Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

NaNoWordSprints Prompts from November 2019

Here are the prompts I tweeted out on NaNoWordSprints during this year’s main NaNoWriMo event!

* * *

November 4, 2019, 7:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Vintage Postcards

10 min
hands across the sea
20 min in olden days
30 min travel lodge
10 min bridge
20 min
you don’t know beans
30 min
I was out all night
10 min help
20 min resting place
30 min
nothing compares
10 min transportation
20 min costume
15 min
strange contraptions


November 6, 2019, 8:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Lost Words

10 min boscaresque adj
picturesque; scenically wooded
20 min chermadic adj
of a heavy weight used as a projectile
30 min aretaloger n
braggart; one who boasts about his own accomplishments
10 min essomenic adj
showing things as they will be in the future
20 min diffibulate v
to unbutton; to unbuckle
30 min nubivagant adj
moving throughout or among clouds
10 min pudify v
to cause to be ashamed
20 min rimestock n
old almanac with runic writings
30 min quaeritate v
to question; to inquire
5 min occulcation n
act of treading on or trampling


November 9, 2019, 9:00am-11:00am (UTC-8)
Parallel Dimensions

10 min fear
20 min
forgetting the directions
30 min
don’t rock the boat
10 min whack a mole
20 min into the woods


November 9, 2019, 11:45am-1:30pm (UTC-8)
BART Sprints

20 min tunnel vision
30 min transferring
10 min getting lunch
20 min foreshadowing


November 11, 2019, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Birthday Cake Sprints

10 min the cake is a lie
20 min icing on the cake
30 min
it should be a cakewalk
10 min
that takes the cake
20 min
to have one’s cake and eat it


November 12, 2019, 8:00am-11:00am (UTC-8)
C Idioms

30 min
chain of command
30 min close call
30 min cold feet
30 min
can’t see the forest for the trees
30 min
change your mind


November 13, 2019, 8:00am-11:00am (UTC-8)
G Idioms

30 min gather dust
30 min get the vapors
30 min
give someone a piece of one’s mind
30 min grasp at straws
30 min guilty pleasure


November 13, 2019, 8:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
Obscure Words

10 min skiamachy
sham fight; shadow boxing
20 min moilsome laborious
30 min hamartia
flaw in a character leading to his downfall
10 min vespertinal
of, like or pertaining to the evening
20 min kalon
beauty that is more than skin deep


November 16, 2019, 5:00am-7:00am (UTC-8)
The Great Train Escape Part 1

10 min waiting in line
20 min
eagerly anticipating
30 min
extraordinary transport
10 min funny quirk
20 min
interesting diversion


November 16, 2019, 9:30pm-11:00pm (UTC-8)
The Great Train Escape Part 2

30 min Delay
15 min Darkness
30 min Delusion


November 17, 2019, 2:00pm-6:00pm (UTC-8)
The Bay Area Binge

10 min ABHilzinger write about food
20 min getbluespheres
your main character is challenged to a duel
30 min hp_anon
a character discovers they have a very mild but inconvenient allergy at an inconvenient time
10 min jennism
start a scene with a version of: “when I confronted him, he denied that he ever said it.”
20 min kattopher
your character wants a little passion but without sweetness – inspired by sugarless passionfruit tea
30 min AngerAndAgony
your main character isn’t paying attention and walks into a phone pole, injuring himself. level/type of injury is up to you
10 min TobyIceBlueEyes
if your character wears a hat, describe it
20 min Goldarn
the mist crept over the hill, leaving a chill in the air that made my bones ache
30 min Goldarn
That’s a manatee, commonly known as a sea cow. Don’t make it mad.
5 min Ixy-pixy
“I’m gonna kick your butt. You had one job and you managed to mess it up?” – “Oh, like I planned on getting stabbed…”


November 18, 2019, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Shakespearean Words

10 min
denotement: careful observation
20 min fobbed: cheated
30 min
villanies: evil qualities
10 min
slubber: make a mess of
20 min
hearts of controversy: in rivalry


November 19, 2019, 8:00am-10:00am (UTC-8)
Unusual Words

10 min tabefaction
wasting away; emaciation
20 min troat
to bellow like a roaring buck
30 min thymogenic due to emotion
10 min talionic
retributive; like for like
20 min turophile cheese lover


November 20, 2019, 8:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
November 2019 Book Titles

10 min triple trouble
20 min final option
30 min rites of passage
10 min
the other side of power
20 min the cost of honor


November 21, 2019, 7:00pm-9:00pm (UTC-8)
October 2019 Book Titles

10 min restricted access
20 min playing dirty
30 min
courage under fire
10 min
all things being seen
20 min bad memory


November 22, 2019, 6:30pm-8:00pm (UTC-8)
September 2019 Book Titles

10 min nothing ventured
20 min with great power
30 min running wild
5 min dark illusion


November 23, 2019, 2:00pm-3:00pm (UTC-8)
The Sprint Account Sprints

10 min sneaky villains
20 min
character motivations
10 min deception


November 23, 2019, 5:00pm-8:00pm (UTC-8)
Sesquipedalian Words

10 min arachibutyrophobia
fear of peanut butter sticking to roof of mouth
20 min podobromhydrosis smelly feet
30 min triboluminescence
emission of light caused by friction
10 min chryselephantine
inlaid with gold and ivory
20 min intertesselation
complex interrelationship
30 min autothaumaturgist
person pretending to be mystical or mysterious
10 min rhinotillexomania
compulsive nose picking
5 min kakorrhaphiophobia fear of failure


November 24, 2019, 9:00am-11:00am (UTC-8)
Drama Tropes

10 min
chaos while they’re not looking
20 min
dangerous terrain
30 min
hanging by the fingers
10 min masquerade ball
20 min
remembered too late


November 24, 2019, 10:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Merriam Webster Word of the Day

