Eating Garden Snails

Watching Gordon Ramsay’s F Word show tonight, I saw how he caught, cooked and ate garden snails. In this world of economic worries (and my own love of apocalyptic stories), eating garden snails doesn’t sound like a bad plan. I thought the whole thing of farming garden snails was something fairly new  until I started looking online. The farming of snails is called heliculture.

Have you eaten snails? Does snail farming sound like a career change you could get into? Would be pretty cheap, all your livestock would be free for the finding. They don’t eat a lot, compared to the typical farm animals. The main care is changing the water in their tank or jar (depending on how many snails you keep). It could be a booming industry, if you can find enough people who just love eating snails.

What else could you turn into an almost unknown or never heard of farming opportunity? How about all those pigeons flying around cities? Forget training them to send messages just cook them!

A little trail of links, to be clicked slowly:

Eating Garden Snails from GardenGeek

Tiny Game Hunting: Snails

The Food Blog: Snail Spaghetti Recipe

The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center: Raising Snails

Eating Garden Snails – an abandoned blog based on a radio show.

Giving it a Go: Snail Farm (snails caught and kept to feed backyard chickens).

Snail Farming Information Service, Australia.

Landline: Snail Farmers

Landscape Juice: Heliculture

Flickr: Snail / Chiocciola / Escargot / Caracol / Cargol / Schnecke

Flickr: Garden Snails

Flickr: Snail Garden

Dystopia

From the Free Dictionary – Dystopia: an imaginary place where everything is as bad as it can be.

Dystopia is the opposite of a utopia. It’s a pretty great word if you’re a science fiction fan, like myself. I hadn’t heard of it before. Or, at least I didn’t remember it. My nephew started playing a new game on his PS3, BioShock. It’s a real experience into dystopian societies.  Pretty grim in fact. I was looking up more information about the storyline and characters when I came across the word dystopia in a write up about the game. So I had to look up the word. It was self explanatory really but still, I gave into temptation to find out more.

Exploring Dystopia – a forum for science fiction and horror fans. There is an old site too, pretty abandoned and comes with pop up ads and a thick banner on top.  But the site itself is pretty cool if you overlook the ad junk. Too bad they didn’t keep it up and move it to a different free host.

Suite101: Utopian/ Dystopian Fiction.

Dystopia –  A cyberpunk game.

Truth or Dare

The game played in parties or in secret. We played on the front lawn, behind the hedges, of a neighbour’s house while they were on vacation. A group of kids, some teenagers and some not quite there yet. At that time I didn’t understand the game but you caught on quick to save yourself embarrassment and torture. Later in life I played Truth or Dare on IRC, Internet Relay Chat. At that time I became one of the tormentors and the best person at taking a dare when it became my turn. I found ways to twist their words back on them when they asked me a dare. It was the most interesting part of the game for me really. I’ve always enjoyed word play.

I found an archive of Truth or Dare questions. Most of these are PG 13 and intended as safe. Some are not. There is one about wrapping tape around your legs, leaving it on for 3 hours and then ripping it off. That would be brutal. I think whoever wrote that one forgot about leg hair. After 3 hours that tape would be ripping off some skin too. Unless they use really weak tape that dare isn’t going to be something you can laugh about.

The key to coming up with a good dare is just to embarrass someone a little. A good dare leaves everyone laughing, or at least having a sick smile versus a grimace of pain.

Come up with good dares for a Truth or Dare game. Here are mine:

  • Walk (or hop) through a grocery store with your shoelaces tied together.
  • Write a love letter to your significant other, but everyone in the room gets to read it before he/ she does.
  • Guess which colour underwear each person in the room is wearing and tell them why you think they are wearing that colour.

Red Green’s Word Game

On the Red Green Show they have a skit where a word is chosen and Red Green tries to get the guest to say the word. Of course, it’s comedy and the word is not a secret at all. But, the guest is fed clues which lead to the word, pretty obviously, yet each guess is another way of looking at the clue. The actual word is only said at the very end as a mistake. If you have never seen Red Green is it not easily explained. But, it does make an interesting writing exercise.

Pick a word. Let’s say the word is ‘lemon’.

The first clue given is “Something sour.”

The answer is “My Mother-in-law.” (It is a guy show).

The next clue is “No, it grows on trees.”

The answer is “Well, it’s not money that’s for sure. Did I tell you about the time I tried to plant…”

“No, it’s something sour and yellow”

“My Uncle Bob. He stunk real bad too.”

And on it goes. Once you actually try to write it this is not so easy. If you see Red Green come on TV watch for the word game. They do it very well.

Wordplay with Bookworm

One of my guilty pleasures are online games. I play several. I used to play Facebook games but I have cut back on those especially. Still, one of my favourites for a few years is BookWorm.

