Sunday, January 31, 2010

coeval


\koh-EE-vul\

adjective

: of the same or equal age, antiquity, or duration

i want to talk a little bit more about the Twilight Zone because i think it's pretty amazing. the show deals on several occasions with the issue of parallel or alternate universes presently existing on a COEVAL plane as ours. the episode that comes to mind is called "Mirror Image," about a woman in a bus station who, after several odd happenings, runs into herself, her parallel identity from another universe. and so it goes.

i am currently taking a literature course in which we are looking at the very beginnings of science fiction, scientific and literary texts mostly from the 16th and 17th centuries, COEVAL (for lack of a better term) with the scientific revolution. these texts are an often dramatic response to a world turned upside down, robbed of common sense and ancient authority. people are just beginning to conceptualize the vastness of universe, the possibility of life on other planets, the reality of earth's smallness in the grander scheme.

i don't know if it has gotten any easier. three hundred or so years later, rod serling shows us over and over that these questions are more than relevant in a post-modern world. the tension almost seems to be building toward something. in science fiction "fear of the other" seems to have transcended into "fear of ourselves." perhaps we may discover that our COEVAL identities, our parallel universes, are right here inside our heads.

good morning, long shot.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

collude


\kuh-LOOD\

verb

: conspire, plot

the other day my friend jeff and i decided that we were both really manipulative. we were having coffee (perpetual) and he was telling me of his recent COLLUDING of someone who he was casually dating who casually told him that she thought he was taking it too seriously. he was offended at her accusation and followed it with a false admittance of these so-called emotions which in turn caused her to admit that it was she who was actually getting too emotionally involved.

they had only hooked up twice.

the conversation got me thinking about my subtle, daily manipulations. of course, in matters of the heart (brain), COLLUSION is often, OFTEN, unavoidable. not necessarily on the level of consciously plotting against someone, but at least conspiring between yourself and your emotions. but it's not only love. it's everything. sometimes when i think about it, i feel as if i am manipulating the entire day—a negotiation between myself and my self-presentation. as if i pass through a filter and come out as


candace


or whatever candace needs to be to get what i need at any given moment. everything i say and do is a COLLUSION to create my identity. i am a careful construction, a system of actions and reactions.

and if you are reading this, you are part of the conspiracy.

Friday, January 29, 2010

yellow-dog


\yel-oh-DAWG\

adjective

1 : mean, contemptible
2 : of or relating to opposition to trade unionism or a labor union

some time ago (a year? 18 months?) there was a required class at work concerning "the dangers of labor unions." we were herded ten at a time into the classroom to watch a juvenile powerpoint presentation about the deceptions of labor unions and why we shouldn't/didn't have to/were too privileged to join one. we were also warned of the threat of union organizers seeking us out and trying to get us to "sign up" for better benefits.

Do not sign anything, we were warned. we stared back like children being warned of razors in halloween candy.

lo and behold, some weeks later, some goon shows up at my door, AT MY HOUSE, with some labor union shit he wants me to sign.

My mom told me not to get into the car with strangers, i want to say. i play dumb (which is what my mom actually always told me to do) and i tell him something like, i'm not a resident.

this makes me a YELLOW-DOG for two reasons:

1) the above definition: the act of opposing labor unionism, and

2) i am in a way contemptible for not being able to come clean with the man on my front porch. i have a problem defending some of my opinions. i worry that i am easily convinced. even though i could have told him that i work for a company where i get treated well enough not to need a union, i worried that he would stand there and try to convince me otherwise. when people are well-spoken i often begin to get flustered, see their point, question my opinion. my judgment clouds, i find myself gripping for answers and not finding them, my once solid assurance now slippery and transparent. and this, to me, is utterly contemptible.

thankfully, i don't make decisions in this state of cloudiness. but i do spend time (hours?) rolling it over in my head, questioning myself, my judgment, and ultimately my cowardice. i want to be resolute, steadfast.

