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What Else is LJ For?

It's late, I've run up the white flag of no-more-homework-can-be-done for the evening, and I'm feeling pretty brain-dead.

So, what better thing to do than take quizzes glomped from other folks' LJs? says I'm a Highly Dorky High Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

Also, I took that "What Book are You?" 6-question quiz a while ago, and I got "the dictionary." Excitin', aren't I?

Words That SHOULD Exist

Lovecraft's Disease: "A syndrome, in which the sufferer prefers their sleeping dream-state to the waking real world. Characterized by prolonged periods of sleep, long after the ringing of an alarm clock, and a waking fascination with the bizarre landscapes, characters, and events encountered during dreaming sleep."

Anyone else have Lovecraft's disease? Occasionally, if not constantly? I sure do.
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Words from Winchester's The Professor and the Madman

From the entire book, read for Western Civ. class.

Winchester, Simon. The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. New York: HarperCollins, 2005.

Drumhead: "Performed speedily and without formality."

"The court martial had been assembled all too quickly and, as with all drumhead justice, the sentence was handed down in a brutally short time..." (61)

Tocsin: "1. a. An alarm sounded on a bell. b. A bell used to sound an alarm. 2. A warning; an omen."

"...although, adding what might later be interpreted as a tocsin note, remarked that his moral character was 'unexceptional.'" (67)

Brevet: "A commission promoting a military officer in rank without an increase in pay."

"By the end of the year, though still nominally a lieutenant, he was breveted with the rank of captain as reward for his services." (67)

Postlapsarian: "Of, relating to, or characteristic of the time or state after the fall of humankind described in the Bible."

"Ceylon is in reality a kind of postlapsarian treasure island..." (44)

Louche: "Of questionable taste or morality; decadent."

"In Victorian London, even in a place as louche and notoriously crime-ridden as Lambeth Marsh, the sound of gunshots was a rare event indeed." (2)

Gyre: "1. A circular or spiral form; a vortex. 2. A circular or spiral motion, especially a circular ocean current."

"...a swampy gyre of pathways..." (6)

Wen: "A harmless cyst, especially on the scalp or face, containing the fatty secretion of a sebaceous gland." (Is this the only meaning?)

"...meaning that the relatively strict laws that applied to the capital's citizens did not apply to anyone who the wen of Lambeth." (7)

Hugger-mugger: "1. Disorderly; jumbled. 2. Secret; clandestine."

"...a rough-hewn, rollicking, hugger-mugger, devil-may-care, peculiarly London type of good cheer." (9)

Lubricious: "1. Having a slippery or smooth quality. 2. Shifty or tricky. 3. a. Lewd; wanton. b. Sexually stimulating; salacious."

"He hinted that he had come to this lubricious quarter of town for reasons other than the simply monetary..." (13)

Buggers' Grips: "Long sideburns or a handlebar moustache." (My favorite term in the book. But is there a more specific definition?)

"But what was most obviously similar about the men were their beards -- in both cases white, long, and nicely swallow-tailed -- with thick moustaches, sideburns, and ample buggers' grips." (177)

Quire: "1. Abbr. qr. or q. A set of 24 or sometimes 25 sheets of paper of the same size and stock; one twentieth of a ream. 2. A collection of leaves of parchment or paper, folded one within the other, in a manuscript or book."

"He folded the paper into a quire, a booklet eight pages thick." (139)

Fascicle: "1. A small bundle. 2. One of the parts of a book published in separate sections. Also called fascicule. 3. Botany A bundle or cluster of stems, flowers, or leaves."

"It was a word that was due to be included in the dictionary's second fascicle, or part, being readied to be printed and published in the later summer of 1885." (144)

Scutcher: Noun from the verb "scutch": "To separate the valuable fibers of (flax, for example) from the woody parts by beating."

" a flax plant might stand when divided for the scutcher." (155)

Turbot: "1. A European flatfish, Scophthalmus maximus, that has a brown knobby upper side and is prized as food. 2. Any of various flatfishes similar or related to this fish."

"...turbot with lobster sauce..." (164)

Endogenous: "1. Produced or growing from within. 2. Originating or produced within an organism, tissue, or cell."

