marvel is marvel is BACK!

Sep. 26th, 2017 11:23 am
sapphire2309: (Default)
[personal profile] sapphire2309
not sure i'll be signing up for this - i'm being VERY careful with commitments i make because spoons are unpredictable - but it's interesting as always! nominations are currently open. i'm gonna hold on for a bit before nominating my faves, because i have a LOT of faves and not enough nomination spots and if other people have some of the same faves as me then i have more spots for other more obscure faves?

banner by broadbeam

details! )

Star Trek Discovery

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:43 pm
muccamukk: B'Elanna standing in front of lines of code. (ST: Engineering)
[personal profile] muccamukk

Maybe it'll ... get better?
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

Thank you, dear [profile] bunny_hugger.

Story Book Land, as a park for families, mostly with young kids, and a fairy-tale theme, has mostly gentle rides. One that we missed, as it's being renovated, is the Antique Cars ride. It looked like they were shortening the track a little, removing a short bridge that passed over a water trough. Don't know why they'd be doing that; it's not as though the space they're saving seems to be enough for another ride or anything but a small display. On the other hand, they do need small displays.

They've also got a Tilt-a-Whirl dubbed the Turtle Twirl. The cars on it are painted up as turtle shells, complete with heads out top and hands reaching around the sides of the cars. This left us thinking: haven't we been on this before? We could swear we've seen a turtle-made Tilt-A-Whirl before but can't place just where. Possibly Story Land in New Hampshire. At least that's what seemed most likely to us.

They do have a roller coaster. It's a small, kiddie one, and we weren't sure we could ride until we saw unaccompanied adults on it. The ride is called Bubbles The Coaster, and it's got a ride sign of a water dragon with a bubble wand in her(?) tail. We also noticed the passenger restrictions said explicitly, ``small children obviously being forced against their will, for example struggling to get away from a parent in the seat'' may not ride. I didn't remember seeing the rules about don't terrify your kid, for crying out loud being spelled out so cleanly before, and was glad to see them.

Bubbles The Coaster isn't a big or a fast one; it's got maybe a ten-foot drop, at most. It's a Dragon-wagon coaster, with a train that has a dragon's head out front and a tail out back. But it earns its name. Part of the ride's decoration is an adorable little house by the main drop. And when the train goes past that, the house emits a spray of soap bubbles. There's a good chance of getting hit by them at not too much speed. It's a sweet and fun little ride. And that would be our dominant impression of the park: it's a sweet place. No enormous, compelling thrills, but a lot of nice scenes and excellent for someone who's got kids to entertain.

[profile] bunny_hugger would buy a plush of Bubbles The Coaster the dragon. We don't know whether the park has a mascot costume or anything for the character as shown on the sign. But it would be a great fit. Friendly sea dragon with bubble wand has the sort of easy-to-get appeal that makes a great park mascot. I'm still not clear who, if anyone, the park's mascot is.

The roller coaster would be one of the two centerpiece rides we were looking for. The other would be the carousel, of course. They don't have an antique carved-wood carousel. But they have got a Herschel-made kiddie carousel, one that dates to 1955 and that we just assumed had been there since the park opened. Not so, according to the park history book. The carousel happens to be as old as the park, but it was brought in after the park had been open for decades. No idea where it came from.

But we'd work our way to it slowly, not least since we didn't have a map and weren't sure just where it was. We walked past an Alice In Wonderland-themed card maze, delightful and so close to the Disney Movie rendering that we got to seriously worrying for the future of the park. Surely someday the Disney corporation has to tumble on to them, right? And then just before Sleeping Beauty I got distracted by birds. there was the enclosure with several peacocks, including a white one, and including one peacock so studiously attending to a bug at the end of his cage that we got caught up in this drama. (The bug got away, and the peacock pecked at a white feather that'd gotten loose from any bird.)

This would lead us on a path to the swing ride. That was dressed up as a tree, complete with nutty-looking squirrel on top. I think it's a standard kids-park version of the ride; it didn't look like it was matched to any kind of fairy tale or nursery rhyme or something. We did spot the cradle, suspended by wires, with the baby in the tree tops. I think the park history said they put a new doll in each year. At least it's some surprisingly regular changeover for a thing most people only get an obscured glimpse at from afar. It says good things, to me, about a park that they put effort into little stuff.

