bloodyrosemccoy: (Science!)
New term for "lab coat": "science shirt."

I love it when kids don't know the names for things they recognize and have to make up their own.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Linguist)
Trying to do a real honest-to-god diachronic language and getting TOTALLY ENTHRALLED by the etymology of every single word I come across. Complete fascination with the way rooms and their defining features ("stove" refers to both the room and the object! And don't get me started on the shifting semantic categories of bathroom words!) probably makes me a colossal nerd. But hey, who says that's a bad thing?
bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
I actually hate the term "selfie," purely for aesthetic reasons. It just sounds dumb, y'know? But as far as being put into the OED, I really don't see any reason to object.

The only possible reason I can think of for objecting, actually, is the idea that since it's a newly-added word, the selfie must be a new concept. You get all sorts of people hollering about how this just goes to show how narcissistic we all are nowadays, or that it's a sign of tragic insecurity. (Or, somehow, both at the same time, which is impressive.)

I hereby want to point out that this is total bullshit.

The strange thing is, the Narcissism and the Attention Whore arguments seem to be exclusively used as arguments against social media. "Nobody wants to hear about what you had for lunch!" I hear. "Nobody cares what you're doing right now!" Which, aside from being totally untrue--I, for one, love hearing/reading the everyday thoughts that wander through people's brains--is exactly the opposite of what a whole lot of frustrated grownups kept trying to grind into my asocial possibly-spectrumy little head when I was an uncommunicative kid who had no idea why I was supposed to listen to other kids talking about whatever stupid shit they were interested in. Why am I supposed to show interest in conversation about What I Did This Morning in person, but when I'm online I'm supposed to just scoff at the same thing?

Social media is just conversation, chatting, socializing, and small talk in a different medium.

Same goes for selfies--it seems to be their existence on the internet that infuriates people.* It's on the internet! Therefore this interest in looking at oneself must be NEW!

To which I say, check this out.

That right there is a link to an interesting study done on those weirdly disproportionate, bizarrely lumpy Upper-Paleolithic Venus figurines. The theory the author, LeRoy McDermott, is putting forward is that their strange proportions make total sense when you assume that they are self-portraits, done by women who don't have access to mirrors--when viewed at the same angles as you might use to look down at yourself, they do fit the proportions.

So according to that theory, some of the oldest art in the world is SELFIES.

It makes me regard the argument that selfies are a product of this latest generation of degenerate self-obsessed narcissists with a little bit of skepticism.

Honestly, I just think that selfies are the latest expression of a very old human fascination with themselves. It's not necessarily narcissism. It's just that, dang, y'all, here we are, we are humans, we're on this Earth, and look at us! We're doing things! And we can watch ourselves doing things, and remember those things we did, and analyze them, and philosophize about them! It's INTERESTING, dangit! It is one of the things that humans just do, because dude, we're humans!

Of course, another thing that humans seem to do with a lot of enthusiasm is bitch about how language is changing, so I suppose I can't be too hard on the people lamenting the new words. After all, the author of one of those articles I linked to above sarcastically pointed out that the OED is "the publisher of the venerable record of the language of Shakespeare and George Orwell," and yet seemed completely unaware of the irony of citing two authors separated by radically different eras of English as an example of why changes to the language now are to be lamented. Consistency has never been our strong suit, anyway.

And speaking of which, I'd better end this article. I've defended the selfie as best I can, but dammit I still hate that word. I hereby am done using it.

 photo LittleSelfie_zpse072bfaa.jpg
That's right, y'all! Mirror Amelia and her Buford T-shirt endorse the selfie! OKAY NOW I AM DONE USING IT.

*And that they are often done by GIRLS, who have all sorts of standards to live up to, set both by The Patriarchy and, dare I say it, from the asshole breed of feminists who have very set ideas about what Girl Power has to be.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Sweet Moves)
While we were in the Tetons, Dad got me a Vest Of A Million Pockets as an early birthday present! I've been wanting one for years--following Dad's lead. He already has one, because he and I think alike and like our security blankets.

I realize it will always look like I am about to go fishing, which so far is 100% not true, but it's a small price to pay if I'd rather not drag all of my carry-alongs and thingy-things in one handbag. A vest distributes their weight nicely and is far more washable.

Plus, I really hate the word "purse," for absolutely no reason, and now I don't have to use it! God damn, why didn't I do this YEARS ago?
bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
What I Learned Since the Spring Equinox:

  • There are a number of strategies being suggested for towing asteroids away from Earth. I can't decide if my favorite is gravity snare, where you send up something that has enough mass to tow the asteroid with gravity, or big Space Lasso.

