How to say it, maybe

A brief screed and pronunciation guide for science fiction names, in particular those of the inhabitants of Ann McCaffrey’s Pern. This material is intended for those who think they speak English :p

The greatest danger in pronunciation of “strange” names is our perceptual habits. Skimming carelessly over an unfamiliar combination of letters can result in the incoming data being interpreted as something familiar, from a first impression based on only a few letters. Sticking with that, not taking a second look, results in the mangled pronunciation being reinforced!

Our word recognition algorithms are only as good as information and *Practice* make them. Exercising the mind, and self-checking – not always accepting what seemed to be at first glance – sharpen one’s ability. The more new things become familiar, the more effective the process can be.

Experience with languages other than one’s native tongue can help by providing an alternative framework of pronunciation guidelines, as well as merely making us more aware (and wary) of what we see. Or think we see.

When I was a small child (back when God was making rocks), my favorite crayon color was magenta. I construed the color name as “magNETa.” Eventually I saw it as it was. Eh, it’s not my fave color any more anyway.

Accent on the first syllable. (JAXom, FANdarel, ROBinton)
Exception: Double letters take the accent in names of more than two syllables (MenOLLy) – although it seems a general rule that female names are accented on second or next-to-last anyway! Considered this way, Ruatha Hold is – um – a female. As for Sebell . . . eh, I think SEA-bell sounds silly.

Consonants as in normal English, except that hard G may be preferred to soft (by me).

Gaelic-derived names should be approached warily. Guidance is available. You get the hang of ot after a while.

Vowels – a matter of context.
A – Lean toward AH, with some long A in accented syllables
E – Generally short, as in lEft, with some more of an “ei” (as in Spanish). Meh-LEI-na (Melena, Robinton’s mum), Feh-LEI-na (Felena, Benden Weyr personnel))
I – “eee” in most cases (internal). Igen is a problem. Eye-gen (hard G) is my pref.
O – Can usually be played by ear according to context with no unfamiliar twists.
U – Generally a trouble-free letter, unless it gets inserted where it isn’t.
Y – This ambiguous – nay, amphibious! – vowel-consonant does not appear much, at least among the people of Pern. I just want to say, while I have the opportunity, that hearing it pronounced as if it were plying both trades at once is horribly annoying. In other words, if I had a friend named Yvonne, I would NOT call her Yivonne, Yuvonne, Yehvonne, or Yavonne. It ain’t a one-letter diphthong.

Diphthongs and other pairs:
AI – as in “aye-aye, my eye” – AIVAS should be EYE-vas, yes?
IE – I insist that Harper Piemur / Rhymes with bubbly pie fur. (Of course, you will never see a bubbly pie with fur, because they must all be eaten fresh, and sharding well will be if Piemur is around!)
The rare (to us) consonant combo “MN” just had to be thrown in for F’lar’s dragon. If you can’t figure out how to get some M in your N, just do the N! Mnementh won’t care.

Weyr: Weer (not wire or ware)

There. More may be added. Like it or bite me.

Blood Sport – Sort of

Once in a while I go hunting on Farcebork. Today I easily bagged four Romance Scammers. Or maybe (or more likely) only one, with four accounts. The comments I sniffed out are sad attempts to honeybutter a woman. I post them here – with little editing needed, since the names are undoubtedly fake – because they are such a nice example of clustersucking.

James H. Dickison
Hello [redacted],i sincerely apologize for the unconventional approach to you and i must comment you have a good profile and post too,i’ve been trying to send you but it’s not going through i decided to drop a comment if you can send me a friend request if you don’t mind…Thanks and have a wonderful day ahead

Andrew Goddard
I always enjoy … what you share here on Facebook but we’re not friends yet, I have tried several times to send you a friend request but it’s not going through. I’ll be so glad If you can just click into my profile and send me a friend request so we can talk more on messenger. But If you find this message embarrassing please pardon my manners, thanks..