10 min sobriquet nickname
20 min dilapidated
decayed, deteriorated, or fallen into partial ruin especially through neglect or misuse
30 min bruit report or rumor
10 min luftmensch
an impractical contemplative person having no definite business or income
20 min irascible
marked by hot temper and easily provoked anger
30 min ethereal
lacking material substance : immaterial, intangible; marked by unusual delicacy or refinement
10 min wangle
to resort to trickery
20 min malapert
impudently bold, saucy
30 min stratagem
a cleverly contrived trick or scheme for gaining an end
5 min respite
an interval of rest or relief


November 25, 2019, 8:00am-11:00am (UTC-8)
August 2019 Book Titles

10 min
here there are monsters
20 min
turning darkness into light
15 min
forbidden alliance
15 min overthrow
10 min
mayhem and madness
20 min
careful what you wish for
dangerous desires
15 min
marked for revenge
10 min stolen things
5 min
security measures


November 25, 2019, 10:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
July 2019 Book Titles

10 min the shameless
20 min
someone to honor
30 min
surfeit of suspects
10 min bad hair day
20 min a distant hope
30 min
symptoms of a heartbreak
10 min isolation
20 min stay and fight
30 min stone cold heart
5 min never look back


November 26, 2019, 7:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)

10 min
best friends forever
20 min
the pot calling the kettle black
30 min silver lining
10 min
throw to the wolves
20 min forbidden fruit
30 min
learning the hard way
10 min
what’s done is done
5 min
tempest in a teapot


November 27, 2019, 6:30pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
L Idioms

10 min
leave no stone unturned
20 min lend a hand
30 min
like a phoenix from the ashes
10 min liquid courage
20 min
let one’s hair down
30 min lay on the line
10 min loose cannon
20 min lost in translation
10 min live on the edge


November 28, 2019, 8:00am-10:00am (UTC-8)
T Idioms

10 min take a stand
20 min talk of the devil
30 min thorn in the flesh
10 min throw a tantrum
20 min
there must be something in the water


November 28, 2019, 10:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
P Idioms

30 min
paint the town red
10 min pearl-clutching
20 min
peaches and cream
30 min
play fast and loose


November 28, 2019, 12:00pm-2:00pm (UTC-8)
F Idioms

10 min finders, keepers
20 min fashionably late
30 min fight fire with fire
10 min
fall through the cracks
20 min
friends in high places


November 28, 2019, 2:00pm-4:00pm (UTC-8)
B Idioms

30 min
beat around the bush
10 min
batten down the hatches
20 min back to the wall
30 min
blood, sweat, and tears
5 min boiling point


November 28, 2019, 4:00pm-6:00pm (UTC-8)
R Idioms

20 min
reduce someone to tears
30 min rock bottom
10 min ride the wave
20 min rough and ready
10 min
reach for the stars


November 29, 2019, 7:15am-9:00am (UTC-8)
W Idioms

5 min
which way the wind is blowing
15 min
wear out one’s welcome
30 min
what was someone thinking
10 min watch one’s step
20 min work wonders

NaNoWordSprints Prompts from July 2019

Here are the prompts I tweeted out on NaNoWordSprints during this year’s second session of Camp NaNoWriMo!

* * *

July 1, 2019, 8:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
Bear Idioms

10 min bear hug
20 min bear the burden
30 min bear trap
10 min
bear a resemblance to
20 min bear a grudge


July 3, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Book Titles from July 2011

10 min undercurrents
20 min mayhem
30 min bloodline
10 min curses
20 min notorious
30 min escape
10 min creep
20 min ripple
30 min redemption
10 min homecoming
20 min switchback
30 min dominance
15 min survivors
20 min incognito


July 4, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Fairy Tale Tropes

10 min bad boss
20 min
be careful what you wish for
30 min impossible task
10 min
deal with the devil
20 min forbidden fruit
30 min last request
10 min
malicious slander
20 min
secret test of character
30 min
self-fulfilling prophecy
5 min
threshold guardians


July 4, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Book Titles from December 2016

10 min hugs and kisses
20 min
chain of memories
30 min make it hurt
10 min rules of contact
20 min hit the spot
30 min on the line
10 min absolute trust
20 min bad blood
30 min
from here to there
10 min pros and cons
20 min don’t tell anyone
30 min wrath
10 min radiant
20 min beyond the truth
10 min treasure hunt


July 5, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Book Titles from March 2013

10 min
what the family needed
20 min
back where she belongs
30 min love calling
10 min
crave the darkness
20 min breaking point
30 min reckless
10 min
strand of deception
20 min
the heart of a hero
30 min swept away
10 min
an act of persuasion


July 5, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Book Titles from March 2008

10 min after hours
20 min
deadly departures
30 min trickster
10 min
reasonable doubt
20 min family matters
30 min tangled webs
10 min sacrifice
20 min just desserts
30 min the invisible
10 min moving day
20 min turn up the heat
30 min terra incognita
10 min better than gold
20 min
sunshine and shadows
10 min
imaginary enemy


July 6, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Unusual Words Part 1

10 min
solivagant (adj.) wandering alone
20 min
cingulomania (n.) a strong desire to hold a person in your arms
30 min
eldritch (adj.) eerie, weird, spooky
10 min
intransigent (adj.) refusing to agree or compromise, inflexible
20 min
boketto (n.) the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking
30 min
werifesteria (v.) to wander longingly in the forest in search of mystery
10 min
tacenda (n.) things better left unsaid
20 min
dormiveglia (n.) the space that stretches between sleeping and waking
30 min
absquatulate (v.) to leave without saying goodbye
5 min
lucustrine (adj.) of or relating to a lake


July 6, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Unusual Words Part 2

10 min
moonbroch (n.) a halo around the moon which presages an approaching storm
20 min
nescience (n.) lack of knowledge, ignorance
30 min
opprobrious (adj.) outrageously disgraceful or shameful
10 min
ferhoodle (v.) to confuse or mix up
20 min
drapetomania (n.) an overwhelming urge to run away
30 min
wifty (adj.) eccentric or eccentrically silly, dizzy
10 min
brickbat (n.) an unkind or unfavorable remark, caustic criticism
20 min
yugen (n.) an awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and mysterious for words
30 min
calumny (n.) an untrue statement that is made to damage someone’s reputation
10 min
akrasia (n.) lack of self-control
20 min
moonglade (n.) the track of moonlight on water
30 min
crapehanger (n.) a person who sees the gloomy side of things
10 min
metanoia (n.) the journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life
20 min
jeremiad (n.) a long mournful complaint
10 min
sisu (n.) extraordinary determination in the face of adversity