"...dementia praecox was a so-called endogenous ailment, quite lacking in any identifiable external cause." (210)

Argot: "A specialized vocabulary or set of idioms used by a particular group."

"...with the inclusion of the Old Kentish word 'zyxt' -- the second indicative present tense, in local argot, of the verb 'to see' -- the work was done, the alphabet was exhausted, and the full text was now wholly in the printers' hands." (219)

Scull: "1. A long oar used at the stern of a boat and moved from side to side to propel the boat forward. 2. One of a pair of short-handled oars used by a single rower. 3. A small light racing boat for one, two, or four rowers, each using a pair of sculls. 4. To propel (a boat) with a scull or a pair of sculls."

"He was a keen athlete, obsessed by sculling..." (38)

Swingeing: From the verb "swinge": "To punish with blows; thrash; beat."

The lord chief justice then applied the only sentence that was available to him -- a sentence still passed occasionally today, and that has a beguiling charm to its language, despite the swingeing awfulness of its connotations." (20)

Ligature: "1. The act of tying or binding. 2. a. A cord, wire, or bandage used for tying or binding. b. A thread, wire, or cord used in surgery to close vessels or tie off ducts. c. Something that unites; a bond."

"He tied a thin cord tightly around the base of his member to act as a ligature..." (193)

Amanuensis: "One who is employed to take dictation or to copy manuscript."

He took rooms off Fleet Street, hired six serving amaneunses, and settled down to the six years of unremitting drudgery that were to prove necessary." (94)

Rebato: "A stiff flaring collar wired to stand up at the back of the head, worn by men and women in the 16th and early 17th century."

"...its rebatos and doublets..." (85)

Encomium: "1. Warm, glowing praise. 2. A formal expression of praise; a tribute."

"Throughout it all, under the rains of slings, arrows, plaudits, and encomiums, Samuel Johnson remained calmly modest." (98)

Manque: "Unfulfilled or frustrated in the realization of one's ambitions or capabilities."

" idea that would eventually permit the involvement in the project of one scholarly but troubled lexicographer manque..." (107)

Rebarbative: "Tending to irritate; repellent."

"This time, and for the first time, the usually rebarbative Doctor Brayn offered some grounds for hope..." (195)

Alopecia: "Loss of hair; baldness."

"...he had lost his teeth and had alopecia." (208)

Nostalgie de la Boue: French, "Yearning for the mud."

"If the beguiling eroticisms of Ceylon, his tragic family circumstances, his obsessive cravings for whores, his nostalgie de la boue..." (72)

Recondite: "1. Not easily understood; abstruse. 2. Concerned with or treating something abstruse or obscure. 3. Concealed; hidden."

"...single-mindedly devoted to learning of the most recondite kind..." (157)

Retrorse: "Directed or turned backward or downward."

"An attack by the renowned Brazilian fishlet known as candiru, which likes to swim up a man's urine stream and lodge in the urethra with a ring of retrorse spines preventing its removal..." (192)

Words from Engels' The Condition of the Working Class in England

From excerpts read for Western Civ. class.

Engels, Friedrich. The Condition of the Working Class in England. New York: Penguin, 1987.

Monad: "1. Philosophy An indivisible, impenetrable unit of substance viewed as the basic constituent element of physical reality in the metaphysics of Leibnitz. 2. Biology A single-celled microorganism, especially a flagellate protozoan of the genus Monas. 3. Chemistry An atom or a radical with valence 1."

"The dissolution of mankind into monads, of which each one has a separate essence, and a separate purpose, the world of atoms, is here carried out to its utmost extreme." (69)

And, I always thought a charwoman made charcoal. Looks like I was wrong:

Charwoman: "A woman hired to do cleaning or similar work, usually in a large building."

Char: "To work as a charwoman."

"The mother earned a little by charring." (74)

Vitiate: "1. To reduce the value or impair the quality of. 2. To corrupt morally; debase. 3. To make ineffective; invalidate."

