On to other things…
Have you played with Google Labs’ Ngram Viewer? It’s a fascinating tool that lets you search for words and ideas in a database of five million digitized books. Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel give us a bit of history about books, irregular English words, predictability and pictures being worth much more than 1000 words. They show a few of the surprising things we can learn from 500 billion words.
Now that the snow has disappeared the depredations of the hares (they are way too big to be cute bunnies) that burrow in our backyard are all too evident. The tender branches of the Korean lilac bush by the side entrance has been neatly chewed to about knee height – I suppose the branches taste sweet. The variegated Euonymus (spell check keeps telling me it should read Hieronymous) with it’s scoured-bare to the core trunk and stripped branches looks like it has been blasted with a flame thrower. I’ve tasted the leaves and they’re sour, so the hares must have been very hungry.
Even more impressive is the bushels of poo pellets they’ve left behind. I’ve spotted some babies already so I guess the mothers did all right in the nourishment department, the sluts. The red-tailed hawks are back so I anticipate finding more clumps of fur in the gardens and partial carcasses dropped on the deck. Not pretty but that’s the circle of life.
Speaking of Hieronymus…The original of that name was a Dutch artist famous for creating paintings “with fantastic imagery, detailed landscapes and illustrations of moral and religious concepts”. Not my cup of tea, though. I’m a big fan of the Michael Connelly novels about Los Angeles police detective Harry (Hieronymus) Bosch. Harry’s a brooding, ethical guy who can’t let a case go unsolved, no matter how cold or dangerous. Looking at Titus makes me want to sit him down and make him a meal and just listen to him speak.
The books have been made into a TV series streamed by Amazon in the U.S., the U.K. and Germany. Subscribers to Bell’s on demand Crave service can get it in Canada. We don’t have Bell and I’m tempted to get one of those ISP spoofing programs so I could stream it through Amazon. What was enticing for me was the casting of Titus Welliver (isn’t that a fantastic name?) as Harry. If you’ve seen the short-lived series Deadwood, you’ll know him as Silas Adams, the go-to man for Al Swearengen, the unofficial head honcho in the cowboy town of Deadwood. Silas appears unassuming but he’s got an air about him…plus he’s middle-aged man hot, even with a scruffy greying beard. He reminds me a bit of my novel protagonist’s love interest, Jake.
Speaking of my novel, I expect to have it finished today. Finished as in this umpteenth draft will have a definite beginning, an ending and a hook that will keep readers waiting for the next in the series. I’ve got over 1000,000 words, which is a couple thousand more than I was aiming for, but I also know that there’s still lots of ‘fluff’ I can edit out once I turn my mind to it.