Category Archives: Explaining things

on from christmas and to 2010

Merry Christmas. I left Baltimore on the 29th, and I am in the north of England until January 5th.

I shall be back to regular blogging then.


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kids’s nonverbal games.

Two kids were playing this game in the 47 bus today, and as I observed, I realized  how whole game is about  nonverbal communication. The the orchestrator gives commands, some which the followers obey and some which they ought not obey. The followers can know whether they ought obey or not based on the leader’s verbal cues.

But what makes it a game is that three main ways the leader can throw off his followers are nonverbal:

1. He can make his nonverbals contradict his verbal commands.

2. He can use verbal repetition to dull the followers responsiveness.

3. He can mimic his paralanguage for the good commands on his bad commands, in case the followers are not paying close attention.

I give you, Simon Says.

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As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said through his fictional character, Sherlock Holmes, the small things often are the significant things. Take toast, for example. It’s so simple to make that no one bothers to do it well, so it usually turns out badly. And it’s small so it’s excused. Breakfast usually has tea or orange juice that you can use to cough the stuff down.

Toast is rough, though. Even the most sublime piece has to be consumed within 60 seconds of its creation or it’s just not worth the calories (the same is true of waffles). So don’t bother ordering this at a restaurant, unless the cook is willing to let you dash in and rescue the slices as soon as they pop up from the metal slats.

Besides, you can make it at home. Even common sandwich bread can be respectable. Of course, if you’ve got any snazzy bread, your chances of good toast go up ten-fold.

My toast has two non-negotiables.

One, it must have real butter on it. I’m kind of a snob about this. You can’t cheat with butter and not be found out.

Two, the butter must melt; i.e. it has to be hot bread. The toaster where I’m living now has this uncanny ability to produce browned bread that is room temperature. Now I nuke the bread before I toast it, and that usually works.

That’s it. After that, do what you will – jam, jelly, eggs, cut diagonally- whatever. Just be sure to get in a few bites within the critical period of 60 seconds.

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Filed under Contingency, Everyday, Explaining things

pleased as punch.

I had oft wondered the origin of this idiom. It wasn’t an uncommmon one around our household.

This morning, as I read Hard Times I ran across it. So it had to have been prevalent even before the mid-1850’s. Dicken’s work is rife with cultural references now out-dated, so my copy puts in little super-scripts and includes explanations for all of them at the end of the book.  They included on for this idiom as well.

“‘When Sissy got into the school here,’ he pursued, ‘her father was as pleased as Punch,’ ” was the sentence where it was used.

And in the back it said this:
“pleased as punch. In Punch and Judy shows, the puppet-hero repeatedly burst into self-congratulatory appluasse (usually after comitting some act of violence), so the phrase has taken on a proverbial status meaning to be excessively pleased with oneself.”

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blogger is back.

Things I have done this week:
Attended a 5 day, virtually 8-to-8 translation and linguistics course, which ended today. Tried to use paint to fix a picture (true story; see previous item). Scurried around for hours trying to send off my visa application. Over-nighted my visa application to Chicago. Met some really cool new people. Tried to cut class with a friend of mine, only to be thwarted, unknowingly on their part, though.

Things I shall do this next week:
Sell my car, Lord willing. See my friends in town for a final [12 month] adieu. Pack up my stuff, once again. Raise $1000 more support. Finish sending out thank-you notes.

Things I have thought:
I really miss tutoring my student-athletes. I am really going to miss everyone at Wycliffe. I’m seriously wondering if I’ll get my visa in time to leave September 3.

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I apologize if you have to catch a ride with me. I really do.

I’ll verbally warn you that there’s no air conditioning. I’ll neglect to mention any possibility of breaking down, and I’ll refrain from telling you about it ceasing to run for me last week.

When it rains, I’ll wait to explain until the last possible moment that even though it’s pouring torrentially (oh wait, there actually was a tropical storm warning???) I need you to either keep your window rolled down or I have to run the defroster on hot hair to maintain visibility. Lack of air conditioning, remember?

If you’re the lucky third person who has to crawl into the back seat of my little two-door, I’ll just remark about how little my car is. I’m sure you’ll understand. Men over six feet tall very nearly can’t fit into my car, front or back seat.

About the windows always down… I’m also actually also considering having passengers sign a waver to protect me if they get mugged by someone crossing the street while we’re idling at a stop light with the windows down (creeps, please don’t get any ideas).

All that said, if you need a ride, give me a ring.


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Picturesque from the Flat

Introducing for the very first time:

Picturesque from the Flat


Yes, I have a third blog. This has been under construction for quite some time, and I’ve debated about what it’s purpose should be. The third is quite different from Philosophizings and Mythopoetic.

It’s to be my London blog.

At its inception, it was a photo-blog, and I am hoping to keep up the photo blogging in tandem with my London updates. I’ve got some introductory information up, and I’ll be posting about my progress toward getting to London. So check it out.

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