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.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Eschew [verb] (ehs choo)
  1. To shun
  2. To avoid (as something wrong or distasteful)

Today, I am going to eschew proper blog content.  Instead, I present you with a picture of an art piece on the National Mall in Washington, DC taken by friends in the area.  The piece is called, Climate Change Plan B.

Yes, that is an ark.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Umbrage [noun] (uhm brihj)
  1. Offense
  2. Resentment

I reserve the right to take umbrage at bad movies.

After paying nearly $10 to see a film which I have seen advertised for a months on end, I expect a certain level of quality once the lights dim in the theater and the projector click-click-clicks on.  And by "quality," I do mean more than the normal Hollywood standards of focus, exposure, and framing (although, not so "standard" with certain films.  See: The Blair Witch Project) - I mean plot, characterization, and reason.

Oh, and respect for established parameters of the universe, if the movie is a slice from a series.

This brings me to George Lucas and his attempt to make Star Wars into a series of bad movies.

The original Star Wars trilogy is a classic, but George didn't see it that way.  George wanted more; he wanted a prequel series.  A series without intriguing characters, driving plot, or even basic comprehension of the Star Wars universe.  In this, he succeeded ... and, as a result, I and thousands of others can take umbrage in a big way. 

The best example of this emotional reaction to George's repurposed "vision" is a 70-minute review of Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, which systematically cuts down the film by pointing out all it's follies and misgivings while making you snort uncontrollably with random bits of dark humor and pizza rolls.    Check it out and feel the umbrage:

Note: The 7-part series is loaded with profanity, off-colored jokes, and depictions of violence.   View at your own discretion. 

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Stolid [adj] (stah lihd)
  1. Unemotional
  2. Lacking sensitivity

Keladry of Mindelan may be described as stolid, but she was never that to me.  She was calm and centered; driven and kind; wise and honorable. 

And fictional.  Definitely fictional.

You see, Keladry of Mindelan is a character in Tamora Pierces' Protector of the Small series and a much loved portion of my childhood. When the Kel series was released, I was already a rabid Pierce fan, having devoured her works in The Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, and The Circle of Magic repeatedly in my 6th grade year.   But I wasn't always the literary fan.

Before I discovered Pierce's Tortall Universe, I loathed reading.  Reading was a chore; boring and painful.  I read (and still read) at a pace that is all my own and often felt sub-par as a result.  I avoided reading aloud in class, even when I recited the passage in my head over and over and again.   I didn't want to stumble and blush and be stared at like I was incompetent.  Reading was painful; and then, one day while I was wandering in the library, I met Alanna of Trebond.  

I don't know why I decided to pick up Alanna: The First Adventure, but I do have a clear image of bending down to select that book.  The book was short - just over 200-pages - and it has a girl with a horse in medieval dress on the cover.  I loved the idea of medieval fantasy - the deep colors, the dress, the castles, and adventures - so I made the choice to ignore my bibliophobia and took the book home.  I've been a bibliophile since that day.  

Which brings me back to Kel, my favorite Tortall heroine.  You see, she's only the second girl to choose to go through the training to be a lady knight in over 600 years (Alanna, being the first).   She's brave, in a word, and I wanted to be like her.  She overcame huge odds with poise and honor - she appeared stolid to others, but that was merely in appearance.  Inside, she was passionate and roaring to act.  I liked that; as a middle schooler, I thought I could be like that.  

While I can't attest to ever reaching the level of "Kel," I can say that her series was and is one of my favorite to this day.  If I don't re-read the series at least once at year, I feel completely and irrecoverably stolid

Friday, January 8, 2010


Prodigal [adj] (prah dih guhl)
  1. Lavish
  2. Wasteful

"Isn't there another 'prodigal?'  Something like the Progigal Son?"

"Prodigal.  Prodigal Son."

"No, that's different."

"Think there's only one Prodigal Son."

"No, the Progigal Son is a good thing.  You'd say, 'The Progigal Son has returned!' and proceed to give him gifts and camels.  See?  Good.  Prodigal is a negative word, meaning wasteful and lavish.  See?  Not good."

"Um, while that's an interesting take on it, that's not exactly how it goes.  The Prodigal Son was lavish and wasteful - that's why he came back.  The point is that he returned home and his father welcomed him, despite his waste."


"And, he got calf, not a camel. "

"Huh.  Bummer for him."

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Dissonance [noun] (dihs uh nuhns)
  1. A harsh and disagreeable combination, especially of sounds

Rarely does post-decision dissonance hit me after making a purchase.  I'm not an impulse buyer when it comes clothing, electronics, or the latest music download (although, there have been occasions [*coughcough*MichaelBuble*coughcough* when I'm a tad trigger happy with iTunes].  I am, however, an impulse shopper.

The difference?
  • Impulse buyers leave the store with something and feel bad about it for a time. 
  • Impulse shoppers leave the store without purchasing but pine over an item for days, weeks, even years.  
For example: The Sweater, 2006.  The perfect, yet too expensive Sweater.  I tried it on, loved it, and put it back when I saw the price.  Since that faithful Fall day, I've pined - pined in a way that makes me mention The Sweater every Fall and Winter, to my family's shegrin.