  • The Good Samaritan who helps Dairine in High Wizardry is, in fact, supposed to be the Fifth Doctor.

  • The term for when someone blanks out and appears to be conscious but unresponsive to the people around them is dissociative stupor.

  • Museums are really concerned with pest control. Which makes sense, but I had never thought about it before.

  • When you post a job listing, it's probably better to figure out what you want the prospective employee or intern to do before putting it up.

  • Since the Iranian Revolution, there has been a ridiculously high spike in multiple sclerosis among Iranian women. This is likely due to a lack of vitamin D caused by wearing sun-blocking burqas all the damn time. Talk about unintended consequences.

  • There is catnip in our garden.

  • The symbolic food of a Passover seder is not intended to be the main Passover meal. Which is good, because I also learned what food is acceptable for the Passover plate, and it hardly makes a good meal anyway.

  • Nobody ever remembers that the T-rex in Jurassic Park is female, even though it is explicitly pointed out.

  • Deep-frying is actually fairly easy; it's the battering/coating that is annoying.

  • Although it is made slightly less so with the use of chopsticks.

  • You're supposed to replace thyme plants every 3-4 years lest they get all woody. I don't know, I'm so impressed that my thyme has lasted this long that I'd feel kinda bad replacing it.

  • The Europeans call moose "elks." I have no idea what they call elks. Europeans are so confused.

  • "These aren't the droids we're looking for." - Launchpad McQuack, apparently

  • Water can deflect bullets! Mostly because they tend to shatter on impact, which is kind of awesome.

  • Sealed soda bottle with a little dry ice + water = EXPLODE

  • The butterfly that employs mimicking the monarch is called the viceroy. They used to think the viceroy was mimicking the more poisonous monarch, but evidently the viceroy's got some poison in it, too.

  • Butterfly namers have a thing for bureaucratic hierarchy, what with all the queens and viceroys and admirals and soldiers and emperors and whatnot. I swear at this point I would not be surprised to find that there is a Minister Of Agriculture and Transportation Butterfly.

  • Unlike almost every other video game, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link did not prove itself to be easier now that I'm well past kindergarten.


Apr. 7th, 2013 10:04 pm
bloodyrosemccoy: (Linguist)
Today's horrible realization: the maddening pronunciation of 'escape' as 'excape' is actually etymologically sound.

I mean, I will still fire several rounds of Nerf darts at you if you pronounce it that way, because if you want to get into that wasps' nest then you could also argue that it's LATINIST, and by damn I DESPISE Latinism. And also, it's really goddamn obnoxious. But I will admit there is some history to it.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Triple Nerd Score)
Have spent the evening trying to work out how to incorporate a particular feature of Twitter hashtags into a spoken conlang. I'm not even ON Twitter, and yet the unofficial use of hashtags as self-commentary, editorializing, metadata, references, and stupid jokes FASCINATES me. Makes me almost want to go to grad school just so's I could do a thesis on it, but barring that, it's an interesting conlang exercise. Yes, it's very much a product of its medium--text-based and part of hyperlinks--but it does present some interesting ideas.

Not sure it'll work out, but it'll be fun to try. Perhaps I will call it Hipsterese.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Bat Signal)
Okay, so, there are a whole lot of aspects of his character, and of his overall story, that appeal to a vast number of people in this day and age. Something about him strikes a chord within us, resonates with our ideals and fears and wishes.

But I can't help wondering if any of Batman's long-lasting popularity is due to his name being so incredibly fun to say.

