30 December 2007

Slovenia has very good graffiti

by Cecily
T-Rex head with speech bubble saying
this photo (plus others at flickr) by Michael

I'll be back in DC tomorrow. See you around!

26 December 2007

it's a pretty fun game.

by Cecily
So, I'm in Trieste with some various members of my family. Yesterday was very calm and unAmerican; we had dinner (lunch) at a restaurant and then played bridge in the apartment. I drank way too much wine and did not win at the card game. A good time was had by all.

During dinner my sister introduced to us another game which we played for a really really long time. In this game, somebody thinks of something, and then everybody else thinks of something, and then everybody else says what their thing is, and then the first person says what their thing is, and then the first person decides which of the other things is most similar to their (the first person's) thing and says why.

Then it the person who thought of that's turn to go next.

I could probably explain that more clearly, but instead I will give you an example:

Cecily: okay I have one.
Michael: window
Nancy: air
Regan: Dresden
Ben: vessels
Jocelyn: the Little Mermaid
Cecily: okay, it's Alcatraz.

This was a hard one and it came down to being a battle between Dresden and the Little Mermaid, Dresden because it is a place and a town and the locus for much heartbreak and strife, and the mermaid because she sits on a rock in the ocean. But then I suddenly realized that my sister and my dad had totally been monopolizing the game, and on reflection I realized too that vessels can hold stuff, and so can Alcatraz. So the round went to Ben.

It's a pretty fun game.

22 December 2007


by Cecily
Hey! I'm in Italy. I didn't miss any of my connecting flights and none of my bags were lost or delayed. Woo Christmas!

10 December 2007

democracy, whiskey, sexy!

by Cecily
We had a 4th of July party here on Saturday. It was very fun. Pictures on flickr; I have to write a paper now.
Darcy, Lindsay, and me in red white and blue outfits

05 December 2007

The south is so weird.

by Cecily
It's been snowing like crazy all day. I like it! But here's the thing: there are all these people running around outside, in the snow, with UMBRELLAS.

My disdain, as usual, is almost boundless.

In other news: School is almost over, and I am going to Italy for Christmas. Hooray for me!

update: visual aid!
very snowy District

27 November 2007

things I want to do, soon

by Cecily
National Gallery's snapshot exhibit

Spy Museum again (I have comp tickets! That expire in December!)

kite flying. On the mall? I have a kite!

People who are interested in these activities, please tell me; I like company.

26 November 2007

21 November 2007

it's nice to be home

by Cecily
Montana has:

Montana does not have:
-chicken bones on the sidewalk

composite photo of my grandparents' backyard, very snowcovered

05 November 2007

doing math with words

by Cecily
As mostly everyone who has ever met me knows, I like mixing up my domains. A lot. It can get a little out of control. Anyway, hence my love of ridiculous cartoons and puns in which arcane linguistics terms are used as, for example, the names of imaginary fighting techniques.

At some point last year I was overcome by an uncontrollable fit of giggles and snorts* during a class discussion about morphology, during which it was asserted that a certain English grammatical item has the effect on a verb of "suspending its temporal profile and rendering it imperfective."

I found this hilarious and immediately began to draw diagrams and avoid the eyes of my classmates, in an attempt to not collapse in a puddle of hilarity. But it was too late, and too many vaguely threatening conversations were happening in my head. As in,

"you just watch out or I'll render you imperfective"


"don't make me suspend your temporal profile, young lady"

I am not at all disruptive to have in a classroom setting.

So, lately all of my energy of this sort has been focused on spoken-language phonology, because I am taking a class at Georgetown about spoken-language phonology and there are all kinds of new and enticing words for me to make up stories about. And not only words! But phrases and constructions and metaphors, etc. For some reason this happens especially much when we are talking about Rs. Vowels are R-colored (my new favorite color? R!). Last week the professor told us (kind of indignantly) that "Zero plus R equals R" so therefore we do not need a special symbol for an R-colored schwa. Math and letters and colors, all mixed up into one delicious idea. (see! Now we have cooking too!)

The main idea of this post: I am working on a new cartoon. Titled "Phonolohotonthologos". Everyone, bone up on your 18th-century British satire and your laryngeal anatomy, or you probably won't think I'm very funny.

*This did not only happen one time.

29 October 2007

27 October 2007

costume number 1

by Cecily
me, wearing a venus flytrap costume and drinking a glassof wine
Venus Flytrap.

20 October 2007

kids these days

by Cecily
My little brother.


A hero for the ages.

19 October 2007

I'm only in it for the sample sentences

by Cecily
Dear Internet,

It's damp and gloomy around Constitution City these days. Plus I am vaguely ill, as per usual. I'm spending the afternoon at my favorite friendly neighborhood coffee shop, "doing homework" and "being productive".

One of the things that I especially like, in a linguistics article, is when there is a whole list of sentences that is supposed to illustrate some important linguistic point. And I almost always think the lists of sentences are extremely entertaining, especially taken as a group.

For instance, from the article I am ostensibly reading right this second:

a. Your attitude upsets/is upsetting me.
a'. Your boorish behavior upsets/is upsetting me.
b. Your clothes nauseate/are nauseating me.
b'. The smell of your clothes nauseates/is nauseating me.

Whoever wrote these examples needs to get some new friends I think.

Then, after I am done reading this article and doing my homework, I have many, many things to do this weekend.

First is a fancy reception for the NSF project I'm working with. For the occasion, I am wearing brand new, very attractive, red shoes. I should update my profile; now I have THREE pairs. The new ones look like this:

The problem with me buying fancy new shoes and wearing them to grownup events is that I inevitably just show everyone my new shoes and force them to have long conversations with me about how great my new shoes are. Rather than discussing collaborative research efforts and visual language processing and other important things that I am supposed to be talking about. Oh well.

Second is a birthday party for Julie. Happy birthday Julie! This party is the social event of the season, it seems- Julie is so popular that everyone and their brother in law is flying in from out of town for the occasion. So that should be very fun and socially rewarding. I'll probably talk about my shoes a lot there too, unless I change into less fancy garb for the night.

