28 June 2008

Funny to certain people, maybe

by Cecily
here's the original one:
(confidential to Emily: non-linguistics entries will be appearing soon. Mail me a present!)

I drew a cartoon in Introduction to Syntax two years ago that cracked me up so I immediately interrupted the lecture to show everyone. Luckily Debbie is very polite and (I think) generally amused by my antics. I think.

Anyway then I gave the cartoon to her (Deb) as a reward for putting up with me and kind of forgot about it. Until I wanted an example of linguistics terminology that sounds like baked goods*. But the scanner in the linguistics department is acting up, plus also I am in Connecticut so I just redrew it today instead of learning about constraints on numeral incorporation.


Maybe later I'll track down the original and scan it for real and we can all compare whether or not I remembered the joke right. And if you're very very good, I might explain it all to you one day, when we're sitting at a bar and our glasses are full and you have no real choice but to learn all about it.**

*and now these two posts link to each other, recursively and infinitely and over and over again. Luckily, my hilarious linguistics jokes never grow old or tiresome at all. So we can all live happily ever after. The end.

**or, Wikipedia! will tell you. Really though I recommend me and beer.

27 June 2008

"This Vietnamese soup makes no sense at all!" Tom said phonologically.

by Cecily
Linguistics is so silly. It's always naming its ideas after totally random things that sound like something else completely. Mainly fighting techniques or supervillains. Occasionally baked goods.

Guess what this is talking about:

Enlightened Self Interest: An Alternative to Greed.

You might think that an idea named Enlightened Self Interest would be something to do with economics or politics. Especially since it's An Alternative to Greed. Well pay attention! I already told you I'm talking about LINGUISTICS!

So your next guess might be that it must be related to sociolinguistics or linguistic anthropology or something. All right. Those are pretty smart guesses so I won't hold it against you that you are totally and completely wrong.

All right already, what is the ANSWER?

The answer is: Syntax! If you think like Chomsky, you think words need reasons to move around in their sentences so they'll end up in the right place. Those words are not allowed to just go any old place any old time they feel like it. That would be chaos!

Some people think the reason a word would move around is because of Greed. (In many theories, as it turns out, words behave a lot like people. Greedy, greedy words, only looking out for number one.)

However! Some people think that Greed is an oversimplification of the words' rationalization for why they are moving around. (Some people also may think that I am anthropomorphizing these words in a reckless and unnecessary manner. I'll deal with THOSE people LATER.) These words, sometimes they move over to another spot EVEN WHEN THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO, just to help out some other parts of the sentence! What nice little words.

Except they aren't all that nice after all because as it turns out it's all in their own self interest; the sentence will crash if they don't and then there won't be any sentence for anyone. Enlightened Self Interest. Grudgingly consenting to help others, to keep your own cranky self alive. Just like the humans do!

26 June 2008

"This conference should be more accessible" she said definitively

by Cecily
Hi! I'm in Connecticut!

I'm at a conference about sign language linguistics. Specifically phonology: my favorite! So far so good except that for a conference about sign language linguistics, this conference is surprisingly non-deaf-friendly. People keep coming up to me and talking, and then acting really surprised when I tell them I'm deaf. Or announcing to Julie "it's okay, I'm hearing, you can just talk."

"Yes, but I am deaf" said Julie resignedly.

Re SIGN ed ly! HAHAHAHAHA. 'Cause who expects you to SIGN at a conference about sign languages? It's funny because it's not true!

We probably are just spoiled by how politically aware and sensitive and smart and fantastic our professors all are. (Hi guys! I get an A for attitude, right?)

22 June 2008

Three hundred sixty-five degrees

by Cecily
Yesterday I heroically spent hours and hours working on my work while everyone else lazed about by the pool and did crossword puzzles. And I didn't even complain about it barely at all, that is how dedicated and stoic and brave I am.

Then I was bored of doing work so I brought beer over to Lana's house and helped with the crossword.

Everyone else was worn out from their exhausting day at the pool and we had a long time to kill before our evening plans started. There was some discussion about just showing up at the party three hours early, but we were afraid that if we did, the hosts wouldn't be our friends any more.

