Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Aggrandize [adj] (uh gran dahyz)
  1. To make greater, to increase, thus, to exaggerate.
Barnum and Bailey may claim to have, "The Greatest Show On Earth," but I have to think they're aggrandizing more than just a little.  Tigers, tightrope walkers, and clowns are all well and good, but does their synergy compel you to travel across the country, sit 4-rows from the back wall on the farthest tier, and then scream/dance/bond with random strangers once the curtain rises?

If you answered, "Yes," to that question, well ... good for you!  Have fun with those clowns and sticky seats!

In my case, I just witnessed The Greatest Show On Earth, and it was put on by Michael BublĂ©.  

No - stop that!  Stop making that face!  The only reason you're doing that is because you're sick of hearing your loved ones swoon over this crooner, but let me tell you: He is the Best Living Entertainer and you will love him.  The boy sings, jokes, and swears - how could you not embrace that?

I'll be honest: My expectations were high going in to this concert - "Everyone says he's amazing.  He must be amazing.  Please let him be amazing!"  Nonetheless, I was still blown away by this performer's energy, pizazz, and personality.  This was, hands down, the best concert I have ever attended.  BublĂ© is not only an exceptional singer - because, really, the boy can sing -, but he truly enjoys performing and connecting with the audience.  My seat was on the back wall of the Verizon Center but I felt like I was in the front row, with only a bodyguard and a guardrail between me and the pure, unadulterated musical bliss.

And I'm not even aggrandizing. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Impervious [adj] (ihm purh vee uhs)

  1. Impossible to penetrate
  2. Incapable of being affected
My memory is far from impervious, but there are certain things that seem to stand the test of time.  Specific events become ingrained in the mind -  they evolve into more than just a passing thought and become a building block of personality and whim.  Like one afternoon in the third grade. 

It was most definitely a Friday.  The herd that was my third grade class was bouncing off the walls.  Pencils, paper airplanes, and multicolored erasers flew through the air to a chorus of high-pitched giggles. Unlike the moody teenagers we all would become in a few short years (lucky us), our excitement was not due to the close proximity of the weekend (ah, almost within our grasp!), but rather because our teachers had gathered us with the promise of something "fun" to do.  Insert montage of glee here.

With a flourish only known to one who has 50 pairs of doe-like eyes focused on them, a teacher emerged from the A/V room with a TV and VHS player in hand (or, you know, cart).  She put in a tape, pressed play, and welcomed 90-minutes of calm into her afternoon.  And an introduction to Ireland into mine. 

Through The Secret of Roan Inish, I traveled to the shores of Ireland.  I felt the pebbles of the beach massage (and prick) my feet, the wind chap my face, and the salt of the sea crust my hair.  I let the native brogue saturate my ears, the music lift my feet in rhythm, and the weight of the land's myths and legends imprint my soul.

Now, after almost two decades, the wee lass that once sat transfixed by a film on a Friday afternoon will actually set foot on the Emerald Isle.  Thanks to Champlain College's Office of International Education, I'll join my fellow alumni to Discover Ireland for 10-days next summer.  With a jam-packed itinerary, there are few stones left unturned  - from the must-see sights, to Irish pubs and dance, to Champlain's Dublin campus, and even Northern Ireland.  Maybe I'll even see a selkie (or, you know, jump into the sea and go in search of a few). I'm sure it will be a whirlwind - but the kind that will leave you breathless with the marvels you've seen.

Next year, I'll finally meet the real land of Roan Inish and that's something I'm not likely to forget.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Enervate [verb] (ehn uhr vayt)

  1. To reduce in strength.
When it appears that all in world is set to enervate you, you need to reset the world.

Or, you know, reset a smaller version.  Ah, the cathartic value of Monopoly.  

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Inexorable [adj] (inh ehk suhr uh buhl)

  1. Inflexible
  2. Unyielding
I don't believe many pride themselves on being inexorable.  It's doubtful that there's a single human being in the world who wakes up daily thinking, "Gosh, how completely proud I am of my inability to be flexible.  How I would so enjoy a slice of wheat toast with huckleberry jam."  I would even find it hard to believe that during a busy afternoon one may think, "Ah, I have stuck to my guns once again.  How glorious is the invention that is me.  Oh, is that a penny?"   
My point - the act of bullishness is not a trait one actively cherishes.   
Sure, we may find pleasure in getting our way by remaining unyielding in our position. We may enjoy the fruits of such steadfastness from time to time.  But everyday?  No.  To remain inflexible from dusk to dawn from birth to death is to fight against the universe.  And that's one battle you're destined to lose.

 Chicken crossing the a chicken crossing.  Ironic and educational.

Perhaps it's my millennial spirit getting in the way, but the thought of working against the flow, the universe as a whole, is unsavory.  I want to adapt, to toggle between one opinion and the next before making a decision befitting of the situation.  Like the chicken who crossed the road, I just want to get to the other side - if someone has a better way to do that, why chafe against it?  Why not contribute to that method and help with improvement?  
When I wake up tomorrow morning, I plan to embrace flexibility, to banish the unyielding and judge each situation with an open mind.  And I hope that plan is fairly inexorable.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Penury [noun] (pehn yuh ree)

  1. An oppressive lack of resources (as money)
  2. Severe poverty
"You know, if this keeps up we're only a hop, skip, and a jump from penury."

"We can't sustain this sort of...extravagance.  Changes need to be made."

"Fine, fine."

"Don't just brush this aside."
"I'm not.  Here, put this in the cart."
"You're changing the - Hey, put that back - that's...gosh, that's $10 a pound?!"
"It's local."

"Than it should be cheaper. Less airfare to get it here and all of that."
"Airfare? I'd hate to be on that plane - I hear livestock always drive for the mini-bar.  Grab that bag, please?  The organic one?"

"You get my point though - this is all well and good but it's not cheap. We can't keep buying like this. It's just not sustainable."

"Uh-huh.  Cheese?"

"And for that matter -- huh?"

"Cheese.  You know, for that whine you have going?"

" much is it?"

Monday, September 6, 2010


Encomium [noun] (ehn koh me uhm)

  1. Warm praise
I can show nothing but encomium for the food vendors at the fair.  Through rain, wind, heat, and snow (hey, it is Vermont), they stand in their aluminum and neon booths, smelling slightly of fried food and onion, ready and waiting to serve.
Hamburgers, fries, ice cream, pie, corn dogs, kettle corn, giant eclairs - they offer their specialties with a smile, but what they really serve-up are memories.   To this day, my recollections of the fair are slathered with smells, tastes, and "Mmms."  The ice cream from the UVM Dairy Barn.  The chili cheese pie at Dizzy Donuts (Note: I was disheartened to find that this delectable bowl of chili lined with a tortilla chip crust is no longer available.  Please bow your head in a moment of silence.)  The fresh apple pie from Allenholm Farm.  The maple bread from the Maple Shed.  And, of course, the warm, crunchy fried bread dough...

