Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A $10 word, even if it isn't the longest English word


I very clearly remember this from the Word-a-day calendar my boyfriend in college had. This calendar taught us two very interesting words, the meanings of which I still remember.

The words were sesquipedalian and defenestration.

Sesquipedalian means "of or pertaining to a foot and a half," and defenestration means "throwing something out a window."

Of course, words can have more than one meaning. Sesquipedalian has come to mean "given to using long words" or even referring to long words themselves. If you look at the Latin parts you can see where my first definition above came from. Despite opinions to the contrary, sesquipedalian is not the longest word in the English language, though I did find a blog post describing it as a $10 word. Does that mean I can earn $10 by writing about it? This post should be worth $20.

Sesquipedalian came up in a little vocabulary game called Match Up that I have as a widget on my iGoogle page. They give you 2 groups of 5 words and you have to match the synonyms. Each day, a new set of 5 pairs. A computer obviously picks them, because it's pretty obvious, even if you don't know what it means, that sesquipedalian and sesquipedalia have to be synonyms.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why Grannies Like Linux

New little mini-notebook PCs like the Asus Eee PC are popping up all over. And other budget-priced computers are being sold that cost less because they run some version of Linux, not Windows. And it's not just young people or geeks who are buying them. Grandmothers, apparently, are finding out that they love Linux.

So, I was thinking. My grandmothers are both in heaven now. I remember I was at my grandmother's house the day Windows 95 came out. I had been on vacation and hadn't realized what day it was, but the little podunk newspaper that they publish in this out-of-the-way corner of Indiana had a big ad for Windows 95. My grandmother asked what it was. I wasn't able to explain it to her -- but this was back when home computers weren't as common as they are now.

My children's grandfather has email, and his wife has a separate email address. They know how to use the computer, as do most grandparents nowadays. I'm pretty sure they know what Windows is. Whether they know what Linux is, that's another question.

Some people just want a computer to work. They want it to be able to run programs they can use to do email, surf the web, look at photos, watch videos, play music, write a simple document. They don't care what program it is, as long as it works and they can figure out how to use it easily.

So grandmothers like Linux if it's configured so it's easy to use, as it is on these computers. And the lower cost, saving the licensing fees that are associated with Windows machines, is a big plus to anyone who watches their pennies or just doesn't want to pay a high price for a computer.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I got tired of the way this blog looked, so I redecorated. This is one of the basic themes that comes with Blogger, except I made my own header. I like this much better than the old one, which didn't quite turn out the way I'd envisioned it.

I love creating visual stuff. It's nice to take a break from writing all day and do some visual art instead.

This picture (in the header) reminds me a bit of my Mom. She worked as a secretary to a bank president before she had kids, and I'm sure she typed on a typewriter like this one and I know she had hair like that, only more of a reddish shade (she always called it "strawberry blonde").

This is one of the first things I've made using The Gimp. It wasn't hard at all, mostly. Now if I can just learn how to do vector drawing in it, I'll be all set. In my spare time.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I thought I'd create some artwork to decorate my blog.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Book Review -- The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I enjoyed this book very much, so I wanted to recommend it to anyone who might happen along and read my blog.

I found this book hard to get into, knowing nothing about it beforehand, and it's a rather long book, so I'll give you a bit of a clue about how it starts. We meet several characters in a tavern. They are locals, and though the book has a nice map of the story's imaginary world in the front, we don't see the name of this little community on the map anywhere. Several chapters pass and some mysterious stuff happens and it's clear that one of our characters has a mysterious past.

I was getting ready to give up on it when the point of all of this beginning stuff became clear: a new character (the Chronicler) enters who is sort of a journalist, if they have journalists in this made-up land. He's been searching for a famous person who apparently did a bunch of heroic deeds and then vanished from the known world, and no one knows whether he's dead or alive. Turns out, he's our mysterious character and he agrees to tell his story to this Chronicler. Most of the rest of the book is the first part of his story, told in first person, and we'll have to wait for the other books for the rest. There are hints that the future tales will, at some point, have some bearing on "present" time events, because every so often they take a break from the telling and recording of the tale, and we see what's happening in present time in the immediate vicinity of the tavern whose location we are still in the dark about (the map does show locations mentioned in the hero's narrative, however). It's obvious the hero will be needed to save the world again, or at least part of the world, in the near future. In addition, even more mysteries present themselves and we find we have more than one mysterious character on our hands.

By page 100 I was hooked. It's the kind of book where you think about the characters when you're not reading it, and after you finish you want to know what happens next. The author does a great job creating an imaginary world and an even better job creating characters. I truly can't wait till the next book comes out (April 7, 2009).

Friday, July 4, 2008

"Brick" is a verb

Really. Check it out.

I first heard this term in reference to the iPhone. It can be a noun ("My iPhone is a brick.") or a verb ("That software bricked my phone.")

It means to make it unusable, not on purpose. So, it might as well be a brick. At least, I guess that's the idea.

Come back again in 20 years, you won't understand half of what people are saying, our language is changing so fast lately.

Links to Writing Samples

Here are links to some of my writing that's on the web:


Associated Content


I have to recommend this wonderful Firefox add-on: Notefish.

It is great for research. Say you are researching a topic, and you come across a paragraph that has a definition or other information you want to save. But it's buried in a whole long page of material. How will you find it again?

Notefish lets you set up separate, private pages (though you can share them -- but they're not just open to the public) where you can save snippets of web pages.

You have to do 2 things:
  • Register for Notefish
  • Download and install the Firefox add-on. Actually, once you've downloaded it, it will prompt you to register, I think.
Then, if you highlight something on a web page, you can right-click on it and copy the snippet to the Notefish page you choose. You can have as many Notefish pages as you want, there doesn't seem to be a limit.