Thursday, August 07, 2008

FREE RICE - A worthy undertaking, surely.

Here is something worthy that Will has brought to my attention: Free Rice - a vocabulary guessing game where every word you get correct has the organisers donating 20 - yes 20! - grains of rice to the hungry and disadvantaged. Better still I suppose, is to help folks fend for themselves but they still need to eat in the meantime.

20 rice grains does not sound like much but it all adds up if you get into it, I found the challenge to my vocab very stimulating indeed and they give you a VOCAB LEVEL (a stat!) which for old role players who like numerical levels like me is a great incentive to keep getting words right (as if helping others was not...)

Does anyone here dare post up their best Vocab Level?

I hope folks can forgive me for going off topic in this way... and cheers very much to you all for the very stimulating discussions regarding the social status of teratologists.


monday said...

a worthy idea.

still, when i saw 'free rice' i thought of a certain China Mieville story, [i think called] An End To Hunger...

Kate said...

It hardly seems fair, you know, asking if we dare to post our best vocab levels without first posting yours.

I'd dearly love to have something clever and meaningful to add here but the truth is, you've already said it in your post. The smallest gesture can become something far greater when repeated often enough. And by enough people.

D.M. Cornish said...

Best VOCAB LEVEL (so far):


x.Lost.x said...


It's ben again from the workshop in Sydney a couple of months ago...
Evil Overlord? Haha...

As it happens I've actually extended my idea on a type of evil pychic genius that was created to control the masses... Just in a different sort of way. but SHHH I'll tell you when all is ready and completed!


How you doing?

I am extrmely excited about Monster Blood Tattoo 3!!

A question though:

Are there are other lands, as in Lands/continents/islands whatever you want to call it, that you have not discussed in your books that you may, in the future, do stories about? As in lands (for want of a better word) in the world of the half-continent.

That probably makes no sense, but I'm extremely tired and I've been working on three assigments since 4.00! =O

How terrible.

Goodbye... for now.


Alyosha said...

Thx for the "free rice" link. No forgiveness is needed. I tried it out and my score rose to 40 so quickly that I thought it was going to be a breeze to beat your 48; but, fifteen minutes later, the highest I had gotten was 47, and I was a couple points down from that when I quit. I confess that even getting to 47 took some lucky guesses (i.e. picking the weirdest choice in the list, since I figured I would know the synonyms for all the more ordinary choices). I am not yet convinced that all the words were even in the English language, so maybe next time I try I'll have a dictionary by my side (not to cheat and artificially raise my score - perish the thought!) but to double check my non-English suspicions.

P.S. If not freaked out, I was at least horrified by your your last answer to the prior topic - and will be viewing Threnody with more sympathy through the rest of the story.

... said...

I managed 45, and resisted the urge to look up all the words on Wiktionary as well.

It's addictive - which is good seeing as it's for an extremely worthy cause.

This is not over yet, Free Rice...

Kate said...

I was able to match that 48 but not thanks to a particularly expansive vocabulary. Most of my correct answers on the more difficult words came from educated guesses.

I'll second that addictive. After a while I was barely aware of the passage of time.

monday said...

best level so far: 44


Anna said...

35 I think. I had to guess on most of the words. English is not my first language (swedish).

Pearlius said...

BEHOLD!-- My glorious and mighty vocab level of...


Oh be quiet, I heard that snort!

My middle school vocabulary "OWNS" you all!

Ben Bryddia said...

This, I suppose is one of those instances where it is better to know a lot of root words than to try memorizing the ineffable repertoire of words we call 'English'. As the father of one of my friends said, "Latin's a dead language, can't you see? It killed the Romans and now it's killing me!" This game means we finally have a practical use for all those words we can't use in conversation. And I am doing a lot of guessing around VOCAB LEVEL 43. May I say how much I appreciate that Monster-Blood Tattoo contains many words of normal English (non-Half Continent jargon) I’m unfamiliar with. I really like books that have large vocabularies.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, I have been visiting daily since reading the post. Now trying to find a way to nonchalantly use pulchritude in conversation. Especial congrats to folks who are doing this when english is their second language.
Mim onthe Rim

Ferd said...

Alas, 45. The page was really good :-)

As Ben Bryddia said above, knowing roots of words helps a lot. Three cheers for Latin and french! I also found a great many of the unfamiliar terms were proper nouns.

Hats off to the 48'ers!

Kate said...

Thanks ferd!