maybe i'm just ill-informed. maybe if i had known all there was to know about labor unions i could have defended my point. or maybe i just don't care. if i cared i would have known more. if that jerk-off had come to my door asking me to sign something claiming that a film like Pink Flamingos has no cultural value, i would have verbally reamed him a new asshole with my point and sent him on his merry way. but labor unions don't mean as much to me as the cultural value of john waters' films.

maybe it's just not worth my breath. so i hold it in, and it comes out here in words, in breathless movements of my fingers on a keyboard.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

maxixe


\muh-SHEESH\

noun

: a ballroom dance of Brazilian origin that resembles the two-step

this video is mesmerizing. it reminds me of one thing that in turn reminds me of another.

thing 1:

an episode of The Twilight Zone called "Miniature." a man finds himself mesmerized by a doll house in a museum in which he sees an animated doll of a beautiful woman playing the piano. of course, he is the only person who can see her moving. he falls in love with this woman, his fantasy or a reality, and begins to lose his mind—or so the other characters perceive. anyway, it unfolds like many other episodes—someone sees something others cannot, the lines between perception and reality are blurred, accusations are made, etc. i'm not going to reveal the ending for those who have yet to see it.

the music and the way these people are moving in this video reminds me of that episode. perhaps the music is similar, or maybe it's her dress, the way it doesn't quite flow and just drags along with her body. i keep picturing that these two dancing the MAXIXE are actually miniature, trapped inside a music box of some sort. or maybe only i can see them. maybe you're reading this and you think i'm totally crazy because i've actually attached a still image and not a moving picture.

thing 2:

a book called The Picolinis by Anne Graham Estern. Also about an animated dollhouse, purchased from a garage sale. in this story it is only the children that can see the dolls. and there's many of them. dolls, that is, not children. and the dolls are italian carnies. i read this book so many times as a child; it was truly one of my favorites. actually, i got it at a garage sale. maybe only i can read the book. maybe the book doesn't exist. (actually, it does. i just found it on amazon.)

after reading this book, i often fantasized about having miniature dolls that came to life. and when i got a little older and started to like boys, and perhaps after i saw this episode of The Twilight Zone, i often wished that i could fall in love with a miniature boy and carry him around in my bookbag in secret.

this was obviously before i learned about sex.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

martinet


\mar-tuh-NET\

noun

1 : a strict disciplinarian
2 : a person who stresses a rigid adherence to the details of forms and methods

in addition to the information listed above, mirriam-webster also includes a "Did You Know?" section in their word-of-the-day emails that acts as a little history lesson on the origin of the word in question. the word MARTINET actually comes from the surname of a french general who served in the late 17th century—Lieutenant Colonel Jean Martinet—a drillmaster known for his precise linear formations of advancing troops and effective methods of command. he was so notorious that his last name eventually became a word synonymous with "strict disciplinarian."

i am trying to think of what my name would mean if it became a word. i suppose my first and last name would mean two different things—the first being more specific to me individually, and the last being more characteristic of overall traits inherent in the opper family.

candace \kan-dis\ noun : 1. a logical, rational person, rendered inept at the unpredictability of emotion.

opper \op-er\ noun : 1. a resourceful optimist; one able to face financial hardship with ease and humor.

i think those are fair assessments. and i think opper may have a fair chance at becoming a word.

watch your back, martinet. your discipline is no match for my resourceful rationality.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

bolide


\BOH-lyde\

noun

: a large meteor : fireball; especially : one that explodes

i want to take this opportunity to talk about candy, as i have never seen a meteor, a BOLIDE, a comet, an eclipse, or really anything grand in the sky. i have, on the contrary, eaten many fireballs. (i will save writing about astronomy for a more appropriate word, i.e. STOLID: a word that perfectly describes the grad student that taught my undergraduate astronomy class).