Trivia: While in Saint Petersburg, Russia, hoping to open peace talks with the United Kingdom, Albert Gallatin learned that the Senate had rejected his appointment to the peace commission by a vote of 18-17. Source: Union 1812: The Americans who Fought the Second War of Independence, A J Langguth.

Currently Reading: Binary Fusion and the Millennium Bug, Beth Bridgman. Aaah, after some dull stretches now we've got to some good crazypants writing. Bridgman's (character's) idea: rectangular microchips can grow so large that the speed of electricity limits computing power. Fair enough. So therefore, make your microchips spherical, in order that every part is equally far from the center. Uhm. Also, since the speed of electricity is so slow on this scale, use the power from cold fusion generators to force these spherical chips to run up to an infinite number of computations in one millisecond in order to reprogram every computer in the world to cure The Y2K Bug. And then on to the Accelerated Shroud of Turin Cloning Project.

PS: Halloweekend on a Saturday. We did some stuff out of the ordinary.


One of those roller coasters we never ride, but got around to this time: the Woodstock Express. I'm assuming it's the Woodstock Express. The train would be oddly decorated if it wasn't.


Woodstock Express is a kids' coaster, but that doesn't mean it can't look like great exciting fun given half a chance.


Serendipity! We were at the right spot, just after Woodstock Express, to catch the steam locomotive go across the central lagoon's bridge. Behind that is the Mine Ride roller coaster.

PPS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Young Tableau, something I didn't know existed three months ago and that I'm now fascinated by.

English suites no. 3

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:37 pm
calimac: (Haydn)
[personal profile] calimac
I'd started with Gustav Holst, so one's thoughts then turn to his close friend and colleague Ralph Vaughan Williams. VW is, to my ear, the greatest of all 20C British composers, but he wasn't as keen on the suite as a form as Holst was.

He did write a few, though, and a highly characteristic one is the Charterhouse Suite for strings. This has an unusual origin. VW wrote it for piano, an instrument he was not often drawn to. It was arranged for strings by another hand, but it still sounds a lot like VW, in part because the arranger was good, he worked under VW's supervision, and also because much of the music is modal, typical of his work.

The six movements are Prelude (0.01), Slow dance (1.44), Quick dance (3.40), Slow air (5.57), Rondo (9.40), and Pezzo ostinato (11.43). Enjoy the attractive views of the English countryside on the visual side of this file, too. Since RVW was pre-eminently the composer who caught the spirit of the land ("cowpat music," those who didn't like it called it), that's appropriate.

sqlite the miracle DB

Sep. 25th, 2017 11:24 pm
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
At work today, Boss suggested I look at sqlite a bit, since our client code uses it. What I thought might be a brief glance turned into hours of reading, as it became rather fascinating. For those who don't know, it's an embedded SQL database, with not much code, unlike the client/server databases of Oracle or anything else you've probably heard of. As their docs put it, they're not competing with such databases, they're competing with fopen() and other filesystem access.

They call their testing "aviation grade", possibly without hyperbole: 100% branch coverage, 100% coverage of something stronger than branches, 700x more testing code than actual library code and a lot of that generates tests parametrically... it sounds pretty nuts. They worship Valgrind but find compiler warnings somewhat useless; getting warnings to zero added more bugs than it solved.

They claim "billions and billions of deployments", which sounded like humorous hyperbole until they added being on every iPhone or Android phone, every Mac or Windows 10 machine, every major browser install... There are over 2 billon smartphones, so just from the phone OS and the phone browser, you've got 4 billion installs...

They also make a pitched case for consider a sqlite database any time you'd be considering some complex file format. With almost no code to write, you'd get consistency robustness, complex queries, machine and language independence, and at least some ability to do partial writes[1], compared to throwing a bunch of files into a zipfile.

They also had a nicely educational description of their rollback and write-ahead models.