Alex Fair
You’re so stunning that I forgot my pick up line. I try sending you a private text but it doesn’t seem to work. You have an interesting profile and it really caught my heart, please send me a friend request or private message if you don’t mind .. Thanks

Ronald Watson
Hi, I don’t know if you are comfortable with this but i am sorry for interfering on your profile, I don’t know if we could be friends? … I really don’t want to be rude to send you a request without your permission, I don’t know if it will be convenient that you kindly send me a request. Hoping to receive a friendly request from you, I will be really grateful.Thanks and remain bless


I seldom get hit by scammers, so I have to use vulnerable friends for bait when I’m in my vigilante moods. 😜

Arrowhead Bowl diagram

Arrowhead Bowl

This was my first “signature” piece. I still have seen nothing exactly like it. The only thing that makes it different is the final lock fold; it was a “what-if” that came up during a lot of shifts in a folding sequence. When I saw the final product, I was astonished.

I have at keast one video up somewhere, but it should be replaced, as I have refined the folding process since then. This photodiagram is as simple as I can get it.

Arrowhead Bowl Diagram PDF

Incidently – PLEASE do not believe that you need Adobe Bloatware Reader in order to view PDFs. If you have it installed, do yourself a HUGE favor and take a moment to get rid of it. Then install SumatraPDF, a free, fast reader that doesn’t try to own your computer. I am, of course, speaking to those burdened with Windows. You have enough problems without a great big blob of Adobe attitude.

I run Linux, so I don’t have to go hunting for good software 😉


Now that I have al my main machines running Linux Mint 20.1, I figured it was time to get really organized. The new(er) laptop, LadyLuck, El for short, has a small drive. Also, sneaker-netting files is tedious. It would be better, I thought, to get my movies-in-bed via a cozy LAN. Old Horse could become a beast of burden for files, Zonker could dump a little extra weight, backups would be easier.

I haven’t done any serious networking in years, and then it was a set of Win98 doorstops (not mine!). I know, I should have been practicing with VMs, at least – but need drives me harder. So I hunted down info on networking. Then I got to work on all three critters and the router.

Right away there were problems. Changing the IPv4 method in the network manager from automatic to manual, as advised, kicked both Horse and Zonker off the Internet. WTF. I’d been running Horse headless, using DWService when I wanted to get a file or do an update, so I was skrewt at both ends. Luckily, I did have a monitor on him yet, so after I got Zonks straightened out again I went around and turned the monitor on and fixed Hoss.

The assigned IP addresses were still OK, so I got down on El. Welp, nobody told me about that . . . lol. No, I’m not going to embarrass myself here and now. I’ll just say that a good night’s sleep put my brain in a fit condition for figuring out what her problem was. In a few more minutes I had a happy little family, freely sharing files.

There are a few details I’d like to take care of yet, but at least I know what I’m doing now. Maybe I will fart around with some VMs too. They’re easier to fix and less frustrating than messing up the workstation. That IPv4 setting was a bucket of ice in the face that I didn’t see coming. I’d like to know some whys.

The Poetry of Origami

At first, when I think of Origami, I think of the beautiful logic of its geometry. But in the process of folding, a kinship to poetry emerges.

Poetry is made up of words. Traditional poetic forms have a regularity of pattern that can be compared to Origami. Folds are the language, the words, of Origami. The same folds are used in different models, just as the same words may be found in thousands of poems. It is how the words or folds are ordered, how they follow one another, are repeated or combined, that makes a particular poem or Origami model.

Both poems and Origami models come in varying degrees of complexity. Long, short, serious, comic; regular or free verse; few folds or many; Origami poetry spans the gamut from simple to epic. The easiest to fold are those with few lines and a pleasant rhyme (repetition of folds).

Take the Chrysanthemum Bowl: A short piece with pleasantly regular form, it begins with a square, or Preliminary, base. That is the first line of its poem. The second line is four squash folds–a sort of internal rhyme.

