Sunday, January 02, 2011
As I'm sure you'll remember from last year, I've done one of these every year since 2003 or 2004. And here we go!
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Thursday, December 23, 2010
My blogging may be a little light this week. Before Christmas, every waking moment will be spent finishing up the insanely ambitious volume of knitting I have (as usual) taken on for holiday gifts. After Christmas, I'll be helping my mother pack up her house and thus sequestered from internet. So happy holidays, everyone.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
This is going to be a whirlwind trip report for two reasons. One-- it's late and I am the sort of tired and stupid that comes along with having a head cold. Two (and this is the best kind of reason) I've accomplished so many awesome things in the past two weeks that I can't explain them all in detail. The highlights are as follows:
First and foremost, I completed and sent in my graduate school application. Given that six weeks ago I was worrying this wouldn't even be possible this year, I'm pretty proud of that.
Today marks three years of the First Mate and I making things work, despite and because of our many differences. I love you, Andy, and I'm thoroughly amazed you still put up with me.
After years of reflecting wistfully on how much I loved having blue hair in college, I've dyed my hair blue again. Because I wanted to, damn it, and I don't need a better reason than that.
I determined to go out for the roller derby rec league as my project for January.
Most astonishingly for long-time readers of this blog, I finally did that which I considered might not even be humanly feasible: I finished the Rasputin Sock. After having to undo and redo it about seven times, I held my breath as I bound off the last stitches, thinking that I was inviting some sort of meteoric apocalypse. But no, the sock is done and the earth is still standing.
Monday, December 20, 2010
This is what I get, dear readers, for missing two weeks of updates-- karmic punishment in a truly painful method. I signed on to write a post about one of my favorite words, "ignominious," and as with all of my Etymology Monday entries I appealed first to my holy of holies, the OED online. I was shocked to find that the entire site had been redesigned, but the full horror of the situation did not become apparent until I tried to log in and was confronted with a request for my e-mail address.
I have a confession to make. My access to the OED is not strictly on the up-and-up. As far as it is concerned, I am a student at a small British girls' school, and I have a login and password that keeps up this charade. I do not, however, have an e-mail address to correspond with it.
Oh, loud were my lamentations when I contemplated a future without the Oxford English Dictionary at my fingertips! Great was my woe as I considered having to stoop to dictionary.com! I was about to begin the gnashing of teeth and the rending of garments when I found the regular login screen again, merely moved to a slightly different link. Crisis averted, but a doleful reminder of the sorts of things that can happen if I ever cease my vigilance.
"Ignominious," by the way, is a simply marvelous word. It is formed upon ignominy, which comes from the Latin negative prefix in- added to gnomen, meaning name or reputation. An ignominious man, then, is in such shame and disgrace that he has un-named himself. Mentioned in the definition is another marvelous word, obloquy, coming from Latin roots meaning "to speak against" (ob- + loqui, "to speak.") In Middle English it became mingled with "obliquity," which is connected with "oblique" as in angles, but is also figuratively used to mean "divergence from right conduct or thought; perversity, aberration; an instance of this, a fault, an error." The current definition is acknowledged to be an admixture of both.
Labels: Etymology Monday
Sunday, December 05, 2010
I have a confession to make. I'm feeling merry.
I know, I know. I'm supposed to be ironically un-festive. I went to an ugly sweater party and I have a Flying Spaghetti Monster tree topper, so I'm doing my part. I have to admit, though, that the holiday radio station is on in my car and I made a special effort to decorate the apartment and put up a tree. I was even positively giddy at the first big snowfall on Saturday, despite the fact that it took me half an hour to dig my car out to go to work.
Now, some people are Christmas People. They have perfect cards with perfect photographs that are always out by December 15th. They own Santa hats and wear them to work. They have special Christmas hand towels which guests are not actually supposed to use. They visit the Christmas village displays in the back of Hallmark regularly during the spring and summer to get their Christmas fix. I'm not that kind of Christmas person. Previously, I've treated the holiday with typical irreverence, making the usual sneering remarks about rampant materialism and maudlin nostalgia. Now that my mother has sold the house in which I grew up and my siblings have scattered across the country, I'm realizing that it's unlikely that we'll have another family Christmas, and it's making me more wistful than I anticipated.
It's not as if I'm bereft. The First Mate has a large and inclusive family who has welcomed me for holidays for years, and I'll be celebrating this one with them. I'm working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, though, and when I first found out I was kind of at a loss. I've never been away from my family on Christmas Eve. Then I had one of those adult moments that keep sneaking up on me. I am my family, I realized. I don't need to latch on to someone else's conventions. I can make up my own traditions, and I can be filled with good cheer if I goddamn well want to. And, I have decided, I do. Despite the carnival of consumerism (which I deplore) and the religious background (which I'm moving beyond) I genuinely like the Christmas season. People are actively encouraged to celebrate the things they appreciate about each other and to be kinder to their fellows, and who doesn't need more of that? Also, everything is twinkly and I am easily entertained.
I trimmed a tree and listened to the Vandals singing "Oi To The World," I'm being closer to the people I care about, and I will wake up Christmas morning to fresh raisin bread, my family of cats and boyfriend, and a city full of my dearest friends. What better gift could I get?
Thursday, December 02, 2010
I present to you: How Not To Chat Up A Linguist.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
I've talked about English words I love, and English words I miss, and words in other languages that English should take on. Today on EMonday (I'm never allowed to call it that again) let's go one step farther and make up some English words?
I had a head start on this with "gymnosophy" (see the sidebar), but I was reminded of the subject by a conversation with some friends of mine a couple of months ago. One of them expressed dismay that English had no succinct word for "so bad it's good" and invited the rest of us to coin such a word. Another friend contributed "flawesome" and it has somewhat stuck. Sure, it's punny, but it's also pretty evocative. You know flawesome when you see it. MegaShark vs. Giant Octopus was a flawesome movie. 80s cartoons are pretty flawesome if you try to watch them now. The invention of Whisquila was a high point in flawesome science. (As a friend of mine described it: "Whisquila! For when you absolutely, positively have to wake up in jail!")
There are plenty of concepts for which English lacks a pithy word, and I urge you, dear readers, to submit them to me. Perhaps I will compile a Figure Five dictionary. From the First Mate comes bananosity ("the intensity of banana flavor in a food item, with, for example, a typical bread rating at approximately .67 bn and "banana" Laffy Taffy approaching 3 Kbn, and a banana itself given a value of 1 bn.") He also contributes cuddlinary, "of or pertaining to the act of preparing food with a lover, spouse, or other romantic partner as a means of emotional bonding." Now it's your turn! Leave your words and definitions in the comments.