[1] I do wonder about this. One odd thing about sqlite is a looseness about types, and AIUI cramming numeric values into the smallest range that will hold them. So I'd think that if you UPDATED a value 100 to a value 1000000000000, you'd have to shuffle the trailing part of the file, compared to a format that e.g. reserved 8 bytes for a numeric type. But maybe they do buffer numeric or string storage. And not having to write the whole file, or not having to read the whole file (e.g. to decompress it) seem like at least partial wins.

If I had wanted ice cream . . .

Sep. 25th, 2017 07:30 pm
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
[personal profile] gridlore
Had an annoyance this morning. I'm finally getting back to my writing group. The fall session started in late August, but I would have missed two of four sessions due to Burning Man, so why pay for that? So I was ready and eager to get back to having to explain things to my fellow writers who know nothing about science-fiction.

A ritual I've developed is hitting the McDonald's drive-thru for breakfast. I love their sausage biscuits with egg, and I get a milk to go with it. I do this because making breakfast myself requires spoons that I'll need later. Plus, yummy biscuits.

Had an annoyance this morning. I'm finally getting back to my writing group. The fall session started in late August, but I would have missed two of four sessions due to Burning Man, so why pay for that? So I was ready and eager to get back to having to explain things to my fellow writers who know nothing about science-fiction.

A ritual I've developed is hitting the McDonald's drive-thru for breakfast. I love their sausage biscuits with egg, and I get a milk to go with it. I do this because making breakfast myself requires spoons that I'll need later. Plus, yummy biscuits.

I should have known there was a problem when the line was at a dead stop. But I had given myself plenty of time, and I wanted my sandwich! So I crept the truck up to the order box. Where I gave my exceedingly simple order in a clearly enunciated voice. "Sausage Biscuit with Egg, and a milk, please."

All I get is an "OK, second window" and nothing on the order screen. This was a little disturbing, but the screen has been out for a while. And my order is dead fucking simple.

Still creeping. I have the window down and I don't care who hears me mangle Turn the Page Finally get to the window, with my formally comfortable time cushion deflating rapidly.

The young lady asks me for an amount way over what I know my order costs, even with tax. When I question this, she reads back my order as "Egg McMuffin meal . . ." I stop her right there. Where the hell does one get "Egg McMuffin" from "Sausage Biscuit with Egg"? She gets the correct order up, and after wandering aimlessly for three minutes hands me my order. Stopping only long enough to check it was my order, and not a BigMac or a half-eaten donut from across the street, I raced (as well as one can race on streets with a 25mph speed limit) to school, devouring my precious food all the way. I figured I'd just slam the milk in the parking lot. I'm an old truck driver, many times I've eaten a meal in stages in three different places.

Find parking, put up my Gimp Placard, and grab my milk. I twist the cap open and get a refreshing mouthful of . . . nothing. That, and my lips are very cold. The milk they handed me was frozen solid. It was a rock. Frustrated, I grabbed a few swallows from a water fountain and headed in for the group.

Which was terrific as ever. Good to see everyone again after the extended summer break, and see what people were working on. This group lasts two hours, 1000-1200 hours, and it was a warm day here in Santa Clara. We even stayed late to allow one more story to be read. The milk jug was still solid.

Back over to McD's, where the manager was appalled. She quickly checked the unit where milk and the like are stored and swore in a language that was both beautiful and venomous. She was pissed. I've seen this woman, always clad in the best hijab that manages to compliment the uniform of the day, running the morning shift like a pro. She takes pride in her work. She quickly refunded my money, and I was on my way.

But seriously, the problem with the frozen milk aside (which is a training issue, someone forgot to reset the temperature controls) my real complaint was with the young lady who took my order. She failed to offer a greeting, failed to confirm my order, failed to tell me my total, and I never got a thank you. This location is hiring a lot of new people, but someone that inexperienced should not be running breakfast rush by herself. I can only imagine how many errors ahead of me were the cause of the glacial movement of the line.

