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Origin of the word W00T

A lot of speculation has been written over the years about where the word woot comes from… that’s woot! as in, “WOOT!  I’m so happy!”

Some say it’s a Scottish word, some say it comes from dungeons and dragons, some say it originated with L33t speak, and some say it came from the original MMORPGs like Ultima online.

Here’s the real story.

Back before fast internet and before there was anything like a graphical internet let alone graphical playable online computer games, kids with UNIX accounts at their local college spent WAY too much time playing the original online multi-player games – MUDS (Multi User Dungeons.)

There were a lot of them.  Hundreds, maybe more than a thousand or two, and amazingly there are still a lot of them out there.  One of the largest then (and it’s still one of the largest and most popular) was a MUD called The Discworld Mud, modeled after Terry Pratchett’s Discworld book series.

At the height of the Discworld’s popularity there were still only a few popular MUDS available to play on and people tended to play on multiple muds at the same time, so the population of users was very well integrated between the different large muds.  The reason for this was LAG.  In the Discworld LAG was even a monster you could attack and kill.

The servers that the MUDs were hosted on were generally run by collages and were supposed to be used for research, so the MUDs were designed to limit the number of people who could play at a time, so it was typical to sit in a queue and wait for your turn to play on a popular MUD, and while you waited you’d play on a less popular MUD.

All of this explanation is to set up the environment where a popular new word could spread rapidly across a wide group of people.

Woot started this way:

On the Discworld, there was a popular way of communicating with other players on the MUD – you’d shout, and everyone near you would hear what you said.  Usually the shouts would be silly things.  For example if you shouted the number 8, you’d go flying through the air and get kicked out of the game.

It was also common to quote bits of Monty Python movies – especially the Knights who say Ni!.

In the Monty Python skit, the knights use the word Ni to attack the knights of King Arthur, and one knight invariable says it wrong… Noo!

And to this we add one more final piece – the Unseen University Librarian.

The Librarian used to be a human wizard but due to a magical accident he was changed into an orangutan – after which he refused to be turned back into a human because he found that he was more effective as a librarian in Simian form.  His only problem was that he could only communicate by saying, “Wook.”

Add them all together – the shouting system of communication, the word, “Woot” and the Monty Python skit – and you get someone shouting, “WOOK WOOK!” when they were excited, then someone else turning it into, “Woot Woot! in reference to the knights who say ni… er nooo… or something.

This was eventually shortened to simply, “Woot!”

There we have it… the origin of the word, “Woot” is actually a magical orangutan.

The reign of the MUDs was strong all the way up until Ultima Online came out, and then almost all at the same time, the players dropped the MUDs and moved over to the new graphical MUD experience, and they brought their way of speaking with them.

AFK – away from keyboard.
LOL – laugh our loud.
: ) – the smiley face.  It originated in early MUDs.

And Woot.


The Discworld MUD


Pseudopod Flash Contest III

Voting for the Pseudopod Flash Contest III  is officially starting this Sunday, and with 143 stories submitted, I’m thinking that it’s going to be a pretty great contest.

I’ve never been a really big fan of horror – especially the gory stuff.  One of my favorite horror movies is the old BBC version of A Woman In Black.  I guess maybe there should be a difference between a horror movie and a scary movie.  The Woman in Black is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen.

But can a book or a story be scary?  Horror seems to be divided into two main horror areas – Physical Peril, and Mental Peril.  I’m not counting Emotional Peril because it’s a byproduct of the other two – so there’s just the wet and the dry horror and on the wet side, sure it’s easy to describe lots of bloody things happening, but at least for me it doesn’t create the feeling of terror that they psychological stuff does.

I’ve had some experience with both in real life.  I’m sure people coming back from Iraq or Afganastan have seen more than their fair share of it, but for me, my only experience is seening a person get ripped apart by a semi-truck on the freeway once.

Seeing it was awful.  I watched the movie Starship Troopers shortly afterward and had to leave or I would have puked.  Stuff like that doesn’t normally bother me, but I’d just seen the real thing and I found that Starship Troopers did a pretty good job of recreating it.