See, while post-decision dissonance rarely hits me after making a purchase, it often goes on a full-frontal attack when I don't.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Embellish [verb] (ehm behl ihsh)
  1. To add ornamental or fictitious details
Ever heard of the phrase, "To guild the lily?"  It's a commonly uncommon phrase that means to overly embellish.  A lily is meant to be embellishment enough, according to Shakespeare in King John:
Therefore, to be possess'd with double pomp,
To guard a title that was rich before,
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.
Brushing up on my Shakespeare for this entry feels a tad ironic, as I have fond memories of reading his works in high school only to think, "Man, this guy is really overplaying it."  Apparently, I was destined to bring Shakespeare and over embellishment together, even as a wee high schooler.  However, let me be clear: his works are not so much enhancing that which is considered plain, but rather deciding that something near perfection - words, beautiful words - was not good enough to present by itself.  "Get to the point already," I chanted in the middle of Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer's Night Dream. "Just say what you mean!"  

Of course, my complaint with this literary hero is the exact reason many love his works - the ornate nature of it all that reveals wit, satire, and, to some extent, wisdom.  Or perhaps I'm just embellishing it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Yoke [verb] (yohk)
  1. To join together

When the joy of a three-day weekend loses its glow, it's time to start yoking puzzle pieces.  Admittedly a pile of chaos as the process begins, that pile is soon sorted, joined, and completed. 

"Sorted, joined, and completed" - four words that make 1000-piece puzzle seem like a walk in a park. (Or perhaps a Segway ride in the park; apparently such tours are very popular in metropolitan areas.) However, that is far from the truth.

Choosing to start a puzzle is choosing to walk into battle.  Each piece aims to deceive, to remain in the pile with its compatriots and allude the title of POW that one receives once its rightful place is found.   You spend hours - nay, days - strategizing, implementing tactics, and being fooled time and time again.  You're worn, bleeding, and aggravated by the time the last piece is put in place- but it's done.

So, now the true gratification comes into play: Smooshing up the puzzle and shoving it back in the box.

Now that's joy.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Deleterious [adj] (dehl uh teer ee uhs)
  1. Subtly or unexpectedly harmful

While one may assume that seeing a 5-foot long, disembodied lobster claw outside may be deleterious to one's health, I beg to differ.  In fact, I would even go as far as to say that said lobster claw may be a blessing in disguise, particularly if it was seen on the roof of a hotel in Boston's Long Wharf. 

The above claw made itself known to this visitor to Beantown as I opened my hotel room curtains to peer onto the green below.  While the green itself was lovely, a red blur on the roof caught my eye.  I looked to my left and there the oversize claw sat, as if thrown there by a giant.

"Welcome to Long Wharf," it chortled, immobile yet strangely talkative.  "Enjoy your stay!"

And I did - and the lobster claw helped to make it that way.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Attenuate [verb] (uh tehn yoo ayt)
  1. To reduce in force or degree
  2. Weaken

Waking up to 18-inches of snow on the ground proves that it's going to be hard to attenuate winter's wraith.

Oh, this fluffy icon of the season may seem kind, especially from a spot by the fireplace.  From that vantage point, it's a picturesque Winter Wonderland - a glittering blanket of white on every surface; neighbors making snow angels; snow-tornadoes dancing on the streets to a seasonal opera only frozen water particles can hear.  In a word, lovely.

Then, of course, someone opens the front door to your warm, cottage home, a raging Arctic breeze whirls through the living room, and suddenly the outside world seems less kind, less picturesque, and oh-so cold.

But not cold enough to resist the need to go outside - to clear off the walk, to snow blow the driveway, to venture into the world and continue with the day.

Winter is proving hard to attenuate; but, then again, so am I.


Saturday, January 2, 2010


Loquacious [adj] (loh kway shuhs)

  1. Full of excessive talk
  2. Given to fluent or excessive talk

"Today, I'm just going to listen," I thought, reliving the moments of the day before when I wished I had been more eloquent, less loquacious, or simply attuned to the atmosphere of the room.  I think this, feel a rush of possibility in my chest, and then proceed to be blessed with the gift of gab for the rest if the day.

Another small resolution, as Freddy Mercury would say, bites the dust. 

But, at the very least, this one is keeping up.  Day two and we're on our way.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Transitory [adj] (trahn sih tohr ee)
  1. Temporary
  2. Lasting a brief time

I've always been in awe of those who can live a transitory life - moving from one place to the next like a leaf in the wind.  Or rather a leaf with a car, clothing, pots and pans, and a credit card bill.

Imagine it:

One can move into town without a care in the world (save for food, shelter, water, and safety).  One can set one's things down and every step taken is new - nothing is bound by the past; no expectations of a familiar area to dictate one's path (or to supply support or an open ear).   One can take on a different skin and decide to be "Rose" or "Phil" or "Gustav" because no one knows one as anything else (or is interested to know much more than what one offers).  And the next day?  The next day one can change it all - pull up one's shallow roots and find a new "home."  Boundless possibilities for a rootless transient.

I'm in awe of the transitory life; "... in awe..." much like one can be in awe of a the peacocks at a zoo - beautiful from afar, but it's best that the creatures stay where they are.   

Give me roots and I'll show you happiness.