Third (I'm not counting things I always do like sleep and drink coffee) is, my favorite friend Keith is in town from New Orleans where he is a Professor Of Economics, so he and his lovely lady friend and I are going to eat breakfast together. Breakfast! at 10 in the morning! On Saturday! I am so industrious these days, getting out of bed before noon and everything!

Fourth is more homework. A lot of it. And a lot of laundry. My bedroom had been looking substantially improved since the last time we talked about it, but this past week was a killer and we're back to not being able to see any square inches of floor, these days.

Fifth! Sixth! and Seventh! I'm supposed to go to THREE parties tomorrow night. I'm going to have to do some social-life triage, I think, because I usually start falling asleep on my way from the first thing I try to do to the second. If I try to do more than one thing. On an evening.

You know.

Then more things, but I am bored of thinking about it all right now. It sounds so exhausting. I'll have to coax myself gently from one event to the next by telling myself lots of encouraging remarks about the availability of various beverages and how much I like talking about my new shoes to people.

Meanwhile, here's what's been going on in my article: Leon is a fool, the window is shattered, the children cried, John ate fish, the balloon popped, the sky reddened, and Mary learned French.

10 October 2007

ink; light sabers; old age

by Cecily
My printer is out of black ink (or it is just angry with me; it's hard to say) and I had to turn in some homework yesterday. I tried printing it anyway, in the hope that it would just look sort of faded and old-school, but instead only the top half of each line printed so it was no good. No good at all.

So I printed it again all in blue. That was very pretty, and I a little bit want to just never replace my black ink ever again. All my homework will be printed in a variety of colors and everyone's (or at least, the TA's) day will be a little brighter.

I did try to buy a new ink cartridge on Monday, but I failed. For some reason I had decided that this one store at Union Station would sell me one. But, I was wrong. It had been a long and hot day by the time I got there, anyway, so I didn't want to give up: I looked and looked and looked and then finally went up to the counter in case they were just hiding printer accessories from all the thieving, ink-loving tourists.

They weren't. That store only sells musicky things, not computery things. No ink cartridges were to be had.

It was okay though because my day was made so much better by the small suburban-grandmother-looking woman in front of me, who spent $750 on a lot of 6-foot electric light sabers. Three red, three green. Or maybe four. She sort of stacked all the gigantic boxes around each other and staggered out into the world, lacking visibility but heavily armed. I spent the rest of the afternoon imagining her busting out the light sabers (one in each hand) in order to settle a duel, or hail a cab, or scold teenagers for coarse language.

Because everyone knows that's what suburban grandmothers spend their days doing: settling duels, hailing cabs, and scolding teenagers.

06 October 2007

Who's a jolly good what?

by Cecily
Hello internet! I am very sorry I never do a good job of writing things to you these days. I'm not sure exactly why. It is probably because I am so so important and have so many high priority tasks of my own to do.

That, or it is because I am irremediably lazy and irresponsible. We may never know which.

Anyway, to some extent I have been doing things that are at least important to some people. One of the things is, going to school and doing my homework.

Another thing is getting a big fancy fellowship. I am a Pre Doctoral Fellow, now. It's pretty fun. I recommend it. I have an office and a travel stipend and everything. Whoo hoo!

So, for that, I have to do other kinds of homework. I just basically spend 93 percent of my time now doing homework of one sort or another, and the remainder of my time staring out the window and drinking various beverages. So as you can see, it's hard to carve out any spot in there where I might be able to compose and upload a post to my blog. Hard, but I am doing my best.


21 September 2007


by Cecily
For a while, in Minnesota, I lived with a bunch of landscapers. It had its ups and downs, like everything. The downs for this situation all involved mud and lines for the shower. The ups were the winners by far: people who knew about digging, and got free plants, and were sent home from work if it was too rainy so we could all go to the bar down the street together.

So, I was in charge of the houseplants, but my role in the yard was restricted to admiring things and eating the results.

Then all the landscapers moved away, and I was left to my own devices. Which in this case meant that for a year and a half no one touched anything in the garden, and then I suddenly decided it was time to Deal With The Yard, so I dug it all up. But didn't plant anything else; the main result of that was that I had a lot of cuts from thorny things and Trisha was irritated with me for leaving piles of debris scattered about the yard.

But one thing I did follow through with, and it was the planting and training of vines. I built an arch out of branches that were knocked down during thunderstorms, and planted morning glories and sweet peas all around them, and wove it into a beautiful green flowery gateway to our nice back yard.

When I moved away from St. Paul, I was forced to leave all my house plants AND all my vines behind, much to my dismay. But, finally, this summer I planted some more vines around the tiny "front yard" area of my house in DC and now all those vines are creeping greenly up things. So I have to spend a good 30 minutes per day now leaning against the fence, murmuring encouraging thoughts to the vines and making sure the little twisty ends are pointed in an acceptable direction.

Vines are smart! In a kind of a scary way. They don't totally seem like plants, or at least they seem very slightly more animate than they really should. I don't understand what kind of math is programmed into their DNA to make them twirl around until they find something, and then stick their little viney feet to it and crawl forwards, but it makes me nervous. So to stay on their good side I whisper sweet nothings and water them with plant food.

I imagine that as a result of this, when they make it all the way up my building and into my window, they will just sort of pat me gently on the head as they pass through, rather than trying to stick their fingers in my nose or knock over my paintbrushes or something.

02 September 2007

especially what?

by Cecily
Lately my bedroom is a frightening pit of chaos. Some people would say that this is not a new or noteworthy state of affairs, and they would be kind of right. But not totally right, because when I say "frightening" and "chaos" I am using my own frame of reference, in which the baseline is more like "turmoil" and less like "lived-in". And even by these standards, my room's a little out of control.

My desk has: mail; modeling clay; syllabi from last year; a water bottle; vitamins; headphones; some other cords; a set of keys to my uncle's house.

My sewing table has: sewing machine; can of root beer; photo albums; box full of beads; large can of blue glitter; tube of Primary Magenta; sponge; box of thread.

My floor has: (indistinguishable jumble of things). The jumble includes a variety of iridescent and metallic fabric, from when I was making a disco outfit for a costume party. It includes a large pile of dirty clothes and a smaller pile of clean clothes. Two pairs of cowboy boots (one fancy, one everyday) are in there somewhere, and a scratching post for the cat, and a vacuum cleaner, and Alyssa's hair dryer, and a yoga ball.

