08 July 2013

by Cecily
I'm in London. It's pretty nice here! The weather is beautiful and all the British people are in good moods because their team won the Super Bowl for tennis.

I'm here for the next instalment of this conference, which happens every three years, in a new and exciting place each time. I got here early (the conference starts Wednesday) to hang out in the living room and drink beer with all my favorite Brits and associated hangers-on. Which is going really well so far, well done me. Later today I will probably go look at something historical or buy some snow globes or something, to fulfil my tourism obligations. Then back to work/beer.

01 June 2013


by Cecily
I've been reading a lot of historical fiction (of varying degrees of historicity, but whatever) lately. All based in English-speaking places, but other than that without a real pattern: Reformation London, Civil War New York;  Old West Kansas; Tudor England; Jacobite Scotland; Revolutionary War Maryland; Gold Rush Australia. I just this week noticed I was doing it. Normally (previously?) I prefer my history to be actual-factual and my fiction to be all modern and hip.

Anyway one of the things I keep putting books down for is to look up information about dialects and vocabulary, particularly the parts related to profanity, to see if I can figure out whether the author is doing a good job or not. (So far, they mostly seem to be, at least as much as I can tell.)

My favorite is Pretend Ned Kelly, who kind of has a potty mouth but never actually swears. There are lots of b----rs and c--ts and effing and ess and also, the best, adjectival. As in
She cried I would kill the b-----ds if I were a man God help me. She used many rough expressions I will not write them here. It were eff this and ess that and she would blow their adjectival brains out.
I'm very charmed by this use of adjectival*, even though I can't quite figure out what its position on the euphemism/metonym/expletive scale is.  Did Australians in the olden days actually say "adjectival" out loud? Does adjectival stand in for a particular adjective, or could it be one of many? So far my attempts to ask the internet these questions have failed, but maybe I'll think of the right phrasing tomorrow.

Otherwise, I have been drinking a lot of cold-brewed coffee and eating a lot of popsicles and avocados. Summer!

*I also like it when WWII era novels refer to swearing as "using language". For example, Miss Silver is constantly telling people she doesn't approve of language. Usually after a slight hortatory cough.

20 March 2013


by Cecily
I'm on Spring Break, so somebody is getting got a present.


Facade Packed Garage purse Fuzzy closeup Color wheel

25 December 2012

Holidouble holidactyl

by Cecily
Hey, diddle deity
Jesus of Nazareth
lived in Judea as
part of God's plan

son of a carpenter,
son of a virgin and
Savior of Man

(Merry Christmas)

17 November 2012

Do I get extra credit for two double-dactylic words?

by Cecily
Lexical vexical
Wanton Logomachy
(reckless misuse of a
word or a phrase)

rarely admit their
erroneous ways.

more double dactyls:
Ivan T. Sanderson
Tom Swifty
Sad Scruffleupagus

01 November 2012

Down with prescriptivism

by Cecily
I love very many things about this blog post. First of all, I got very nostalgic about the post title, because remember when I made a hilarious joke about Vietnamese soup and logic? Yeah me too. Those were the good old days, when all my post titles were Tom Swifties* and the posts themselves came oftener than trimonthly.

Anyway, in Kory's post are a number of gems. Top three:

  • I drafted the reply I wanted to send and saved it to my Nobody Knows The Trouble I Seen folder.

This is the greatest folder name of all time. And now I have one too.

  • Everything we’ve done to and for English is for its own good, we tell it (angrily, as it slouches in its chair and writes “irregardless” all over itself in ballpoint pen).

I'm not sure what, exactly, I love about this so much. Except that it seems possible that I, at some point now forgotten, might have written "irregardless" all over myself in ballpoint pen.

  • I bet Latin doesn’t sneak German in through its bedroom window, does it?

LATIN. What a goody-two-shoes.

Also the actual content of the response is good too.

*I drove to work the other day behind a car whose license plate was 'T. Swift'. When I told my brother this, and added "Why didn't I think of that?", he responded with:

"Forget "I", Why didn't WE think of that?" he pronounced.

Nice work, Brother Will.