July 7, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Howl’s Moving Castle

10 min
intimidating architecture
20 min transformation
30 min a fiery friend
10 min afraid of heights
20 min an unlikely trio
30 min a harrowing ride
10 min
drama queen among the clutter
20 min
preparing for a feast
30 min contemplation
5 min catastrophe


July 7, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Spirited Away

10 min surprise
20 min
untenable request
30 min
a powerful partner
10 min
an annoyed boss
20 min a bit of magic
30 min
traveling with mysterious passengers
10 min gluttony
20 min fun tricks
30 min
with a goal in mind
10 min multi-tasking
20 min in the distance
30 min
not like anyone else
10 min deserted
20 min
unmindful parents
10 min in a tight space


July 8, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Unusual Words Part 3

10 min
nugatory (adj.) having no consequence or force
20 min
lambent (adj.) softly light or radiant
30 min
sweven (n.) a vision seen in in sleep, a dream
10 min
daedal (adj.) skillful, artistic, or intricate
20 min
oenomel (n.) something combining strength with sweetness
30 min
ceraunophile (n.) someone who loves thunder and lightning
10 min
peiskos (n.) the feeling you get when you sit in front of a fireplace and enjoy its warmth
20 min
imprecate (v.) to invoke evil on
30 min
charmolyphi (n.) joy-making sorrow, a mixed feeling of happiness while feeling sad
5 min
eccedentesiast (n.) someone who only pretends to smile


July 8, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Unusual Words Part 4

10 min
anagnorisis (n.) the critical moment of recognition or discovery
20 min
oneirataxia (n.) the inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality
30 min
cantankerous (adj.) difficult or irritating to deal with
10 min
noctiflorous (adj.) flowering at night
20 min
flavescent (adj.) turning yellow, yellowish
30 min
pluvial (adj.) of or pertaining to rain, rainy
10 min
monochopsis (n.) the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place
20 min
tohubohu (n.) chaos, disorder, confusion
30 min
penetralia (n.) the most private or secret things
10 min
espial (n.) the act of spying
20 min hirple (v.) to limp
30 min
shivaree (n.) a mock serenade with kettles, pans, horns, and other noisemakers given to a newly married couple
10 min
coddiwomple (v.) to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination
20 min
nepenthe (n.) something that can make you forget grief or suffering
10 min
inosculate (v.) join by intertwinning or fitting closely together


July 9, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
A Idioms

10 min
accident waiting to happen
20 min acquired taste
30 min
any nook or cranny
10 min
all things considered
20 min all bets are off
30 min
as luck will have it
10 min ask for the moon
20 min
at one’s fingertips
30 min
around the corner
5 min
as far as anyone knows


July 9, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
B Idioms

10 min bad egg
20 min balancing act
30 min barrel of laughs
10 min be my guest
20 min beauty queen
30 min
been there, done that
10 min
behind closed doors
20 min
bells and whistles
30 min beyond the pale
10 min
big fish in a small pond
20 min blood and guts
30 min
blow one’s chance
10 min borrowed time
20 min black mark
10 min
burn one’s bridges


July 10, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Unusual Words Part 5

10 min
schwellenangst (n.) fear of crossing a threshold to embark on something new
20 min
kawaakari (n.) the glow of the river at dusk
30 min
appetence (n.) an eager desire, an instinctive inclination, an attraction or natural bond
10 min
morii (n.) the desire to capture a fleeting experience
20 min
sonder (n.) the realization that each random passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own
30 min
cockaigne (n.) an imaginary place of extreme luxury and ease
10 min
numinous (adj.) feeling fearful and awed by what is before you
20 min
selcouth (adj.) something unfamiliar, unusual, or wondrous
30 min
trouvaille (n.) a lucky find
5 min
meraki (n.) putting a part of yourself into what you’re doing


July 10, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Unusual Words Part 6

10 min
fernweh (n.) wanderlust, an ache for distant places or a strong desire to travel
20 min
kopfkino (n.) the act of playing out an entire scenario in your mind
30 min
sturmfrei (n.) the freedom of being alone
10 min
livsnjutare (n.) a person who loves life deeply and lives it to the extreme
20 min
resfeber (n.) the tangled feelings of fear and excitement before a journey begins
30 min
komorebi (n.) the sunlight that filters through the trees
10 min
natsukashii (adj.) a happy recollection of an event or memory in the past
20 min
commuovere (v.) to stir, to touch, to move to tears
30 min
hiraeth (n.) homesickness for a place which you can’t return to or never was
10 min
coruscate (v.) to flash or sparkle
20 min
adronitis (n.) frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone
30 min
smicker (v.) to look amorously after somebody
10 min
chrysalism (n.) the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm
20 min
fanaa (n.) destruction of the self, destroyed in love
10 min
camhanaich (n.) early morning twilight


July 12, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Book Titles from August 2011

10 min feels like home
20 min
heart of the hunter
30 min
dream something big
10 min
ghost of a chance
20 min a trick of light
30 min
changing the game
10 min
claim of innocence
20min ripe for scandal
30 min out of control
5 min finding patterns


July 12, 2019, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Book Titles from October 2011

10 min hide from evil
20 min cold glory
30 min bound by blood
10 min legacy
20 min flipped out


July 13, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Book Titles from May 2010

10 min compromised
20 min meltdown
30 min stroke of genius
10 min running scared
20 min the lies we told
30 min
bargain with the devil
10 min stolen
20 min
dead in the water
30 min life in defiance
5 min
wonders never cease


July 13, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Book Titles from June 2019