I know I've never worked fast food, but I have worked jobs where getting and relaying accurate information is vital to success. I've been a dispatcher, carried messages from contractors to my warehouse manager and sales staff, and, oh yeah, learned to call in artillery and air strikes! You do not want to say Sausage Biscuit with Egg and have them hear Egg McMuffin in that last one!

And it really isn't like this is my only option. Within a short drive, there is a Jack in the Box, a Burger King, and if I want to go nuts, I can sit down at Denny's. I hate to sound like That Customer, but they are in a fight to keep my money in their tills.

Oh, well. At least I got my biscuit.

The Emerald City and Me

Sep. 25th, 2017 07:34 pm
cheriepriest: (Batgirl)
[personal profile] cheriepriest
Well, we made it. We closed on our Seattle house literally the evening before we left the Chattanooga house - and it only happened then because a dedicated notary came out to our house after hours and helped us file all the paperwork. First thing the next morning, we hit the road.

It was a six-day drive back to the West Coast. We took two cars, and we each took two animals - I drove with Greyson in the back seat, and Quinnie in the front seat. (Both secured, yes.) My husband brought the eldercat and Lucy in a similar configuration. Using a AAA travel agent, we booked all our hotel rooms in advance - making sure that we could bring our furry family members along without any difficulty. All but two of those nights were screwed up by the aforementioned travel agent; but when all was said and done, nobody had to sleep in the car and everything was fine.

My husband and I each traveled with a small suitcase. For the animals, we packed the largest suitcase we own - and at first we could barely close it, for it contained pre-measured meals for all four of them, plus bowls, medicine (for all four), fluids kit (for the eldercat), cannibis oil treats for the canine nervous nellies, flea/tick preventatives, and five disposable litter boxes stacked together. And I guess now I know how to manage a good "bug-out bag" for the whole family, so there's that.

Eventually we arrived at a house I've named "Rockford Place" - a late mid-century modern with an angular seventies vibe and a massive fireplace surrounded by natural stone. There's also an enormous backyard that's mostly rocks and trees, terraformed into paths and a nice landing area.

Besides, I like James Garner. So yeah, it's called Rockford Place.

The house is really rather neat - lots of cool angles and funky architectural features (without going overboard, I mean.) But the bathrooms are an embarrassment, and when we got here, the kitchen was stocked with appliances that only halfway worked. We've decided to live with the bathrooms for now, but the kitchen...well. We scraped up the money to replace the appliances, which turned into a massive shit-show courtesy of but that's another story. Frankly, I'm so fed up with the experience that I'm not likely to relate it here. Suffice it to say, don't buy appliances from Home Depot's own employees (at a local store) told me the in-house joke is that online orders are "job security" because one way or another, they're fucked up literally 100% of the time.

Anyway, we do have working appliances now. Thank God.

We also have a new veterinarian, which is good because the eldercat ran out of fluids, Lucy came down with (what seemed like) a UTI, and Quinnie has had a couple bad bouts of diarrhea - one bad enough that I took her to the kitty ER. Still not sure what's wrong with her, but she's wrapping up another round of medication at present, and she seems to be 100% fine and dandy. Cats, man.

All four of the critters really seem to like the new house. The cats love the stairs, and the dogs love the yard - which is fenced all the way around to the front patio, so they can really get a good loop of "chase" going on. Both dog-fatties have even lost a little weight, which is good.

As a side note: If you're mostly following me (on any platform) because of the household animal population - or if you'd like to, going forward - you can catch me on Twitter or (more recently) Instagram. Twitter is sometimes LadyRage, but often pet pictures. Instagram is almost exclusively pet pictures. In case this matters.

Hm. What else?

I guess you might also be reading this because I write books. By way of What's Up Next, I can offer the following:
  • In December, a new installment in the Wild Cards franchise hits the streets - including a story from yours truly. The book is called Mississippi Roll, and my contribution is a somewhat wacky romp called "Death on the Water" that features my (now retired) Fort Freak cop Leo and his new wife, Wanda, on board a haunted riverboat. They share the stage with a trio of ghost hunters who, um, are entirely fictitious and not all mocking re: any given TV show that my husband and I might jokingly call "Brost hunters." Ahem.