But reading about it?  I dunno.  I think it’s powerful, but less powerful than Mental Peril can be – Like the Woman in Black, and like my grandfather’s ghost stories.  There wasn’t any blood or gore – just the promise that there is a lot more to the world than what we can see and not all of it is nice.

Anyway, the first group of Pseudopod stories will be added on Sunday.  Head on over to the forums and read and cast your votes.

Is it spring yet?

My computer crashed and so I’m going through the hard drive and saving the good stuff.  Here’s some pictures that make me happy.

Little fish in the creek.Little fish in the creek.


HelloSaying hello to the new calf

GuessWhatCan you guess what this is?  99% of you won’t have a clue.
The rest live on a family farm.


I’ve spent a lot of time staring at the list of rejected submissions lately at The Grinder and I’ve come to the conclusion that submitting stuff is a little bit like writing stuff.  If you don’t write something even if it’s bad, then you won’t ever write anything.  Something doesn’t come from nothing.

99 percent of the stories submitted on the list are rejected, but 100 percent of the stories that don’t get submitted are effectively rejected as well.

So I just submitted a story.  The query letter was probably terrible, and maybe the story isn’t perfect, but if I don’t ever submit it anywhere, then there’s zero chance that anyone but me will ever like it.

I’ll let you know when I get my rejection… and when I submit it somewhere else.

Poem – Poison Ivy Everywhere

Here’s something that I wrote in the summertime to remind everyone that winter doesn’t last forever.

Poison Ivy Everywhere

 I work outside on the fence all day
Cutting brush and trees away
Covered from my head to toes
With all the things that fences grow

Creepers, vines, and brushy trees
I cut them back and clear the way
Pull them back and haul them over
Drop them down into the clover
As I’m working there I see
Poison Ivy covers me
It’s on the posts and in the grass
It’s everywhere on that old fence

I’m immune, so I don’t mind
I work away under clear blue sky
Till sun is high and burning hot
I come inside to eat my lunch
Take a break and drink some punch
I hug my wife and kiss her hard
She smiles and winks then dances away
Then looking back she whispers, “Stay.”
Never knowing the price she’ll pay

Poison Ivy in my hair
Poison Ivy on my hands
Poison Ivy on my skin
On my face, on my arms, everywhere
I’m immune so I don’t mind

But my wife’s not

Poison Ivy everywhere.


A couple things for ya.

I’ve been busy, busy, busy and now January is over and it’s the beginning of February and I’m pining for warm weather and long days.  We’ve got cold weather and short days though so no use whining… at least my allergies are hibernating through the winter.  Yay.

I’ve been doing some writing and editing, but I’ll get to that in a bit – first though, I may have mentioned our sheep at some point.  Yep, we’ve got sheep.  Sheep like to pick the coldest, most miserable time of the year to have lambs, so they should be popping out any minute, but that’s not the point.   The point is sheep = wool.  Well, sheep could = mutton too I guess, but in our case our sheep have this amazing, long, fine, soft wool.  Great for spinning.  So along with our sheep we have a spinning wheel, a drum carder, a spin dryer, bags of last years wool in the shed, a four heddle floor loom and a little rigid heddle loom that I made for my daughter.

So, my wife and my daughters knit – my twelve year old can really whip stuff out.  She just finished making a really cool hat for her brother – and I haven’t had much to do with the whole fiber art stuff until my wife suggested that I make the little table top loom for my six year old.  I looked at a couple that were for sale on the internet and one that a friend had, and it didn’t look too hard, so four dollars and a couple weeks of working on it a couple hours here and there I had a nice, fully functional rigid heddle loom.  (We bought the heddle – I tried making a heddle out of string but it didn’t work so well.

Yeah – the thing cost four dollars, total.  Pretty cool, hu?  True I had some of the wood laying around and I scrounged the other pieces from an old come-along tie down, and I carved a couple pieces from Osage Orange firewood, but I only went to the store to buy dowels and they cost $4.  Maybe I’ll take a picture and post it or something.

So once I made the loom, I had to make a warping board – that wasn’t cheap because I used oak.  I probably could have done it for about $6 if I just bought the dowels again, but I bought some nice 1x4x4 oak boards.  Not so cheap.