candy has had a specific significance in my life since the word doubles as a shorter version of my name. i went by the nickname candy until i was about 5 or 6, old enough to realize that its connotation suggested something a little less...capable than what i, as candace, had to offer the world. it was to my advantage to make this decision at an early age. my mother had already sewn custom-made tags into all of my homemade clothes that read "candy opper." luckily, i was to grow out of these clothes, and this alias.

this did not change my feelings about actual candy. fireballs, sour patch kids, and jolly ranchers (the large ones, specifically) were my poison of choice. there was a shop in downtown milford called wanda's sugar shack that sold candy by the pound. my mother would take me there occasionally, and we would fill baskets with glorious prepackaged sweets and then sit on the beach and see who could suck on a fireball the longest. she always won, her tolerance was years ahead of mine. i envied this the way i envied her ability to play the bumble boogie on the piano without slipping up. my mother seemed light years ahead of me in these talents that i thought inconceivable.

eventually my love for candy transformed into a love for gum, that i still struggle with today. i began chewing gum on a regular basis in the seventh grade when i realized i could use it as a social commodity. cool kids were always looking for gum, and i always had some to offer. sometimes i would go through an entire 14-pack of cinnaburst gum in a day just giving it out to people. for a while i became known in my classes as "the girl who had gum." at twelve years old, i thought this meant i had value.

my obsession with gum has wavered over the last two decades. it came back strong a few years ago when i was losing weight. i always had gum around to chew when i was hungry and i didn't want to stuff my face with food. it worked. but since then, my need for gum has lingered. i still always have a pack on me (orbitz sweet mint) to busy my mouth. it's not even about the gum as much as it is about the chewing, as the fireballs were about the act of sucking, a BOLIDE of sensory pleasure in my nine year old mouth.

i believe this means i have an oral fixation. i think i like the attention that candy and gum draw to my mouth—a mouth in constant movement, in constant sensory overload.

at least i don't bite my fingernails.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Valhalla


\val-HAL-uh\

noun

1 : the great hall in Norse mythology where the souls of heroes slain in battle are received
2 : a place of honor, glory, or happiness : heaven

sometimes i just cannot escape the sound of a word. valhalla, valhalla, repeating over and over in my head, trying to conjure up a memory of a place of glory or extreme happiness. and all i can think of is Ya Hala.

Ya Hala is a lebanese restaurant in portland, located by the VALHALLA that is 82nd avenue. i've probably been there four or five times. the food is delicious and accompanied by never-ending amounts of pita bread. free bread always wins my heart and loyalty.

although Ya Hala is a place that exists, and i can conceivably visit at any time during their open hours, it is really only images to me. it is pockets of time stored in my memory: walking there after a trip to target with bobbie sue and gwen, wet from the winter rain, plastic bags full of paper towels and 2-pack socks by our feet as we ate falafel sandwiches; sharing a mezza with brody, 60/40 in his favor, watching him drink turkish coffee from a dainty cup, do you want to try some? it's too late; i'll be up all night. it's just pieces that add up to an imperfect idea of a whole.

when i was younger, i wished that after i died i could watch a video of my life, to at once gain an objectivity that i could never have reached otherwise. i still fantasize about this sometimes, trying to write myself into an imagined place of wisdom. perhaps that is my VALHALLA—a land of retrospect, a Ya Hala constructed from the sum of all its parts, instead of only the shiny moments i've chosen to recollect.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

refurbish


\rih-FER-bish\

verb

: to brighten or freshen up : renovate

the room above my mother's garage (not a metaphor) has been a haven for many. in the years before i began to utilize the space (idle since the the early 70s when my brothers' father used it as a drug den) the room sat untouched and filled floor to ceiling, front to back, with junk: old furniture, broken lamps, moldy newspapers, a rusted file cabinet, a couple dirty mattresses, and dozens of limp, spider webby cardboard boxes filled with soggy paperback novels and trash. i was often intrigued with the space, but i could only make it a foot into the room without confronting the wall of refuse.