Please note the "Maple Iceing" (sic) that I found and enjoyed last night.

All of these food vendors create happy, food-saturated memories that tie into the greater joys of my annual childhood trip the the fair.  Of course, memories are often more joyful than the reality of today - say, for instance, the general increase of commercialism eating away at the agricultural merit of the fair - but the entire institution still holds a warm place in my heart.  
And my taste buds.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Frenetic [adj] (fruh neht ihk)
  1. Frantic
  2. Frenzied

I tend to read at a frenetic pace, the kind of pace that leads to eyestrain, paper cuts, and barely used bookmarks.  It's an ill-conceived reality, I admit - devouring books.  The idea itself is sound: read quickly so you can see what happens.  Implementation, on the other hand, always leaves a gaping hole in your chest.  Just imagine: The book of which you coveted for so long, anticipated for months if not years, is now here.  Then, in a day, you've turned all of its pages, revealed the plot and its twists, and now you're left on your couch, staring at book cover thinking, "Now what?"

Unfortunately, that hollow, post-literary feeling never seems to sink into my long-term memory.  I still read like the Seven Horsemen of the Apocalypse stand outside my door (when, in fact, it's just that old lady from down the lane in search of her marmalade cat named Snowball).  Take, for instance, my latest dive into a bestseller - Susanne Collin's final volume of The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay.

I picked up this series not a month ago and proceeded in my normal, high-octane fashion.  The Hunger Games, book one, was completed in a dedicated six-hour session on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  Catching Fire, book two, was a step in the right direction: this book was devoured in four nights, as a 9-5 does get in the way of my typical pace.  And then, Mockingjay hit the stage this week.  I hightailed it to my go-to bookstore, Bridgeside Books, during my lunch break and prepared to savor Katniss Everdeen's last stand against the Capitol.

But then, of course, three nights passed and Mockingjay was done.  In three nights, I watched as Katniss became the Mockingjay, discovered that the rebel leaders were just as bad as the Capitol, and that, in the grander scheme of things, she was a pawn in ways she could have never imagined.  In just three nights I was left with a hollow contentment that sat alongside overflowing sadness.  The contentment came with the fulfillment of a series, of a jaw-dropping adventure complete with thrills and chills and Buttercup the cat.  The sadness came not from my typical, "Now what?" but with a *SPOILER* "The Girl on Fire is now just a wisp of smoke...that's just so....wrong." 

This is all due to the frenetic need to read and read quickly.  So now, I sit with Mary Roach's latest novel, Packing for Mars, and hope that I won't race to the end this time.

Emphasis on "hope."

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Peccadillo [noun] (pehk uh dih lohl)
  1. Minor sin or offense
Without a shadow of a doubt, I consider my inactivity in the blogosphere - and this blog, in particular - to be much more than a mere peccadillo.  I consider it an offense; an offense to my goals (365 words in 365 days - yeah, that's a goner), my brain ("OMG - is that did Patrick Stewart get knighted? We love Patrick Stewart! We should write about that!" my brain cried. "...yeah," My hands retort. "Maybe later." "You know, sometimes, I hate us."), and most importantly, anyone who took the time to read "Forever In Tangent."  It's fairly obnoxious to find myself deserting my own intentions, but it's darn right rube to do the same to yours.
While I cannot say I will be spilling my somewhat noxious musings in this HTML enabled tome, I can  say that I will be here more often than not.
And that can't be that bad.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Fallow [noun] (faa loh)
  1. Dormat
  2. Unused
The last word I would ever use to describe Austin is fallow. It is not idle; it is not inactive.  It is not unseeded or unused.  It is alive day and night.  The enthusiasm that exists on the streets around midnight is contagious - even when Daylight Savings steals away another hour of our rest in the next morning.
The only time I have felt fallow in this town is during conference panels - but that's a good thing.   While the city vibrates with energy and excess, I can sit in my panel on user experience or unplanning your business or using cartoons to find innovative and just ...  think.  And learn.  And - dare I say? - mellow?  

Instinctively, the (blurry) picture on top looks more exciting than the one below.  Instinctively, you're wrong - if this were the Neolithic era, that wild boar would have maimed you.  The left is equally exciting as the right, if not more.

Austin may be known for its active lifestyle, but the silent, quiet underbelly is just as appealing to this Green Mountain gal.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Wraith [noun] (rayth)

  1. A ghost or spector
  2. A ghost of a living person seen just before his or her death
When death knocks upon one's door, it is said that that person may appear to those most important to them in life as a wraith.  To wish them farewell, to bid them warning, to whisper secrets that had always meant to be shared but somehow laid dormant: These are things those on deathbed come to tell the living.

These are also things one's luggage would tell its owner as an apparition before it disappeared from the airplane cargo - swept into that world the airlines call "lost baggage."

As I flew into Austin, Texas on Thursday evening, I hoped beyond hope not to receive a vision of my dear Maurice (AKA the China bag the size of Vermont).  I had seen Maurice board the plane to O'Hare by chance, but through the next 4 hours, not a single vision was spotted.  This could only be good news, as I feel Maurice would try to contact me if he were to be forgotten on the tarmack.  
Upon descending into the baggage claim area, a parade of baggage floated through my mind's eye.  Beneath the guitar-dazzled carousel, black, blue, yellow, Army, beige, and pink bags flew by and then, suddenly, there was Maurice - not his wraith but the mesh-and-thread reality.
Maurice made it to Austin.  I made it to Austin.   Time to unpack and enjoy the show.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Wily [adj] (wie lee)

  1. Clever
  2. Deceptive
Not feeling wily today - working away from work is proving to more difficult than initally imagined.

Where's an ACME bow and arrow/100-ton weight/rocket-powered bicycle when you need one?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Sycophant [noun] (sih kuh fuhnt)

  1. A self-serving flatterer; a yes-man
I need a sycophant by my side when I pack.  While I swim amongst piles of shirts, shoes, toothbrushes (yes, you need more than one), chargers, powerstrips, books, and reservation print-outs, there are few things I want to hear more than, "You're doing well, kid."  
Even if I'm not.  
No need to worry- I'll figure out that I'm sinking into a bottomless pit of "over-sized baggage" (read: lots and lots of money) sooner or later.   Later if you tell me I'm doing it wrong and I feel a need to be right; sooner if you applaud my efforts, commend my folding technique, and listen silently to my diatribe about whether the floral print Wellies have more merit than the zebra pumps.
As a result of a rather patient sycophant, I have once again managed to pack my entire life into two pieces of luggage in preparation for a journey to South by Southwest.  It's a long trip from packing to conference, but worth it.  

Right? (Your response should be in the affirmative, FYI)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Erratic [adj] (ih raat ihk)
  1. Wandering and unpredictable
Time for a little lesson in erratic behavior:
Lesson one: Make sure it makes no sense.  
Lesson two: Never make sure it makes no sense. 
Lesson three: Ignore lessons one and two and make this instead:  Take one part Cool Whip and stir in two parts chocolate sauce  - preferably Fair Trade.  Enjoy the almost-mousse.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Sully [verb] (suh lee)
  1. To tarnish
  2. To taint
Does it sully the act of blogging to force yourself to blog?  When you come home late, hungry, tired, and generally lacking the creative spark, does the act of crushing thoughts into a keyboard for the sake of the act tarnish the purity of having a web log?

