Posted on April 23, 2012 by Dan Chambers
I don’t know if you’ve spent any time trawling through estate agency websites, but if you’re anything like me (crotchety, pedantic, prone to tutting) you get fed up with the awful mangling of language that goes on. It seems like every flat is a “property” or “instruction” and “benefits from” wood flooring and is “moments from transportation links”.
I took matters into my own hands, and with the help of a Firefox add-on called FoxReplace, 4 hours on a Sunday evening, and a rudimentary knowledge of regular expressions, managed to turn this:
Just the facts, please!
Here’s a sample of one of the regular expressions, designed to weed out pointless adverbs. I even managed to build in a filter for common spelling errors (the question mark in regular expressions means that the preceding character can appear or not and the operation will still be carried out, so both “truly” and “truely” will be caught):
There are still a few things to iron out, and I can’t keep up with their spelling mistakes so will have to concede defeat there. But it crunches down the text by as much as a third and makes a grim task a bit more palatable.
Filed under: computing, downloads, grammar, gripes, miscellaneous, oddities, tips, writing | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 30, 2012 by Dan Chambers
Following the progress of Mark’s heroic journey into the Amazon jungle…
“Great Excitement! I have discovered the bones of another explorer and I do believe he was French! The fool!…”
I found these notes the other day as I was packing up to move house. I went to university with Mark Huckerby, and we used to pin silly notes to each other’s doors when we should have been writing essays. It’s probably the reason we started writing comedy together. Nick Ostler decided to get in on the action too when he noticed how much uproarious fun we were having, sitting alone in our separate rooms, scribbling and sniggering to ourselves.
We were at university when email was still a new thing. The only internet-enabled machines were in the university library and our main use for it was, again, to scribble stupid notes to each other and cast ourselves as the heroes in epic dramas. I sometimes wonder whether the advent of the internet would have given our writing a boost or completely scuppered our chances…
Filed under: friends, graffiti, miscellaneous, oddities, writing | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 26, 2012 by Dan Chambers
I found this note the other day, tucked away in an old box with some souvenirs. The corners of the page were greatly yellowed and it looked like someone had burnt the edges so I knew it must be really old.
” The journal of Mark’s exploration of the Inca Amazon jungle with his trusty companion and pack-lugger Dan…
June 1st 1867
The heat is oppresive (sic) and indecent sweat coats my private parts, however the trip proceeds well with Dan’s pungent stench reminding me of the barbarous working class I plan to annihilate on my return to England…”
Click on the picture to read the full journal entry.
Read more of Mark’s obsession with his private parts and the barbarism of the working class soon!
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Posted on January 5, 2012 by Dan Chambers
Willard Price’s ADVENTURE series involves the daring escapades and exotic locations visited by brothers Hal and Roger Hunt in their quest to find animals and bring them back alive to sell to zoos. There’s a wonderfully effusive and affectionate writeup on them here at the blog of a Mr A. P. Salmond. TIGER ADVENTURE was the first non-picture book I ever read, in Balham library at about the age of 3. And when the teachers at my primary school agreed to release me from the stultifying bonds of the Green Reader series and go read any book I wanted from the school library I felt overwhelmed by choice and reached for an old friend, CANNIBAL ADVENTURE. There were just over a dozen books in the series, and over the years I read them all, and re-read them, and re-read them. I also remember the language making its way into my own stories… great manly expressions like “he blacked out” or “The men pulled lustily but they could not budge the snake”.
When I was around 13, I realised that I’d read WHALE ADVENTURE so many times that I could quote whole passages and visualise them on the page. And I realised something about my brain – I remember things visually. I remember text by its layout, by the shapes of the paragraphs, the islands of text in the page-coloured sea, even the little rivers of white running down past the words.
The first image (above) is of the cover of TIGER ADVENTURE as I first saw it in 1977 at Balham Library, and below left is the cover of the one I found today in Oxfam in Horsham and bought for 99p!
Filed under: books, illustration, miscellaneous, oddities, writing | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 19, 2011 by Dan Chambers
It is pompous and affectedly archaic.
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Posted on July 11, 2011 by Dan Chambers
If you are watching a TV sitcom and any character says a list of synonyms for “nothing”, to wit:
“Nothing… Zip, nada, zilch, zero, bupkis.”
You are watching a bad sitcom. Turn off the TV.
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Posted on September 16, 2010 by Dan Chambers
We’re nearing the end of the series… this current show is about games, and features Angry Birds (which is about literally Angry Birds), Words With Friends (which is literally about Words) and more games-related puns than you can withstand without your blood-pressure increasing slightly.
Filed under: animation, computing, downloads, friends, gadgets, miscellaneous, publicity, tips, tv, writing | Tagged: angry, App, birds, Geek, Lady, puns, Show, words | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 27, 2010 by Dan Chambers
Posted on August 24, 2010 by Dan Chambers
I wrote the script for this new episode of the Lady Geek App Show. It features a not-entirely-terrifying zombie apocalypse. And shopping.
Filed under: animation, computing, friends, oddities, publicity, tv, writing | Tagged: apocalypse, Geek, Lady, zombie | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 24, 2010 by Dan Chambers
I have found out that using three or more synonyms for the word “Nothing” is a SURE-FIRE formula for LAUGHS APLENTY. The more synonyms you can find and put in, the bigger the laugh.
“Nothing, nada, nil!”.
“Nothing, zip, zilch, zero, nada, bupkis!!!”
But before you go putting this SURE-FIRE DEAD-CERT GUARANTEED HOWLER into your comedic scripts be aware that I have registered copyright on this phrase and if you don’t pay me to use it I will SUE YOU.
Filed under: gripes, miscellaneous, tips, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged: bupkis, nada, nothing, zero, zilch, zip | Leave a Comment »