10 min
more than anything
20 min storm and fury
30 min
wherever she goes
10 min hidden twin
20 min something fishy
30 min out of place
10 min
a patchwork of clues
20 min
my enemy’s enemy
30 min a good team
10 min bad things
20 min
should have known better
30 min
how to say goodbye
10 min
in at the deep end
20 min beyond the limit
10 min digging deep


July 14, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Linguistic Alliterative Siamese Twins

10 min meek and mild
20 min
sticks and stones
30 min hearth and home
10 min spick and span
20 min
command and control
30 min
forgive and forget
10 min
rules and regulations
20 min
cliques and clans
30 min
trials and tribulations
5 min
watching and waiting


July 14, 2019, 6:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Linguistic Opposites Siamese Twins

10 min give and take
20 min land and sea
30 min
coming and going
10 min deep and wide
20 min fire and ice
30 min love and war
10 min now and then
20 min high and low
30 min lost and found
10 min sweet and sour
20 min friend or foe
30 min life or death
10 min floor to ceiling
20 min naughty or nice
10 min pros and cons


July 15, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)

15 min butterfly effect
15 min
chicken or the egg
15 min
the elephant in the room
15 min broken heart
15 min cold feet
15 min melting pot
15 min silver bullet
15 min point of no return
15 min slippery slope
15 min bad apples
15 min cabin fever
15 min late bloomer
15 min
survival of the fittest
15 min tunnel vision
15 min no-win situation
15 min moral compass
15 min left high and dry
15 min chain reaction


July 16, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Book Titles from January 2016

15 min
compromised identity
15 min twisted
15 min trapped
15 min destroyer
15 min renegade
15 min
convergence point
15 min hunted
15 min exposed
15 min
the secret admirer
15 min outside the lines
15 min dark victory
15 min
resorting to the truth


July 17, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Book Titles from January 2014

10 min
the unwelcomed child
20 min
dangerous diseases
30 min the lone warrior
10 min siren song
20 min after the storm
30 min undercover
10 min
through the window
20 min
no place like home
30 min true lies
5 min
more than good enough


July 17, 2019, 8:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
Book Titles from April 2008

10 min delusion
20 min hidden motive
30 min
secrets in the shadows
10 min no stopping now
20 min summer snow


July 19, 2019, 8:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Legal Doublets

10 min
keep and perform
20 min
power and authority
30 min sale or transfer
10 min
sole and exclusive
20 min
terms and conditions
30 min fit and proper
10 min let or hindrance
20 min
furnish and supply
30 min
armed and dangerous
10 min
care and attention


July 21, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)

10 min
gold, silver, and bronze
20 min
left, right, and center
30 min
the good, the bad, and the ugly
10 min
hook, line, and sinker
20 min
I came, I saw, I conquered
30 min
here, there, and everywhere
10 min
eat, drink, and be merry
20 min
tall, dark, and handsome
30 min
win, lose, or draw
10 min
short, sweet, and to the point
20 min
healthy, wealthy, and wise
30 min
lie, cheat, or steal
10 min
judge, jury, or executioner
20 min
shake, rattle, and roll
10 min
animal, vegetable, or mineral


July 22, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Book Titles from March 2012

10 min illuminate
20 min
some things are never forgiven
30 min now or never
10 min
finding our way home
20 min
caught in the spotlight
30 min
a knife in the heart
10 min
one way or another
20 min fair game
30 min intruder
5 min mercy


July 22, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Lost Words

10 min
acrasial (adj.) ill-regulated, ill-tempered
20 min
diffibulate (v.) to unbutton, to unbuckle
30 min
gelicide (n.) a frost
10 min
jussulent (adj.) full of broth or soup
20 min
morsicant (adj.) producing the sensation of repeated biting or prickling
30 min
bajulate (v.) to bear a heavy burden
10 min
essomenic (adj.) showing as they will be in the future
20 min
hirquitalliency (n.) strength of voice
30 min
keleusmatically (adv.) imperatively, in an imperative mood
10 min
nubivagant (adj.) moving throughout or among clouds
20 min
crocitation (n.) croaking, cawing
30 min
famigerate (v.) to carry news from abroad
10 min
icasm (n.) a figurative expression
20 min
latibule (n.) hiding place
10 min
obrumpent (adj.) breaking, bursting


July 23, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)

10 min
goodness and light
20 min eyes and ears
30 min
smoke and mirrors
10 min loud and clear
20 min fast and furious
30 min
bound and determined
10 min nook and cranny
20 min
thunder and lightning
30 min flesh and bone
5 min
rough and tumble


July 23, 2019, 8:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Book Titles from October 2016

10 min kept secrets
20 min all your wishes
30 min a terrible beauty
10 min
since you’ve been gone
20 min the truest heart
30 min nemesis
10 min without mercy
20 min cracking up
30 min mortal sins
10 min refuge


July 24, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Unusual Colors

10 min cinerious ashen; ash-gray
20 min sarcoline flesh-colored
30 min virescent
becoming green or greenish; of a greenish color
10 min flammeous flame-colored
20 min icterine
yellowish or marked with yellow
30 min amaranthine
immortal; undying; deep purple-red color
10 min modena crimson
20 min pavonated peacock-blue
30 min sable
black; dark; of a black color in heraldry
10 min eburnean
of or like ivory; ivory-colored
20 min aurulent gold-colored
30 min isabelline greyish yellow
10 min leucochroic
white or pale-colored
20 min spadiceous chestnut-colored
10 min watchet pale blue


July 25, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Bizarre English Idioms

10 min Bob’s your uncle
20 min
a different kettle of fish
30 min donkey’s years
10 min
all mouth and no trousers
20 min
pardon my French
30 min
cat got your tongue
10 min chew the fat
20 min
under the weather
30 min
to go pear-shaped
5 min a piece of cake


July 26, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Book Titles from September 2015

10 min nomad
20 min disposable asset
30 min dreamland
10 min primal force
20 min only a kiss
30 min dishing the dirt
10 min played for a fool
20 min a beam of light
30 min beginners
5 min
one of these nights


July 26, 2019, 8:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
Proverbial Phrases Part 1

10 min
A bad excuse is better than none.
20 min
A rising tide lifts all boats.
30 min
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
10 min Finders keepers.
20 min
False friends are worse than open enemies.