I wonder this as I continue my New Year's experiment - 365 Words, 365 Days.  Some days, I stare at this screen for minutes on end thinking, "What am I suppose to say?"  Occasionally inspiration strikes but more often than not I fake inspiration - "Oh, I had a salad for lunch.  Salad is crunchy.  So is snow - let's write about snowball fights!"  It's a sad, sad process, but it is mine.
Unless, of course, you'd like to take it on?  
In the end, I feel horrible crushing thoughts to the screen - but once I do it, I feel relieved.  I'm not sullying the blogging process - the art of self-reflection with a silent crowd - as much as I am perpetuating that process.  Blogging is not simple; it is a discipline, like any other. 
So, in that regard, let the tarnishing continue.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Lavish [adj] (laa vish)

  1. Extremely generous or extravegent
  2. To give unsparingly
Sticky notes are not a lavish office supply.  In fact, one could argue that little yellow pieces of paper with a touch of adhesive on one side are one of the least extravagant things one could find in one's desk.
Sticky notes are not lavish - but there are things that serve the same purpose that are much less lavish  than they.

Take hands, for example. 

I write everything on my hand.  Reminders, phone numbers, my to-do list.  I do so with Sharpies or ballpoint pens - nothing too sharp or too light - and scrub my hands daily to erase my fleshy equivalent to a whiteboard.

"... but, why?  Ever heard of a sticky note?" they ask with a latent smirk on their faces.  Almost on a daily basis.

Yes.  Yes, I have heard of a sticky note.  But sticky notes, counter to their name, do not stick to me.  The ideas I write down on them drift away like so many leaves on the wind.  And, quite literally, the note itself disappears, whether it be in a pile, under shoe, or  attached to someone else's notebook.  
My hand, on the other ... well, hand, does not disappear and, as such, does not allow for me to forget.   One glance down and I remember to call the doctor, e-mail a reminder, or pick up Fluffy at the vet.

[Full disclosure: Fluffy is fictitious.]

Perhaps the next big office supply will be that which we all have: hands.

Or, you know, not.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Latent [adj] (lay tnt)
  1. Potential that is not readily apparent
On occasion, latent potential reveals itself without assistance.  And, on occasion, it takes a creative engineering team, $150,000 from a large insurance company, and 60 takes to bring that potential to life.  

Friday, March 5, 2010


Eulogy [noun] (yoo luh jee)

  1. Speech in praise of someone
While holding open car doors, packing up church flowers, and warming up the hearse, I've often heard family members, friends, and mourners wish they could be at their own funeral just so they could hear their eulogy.  

As a former funeral attendant, I find this to be an ... unfortunate desire. 
I've heard a number of eulogies in my time: some short, some long; some funny, some heartbreaking; some uttered in conspiratorial tones for those in-the-know, some pushed through sobs, tissues, and snot.  Most speeches are glowing - highlighting the best aspects of the person as if a postmortem halo will magically appear over all the darker, sneakier, and self-serving acts in that person's life.  But that's to be expected - we're taught to never speak ill of the dead.
As if those six-feet under would die all over again to hear a negative word uttered about their former existence.   But, perhaps, the opposite would be truer  - they'd die to hear nothing but the positive. 
It is that consideration that makes me cringe when hearing mourners wish to listen in on their own eulogies - because what they would hear is neither about the person they were or even the life others thought they lived.  What they would hear is a Sainthood that never existed; perfection that can only exist in death.

If I heard nothing but my praises, in my semi-zombie-ghost-possessed-angelic state, I would think, "Well, I guess no one really knew me at all."

And that is no way to start an afterlife. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Repast [noun] (rih paast)
  1. Meal or meal time
Noting the number of Girl Scouts I have seen stationed around malls, events, and polling stations in the last week, I feel it is my duty to remind everyone that cookies are not a repast.
Cookies with milk, however, are a completely different animal.  Meal.  Whatever.  


Zenith [noun] (zee nihth)
  1. The point of culmination 
  2. Peak
The word "bandwidth" needs to reach its zenith sooner than later.   

"But do you have the bandwidth?"
"I'm not sure if my bandwidth can support it."
"I have the bandwidth."
"Good, I'll meet up with you after so our bandwidths will be in sync."

I'll be frank: My bandwidth for bandwidth is shrinking at an exponential rate. 
Until I started to work with MBAs, I never heard of "bandwidth" in any other light other than a rate of data transfer for computers.  Then I heard the piece of business jargon - meant to describe the resources needed to complete a task - tossed around the conference room and I thought, "What a niftry phrase!  I shall use it daily and call it mine.  And I will braid its hair and paint its nail and we'll gossip on the phone all night long..." 

[That last bit might be a lie.  Or a half truth.  You decide.]

I took up the "bandwidth" mantel with vigor, but now I am putting it back down.  But more so, I am putting it down, placing it on the curb, getting into my car, running it over, backing up and repeating until all that's left of that word is "and."
[I like "and" - it's a useful conjunction.]
Overused pieces of jargon - like bandwidth - need to be shelved for the sanity of the workforce.  Or, more specifically, my sanity.  If I respond to a question like, "Can you work on that?" with "Yes, I have the time." and receive a retort of "And bandwidth?" it's likely I will collapse in a heap of disgruntlement.  A twitchy heap of disgruntlement.   A twitchy heap of disgruntlement with absolutely no time, resources, or energy to do anything but mutter about bandwidth.  
No one wants to see that.
Help the working population: Have yourself purged of bandwidth.  

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Ingratiate [verb] (ihn gray shee ayt)
  1. To gain favor with another by deliberate effort
  2. To seek to please somebody so as to gain an advantage
When bloggers share content made by others - specifically companies - on their blogs, it's of little doubt they're doing so in an attempt to ingratiate.

Perhaps they post the media because they legitimately like it or perhaps they have an agenda behind the action, but either way, it's an intelligent move.  With Google Alerts proliferating the marketing departments of many a corporation, the chance of someone at the company seeing the entry is substantial.  And, heck,  if a company can provide something to the (occasionally) open and echoing space that is a blog and please an audience, than why not re-purpose it?

By my own conclusion, by sharing a favorite Old Spice commercial with the Blogosphere, one may assume I'm angling for something.

In this case, I'm not - I just like it.

But, if I found myself suddenly in possession of a half-dozen or so Old Spice products to share with my XY-chromosome compadres, I wouldn't complain.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Legerdemain [nout] (lehj uhr duh mayn)
  1. Trickery

I was never very good a legerdemain, particularly when done with the explicit purpose of entertaining others.  A deck of cards, a few cups with a ball, a multicolored scarf - all props intended to supply an easy dose of amusement with a few motions, a wave of the wand, and a magic word.  Simple to learn; simple to execute.