So instead, some people took a nap, and Lana and I made a witch. Lana did internet research about it and everything. Apparently in Denmark, on the summer solstice, you burn a witch in a bonfire to protect the country from witches, trolls, and general evil.

people holding stick-and-straw witch

Since we were going to a solstice party we thought we'd better bring a witch with us to burn. We were not sure if burning a witch in Washington DC would protect Washington DC or if it would still just protect Denmark, but decided either'd be fine. We put the witch in the back of the truck with Ben and Lana and headed for U Street.

Sadly, though, the party-throwers suddenly developed all this prudence and good judgement and refused to allow us to light anything on fire. Thanks a lot guys! Now Denmark and/or DC remain unprotected against trolls.

witch made out of sticks and paper propped up on a mantel

All in all it was a pretty great night.

15 June 2008

Prague Vlog

by Cecily
I'm not in Prague. I'm in bed. I have a fever still or again.

But Kyle! Kyle is in Prague. (or at least, he was until recently. Hey Kyle where are you?)

And since Prague rhymes with you know what, Kyle made you a video about it. Et voila!


13 June 2008

what I do all day, when I am allowed

by Cecily
A couple of weeks ago Kate showed up at my house very early in the day. As per our previously-agreed-upon Plan, I met her on the front steps with shot glasses and a Corona. We immediately commenced doing shots of tequila, eating popsicles, and making tiny felt animals.

Later we met Lindsay and Darcy at Kramer's, and even later Kate and Davin busted out the National Geographics.

Tiny Felt Dinosaur and Tiny (to-scale) Felt Pony Tour the World.

photos by Kate and Davin.

Tiny Felt Dinosaur and Tiny (to-scale) Felt Pony Are Perplexed by but Overall Fans Of Stonehenge.

tiny felt dinosaur and tinier felt pony in front of a stonehenge background

Tiny Felt Dinosaur and Tiny (to-scale) Felt Pony Splish and Splash.

tiny felt dinosaur and tinier felt pony in front of a waterpark backdrop

The End.

More of this nonsense can reasonably be expected to ensue as the summer progresses.

12 June 2008

"I dream that one day I will measure the width of orange soda" ...

by Cecily
... he fantasized.

See, I told you. SO worth the wait.


All right, on to the actual blogging: I bring you a story from the olden days of last month when I used to be in Africa and did not have any sinus infections. To be precise, May 28, 2008. This story is called

Fanta Party Redux!

The party this time around was much more sedate than the last one, which was Out Of Control. It was kind of a let down. I was all ramped up for being mobbed by children and drenched in shaken soda and whatnot. I mean, that all happened, just not to the extent I was expecting.

I did get a sunburn though.

And a present!

Cecily kneeling by a small child and opening a present

Before that, the fanta-getting itself was also not without hitches. We wanted 2 cases of Fanta Orange, 2 cases of Fanta Citron, and 1 case each of Sprite and Coke.

But the Fanta sellers were out of Fanta Orange and also they were out of Sprite. So we ended up buying half and half of Coke and Citron (plus we had another case, mostly Citron, left in the kitchen at home). We also stopped at La Gallette (for other things) but they didn't have any Fanta Orange there either. It was a dry market for Fanta Orange! Which of course ended up being what everyone requested.

little children in school uniforms drinking Fanta

We took all our caffeinated American tooth-rotting beverages to the school and handed them out to everyone. Also we handed out many t-shirts with this

white on green silkscreen; a handprint is in the middle with amarenga above adn y'ikinyarwanda below

printed on the front. It says "Rwandan Sign Language" in Kinyarwanda.

medium-sized children in AKR t-shirts waving at the camera

I dream that one day I will add some more pictures of the actual party to this post, but Lindsay's off in France hobnobbing with phonologists and kissing her fiance and drinking wine and eating cheese. PROBABLY all at the same time. So since she's the one who took all the photographs at the party, my dream will have to wait until later now.

11 June 2008

jiggety jog

by Cecily
And, again, I am back in DC.

This return was not nearly as triumphant or as full of banana beer as the last one. (Hm. I guess I haven't told you that story yet. Sigh. I am so far behind on so many of my duties in this world.)