"As though the vitiated atmosphere of the streets were not enough, they are penned in dozens into single rooms..." (129)

Words from Virginia Woolf's Orlando

New words encountered while reading Woolf's Orlando:

Dissemblable: A French word for "dissimilar," here used as a noun:

"What a phantasmagoria the mind is and meeting-place of dissemblables!" (86)

Marl: "A crumbly mixture of clays, calcium and magnesium carbonates, and remnants of shells that is sometimes found under desert sands and used as fertilizer for lime-deficient soils" - here used to mean 'hot earth?':

"It is marl we tread and fiery cobbles scorch our feet." (100)

Sciatica: "Pain along the sciatic nerve usually caused by a herniated disk of the lumbar region of the spine and radiating to the buttocks and to the back of the thigh."

"...and held itself very upright, though perhaps in pain from sciatica" (9)

Crepuscular: "Of or like twilight; dim."

"Of our crepuscular half-lights and lingering twilights they knew nothing." (12)

Assiduity: "1. Persistent application or diligence; unflagging effort. 2. Constant personal attention and often obsequious solicitude. Often used in the plural."

"...who, by sheer assiduity and the use of her eyes had worked her way up at court" (14)

Orgulous: Proud, haughty.

"...for there was an orgulous credulity about him which was pleasant enough" (22)

Sennight: A week.

"...fixed though it was for this day sennight" (23)

Junket: "1. To hold a party or banquet. 2. To go on a junket. 3. To fete at a party or banquet."

"The rest of the time was spent in carousings and junketings in taverns and in beer gardens" (44)

Teg: "A sheep in its second year or before its first shearing."

"That he did not know...a teg from a ewe" (44)

Diuturnity: "Long duration, lastingness."

"...brevity and diuturnity..." (48)

Peroration: Noun from the verb "perorate" - "1. To conclude a speech with a formal recapitulation. 2. To speak at great length, often in a grandiloquent manner; declaim."

"...but when it came to the peroration -- and what is eloquence that lacks a peroration? -- he fumbled." (52)

Janissary: "1. A member of a group of elite, highly loyal supporters. 2. A soldier in an elite Turkish guard organized in the 14th century and abolished in 1826."

"...preceded by purple Janissaries running on foot..." (59)

Negus: "A beverage of wine, hot water, lemon juice, sugar, and nutmeg."

"...fountains of negus..." (62)

Bastinado: "1. A beating with a stick or cudgel, especially on the soles of the feet. 2. A stick or cudgel."

"...and put every foreigner they could find, either to the sword or to the bastinado." (65)

Tarn: "A small mountain lake, especially one formed by glaciers."

"She found the tarn on the mountain-top and almost threw herself in to seek the wisdom she thought lay hid there..." (70)

Withys: "1. A rope or band made of withes. 2. a. A long flexible twig, as that of an osier. b. A tree or shrub having such twigs."

"They broke their withys..." (71)

Collocation: "An arrangement or juxtaposition of words or other elements, especially those that commonly co-occur, as rancid butter, bosom buddy, or dead serious."

"...some random collocation of barns and trees or a haystack and a waggon presents us with so perfect a symbol of what is unattainable that we begin the search again." (106)

Probity: "Complete and confirmed integrity; uprightness."

"For the probity of breeches she exchanged the seductiveness of petticoats..." (108)

Caracole: "A half turn to right or left performed by a horse and rider," or, as a verb, performing such a movement.

"...the pen began to curve and caracole with the smoothest possible fluency." (117)
duck, prague

Japanese Success! Yatta?

I just got through reading my first complete manga story in Japanese. Granted, it was a 50-page Ribon one-shot (Ribon's a Japanese magazine for, uh, gradeschoolers, for those who might not know), so that's not a grand accomplishment -- and I needed my dictionary right by me the whole time -- but...

I actually plugged through a whole thingie! And it made sense! And I really didn't have to look too much up!

It's really satisfying, to be able to make sense of another language. If there's anything I pursue just for fun, it's this -- my Japanese. Because it's learning to read and understand all over again, breaking a code into another culture and history's way of communicating. Makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something, somehow.

So, the story was called Hug, it was by Fujiwara Yuka, and it involved a girl falling in love with a guy because he looks and acts exactly like her dog (he even has the same name as her dog -- Kojirou). High quality lit, eh? But! I read it!
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We Meet Again, El LJ...