  • Speaking of Wild Cards - I've just handed in a draft of my next piece, but I can't tell you about that yet. If all goes according to plan, it will be inserted into one of the old volumes, as part of a future re-release. But that's another year or two down the pike, I assume.

  • Production is finally getting underway on my next young adult project for Scholastic - a book called The Agony House. We don't have a pub date yet; things have been delayed on this one, largely because my original editor left the house for another job (which happens, such is life). But my new editor is on the case, and I should have more information on that for you before terribly long. The Agony House is not related to I Am Princess X, but it *does* feature a comic/illustrated element in a similar fashion. More details to come!

And that's all the writing news that's fit to type, for the moment. To be honest, writing updates are probably going to be few and far between for a bit, as I'm taking a little breathing room this year - breathing room that will give me time to get some work done on the house, and take on a day job, perhaps. I could use a steadier paycheck for a bit, and some room for my brain to cool off a bit.

I've been in fifth gear for the last few years, and I'm looking forward to just...doing production work on the Wild Cards projects, and The Agony House, and another adult horror project from Tor called The Toll (pub date TBD). So it's not like I'm quitting the industry and flouncing into darkness or anything. I'm just giving myself a break. Kind of.

More news as it develops.

Okay folks, that's all I can think of, at the moment - but I *will* try to update more regularly over here, now that we're more or less settled in. (We've been here about two months.) So as always, thanks for reading, and thanks for visiting this page. One way or another, I'll see you around...

(no subject)

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:08 pm
skygiants: Kozue from Revolutionary Girl Utena, in black rose gear, holding her sword (salute)
[personal profile] skygiants
I happened to see on Twitter that today was the 30th anniversary of The Princess Bride, which I guess makes it a good day to post about As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride.

This is Cary Elwes' memoir of the making of the film, a book I had vaguely meant to read for years, but did not actually get around to until our new roommate left his copy in the house this summer as a sort of placeholder before actually moving in. It's very charming! I'd sort of always had a vague sense that Cary Elwes must in some way resent being forever branded as The Man In Black, and I'm sure that at some points he has and does, but this write-up is probably the most overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic Hollywood making-of memoir I've ever read. It's clearly intended for people who love the film and want to go on loving it, without a complicated feeling in sight.

My favorite part was probably the enthusiastic things that Cary Elwes and everyone interviewed had to say about Robin Wright and her acting as Buttercup; they're all like "we sailed through on jokes! playing the straight man is the hardest role in the cast! ALSO SHE CAME FROM SOAP OPERAS, SOAP OPERAS ARE SO HARD, DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY LINES PER DAY --" I went in braced to feel vaguely defensive of Robin Wright and Buttercup, as I so often do, and instead I was charmed and endeared!

I also enjoyed accounts of:
- Mandy Patinkin turning up to the first rehearsal with six months of sword practice under his belt, much to Cary Elwes' dismay
- William Goldman freaking out about Rob Reiner setting the leading lady on fire
- Andre the Giant accidentally conking Cary Elwes out on set
- Cary Elwes carefully arranging himself on the grass in an elegant lounging position to hide that he'd broken an ankle joyriding in a golf card
- so much detailed description of sword training and fight choreography! *__* SO MUCH
lireavue: A red-haired woman in a black dress, playing violin while leaves swirl around her. (Default)
[personal profile] lireavue
*Heat wave through the midwest + letting C talk me into taking the window AC upstairs out for the season = insufficient sleep at shitty hours and more frequent migraines than I care to think about.

*Went to doc today for weird gag reflex/pill-swallowing issues. I feel like a cat who has abruptly gone NOPETOPUS DONE WITH THESE THINGS and started puking them back up on the rug five minutes later. SIGH, BODY. Also got my Rx for triptans started up again since this is now enough of a Thing that... yeah. Fucking bodies.

*Current vague birthday plans are gestures in the direction of "everyone shows up and laughs at me swearing at the loom until it works; also there is cake and food and booze." Still not sure who's in the area/able to become in the area over the right weekend though.