Anyway, because, my cold got worse on the airplane and now it is a sinus infection and I am all feverish and achey and slimy and whiney and generally EXTREMELY unpleasant to be around, and so because of those things, this lame and sorry excuse for a post is going to have to hold you until I can breathe/eat solid foods/walk upright without assistance once again.

Tra la la!

09 June 2008

Big M State #2: status report

by Cecily
St Paul is pretty fun and nice. It's been sort of rainy and cool here and I didn't really pack appropriately for the weather, which is a lovely change from the Swamp of Terrible that I left in DC (and that I expected to find here, too, really). I suspect that this is all Al Gore's doing: whoever heard of June being 65 and overcast in this place? Not me. Also not the mosquitos, apparently, because they are far more brazen and persistent than those wimpy mosquitos in Rwanda ever were, cold weather be damned.

show on Saturday was fantastic. Something like 700 people came to it and all the ladies in the audience swooned at the handsomeness and talent and overall likeability of all the band. Gentlemen swooned, too, in fact. Swoons all around!

Then yesterday we had a barbeque and ate lots of meat and chips and drank beers and laughed at the baby, who is 2 and has blindingly red curly hair all of a sudden and is the life of every party.

And now, I have a cold, or something, and everyone else has jobs and is too busy doing them to play with me. So I plan to sit on the couch and watch movies all day. I probably have to make more coffee though, I think the machine's empty.

My life is extremely demanding, I know, but it really doesn't help when you get all emotional and teary-eyed about it. Just keep on keepin on guys, and don't worry about me. I'll get the coffee made one way or another. I'm a real trouper like that.

05 June 2008

"hey! who turned out the lights?" Tom said darkly

by Cecily
The weather in Constitution City is crazy. There's all tornado watches and torrential downpours and my ceiling fell in. Among other things. I've been meaning to leave a burnt offering over at the Lincoln Memorial for a while now, in an attempt at propitiation so Ghost Abe will make it quit raining and we can use our clothesline again, but something's wrong with the battery in my truck. It keeps not working and I did not even leave the lights on all night!

This happened twice and both times were preceded by several days of the truck sitting around doing nothing. So maybe there's no problem after all, other than it being a very old truck I mean. According to some guy at a bar last night, I should try sanding away the corrosion from the battery. But I suspect that if it happens again, I will go to some professionals and buy a new battery instead of testing this theory.

Anyway as a result of all this, I am now the proud owner of jumper cables AND I KNOW WHERE THEY ARE. I am so prepared for anything. Plus I also am the proud owner of a lot of bungee cords. So when my friend Kate said "let's go pick up a gigantic bookshelf thing from Arlington" I didn't even ask her how gigantic it was. I just said "hop in!" and stepped on it.

As it turns out, it was very gigantic. We had an exciting journey back, with the bookshelf thing standing upright in the back of my very small, very old, kind of weakly (but very beautiful) truck. It was all tied down with many bungee cords but it was still very wobbly and nervous-making and we were the recipients of numerous worried glances. And probably some more angry-like, impatient glances as well but we ignored those ones because of our Zen-like attitude toward the world in general and specifically people with Road Rage.

Now my truck is parked at Kate's house and the shelf thing is still in it. Because I am far too delicate a flower to help her carry it inside. Also I had other things to do like get ready for my trip to Big M State #2 tomorrow.

This is gonna be a great trip, I can already tell. I will hang out with rock stars as well as Trisha and Emily and babies and another Kate and my brother.

This brother is excellent at my favorite kind of pun, the ever-hilarious Tom Swifty. In my opinion, his winning attempt so far is
"This seems like a mausoleum" Tom said cryptically

Actually that was a lie. That's not my real number one favorite. It's pretty good, but my real number one favorite is even better. But I'm saving that one for later. It will be the title of another post, any day now. Just you wait! It's gonna be so worth it!

02 June 2008

jiggety jig

by Cecily
yes, yes, I am home. Everything is fine. I'm jet lagged and culture shocked and have been spending all of my free time drinking beer and complaining, JUST LIKE I ALWAYS DO.

More later! Bye!