in the sixth grade, my friend samantha (see jan. 12) and i started a club called "the mobsters" (we were trying really hard to be tough) and we decided to REFURBISH the space for our clubhouse. we simply began moving the junk out of the room and throwing it off the deck into into a pile behind the garage. that pile is still there, almost 20 years later, slowly decomposing into the earth.

we were able to get the room down to the essentials: a large table, one dirty mattress and some of the smaller furniture pieces that weren't completely ruined by the elements.

when "the mobsters" dissipated over the next year, the room was used again in the eighth grade for another club that katy and i started in an attempt to be even tougher than the mobsters. we administered a test to get in the club, with multiple choice questions like:

what would you do if you were caught shoplifting?

a) confess
b) run like hell
c) lie

we were hoping the girls would answer b or c, but most of our friends were just uncomfortable with the questions. the club was eventually named AOPE (asylum of peaceful eternity), a name chosen by our token hippie friend, Allison, and voted on by the majority of girls in the club. katy and i did not vote for this name—it was too nice. but we were trying to be democratic. AOPE also failed.

in high school, the room again became a drinking and drug den for my friends. it slowly filled up with empty 40's and crushed soda can bowls. high school heart throb kel drunkenly pissed in my mother's plastic light up santa claus. no one told me until months later.

the room underwent a second REFURBISHING around the year 1999, when josh, randy and i took the space over for the music project: ASS records. this was more of an actual renovation project: installing insulation, sheet rock walls, and carpeting, painting, and turning on the electricity (which my mother always said did not work—it was just in the "off" position on the circuit breaker).

on one snowy afternoon, we brought a space heater up to the room (then called: the ASS) so we could finish some painting. randy got naked and dipped his penis into a bucket of paint to make prints on the wall. he then leaned out the window and yelled to my neighbor/high school gym teacher, who happened to be shoveling his driveway:

"hey! mr. mann! what's up."

mr. mann squinted into the snowy air, "who is that?"

"it's randy holden! from gym class last year!"

"oh...hi randy..."

i think mr. mann was pretty bummed to be our neighbor some times. this was probably one of those times.

the ASS is currently being used as a drinking/drug den for my younger sister and her friends. this seems to be its chosen fate. i'm hoping the next underground political revolution will begin there. unfortunately, all members would probably suffer from asbestos poisoning before they could make any progress.

and for the record, my choice then was, b) run like hell. and i wasn't that bad—i never even shoplifted. it was all hypotheticals.

i did write on the walls of the public library, though.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

funicular


\fyoo-NIK-yuh-ler\

noun

: a cable railway ascending a mountain;especially : one in which an ascending car counterbalances a descending car

i have never been on a FUNICULAR. what i have been on is: the fence, federal student aid, and the city bus. i have also been on a skyride, which is probably the modern cousin to the FUNICULAR. so, i guess i should talk about that.

a few days after brian* died, my friend katy's parents took us to the bronx zoo. this wasn't to make us feel better; we had simply already had the plans for some time. i had been really excited leading up to the trip. this was obviously before i realized i would be coping with an epic, life-changing event. a trip to the zoo then seemed equivalent to someone offering you a piece of gum if you were on fire.

i don't remember the zoo. i don't remember what animals we saw, or what we ate, or what souvenirs i wasted my mother's welfare money on. but i do remember the skyride. katy and i took the ride together, mostly in silence. the view was really beautiful. but all i can remember thinking was how easy it would be to jump, and how katy was probably thinking the same thing, and how neither of us would say anything to each other about this.

you can take the FUNICULAR out of the world of transportation, but you sure can't take the FUN out of FUNICULAR (a word which i am having trouble accepting is a noun and not an adjective. i just keep hearing, "jeez, that was a really FUNICULAR thing to say").