*STILL getting hammered sporadically in the PTSD-brain. Would like new brain. Failing that, would like less knowledge of why becoming an alcoholic is a really fucking bad idea. Failing THAT, would at least like the anhedonia to lift a little more.

*This weekend C goes out to LA to see his grandfather one last time, which you would think would be seriously stressful, and in some respects IS... but all I want right now is to be totally fucking unaccountable to anyone for where I go and what I eat and how I spend my time. So I'm super looking forward to it. There will be so much seafood, you guys. So much.

*Taking a lengthy hiatus from Twitter, despite every other thing fucking me up right now, is the best thing I've done for my mental health in an age. I get the Srsly Important shit, I get spoons back to actually *gasp* write my congresscritters (I KNOW WHAT A SHOCK), and I get people showing me cute shit on purpose. There was a goat and otter friendship thing today. Reader, I squeed.

(no subject)

Sep. 26th, 2017 03:00 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
Today I went through one complete magazine file of homes magazines, tore out the pages I want, and set the rest aside for someone who wants slightly torn three year old homes magazines.
I did not think there were such people, but I actually have two people who might want, so that's nice.

Then I put the torn out pages into a file with others of that sort, so I had an empty magazine file, which I filled with stuff from the front room shelves that I'm trying to empty.

I am trying to feel all accomplished at completing this small task, but, it very small.

Still, it is done now.

Tomorrow - or technically today part the second - it is Cleaner Day and I shall have many things to achieve just to make things stay roughly the same.

Life is frustrating like that.

But so it goes.

(no subject)

Sep. 25th, 2017 09:15 pm
ravena_kade: (Default)
[personal profile] ravena_kade
No news about anything at work. I spoke to John, the boss I like, about a workflow as I needed some direction and all he knows is that things are uncertain.

Headed to the shelter tonight another were some really nice dogs. They will all be easy to adopt out. 2 of them were found wandering The Blue Hills Reservation... who lets Yorkies out in the woods. The Vet thinks they were out there for a while as they were starving and matted. All they wanted was to snuggle... and treats.

Met a Bengal Cat that someone named Buddha... This cat yowled and hissed... and just wanted out. Buddha is the wrong name. He is a nice cat, but Bengals are very very very active cats and a 3 ft kennel is not where one of these is happy. Hope a Bengal lover finds him soon.

This week seems to dragon

Sep. 25th, 2017 09:08 pm
flemmings: (Default)
[personal profile] flemmings
Time was, air quality alerts started in May and went on at regular intervals through to October. We rarely get them these days, a result I assume of closing coal-fired plants. But we had one today and I could feel the familiar burn in the throat. Haven't missed it at all.

Heat gives me apocalypsosis, so between North Korea and the DoJ having finally noted my existence for jury purposes, I'm feeling end of world and out of cope. Come Thursday I shall probably be able to deal with both, but for now I would welcome the G&T I do not have. What's the point of counting calories if we're all going to die, I think; and the point, as ever, remains that *I* may not die, or not soon enough, and in the meantime I would like my mobility back. Sigh.

building affordable housing

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:39 pm
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
A longish article on cities (or a country) that have built their way to affordable housing, contrary to the claims of many market-allergic leftists.

Money-quote paragraph:

"Houston, for example, can be Cascadia’s model for how easy it ought to be to get permits to build homes—if we believed, as Houston does, that building homes is in itself a good thing, our permitting processes would encourage rather than discourage it through endless months of hoop-jumping and politicized reviews. Tokyo, meanwhile, reminds us that placing control over development at senior levels of government, and making development of urban property a right of its owner, helps to elevate the broad public interest in abundant housing choices over parochial opposition to change. (Leaders in California have recently succeeded in passing a raft of new laws to act upon this lesson.) Chicago teaches that a pro-housing political orientation can provide abundant housing even under conventional zoning in a deep blue city, while Montreal offers Cascadia a model of a cityscape no longer of single-family homes but of three-story rowhouses, walk-up apartments, and condominiums on quiet, tree-lined streets close to transit and neighborhood centers. Singapore’s lesson is the promise of erecting high-density, park-like “new towns” on underused city land. And Germany shows us that a future is possible where housing is no longer an investment vehicle but “a very durable consumption good that provides a stream of housing services, not a ticket to financial gain.”"