There are many books (linguistics, murder mysteries, etc) on all of these surfaces, as well as piles of paper that I need to go through at some point. BIG piles of paper. That chore is #1 on my list of things to avoid doing. Procrastination for all!

My favorite way to while away the time when I'm bored (so often!) is to play a guessing game. This guessing game is not Twenty Questions, although it is similar. In my version, one person thinks of something, and then the other person guesses what it is. They don't ask questions about it; they guess. Then the first person thinks of a comparative adjective to describe the difference.

Here is an example, from when I was playing this game with two of my brothers one time.

Will: (thinks of something)
Matt: a fork
Will: bigger
Cecily: a plate
Will: more flexible
Matt: spaghetti
Will: less edible
Cecily: a helicopter
Will: less organized

...and so on.

in the end, the answer was "Matt's hair" And this is how I prefer to think of my room, and my general methods of housekeeping. Less organized than a helicopter. But really, who isn't? Helicopters are very organized things. So of COURSE I am less organized than one.

No, I don't have any plans to clean my room this weekend. Thanks for asking.

27 August 2007

Education, thought control, dark sarcasm

by Cecily
Hello! It is time to go back to school again!

Yes, that means it is time for another round of staring and glaring contests with the people in the offices in the school. This time I am going to bring flowers to everyone and smile sweetly and do as I am told without complaining.

Ha ha!

I don't actually have any classes until Wednesday. Which is good because it gives me lots of time to run around campus signing things, drink coffee, and complain loudly and in very big signs to anyone who will listen.

Meanwhile, in other whining-related news, it keeps being over 100 around here. With all kinds of dewpoints and humidities that make it all worse. These Founding Fathers were not all that bright, building the capital in a swamp. If you ask me. Which no one really has done, yet, but preemptive action is the new black, so let's not get all bogged down in details.

Okay. I'm off to deal with school, books, and dirty looks. See you.

13 August 2007

Missoula, Montana: A place, sort of.

by Cecily
All my favorite friends were in Missoula last weekend, doing all my favorite activities. Like drinking beer and floating on the river and eating meat. I am very sad that I was not there.

Here is another example of what Missoula is like:

Little kid: Hey, you want to come to my birthday party? It's all about hunting and killing and stuff.
TA: Um, I'll think about it.
Little kid: Listen, your mom isn't your boss anymore.

Sherwood Street
Missoula, Montana

via Overheard in the Office, Jun 26, 2007

05 August 2007

The BBC wins again

by Cecily
The BBC website has the best headlines of anyone. They are even better than all the tabloids. At least the tabloids I've seen. Which isn't that many, I guess, really.

Anyway. Because the BBC is a Respectable News Source! And they STILL have these crazy headlines!


Crisis at potato disease farm

Polygamous lesbians flee Sharia

Police force-feed 50 bananas to thief to expel stolen necklace (The headline was on the front page, linking to this article).

Also, the articles are pretty crazy, too. My favorite.

04 August 2007

Weather. Yum!

by Cecily
Here's what I like: when the overnight low is 76 degrees.*

My favorite!

UPDATE: Tonight? 88! 88 is the low!

*by "like" I mean "don't like at all"

15 July 2007


by Cecily
I accidentally got into an internet fight last week (with someone I don't even know! Man, I fight with EVERYBODY these days). Here is the result:

(be careful! This funny cartoon involves unladylike language!)

NOTE: My roommate says he thinks it looks like the dinosaur is just throwing a violent tantrum. This is a fine interpretation, but I was intending for him to be walking along. Oh well.

13 July 2007

Away for the Weekend

by Cecily
I'm going to my uncle's house in the mountains of Virginia.

Here is what I will be doing there:
-playing fetch with the cat
-drinking wine
-learning how to do multivariate analysis on phonological variation in sign language
-watching the Discovery Channel

I hope the Discovery Channel has that show about the orphaned baby walrus, because walruses are my latest favorite thing to learn about and that baby walrus was adorable.

see you next week!

09 July 2007

Red Tape

by Cecily
Team Gallaudet: If we refuse to assist the students, maybe they will quit whining and go bother someone else*

I'm in a pretty cranky mood today.

For one thing, it's 98 degrees outside. For real. That is too hot.

For another thing, I'm once again involved in a lengthy and extremely dispiriting battle with Gallaudet officials. This time it's more or less with the Registrar's office. The story is long and it just keeps getting longer, and it is tedious and asinine and full of me being angry and other people being unhelpful. It's pretty much the same as all my other stories about trying to get anything accomplished at this school.

Why, yes, I would love some cheese to go with that. Thanks so much!

*via despair.com's DIY motivator generator

05 July 2007

Cake of Patriotism

by Cecily
I had a great time last night. From the roof of Trim Zander's house, we could see 360 degrees worth of fireworks. It was intense. There were so many things being blown up!

In honor of the occasion I made a cake. The outside of the cake looked like this:

front of cake:

The inside of the cake looked like this:

a slice of cake looks like the American flag, only more delicious

I worked extremely hard on this project, and while the cake itself was not especially light or fluffy, the aesthetic outcome was satisfactory, and everyone likes chocolate frosting, so it was a winner.

04 July 2007

Happy Birthday, Constitution Gods!

by Cecily
This is my first Independence Day in Our Nation's Fine Capital. So far, so good. I am still in my pajamas, so pretty soon I have to start looking for a red, white and blue outfit.

Ambassador's residence in Kigali

Last year I was being all fancy at the Ambassador's house
for my Independence Day festivities. Nowadays, I have no Ambassador friends to hobnob with so I have to make do with all my fellow 20-something grad student type friends. None of them even know how to play bridge!

But I digress.(You might not think I could digress, since I wasn't actually talking about anything, but you would be wrong on both counts. I can digress in situations that would amaze you, and also I was talking about something. I was talking about Constitution City.)