* brian \ˈbrī-ən\ biographical name : my first love; committed suicide in the spring of 1994; left me with a host of questions; the initial reason i write—a perpetual quest for answers where there may be none; will most likely appear in future blogs.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mrs. Grundy


\MISS-uz-GRUN-dee\

noun

: one marked by prudish conventionality in personal conduct

i was accused a few times in high school of being prude. this term was usually thrown at me jokingly by friends who were judging me for (unlike them...) not fucking anything that could stand on two legs and speak english well enough to proposition me. these girls were interested in big numbers, thinking (hoping?) that translated somehow to experience or ultimately wisdom. i was more interested in sex, specifically of the enjoyable variety, not to be had with the mediocre selection that amity high school offered.

i associate prudishness with people who can't handle john waters or say things like "TMI." what the fuck is that, TMI. i used to work with a girl, years ago, who said that. let's call her caitlin, because i think that was her name. oh, she used all sorts of abbreviations: OMG. WTF. she also worked only one day a week and always wore the same frilly shirt with a stain on the left boob.

caitlin once told me a story that i will never forget. her and her boyfriend (let's call him zack) had been broken up for a couple weeks. i don't remember what happened between them...maybe she saw another girl's number on his cell phone or something (OMG). one saturday she showed up at work, stain-on-boob as usual, hungover and blissful.

"me and zack got back together last night!"
"oh yeah?"
"i came home and he had set up all these candles in my room and bought a bottle of peach schnapps. it was sooo romantic. we made love for four hours!"

i'm not sure how MRS. GRUNDY would have responded, but this may have been the only moment in my adult life when i felt like someone had given me too much information. i could never look at her the same way. gross.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

colubrine


\KAHL-yuh-bryne\


adjective


1 : of, relating to, or resembling a snake

2 : of or relating to a large cosmopolitan family (Colubridae) of chiefly nonvenomous snakes


i have two distinct memories relating to snakes or the idea of COLUBRINITY (sic). i will now list them in chronological order:


1) when riding bikes with jen martino in the sixth grade, we were coming around a sharp curve on graniss road, and i stopped because i saw something unusual on the pavement. the flat and wirey black shape was actually a snake that had gotten run over by a car. i was no stranger to road kill, but i thought this was particularly morbid and unnerving. it just didn't seem right. i guess i thought snakes were somehow immune to this cause of death. the world seemed slightly tilted, as if i had witnessed the natural delicacy of the food chain getting flipped onto its head.


the rest of that week, i kept wanting to walk by the snake, just to be near such an anomaly. jen was annoyed. she wanted to go flirt with boys over by a big, graffitied rock behind the stagnant pond at our elementary school. bor-ing.


2) the next COLUBRINOUS (sic) experience was many, many years later, while working at guitar center. like many other isolated universes, guitar center had it's own metalanguage that made little sense to outsiders.

some examples:


burning: working a double shift

phone up: documentation of a phone conversation with a potential customer

GP (pronounced "gip"): profit

yo king (archaic): what's up

snaking deals (possibly wide-used): stealing someone else's customer


every so often two of the boys would get into a fight over the ownership of a "custy." they would be called into the sales (principle's) office to figure it out, and through the glass door i could hear voices raising and cracking:

"he snaked my deal!"

"that was my custy!"

"nuh-uh, dude. i talked to him as soon as he walked in!"

"i have a phone up to prove it!"


it would usually be settled by splitting the GP 60/40, favor on the side of the man with the phone up. the two would storm out of the office like children, tense toward each other until the shift was over and they made friends again over a beer at the ninety-nine.


guy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Augean stable


\aw-JEE-un-STAY-bul\

noun

: a condition or place marked by great accumulation of filth or corruption

i floss every night. i can't remember when i started this habit—two or three years ago, perhaps. i didn't start because i wanted cleaner gums; it was another attempt to prove to myself that good habits are easier to form than they seem. i wonder if dentists would be more successful if they tried a different approach:

"you do realize that flossing is just running a piece of minty thread in between your teeth for, like, ninety seconds."

this is what i told myself, and it worked.

