Thursday, April 22, 2010

The creek behind my apartment

Behind my apartment there is a creek. It could also be considered a ditch since it serves the purposes of collecting runoff and swinging it down to the larger creek, and then to the river that runs through town. It is natural, or at least more natural than the ditches I grew up near - all concrete, uniform, and deep - named the Rough and Ready and the Oligarchy. I wonder if I could find the name for mine.

It's a lovely creek. There's about ten feet of grass, bushes, and trees on either side of it and the trees leaf out in the summer and keep our apartment cool. During the winter, I can look through their branches to the mountains and it gives the place a decent view.

Last night, rolling back to the apartment after a thrilling game of Mutants & Masterminds where we finished our story arc, Gen and I were startled by the noise of the creek. Normally, it's a dinky little crawdad-fishing kind of creek. Just a trickle of water. Last night, because of the rains, it had spread out into an 8-foot wide rush of runoff.

This morning, when I left for work, the creek was almost back to normal, but all of the grass around it was flattened and squashed into the mud as evidence.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Silly Name I Use For This Blog

I started this blog a few years ago and I always pick faintly pretentious names to represent me on the internet. Whenever I pick them I choose something that sounds like a name, and follows fantasy-writing naming conventions. It's an old habit, and despite my desire for web presence and the fact that I've even sent my mother the link to this blog (because, really, it's not like I post anything I wouldn't mind sharing with the universe), I still use made up names for pseudo-anonymity.

Anyone who knows me in real life - or anyone who cleverly delves through the internets to find out my secret identity - already knows my name. For everyone else, I'm comfortable responding to Alii.

That said, I pulled the name out of thin air. Supposedly nonsense, 'Alii' was to be a handle for a niche website and was never intended to creep into the internet at large. The reason I kept it is that the word alii means lady (more or less) in the Hawaiian language and there is meaning beyond just my own attributions. I used the name for long enough to attach it to a representational avatar rather than leaving it a one-shot name. It stuck, and when I wandered to write a blog it was my main handle at the time.

I've become rather fond of it, though I often wince that it uses two 'ii's, even though that's how the word is spelled. It's a 'weird' letter combination and while I like the name, it does not mark itself as non-European enough to explain the combo. Subsequently, I look like a goofball because it appears to use RavynSparklePryncess spelling, even though it is simply a not a Latin/Roman title. There is also a 50% chance that the first 'i' will be an 'l' when others spell it, despite not being a shortening of Allison. People's brains are marvelous things and that's what people expect.

Silverwing, however, is just silly. It's very dragony, used on New Age, dragon, and floofier forums, and a simple google search will turn up a young-adult series, several types of vehicles, a server on WoW and any number of other things. There's nothing to recommend using it. 'Silverwing' is very common while 'Alii' is not.

Perhaps that's part of the allure. I'm one of many Silverwings. My last name - the offline one - is long, somewhat complicated, and I can probably count on fingers-and-toes how many of us use it in the US. Distinctive, sure, but difficult to pronounce, consistently butchered in pronunciation and spelling, and generally bothersome in other respects. In some ways, saying, "Hey, I like dragons. Mmmm. I think I'll use the name Silverwing," shows that I consider my online stomping grounds a simpler place. The name is random, silly (Very silly!), and I didn't worry too much about it when I shoved it into the blog creation engine where it spat out my new url.

I can, however, change it. Unfortunately, despite the ability, it means that the address I've been using for several years will no longer work, which is a problem. As soon as I can figure that one out, I'll most likely change the url for this blog, and possibly eliminate 'Silverwing' from the name I use here altogether.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools Rant : Warning for Language

I don't know quite how to express my utter loathing for April Fools Day.

It's on this day that people 'prank' others with childish malice and flat out lie to each other about life status changes (I'm engaged/pregnant/moving to China!), or about things that will cause them to panic (Disaster in aisle four/your kid fell down a well/you're being fired) and is basically only fun for the people who are lying to the butt of the joke.

Did I mention I hate April Fools Day for the license it gives asshats to make shit up and scare people?

Now, I personally like April Fools jokes that are obviously jokes, or that are tongue in cheek, or that make you sit back immediately and go 'Waaaaiiiitttt, a minute....', but are essentially harmless. Things like ThinkGeek's Tauntaun sleeping bag, Wow's In-Game Pizza Service, and Google changing it's name to Topeka for today are hilarious and don't /hurt/ anyone, or make them panic, or do anything other than entertain. I enjoy these. They're pretty fantastic and actually clever.

Since April Fools Day isn't ultimately used for harmless amusement but by the horrible people who take advantage of others and then whine that we can't take a joke, however, I protest on fucking principle.

I end this rant with a huge fuck you to basically everyone. Especially those who try to get me to see the lighter side of April Fools. Yes. I know. It's cute. Now fuck off, it's still a horrible idea. No, I'm not taking myself too seriously, I'm trying to get through my day with a minimum of avoidable frustration. Come up with something clever if you want me to appreciate your prank.