Much to my surprise and delight, fireworks are legal in this town. I kind of thought anything even remotely dangerous was frowned upon around here because what if the Presidential Motorcade happens by your house and he gets an ash on the windshield? Now you'll have to go to prison! But, it seems that patriotism in the form of explosives trumps any concern about danger (also in the form of explosives) so there are fireworks stands all over the place. I bought some yesterday on my way home from school, and will be exploding them this evening from Trim Zander's 4th of July party.

I am excited because it's been a while since I had any fireworks to explode. Last year I was in Rwanda, so no fireworks stands were available to me. The year before that I was in Minneapolis and watched the city display from the roof of a parking garage. The year before THAT I have absolutely no recollection of where I was or what I did, so it must not have been very fun or exciting. Either that or it was extremely fun and exciting and involved a lot of alcohol.

So. Have fun out there! Don't blow yourselves up.

02 July 2007

The martians are coming!

by Cecily
Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomicd
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net

28 June 2007

oh, the humanity

by Cecily
Woman coming in from outside:It's really human out there.
Man:Yeah -- it's not the heat, it's the humanity that will get you every time.

It's true, the humanity is usually far more annoying to me than the weather.

You know what helps both? A nice cold beer!

via Overheard in the Office, Jun 27, 2007

27 June 2007

I Spy

by Cecily
Well, my brother (among others) really did say something to Our Dear Leader. They said it in a letter format, and very politely too. Good job, Scholars!

My brother also said something directly to old GW about "having more respect for human rights", to which he apparently got no response at all.

Yesterday we (me and the brother, not me and GW) went to the Spy Museum. It was fun. Or it had its moments at least. I was really cranky because of the deathly heat, already, and then I became even crankier because of the dumbness of their "accommodations". I asked if they had captioning on their video things, to make sure they had it turned on, and instead the front desk guy gave me a little device to wear on a (very fetching) lanyard around my neck. I asked him how it worked and he was vague. "Just wear it, you'll see."

Well, I didn't see. Nothing happened. The first room where we all got shepherded in had some video and some audio going on, and when I asked the staff person THERE what was up, she seemed taken aback, and went to ask someone else. After that, we were sent into another room to watch a movie and the doors were locked behind us. Again, no captioning. I fought my way out of the theater and was told to "sit closer to the screen".

That seemed to work okay (apparently the screen needed to be able to sense my presence via the little lanyard device), although I was annoyed because it meant I was not sitting with my brother, and why didn't someone explain it ahead of time?

But after that, my proximity to the screens made no difference. And after that, there was no way out of the museum and no staff member in sight. I seriously went all the way through it to the end and back, looking for someone because maybe I am just doing something wrong with this little device item. Maybe it needs a new battery. That's fine, I will accept a replacement, I will just ask some friendly museum worker to assist me with this issue.

Or I would have, but there was NO ONE to ask. I have never seen a museum with so little supervision.

There were a LOT of videos and audio things. A few of them had transcripts hanging on nearby pegs, but not anything like all of them, and by halfway through I was so focused on being upset about access that I sort of quit paying attention anyway.

Which was too bad for me because there was a lot of good stuff to look at. WWII army jackets with cameras hidden in the buttonholes and 19th-century revolvers hidden on jeweled rings. Nice.

One especially great item, I thought, was a big ornamental decoration that a bunch of schoolchildren in the USSR presented to the US Ambassador in the days of the cold war. And it had a bug in it! Those crafty Soviet schoolchildren. I wish the Presidential Scholars would have hidden a practical joke or something in the Oval Office, just to keep old George on his toes.

Anyway, at the end of the museum I went and complained for awhile and got apologized to and was given comp tickets and a promise that next time it will be better. So we shall see. Who wants to go to the Spy Museum with me?

25 June 2007

more google searching

by Cecily
1. comical disability breakfast invites
2. mustachio bashio august 7,2005
3. what is Ms. Whitworth's least favorite thing?
4. nightlife tblisi
5. dancing stick person
6. cowgirl congress new pictures
7. criteria for a shenanigan

I am particularly intrigued by numbers 1, 3, and 6. Anyone who was the searcher behind these searches, please tell me your story.

P. S. I currently have three least favorite things: Grasshoppers, mushrooms, and the Student Accounts Office. Not necessarily in that or any other order.

23 June 2007


by Cecily
I was out for dinner last night (a delicious dinner that I ate way too much of) with my family, when my uncle said in an accusing manner "why don't you ever update your blog? I look at it EVERY DAY and there's NOTHING THERE."

So then I took some pictures of my uncle and my mother with my mobile cell phone text internet camera device. All of the pictures turned out terribly but I don't want to be known as the kind of girl who makes empty threats so here is one of them, anyway:

family members at dinner

Let that be a warning to anyone else who feels the urge to tell me I don't post enough posts: I may retaliate with a badly lit, blurry photograph of YOU!

In reality, my mother actually has a face.

So, my brother is some kind of nationally recognized child genius and the government flew him into to Our Nation's Capital for the week so he can hobnob with all the other child geniuses from around the USA. And my mom and stepdad tagged along for the ride, I think because they are worried that my brother will say something totally uncalled for to some government official and be arrested and everyone will have to devote a lot of time to getting him released from prison in time to start college in the fall.

Anyway, I haven't even seen my brother yet because he is too important for the likes of me, but maybe I'll see him from a distance or something before he goes back to Montana.

And that is all I have to share, for the moment. See you.

**P. S. how do you write "uncalled for" anyway? un-called-for? un- called for? Hmm.

29 May 2007


by Cecily
Here's what I have been so busy with:

very decorated truck

That and travelling.

New York was excellent as always. Maryland was also excellent. Probably as always, but it was my first time so I don't want to make any reckless pronouncements.

For Memorial Day we had a potluck involving boiling crabs and eating them on the roof. That was messy and delicious. My two favorite ways for something to be!

Next, I'm going to Minnesota. Hopefully that will be messy and delicious too. I'll keep you posted.

hold on!

by Cecily
I have a very good blog entry to write but not right this second. Because I am at work now. The reason I didn't write it before is that I am extremely lazy and irresponsible. Also I went to New York last week (to hang out with Chris Koza and JoAnna James, among other fantastic people) and then I had to rush back to leave again right away for Annapolis to go to a big huge crazy party. There was a moon bounce!

