Archive for September, 2009

The Times (Square), They are a Changin’

September 30, 2009

The Virgin Megastore on Times Square is being replaced by a Forever 21.

Seriously??

Oh, and an American Eagle is opening up right across the street from it.  Times Square is supposed to be energy, traffic and excitement.  It should live up to its image as “the crossroads of the world”.  Instead, in just a few months it’s become a popular lounge area with all the spunk of a well-lit outlet mall.

Why do I have the sudden urge to watch Empire Records?

– J

A Three For All

September 30, 2009

So today marks 3 years back in NYC. 

That’s about 1,577,846 New York minutes and about 1,500 country miles away from Texas. 

Eventually I guess I’ll reach a point where I stop counting.  For now I still enjoy looking back every year and thinking about what’s happened.  And I have no idea how to put this past year into words.

A funny thing happens to me every three years or so.  I usually look around and say to myself, “Well, this has been fun. But now I’ve seen this and it’s time to move on.”  Then I uproot my entire life and take off in another direction.  This pattern has gone on the last 10 years or so.  The odd thing about this 3 year block of time though, is that I have no desire to change anything.  I’m happy with my life, I feel like God is using me here, and I’m having way too much fun.

Again, thanks to everyone who reads these little scribbles and also to anyone who has befriended me here in NYC.  Y’all are truly blessings from God and the reason I’m still here. 

– J

PS3

September 28, 2009

About a month ago Sony announced the long awaited price drop on the Playstation 3.  Along with the price drop on the original model, they also released the PS3 Slim which is smaller, just as fast and 120G.  A vast improvement over the bulkier 80G.  So, once again, I did my part to help stimulate the economy by purchasing expensive electronics.  Seriously, the things I do for my country.  I deserve a medal or something.

From the perspective of someone who’s only been playing the Wii for the last few years, this machine is amazing.  Aside from playing games and Blu-Ray movies, you can download older PS games similar to the Wii’s Virtual Console.  The PS3 takes it a step farther and also allows you to download movies, TV shows and music.

I started playing Resident Evil 5 the same day I got the system.  Two weeks ago Batman: Arkham Asylum came out.  This game was one of the main reasons I got the PS3 when I did.  I traded my PS2, controller, DVD remote and a few games toward the purchase of Batman.  To give an idea about trade in rates these days, the console and all still only covered about half the price of the game.

I won’t bore you with more details, but I’m having a blast.  It’s a totally different gaming experience from the Wii.  It’s a more hardcore system, best suited for immersive, one player games as opposed to the Wii which is geared more toward groups and families.

Well, y’all take care.  I’ve got zombies to kill.

– J

Funny Because it’s True?

September 21, 2009

Long standing quote:

“Why is there a hole in the roof of Texas Stadium?  So God can watch his favorite football team.”

Quote explaining last night’s loss in the new stadium:

“God must be pissed because of that big screen blocking his view.”
 – My roommate

You know, he might be on to something there…

– J

Measurements 2.0

September 17, 2009

I seem to be on to something here.  I knew I wasn’t the only one curious about these kinds of words.  At the prompting of a few readers, here’s some more discoveries I’ve made about the history of small units of measurement.

Dab

An interesting thing about “dab” you’ll notice is that it’s only used in reference to semi-solid materials.  You’ll never hear someone ask for a dab of steak, but a dab of mashed potatoes is fine.  I’ve used a dab of glue, but I’ve never put it on a dab of wood.  This is because dab was not originally a form of measurement, but a syrupy medicine used in the late 1800’s.  Dab was a famous cure-all sold in small towns by crafty salesmen from the larger cities.  If you’re arm was sore, put Dab on it.  If you had a toothache, put Dab on it.  Although today we know it was clearly a sham, “dabbing” something still made its way into common speech.

Dollop

The “Dollop” was created by the sour cream industry in conjunction with a major whipped cream brand based out of Glenview, Illinois.  During a marketing meeting a young, spry associate was asked to describe the products when used.  In a panic he looked up from his doodle and said “Uh, it goes Plop.” And the manager said, “No, that was taken by Alka-Seltzer.”  Adding another ‘o’ was out of the question, because then you were left with “polop”, which is a terribly unfortunate homonym.  So they decided to change the first letter AND add another vowel.  After a quick brainstorming session, the Dollop was born.

Measurements of Force

The evolution of most words describing force are based on reversed phonics.  Instead of sounding out the words, you word out the sounds.  Almost all sound words are onomatopoeia’s* (words that sound like what they are describing). 

Because of this, words like pop, pow, crack and whack all originated in stories told from person to person and then had to be spelled once they were written down.  And of course, these are also the sounds that Adam West makes when he punches someone.

It’s entirely possible I’m having too much fun with this…

– J

* fun fact: the word onomatopoeia IS in fact an onomatopoeia, describing the sounds made when trying to pronounce the word onomatopoeia.

Home Sweet Home

September 16, 2009

A poll on the facebook group planning my 10 year high school reunion:

“Would scheduling the reunion for the first weekend in November (opening deer season) effect your decision to attend the reunion?”

Possible answers:

– Will not attend anyway… doesn’t matter what date

– Will not attend due to deer season… would attend otherwise

The south.  Gotta love it.

– J

A Little Off

September 15, 2009

Not too long ago I noticed an alarming amount of random words used for small measurements.  I also realized that we use them all the time but nobody seems to know where they came from or how they ended up in our daily speech.  So I did some reasearch and decided to share my findings with you.

Tad

First up is a “tad”.  The tad measurement has perplexed many linguists.  Most assume it’s a singular word when it is, in fact, a shortened form of the word “tadpole”.  When American settlers first decided to build homes in Louisiana, they were forced to build on marshlands with crude tools.  Lacking rulers they used many common items and animals around them to dictate length.  It was not an exact measurement, but the average tadpole is approximately half an inch long.  When using a “tad” to measure volume, it means something about the size and weight of a tadpole. Some other measurements from Louisiana they used that did not catch on include a gator tooth, an elm leaf and a bucket o’ swamp water.

Bit

When someone asks you for a “bit” of something, they probably don’t know exactly what they’re asking for.  Unbeknownst by most (because it mostly isn’t true), the bit did not always reference a very small portion of something.  The bit measurement comes from a horse bit which holds the reins in a horse’s mouth.  Back then, the average horse bit was a cylinder about 5 or 6 inches long and half an inch in diameter.  They have since been modernized and PETAfied to be thin pieces of metal with hinges on the edges to allow more comfort for the horse.  But the next time someone asks you for a “bit of salt”, don’t let them get mad at you for dumping about 4 ounces of it on their green beans.  They got what they asked for.

Oh, and the “little bit” is, obviously, the bit used by a Shetland Pony.

Smidgen

Smidgen comes to us, like so many words, as a contraction gone awry.  The correct spelling is Sm’idgeon.  It’s a combination of the words Small and Pigeon.  I know, I was surprised too.  But this does explain why you mostly hear the word smidgen in reference to food.  As with the bit measurement, a sm’idgeon was also originally a lot bigger before being adapted into modern dialects.  I, however, still put a sm’idgeon of butter on my popcorn.

Yes, I know a few quick google searches would give me the true etymology of these words and phrases.  But I am of the mind that it’s just way more fun to just make stuff up.

– J