Or so they said.

I recall a night spent trying to teach kids how to do a card trick when I was no more than tot myself.  Volunteering for the event had seemed like such a good deed, but when confronted with my inability to master the trick ("Was it the ace in front or the 8?"), my choice now seemed like a voluntary trip to purgatory.  Barely held back from the stage by their fatigued parents, the crowded room of pixie-stick laden elementary school children waited impatiently for the magician to perform the trick and quickly turned their hungry eyes towards the helpers - at me.

Imagine a herd of wildebeests coming at you.   Now imagine you having to teach those wildebeests how to tapdance and you don't even have the right tap shoes.  Then picture the wildebeests picking up the steps on their own and looking at you as a lion would.

Welcome to my evening.

To say the least, I didn't master my legerdemain that evening, or even the next.  But I worked on it  and one day, I did it.  I made the trick work.

Houdini I may not be, but for a moment, at least I had found my tap shoes.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Capricious [adj] (kuh pree shuhs)(kuh prih shuhs)
  1. Changing one's mind quickly and often
  2. Old-fashioned

 "I think I'll give a card. Does that sound good?"

"Uh, it's a little - basic  But I don't want you to become capricious."

"Well, perhaps flowers would be appropriate."

"Flowers would be nice."

"Daisies, maybe.  Or roses?"

"Can you get roses this time of year?"

"Maybe.  Or you could just go for carnations.  Carnations are always at the grocery store."

"Than they're definitely not that special.  I should give something that's special."

"Chocolate?  Chocolate is special."

"Only if it has nougat - and not the kind with nuts.  Or the kind with spices.  Or uses white chocolate.  Or -"

"Okay, no chocolate.  A book?  Some poetry?"

"Does that look like an option?"

"Yeah, no.  So, jewelry?"

"A necklace would be nice.  Something shiny...or something colorful?"

"Could be both.  Though, that may be overkill."

"No flowers, chocolate, poetry, or jewlry.  What else is there?"

"...a card?"

"Maybe that would be for the best."

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Archaic [adj] (ahr kay ihkv)

  1. Ancient
  2. Old-fashioned

There is nothing archaic about waking up to a snow covered world.  It's rather refreshing, to see everything embrace a blank canvas.  At least for a time.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Itinerant [adj] (ie tihn uhr uhnt)

  1. Wandering from place to place
  2. Unsettled

Who needs to be itinerant when there's Google Earth?  With a click or two, you're in Sydney.  Another click, the streets of New York.  Another, outside the local country store.  It's possible to be unsettled and yet settled - to travel the world without leaving the comforts of your desk.

Of course, for those truly born with wanderlust, Google Earth is a tease.  The real journey is packing your bags, booking a flight, and feeling the dirt of a foreign land between your toes.  It's about the smell of the Sydney Opera House; the dampness of a Broadway while you wait for cheap tickets to a shot.  It's about walking into the country store and leaving with a bag full of penny candies and the latest gossip about Mr. Higgins down the road.

It's the experience of travel that makes being itinerant worthwhile.  But, for now, Google Earth is a looking glass into the world and a fairly good one, at that.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Monotony [noun] (muh naht nee)

  1. No variation
  2. Tediously the same

Eating can, on occasion, become less of an enjoyment and more of a monotony.   Food supplies proper nutrition and proper nutrition keeps us alive.  End meet means. 

But I cannot imagine what the people who choose to have tongue patches surgically implanted to limit themselves to a liquid diet must feel about their food.  Monotony it must be - and torture.  Listen to the description:
The medical procedure involves stitching a small piece of polyethylene mesh onto a patient's tongue, making it painful to ingest solid foods and forcing a low-calorie, liquid diet.
Uh, ow?  And duh, might I add.  It's the same reason people after surgery lose weight - they're in pain and thus lose appetite.  While the patch is removable, according to the article, I cannot see the association of food=pain going away.  Perhaps that's the point, but when pay to become one of Pavlov's dogs?

I suppose, as I munch - pain free - on another turkey sandwich, that my monotony is not that bad.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Nettle [verb] (neh tuhl)
  1. To irritate
It is my goal to nettle you just a little today in order to make you more acutely aware of how nice, simple, and completely normal your life truly is.  How am I going to do this?  May I present, My Little Pony: Live?

Yes, that's "I'm Not Going" from Dream Girls and, if you made it through, "Defying Gravity" from Wicked.  Sung by ponies. 

No need to thank me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Precipitate [verb] (preh sih puh tayt)

  1. To throw violently or bring about abruptly
  2. Lacking deliberation

Do you ever wonder if births precipitate themselves into windows purposefully?  The general consensus is that they TWACK, WHACK, THUNK into windows because glass reflect a clear sky or that the bird thinks its attacking another bird.  The act is not purposeful; the act is an accident.

But, then again, the "general consensus" also said that the world was flat for a few hundred years. So.
You see, if I were a bird, I think I would choose to run into windows.  I would do this not because, as a bird, I'd be of the suicidal sort or overly manic, but because I imagine the thrill of freaking out humans would be rather enjoyable. Flying into a window at a controlled speed (decided upon by the pitch of the TWACK, WHACK, THUNK that is achieved, of course) wouldn't hurt me, but it would solicit a few gasps, screams, and general looks of shock.  As a bird, this may be a highlight of the day - or, perhaps, a right of passage into true Birdom.

But, that's not really the general consensus on the issue. So.

Then again, the "general consensus" also said that the world was flat for a few hundred years. So.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Intrepid [adj] (ihn treh pihdt)

  1. Fearless
  2. Resolutely courageous

 Maple bacon ice cream is rather intrepid.  Creating a dessert that is smokey-sweetness bathed in a creamy-cool shell requires a touch of courageousness but it is worth the risk - it is delicious.

Particularly when sandwiched between two chocolate cake cookies and placed upon a base of strawberry sauce, as it was at The Bearded Frog last night. 

Unfortunately, I was so engrossed in the dish that I neglected to take a picture!  Perhaps I will upload a rendering of this dessert later in the day.  Trust me, the wait will be worth it.

That is, if you're intrepid enough.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Intransigent [adj] (ihn traan sug juhnt)

  1. Uncompromising
  2. Refusing to be reconciled

There are few things in life of which I feel fairly intransigent.  Compromise is a good thing - if only so everyone feels a little cheated, and thus, equally offended.

That being said, when one points out that the double-jointedness of my feet bothers one and may or may not induce vomiting, I am unlikely to acquiesce.  You see, this is comfortable.   I have been doing this since I was small.  This is no worse than you cracking your knuckles, cracking your gum, or flicking your nails - obsessively. 

In this, I remain intransigent.  Fair warning. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Machination [noun] (mahk uh nay shuhn)
  1. Plot or scheme

"I grow tired of your feeble machinations, Maurice."