Erm, I have no good reason for posting, or any substance. Just, I found a warning label telling me not to put small children in tupperware boxes. It gotz iconed. 'Cause, got to spread the word, ya know. Against boxing babies.

Aside from that, it is summer, I waste too much time on the Interwebby, and that is all.
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TMNT: Chill Out, Dudes! (Or, In Which I Review the New Film)

I remember the action figures, hordes of plastic Turtles and their enemies and allies, strewn across my basement; I remember writing stories about meeting the Turtles in their sewer hideout; I remember faux ninja fights with my siblings, each of us picking our favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle to “be.”

I remember my mother forbidding us to watch the cartoon because it was “too violent.”

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Synetic Theater Rocks!

Because Synetic Theater is the one theater company I lurv to little-bitty cinematic, fantastical-story-based bits, I must post this link to the YouTube video the company just put up:

This is their wordless Macbeth. The music in the clip's part of the production's original score. They've done Dracula, Frankenstein, Faust, The Dybbuk... Now they're doing Animal Farm. Any other theater company, I wouldn't have any faith that could be done and have serious impact -- but Synetic, hell, I'm going to be right in line to buy me a ticket.

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming...

Fleming, Ian. Casino Royale. Penguin Books.

So, I see Casino Royale, the 2006 film with Daniel Craig as the "new Bond." And I love it. Bond as a human being, fallible, woundable, making the transition from man to myth, becoming a chilly, slick killer not out of blind patriotism and cold-heartedness but out of personal pain.

I want more. There being only one Daniel Craig Bond film yet to enjoy (and I look forward to more), I turn to the source. The original novel, the first ever appearance of James Bond, Ian Fleming's Casino Royale.

It's a slim little novel, clocking in at just over 200 pages. A woman in a black dress poses on the cover, diamonds at her bosom, cards cascading behind her.

Looks about right.

I dive in. The pages fly past -- easy reading, full of quick, sharp visual images. Fleming lets me into his characters' minds but only in brief spurts; the narrative's dominated by terse word-pictures, descriptions of the private gambling rooms at the Casino Royale, dinners at the hotel Splendide, quick expressions, decisive actions. I never know if the next paragraph will be a quick insight into the woman across the table's thoughts or a French-dotted review of the dinner she's eating, the fine wine she's drinking. I'd need a handful of guidebooks to track down all the cars and cigarettes that are named for me.

The atmosphere's thick, painted for me precisely, no dilly-dallying around. No updated 21st-century setting here -- the world's just out of WWII; the Cold War's setting in; its Democracy vs. Communism; the villains are French, Russian, Eastern European -- not English or American. There're the Reds and the...not-Reds. The good guys. All very cut-and-dried, right?

Bond thinks so. At first. Now, this isn't a Bond convinced of his own invincibility -- a brush with death early in the novel leaves him close to vomiting and glad to retire to his hotel room for the rest of the day. He's a practical man, aware of his own limitations and mortality. But still confident, egotistical, sure of himself. Vesper comes sliding into the picture (yes, she's in the book, as well -- the basics of the film plot largely adhere to those of the novel), and Bond wants to work with her and then sleep with her. Again, cut-and-dried.

But then Bond comes to a crisis. Not only is his life suddenly at stake -- but so is his identity, his manliness, his sexuality, his convictions. If you've seen the film, you know what brings on this crisis (and, yes, it's just as frank in the text, if not more so; Fleming doesn't fool around -- he even brings in a carpet beater); and you can guess how it ends -- how it has to end.

Yet Fleming paints the crisis so much more vividly on the page than the film does on screen. He allows Bond the space to speak; to argue through his sudden doubts and fears; to put them in struggling words for us, voyeurs watching him in his helplessness, and for his compatriots. He allows Bond to try his best to explain himself, with the hesitancy of a near-innocent, of someone touching on dark, disabling thoughts for the first time.

As in the film, Bond becomes human. For only the briefest snatch of time, before the world Bond lives in -- the high-powered, politically-tense, hunter's world -- creeps back through his bedroom door and steals his humanity forever.

The novel ends with the brutal, sudden force of tragedy.

Where they might have been James, Jim, a man identified by a name, there is now only Bond. 007. A number that kills and will kill again.