I had another go and reached 49 before the pressure inside my skull reached critical and my brain started dribbling out of my nose. No, really, that's what happened. Took me ages to get it out of the carpet.

I doubt I'll be able to better that but it's so addictive I'm already fighting the urge to go back for more.

Anonymous said...

Hello again, Mr. Cornish, it's that annoying off-topic fan again. Much thanks for answering my question about glimners. Just one question; What is the art world (other than monster blood tattoos) like in the H-c? What periods and styles are most common? Is it Traditional? Realistic? Stylistic? From,
A slightly less concerned fan.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and my highest Vocab level: 41.
I'm not focusing enough. Heh.

Anonymous said...

I've been playing for a while but my best level is only 45.

-LotR reader

femina said...

I found this site a while ago and had only JUST got over my addiction... :)

My best level is 48, but that's partly due to the fact that my guesses have been lucky... also it tends to repeat words (even when you get them right).

And I have to say, knowing Latin and Greek is a BIG help.

E N Reinmuth said...

Heh, I got a best of 40 but most of the time I had a level of 37.

On the topic of swords again, I even drew up a sketch of the blade I described in your last post. It's on my Deviantart page:

The identity of the owner was just a spoof. If I chose what type of character I'd have within the Half Continent, it'd be a white-robed rossamunderling. Makes things interesting...

Susan said...

OMG my friend showed me this page ages ago!
But because I'm more interested in the survival of children rather than a word score *lifts chin slightly* lol... I cheated :D.
So I must try without cheating, and I may get a score of about 2? I'm afraid I have no idea what many words mean... but I will give it a go and post my score...
But I still reckon, if you're fed up with a low score, just open up another page with an online dictionary and look them up, that way needy kids get rice... rather than rubbish off the streets, or frogs and grasshoppers (seriously, in Loua (however its spelt) they go through cow dung looking for frogs n stuff that they can boil up...) anyway getting off topic as usual...

Anonymous said...

-giantfan yes im still here
35 not one mistake but cant for the life of me fathom what mellifluous means

D.M. Cornish said...

"Mellifluous" means - as far as I can tell remember - "sweetly flowing" (btw, did this comment on my friend's nifty little E-PC when I wasn't even at home - it's like magic!)

Zakk said...

Hey D.M.!

Speaking of Rice, what about our first olypic gold medal? Emma Rice got it - maybe she should give it away - in grains of rice. Anyway I have finshed duolibris and I wanted to know...

What about Fouracres?
Is Rossamund a mannikin?
Why did fransitart and craumpalins personas completely change?
Will Threnody be in book 3?

And most of all - when does book 3 come out, will it be titled 'Factotum', 'Mannikin'
'Skold' or what?

Wishing you well,
(Create a skold in my honour)

Ben Bryddia said...

For starters, the artist is superb and the design inventive. Again I wish I could draw…or play an instrument… All I can figure is the muses hate me. However, back on topic, if I remember my physics aright the electric energy would grow weaker is it traveled down the blade rather than growing stronger. Certainly my designs have the same trouble. I can see what you mean about copper plated swords keep an edge is very valid. That considered, it might be better to have a single edged sword (a blade similar to your illustration) with the copper on the blunt edge. Another idea is to use a double-edged blade with copper platting on the flat alone, thus allowing proper steal edges but keeping the capacity for electrocution. I must wonder though if it’s not impractical to wield any two fulgar blades since using both hands with a single sword would not only mean more strength and leverage could be applied but the shocking power of both hands could be brought to bear. Also, the shape of your swords is, so far as I know, not suited for stabbing but only slashing.
On the note of art, I ask how quickly Half-Continents technology level has progressed. Certainly, with the communication between various habilists hampered by the dangers of travel, it would have progressed slower than that of Earth. I say this because the progression of ideas demands communication. This site, indeed the more savory sections of the internet, are a good example.

E N Reinmuth said...

Ben Bryddia-

About the energy getting weaker-sounded a little iffy so I looked it up- I think it's only in short bursts that it will become weak, but if it's a controlled stream of energy then, with the angled prongs forcing it inwards, the exiting electricity will be the same if not more powerful than not.

Also, copper is a very very weak metal, so any kind of plating on the blade seems impractical. I admit, my blades are more slash than stab, but that's how I favour a blade, katana beats broadsword any day. As a typical female I prefer the grace and accurate, not to mention the efficient use of a weapon with little force, than simply yielding a massive plank of metal massculinely.