Just try saying "I'm Superman." Doesn't have nearly the same ring, does it?
bloodyrosemccoy: (Default)
What I Learned Since The Summer Solstice
  • Neil Armstrong was, in fact, mortal.
  • Whorf was half-right on his hypothesis that language affects perception. It seems that once you have a word for a color, you can recognize it faster because the left hemisphere of your brain takes over the perception duties.
  • Leafminers are gross little bugs whose larvae like to live in bubbles on spinach, chard, and beet leaves. Bastards.
  • Nail polish is good if you want to make your arts'n'crafts project look shiny and enameled. And if you can stand the smell.
  • Malaria is believed to be responsible for the death of HALF OF ALL HUMANS since the Stone Age. NOT ME, THOUGH, SUCKA!
  • The name "Starbuck," which I have always liked for the sound, is an English surname most likely deriving from a Norse phrase for "from the great river."
  • Sometimes the supposed Great Unwashed Masses can be persuaded with actual facts and math!
  • Those swinging orange things on Yoshi's sprite in Super Mario World, which I always thought were stirrups or decorations for his saddle, are his ARMS. I can't unsee them now.
  • Those SOS buttons for old or at-risk people living alone are only useful if they actually HAVE them when they fall and can't get up.
  • Tress MacNeille did the voice of Chip in Chip an' Dale: Rescue Rangers. I always thought he was done by Russi Taylor.
  • Radish seeds come in nifty little pods!
  • According to a statement released by the Mormon Church, Mormons are TOTALLY allowed to drink caffeinated products like Coke and Mountain Dew. The real ban is against "hot drinks" like tea and coffee, but not hot cocoa, which is totally cool for some reason. Thanks for clearing that up, church!
  • Tiny laptops are extraordinarily useful to be able to carry around.
  • Ron Perlman continues to forge new frontiers in awesome.
  • The best way to fix Doctors! is to pretty much rewrite it.
  • Jeans shopping is still my enemy.
  • Statistics show that group projects lower productivity pretty much across the board, even with those extroverts who seem to like them so much.
  • Jumpsuits are not that difficult to sew, though practice is called for to get particularly good.
  • When hooking up a new plastic toilet pump, it is perfectly okay to use one of the previous metal nuts to secure it, as long as you make sure there is no leakage.
  • Apparently I've been growing feverfew in my garden and had no idea.
  • Honor Harrington is THE SHIT.
  • I still have a chestburster. Bring me more purple stuff!
bloodyrosemccoy: (Librarians)
School's back in session, and you know what that means for the library!

That's right: we've been completely overrun by kids who look like they've never seen the inside of a library before. Some of 'em hit that fine line between not academic enough to have been in a library, but motivated enough to follow their teacher's recommendations. Others have been dragged there by well-meaning parents, who incidentally also look as if they've never been in a library before.

It's fascinating to me. I picked up Librarying at a very young age,* so it's a little weird when you get a 15-year-old coming up and saying "My teacher wants me to read a novel. Are these novels?" I keep coming across parents trying to help their kids find good books staring at the middle grade in dawning terror as they realize they are in way over their heads. And I forget they're easily confused by library jargon--you know, obscure terms like "fiction" and "picture book."**

It can either be awesome or terrible to be the one helping them. Yes, my soul dies a little every time I see a Required Reading List, but if the kid doesn't even try to find a book on the list they like--if they shove the list at me and say "I need one of these books" and when I say "Well, what kind of book do you like, so I can find one you might enjoy?" answer with a surly "Iun't care," they get Les Miserables, because WORK WITH ME HERE.

On the other hand, it's really fun when they ask what I'd recommend, and actually are interested in an answer. "Well, what kinds of books do you like? Dragons? History? Aliens? Egypt? True stories? Vampires? Mysteries?*** I've got something for that!" And when a kid comes back and loved a book you got 'em, one that you loved, then by god YOU ARE THE KING OF EVERYTHING! Makes me glad they--or their parents--were motivated enough to check out the strange new building their teacher mentioned.

*I still remember the first book I deliberately found on the shelf. I wanted to read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, and I knew it was by Roald Dahl, so I went and looked under "D." I was maybe seven.

**Although some of the little kids come up with some clever ways to describe things when they don't know the term for it. I had one little girl (the Boss Princess, no less) quite deliberately declare "I'm looking for a book that opens things." Took me a while to suss out that she was looking for lift-the-flap books.

***I have to specify like that because sometimes when I just ask "What kinds of books do you like?" they literally have no idea. My other strategy when that's the case is to ask what kind of movies they like.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Goddamn Batman Disapproves)
Can I tell you how much I hate the intransitive use of the word feed? Because I really, REALLY hate it.

Come on, I can't be the only one who finds it pretentious and obnoxious, can I?
bloodyrosemccoy: (Linguist)
I rarely link to Cracked, because I'm sure y'all are already stuck there anyway, but god dammit I wish to share with you 7 Commonly Corrected Grammar Errors That Aren't Mistakes. Because even before I spent my college years examining how language changes, I was in high school wondering if I should point out that Strunk & White were full of shit.*

I agree with everything on the list--even the "literally" argument, although I admit it does make it harder to explain when you mean "literally" literally. I can think of a few to add, too. (I always use "lay" and "lie" carefully simply because I like the way they're constructed, but it does not matter at all how you really use them as long as others understand you. And in the continuing theme of "English is not Latin," by all means end your sentences with prepositions. It might be impossible in Latin, but in English it's quite a bit less awkward than the gyrations used to avoid it.)