Then I had to sit around my house for two days doing nothing. And like I said, now I am at a computer where I don't have access to all of the visual aids I will need for this exciting new post, so you will just have to hold on tightly to the edges of your seats and anticipate for a few more hours. Don't explode! Go have an orange juice popsicle or something while you wait.

17 May 2007

politics, elephants, due respect

by Cecily
Julie posted the text of my speech at deafdc.com and now there's a very entertaining comment thread. All about... well, not actually about anything, as is wont to happen with comment threads on blogs. Anyway, Bert has inspired me to think of a catch phrase for my own comments. I'm thinking of ending every post with "So there!" from now on. Or maybe someone else has another suggestion?

So there!

16 May 2007

Constitution City

by Cecily
I had to go to Georgetown yesterday to do an errand. That place is very time-warp-y. It is full of tiny attractive old houses, with all their little small doorways and intricate, cracked wooden carving. I was walking on 28th street between P and M and I kept expecting some colonial housewives to come out the front door and empty a pan of water into the street or something. (Why do I think this is what colonial housewives would do? I have no idea.)

It is very different from the other parts of this city, like for example all the gigantic monument areas where the buildings are on a 3-to-1 scale and bright white and are subtly illuminated at night so nobody forgets that they are in Our Nation's Fine Capital.

In a few hundred years, after the apocalypse has come and when Charleton Heston comes stumbling through the ruins to find out what kind of planet this used to be, everyone is going to think that Washington was once populated by a ruling class of giants who loved white marble and were served by an underling class of very small people who loved antique furniture and organic vegetables.

I am willing to consider selling this idea to a movie company. Call me!

12 May 2007

ta da!

by Cecily
linguistics 2007 department photo (minus a few professors)

07 May 2007

more fame

by Cecily
I'm going to be one of the commencement speakers on Friday. You can watch it online here. I don't really know when during the whole thing it will be my turn though, so make sure you are provided with some snacks and crossword puzzles to get you through all the tedium.

The ceremony starts at 1:30 my time. People who live in Washington DC, get ready to take me out for a drink afterwards!

04 May 2007

I may not have gotten enough sleep lately

by Cecily
Today, I am sneezing a lot, and this song is stuck in my head:


I am the sick Cebu. Achoo mumu achoo mumu achoo mumu achoo mumu cebu. (Because of the sneezing only. I think it's allergies really. Stupid spring.)

I turned in all my schoolwork and immediately became embroiled in yet another battle with the geniuses in the Student Accounting Office. They have something against me, down there in that office, and their attempts to thwart me are unceasing. I may or may not actually graduate, depending on who is victorious in this current tussle.

Regardless: I am finished! Hooray! Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the celebrating! I am going to run around doing all kinds of fun activities tonight: My one favorite friend is gathering a crowd at Madam's Organ for dancing and making merry, and my other favorite friend is having a Mustachio Bashio (it's a party, a party where everyone must wear a mustache) and it is time to start work on the 48-hour-film-project costuming. Plus mostly, it is time for general giddiness because did I mention I am finished? I am finished!

02 May 2007

the most exciting chalk message

by Cecily
This was what I encountered when I went out of my house the other day:

picture of my front sidewalk with Will you marry me? Please. written in chalk

It wasn't for me. I don't think.

28 April 2007

1 week

by Cecily
Hello internet! I don't have much time to tell you anything interesting right now, because I have to finish writing a paper about phonological processes in handshape assimilation for Italian Sign Language, but soon enough I am going to have a LOT of interesting things to say, and also a lot of time to say them in.

Because...It's my last week of school! Monday is the last day of classes and then I have a couple of other projects to turn in during the week. Then after that, I will be FINISHED at least for the summer and everyone will have to call me Master Cecily all the time* or I won't do what you tell me to.**

Also! Soon, I am going to be famous in new and exciting ways! I signed up to be on a team for the 48 Hour Film Project competition next weekend, May 4-6. This is the main guy's website. I am going to be the boss of the costumes, and I am extremely excited about this. Stay tuned for lots of very excellent, very last-minute costume designing awesomeness.


*This is a trait that runs in my family. One time when my cousin Jamie was two, he decided his new name was Bus Stop and he would not respond appropriately to anyone who referred to him as anything else. Eventually it wore off, much to my regret.

**In all honesty, I may not do it anyway. I'm just saying.

24 April 2007

blag, indeed

by Cecily
I have a new favorite comic strip.

comic strip about blags and the interwob

15 April 2007

more science

by Cecily
I had a scientific birthday party, once again. It was good. There was interpretive dancing, which was in turn interpreted into English, and then again interpreted into ASL. I'm sure we all learned a lot.

Me and good old Trim Zander looked deeply into one another's souls, and were duly shocked and somewhat dismayed by what we found there.

Cecily and Trim Zander examining each other with scientific lenses

Next: three weeks of non stop academic hilarity!

01 April 2007


by Cecily
In honor of April Fools' Day, I am spending the entire day in my room doing homework. And that is not even an April Fools' joke. It would have been hilarious if I started out by saying how I cleaned up my room and got all my papers organized, but it's too late now. Plus I'm pretty sure no one would believe me anyway.

I looked up "April Fools' Day" on Wikipedia to make sure I was punctuating that correctly. How many fools are there? Is it posessive or descriptive? Inquiring minds must know!

Anyway, Wikipedia sternly told me that Editing of this article by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled because of potential vandalism due to the fact that it is April Fools' Day. I'm not sure why I think that is so entertaining. We all know that it doesn't take much, though, for me to be entertained.

It's cold and cloudy around here which I guess is good incentive for me to stay inside and focus on important things. But I don't really like it anyway. I would prefer for it to be very warm and sunny, and also Friday, and also I don't have any homework and I do have a lot of ice cream and beer. And maybe some sidewalk chalk.

16 March 2007

breakfast vs. laziness

by Cecily
My roommates and some other friends have started a Breakfast Club. Every Friday morning at 7:30, a potluck breakfast occurs at someone's house. Occasionally, some or all of the club members gather the night before for pre-breakfast merriment in the form of beer and a slumber party.