unfortunately, flossing has made my bathroom mirror into somewhat of an AUGEAN STABLE. what i mean is that everything that is hiding out between my teeth gets flossed out and subsequently flicked onto the bathroom mirror. i'm not intentionally trying to flick it there—i'm sure some of it ends up in the sink or on the faucet—but when the floss is pulled taught in preparation for the next crevice, most of the debris heads in the direction of the mirror.

so, my good habit has drawn attention to the neglect of another responsibility: cleaning the bathroom. i'm not crazy about this chore (although i used to be [refer to jan 14]). and i suppose i should heed my good-habit-forming skills and just do it. just clean the mirror. it's so simple. but i still don't want to do it. and i think it's because i don't like that the dirtiness of the bathroom mirror is a result of the cleanliness of my gums. i feel as if the lethargy that i eradicated by forming and keeping a good habit (flossing) somehow just got displaced. it is now the debris on the mirror, a new apathy that i must expunge by the act of cleaning.

and so it goes. good habits are everywhere just waiting to attract unassuming people like myself.






Tuesday, January 19, 2010

conquian


\KONK-ee-un\

noun

: a card game for two played with 40 cards from which all games of rummy developed

i have never played CONQUIAN or rummy. i used to play "go fish" with my grandma when i was a child. since school gym destroyed any and all value or respect i may have had for the nature of competitiveness, i haven't much enjoyed any card games since my go fish years. except, of course, solitaire.

the summer in between my sophomore and junior years of high school i played a LOT of solitaire. i used to play until i won. sometimes it would take 15 minutes, sometimes 3 1/2 hours. i didn't care; i was mesmerized.

this was the same summer i spent waiting around for a boy named ben to return my phone calls. ben was a cute boy from the next town over who used to play in local bands. at some point, i obtained his number from someone. i boldly called and (out of character) told him that i thought he was cool and liked him. we developed a phone flirtation of sorts, talking sometimes for hours. this was my first personal interaction with a boy, and i couldn't believe how easy it was. it got a little harder when we first met up in person. it was clear i was not cool enough for him and he ignored me all night, leaving me to socialize with his less-than-welcoming group off friends.

i thought: over. but then every time ben would see someone i knew, he would ask about me and why i stopped calling him. so...i would call, and he would never call me back. this happened maybe four or five times over the course of the summer. i would wait by my crappy, translucent plastic phone, playing solitaire, and nothing. this went on until the one time i actually reached him, and he yelled, "stop fucking calling me you fucking bitch! i don't want to talk to you!"

and, well, that was that.

i was a little butt-hurt, but people like ben need to exist to teach naive fifteen-year-old girls not to be suckers.

THANKS, BEN!

Monday, January 18, 2010

noetic


\noh-ET-ik\


adjective


: of, relating to, or based on the intellect


i arrived at work the other day and began spouting off to a coworker about writing and theory and technique, yelling to her from the coat closet while i unsheathed my winter-layered self. she was an english/lit major, so she and i can talk smacademia with ease.


i must have emerged from the closet saying something like, "...any digression really just has to support the self-implication, otherwise it just weakens what is supposed to be a narrative of self-realization. "


"totally."


"indubitably," another of our coworkers interjected, laughing.


"huh?" i laughed with him.


"i'm just trying to sound like you guys. indubitably," he repeated in a forced aristocratic accent. "you're so smart."


anytime anyone tells me i'm "smart" i roll my eyes and deny it. and this is not an act of humility—i really don't believe i'm smart. rather, i don't believe in the general idea of smart. smart translates to one of many more specific qualities:


- intellectual (um...NOETIC)

- knowledge-retaining

- motivated

- overbearingly-opinionated

- having a so-called common sense


i think if you even HINT at possessing any of these qualities, someone, somewhere, will think you're smart. i believe i am somewhat intellectual, sort-of knowledge-retaining (more concepts than facts), absolutely motivated, hardly at all overbearingly-opinionated, and full of a so-called common sense. but i still hate being called smart. smart, to me, suggests a notion of inheritance—as if some are born smart and some aren't so lucky. smart brings back memories of childhood peers who effortlessly got straight A's and were bored with schoolwork, waiting with indifference to move on to the next academic level they could conquer.


and this is the reason i don't want to be in academia. because there is no one there to say indubitably to you when you're drifting off into the NOETIC atmosphere.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Danelaw


\DAYN-law\

noun

1 : the law in force in the part of England held by the Danes before the Norman Conquest
2 : the part of England under the Danelaw

when i was around the ages of fourteen and fifteen, i did a lot of baby-sitting. i was officially too young to get a real job and officially too old to not have any money. i worked for at least four different families during this period, the most memorable being The Danes.

