October 16th, 2005


Learning to ride as an adult: what's it like?


I'm trying to write a story wherein one of the characters is trying to teach the other two to ride horses. They're both in their early twenties and in reasonably good shape. The style will be "English," and the goal is to get them ready for a trek of several days.

The problem is, I learnt to ride before the age of eight. And, while I've occasionally acted, in some small degree, as a trainer, I've never worked with anyone who'd never ridden at all.

So... what does it feel like to learn to ride as an adult? Which muscles are sorest? What does the first impression of being on horseback feel like? What aspect of riding seems most intimidating to an adult beginner, and which least?

And what is teaching an adult beginner like? What are their most common mistakes? Do you start them on a leadline or a lungeline? What false assumptions do you have to correct first? How quickly do you start them trotting? Cantering? How do you explain to them how to find a good seat? Is there any pattern to which ones are more likely to "get it" more quickly?

Thanks much,
walter sopcheck
  • semiote


'Engrish' is a word used to describe uses of English by Japanese speakers, but also by Korean and Cantonese speakers (in video games, subtitles to films, store signs, and in other popular culture sources, 'Engrish' can be amusing--sometimes intentionally so). What I'd like to find out is a bit more about the syntactical features of 'Engrish' in its various forms and what can be said to explain them (i.e. what syntactical features of Japanese, Korean, and Cantonese are interacting with the syntax of English in these cases). I'm not looking for anything too in-depth or scholarly (I don't have the time or the desire to pore over any detailed linguistic studies). What I'd like to be able to do is convincingly mimic the syntax of Japanese 'Engrish' in order to write something for a short story. I have passing familiarity with concrete examples, but I think some working knowledge of the syntax of this sort of...dialect? pidgin?--I don't know what the correct term to be used here--are in order for me to do this. I have a decent background in syntax and semantics--although more of my knowledge lies in formal rather than in natural language syntax and semantics. Can anyone recommed something serious (that is, not another website or magazine bit that just makes fun of 'Engrish') but intelligible to someone who isn't a linguist? It's been hard to find anything useful on the 'net, and I don't know what linguists call 'Engrish' (if anything), and so the resources of my university's library haven't been that helpful.
Ame- Daisy by

Question about weapons...

What's the name of that weapon that GoGo uses against Black Mamba in Kill Bill Vol. I? I've tried looking on Google but even the toys call it a ball and chain, but it's not a traditional ball and chain so I figure there's a different name for it. I mean, a ball and chain or a mace is usually a short chain on a stick with the ball or weapon attached. This was a ball that sprung blades and had a chain that was several feet long.

Thanks for any help in advance!
lirael blueness

Aesthetics of names

I used to have a bookmarked web page that detailed the aesthetics of names, but I can't find it. Does anyone here know where it (or something similar) might be? It covered topics like the number of syllables a last name should have to complement a first name of X syllables, and what letters go well together for starting the first and last names, and I think it had a section for the phenomenon of alliterative superhero names (Peter Parker, Clark Kent, etc.).

Or did I go crazy and dream this? That happens sometimes.
  • Current Mood

Two questions about the "Wild West"

Does anyone know where I can find names that were common in that era and region? Also, does anyone know what people usually ate, normally and, more specifically, while travelling? For NaNoWriMo I'm doing a story on bounty hunters tracking a young girl, and they'll be on the trail throughout at least half of the book.

EDIT: To be more specific, I'm thinking between 1867 and 1875, in Wyoming or Colorado.