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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Barium Cobalt Einstein Koolaid!

Obviously I haven't kept up with my one-word-a-day goal at all, so I'm changing the rule to this: I'll post a new word whenever I feel like it and only if I have the time. Hooyah! It's great to be an author! So liberating!

     At least I have a good excuse: I finished a book. Yes, my newest YA is at this very moment with my superhero beta readers. (That's right, I have superheroes for beta readers! Which means they're even more noble and awesome. They have to literally stop fighting crime to read my book.) My latest joint (the usage= Spike Lee as opposed to Jimmy Buffet concert attendee) is a story about two teens who start a text game that goes viral and unleashes all kinds of ugly. As I was writing it, the AlexfromTarget saga hit the Web and made me feel like I was controlling the world. Seriously, I almost had a breakdown, because the story is a little similar to what happened to that kid. It definitely poses the same kinds of questions regarding Internet ethics.

     Don't tell my CP's, but I've actually begun my blitzkrieg querying. In anticipation of, you know, not hearing anything for months. If ever.

   I'm fortunate to have a way to weasel out of my epic fail on the blog plan, though. In one of my fave Disney movies, Meet the Robinsons (Reminds me of a Frank Capra film in animated form), a science fair judge is all strung out on a caffeine patch she's invented. She drifts off to sleep for a brief moment (because she's been kept awake for 8 days straight, thanks to the patch) and when she startles awake, she rattles off a series of words. You guessed it: Barium, Cobalt Einstein, Koolaid. In the spirit of this scene, I planned to count back the days I missed and ramble off a series of words, one to correspond to each day. Then I realized I'm too lazy and there are too many days (far more than when I first came up with the idea)! So the caffeine-junkie scientist's words are going to have to do.
Or I could use blitzkrieg....because it's super cool before query, right?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Today I'm playing catch-up. I found the word in the title of my blog within this Youtube video. In it, Californians taste-test some Michigan foods, including Faygo soda, coney island hot dogs and beef pasties. The last thing they sample is something called a pannukakku. At first, I was a bit confused. I'm Michigander through-and-through, and I'd never heard of a pannukakku. Turns out it's a Scandinavian version of a pancake. The pannukakku certainly garnered the best reaction from the Californians. It made me want to run right out and get one, since it's apparently oozing deliciousness. The problem is, I didn't know where to run in order to obtain this elusive pastry. I did, however, have suspicions.

I scrolled through the comments below the post. There was no need to go very far. Others had posted rants similar to what I myself was thinking. We've been here all our lives, scarfing down Sanders hot fudge and Better Made potato chips. What the heck is a pannukakku? What's it doing among the Michigan standards? I wasn't alone in not being able to wrap my mind around the spongy body of the thing being devoured aggressively onscreen.

The answer became clear about three seconds before I reached the post explaining exactly why I'd never heard of a pannukakku (Like I said, I had my suspicions). Michigan has two parts (duh) the mitten and the amorphous blob we affectionately call the UP. The pannukakku hails from the upper peninsula! Sorry, guys, eh! It's not like I forgot about you, eh. It's just--well, how's the air up there? (Okay, I did forget about you, but it's only because you don't appear when I put out my hand to give directions.) 

What people from other states don't get is that the northern part of Michigan is pretty far removed from the lower half. Those guys are actually more akin to Wisconsin. Think of it this way: after watching five seasons of Breaking Bad in one week, I feel closer to the inhabitants of Albuquerque, New Mexico, than I do the UP-ers. You have to have a certain mindset to live in a place that isolated, and that mindset is as foreign to me as that exhibited in The Wolf of Wall Street. In short, I had no clue they were eating Finnish pancakes for breakfast.

Not that Californians would understand living in a gargantuan state where northern inhabitants have vastly different lifestyles than south-dwellers. Nah. Their experiences are completely unique.

Anyway, pannukakku is my new favorite word. No idea how to pronounce it. As for today's favorite word, it's muse. I'm off to sweet-talk mine.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fruition and Thunder

What's the best thing about the Polar Vortex? Thunder snow.
These two are irresistible. First there's the exact moment that an idea or plan comes into being. (While everyone knows the best part of any project or idea is the seemingly endless journey leading up to its fruition, there is still something to be said for the actual realization.) Bonus points for including a major food group. I always thought Fruition would make a good name for a smoothie stand. Quick! Someone start a smoothie stand.

The word thunder evokes the same thrill that hearing actual thunder does. I love storms, but I know better than to chase them; I prefer them to come to me. The ideal situation would be watching from my window, secure in the knowledge that everyone I know and love is safe and sound inside their own homes. Today in church, the reading included a passage that used thunder as a verb, which is an awesome tactic of description. ("God's voice thundered...") I knew immediately which word I'd have to include in the blog. Divine intervention perhaps?

