Thursday, September 26, 2013

How Do You Say IRREGULAR In Elvish?

Ever have one of those days when you manage to get EVERYTHING done? I'm experiencing one right now. I wish I knew what made days like this different from the rest. Seriously--I'm trying to remember what I ate this morning.

Anyway, here's a cool video about conlangs, or constructed languages. It focuses on artlangs (languages invented for books or films) such as Elvish (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Klingon (Star Trek) and Dothraki (the Game of Thrones series).

It would be pretty amazing to have your own language (as long as a few other people spoke it). But a bespoke language also sounds like a lot of work to construct. Fortunately for authors, the Internet is there to help. Thanks to fans, languages like Dothraki that began with just a few thousand words are now complex enough to be spoken.

That means if there's no word for IRREGULAR in Elvish, you might get to be the person who makes one up.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I Haven't Seen Anything This Amazing in Ages

One of the miniature libraries created by artist Marc Giai-Miniet (and photographed by Michel Dubois). See more libraries here. Absolutely remarkable. I would give an limb for the honor of hanging one of these on my wall.

Friday, September 20, 2013

At the Corner of Danger and Keep Your Eyes Peeled

Misery Corner
Dead Man's Corner
Upside Down Christ
Corner of the Little Birds
Corner of the Lonely Soul

These are all intersections in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, where the streets have no names (as far as most people are concerned), the buildings have names instead of numbers, and the landmarks are all known by colorful monikers.

More here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Real Life Darkness Dwellers

I like to think of my books as collages. They're composed of little scraps of information that I've collected over the years. In my brain, nothing weird ever goes to goes to waste.

If you've read Kiki #3 (or glanced at its title), you know that the book features a secret organization called the Darkness Dwellers whose mission is to explore and protect the (very real) catacombs underneath the city of Paris. I based the group on a real-life organization known as Les UX. (I've written about them several times on this blog.)

However, there's a relatively new group in Paris know as We Are the Oracle who could have provided inspiration for the Darkness Dwellers.

These ladies and gentlemen are known for throwing parties in "impossible locations." (Love it.) Think abandoned subway stations (sound familiar?), forgotten mansions, and the dark recesses beneath famous bridges.

More (including some great photos) here at the fabulous Messy Nessy Chic.

Monday, September 9, 2013

How About a Nice Cold Glass of Blood Worms?

This little item was in the news a while back. But it's still as disgusting as the day it came out. Seems blood worms have invaded the water supply in Colcord, Oklahoma. (Okay, technically they're the larvae of the midge fly, if that makes you feel any better.)  And they're almost impossible to kill.

As the town water commissioner noted, "You can take the worms out of the filter system and put them in a straight cup of bleach and leave them in there for about four hours, and they still won't die."

If any of you have friends or family in Colcord, I'd love a little update on the situation. News reports suggest that the townsfolk are living on bottled water. But here's my question: When your water supply is infested with blood worms, what's better--showers or baths?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Crawling Out From Under My Rock

Where have I been? Here. There. The grocery store. Ha. I'm saving my adventures for this fall. (Yes, I have a few planned. Yes, I will write all about them when the time comes.)

Unfortunately, this summer has been work, work, and more work. I'm actually quite proud of the all things I've accomplished in the past three months. Three big projects are nearing completion. Stories have been told. Butts have been kicked. Lessons have been learned. Blog posts have not been written. Sorry about that.

I stayed away from the blog world this summer for a few very good reasons. First, the amount of spam I receive has gotten quite overwhelming. (It seems I win the lottery on a daily basis.) For this reason, please don't include a URL when you comment on a post. I see URLs and my brain automatically thinks "spam." If you want to send me a link, it's best to send it to

Second, I stayed away from the blog because I was angry. Really, really murderously angry about what happened to my last book, How to Lead a Life of Crime. I know this has nothing to do with you guys. But I felt it was best if I resisted the urge to vent here. Bank St. Irregular is supposed to be fun and wacky and weird. Not potentially homicidal.

(One big piece of good news. How to Lead a Life of Crime may end up being more than a book. Keep your fingers crossed!)

Third, I had way too much work. And writing a blog takes a lot of energy. I still have a lot to do, but I'll try to pop in every once in a while. I've got a few things I'd like to share. Hopefully, a few of you are still around to hear about them!

Back to you soon.


Breakfast on Mars

Holy moly, I didn't post about this! You should check out this fabulous book of essays (yes, essays). Yours truly contributed a piece arguing for the existence of Bigfoot. (Come on--what else would I write about? And yes, I do honestly believe.)

Here's the description from Amazon. Look at that list of authors!

Breakfast on Mars and 37 Other Delectable Essays will inspire students to think differently about the much feared assignment in elementary and middle schools around the country: essay writing. 
Rebecca Stern’s fifth grade students were bored to death with essay writing, and the one thing Rebecca needed to inspire them—great examples appropriate for kids—was nowhere to be found. Inspired by a challenge, Rebecca joined forces with her friend, social entrepreneur Brad Wolfe, and the two came up with a terrific proposal—to gather together a collection of unconventional essays by some of the best writers around. They have compiled and edited a collection of imaginative, rule-breaking, and untraditional essays that is sure to change the way you think about the essay.
Contributors include: Ransom Riggs, Kirsten Miller, Scott Westerfeld, Alan Gratz, Steve Almond, Jennifer Lou, Chris Higgins, Rita Williams-Garcia, Elizabeth Winthrop, Chris Epting, Sloane Crosley, April Sinclair, Maile Meloy, Daisy Whitney, Khalid Birdsong, Sarah Prineas, Ned Vizzini, Alane Ferguson, Lise Clavel, Mary-Ann Ochota, Steve Brezenoff, Casey Scieszka, Steven Weinberg, Michael Hearst, Clay McLeod Chapman, Gigi Amateau, Laurel Snyder, Wendy Mass, Marie Rutkoski, Sarah Darer Littman, Nick Abadzis, Michael David Lukas, Léna Roy, Craig Kielburger, Joshua Mohr, Cecil Castellucci, Joe Craig, Ellen Sussman