The Danes were cousins of a close friend, and they desperately needed someone to watch their three and six year old daughters. there were five children in total: one son whose name and age i don't remember, but he was old enough to not be living at home, so i only met him once; then there was laura (sixteen), adam (thirteen), amanda (six), and megan (four). the father was absent and the mother, toni, was an alcoholic that would leave me with her youngest children every friday and saturday night. she would stumble in the door between two and three in the morning, offer me a drunken ride home (which i took because it was way too far to walk), and pay me $20 for 7-8 hours of work.

it was at The Dane's house that i first saw Clerks. laura dane came home drunk with her friends one night (this often happened around 11pm) and brought a copy of the movie on vhs. they started watching it, but got bored within minutes and left the second they got a phone call about another party. i finished the movie by myself.

their house was also the first place i heard Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety. sometimes, after putting the children to sleep, i would retire to the dining room (where they mysteriously kept their stereo) and listen to albums in the dark until i heard toni fumbling with the lock.

the eldest daughter, sara, had died in a house fire two years prior to my baby-sitting stint. they built their new house on the same foundation. there was a portrait of sara on the living room wall, and i always felt like she was watching me.

i baby-sat for The Danes until i was old enough to get a real job cleaning wedding dresses at a laundromat for $5 an hour. toni would randomly call me sometimes, sounding desperate for help, but i couldn't do it.

this has nothing really to do with DANELAW, but i mean, does mirriam-webster really think i have anything to do with norman conquest? they're lucky i was able to find this picture.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

interdigitate



\in-ter-DIJ-uh-tayt\

verb

: to become interlocked like the fingers of folded hands

first of all, i need to commend mirriam-webster for writing one of the most poetic definitions i have ever seen.

"...like the fingers of folded hands."

beautiful.

i was once told by someone very dear to me that i was an ideal hand-holder because i interlocked fingers instead of grabbing in the straight-on palm-on-palm method. INTERDIGITATING is, of course, ideal. the act of weaving your fingers with someone else's is so much more intimate and sexual than the dry-humping of palm-on-palm.

i have had at least four memorable hand-holding experiences, which i will now list consecutively:

1) having my hand held in a dark basement; thinking it was someone's only to find out it was someone else's, but
being pleasantly surprised at the truth. (1996)
2) having my hand held while reclining in the front seat of a car by someone who knew they couldn't be with me
because they had someone else and i wanted yet another someone else. (1998)
3) warning someone that i was going to grab their hand, subsequently grabbing it, and a minute later that someone
pulling their hand from mine saying, "i can't do this." (2003)
4) getting my hand grabbed during a midnight show of The Re-Animator, followed by me saying, "um..." and the
hand-grabber replying, "it'll be nice," and me complying, happily, for the entirety of the movie, and also thinking for at least a year that he actually said, "just let me be nice." not that it really makes a difference. (2008)

i fully support regular INTERDIGITATION. get those webs sweating against each other, people! it's essential!


