name games

Idiotic Things I’ve Done This Month (The Rambles Are Back!)

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My poems are now available to pre-order in their respective anthologies from The Student Wordsmith and Good Newz–follow links here. [UPDATE: Sorry the link doesn’t seem to be working. I’m still trying to figure out why that is. In the meantime I’ve posted the info on my Welcome page.]

End sales pitch.

I’ve had an interesting month. I did a few posts titled “Things I Learned in [insert month here]” when I first started this blog, but haven’t done any for a while. But for this post I’m doing something … else.

Some Things I Learned:

  1. My animal is a beaver, according to one of those “What animal are you” quizzes. The night after I did the quiz, I had a dream about a beaver called Bobby who kept singing Madonna’s “Open Your Heart”. Feel free to analyse.
  2. If you stick a tube in a tree and collect the water, you can boil it down to make syrup. (Not all trees.) I only know this because I was looking at a wilderness survival website for researching a fan fiction (which is like a kind of cross between Lost, The Hunger Games, and I’m a Celebrity).
  3. I can, apparently, hold my breath for longer than average, since I beat my St Peter’s buddies on our Butlins weekend. This came as a real surprise since I always thought my lungs were rubbish and expected to lose. Okay, I used to play the oboe, but only for a couple of years, about eight years ago …
  4. This one’s for the Whovians: there is no ‘C’ in the Gallifreyan alphabet. At least in the one designed by Lorna Sherman, which is awesome and I’ve been inputting tonnes of character names into the translator.

Some Really Dumb Things I’ve Done (I learned from these too):

I wanted to go to Charing Cross. I usually use the ticket machines rather than real people, since the queues usually move faster and I don’t have to worry about being misheard (I don’t have a particularly loud voice).

For some reason I couldn’t fathom, my only options seemed to be “Charing Cross Underground (Sorry no fares available”, or “Charing Cross Glasgow”. Instead of going to the ticket office like a normal person, I panicked and bought a ticket to London Bridge instead.

This meant that upon arriving at said station, I had to walk all the way to the barriers, go out with the ticket and touch in with my Oyster, and go back to the same platform I’d just arrived at to get the next train. And, subsequently, the same on the way home.

And it’s not till I was just typing this up that I twigged: I should have been searching for “LONDON Charing Cross”.

Do you want to know the most ridiculous part? I wasn’t even running late. In fact I arrived an hour and a half early. Why I panicked I have no idea. I apparently have a pathological need to get to places early. It’s more of a nuisance than it sounds

Here’s another example of how my brain (sometimes) works. Yesterday I got it into my head that it was a bank holiday. (My calendar doesn’t have holidays marked, and I don’t use a diary, so they usually creep up on me.) For some reason, I thought it must be May Day.


And it’s not like I didn’t know it was actually March. It wasn’t until twenty-seven hours later, and I was pondering when spring starts, that I twigged.

So, there’s some insight into this author’s head for you. I hope you don’t find it too frightening.

PS: I don’t like starting each new post with an apology for not posting in a while, so I’m not going to do it anymore.


Mystery sentence. First reader to translate it gets a minor character named after them in aforementioned fan fiction.

The Starbucks Name Game

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I’m just enjoying my first Starbucks coffee in a few weeks. I came all prepared to say ‘Susan’. But I wasn’t asked my name, so I felt a little disappointed.

I should explain. Neither my pen nor legal names are Susan. A while ago a friend and I dared each other. Starbucks ask your name when you order a hot drink; the plan was to use a different fake name every time we visited Starbucks. This turned into a list of character names to work our way through. My list is Doctor Who companions. But I guess random ones work too.

Of course if you do this in your local, sooner or later you’ll start to get funny looks. Especially if you do what my friend suggested but I don’t feel brave enough to, which is to use names belonging to the opposite gender. I have a mental image of her telling the barista that her name is Ian. But the confusion is, theoretically, half the fun.

I wouldn’t know, haven’t had the opportunity yet–it doesn’t work well with the resolution to spend less on coffee. My excuse at the moment is that the internet is down in my flat.

I have a tip if you want to try this at home (or rather in Starbucks): if you’re planning on doing it with a friend, you have to keep your face dead straight. Especially if they don’t know what you’re planning.

Remembering which name you’ve given them when your coffee is ready is also wise.

Variant: Find an unheard-of five-syllable name, use it every time, and count how many spelling variants you get.

Maybe I should turn this into a series, of ways to amuse yourself in coffee shops. I certainly have lots of experience to draw from. Hmm …