The folding down and folding inside of four corners ends the first stanza.

The next stanza begins with folding eight corners to the center crease. Its second line is folding them inward.

The third line of the second stanza echoes the third line of the first, folding down the points.

Making the crease for the bottom and opening the bowl complete the poem, revealing all of its meaning.

I hope this makes you want to recite some poetry with your fingers. 🙂


Testing, one, two, three

Everything updates. Several days ago Horse, my summer computer, horked on an update. I rebooted late at night for reasons I can’t recall, and ended up staring at error messages I’d never seen before. A new version of the kernel had been inserted somewhen. It took effect on bootup, but freaked out when it met Horse’s old BIOS. After a night’s sleep and some research, I simply re-installed from a disk I’d burned a couple of days before.

This delightful event has increased my wariness of updates. Today, I find that WordPress wants me to use a new editor. I cringe, but progress is inevitable. So…here I am using the new editor. Since I am NOT fond of WYSIWYG shite, I don’t ecpect any love at first sight. WP has always had a tendency to second-guess me far too often.

So far I haven’t tried to do anything but type. I need to be able to get my hands on the code, and no way to do that is readily visible. But LO! There is a teensy menu symbol in the upper right corner of the paragraph block when I mouse over its boundaries! YES! It offers the blissful option to “Edit as HTML. I might live through this too. 😉

Now, where the hell are tags and all that happy horseshit? >:-(

More-igami, MOAR!

Couple of days ago I started to play with a Closed Sink fold in a Waterbomb Base. Things got interesting. As usual, I explored, tweaked, twisted, and inside-outed every possible angle. Sure enough, I found my own way around the thing. Ended up with cube holders all over the place.

Then I took a look around Youtube to see how everybody else made cube stands. I saw ONE guy, out of I didn’t count how many, using a waterbomb base. All the rest are doing some kludgy thing with too many creases, and brute-forcing the poor sink. So I had to make a video.

Here are some still shots showing better detail:

lock fold
Creasing the lock fold before finishing the sink is especially useful with a very small model. It’s a butt-pain to make an accurate fold inside a corner anyway, so why not make it easy.

The side that I mark the center crease on to help get the point positioned is the one that dives inside, so that’s where the lock fold goes.

Starting to close the sink

turn over



coming together

The pre-existing creases allow the closed part of the sink to collapse into place. Then you flip it over to get at the pre-creased locking fold, and voilá! Open it out and park your pet cube.

I will be making more folding vids — stay tuned. Really need to find a way to set up my good camera where it can see my flying folding fingers. The cheap webcam I used for this one…meh.

Farting Out The Lights
“Apophenia is the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. The term was coined by neurologist Klaus Conrad and defined as the ‘unmotivated seeing of connections.'”

One evening, a good many years ago, I was exercising — just a sort of free-form dance — in the living room, with no light except what came through the open door from the kitchen. A street light gave some extra illumination. After a while, I farted. The street light went out.

The light came back on as I continued to enjoy my exercise. But once again, because I was moving around, I farted. The light went out.

At least three times that evening, the street light blinked out at the exact moment of my expulsion of gas.

Of course it was not my pooting that put out the light. It was defective, and was replaced a couple of days later. What is significant is that, on that particular evening, the malfunction of the street light coincided exactly with my farts. What is even more significant is that these coincidental events had no significance. There was no connection, no cause-and-effect.

Yet every day things like this can and do happen. And, if the observer allows an emotional attachment to attribute meaning to the events, it can result in distorted thinking that feeds on itself, building and strengthening a perceptual filter that allows everything to be interpreted as having personal meaning.

We are all the center of our own universe. Giving meaning to things that are not really connected is a natural effect of our search for personal meaning. Being conscious of this tendency may prevent a desperate need for self-importance from running wild. In other words, don’t fart out the lights.