Showing posts from October, 2008

The Memes I Like

3x Thursday: 10/30/y2k+8: Boo!
1. Do you like Halloween? Why/why not?

Well, it is a cool sort of thing. And it is Samhain, which is special to me. I love this time of year. And October is my favourite month, so why not go out with something fun?
2. What's your favorite part of the Halloween season? Why?

Pumpkin carving is my favourite part. Picking the pumpkins, planning what I'm going to put in, and executing it. I love it all!
3. Do you have plans for Halloween this year? If so, what are they? If not, why not?

Yes! I am going to do what I do every year! Make the house totally dark to discourage trick or treaters!
October 31, 2008
Four For Friday - The Election Edition

Q1 - Talk About It: Many of my friends have commented they cannot discuss politics with co-workers, family, friends and others without conflict rearing its ugly head. Do you feel you can talk with your family and friends about this particularly divisive Presidential election?
Sure I can. They have their opinions and I ha…

Happy Samhain! Happy Hallowe'en!

I love Hallowe'en and what it means and I love that this is the Wiccan New Year! It's neat. The thing I'm not crazy about is the trick or treating kids... most of them aren't.
When I got to a certain point, a certain age, it was no longer cool to go out trick or treating. This is what kids do - little kids. And I knew that people answering the doors were thinking why is this young teenager standing here?
Now when the kids show up, they are too old, and some scare me. Young teenage males in half-assed costumes with that attitude of hand over the goods don't make me feel warm and fuzzy. Luis may feel okay about it and want to answer the door, but they may not be inclined to try to do anything with him. I know I can't definitively say that. The doorbell rang maybe six times tonight and I didn't answer any except for the Chinese food delivery guy. Luis answered it twice. He came home with candy and ate some, and gave less out. What a night!
When I was a kid, you d…

A.W.A.D. - Contradictory Words

When you sanction a project, do you approve of it or disapprove? Should one be commended for oversight (watchful care) or reprimanded for oversight (error or omission)? When you resign from a job, do you leave it or re-join (re-sign) it?
When a proposal gets tabled, is it being brought forward for discussion or being laid aside? Depends on which side of the pond you're at. If the former, you're in the UK; if the latter, you're in the US.
I call them fence-sitters. They sit on fences, ready to say one thing or its opposite depending on which side they appear. I'm not talking about politicians. These are words, known by many names: autoantonym, contranym, self-antonym, enantiodromic, amphibolous, janus word, and so on.
Sometimes it's a result of two distinct words evolving into the same form (cleave from Old English cleofian and cleofan) but often a single word develops a split personality and takes on two contradictory senses. All of us have a bit of yin and yang and t…

A.W.A.D. - Words Coined for This Year's Presidential Candidates

Two years in the making, the 2008 US presidential election will take place two weeks from now. By the time the campaigns end, the candidates will have spent more than a billion dollars trying to get the job. All those bucks for a position that earns less than half million dollars a year and lasts only four years! But weighing the post by its salary is like saying that Olympic athletes sweat for years just to pocket a few hundred dollars' worth of gold.
The post of President of the United States carries immense power to make decisions that affect, for better or worse, people the world over. The effect of the actions of a president last for years and eponyms (words coined after someone's name) enter the language that reflect their legacy, such as Reaganomics, teddy bear (after Theodore Roosevelt), etc.This week I have selected five words that appear to have been coined after this year's presidential candidates (Obama, Biden, McCain, and Palin). These are all 100% dictionary w…

The Better Memes

Thursday, 15 October 3x Thursday: 10/16/y2k+8: Puter Stuphs
1. What kind of puter do you have? PC or Mac? Do you have a preference of type? Why/why not?
I have a Gateway laptop. It is almost three years old but works well, has a nice big screen and a ton of space. I don't need to know what kind it is specifically... I don't own a Mac and Luis wouldn't even want one in the house. Having worked on both (it's been a very long time, but I did do graphic design on a Mac), there was a time when Mac was considered the premier computer; but I never did find a big difference between them. But Macs were not user friendly - they would get errors that were not English and crash all the time. And when they crashed, they really crashed.
2. For what purposes (surfing, gaming, writing, etc) do you use your computer?
I never use my computer for gaming, ever. I always feel that games are not the same if you are not holding cards or handling pieces or doing something a little more obvious tha…

Substance Over Size

You may have noticed that I am blogging far less than normal. And you would be right. But someone had asked me what was up with all the questionnaires and memes and I realised that somewhere in that haze of mad posting frenzy, I'd left all the substance behind that makes me a good, meaningful writer and cashed in for number of postings on a site that probably few read.
Substance. Isn't that what makes life rich and meaningful?