And then once I had the warping board made, I was pretty well sunk into the project and had to warp on a bunch of cotton yarn and then warp the big floor loom and then learn how to weave twill.  I find that when I’m doing searches for stuff like this on the internet, that there are a lot of guys doing the weaving thing… so it’s not just me.  I really enjoy the mechanics of it, plus if you think about it, the first computer ever created was a loom.  I’m just going way back to my computer geeky roots.  A string on a loom is either up or down, on or off, 1 or 0.  Cool stuff.

I’m thinking it’s going to be REALLY cool to shear the wool from the sheep, wash it, spin it, warp it, and then weave it. 

Ok, enough of that – back to writing…

I’ve got a couple project I’m working on.  Pseudopod – one of the sister podcasts of Escapepod and Podcastle is having a horror flash fiction contest just like Escapepod did last summer.  The last day for submissions is February 28th and I plan to submit two stories.  I’ve got one written and I’m working on editing it, and I have another story that I’ve rewritten nine times now and I just keep getting more and more unhappy with it.  I’m thinking about ditching it and just going with a new story.  Can’t say anything about any of the stories though because my profile there links to here and I don’t want to give anything away.  If you do happen to get here from the Escape Artists web page…  Hi!

Another thing I’m working on is one of my goals for this year – to start submitting stories and actually get at least one of them published.  Can’t get anything published if you don’t submit it.  So I went for it and submitted something for the second time in my life yesterday.  The first time was when I was 18… quite a while ago, if you must know.  Only submitted it to one place, never got a rejection notice, never got anything at all back.  Gave up.  Moved on.  Got married.  Had kids.  Had dogs, cats, chickens, goats, sheep, cows, horses, ducks, pigs… etc.  And now here I am back at the beginning sort of.  Feels kind of good.  I blame it all on listening to podcasts.

And finally, I plan on writing at least 250 words a day.  I’m kind of just making this plan right now, so I have no idea if I can keep it up, but today at lunch I wrote 300 words in about twenty minutes.  And, well,  this post is getting pretty long as well.  By the time I’m done I’ll probably have about 900 words all together that I wrote at lunch time.  Cool.

So things are going well.

The one thing that I really kind of need but don’t have right now is a couple of good beta readers that I’m not related to.  My family is really pretty brutal and honest when it comes to editing, but they’re still related to me and love me and stuff.   If anyone is interested and willing, let me know.

How’s the Editing Going? – Small Robot.

Editing is going ok, but slow.  I printed out a copy of Small Robot and I’ve been going over it and marking it up with a regular pen.  I can write on my phone or my computer, but I’m terrible at editing there.  I’ve got a friend that actually goes through the trouble of printing her rough drafts in book form (like from a vanity press or something) and uses the book for editing.  I think it’s a pretty good idea for editing books – they would end up being a lot of loose papers otherwise, but for short stories just plain printing it out on the printer works fine for me. 

Small Robot is about five pages.

It’s interesting – I had my plan for how I was going to go through these phases of editing, but when I acually got out my pen and started the edits, I mostly skipped all the first stuff and went straight to word choice.  I think the main reason for this was because the problems with word choice annoyed me enough that I couldn’t get past them.  So maybe I should change the order and put word choice first and fix all of the annoying problems, and then go back to the big picture edits.  I’ll probably have to do another word choice edit after that but I think the quality will be much better.

I was listening to Mur talking about editing, and she said that the trick to editing is to take off your creative hat and put on your editing hat and to just buckle down and do it even if you don’t really feel like doing it.  Editing is an entirely different process than creating the story, but for me it’s just as creative and satisfying.  It’s kind of like learning a new piece of music.  When you play it the first time it’s kind of rough, you play wrong notes, you make timing mistakes, and hearing the rhythm of the music in your head might be difficult, but as you practice and work on it the wrong notes go away, the timing mistakes smooth out, and the rhythm becomes more natural.  That’s the way I feel with editing as well.

Editing is kind of like doing a puzzle.  You have all of the pieces there, you just need to turn them around and flip them over so that they fit together the right way.

And finally, here’s another white board crayon drawing.  My six year old requested a cherry.