Like any organization, Breakfast Club has come in for its share of controversy. For example, there was a lot of uproar about coffee one time. A nasty rumor was started (by me) accusing Trim Zander* of not being able to make coffee at his house in the morning. A spate of increasingly vitriolic responses followed.

I would like to propose, as cofounder and acting chief financial officer of Breakfast Club Inc., that the minimal coffee-making capacity for a Breakfast Club host be defined as 4 cups per 15 minutes (in other words, 16 cups per hour), and those who cannot provide this capacity must either apply for Club funds or add capacity out of their own pocket (or make other suitable arrangements, perhaps through borrowing of equipment), or forfeit the right to host Breakfast Club. Unfortunately the application for funds does not exist, and as every single member of the Club is delinquent on dues, the treasury contains no money, so at the present time every member must provide his/her own coffee capacity. Also, no decaf. Any objections?

Trim* was quick to defend his ability to provide coffee, and out of desperation he wildly proposed that instant coffee be provided as a failsafe.

I would like to add a correction to previous statements regarding the
coffee-making capacity of this week's selected Breakfast Club location, herein referred to as 321 Cherry Tree Lane NW. It should be noted that although previous statements were made stating that coffee-making capacities were absent from 321 Cherry Tree Lane, these statements have proven to be false. A coffee maker does indeed exist at 321 Cherry Tree Lane, it was just in the corner and dusty from lack of use. Coffee filters and fresh coffee need to be purchased, and these transactions will be completed by this week's host, herein referred to as Mr. Trim Zander*, before the scheduled meeting of the Breakfast Club. In the possible event that the coffee maker does not function properly, instant coffee will be provided on-site by Mr. Zander* as an alternative.

I hope these amendments assuage the fears proposed by Ms. Whitworth
and Mr. Popkin, and will result in an approval to continue this week's
Breakfast Club at 321 Cherry Tree Lane NW.

Trim's* claims were accepted on a temporary basis, but his misguided backup plan was rejected out of hand.

I propose that Trim Zander* be granted provisional hosting status, until such time as his coffee-making capacity can be fairly and objectively assessed, without bias, by those members of Breakfast Club who have proven themselves to be experts in the field of coffee assessment. The record will show that will include, at the very least, every current member of this house (123 Main Street #2). Upon satisfaction of these members' criteria, Mr. Zander* may apply for official hosting status.

Also for the record, potential member Cecily Whitworth has expressed to me that instant coffee is not an acceptable alternative to real coffee.

I provided a helpful visual aid to further demonstrate my feelings about coffee:

At this point, the quality of the debate deteriorated rapidly, at one point reaching the low of

you guys are such babies.

Eventually, however, a consensus was reached (no instant coffee was produced) and everyone was greatly relieved. The group moved on to less stressful issues, such as the arrangements for the slumber parties:

Phew- I am so glad the great coffee controversy of 2007 was settled. That was nearly a deal breaker. I believe the most important question that was posed to the group was if we could handle a slumber party and getting up in the morning. I for one guarantee many shenanigans during the slumber party. But fridays are essentially throw away days for me, so I can afford a night with less then ideal sleep. I respectfully propose a shenanigan room and shenanigan-free room to accommodate for all levels of desire to participate in shenanigans.

This zoning of shenanigans was duly implemented, and things settled down for a few weeks, in what was probably an unrealistic "honeymoon period" of the Club's history. This week, a vicious power struggle occurred, complete with bribery and graft.

As a charter member of both Breakfast Club and 123 Main Street #2, I feel I am in a strong, perhaps even unparalleled, position to confirm that said house will be hosting both this week's Breakfast Club and an optional pre-breakfast sleepover, commencing at 9:30, for those who wish to avoid an unpleasantly early rise from slumber, or who need a few extra shenanigans in their lives.

Accomodations are, as usual, a hodgepodge of floor space, couch space on our inadequate 2-seat couches for those of you who are short or don't mind sleeping like an accordion, and space in beds of those house residents who are willing to accomodate you. Those seeking an early respite from the night's activities are encouraged to speak with Cecily.

This rampant abuse of power by Gabe was quickly challenged by me, and I did not fail to attempt to use the situation for my own benefit.

Gabe did you just invite the entire Breakfast Club membership to sleep in my bed? I don't know if your charter membership authority extends that far.

Anyone who thinks they want to sleep in my bed better start trying to buy my affection now. I like ice cream and sparkly things.

My objection was overruled, and I was chastised by Trim* for having a bad attitude (this is not an unfamiliar situation for me).

In closing, I would like to correct Ms. Whitworth. Mr. Popkin is in his full authority to invite whomever he wishes to sleep in your bed. The priorites and needs of the Breakfast Club override those of each individual member. There are rules for a reason.

I was unrepentant, however, and my demands for bribes became even more blatant.

Be that as it may, I still expect presents, compliments, and the pretense that my jokes are funny. My bed has rules too, you know. The rules of bringing me presents and saying compliments to me and laughing uproariously at my jokes. These are demanding rules, it is true, arduous even, but then again, my bed is a very comfortable bed.

My favorite kind of ice cream is strawberry, but I like anything as long as there are no cherries in it. Also I like caramel topping.

This controversy was eventually settled by the fact that it was raining very hard last night so there was no sleepover after all. I had my comfortable bed to myself, but I had to buy my own ice cream.

Also, for the sake of honesty, I should admit to you that although the club has met twice at my own house, I have yet to actually participate in a Breakfast Club meeting. Really, what kind of crazy person voluntarily gets out of bed at 7:30?

*Not his real name, although a relay operator apparently thought it was a reasonable guess

05 March 2007

war, peace, etc

by Cecily
More of the war and less of the peace, these days, hm?

painting of children's faces in tents
the picture links to where you can buy the book

Last summer one of the people I met and drank wine with was Sybella Wilkes Moumtzis. She has done a lot of interesting things, one of which is publish the book from which the painting above is taken. (One Day We Had to Run!; Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press)

This is a painting by Binti Aden Denle, age 12, in the Ifo refugee camp in Ethiopia. The story Binti told about the picture:

"All night we wait in tents for the day to come. This place is very dangerous, bandits attack us at night. I am showing the frightened faces of the children in our camp."