-Okay, slight exaggeration, but i make my point.

Damn I've finished school for the day, why am I thinking?

I agree though, communication is deffinately necessary for education, hell, look at this conversation!

Pearlius said...

All this weapon talk has me excited, so I'll share some of my thoughts!

It is possible to put an organ within an object, yes? Like the sthenicon? Well, will one be able to somehow attach a fulgar-organ (forgot the name..) onto a cannon-pistol sort of thing? I don't know how it will help in battle, but I thought it was an interesting idea. :)

Anonymous said...

Oop! Time for me to say something again. Pearlius, I believe there has to be a connection with the human body to the organ (whatever it is) so it has a source of um... energy? I mean, in the sthenicon you have to strap the organs onto your face, the box only ment to hold them and not let them slip about on the floor. I do, however like the idea of making a bullet infused with electricity (of some sort). I was thinking that the fulgars could use some sort of bow-and-arrow concept with a metal wire attached to the arrow. When the arrow connects to the target, the fulgar electrifies it.
A little less concerned fan.

monday said...

i do like the charged bullet idea, + the wire&arrow, tho the latter might work better at close range due to tangles and retractability and whatnot. and all this about electricity has made me wonder something: Europe, to my sight, wears some amount of metal, yes? buckles and buttons and the infamous hair-tine? would this affect her arcing at all?

Zakk said...

Big Crossbows.
Bigger Crossbows.
Loaded with skoldshot, explosives and lit on fire.
Suck that bogles!

monday said...

i concur
nothing like a crossbow-ahem, a BIG crossbow.

D.M. Cornish said...

My word, so much excellence going on here. I will not attempt to engage it all (sorry, Book 3 beckons and is being particularly tricky and irksome at the moment) but I will say for big explosive/ repellent throwing things see: tormentums (onager-like catapult potive throwers arming the ports of the lands over) and lambasts (ballista-like poison-tipped harpoon throwers found on rams).

And as far as communications and the rate of technological developement in the H-c and beyond: you are spot on Ben Bryddia the former is slow and the latter even slower. Folks in the Harth Alle change much slower than we might in this world - I hold that the constant struggle with monsters plays a part in this.

Anna said...


don´t you think that the title of the book will be someting connected to Rossamund, thinking of the other titles, "foundling", "lamplighter"?

It seems like he´s going to evolve to something, so the title might refelct on that

(sorry about my english)

Susan said...

okay... for some reason my post didnt appear when i posted it two days ago... As far as i remember I got like 24 on my score...
..yes i know I'm bad at english... lol

E N Reinmuth said...

Tying the two topics - rate of change and organ based tools in the half continent- together answers a fair few questions fans have I'm guessing.

As was said, organs such as those used in a sthenicon are without purpose on inanimate objects, and it's very clever indeed that this odd invention focuses on the senses of sight and smell. The unfortunate side effects of organs attaching themselves to the host suggest that the concept is in it's earlier stages of development (for example, the use of chloroform as aenesthetic) and being developed at all soley for everymen purposes suggest the population's earnest attempt at equalising themselves with untermen. All very sudden processes I'm sure.

Zakk said...

Okay Anna,
Thats why I think Factotum, because book 2 ended with Europe telling him that he was her factotum.

And DM did you always have the idea for lambasts or was it my ingenious comment about crossbows that triggered your mind?


Dante said...

I just finished reading both Foundling and Lamplighter within the span of the last 3 days, both fantastic novels and i must say, some of my favorites. I anxiously anticipate the third book in the MBT series and can only hope that it is as great and exciting as the first two. The only thing that made me a little, for lack of a better word, sad was the disposing of characters who intrigued me, like Fouracres and Threnody, who i hope both return in the third novel. And as for the idea of a weapon with the organs of a lahzar in them is a facinating conceipt. Or maybe even a lazhar manipulating one of these objects to use there unique ability. Either way, I eagerly await to see what turns up in the third novel

Zakk said...

Okay one question:

Who here is Australian?

I am.
DM is.
Anyone else?

Anna said...

I was just thinking (if i am wrong just forget it. Am a bit tired right now) if there just is going to be 3 books, which I hope not, then the author perhaps considder to (just guessing) evolve Rossamund to a kind of "hero".

If he was a bookchild in the first book and a lamplighter in the 2nd....

As I was saying; am a bit tired, working 7 days in a row, so my brain is on it´s way to crash.

Ben Bryddia said...