"If you surrendered, my machinations would cease.  It would seem to me that you are the source of your own irritation, James."

"While your mental ruminations and general disregard for logic are quite titillating, I do believe I have had enough."

"Lovely.  So have I."

"Shall we, then?"

"Oh, after you.  I insist."


"15 Victory Points?  The game ends at 10."

"True. Perhaps next time, when you continue to be uncooperative with swapping your Bricks for Wheat, you will remember this painful loss."

"Next time, I will not lose."

"Unlikely, young Settler of Catan.  Unlikely."

Friday, February 19, 2010


Anodyne [noun] (aah nuh dien)
  1. Something that calms or soothes pain

The anodyne for today, for this week, comes in the form of a number.  A simple number, known to most and revered for its wholeness in percentage, perfection in scoring, and triad of rounded digits.

That number of which I speak is that of 100, for as of last entry, February 18, 2010, Forever In Tangent hit its 100th entry.

To those 100 stories, I send my merry spirits and gratitude. To the next 100, I bid my salutation and cannot wait to meet you in person.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Posit [verb] (pah siht)

  1. To assume as real or conceded
  2. To propose as an explanation

If I may, I posit that the availability of Ring Pops is not something that most people contemplate.  However, I can honest say that the lack of inventory of this ring shaped lollipop (that come in a variety of fruity flavors) has been on my mind during the last 24-hours.

You see, I was on search for these little jewels last night to act as a sugary inspiration for a brainstorm session.  It made perfect sense - interactive and sweet!  How could it go wrong? 

I'll tell you: It goes wrong when you can't find any.  Five stores over two days and no Ring Pops. 

Apparently, Ring Pops are high in demand and sold out.  Or undervalued by the American public.

Unfortunately, I posit that it is the latter. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Stratagem [noun] (straa tuh juhm)

  1. Trick designed to deceive an enemy

This is not a stratagem (which should be clear, dear reader, as you are not my enemy.  At least, I think not).  This is, in fact, a shared smile in the form of a video - a wedding music video, to be precise:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Garrulous [adj] (gaar uh luhs)

  1. Tending to talk a lot

The last place I believe myself to be garrulous is online.  And yet, here I sit, 8 o'clock at night with a bowl of cut peaches to my left, a television with a rerun of NCIS to my right, and my laptop stationed in front of me, ready to be a little talkative with the anonymous world of the Internet once again.

I may not be a talker to strangers in real life, but online?  Just call me Phyllis Diller.


That may have been the incorrect pop culture reference.    Nonetheless.

While this may not be considered "talking" in the strictest of senses, I do consider the act of blogging, of Tweeting, of merely submitting a status update to be conversation in key-strokes.  I put it out there; you read it or do not.  In everyday life, I may put a statement out there; you hear it or do not.  The real difference here - in this online area - is that my key-strokes have the potential to live forever in zeros and ones.  It's a beautiful disaster waiting to happen.

So, for tonight, I withdraw my garrulous activities for the promise of another day.  As Phyllis Diller said:
Aim high, and you won't shoot your foot off.
...again, wrong reference.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Philanthropy [noun] (fihl aan throh pee)
  1. Charity
  2. A desire or effort to promote goodness

The philanthropic season always cradles the holidays.  From the onset of November to the closing of January, giving is in the air.

And the phone lines.

Three, four, five calls a day from non-profit organizations asking for donations during the holidays is not an uncommon occurrence.  Three, four, five statements of "No, we're not giving this year" are also not uncommon.   We decline to give and, in that moment, feel equally abashed and elated.

Abashed and elated?  How can that be?  In truth, no one likes to be solicited - to be asked for funding and give away one's hard earned pay.  However, when one is confronted with a depository of admirable intent, that dislike turns inward - "I'm sorry I cannot give to such a worthy cause."  We feel abashed, as a result.

At the same time, it's true that we do not like to ask for money.  "Ah, but you're not asking for money; you're being ask," you say.  True - but think ahead.  If one donated to a charity, but does so beyond one's means, the next step for the individual is to be the recipient of charitable funds.  By passing on giving money to a non-profit, one is saving the charity from having to support one later on - hence the sense of elation.

As the phones cease to ring nightly with requests to support one cause or another, so ceases the conflicting feelings of embarrassment and happiness as we are no longer forced to say, "I'm sorry, but we can't donate."  We can rest and save - until November, that is.  Then: let the calls of philanthropy being.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Politic [adj] (pah lih tihk)
  1. Shrewd and practical in managing or dealing with things
  2. Diplomatic

"You handled that in a politic manner."

"Thank you.  Could you pass the salt?"

"I mean, I would have gone for glaring, screaming, and throwing things, myself."

"He meant well.  That's what counts in the end.  And the pepper?"

"Sure, sure.  You really are embracing this whole Zen mentality, aren't you?"

"There's no sense in getting upset about it at this point.  The deed is done."

"And what a deed it was."

"It was rather ... "

"A Thigh Master!  Man alive - he gave you a Thigh Master on Valentine's Day!"

"I was going to say 'It was rather unconventional,' but ... "

"And he's still breathing - that's the impressive part.  You are operating at a level I can't begin to understand."

"Oh, don't give me so much credit.  I'm not a saint."

"... why not?"

"Let's just say he'll be getting a rather unsavory meal for his birthday."

"You know, that's quite diplomatic of you."

"I think so.  Pass the Drano - er, I mean hot sauce, will you?"

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Prudence [noun] (proo dehns)
  1. Wisdom
  2. Caution or restraint

As the Vancouver Winter Olympics shifts into full gear, I once again find myself trying my best to show prudence in regard to the Olympic games.

And, more specifically, the merchandise that comes along with it.

You see, I have a tendency to pine over elements of Team USA's uniforms - from their 2002 berets by Roots to their 2006 ... berets by, er, Root's.  Clearly, I like accessories and Olympic accessories are no exception. [Let it be known that that the 2008 uniforms by Polo had no pull for me - as there were not berets involved, apparently.]  

However, I have refrained from purchasing any merchandise - a fact that is to be applauded, as I was in Beijing last summer and the Olympic fever is still alive and well for vendors.

But this year.  This year, there are mittens.

Canadian mittens.  Bright red, maple leave embossed, Canadian mittens.  Mittens that are, as of this moment, out of stock on HBC and the official Vancouver Olympic site

This, by most accounts, may be a blessing - a sign of the universe saying, "Prudence, dear.  Prudence."

I hear you, Universe.  Trust me; I hear you and thank you for your foresight and fortitude in these matters.

But still - Olympic mittens...

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Coffer [noun] (kah fuhr)
  1. Strongbox
  2. Large chest for money

At first glance, the below box would appear to be a coffer.  Upon further inspection, however, the box would prove to be a machine that turns itself off, also know as The Most Useless Machine Ever: 

The good news is that you can make one yourself, via Instructables. Time to have some useless fun!