Maybe you have never played it. It is addicting and challenging, especially when you get a letter on fire at the very bottom of the puzzle and you are sure you have never heard of a word made up of only the letter “a” before. To play the game you make words out of the random letters that come down from the top of the screen. As you use letters they disappear and the others shift down to fill in the spaces. After the first round there is also a bonus word that you can try to create, they start with three letter words and build up from there. There are bonus tiles in green, gold and blue – if there are others I have not done well enough to see them yet.

Last night I had what may be my best score ever, I don’t actually keep track. I think it was all due to luck, cunning, skill and sheer desperation (also the need to get to bed as I played over an hour and was starting to wonder if I was still playing or just dreaming I was playing). I finally ran out of options for the burning letter when I was on level 22 and had a score of 488,168. When I finish playing I imagine getting whatever my score is in a dollar amount. That gives me happy dreams when I finally shut off the computer and get to bed.

Would you Host your own Radio Show?

Do you have a weird thing for stick figure drawings? Me too. I think that’s the main reason I started playing KOL (Kingdom of Loathing). The humour drew me in after that and kept me playing. Once I got to the point of being stuck in the game I was already listening to the KOL Radio, especially ADeadHeart, my friend who had sent me the link in the first place. She is taking a break from live radio, not on as often as she had been. But you can hear her on November 4th, 10:00 AM (depending on your time zone). If you do listen to her show you need to know ahead of time that it is not family friendly.

Have you ever thought about being a radio show host? What kind of show would you do? What kind of music would you play if you were a radio DJ? Or would it be a talk show about gardening, or auto repairs, or something else entirely?

Write a plan for doing your own radio show. Write your very first monologue to introduce yourself and the show.

Exchange of Realities

Erika writes Exchange of Realities, a blog about game writing (the written part of video games). It’s a nicely nichey blog topic. But she has quite a bit of off topic posts, due to writing for a blog network like Today I would guess. Still, I like seeing someone who found an interesting niche. Her posts about creating a character are good.

Ravyn says: I’m not writing about video games, but hovering somewhere between tabletop roleplaying games and story-writing–in sum, the art of writing a story with characters who can think for themselves and where show don’t tell is vital.

Yes! And…

Part of a post on Entrepreneur by Scott Halford:

“Yes and…” Do what improv actors do; play the “yes and…” game. Instead of looking for the flaws, be additive to the idea. The next time someone comes to you with an idea, no matter how half-baked, put your “but” out to pasture and expand on the idea. Not only will this be collaborative and lead to more creativity, it will also show you what an attractor behavior is like.

Brainstorm ideas for something you are working on or your next blog post. Don’t stop to be critical or analyze how or if you can write them. Just purely brainstorm, get ideas and write them down in point form. Give your mind total freedom to come up with ideas. Then, say yes to each idea and expand on it, bring more into the picture, add more to them and grow from each original idea into more.

Later, when you have run dry of ideas or just need a coffee break, begin to get practical. But, don’t rush. Give your creative side some space to soar awhile, unlimited room to grow.

Sports Writing Becomes You

I’m not a sports minded person but I have a friend who will always tell me the game scores, who is playing and I usually don’t remember enough to know which city each team is from. She still tells me about them anyway. I don’t mind, even if I’m not intensely interested, it matters to her after all. Traditionally, women are not sports writers and way back they weren’t traditionally sports players either. Things are changing and for women who are interested in sports, writing about them could be a career choice.

Anyone can print the final score of a hockey game (Vancouver 3, Colorado 1) but it takes detail and creative language to win sports readers.

From SNN Newsroom: Sports Writing.

On Sports – Tips and suggestions for covering sports.

Writing World has a good article about getting into sports writing online. It’s a little dated but a start even still.

About.com: Writing the Short Game Story. – Writing a sports story in 500 words or less.

Sports Writing and Editing is being kept updated but needs readers to push for more content.

There is a forum for Sports Journalists.

Wikipedia has a few more resources.

Geeky Baldisms writes about bad sports writing.

Sock Matching

Whenever I visit my sister I end up doing housework. She has three kids and a career, I just have me. Anyway, I’m not a big fan of housework so I get the kids to help with it as much as I can. Sock matching is one thing they can do, though it does take time and patience to get them to stick with it.

I bring out the bag of socks without partners and dump it on the table. Then sit them down and let them go to it. I make it a game. Telling them the socks are lonely and need their friends. (The little girls are 4 and 6 so this works well for them). I’m usually doing something else while they match socks. But I could take a break, sit down with them, and give them a story about socks alone in the world, looking for their match. It would be goofy cause I like to hear them laugh.

How would your story of sock matching go? Would it be funny or tragic and dramatic?