July 27, 2019, 8:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Proverbial Phrases Part 2

10 min
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
20 min
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
30 min
Third time is a charm.
10 min
Two heads are better than one.
20 min
If you play with fire, you will get burned.
30 min
If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
10 min
Let sleeping dogs lie.
20 min
Let the cat out of the bag.
30 min
Good things come to those who wait.
10 min
Nothing ventured, nothing gained


July 28, 2019, 12:00am-2:00am (UTC-8)
Book Titles from October 2011

20 min
the struggle within
30 min so over it
10 min deadly desires
20 min chosen by fate
10 min rising storm


July 28, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Random Phrases Part 1

10 min
the most embarassing protest
20 min they will fall
30 min
come back to haunt you
10 min
strength, speed, and agility
20 min
inspirational examples
30 min
not a thing of the past
10 min
repeated attempts
20 min
jumping on the opportunity
30 min
there and back again
5 min
excitement and wonder


July 28, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Random Phrases Part 2

10 min
fly in any direction
20 min knows the score
30 min
born in the shadow
10 min
hard-earned wisdom
20 min
confusing and relentless
30 min fashion and flair
10 min
driven by the frustration
20 min
entering a new phase
30 min
the sideways gaze
10 min
a reassuring message
20 min
fantastically detailed
30 min
signs of cooperation
10 min
one of the biggest disasters
20 min
further exploration
10 min
doing more with less


July 29, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
K Idioms

10 min
keep a cool head
20 min kindred soul
30 min killer instinct
10 min
keep on one’s toes
20 min kiss of death
30 min
knock someone’s socks off
10 min
know every trick in the book
20 min kick the habit
30 min
keep a low profile
5 min king’s ransom


July 29, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
S Idioms

10 min salt in the wound
20 min
sell down the river
30 min saved by the bell
10 min
send someone packing
20 min scared to death
30 min set the bar
10 min
scratch the surface
20 min see eye to eye
30 min
sing the praises of
10 min
shoot first and ask questions later
20 min sitting duck
30 min shot in the dark
10 min
skeleton in the closet
20 min
show one’s cards
10 min
slip of the tongue


July 30, 2019, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
D Idioms

10 min
darken someone’s door
20 min
do exactly what it says on the tin
30 min
diamond in the rough
10 min
die a thousand deaths
20 min done deal
30 min dig up dirt
10 min
double-edged sword
20 min
drive someone up the wall
30 min drop a hint
5 min draw the line


July 30, 2019, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
N Idioms

10 min
name and shame
20 min necessary evil
30 min no fun at parties
10 min
not in the slightest
20 min
not long for this world
30 min
nature of the beast
10 min no harm, no foul
20 min
needle in a haystack
30 min
new kid on the block
10 min
nine times out of ten
20 min
nose to the grindstone
30 min
not by any means
10 min nuts and bolts
20 min
nowhere to be found
10 min no hard feelings


NaNoWordSprints Prompts from April 2019

Yes, I’m late as usual. But here are the prompts I tweeted out on NaNoWordSprints during this year’s first session of Camp NaNoWriMo!

* * *

March 31, 2019, 9:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
TV Tropes

10 min a new start
15 min
dramatic shattering
20 min broken pedestal
30 min chain of harm
10 min grow a spine
50 min feuding families
20 min
isn’t too proud to beg
30 min
ambiguous situation


April 3, 2019, 8:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Fairy Tale Tropes

10 min
costing an arm and a leg
20 min the bad boss
30 min
bears are bad news
10 min bride and switch
20 min
don’t go into the woods
30 min impossible task
10 min rags to royalty
20 min dances and balls
30 min
deal with the devil
5 min
youngest child wins


April 4, 2019, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Postcard Prompts

10 min
going on an adventure
20 min
aiming for a destination
30 min contemplation
10 min startled
20 min feeling blue


April 5, 2019, 9:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Dramatic Tropes

10 min
we used to be friends
20 min
where did we go wrong
30 min
your secret’s safe with me
10 min
these hands have killed
20 min sugary malice
30 min moral dilemma
10 min
destroy the evidence
20 min
chaos while they’re not looking
30 min
remembered too late
10 min
tarnishing their own beauty
20 min
it never gets any easier
30 min
emerging from the shadows


April 6, 2019, 3:30pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
LOC Serendipity

10 min secrets exposed
20 min
who shall wear the crown?
30 min the whole truth
10 min towards the goal
20 min reputations
30 min morbid principles
10 min reveries
20 min
faith and patience
30 min
between two lives
10 min
the great companions
20 min
essentials in education
30 min souvenir
10 min
the hope of imortality
20 min turnover
30 min
curiosities of the sky
5 min reconstruction


April 7, 2019, 7:30pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Book Titles from April 2009

10 min dining with devils
20 min
the treasure keeper
30 min flipping out
10 min monster trouble
20 min night navigation
30 min notoriously neat
10 min straight lies
20 min
this is not a game
10 min unforgettable
30 min
bittersweet memories
20 min exposure


April 10, 2019, 6:15pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
Idioms Part 1

10 min Do me a favor
20 min
Draw a line in the sand
30 min
Rub salt in the wound
10 min
Save something for a rainy day
20 min Sell one’s soul
30 min
Lose one’s temper
10 min
Make a break for it
15 min
Two birds with one stone
30 min Uphill battle


April 11, 2019, 6:45pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
Idioms Part 2

10 min
all in a day’s work
20 min
absence makes the heart grow fonder
30 min alive and kicking
10 min brazen out
20 min
burn the midnight oil
30 min
blow out of proportions
10 min carved in stone
20 min comedy of errors


April 12, 2019, 12:00am-3:00am (UTC-8)

10 min
leave well enough alone
20 min
a chain is only as strong as its weakest link
30 min
any press is good press
10 min
twenty-twenty hindsight
20 min
better late than never
30 min
there are bad apples in every orchard
10 min
clothes make the man
5 min
appearances are deceptive