Friday, January 15, 2010

incoherent


\in-koh-HEER-unt\

adjective

a : lacking coherence: as a : lacking cohesion : loose
b : lacking orderly continuity, arrangement, or relevance : inconsistent
c : lacking normal clarity or intelligibility in speech or thought

last night i watched francis ford coppola's The Conversation. a beautiful film full about paranoia with a great piano score. gene hackman plays harry caul, a surveillance expert obsessed with a single conversation that he has recorded. after layering the recorded tape of three separate sources, he is able to decipher what was initially, mostly INCOHERENT. a phrase from the conversation, "he would kill us if he got the chance," plagues his conscious throughout the film, fearful that he is somehow involved in a potential murder. the twist (which i will not entirely reveal in case the reader has not seen this film) is that he was misinterpreting a vocal emphasis in the recorded phrase, altering the potential outcome.

and THIS is precisely why i hate text messaging. there is no tone, no emphasis, no voice. i hate when people show me text messages and ask,

"what do you think he/she means by that?"

"um, i don't know."

if you are going to take body language away from me, at least give me intonation. a text message is flat and dimensionless. and unlike a well thought out letter, the writer is given only 160 characters to say what they're trying to say. and i'm guessing most people, unlike myself, are not challenged with trying to figure out the most meaningful way of saying something in that limited space. utilizing this device to say, "i'm on my way" or "what kind of mustard did you want?" is totally acceptable. but using text messaging as a form of conversation is lazy and unclear, a perfect illustration of the INCOHERENCE of an overtly digital culture. harry caul would hang himself with a microphone wire had he seen what was to come.




Thursday, January 14, 2010

doldrums


\DOHL-drumz\

noun

1 : a spell of listlessness or despondency
2 often capitalized : a part of the ocean near the equator abounding in calms, squalls, and light shifting winds
3 : a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump

i have to confess that i experience being in the state of DOLDRUMS (doldrumsness?) on a regular basis. it was much worse in my childhood, especially on saturday mornings when the weekend loomed in front of me—48 hours that i had to somehow fill with something.

this restlessness always made me think that i was a boring person. last summer i read a book by Lars Svendsen, A Philosophy of Boredom, that told me otherwise. Lars assured me that restlessness is a symptom of an existential crisis, experienced most often by those searching for a greater meaning. it amuses me that deciding, out of boredom, to clean my mother's entire bathroom using my brothers' shaving cream could have actually been a quest for deeper answers.

adulthood has not granted me immunity to this restlessness. why, i just experienced the DOLDRUMS this past tuesday! i had a full day off, so much free time to do whatever i wanted. i had plenty of things to fill the time, namely piles of schoolwork. but i still felt that plague of listlessness, the urge to continue looking at the clock thinking, are you serious? only seven minutes have passed? every action feels like a desperate attempt to pass the time. it's a special kind of impatience that is not present under regular circumstances. and there is no cure. i just wait until the day is over so i can go to sleep.

i'm seeing a theme here...winter DOLDRUMS, CANICULAR summer days...perhaps mirriam-webster is trying to comment on a culture of boredom. i hesitate to search for a pattern in a mostly random selection of words, even though i'm quite sure that it's some guy's job to pick these words and email them daily to vocabulary-challenged people like myself.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

triskaidekaphobia



\triss-kye-dek-uh-FOH-bee-uh\

noun

: fear of the number 13

mirriam-webster does this sometimes—they pick a word that has a special significance on that day. as in, today is january 13th. wow.

since this blog is about honesty, i cannot say that i have TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA. but if there were a word for the belief in the general significance of a certain number, that may be more applicable.

for some time (maybe still? maybe?) i believed that the number 13 1/2 had a significance in my romantic life. this is for three reasons:
1) i was 13 1/2 years old when my first love, brian, died
2) billy corgan, my high-school fantasy love, was (is) 13 1/2 years older than me. almost exactly.
3) josh, my first boyfriend and BFF, is 13 1/2 months younger than me.

i was really pushing for this to be significant. but it kind of stopped there.

i also have special connections with the number 16 (my birthday), the number 67 (this number is just incredibly aesthetically pleasing to me), and although i claim to no longer be superstitious, i still make a wish when the clock reads 3:33 or 5:55, etc. it's especially exciting that my cell phone shows military time—it's like a whole new set of superstitions when the clock says 16:16. weird.