‘Seems to me I heard lambasts mentioned in Foundling.
Reinmuth, you may not believe this from what I write, but what I've been picturing when I talk about fulgar swords is basically a katana variant. And, as for the comments on the broad swords, I agree very much, however, I was under the impression broad swords were suited to hacking and slashing rather than thrusting. The far lighter katana, by contrast, seems like it would be suited to both, particularly in the close-quarters of roadside theroscades. If you are correct about the electricity then (warning, major no-brainer coming) it would be best for the fulgar to only electrify the weapon to stun or when it has already been stuck into the foe’s trunk so said fulgar is not exhausted too quickly.
As I mentioned elsewhere, though in different words, anybody mad enough to fight clawing nickers at close range with something as clunky as a broad sword deserves what he'll get.
As for the wire and arrow idea...I'm no expert on archery (or anything, for that matter) but wire doesn't behave like string at all. You make the wire too thin and it'll snap either from the force of the bows release (55 pound or up I imagine since hunting bows are quite heavy) or some other obstacle like an offending tree branch. You make it too thick and it'll get too bent out of shape for it to do aught but send the arrows flight askew. Strings on arrows I'll buy, particularly in movies, but as a practical weapon such a miniaturized harpoon seems impractical.
As for crossbows, the infamously slow reload would make such a weapon worse than useless, unless used at very long range, which would then risk inaccuracy since crossbows are short range compared with the long bow. Perhaps if they were pump-action crossbows like those the Uruk-Hai use in the Two Towers film (better to watch the bonus features on the extended edition), then it might work.
On another note, we got an intriguing look at wire-dancers in Lamplighter and i have to wonder if their lacerating effects could be approved on by a fulgar. Yes, I know all the mention of copper plating is ludicrous; so if the concepts my addled mind spews out are inferior then reject them utterly.
POST SCRIPT: I agree with Dante, I'd appreciate more Fouracres and Threnody. As usual, your call Mr. Cornish.

monday said...

*raises hand warily ('m not australian, zakk)*
ahem. please continue in saying smart things, everyone.

Pearlius said...

Zakk: I'm Australasian.

Zakk said...

Good to know there are other Australians out there who read the book - Question is what age group. I have the slightest suspision that Ben Bryddia is well above the bracket I am (13) as he seems to be well learned. Unless he is some kind of freakish child prodigy, Which I sincerely doubt.
The End.

femina said...

I'm Australian too... and my age bracket is significantly above 13. Getting close to triple that, actually - crikey!

Dante said...

Ben, it seems to me that the crossbow wouldn't seem too slow in this time era because of the long reloading of a gun. Although i agree with much that you said and would like to see a fulgar use a sword, but wouldn't it be interesting if a fulgar fired a musket and the bullet was electrified? Almost like a type of a skold shot. Just something i thought would be a change. Either way, there just ideas.

Anonymous said...

Oy, ben, with all due respect, I was just giving out a concept to be worked on, not completely finished. And, come on! I mean, fantasy writing isn't ment to be so technical, it's supposed to wow and amaze the escapist audience.
Fan with bad case of concern

Zakk said...

I agree WITH fan with bad case of concern. Ben, Its fantasy - not fact.



Susan said...

I think the idea of a sword would be handy in war, and smehow make a kind of light, really long sword with the centre made of coper maybe?
do remember that Europe uses that stage which is simply a pole... surely a sword, if made the same length (if possible???) could do twice the amage...

as for crossbows, they could be very useful as simple weapons as we used them, but i find it doubtful they could be used with the abilities of a fulgar.
i think the idea of a fulgar dancing with barbed wire sounds really cool and very cruel... I know for one I wouldnt want to be in the receiving end :S

also Im Australian, and Im 15... and thats probly y im so bad at english... cuz i read too many childrens books for my age :D but you gotta love em!

E N Reinmuth said...

I'm Australian.

I'm 17 next month.

I'm an aspiring Illustrator/concept artist/movie maker and story writer.

I really don't think of Monster Blood Tattoo as a children's book, and stand by the opinion that it doesn't get as much propaganda as it deserves.

And If there's only one thing that I've discovered, is that THE BEST Fantasy concepts are the best because of their amazing, extravagant otherworldliness, but still retain much actuality. Kinda gives the whole "OMG could that happen?" feel.

We're not trying to make things perfect. Just more ideal, rather than spontaneous in a bad, 'it just does' way.

- If you can't get your head around that then..... It's just a conversation?