April 12, 2019, 10:00pm-3:00am (UTC-8)
Word Pairs Part 1

10 min flesh and bone
20 min quick and dirty
30 min
armed and dangerous
10 min
search and rescue
20 min front and center
30 min
rough and tumble
10 min bait and switch
20 min
hearts and minds
30 min
cloak and dagger
10 min
stand and deliver
15 min nook and cranny
30 min day and night


April 13, 2019, 9:30am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Word Pairs Part 2

10 min
goodness and light
20 min hot and cold
30 min sweet and sour
10 min wax and wane
15 min love and war
30 min lost and found


April 13, 2019, 7:00pm-3:00am (UTC-8)
Idioms Part 3

10 min
at the drop of a hat
20 min cold treatment
30 min even the score
10 min go overboard
20 min half-baked
30 min
jump at the chance
10 min long shot
5 min
needle in a haystack
30 min play along
10 min rip to shreds
20 min tough love
30 min watch one’s step
5 min
your guess is as good as mine
20 min
best of both worlds
30 min drift apart
10 min fighting chance
20 min hold a grudge
30 min in the crosshairs
10 min
keep a close watch
5 min memory lane
15 min
on pins and needles


April 14, 2019, 5:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Idioms Part 4

10 min
zig when one should zag
20 min
you’ll never guess
30 min
what are the odds
10 min vouch for
20 min
unknown quantity
30 min take the plunge
10 min
seeing is believing
5 min raise the stakes
30 min
quake in one’s boots
10 min
pale in comparison
20 min one of a kind
30 min no pain, no gain
10 min
make an appearance
15 min
light at the end of the tunnel
30 min kiss of death
10 min jack of all trades
20 min
in someone’s pocket
30 min
have blood on one’s hands
10 min
get down to business
20 min fever pitch
30 min
element of surprise
10 min
dig oneself in a hole
10 min
calm before the storm


April 15, 2019, 7:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
Word Pairs: Animal Idioms

10 min duck and cover
20 min cat and mouse
30 min
dog and pony show
10 min fish and chips
20 min
snakes and ladders
30 min
the chicken or the egg
15 min
weasel out of something


April 17, 2019, 7:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
M Idioms

10 min
made of sterner stuff
20 min
matter of life and death
30 min meet and greet
10 min
middle of nowhere
20 min minor miracle
30 min mix it up
5 min moment of truth
10 min
more than meets the eye


April 18, 2019, 7:30pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
A Idioms

10 min
all it’s cracked up to be
20 min
all one’s eggs in one basket
30 min
all over the board
10 min
all things considered
15 min all eyes and ears
30 min all bets are off


April 19, 2019, 7:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
D Idioms

10 min
dig in one’s heels
20 min
darken someone’s door
30 min
dawn of a new day
10 min
do someone proud
20 min
devil is in the details
30 min
don’t let the door hit you on the way out
5 min draw the line
10 min
drop a bombshell

April 19, 2019, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
P Idioms

30 min party animal
10 min pack of lies
20min play dumb
15 min protest too much
20 min
power behind the throne


April 20, 2019, 12:00am-3:00am (UTC-8)
L Idioms Part 1

30 min
land on one’s feet
10 min let loose
20 min law of the jungle
30 min
lay the groundwork
10 min
leave someone out in the cold
15 min
like the cat that got the cream
30 min lost in translation


April 20, 2019, 9:30am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
C Idioms

10 min
call someone’s bluff
20 min
caught between the devil and the deep blue see
30 min carried away
10 min
character assassination
15 min charm offensive
30 min come full circle
15 min
chip on one’s shoulder
20 min close ranks
30 min
command performance
10 min crack down
20 min cut the cheese


April 20, 2019, 8:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
G and H Idioms

10 min
game, set, match
20 min get carried away
30 min give chase
10 min glass half empty
20 min gloss over
30 min
glutton for punishment
10 min
go to great lengths
20 min
go over someone’s head
30 min
gone with the wind
5 min grand scheme
10 min halcyon days
20 min
hand it to someone
30 min hang together
10 min
have the time of one’s life
20 min hard feelings
30 min heart of stone
5 min
hot under the collar
15 min helping hand


April 21, 2019, 7:00pm-11:00pm (UTC-8)
B Idioms

10 min back in the day
20 min barrel of laughs
30 min
batten down the hatches
10 min bad egg
20 min bear the brunt
30 min
bane of one’s existence
10 min beauty queen
20 min
behind closed doors
5 min
bark up the wrong tree
30 min
bite the hand that feeds you


April 21, 2019, 11:00pm-3:00am (UTC-8)
N Idioms

10 min
name of the game
20 min
none of your business
30 min narrow down
10 min
not all it’s cracked up to be
20 min nerves of steel
30 min nip in the bud
10 min nugget of truth
20 min
no strings attached
10 min null and void
30 min next level


April 22, 2019, 7:30pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
L Idioms Part 2

5 min last resort
15 min
let sleeping dogs lie
30 min
last nail in the coffin
5 min
leave no stone unturned
15 min live on the edge
30 min lucky break
10 min loom large


April 23, 2019, 7:30pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
E and F Idioms

10 min
ear to the ground
20 min feeding frenzy
30 min
easier said than done
10 min fight fire with fire
15 min
eat one’s heart out
30 min finders keepers


April 24, 2019, 8:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
Western Astrological Signs – Weaknesses of Personality

10 min aquarius
temperamental, uncompromising, aloof
20 min pisces
fearful, overly trusting, escape from reality
30 min aries
impatient, impulsive, aggressive
10 min gemini
nervous, inconsistent, indecisive
20 min cancer
pessimistic, suspicious, manipulative


April 25, 2019, 7:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
G Idioms

10 min
get one’s feet wet
20 min gather dust
30 min game plan
10 min
ghost at the feast
20 min
gift that keeps on giving
30 min go out on a limb
20 min go up in flames