I suppose that the unbelievable amount of people out there who only have style and no substance (and it is disappointing how many do fit in to that catergory) would argue that they do have depth and meaning. Somehow, someone who is totally focused on their appearance and doesn't read or write or wander outside of their own town doesn't seem to have a lot in the way of substance. On the other hand, without tons of plastic surgery and a boatload of improvements made to my appearance, I won't be accused of this anytime soon. I'd like to be bea…

A.W.A.D. - Words About Words

Today when we spell the word "color" instead of "colour" we can thank a crotchety, humorless man for saving wear on our fingers, not to mention savings on paper and those obscenely expensive inkjet printer cartridges. October 16 marks the 250th birth anniversary of Noah Webster (1758-1843), lexicographer extraordinaire, who compiled the American Dictionary of the English Language (1828), the first authoritative lexicon of American English.
Webster believed in establishing cultural independence from Britain and as such he emphasized a distinct American spelling and pronunciation. His dictionary listed various unusual and shortened spellings of words. He would hardly have imagined how the tide would turn one day. According to reports, more British children today spell "color" instead of "colour", for example. Webster's suggestion of using "tung" instead of "tongue" didn't stick, though.
Today Webster's name is synonym…

NJ Road Upgrades and "Your Taxes at Work"

I understand the need to pay taxes. I also understand the need to gripe about it, but more important;y, I do understand that we cannot live in a tax-free society. I get that. And as much as I may not care for how much comes out of my weekly pay cheque and where it goes (although I am more incensed about the distribution of the property tax), I know that there are a lot of things that couldn't/wouldn't have happened without those taxes.
I also know that we in the United States pay low taxes compared to other countries. I'm particularly fond of that.
However, as I was driving home from the ocean on Wednesday, I came upon road work. Well... it was road something, but I am reluctant to classify it as "work". Ever see road work signs in New Jersey? I don't mean the little orange signs telling that there is road work ahead in two miles; I mean the green signs that read what work is being done, amount of money being allocated to the work, estimated start and finish da…

Scottish Music Solves the Blues

The Maryland Renaissance Faire is the best for a number of reasons, not the least of which is due to them having the Scottish Rogues, the O'Danny Girls and a host of other music makers! I love them.

The O'Danny Girls are fun because of their lyrics and I highly enjoy their singing. It's all vocal - just singing. The Scottish Rogues are mostly music, no lyrics. Both are enjoyable, but for all-out happy footstomping fun, the Scottish Rogues are the best. Luis can't take it very much but I love it. It makes me happy and light up from the inside out - and seeing and hearing them live definitely brought out the joyousness I'd been missing.

After they played I found Nelson and told him I wanted to thank him. He was curious about that, and I explained that last year I'd first heard and seen them. I bought their CDs that were sold there and burned onto my iPod what I hadn't (Renee has all of their stuff). I told him that their music got me through this summer, which …

Saturday's Reading

It went well, and had some interesting aspects. I went to Izolde last year and she was insightful and helpful. I wish I'd written it down at the time; I did mention it in my blog but without any details. I took a picture of the cards and this it:

OK, this is hard to look at, but the first card that I picked is the purply-looking card (the Nine of Swords) in the center on top of the other card, which is something like current events. She said that it looks like there are a lot of strong things going on in my life, and I will want to make radical changes in my life, but shouldn't until I get through them. (Makes sense so far... and there are a lot of really emotionally "strong" events going on in my life.)

Under that card is the Nine of... uh... oh, boy. You can see why I'm not cut out to do this... What was it? The Nine of Aces - no, sorry, the Ace of Rods - means in conjunction with the other card, that there are a lot of negative emotions right now, but underneath…

Only the Good Memes

Thursday, 9 October 3x Thursday: 10/09/y2k+8: Music & Pirates
1. Do you like iTunes? Why/why not? What do you think of the iTunes store maybe going away? Does it matter to you? Why/why not?
I like the iTunes program, it is a very good organiser and tool. I do not use the iTunes store. Why should I pay $1 a song when there are other avenues available? I rip all of my CDs and I do buy music online. I won't reveal what site I go to. But they are very reliable and I have used them very often. They also have a lot of hard-to-find tunes, which is great for me.
2. How do you get your music these days (torrents, iTunes, Amazon, record store, other)? What's your prefered method of media (mp3s, cd, vinyl)? Why?
As usual, I've jumped the gun. See my answer above. Overall I prefer CDs, because then I have a back up source. That means a lot to me. I have lost music and been crushed by it.
3. Do you play any Rock Band or Guitar Hero? What do you think of downloadable content? More specifi…

A.W.A.D. - There Was A Word for That?