Discern [verb] (dihs uhrn)
  1. To perceive or recognize

With Valentine's Day just around the proverbial corner, an abundance of jewelry advertisements has made me wonder if it's actually possible to discern a diamond from an artfully cut piece of glass.

For consumers like myself, the telltale sign of a diamond is the price - all derived from the 4-Cs: color, cut, clarity, and carat.  From those four options, it would appear that the first three are visible to the naked-eye and can be characteristics of any gem - or, dare I say, crystal?  Carats fall into an entirely different ballpark, but if a jeweler was to tell a customer that so-and-so ring was 24-carats, would they know if it was actually 14?

My visceral response: No, they wouldn't.  They'd flaunt their ring around like there's no tomorrow, waxing and waning on the beautiful princess cut, the ravishing clarity, the rich color, and, yes, the gluttonous carat count.  They'd have no idea that their hand was sporting a piece of cut glass and - you know what? - they'd be happy in their illusion.

Ignorance is, on occasion, bliss.  As long as the foundation is strong, a cheap ring can't break it.   A ring, now matter the cost, will not patch up a relationship on Valentine's Day.  What it will do is just sell for a bit more at the pawn shop when the divorce papers are signed.

If that's a main concern, than reaching a certain level of carat discernment may be prudent this Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Pathogenic [adj] (paa thoh jehn ihk)
  1. Causing disease

"You must be pathogenic."


"Unlikely as it is, you can't ignore evidence."

"I wouldn't go as far as to call it 'evidence.'"

"The absence of three-out-of-five of our co-workers at work today?"


"The surplus of tissues in your wastebin."


"And finally: The absence of Purell in your purse."

"I hate the smell.  And I heard its bad for jewelry."

"People dropping dead around you; sniffles, coughing, and sneezing, plus a distinct lack of hand sanitizer? Ladies and gentlemen, Typhoid Mary has arrived."

"Oh, please, for the love of - ... "

"You're about to sneeze, aren't you?"


"You're not going to grab a tissue, are you?"


"You're going to -"

"Bless me."

"Ew.  I felt that."

"Well, if you were right, I was going to give it to you anyway. Welcome to the pathogenic fold, my sickly fellow."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Perfunctory [adj] (per funk tor ee)
  1. Done in a routine way
  2. Indifferent

The commute to work each morning is never perfunctory; the ride home, however, always is.

While I am aware that time cannot be elongated or truncated, it always feels like my 30-mile drive is quite a bit shorter in the morning than it is in the afternoon.  As a result of this lapse in the time-space continuum, my drive home is often an indifferent one - ignoring the scenery, the vast snow-topped mountains and glistening evergreens for the sake of getting home.

But, then again, I'd rather have an indifferent ride than an eventful one.  Now, off to my perfunctory drive. 

Monday, February 8, 2010


Canard [noun] (kuh nard)
  1. A lie

It would be a canard to say that 15-30 inches of snow doesn't phase me.  If I was to hear one of my dear Channel 3 News meteorologists look into the camera and say that the Dooz-o-meter has broken as a result of the impending snow storm, my native Vermonter blood would proceed to glaze.

However, I would still face the day, as my my Green Mountain blood is 20% anti-freeze.

It would appear that this meteorologist's blood is not so chemically balanced.  As he says, "Oh boy."

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Chaos [noun] (kay ahs)
  1. Great disorder
  2. Confused situation

While I hate to editorialize - okay, you can stop laughing now - but please allow me to do just that when it comes to today's word: chaos

Chaos, the opposite of order, the bringer of confusion, and the title of a French film about prostitutes I saw in a high school French class, is a word in my GRE vocabulary book.  This baffles me to the point where I felt compelled to use the verb "baffle" despite its rather odd configuration that looks a touch like "wiffle" and thus reminds me of t-ball games during a summer camp that I acquaint to a very long nighmare.

That aside, how in the world is "chaos" deemed a graduate word rather than a undergraduate word?  If you were able to get through high school without confronting the concept of chaos, than I applaud you for your absentmindedness and general disregard for any literature class you may/may not have ever taken.  If you were able to get through your undergraduate degreee without confronting the concept, than I question if you went to college - period.

Chaos is not a GRE word - opine, desultory, transitory, and anachronism are.  Please note this, GRE study guide, as we go forward to avoid further chaos.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Opine [verb] (oh pien)
  1. To express an opinion

If I many opine, the video for "Her Morning Elegance" by Oren Lavie is mesmerizing.  Apparently, the entire video is composed of over 3,000 stills and the actual shooting took only a day (cite).  I want to make something like this:


Insipid [adj] (ihn sih pid)
  1. Lacking interest or flavor

When is it that birthdays become insipid?

It's not when we're 5 and squeal at the sight of our Sesame Street cake and plow through a pile of presents in mere moments.

It's not when we're 10 and invite a gaggle of friends for a sleepover which features little-to-no sleep.

It's not when we're 15 and we try for our drivers permit, or 16 when we hope to call the open road our own.

It's not when we're 18 and put a foot into the adult world - and by adult, we do meant cigarettes, military, and porn.

It's now when we're 21 and shimming up to the bar (or, in this writer's case, shimming up to a ice cream sundae the size of her head).

Is it 23 when the glow fades?  The age when we realize that all milestones from there-on-out are marked in decades and those decades arrive with a town's worth of misconceptions, worries, and societal beliefs.   The age when both feet are planted firmly in the adult world of rent, loans, and ever-changing atmospheres.  The age when friends move on, family moves on, and even time itself appears to plunge ahead, unconcerned with our apprehension.  The age when expectations begin to be the guide and desires get moved to the trunk.

With such a list of birthday-induced absolutes, its no wonder birthdays become insipid over time - there's just far too much to worry about in between.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Intractable [adj] (ihn traak tuh buhl)
  1. Not easily managed or manipulated

My virus is proving to be intractable, as is my imagination.  Although lessening in resolve (the virus, not the imagination), it chooses to transmogrify daily into something new and equally uneasy.  It's like a mini-Picasso in my system - just replace paint with with a battle field of empty white blood cells.  But still, it's rather imaginative.


Is it sad that my virus has more creativty than I do?

I think so.


Nonetheless, we will prevail.  And by we, I do hope that will not include the virus, which would indeed be counter to the whole "prevailing" concept.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Fortuitous [adj] (fohr too ih tuhs)
  1. Happening by chance
  2. Fortunate

It seems wrong that sickness is such a fortuitous event.  One moment, one is completely whole - agile, buoyant, and driven; the next the entire world is turned on its head.  Wistfulness, lethargy, and irritation quickly take over and reign for a fortnight.

How I hope this doesn't reign for a fortnight. 

Perhaps this fortuitous event will come to an end as quickly as it was brought on.

Now, if you'll excuse me, medication awaits.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Iniquity [noun] (ih nihk wih tee)
  1. Sin
  2. Evil act

Being sick is unfortunately, but the real iniquity occurs when one is confronted with vomiting, intestinal problems, achiness, headaches, and an inability to sleep in little more than fits.

I am facing that reality as I type.