Relatedly, Vienna and Singapore as two examples of massive public housing:
Also useful if anyone tries to tout Singapore as a free-market miracle...

How Are You? (in Haiku)

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:36 pm
jjhunter: A sheep with shaded glasses and a straw hat lies on its side; overhead floats the pun 'on the lamb' (as in baby sheep). (on the lamb)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Pick a thing or two that sums up how you're doing today, this week, in general, and tell me about it in the 5-7-5 syllables of a haiku. I will leave anonymous comments screened unless otherwise asked; feel free to use this to leave private comments if that's what you're most comfortable with.


Signal-boosting much appreciated!

A Lexicographer’s Memoir.

Sep. 26th, 2017 12:31 am
[syndicated profile] languagehat_feed

Posted by languagehat

Adrienne Raphel reviews Kory Stamper’s Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries for the New Yorker; I’ll quote the start to give you an idea:

One morning in 2001, Kory Stamper, a lexicographer for Merriam-Webster, arrived at work and was given a single word: “take.” She set to work hunting down examples of where the verb form of the word had been used in the wild, from American Literary History to Us Weekly to Craigslist, and organizing these citations by part of speech and usage. Normally, editors will work on several words in a batch. But smaller, more common words are used so often and in so many different ways that a single one can be an incredible headache to revise. As Stamper explains in her recent book, “Word by Word: the Secret Life of Dictionaries,” such words “don’t just have semantically oozy uses that require careful definition, but semantically drippy uses as well. ‘Let’s do dinner’ and ‘let’s do laundry’ are identical syntactically but feature very different semantic meanings of ‘do.’ ” Lexicographers know that when they’ve been assigned a notorious small word—“do,” “run,” “about,” “take”––they’ve arrived.

This was the most ambitious and slippery project Stamper had taken on, and, at times, as she parsed the differences between “take first things first” and “take a shit,” she felt herself “slowly unspooling into idiocy.” It took two weeks to organize the verb form alone into a hundred and seven different senses and sub-senses; after a month, “take” was finally ready for the eleventh edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. In the world of words, however, spending a month perfecting an entry is nowhere near the extreme. At a conference in 2013, a lexicographer from the Oxford English Dictionary told Stamper that when he revised “run” it took him nine months. Dictionary editors trade word stories the way élite marathoners collect courses. For Emily Brewster, one of Stamper’s colleagues, a career highlight was discovering a previously unrecorded sense for the indefinite article “a”: “used as a function word before a proper noun to distinguish the condition of the referent from a usual, former, or hypothetical condition.” Stamper gives as an example, “With the Angels dispatched in short order, a rested Schilling, a career pitcher 6-1 in the postseason, could start three times if seven games were necessary against the Yankees”: “a rested Schilling” tells us that, in contrast to his current rested state, he is not usually rested, or he had not been rested previously, but now he is. Each lexicographer has stories like this: epiphanies that reflect the evolution of language.

Isn’t that fun? Sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks, Trevor!

jjhunter: Watercolor sketch of arranged diatoms as seen under microscope (diatomaceous tessellation)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Ed Yong @ the Atlantic: Even Jellyfish Sleep
Do jellyfish dream of gelatinous sheep?

Ephrat Livni @ Quartz: Octlantis is a just-discovered underwater city engineered by octopuses
Gloomy octopus males seem to spend a great deal of time chasing each other out of dens.

Ed Yong @ the Atlantic: Octopuses Do Something Really Strange to Their Genes
It’s impossible to say if their prolific use of RNA editing is responsible for their alien intellect, but “that would definitely be my guess”

Greta Keenan @ New Scientist: Fish recorded singing dawn chorus on reefs just like birds
Nocturnal predatory fish use calls to stay together to hunt, while fish that are active during the day use sound to defend their territory.


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On the DEWLine 2.0: Dwight Williams

September 2017

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