I just bought and started reading Dave Eggers's* new book What is the What, which is about the Lost Boys of Sudan. I already wanted to read it because an excerpt was published a couple of years ago (or not an exerpt exactly but an article that would sort of become this book) as 'It was just boys walking' in The Believer. And then I went to the bookstore for happy hour last week and saw The Lost Boys of Sudan on the shelf and that reminded me of the other book plus also someone was talking about the documentary.

Don't you wish you had a bookstore where you could go have happy hour? Beer and books!

Anyway, the topic keeps coming up in my head, and it should come up in everybody else's head too. Someone I know once told me they didn't want to think about refugee children because it was too sad and there was nothing they could do. To which I say, if you need help thinking of something to do, let me know. I can think of some things.

*Yes, I know you are not supposed to use another S if the noun ends in S. I don't care, and I am a linguistics major so I can do whatever I want to language and it is automatically right. Leave me alone.

27 February 2007

is it time for a nap?

by Cecily
Yes, please.

Besides classes, I am working at the Gallaudet University Press, reading some stuff and editing some stuff and writing some letters to authors. Etc.

Also I am being a graduate assistant to a big project based at Gallaudet- a Science of Learning Center, through an NSF grant. The Visual Language and Visual Learning one, or VL2. That 2 is supposed to be "squared" (because there are two iterations of VL in the acronym of that name) but I don't know how to make superscript characters on the internet. For this my job is reading stuff and looking stuff up and summarizing stuff.

I am currently working on these projects:

1. Iconicity and depiction in language (for VL2)
2. Phonological process in Italian Sign Language (for field methods class)
3. Handshape frequency in tactile ASL (for sociolinguistics class)
4. Constructions of deafness as culture vs. disability ("Languages and Cultures" class)
5. Phonology in Rwandan Sign Language (independent study)
6. Pilot dictionary of Rwandan Sign Language (because I said I would)

Plus I have another big crazy test at the end of March. The same idea as last year, only this time with more things in it. Also this year I don't have an exciting trip to Minnesota planned for that weekend.

All of these things are pretty interesting, and I mostly get to invent for myself when I do them. So I can do them in my pajamas while I drink coffee all day, if I want to.*

But, still, I feel very whiny and overwhelmed by it all. Send me presents in the mail!

*I usually do.

14 February 2007

hearts and bones

by Cecily
Do you know what an ossuary is? It is a place where you keep human bones. Or, in the case of some very cheerful people, it is a place MADE OF human bones. Like this:

the inside of the ossuary at Kostnice; an ossuary is a building made out of human bones.  Human bones!
(click the picture for a big-sized picture of the scary church)
(click on these words to go to the website of the person who took the picture of the scary church)

This is a church in Sedlec. Sedlec is a suburb of Kutná Hora. Kutná Hora is a town in the Czech Republic.

The Czech word for "ossuary" is "kostnice". The official website for the Kostnice Sedlec is here:

screenshot of the official website
(click the picture to be taken to the official Kostnice Sedlec website!)

I have two favorite things about this website. No, three favorite things.

1. The option icons are little skulls

2. There is a virtual tour option! It makes me kind of dizzy.

3. There is a long description of how many people have their bones in this place (40,000!) and what all the best shapes are that are made out of the bones (the bell shape). At the end of the description, it says "Thank you very much for your visit and best wishes for a pleasant stay in our country."

Happy Valentine's Day!

10 February 2007

Si vas al baile, baila conmigo

by Cecily
Today is my fabulous roommate's birthday. We're going to "a Latin-themed dance club" in Adams Morgan tonight. That will be very exciting.

I don't really have anything else to relate, at the moment. All the administrators at my school are still incredibly stupid and annoying. All of my friends are still very smart and attractive and entertaining. My bedroom is still a disaster zone. My homework still isn't finished.

Okay! Latin-themed dancing! Hooray!

26 January 2007

Music in Minneapolis

by Cecily

My favorite friend Chris Koza and his band and some other people are playing a show at the Varsity on February 1st. Proceeds help refugees in Darfur. Go be beneficial!

23 January 2007


by Cecily
There is a site meter on this website. It tells me (and you, if you care) how many people look at the website and where they live.

Bonjour, French people! Helloooo, somebody at the House of Representatives!

And it also tells us if somebody did a google search for something and then arrived at this website as a result of that. And it tells us what the google search was for.

Here are examples of google searches that people did, with the result that they ended up here:

-drinking beer back hurts
-interpreter for ASL
-marker fumes
-cecily whitworth
-video show of teaching how to do mutter paneer
-Tourists comments on Akagera
-half gallon growler, Montana
-picture of a thirty-ought-six rifle
-joke handshake
-britney dance concepts toledo
-pictures of authentic cowboy costumes

And last, but certainly far from least:

-PEPFAR, Britney

The awesomest part about that is that my name isn't even the top result! There are pages and pages of websites that (apparently) discuss PEPFAR and Britney!

America is a great nation.

UPDATE: A new google search! "morpheme martini"! This one is probably going to be the inspiration for a cocktail party of some sort. Some heavily linguistic sort.

20 January 2007

I told you water is dangerous!

by Cecily
This lady died from drinking water! Remember last summer when I went on and on about how thirsty I always am and how one time I tried to drink a gallon of milk and my friends kept threatening me about electrolyte poisoning? Well as it turns out, staying hydrated is more risky than I thought!

I'm sticking to beer and coffee from now on. Just to be safe.


by Cecily
My dad is a famous mountaineer.

my dad and a guide on Kilimanjaro

16 January 2007

I heart education

by Cecily
Well, school started again today. So far I didn't go to any classes, but I did go to lots and lots of offices!

(What follows is fiction) I didn't have to wait in any lines, and every office was staffed by friendly, helpful, knowledgeable people who did their best to assist me in a timely manner. I got all of my errands done and all of my business taken care of. It was great!

(What follows is true) I hate almost everyone on that stupid campus.

Here is an illustration of my attitude:
me, making a terrible face

10 January 2007


by Cecily
Remember a long time ago when I went to Albuquerque? Here is me giving my fancy presentation. I can't remember what I was talking about exactly but apparently there were two of something.
Cecily signing TWO
Either that or I was just talking about the hand configuration there. That's what my main point was, to talk about hand configurations.