With the largest vocabulary of any language, in English we have a word to describe almost everything. And when we can't find one, we're happy to borrow from another language (from German: schadenfreude, pleasure at another's misfortune), or just make one up (petrichor, the pleasant smell of rain after a dry spell).
That said, let's not gloat over how many words we have. English's poverty shows in many places, for example, when it comes to words to describe relations. How useful is it to introduce the woman with you as your sister-in-law when the term could mean any number of things? This week we visit a few terms that make one say, "I didn't know there was a word for it!"
MEANING: noun: One who laughs excessively.

ETYMOLOGY: From Greek hyper- (over) + gelastes (laugher), from gelan (to laugh). A related word is agelast: someone who never laughs.
MEANING: noun: A design feat…

Vacation So Far

Friday Night...

Vacation is always a good thing.

I'm watching Titanic, which was and still is a very good movie. It took the facts of a historical and disasterous event and intertwined it with a really good story to give it that fun movie feel instead of a documentary. The RMS Titanic was an interesting ship. Of course, the problems will always begin with giving something an inappropriate name. Calling any ship "unsinkable" is a sure way to ensure that she will, in fact, sink.
Like a stone.

It's chilling to see a boot, a pair of glasses... a few feet on, the skeleton of a doll's face... another distance and and there is the beatifully scalloped fireplace from the main dining room. Chilling, but amazing. The water has preserved as much as it has destroyed. But the water is what killed her.
What killed the people, however, is just sheer screaming stupidity. First they build the supership of the age (1912). They christen her Titanic and then sell her as the unsinkable Ti…

A.W.A.D. - Words That Put Down

The pejorative suffix -aster (meaning something that is inferior, small or shallow) gives us some delightful words when it comes to name-calling. A reviewer brands a poet a poetaster (an inferior poet) and the reviewee might return the favor by calling the former a criticaster (an incompetent critic).
In the same vein, we can have a philosophaster, an astrologaster, and a theologaster. Lest we get carried away here, let's remember that a grandmaster is not an inferior grandma.
This week we'll review five words you can use to put people down.

PRONUNCIATION: (PUH-li-ti-kas-tuhr)
MEANING: noun: A petty politician.

ETYMOLOGY: From Italian politicastro, from Latin politicus (political), from Greek politikos, from polites (citizen), from polis (city) + Latin -aster (pejorative suffix).
MEANING: noun: A nosy or gossipy person.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin quid nunc (what now), implying someone constantly asking "What's new?"

Hubble Space Telescope Views Solar System with Sharp Clarity

NO OTHER invention or tool used in astronomy has advanced our knowledge of the universe as much as the telescope. Invented in the early 1600s, the telescope enabled early astronomers to extend our vision and knowledge of the heavens.

While ground-based telescopes transformed early astronomy, the views were limited by the Earth's blurring atmosphere. As telescopes grew in size, they were located on remote mountaintops to minimize impacts from the atmosphere's obscuring effects, but the atmospheric limitations still remained to some degree.
This changed in 1990 when the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed above the Earth's atmosphere via the space shuttle Discovery. While there have been other orbiting observatories, the Hubble has truly changed our view of the universe as no other telescope before it.
Early in its life, the Hubble suffered from faulty optics, which limited its usefulness. The problem was corrected with a very successful servicing mission in 1993 by the astrona…

Astronaut's Diary Goes on Display in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM - Pages from an Israeli astronaut's diary that survived the explosion of the space shuttle Columbia and a 37-mile fall to earth are going on display this weekend for the first time in Jerusalem.
The diary belonged to Ilan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut and one of seven crew members killed when Columbia disintegrated upon re-entering the atmosphere on Feb. 1, 2003. Part of the restored diary will be displayed at the Israel Museum beginning Sunday.
A little over two months after the shuttle explosion, NASA searchers found 37 pages from Ramon's diary, wet and crumpled, in a field just outside the U.S. town of Palestine, Texas. The diary survived extreme heat in the explosion, extreme atmospheric cold, and then "was attacked by microorganisms and insects" in the field where it fell, said museum curator Yigal Zalmona.
"It's almost a miracle that it survived — it's incredible," Zalmona said. There is "no rational explanation" for how…