and, as I have previously stated, the Fringe is a testing ground for new material which doesn't always work. He spent a lot of time railing at David Cameron, which is fine, but repeatedly calling him Camoron got a bit tired, and he started with a tirade about how racism is fine if you're not actually racist which didn't go down well with his Radio 4-listening, Guardian-reading demographic. Fifth of five.

Greg Proops is a name familiar in the UK only to those who were fans of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, an excellent improv programme that aired a fair while back. The US version is far more recent but I don't doubt he's been on that plenty of times too. He started rather poorly for a reason that he really can only blame himself for. Jokes at the expense of the Opening Ceremonies would probably have flown in any other country in the world...not so much here. But once he got onto the topic of music he picked up the crowd and it just got better from there. I wasn't sure what to expect, as I had only seen his improv prior to the performance, but he really was excellent. Second of five.

Sandi Toksvig. I don't think I need to say more. First of five.

Oh? Sorry? You don't know who she is? Well, for all the overseas people who are unaware, Sandi Toksvig is brilliant, amazing, wonderful. Seriously, there is nothing bad to say about her. Her show was incredibly well written to the point that it seemed spontaneous which, from a technical standpoint, is incredibly difficult to pull off. She's also led an incredible life. She showed us a photo of her and her castmates from the first ever all-female Cambridge Footlights production from way back when. Four people: her; Emma Thompson; Jan Ravens; and one other face that no one recognised because she didn't go into entertainment. She did however move to Edinburgh and happened to be sitting not five seats to my right, and upon discovering this Sandi bounded up the steps and forced her to agree to come to tea after the show. Toksvig's father was also Denmark's only foreign correspondent at the time of the moon landings and was in the control centre when Armstrong stepped onto the moon, and brought Sandi with him. She held Armstrong's secretary's hand. Toksvig: fuckin' A. First of Five.

Aaaand finally: Jimmy Carr. Jimmy Carr is known for his acerbic wit and dark humour, for making offensive jokes designed to piss people off. He's also rather famous, being on all the shows on Channel 4 and quite a few on the BBC. He is incredibly popular and very quick, and admittedly pretty funny. But there was something off. I didn't enjoy his show as much as I thought I should have. He was on top form, his jokes were largely well crafted, but there was just something I didn't enjoy. It took me a while to figure it out but here it is: he's not real. Now that sounds pretentious and prissy and I hate myself for saying it but it's true. I don't care about the private lives of celebrities, of comedians, but my favourites all draw on their real lives, their real experiences to create their shows. If Brigstocke uses the first person he's more than likely expressing his real opinion, or telling a real story. If Carr does it, it's for a punchline, it's not true just a quick fix joke. And that's his style, and I don't begrudge him that, but it's not my cup of tea. I prefer him on TV, on panel shows where he's being himself, not some ridiculous joke machine. Fourth of Five.

Whew, that was way longer than it should have been. Normal grumpily philosophical service shall resume shortly.

Word of the day: nauseous, the quality of inspiring nausea, not of suffering from nausea.

-Monty
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[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Pash'nar on September 7th, 2012, 1:40 am

While you were at the Fringe Festival, some of the folks I now work with at WorldStrides were there, too. I'm contemplating attempting to go next year, though there's another designer at work (who's been with the company for 18 years) who goes every year and I doubt I can usurp the privilege. Given that the hubs is Scottish in ancestry, we'd find it rather awesome to go. He could even wear his kilt. Hur hur.

But, what was I saying? I got distracted.

Oh. I think that was it. :P
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[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Montaine on September 22nd, 2012, 9:49 am

Man, I take a week off and one of my major thread partners and a pretty cool guy from what I could see goes AWOL. I'd better not leave again.

Speaking of which, I'm not actually back yet. I'm heading up to university today and things'll be pretty hectic for the first fortnight or so. Apologies to my thread partners. Talk to you all soon.
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[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Echelon on October 9th, 2012, 3:44 pm

You best.
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Postby Montaine on October 13th, 2012, 11:38 am

Okay, so the first fortnight of actual university is over now and I'm still not ready to return quite yet. Perhaps unsurprisingly the third year of my three year course is somewhat heavier on the workload than the second year, or maybe it's the same and I'm just doing more of the reading. Or maybe it's the same and I'm just doing any of the reading.

Regardless, work is hard and I'm hard at work and between reading the works of Chaucer, fulfilling my obligatory social duties with my friends and maintaining the messiest house in existence, what little time I have to myself to recover and relax is sparse and writing appears to be a little too close to what I'm doing as work right now to be relaxing. I'm sure that once I get into the swing of things I'll find the time to get back here and update all my threads, but I hope you understand why I'm not doing that right now.

I miss you guys. You're more entertaining than Nietzsche.
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Postby Oluse on November 10th, 2012, 1:20 am

Come back, Riesling.
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[Montaine's Scrapbook] The Cellar Door

Postby Cascade on November 16th, 2012, 2:39 am

I miss you and your glorious hair. :(
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