Or was.  My symptoms are now limited to achiness and headaches. I'm quite content to see my maladies diminish, but the lack of sleep is compounding what few issues I have left.

Ah, to be sick and young.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Anachronism [noun] (uh naak ruh nih suhm)

  1. Something out of place and time.

Too literal an anachronism

Cavemen from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, August 2009

  Hope the Geico guys don't mind....

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Proliferate [verb] (proh lih fuhr ayt)
  1. To increase in number quickly

Viral videos are called such because their view count is quickly proliferated.  What makes a video worthy of such adoration? To me, surprise wins out above all else.  Anyone remember the Dramatic ChipmunkNora the piano playing cat? The Wedding entrance dance?  All unexpected moments with real world context that struck our funny bone and caused us to pass the link on to Aunt Sue, cousin Howard, and Mildred from the mail room.

So, the latest viral video: Hitler Responds to the iPad.  Take a historically malicious dictator, add the hype and/or dissatisfaction of the Apple iPad, mix it together, and we have a video worth proliferating.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Diaphanous [adj] (die aaf uh nuhs)
  1. Allowing light to show through
  2. Delicate

"I wish walls were diaphanous."

"That's a little random.  And pervy."

"No, no.  Think about it: If everyone could see through walls a lot of things could be avoided."

"Like ... ?"

"Like walking in on a conversation ... about leg waxing.  Or warts.  Or having to fake excitement over a crappy gift because everyone's already seen how crappy it is.  Or -"

"Or fund raising door-to-door, because, hey, I can see you inside your house, eating your potato chips by the television, mister!"

"... a little bitter there?"

"A little.  Fifth grade was not my best year."

"But you get the point - by having nothing to hide behind, people would be a lot more honest, kinder, real.  None of this pretentious crap.  We'd just be."

"You know, I never imagined you to be such a philosophical soul."

"See - if these walls were diaphanous, you would have known all along."

"Maybe. But I still think you were talking about seeing into dressing rooms."

"I was."


Friday, January 29, 2010


Enigma [noun] (ih nig muh)
  1. A puzzle; a mystery

The enigma of a restless night's sleep is something that only strikes me during the full moon.  May it be the brightness of the night, the change in the tides, or the howls of werewolves outside my door, evenings that are bejeweled by a usually pallid orb render my sleep inconsistent and my waking hours dreary. 

Tonight my thoughts turn to the glowing moon in the sky and contemplate the enigma that will become my fitful sleep tonight.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Pallid [adj] (paa lihd)
  1. Lacking color or liveliness

Can being pallid be considered the ultimate super power?  Before you respond with a vehement "No way, Jose," look at my infereneces:
  1. Being completely devoid of color could be considered being invisible
  2. Lacking liveliness could be lacking life, rendering one neither alive nor dead and thus impermeable to harm and time.
  3. Having no visibly energizing qualities may also produce a repellent from society.
Invisible, impermeable, impeccably inane.  Sounds like a grouping of powers of which Lex Luther himself would pine.

Thoughts?  Or is this entry too pallid for you?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Estimable [adj] (eh stuh muh buhl)
  1. Admirable

While I do not believe it to be estimable to promote organizations that you do not enjoy, I do believe that the Bundle is darn cute!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Sportive [adj] (spohr tihv)
  1. Frolicsome; playful

Sportive behavior should be awarded in today's world.  Not frivolous or inane behavior - sportive.

With all the stress, anxiety, fear, aggravation, tears, blood, and quarrels one has the opportunity to face daily, I wonder if a little playfulness thrown into the ongoing drama that is Life would assist.  A conversation gone tangential, an off-the-cuff visual gag about borings v. boring, a suggestion to make more meetings about planting cotton candy and lollipop gardens, a whim to leave smiley faces in the snow on parking lot cars, a lunchtime scavenger hunt for the cheapest, tackiest horse themed item in the drug store - these are things worth acting upon during the day.

However, I'm sure that list looks rather foolish to 90% of you.  An exploration in random, wasteful behavior, perhaps?

I, on the other hand, call it creativity and think that such musing are far too easily dismissed.

Sportive - try it sometime.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Desultory [adj] (dehs uhl torh ee)

  1. Jumping from one thing to another
  2. Disconnected

 Let's write in a desultory fashion, shall we? 

  1. While the Smithsonian is a place of family fun, this giraffe doesn't appear to be having fun with the family.  That may be due to its taxidermed state.  [Picture taken August 2009]
  2. Have you ever forgotten how to walk down the stairs?  You don't forget for a long time, just long enough to realize that you've forgotten.  It's a reaction to your brain kicking back into gear during a habitual activity - you never have to think about it, so when you do it's hard to remember exactly what you do.  
  3. Allison Janney and Tim Busfield make my life and need to do another show.

Is that desultory enough for you?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Quotidian [adj] (kwo tih dee uhn)

  1. Occurring daily
  2. Commonplace

It's a sign you're a Northerner when single digit temperatures are so quotidian that you barely notice the frostbite.

It's sign that you're a New Englander when you see 32-degrees and think that the weather has finally turned tropical. 

It's a sign you're a Vermonter when you decide that stripping and leaping into Lake Champlain in February is fun. 

It's a sign you're Winter Weary when making lists about the cold weathers becomes quotidian.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Amortize [verb] (uh mohr tiez)
  1. To diminish by installment payments

There are few things more satisfying than when you amortize your college loans.   One installment at a time that gargantuan number - a so-called equivalent to the education you received - lessens until, one day, there is nothing left.

I dream of that day.

Until then, I continue to pay one day at a time.  Each payment is a baby step, but one day it will be a downhill sprint. 

Here's hoping.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Insurrection [noun] (ign suh rehk shuhn)
  1. Rebellion

I've watched Star Trek: Insurrection, but tend to forget about that fact.  As such, I re-watch the film annually and think "Why was this a movie and not an episode on the series?"

Frankly, having such a reaction pains me one deep, molecular level.  It's against my basic instinct to question Trek, the science fiction series that birthed an entire generation of scientific inspiration.

Yes, it is true: I'm a Star Trek fan, particularly when it comes to Star Trek: The Next Generation.   Jean-Luc Picard, Will Ricker, Deanna Troi, Data, Doctor Crusher, Geordi LaForge, holodecks, warp 9, the Borg, Q, "Engage!"  I sigh happily at the thought of the series - and yet, this movie - this silly, silly movie makes me want to scream.

It's just not up to par for a film: lacking a driving plot, character development, action, adventure, and the quips that the past two ST:TNG movies have cradled so close to their film reels. 

So, to lick my wounds and fight my own Trekkie insurrection I think I'll settle in, turn on the SyFy channel (Sidenote: SyFy?  Really?  SciFi just isn't cool enough anymore?) and watch  one of my favorite films - Star Trek: First Contact.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Meticulous [adj] (mih tihk yuh luhs)
  1. Extremely careful
  2. Fastudious
  3. Painstaking

I'm oddly meticulous when tired.

