Mea culpa: "To yard sale" is real slang meaning "to fall down." However, it comes from skiing/snowboarding, when a violent fall scatters your equipment like junk spread out on a lawn for a yard sale. Very witty and intuitively clear in that context! The context in Ward's book was a guy who was stumbling around his apartment either naked or in pajamas, I forget which. Nothing would have scattered had he keeled over.

Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 4) is the one with the human cop hero and the sad virgin vampire heroine. I actually liked the heroine, Marissa. The hero, Butch, was a total jackass. You could not have come up with a better example of how "alpha male" traits taken to extremes are actually asshole traits.

Butch had one of the stupidest conflicts I've ever come across in a romance novel. He's human and if his vampire girlfriend drinks his blood, he'll DIE. So she drinks from a vampire friend instead, which is how vampires normally feed. Butch is jealous because feeding has sexual overtones, and demands that she drink from him instead, even though it will KILL HIM. He gets so demanding about it and furious at her drinking from someone other than him that his poor girlfriend, who doesn't want to KILL HIM, starts starving herself!

So he would rather DIE by forcing the woman he supposedly loves to KILL HIM, thus leaving her alone, heartbroken, and horribly guilty, than have her perform a mildly sexual act with a friend that she needs to do TO LIVE.

Admittedly, this is called out as stupid in the book. But it's also portrayed that it's totally natural for Butch, a MANLY MANLY MAN, to prefer death to having his girlfriend have a relationship with another man which she has no choice over and does not regard as sexual (though Butch does.)

There was a nicely effective bit of body horror when Butch is infected with eevil and his come turns black. YIKES.

Bad medicine: Do not cram stuff into people's mouths if they're having a seizure!

Quote chosen by randomly opening book: "I threatened the king's life to ahvenge your honor!"

Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3) was my favorite. The hero of this one, Zsadist-- just pause to admire that-- is not an asshole. He's a physically and emotionally scarred survivor of kidnapping and repeated rape, who thinks he's too damaged to be anything but a killer and has some serious hang-ups about sex. Within the completely over the top context of the book, I have to say that this was handled pretty realistically and sensitively. And also milked for maximum angst. The heroine, Bella, is sexually assertive and mostly rescues herself. Very nice!

Zsadist's twin brother, Phury-- just pause to admire that-- has possibly the all-time best "how I lost my leg" story. Incidentally, a number of the male vampires are disabled, sometimes with magical compensation but often not. I liked this aspect of the series.

Bad medicine: If you've been injected with a drug, vomiting won't "get it out of your system." It's in your bloodstream, not your stomach.

Quote chosen by randomly opening book: Before Zsadist left, he took one last look at the fish tank. The food was almost gone now, snipped off the surface by little gaping mouths, mouths that came at it from the underside. (I like this, actually. Zsadist is feeling triggered and unsettled and not consciously noticing it, but everything around him has taken on a slightly sinister tinge.)

In Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 5), we learn that Vishous-- just pause to admire that-- is canonically bisexual and has a crush on Butch. Sadly, this is the book about his romance with a woman, Jane, a doctor who gets kidnapped to tend Vishous' wounds. The romance made no sense in this one. Vishous is traumatized by early noncon same-sex encounters so now he can only have sex by dominating women in completely consensual BDSM settings, and he and Jane have sweet banter and then he repeatedly dubcons her but it's OK because she consented, sort of, and then he subs for her in penance for... something. What? It also turns out that he knows how to resurrect the dead, which may have been set up in previous books but seemed out of the blue in this one. Bonus WTF "happy ending."

Bad medicine: You STILL don't stuff things in people's mouths if they have a seizure!

Quote chosen by randomly opening book: Butch's jaw dropped and he pulled a bobble.
rachelmanija: (Princess Bride: Let me sum up)
( Aug. 15th, 2014 01:58 pm)
I will do an actual write up shortly, but first I had to quote this. The context is that the character is having trouble walking.

It seemed like at any moment his knees were going to take a vacation and he was going to yard sale like an idiot. - J. R. Ward, Lover Unbound.

I can tell from context that "yard sale" means "fall down."

...How in the world does "yard sale" get to mean "fall down?"

This made me think of how difficult it is to invent slang. Actual slang tends to have properties which makes it more-or-less comprehensible:

People use words and phrases in a natural context, so you can usually figure them out from that context.

Slang is usually not isolated, but part of a whole slang culture, from Valley-speak to doge. If you know some of the slang from that culture, you know its rules and can use them to figure out new-to-you slang. For instance, all the "bad = good" slang. If you know that law, you can figure out that someone being enthusiastic about something while calling it "trash" probably means that "trash = good."

Slang usually has some sort of internal logic - words that don't make sense to people don't get repeated, while the ones that make sense to lots of people get used and thus become common coin. It's not totally random. If you've been exposed to the "bad = good" slang culture, you might be able to get "puketastic = good" to catch on. But fetch will never happen.

One author can't replicate the wisdom of crowds. So they need to have a good ear and make good use of context. Ward is generally pretty good at context - it was obvious what "yard sale" meant - but not so much on the ear.

Anyway, reading her books reminded me of one of the worst failures of context for invented slang I've ever encountered, the only movie I've ever walked out on, Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead. I saw it with a friend in an advance screening. It's a gangster movie full of totally incomprehensible invented slang. The point at which we walked out went something like this:

Gangster 1 bursts into a solemn meeting of gangsters.

Gangster 1: Guys, guys! Capelli bought a boat drink!!!

This is obviously deeply meaningful to the gangsters.

Gangsters: Mmm, ahhh. That changes everything.

Me, Friend: [WTF looks.]