April 26, 2019, 7:00pm-3:00am (UTC-8)
Book Titles from April 2012

10 min the battle begins
20 min
when monsters escape
30 min
unfinished business
10 min
surprise packages
20 min
danger at every turn
30 min master of deceit
20 min sweet addiction
10 min
race against time
20 min
out of the shadows
30 min lies and omens
15 min forgotten history
20 min ties that bind
15 min shattered heroes
20 min renegade magic
30 min true sisters
10 min betrayal
20 min a rare find
30 min thunder and rain
20 min precious cargo


April 27, 2019, 3:30pm-5:45pm (UTC-8)
Madam Sprints Sprints (Repeated from April 2017)

10 min strength
15 min burden
30 min
secret plans, hidden dishonor, frustration and the possibility of failure
10 min a hard struggle


April 27, 2019, 8:00pm-3:00am (UTC-8)
Book Titles from April 2013

10 min talk of the town
20 min
while the others sleep
30 min dead and burried
10 min all or nothing
15 min stolen magic
30 min about face
10 min protector
20 min the smart one
30 min house of secrets
5 min death defying
20 min wanderer
30 min
armed and dangerous
10 min
where the heart lies
20 min light this candle
30 min little bit sinful
10 min
the wrong number
15 min dead silence
5 min decadence


April 28, 2019, 3:00pm-6:00pm (UTC-8)
Madam Sprints Part 2 (Repeated from April 2017)

10 min initiative
20 min surprise
30 min advantage
10 min
mysterious appearance
20 min attraction
30 min not normal


April 28, 2019, 7:00pm-3:00am (UTC-8)
Book Titles from April 2014

10 min forbidden
20 min out of options
30 min a beauty so rare
10 min
lives we leave behind
20 min treading water
30 min
there will come a time
10 min don’t look back
5 min the first kiss
30 min unfixable
10 min the target
20 min make you blush
30 min warriors
5 min cold calls
10 min
a shocking delight
20 min curiosity
30 min
the here and now
5 min
woman of courage
10 min balance point
15 min fully charged
20 min child’s play
30 min
things no one knows


April 29, 2019, 7:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
Book Titles from April 2015

10 min unforgiven
20 min true north
30 min the trap
10 min a good catch
20 min detained
30 min full contact
5 min sticky situation
10 min on the run


April 30, 2019, 7:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
Book Titles from April 2016

10 min flawed
20 min dig too deep
10 min the last mile
30 min double take
20 min dissension
10 min poisonous
5 min
where the evidence lies
30 min over the line

Postcard #320 – A Lousy Postcard

Sometimes a weird postcard can be an interesting postcard. It’s simple, but also amusing. For me it’s not really about the beautiful views or aesthetics. The choice of card can reveal something deeper about the sender. Obviously the sender of this particular card thought that I would appreciate the sense of humor and wouldn’t be like those other draconian postcard collectors who would have no compunction in throwing away something that didn’t fit their ideal.

Anyways, the sender also included some fantastic stamps on the envelope.




Postcard #298 – Tea from Poland

Drinking tea, of course, is not universal in all cultures, but how people drink tea is  fascinating in itself. It may differ in the details depending on which country you are in, but in many cases it’s a ritual or a quiet and contemplative time in the day. And even if it’s done with other people, it’s not part of raucous gatherings. Seriously, can you imagine anyone drinking tea at a rock concert let alone a rave?

Anyways, I find this European black tea service unusual. Weren’t western tea sets usually white ones? Or at least ones in bright colors?



Postcard #285 – From Yosemite

Yes, I’m finally getting to a postcard I sent to myself! There’s a post office in Yosemite, so I couldn’t resist sending something from there.



KonMari-ing the Library and Other Blasphemous Things

When I first read about the controversy on Marie Kondo’s advice to throw out all your books that don’t bring you joy, my first thought was a cynical one–that this was promoted to generate buzz on her new show on Netflix. One must admit, the timing of the controversy and its availability on the streaming service was a little suspect.

I had heard of Kondo’s book when it first came out a couple years ago, but I paid it little mind, assuming that it was just one of many offshoots of the current minimalist trend. I didn’t need to read about something that I already quasi-practiced. I’m more on the pro-minimalist side of things, but this is about half due to necessity–I’ve moved around a lot and discovered that having too much stuff to move around is just a pain in the ass. Philosophically, I don’t attach too much of myself to things. I’m more of an idea person. So basically moving everything online–communications, writing, reading, research, entertainment–wasn’t a difficult transition for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why people have an emotional attachment to things. There’s history behind those objects–and I think for some people it’s easier to keep those things around than to try to capture those feelings into words, photos, and three dimensional schematics and upload those documents into the cloud. If people don’t want to throw X, Y, and Z out even though they take up quite a bit of room, I wouldn’t really care as long as they don’t try to store X, Y, and Z at my place.

Anyways, after thinking about this some more, I find it hard to get worked up about this. I don’t really agree with Kondo’s methods (Why throw something out because it doesn’t bring joy? Why not use utility or some other quantifiable method as a criteria for throwing things out?), but I don’t see why I should use up so much emotional energy getting worked up about her notions on throwing books away when she’s not physically coming into my home to toss stuff out. (Although judging from some parody tweets on Twitter, maybe she is.) I think what’s really happening is that marketing a certain aspirational lifestyle that has its origins in one culture is clashing directly with the lifestyle philosophy of a different culture.

So why am I framing it as a clash of cultures? Well, take Kondo, for instance. Her methods are very much rooted in Japanese style and the way she advocates throwing things out harks back to the animist beliefs that still pervade the country. From her Wikipedia page, she made a statement to the effect that she sort of had a religious experience that set her on the path of becoming an organizational guru. In light of that, I think she’s fashioned herself into an organizational Joan of Arc, saving people from being besieged by their own stuff. Only instead of being burned at the stake for her heretical notions about books, she’s being pilloried on Twitter.

I also want to note that it’s individual books that are considered and then tossed if they don’t bring joy. For people who are outraged at this notion, it’s not so much that the books are individual, but they are part of a greater whole–the personal library. If you subscribe to the personal library as an entire entity, tossing books out is akin to, say, chopping a tail off a pet cat because you reason that the tail is not essential in keeping the cat alive and why not amputate because that would save space. But we all instinctively know that that is inhumane.