As it turns out, that is often my main point. It came up three times at my party last weekend. I am a barrel of fun at parties, let me tell you! If you ever want to go out to a bar and draw diagrams of sentences and examine different types of phonological notation, let me know!

07 January 2007

good v evil

by Cecily
The party was a huge success. I do not have any pictures. Except this one, which did not occur at the party but was printed out and used as a decoration/visual aid:these are two of my brothers in their actual prom outfits
Of course these fine lads are not actually good OR evil, but more of a standard mix of high-school-boyness. Snakes and snails, etc. The white and black suits were too good of a thematic match for me to pass up though. Don't worry Matt. I don't think you're COMPLETELY evil.

Other good/evil pairs:

Rocky and Bullwinkle/Boris and Natasha
Wesley Autrey/Karl Rove
Abe Lincoln/Ghengis Khan
T. Rex/miniature poodle
Luggage/that Dodgers guy with the steroids (I don't know!)
Coretta Scott King/Republicans

There was collage-making and costume-wearing and food-eating and drink-drinking. And Boggle. And lots of beer (good and bad) and Devil's Food Cake and Angel Food Cake.

Plus more delicious treats. An excellent time was had by all.

05 January 2007


by Cecily
I like it when people do a good job and get a reward. Especially if it's me getting the reward. Especially if the reward is an ice cream cone. Or something sparkly.

That is TOTALLY beside the point though. Here's what I'm talking about: rewards that don't match their ... whatever is the word that means "why someone got the reward".

One example is one time in college when I was driving way too fast in Montana. It was back when the speed limit in Montana was "reasonable and prudent" so it really wasn't my fault. It seemed reasonable to me! Anyway I got a speeding ticket, so I paid the nice highway patrol man my $20 and was about to be on my merry, prudent way when Mr. Highway Patrol noticed that I was oh-so-prudently wearing my safety belt. So as a reward for this he gave me a coupon for a free Happy Meal or Big Mac (my choice) at my nearest participating McDonald's. Of course! What all safe seatbelt wearers have earned!

Another example is something I just read at the BBC website about a very great man in New York who leapt into the tracks of the subway to rescue a kid who had a seizure and fell in there. They dramatically rolled under an oncoming train and escaped to tell their story. I'm always impressed by people who leap under oncoming trains to save other people, and I firmly believe that they deserve all the rewards they can get. This guy, though, got an especially entertaining combination of rewards: New York's highest award for civic achievement, $10,000 from Donald Trump, a trip to Disney World and a year's free subway travel. I like the money. Disney World, though, strikes me as pretty random. I like it all the more for that. And the subway travel is a nice touch, plus if anybody else falls in there we're all set.

All of this is making me think about what kinds of prizes I will be handing out for the winners tomorrow night. I foresee multiple minor skirmishes between Good and Evil, and knowing me, there is bound to be some kind of large scoreboard with tally marks for the points everybody earns. If no skirmishes ensue I will probably have to provoke them, if only so I can award points and prizes.

One of the prizes will probably be something very sparkly. I hope I win it.

04 January 2007

What time is it? No time to look back!

by Cecily
Last night my excellent roommates and I watched "True Stories" the David Byrne movie from 1986. It's my favorite, I always forget about it for years on end and then suddenly have an urgent need to look at it again, right now! I highly recommend it to anyone who has an hour an a half they just can't figure out what to do with.

Meanwhile, I'm not doing very great on the "nose to the grindstone" front. I have a lot of school-and-work-related things I am supposed to be hard at work on, but instead I somehow keep spending all of my time building shelves out of cardboard and papier-mache and looking at 5th century bible fragments. Damn this city and all of its free public museums!

The bible fragments (and some whole entire bibles) were at the Sackler, where there is an exhibit of Bibles Before 1000. It was okay, but not as great as I'd hoped. Partly because of all the annoying other people who wanted to look at MY exhibit. But mostly because I wanted to know more about the individual scrolls and codices and scribes and whatnot, and instead there was just a lot of sort of vague, general information about the early spread of Christianity. Which is all very well but I already knew about that. I just wanted to know about the books!

On a marginally related note, and tying this whole entry back to my evening last night: Before we put the movie in, me and the old roommates were sitting around the living room drinking beer and looking up things in the Bible. Why, you ask? Well, why not? Really it was because we became involved in a heated dispute related to our upcoming Good v. Evil party (see below). I said that we should have apples and pomegranates as "evil" food and Gabe said there are no apples in the Bible.

He is right, of course, but there was some disagreement about if there were any other fruits mentioned in the whole Eden thing. As it turns out, not. There are fig leaves, but no figs. Alyssa suggested that we hand out fig leaves to partygoers as they enter and then direct them to a changing area. That would be quite the party. Don't worry, we decided against it. Although feel free to come wearing your own fig leaves, if you so desire.

The apple/fig conundrum having been got out of the way, we kept looking up other things that we thought of. Cruden's Complete Concordance is my best friend. Eventually and I don't remember how, we came upon this, which is practically the eleventh commandment as far as I can tell:

"This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel says:
'Drink, get drunk and vomit, and fall to rise no more.'" (Jeremiah 25:24)

On that note, I think the wine downstairs is getting lonely.

01 January 2007


by Cecily
invitation to the Good v. Evil party

We're having a party over here on Saturday.

As usual I've been spending all of my time daydreaming about thematic party foods and beverages, and planning my outfit, and playing with the cat, instead of doing all my work. Work is for sissies. I'll start doing work tomorrow.

My cat is very glad to see me. Especially because I accidentally spilled catnip all over the room while I was trying to make something. But I think she was glad to see me before that happened, too. And I am glad to see her, and to be able to lie around in my pajamas drinking coffee and staring out the windows all the time. And not have to put anything into or take anything out of a suitcase. I am never travelling anywhere again, I mean it. To prove that I mean business, I didn't leave my house at all today. I probably will have to leave the house tomorrow, but I think by then my point will have been made.

If you have any ideas about Good and Evil (as they relate to my party) please tell me right away!