     In any case, fruition and thunder are my weekend words.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Behoove and Facade

So I forgot to post this yesterday, but I did conjure a word in honor of all the high school teachers I had who made various attempts to spice things up when they were up in front of their classes making mouth motions. "It would behoove you to study for this final," they'd say, dragging out the operative word with relish. (It's a good word to drag out. G'head. Do it. I'll wait.) Most of us sat dead-eyed through behoooooves and the advice it preambled, but some, me included, thought hey that's a silly-sounding word, but kinda cool and attention-grabbing. Those that did perk up over the long o followed by a v that could make even the most chapped bottom lip tingle might've filed behoove away for future use. Maybe in an arena where it was accepted and in fact encouraged to attract attention. (Not high school or jail, in other words, but everywhere else.)
     Behoove, then, for yesterday, when all my troubles seemed so far away. It occurred to me that it's a bit tedious to have 365 blog titles all in a little criminal line-up on one's blog. Then again, it might be cool. Hmm. I could always tweak the concept. At least at the end of this year I'll be able to scroll back through my favorite words on that dreary holiday known as NYE and render tangible the things I love best in the world (besides my kids). I won't have to invite everyone over to a faux New Year's Party and give a depressing tour of the piles of papers and computer files that truly represent my Year in Words. That vein of New Year's Eve Party usually ends with a flash-drive bonfire.

On to multi-tasking (which is a word that will never grace a post, since I detest it). Friday marks my continued participation in the Celebrate Small Things blog hop hosted by Vik Lit (Scribblings of an Aspiring Author) and co-hosted by a bunch of people I have to check to make sure are still co-hosting in the New Year.
     Good thing I checked! The new host is Lexa Cain. I'm thankful she took over and also for Vik Lit's coming up with this hop in the first place (it's one of my faves) and, of course, for the great job she did hosting. You should join us by visiting Lexa and getting on the list below.

     Today I'm thankful for the word facade. Mysterious and beautiful with its soft c and French roots, facade packs an ironic punch when you discover its meaning because it doesn't come across as sinister at first look (which means the word itself is functioning under the guise of a facade). Bonus points for being easily applied to people, houses, cars and other stuff. Pack facade into your Santa bag of nouns. (It's shoved under the bed next to the bag of adjectives that got ravaged by that bear while camping. Next time tie that thing up in a tree.)


Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I kinda sorta knew what it meant before Googling it, even though it has been years and years since I've read the novel that made the word famous. (I still Googled just to make sure I wouldn't make an ass of myself by claiming it meant something it didn't.) Wuthering (onomatopoeia much?) means a blustery wind of the sort that might blow across the same Yorkshire moors notorious for obsessing a whole household of literary women who in all truth possessed rather ghoulish imaginations.
     Now that I think about it, I've learned most of my favorite words from books. While in this case the word is virtually synonymous with the book (I've never heard wuthering used in casual conversation) I usually get a vague sense of meaning while I'm reading and confirm the definition later, finding my intuition to be spot on. Even though the author comes out and tells readers what wuthering means (on page two), we would've figured it out by context if given half the chance.
     That's what people did before Google, by the way. Information recall is way better that way, which explains why modern people have such horrible retention. Back in the day, we deciphered new words by piecing together patterns of usage, thus establishing new pathways for neurotransmitters. (You'll notice these have become rusty as of late with apps that pop up definitions without anyone having to do any work.) I'd argue that when you make out definitions yourself by reading sentences that include the unfamiliar word tossed in among more common ones, you're more likely to use the word correctly in the future. Anyway, back then the lame people looked up words in dictionaries, which was kind of like Google, but required more effort. The true bottom dwellers often asked their parents, who said, "How the hell should I know what that means? Stop reading those useless books and go get a freaking job at J.C. Penney's so I don't have to feed and clothe you until I'm eighty."
    I enjoyed Wuthering Heights, thanks to the beautiful language, lush landscape descriptions and the thrill of subjecting myself to the atmospheric equivalent of a literary pressure cooker. I hated the love triangle, probably because I'm a firm believer that if you love a man (or a woman), you should tell him so and arrange to be around him often, like with marriage or--you know--something else. Otherwise, you're pretty much guaranteed to be miserable. Those two set themselves up to be utter train wrecks, and I have very little sympathy for them. They're worse than a reality show, really and anyone who gets any enjoyment out of seeing their ultimate ruin (sorry for giving away the end) should be ashamed of themselves. Yet people do.
     You might think I'm being a jerk about it, but Catherine and Heathcliff tainted love for me (not in the Soft Cell way), and that's not cool.
     For a fleeting time when I was young, I envied Catherine and Heathcliff their dysfunctional brand of "love", which in all honesty parallels a drug addicition. I thought it was romantic to pine away after someone unattainable. To welcome death so I could haunt my true love till the end of time. Luckily I came to my senses before I could do too much damage to my life, or else I, too, would be creeping along the moors, clutching my wrap about my shoulders, listening to wuthering coming at me from all corners. (Are there corners on the moors? I'm thinking not, unless they've since come up with something like that eight corner pizza available at Jetts.)
     The tenant is the best catch, IMHO. I totally dig him--although I can't recall his name. (Lockwood, that's it! Checked again!) Arguably the best listener of all times, he's the one who gets my vote of sympathy. Imagine bumbling into that tinderbox of emotion. Horrible luck. If I were him, I would've immediately moved elsewhere. No doubt about it. One of the best things about Wuthering Heights is the first word of the title. I'm off to wuther about.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Okay, so it's day two and I'm still going strong. Today's chosen word is Goodbye. Most people don't like goodbyes, but I don't mind them. I've found that they are rarely final. Bonus points for this thrilling aspect: when they are actual goodbyes, you rarely know about it in the moment. That gives life the element of surprise. Since goodbyes mark many a pivotal milestone along our respective journeys, they can't be all bad. (Come to think of it, pivotal's not a bad word, either. Future blog post? Time will tell.)
     Goodbye is actually a contraction, but don't hold that against it. It's a merging of the phrase God be with ye, which actually makes it more on par with its French and Spanish counterparts. How nice of us to compact the various phrases other languages use to cover all types of farewell scenarios into one tidy package. If that's not efficiency, I don't know what is. And English usually gets a bad rap in this regard. Back in the day, goodbye meant, not I'll never set eyes on you again (How do I know this? Because if it did, the modern word would be Illnersetsonugin. Duh.) but: "stay safe, god willing, until we meet again."
     So the goodbye I'm thinking of smacks of both protection spell and text. Yes, text. I mean, why would a culture merge words unless they were too busy to articulate them? The same culture was too manic to waste time on hunkering down to their books to make sure all the appropriate words were represented, which means the spellings handed down are give or take a few letters. Sound familiar? You could say 'bye was the precursor of the hacked attempts at wordings we relay through a vast range of electronic devices in this day and age. And to think it can be traced all the way back to the 1560's (roughly).
No doubt about it. Goodbye is my word BAE today.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year. New Blog.

I don't usually bother making New Year's resolutions, but this year I made tons (most of which I've already botched). Let's see, there was the resolution to quit biting my nails. That one was history by, like, 12:05. There was the one to stop swearing. That was going well until I watched The Wolf of Wall Street and allowed moral degeneration to seep through me like chemo. I was kind of hoping the huge financial success would rub off on me as well, but I can see now that was wishful thinking. Sell me a pen. You're right. No one uses pens anymore. It would be hard to sell even the Percy Jackson pen, which--if you don't know--turns into a full-size sword. So much for that.
The resolution of losing weight is still up in the air. I mean, the year is young, but it doesn't bode well that I had a piece of coconut cream pie for breakfast and another for lunch. Plus, I put off exercising in favor of watching two seasons of Breaking Bad on Netflix.
     Looks like I should've kept with my tradition of not making any resolutions. There's still hope, though. (Isn't there always?) My last resolution is to keep up with this blog. I plan to stay on track, for once, by revamping the word count. From now on it'll be....a whopping one. Yep, that's my target. One word. The catch is I will update every day. I splurged a little on words today not only because the decadence of the holiday is still lingering, but also because it would look pretty odd to see just one word on the blog with no lead-in or explanation. So, there you have it, fellow bloggers. You are my only hope of finally making good on a resolution. (See how I've unloaded the burden onto you? That's so like me. The old me. The me that will change when I've kept this promise made on New Year's Eve.)
     My favorite word today is carousel. I love this word so much, I'd like to have and hold it. I love its origins and how it looks as if I've spelled it wrong when I haven't. Plus I cherish pretty much every song that includes an allusion to a carousel in either words or concept. (That one by Joni Mitchell, for instance,or Jacques Brel's. Those two spring immediately to mind.) I love that I learned a little more about this word while watching Pawn Stars. (Where else but in America, huh?)
It's one of those savory words that make us hope that language won't die out entirely, even though the predictions are pretty clear and grim.
Are there any words you're particularly liking today? If so, please share. Whatever you do, don't steal mine.