But then, I'm the kind of person who assesses linguistic competence in LOLcat, so I may just be a loony descriptivist. Lotta fun, though.

*I also hated when an English teacher would get so carried away with them that they'd circle every use of the passive voice in red pen on my essays. It got so bad one year I turned it into a game: I strunked my essays till they followed the rules exactly, and made sure they were SUPER BORING. It got kind of fun doing ridiculous linguistic gymnastics to avoid a perfectly simple and understandable passive construction.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Linguist)
I have begun referring to random meaningless apostrophes in fantasy and sci-fi stories as "prepostrophes."

On another note, maybe the more conscientious spec fic conlangers may want to start representing glottal stops with hyphens instead. I know I connect the sound to hyphens far more readily. Howbout you?
bloodyrosemccoy: (Linguist)
Thanks, y'all, for the ghoul/ghost responses. I'm not sure what got me thinking about this, but realizing my own definitions made me wonder how much they matched up with others'.

Turns out there is some overlap. A lotta folks said that tbe big difference was corporeality--one of the two defining things for me, too. I'm a bit weird, though--my ghouls seem to be stuck halfway between ghosts and zombies. They may be able to hover and fly like ghosts, but like zombies they look like rotten corpses.

The other big thing is their attitude. That had some overlap, too--the term "soulless" was bandied about. Maybe that's why I consider ghosts to to be more like people in their emotional ranges. Ghouls are, well, ghoulish. They aren't human and never were, they have no empathy, but there's a spark of intelligence there (unlike with zombies) that gives them a nasty sense of humor.

So, yeah, basically all my ghouls are variations on the Crypt Keeper. I wanted to see if that was just me.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Death)
Hey, guys, what's the difference between a ghost and a ghoul?

I have my own thoughts, but I want to see what you folks say before I contaminate the data.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Cube Love)
I’m not sure why, but this video absolutely mesmerizes me:

Do you remember learning how to dial a telephone? Yeah, neither do I.* Funny how cultures themselves have curricula. (So do TV shows: over the 20 years of Law’n’Order’s run, they went from carefully explaining how The D. N. A. works to assuming you know what it means when the lab reports that the perp and the victim have seven alleles in common. TV shows are still dumbed down, but notice what they dumb down.)

Also, I love the idea that wrong numbers would have caused people to panic in Ye Olde Dayes.** I don’t think she even uses the term “wrong number”—which makes me realize that at some point, the lexicon didn’t have a standard term for it. I love that, too—how language evolves. Makes living at the beginning of the Digital Age that much more fun.

And yes, I’m a complete dork watching vintage shorts without commentaries now. I can’t help it! They’re just so damn fascinating!

*Hell, I’m even past the Screaming Abuse At The Automated Voicemail Instructions Lady For Repeating Instructions EVERY DAMN TIME When EVERYBODY KNOWS THEM ALREADY (c’mon, who doesn’t know by now that “When you have finished recording, hang up”?) Stage. I’m on the stage where I’ve learned the combo hit that automatically KOs her.

Also: Dear phone companies, please hire Ellen McLain to do your future Automated Operator recordings. Take advantage of the Stockholm Syndrome so many gamers have developed!