E N Reinmuth said...

Whoa, came out narkier than intended.

Just throwing ideas around, take no mind!

D.M. Cornish said...

My word! I turn my back to do some minor things like write a book and look what happens - people go and have ideas without me!

Ben is correct oh Zakk, my fellow Australian (is it time to say that I don't feel very Australian...) lambasts are mentioned on p 256 of Foundling.

As for technicality v fantasticality I am Ms. Reinmuth's camp - it can get very tiresome being overly technical, but the ideas still have to "smell" like they might work. I reckon you get the best results when ideas are internally consitent, when you set up you rules (however fantastical they might be) and stick to them.

Loving the swords for fulgars, though I have to confess my own ideas are that most fulgars would consider the use of such a weapon a display of low confidence in their own eclatics... most, I say, but not all... (Also I think sabrine adepts, sagaars and other sword users might perceive fulgars using swords as some kind of demarkation issue.

As for crossbows, I do have a notion rattling around my head (and Nb [Notebook] 25) about the Toxophilites of Cloudeslee, who have used "poisoned" arrows and bolts as their particular weapon against monsters for years. Cloudeslee is a sedorner realm, so those Leemen who are (secretly) of the invidical persuasion hire themselves out in the Haacobin Empire as teratologists. Also, who regiments of these crossbowmen serve other armies as leqsuin mercenaries... I was thinking that the load time of the crossbows might be either not too much of a disadvantage or perhaps there might be some kind of H-c tech improvement to them... Hmm... a work in progress.

My word, I really need to post soon.

... someone emailed me recently about getting an MBT forum going. Good idea?

Vahlaeity said...

my best score... 44
MTB Forum = Great idea!
I'm re-reading Lamplighter and seeing difference things in it the second time around, subtleties and nuances that make me wish fervently for book 3!

Anonymous said...

a forum is a great idea would you post any of your drawings on it?

Anonymous said...

The forum would only be great if you contributed to the conversation often, Mr. Cornish. I do, however, believe that forums can become an overly used obbsession for some or most people, especially those who don't use technology that often. Otherwise, great idea. Also, fantasy should have some (but not ALL) links to reality. Too many links and the ideas become dry and un-interesting. To little links and the writing becomes utter gibberish, the blatherings of the mentally unwell. Fantasy and sci-fi and some other fictitious genres have to have the perfect balance of the elements of craziness, reality, absurdity and human ties. Once again, I'd like to give the thought out on fulgars using long ropes made from wire to tie around the bogles and electrocute them. Toss this idea around (yes, ben it is difficult to handle wire like string, but still, the idea strikes me interested)and tell me what you think. Oh, and for gudgeons, the suggestion in the explicarium of machines used for the baskets is interesting, to say the least. Does this mean that some have wheels for legs or cogs for elbows? It might have entertainment value.
Extravegently long comment by;
That Fan whose concern seems to be clearing up

E N Reinmuth said...

So, so much confusion with the anonymous' comments.

I guess it depends on the Fantasy. A young children's fiction I think might be crazier than other tales, and as the target audience gets older some traits in a story are either self explanatory or shrug off the need to be. People who have read MBT mark it somewhere in the young adult area, though book stores may label it differently (except PULP FICTION, because it rocks). So, consistently MBT has more than usual facts behind it's many functionings. Also, craziness may not exist in some stories, nor absurdity or human ties, so the idea of a perfect balance is a little misleading to authors. And if I'm to turn this into a debate, I conclude that if anything is 'supposed to wow and amaze the escapist audience' it's a performance. A tome of fantasy if anything intrigues and aspires their imagination.

Anywhoot Mr. Cornish I say to you, a forum for a story such as this is a great idea, especially if you plan on writing some side tales of characters or times, after book three is finalised.

Zakk said...

Okay then,
A forum bad idea.
Otherwise -
Why cant fulgars summon lightning from the sky? Is that too much to ask? Maybe you should have a new terratoroligist genre - Melpors,
like fulgars except using long range lightning attacks and or sonicbooms. If yes, name one Zakk.

MooseGuy said...

Just quickly:
*Forum sounds like a good idea
*I'm 15

Ally Mitchell @ Hagley said...

Hey All,

I'm Aussie! Tassie,

about the forum.. I dunno, I dont think I'd use it,

But also if spelling isn't your thing on the Free Rice page, theres also other sections, Science, Art, Geog, Math, just go int subjects and pick which ever =)