12 October 2012

Heys na na

by Cecily
So, I've been sort of obsessed with this song for a few days:


While I was looking for the video (which I only found after I became obsessed with the song, but, as it turns out, with which I am also kind of obsessed) I found this other video, for a totally different song with the same name:

(I can't find the lyrics anywhere. I assume there's a fair amount of "hey na na" involved.)

And now I am kind of obsessed with this one too.

29 September 2012

Why is a raven like a writing-desk?

by Cecily
Here I am in Maryland. I finished my summer of driving all around forcing people to let me sleep in their guest rooms, and made it back to the east coast where I have a new apartment and a new job and all sorts of new ideas. Many of which involve where to get some more bookcases, and where I might have put the pegs that hold up the shelves in the bookcases I have.

Living in a State is okay so far. I mean, I get nervous still sometimes, about all the responsibilities that come with having a real vote and a Representative and everything, but I think I'm handling it all right. I'm trying to do lots of deep breathing and mental walk-throughs so I'm ready for the actual election. At the same time, I kind of miss the old Constitution City political scene. What are all the Vincents up to these days, anyway?

Meanwhile, do you need any artwork for that huge blank wall that's been bugging you? Have I got a deal for you!

12 July 2012

Bug Prism

by Cecily
Here's what I've been doing lately:

Now I'm going on a mini-road-trip. Hasta!

23 June 2012

Summer not in the city

by Cecily
My dad's land at Georgetown doesn't have anything except a driveway built on it yet, but it has some pretty nice scenery.

Here I am, blocking it:

Back yard:

View from across the street:

Wish you were here!

18 May 2012


by Cecily
If I were going to rank us according to who drove the farthest* in the oldest truck** this week,*** I would probably rank me first and you last.

*2,286 miles
**1987 Toyota pickup

17 May 2012

Traveling cat

by Cecily
Small has been cycling through the stages of Road Trip.

1. Panic


2. Despair

"Heeeeelp me pleeeeeease let me oooooout I don't liiiiiiike thiiiiiiiiiis"

3. Denial

"I am closing my eyes and counting to 50 and when I wake up I will be somewhere normal where it is quiet and not vibrating"

4. Resignation

"Well, I guess we live in this stupid truck now. God damn it."

5. Nap


Stage 1 really only happened for a few minutes each on the first two days. Today was nearly all 4 and 5. Tomorrow's the last day! Things are looking up, buddy.

13 May 2012

Weather report

by Cecily
Oh hey internet. Where you been, you slacker? I haven't seen you in ages!

I'm in Cleveland. I'm en route from DC to MT: today was Day One of a projected Six Day Road Trip. DC was hot when I left. Maryland was lovely. Pennsylvania was rough going (full of rain and irritating other drivers) but as soon as I crossed over into Ohio everything was lovely again.

My truck is holding up quite nicely, thank you for asking, and I'll politely pretend I didn't notice the incredulity leavened by disapproval at my choice of conveyance. That truck is a tough old lady!

Tougher than the cat, at any rate. The cat (also doing fine, overall) spent the first hour yowling and the rest of the hours sulking with her face in a blanket with sporadic additional yowls and glares. Whatever, I turned my hearing aids off and she seems to have forgiven me now so she can yowl and glare all she wants tomorrow too. Maybe by Tuesday she'll have gotten used to the routine.

Okay, see you in another 3 months! Just kidding. Maybe.

21 February 2012

Who's that swimming up the burning Potomac?

by Cecily
Is it... could it be?.. yes! It is Ghost Abe Lincoln, clutching a tattered copy of the score to the Star Spangled Banner in one hand and a shiny new copy of my dissertation in the other!

My dissertation is over, guys. The last piece of paperwork has been walked across campus to the last office and the last dot of the last i has been dotted. OVER. The world may end, therefore, at any moment. Just in time for the Mayans to win.

I'm in DC til May, teaching 200 classes and plotting my next move. Stay tuned.

23 December 2011

Winter break

by Cecily

Now I'm in Missoula again until mid-January. Missoula is full of old friends and brothers and drinks and pets. It is quite nice. Except for how sore my legs are from when I went skiing yesterday. POOR POOR ME.