Gangster 2: And we all know what this means, right?

Gangsters: [Nod.]

Friend (whispers): I don't know what this means!

Me (whispers): He got whacked?

Friend (whispers): He ratted them out to the feds?

Me (whispers): He came out of the closet?

Friend (whispers): He moved to Miami?

Gangster 3: Yeah. We gotta tarantula.

Friend (whispers): Let's go get boat drinks.

We left.

(Actual reviews to come!)

ETA: I looked up "boat drinks" in that movie. When you go to Heaven, you lounge on a boat drinking, so boat drinks = dead. However, I may have misremembered the actual slang in that context, because "buckwheat" = "killed horribly." So the dialogue I remember might have actually been "Capelli's buckwheat."

I leave it to you, my imaginative readers, to figure out why buckwheat means killed horribly. A derivation of "pushing up daisies," minus the "pushing up" part that makes it make sense?
I don't know what this is called - fake etymology? - but it's the academic practice of breaking up or altering words in order to produce an insight which is either obvious and unnecessary, or a ridiculous stretch.

My annoyance is brought to you by an article by John Bradshaw, "Healing the Shame that Binds You," which contains both "un-family-iar" (unfamiliar) and "at-one-ment" (atonement.)

You will be unsurprised to learn that I am also not big on "herstory," "womyn," and "re(member)ing."

We will see if I manage to get all the way through grad school without producing a paper parodying this, like "Re(store)ing the di-vine: Dionysian X-stacy and the pow!er of for(merely)bidden s(pee)ch."
I love my Kindle. And I love being able to download the first chapter or few as a free sample. I’ve bought several books I otherwise might not have taken a chance on, based on the quality of the first few chapters, and been warned off others. (Best purchase based on sample chapter so far: Lauren Beukes’ Zoo City. Warning: dark. Further warning: get the print edition. The e-book has annoying formatting errors.)

For your amusement, I’m going to write up a couple recent Kindle samples I downloaded while recovering from food poisoning. They are all YA sff and mostly dystopian, partly because there’s lots of dystopian YA out there now and partly because it cheered me to contemplate places more awful than my bathroom floor at 3:00 AM.

XVI, by Julia Karr. XVI = sixteen = SEX-teen = sexting = sending sexy text messages. When teenage girls (only girls?) turn sixteen, they are forced to get a tattoo labeling them sex-teens – legally available for sex. How this is different from places in the world now in which sixteen is indeed the age of legal consent, other than the tattoo, I am not sure. Unless they are forced to be sexually available to any man who asks? It’s not made clear in the part I read.

The setting is a generic near-future dystopia in which government is oppressive, media is evil, and religion has gone the way of the dodo: Gran even reads the Bible. But everyone knows that’s mythology. Although sometimes when I see how good it seems to make Gran feel, I have to wonder if there’s some truth to it.

Worst pro-religion argument ever! Lots of things make you feel good, such as drugs, bacon, and sex. “It feels good” has little to do with “it’s good for you,” let alone “it’s the truth.” And I speak as one who enjoys both bacon and sex.

The three chapters I read were bland, obvious, and tin-eared, combining clunky info-dumping with clunkier slang. I am surprised that no editor knew or cared that “trannie,” here used to mean “motor vehicle,” is, in the real world, generally-offensive slang for “transgender person.” There’s a Resistance movement, imaginatively known as “the Resistance.” To my amusement, members of the Resistance are known as NonCons, which in fanfic circles means non-consensual, ie, rape fantasy. Very appropriate!

The heroine is preachy and judgmental, conveying what I suspect is the author’s horror at the thought of teenage girls having sex. The chapters I read, and the entire concept, reminded me of the infamous Rainbow Party, a book written to capitalize on media-generated horror over “rainbow parties,” in which teenage girls supposedly all wore different colors of lipstick and boys competed to see who could get the most colors on their dick. Unsurprisingly, this turned out to be an urban legend. (Sexual Urban Legends: Penis Captivus, Vagina Dentata, Soggy Biscuit, Gerbilling, Mars Bar Party, Sex Parties & Rainbow Parties)

I will not be reading this one. Unless, I suppose, enough people think they’d be amused by a full review that they’d be willing to pony up some charitable donation money for one.
rachelmanija: (Princess Bride: You keep using that word)
( Nov. 4th, 2007 05:57 pm)
In a recent conversation in which we talked a bit about slang terms for women's genitalia, I was reminded of the story of the Snatch Song. It was told to me by an old theatre professor, Gary Gardner, who specialized in playwriting and musicals, and I will now share it with you.

There is an old musical, The Fantasticks, which has a song about a kidnapping, but inexplicably, instead of using the word "kidnap," they use "rape." It was written in the 1940s, I think, but that is still bizarre. It's otherwise nauseatingly wholesome.

Gary was asked to come critique a rehearsal of this musical, which was done at a Catholic boys' school, before it opened. There he discovered that, feeling that the word "rape" was too risque, even used in a non-sexual context, the director, who was a monk, has substituted the word "snatch."

Twelve-year-old boys are singing:

Snatch!
Snatch!
Snatch!
A pretty snatch!
A literary snatch!
An obvious open schoolboy snatch!

Gary told me that the most embarassing moment of his entire life was taking a monk into the men's room and explaining to him what snatch meant.
rachelmanija: (Anime is serious)
( Jan. 3rd, 2007 04:53 pm)
Today I received spam titled "Sex Accident Jessica." I think that will be the title of my newest manga.
Found in Mariposa on the counter of a general store; I have no idea where the deli is, but presumably elsewhere in Mariposa.)

[Poll #881926]
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