Books are also not just about joy. They bring all sorts of emotions because writers try to capture the totality of the human experience in words. So if you are throwing out everything except the joyful books, aren’t you metaphorically cutting off all your emotions except the happy ones? (It does not escape my notice that Japanese society is also a lot more conformist than others. Many emotions are hidden–to the detriment to mental health–in order to avoid conflict and to keep everything in harmony.)

For some strange reason, this whole thing reminded me of one of the books in Jayne Castle’s St. Helens trilogy which were futuristic romances written in the late 1990s before the whole paranormal romance thing blew up and took over bookstores. The conceit of these books is that human colonists landed on some weird planets (that somehow bear an uncanny resemblance to the late 20th century Pacific Northwest) and over time, developed psychic abilities or talents. In one of the books, the villain turned out to be this lady who had the talent to organize everything. Her downfall was that she was too obsessively organized. Anyways, the point of that digression is that it’s probably okay not to be perfectly tidy. Do what works for you. And if people are pushing some method or another, well, just assume they’re trying to take over the world. Or at least make a cash grab.

No Accomplishment Is Your Own

So, I recently came across this tweet on my Twitter timeline. It caused some outrage and controversy. So I went on this person’s profile page to figure out if I could get any context from the rest of the tweets. Unfortunately, I failed on that part. All I could figure out was that this person is a writer and a comedian and they went to Harvard at some point. Considering that this person makes a living in trying to be funny, I wasn’t sure if this tweet was a serious statement or her trying to be funny. Maybe it was both. Since I’m not sure what her intent was, I sort of find it as a failure on her part as a writer to try to convey her true intent.

Anyways, the replies to that tweet fell into two camps: 1) People who assumed that the author of the tweet aimed to skewer rich, privileged young people who boast about their accomplishments when it was in fact their parents’ money that funded everything, and 2) people who felt that they were being kicked while being down because the author did not explicitly state it was rich, privileged young people that she was talking about. Her statement was vague and could be easily interpreted to mean that it included EVERY person who was living at home with their parents, lumping in both the wealthy leeches with the poor, disabled, and others who live with their parents out of necessity.

And what do I think of this? Well, I think figuring out who pays the rent is besides the point of what constitutes a “real” accomplishment. And I’m speaking as someone who has paid my own rent ever since grad school (I lived in dorms as an undergrad and my college education was funded through scholarships). Accomplishments don’t appear from out of a vacuum. They get done from support of a lot of people: parents, yes, but also other relatives, friends, teachers, mentors, other people who believe in you, supporting organizations, networks, and sometimes just pure luck. Just because a smart, hardworking person also happens to be living with someone else who pays their rent doesn’t make them any less smart or hardworking.

I can, perhaps, make an educated guess as to where the tweet’s author was coming from. As the child of immigrant parents who managed to make it into Harvard and then into some high profile gigs–it’s probably easy to assume that she made it to where she is due to her own efforts. In fact, one might assume that I might be one of the most likely people to take her view because I’m also the child of immigrant parents who attended prestigious universities and now making it professionally in one of the most expensive parts of the country. However, I am also acutely aware that where I went to school also helped open doors that might not have been available to me otherwise. Yes, I did all the work, but someone has to open those doors, too. I suspect that all of her accomplishments would have been a lot more difficult to do if she had not had the network available to her simply by attending Harvard (and all the circumstances leading up to her getting accepted there).

So, one could argue that having any accomplishments is a mix of work and circumstance. And in this case, the “circumstance” is the sticking point. As the old saying goes, we all stand on the shoulder of giants. And regardless of who’s supplying the money and the opportunities and the moral support, perhaps we should all apply some humility when describing our own accomplishments rather than stomping on other people while trying to validate ourselves.

Organizing Everything

Don’t you sometimes get the feeling that life is nothing but organization, a fight against entropy?

Today in the mail, I got a mass of postcards from various places in the world. Usually it’s just one or two, but I guess after the holidays, a lot of mail accumulated at the post office and it was just today that everything got delivered. But instead of tossing all of these cards into a photobox where I’ve been keeping all of my postcards after reading them, I decided to do a mass organization by country. (This, to me, seemed like a more intuitive way of categorizing everything compared to, say, topic or style or shape.) It took longer than expected.

I can’t say that I particularly liked doing the organization, but now that all the postcards are in order, it’s interesting to note the patterns that emerge by country. Perhaps I’ll do an actual analysis at a later date when I have more time to kill.

Starting Small

It’s been a while since I’ve posted regularly in this blog. I don’t want to have a resolution saying that I will start posting regularly from now on, because let’s face it, most resolutions end up as failures as the rest of life gets in the way and attempts at establishing new habits get broken. But, perhaps I’ll start small with bits and pieces of observations rather than starting big with essays encompassing large ideas and perhaps that will make it easier to go on.

Anyways, I wanted to share my latest binge watching: Begin Japanology and Japanology Plus (it’s actually the same program, but the name changed). I discovered this on YouTube because the site began recommending this to me after I had been watching other documentary videos. I love these types of videos because it tells about different cultures through seemingly very simple things like home appliances and umbrellas as well as the more obvious cultural markers like food, literature, and religion.

I have to admit, part of the fun of watching this particular show on YouTube is reading the comments. (Yes, yes, I know. Never read the comments. But I can’t help myself.) It’s usually overwhelmingly positive for the main host, Peter Barakan, who has a very calm, British demeanor. But the commenters have such a hate-on for the host of the “Plus” segments, Matt Alt. It’s probably because Alt’s character is so obviously that of an exuberant American that for whatever reason, fans of the show find too jarring in comparison to the subject matter and the other host. I personally don’t get the hate (Alt definitely has a different style of presenting, but I’ve seen worse), but I do find it amusing that in the comments of the later episodes, the haters reluctantly post that he’s “getting better”. Maybe they don’t want to admit that Alt is growing on them.