You would think it would be the other way around: sleepy means sloppy.  But no - I cling to detail when my eyelids refuse to stay open.

It may be a tactic to induce sleep, frankly.  If I know that those utensils need to be parallel on the place-setting because I have done it so many times in the past, then my brain can go on autopilot.  If I see a stack of shoes at the bottom of the stairs and know that they belong upstairs, in their respected boxes, my brain, once again, can set this little lady on a course and stop paying attention. 

My brain may actually be more tired than my body, delegating tasks to my hands while it gets on its robe and nightcap. 

Unfortunately, every time I think of being meticulous I will now think of my brain looking like Dicken's Scrooge.  Fail.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Eloquent [adj] (ehl uh kwunt)
  1. Persuasive and moving, especially in speech.

Eloquent does not equal boring.

Take weddings, for example.  Change the white gown to red, exchange flowers for felt button bouquets, install a photo booth rather than a photographer, relocate the reception at a zoo, have a potluck dinner, and the event can still be persuasive and moving because - guess what? -  it's personal.  Personal is eloquent, even with stammering and unfinished hemlines.

That is why I think this is one of the most eloquent save the date "cards" I have ever read - er, seen:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Repose [noun] (rih pohz)
  1. Relaxation
  2. Leisure

Some days refuse to enter a period of repose, despite strong evidence to the contrary. 

When one is presented with a good night's sleep, minimal morning traffic, a comfy chair, long periods of uninterrupted work, and conversations with those who always make you smile, one would put that day in the win column and move on.

Of course, moving on would make for a rather dull evaluation, no?  Let's look between the lines:

When one is presented with a good night's sleep (peppered with an Iliad's worth of topsy turvy dreams), minimal morning traffic (due to fog, ice-snow fall, and a pre-sunrise departure), a comfy chair (by a drafty window), long periods of uninterrupted work (made up of the piled on work from the day before), and conversations with those who always make you smile (at bad times), one would put that day in the win column and move on.

Call me Debbie downer, but man, I could go for a period of repose.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Interregnum [noun] (in tuh reg nuhm)
  1. Interval between reigns

I'm dubbing this an interregnum.   While I never imagined this blog as having a ruler, tonight marks an unofficial shift in reign AKA I'm tired and devoid of intelligent thought tonight and plan to be awake and chipper and full of intelligent thought tomorrow.  Ergo, allow me to say,

The King is dead.  Long live the king.

[That is, until tomorrow...]

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Inimical [adj] (ih nihm ih kuhl)

  1. Hostile
  2. Unfriendly

I'd be quite inimical if I were to awaken without a head on my shoulders.  Literally. 

Just saying: The Headless Horseman was cranky for a reason.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Upbraid [verb] (uhp brayd)
  1. To scold sharply

While I may not speak the language, I can tell that that chimp is upbraiding that researcher.  The chimp sits in front of a tube with grapes in it, howling at the glass separating itself from the researchers.  To say the least, the chimp is not content with not getting the grapes out of the tube.

It's Saturday morning and I find myself captivated by The Human Spark, a three-part PBS series hosted by Alan Alda.  The series aims to find out what makes us human, and this particular segment does so by showing us what is almost us: chimpanzees.  

As someone who has spent little time researching the education of children or even the development of the brain, it's fascinating to see how humans follow the "monkey see, monkey do" mentality of learning.

For example, a research places a dice in a tub behind a curtain.  She opens the curtain so the young child can see the tube.  The child tries to get the dice out, and ends up looking at the researcher expectantly.  The researcher show the child how to get it out and quickly takes the tube back behind the curtain.  She sets up the tube again and presents it to the child.  Without hesitation, the child gets the dice out just as she was shown.  And was very happy about it, to boot.

In mere seconds, the child learned through a social interaction, copying the action she was taught precisely.

The chimps didn't do that.  The chimp got the grape out of the tube eventually, but not by watching a human and not by watching another trained chimp. 

It would seem that humans are more influenced by how others do things.  Hence our tendency to upbraid each other for breaking the mold. 

Friday, January 15, 2010


Lumber [verb] (luhm buhr)
  1. To move slowly and awkwardly

We lumber to help.  And I wonder. 

With the catastrophe in Haiti beckoning hundreds of reporters from around the globe to report on the turmoil, to bring voice to the human loss and pain, to call for support from those of us who can, who is feeding them, housing them, providing them water? 

It's a speck of question in a stream of thousands of bigger ones ("Why?" "How could this happen?"  "When will the suffering stop?"), but a question that surges through my brain as I watch each of the major nightly news anchors and their reports on the ground in Haiti. 

We lumber to help.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Rejoinder [noun] (rih joyn duhr)
  1. Response

 "Never," he spit out, bathing in the glow of what he believed to be a clever rejoinder.  "My body is a temple."

"A temple which is pickled in liquor, anointed in cigarette smoke, and served only the rankest prostitutes from 5th and Main.  If that's a temple, I'm a monkey's uncle."

He stared at her blankly.

"Let me put it this way: You do all that to your body but your refuse to let me - a time-tested female with years of experience in the art of grooming - pluck that unsightly caterpillar growing between your eyes?"  Upon the word "pluck," he winced, taking a step back and waving his hands madly.

"As I said, a temple.  You wouldn't do that to Zeus, would you?"

"If you were Zeus, we wouldn't be having this conversation," she retorted, tweezers held at the ready.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Pungent [adj] (puhn juhnt)
  1. Sharp and irritating to the senses

If I was a kind of cheese, I think I'd be pungent.  While I adore mozzarella, drool over brie, and want to spoon with a nicely aged cheddar,  the more odoriferous cheeses strike me as my dairy equal.  Or rather, something of which I'd like to be equal.

Allow me to explain.

Many stinky cheeses do not have a pungent taste.  For example, Limburger only smells funky because of the rind.  The cheese itself is mild and smooth, but for many the rind's smell is just too much to take.  However, for those who take the time and work past the outer layer a lovely gastronomic pleasure awaits.  Limburger is not appreciated by all, but those who appreciate it are loyal and true. 

Hence my desire to be a stinky cheese. 

What kind of cheese are you?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Exonerate [verb] (ihg zahn uh rayt)
  1. To clear of blame

I remember being exonerated.

I was young - a mere slice of who I am now; a wee sprout; a little shaver; a tiny tot, if you will.  To be more specific,  I must have been 6- or 7-years-old.  I went to the pantry for a snack, found a plastic baggy with pretzels, and started munching.  My memory then goes a tad fuzzy ... until I recall my mother yelling at me about  eating an entire box of Girl Scout cookies (the shortbread kind), my father in tow.  I tell her I didn't eat them; she holds up my empty plastic baggy as proof, saying something to the lines of, "How could you lie when I have the packaging right here?"  I start to cry, as I always do when confronted with authority.  It is at this moment that my father pokes his head in the pantry and emerges with a full sleeve of Girl Scout cookies. 

To say the least, I was exonerated.