**Nowatimes it's more a source of hilarity, like the time I kept getting calls from people asking for a guy named Juan. If you don't think I found it funny to tell them "There is no Juan at this number" or to hang up and explain to friends "It was a wrong number. They were looking for some Juan I don't know," then you haven't been paying attention.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Default)
What I Learned Since The Winter Solstice:
  • Clarence “Ducky” Nash not only voiced Donald Duck in English; he also did the voice on all the dubbed shorts Disney made so that the voice would remain consistently unintelligible across all languages.
  • Before she became a TV cook show hostess, Julia Child INVENTED SHARK REPELLENT.
  • Shakira sings very differently in English than she does in Spanish—to an amazing degree. In English, she sounds like so many other Madonna clones; in Spanish she’s got that rich and confident voice. I’d never listened to one of her songs’ English and Spanish versions back-to-back before, but it’s amazing how different it is.
  • Drawing something that looks like text without being legible is called “Greeking”—the written equivalent of “rhubarb.”
  • Generally speaking, the human brain can only really count up to 4 at a glance. Numbers beyond that slow us down.
  • Cookie Monster’s name in Hindu Hindi is Biscuit Badsha.
  • BONUS EDIT WITH NEW LEARNED THING: Hindi is the language; Hindu is the religion.  I never was really sure of the difference in the terms.  Thanks, [ profile] sriti !
  • It’s incredibly convenient to have a portable musical instrument to carry around and practice when you’ve got a few minutes, instead of having something too huge to lug around.
  • There is an explanation for my complete inability to ever adhere to the crazy raw food diet so many of our library patrons seem to be interested in starting up: Oral Allergy Syndrome. (I’m sure those raw food books would assure me that I wouldn’t have this syndrome if I just ate enough raw food to detox, but fuck ’em.)
  • You can get hives ON YOUR GOD DAMN EYEBALL.
  • There are a few drawbacks to nuclear power. [/understatement]
  • Mushrooms grow fast.
  • Calendars generally follow three main types: lunar, solar, and lunisolar.  A great deal of work goes into keeping calendars on track, especially the lunisolar ones.  Some calendars also have a really complex way to make the weekdays dependent on the date and even more complex astrological positions.
  • The term for the shaved head, or part of the head, of a monk is tonsure.
  • It is possible for me to find stars in the sky if I concentrate!
  • Also, Betelgeuse really does look orange.
  • The effectiveness of toilet paper follows a bell curve along its price range. Too cheap and it’s painful and thin; too expensive and it’s so pumped with lotions, layers, and moisturizers that it forgets its function as, well, toilet paper, and winds up just waving at your butt as it goes by.
  • There are Geno fans on the internet. I should have known.
  • Pizza sauce is a lot simpler than I thought, but crust is still a bit tough to work out.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Beastly)
[Poll #1583171]

Also, this one’s not as official, but you’re welcome to use the comments to fill in the hilarious current ironic internet slang term that will take on another layer of irony when the next generation finds out our dorky selves used it back in the day!
bloodyrosemccoy: (Random Sentences)
[ profile] sunshine_shaman: Stupid word confusion. Why did we decide to call American football “football,” anyway? It just winds up confounding the World Cup.

ME: Because calling it “Homoerotic Man-Pile” just doesn’t sound quite like what they’re going for.

MOM: And we wonder how come your dad gets depressed when your brother isn’t home.


FAMILY: Blah blah blah comments about Shakespeare blah blah.

AMELIA: I just realized something! Shakespeare would mess with grammar and make up words with wild abandon, right? He was the Elizabethan version of Strong Bad!


These have been your Deep Thoughts for today. Thank you and good night!
bloodyrosemccoy: (Wharrgarbl)
Well, lately the most interesting thing in my life has been the weather. Fortunately, it's the kind of interesting that doesn't involve flooded basements or felled power lines; it's the kind of interesting that makes you scream "WHAT THE HELL IT IS MAY 24TH WHY DID TWO INCHES OF SNOW JUST SPLAT ONTO EVERYTHING OH GOD SOMEBODY KIDNAPPED SUMMER."

Today it's bright and sunny and warming up. Now, that's just not fair. Pick a season, Utah. We're at war.

In other news, this here Language Construction Kit is a ton of fun. It inspired me to finally get around to making relative clauses in Rredra, and caused me to have a double revelation when I realized that the structure I had come up with for relative clauses in this conlang mirror my own informal idiolect--and that my own informal idiolect is mutating relative clauses. For example, instead of saying "the doctor who is wearing a coat," I wind up saying "the coat-wearing doctor," or changing "it's a bakery that makes delicious English pastries" into "it's a delicious-English-pastry-making bakery." Not an unusual phenomenon, I suppose, but I think I've been doing it more now than I used to, and with a broader range of possible clauses that can be switched around this way.

It's making me wonder if I've seen it around. I can think of one person online who does this all the time, but I don't know if I just picked it up from him, if I had it before him, or if it's a broader phenomenon.

This book also allows me to feel terribly clever when it gives the basics of semantics and I realize I am quite savvy about how to make words that aren't all just English equivalents. I think Mark gets a little carried away at times with linguistic deconstruction, but then I've always been a bit impatient with some of the sub-fields of pragmatics.

Meanwhile, I'm also getting impatient with sitting around in Dad's office listening to the sounds of inactive phones and shrieking children discovering the joys of vaccination on the other side of the wall. I think I'll see if I can go home yet.


bloodyrosemccoy: (Default)

July 2016

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