Thursday, May 11, 2006

Jeremy's Vocabulary

It may seem like a strange thing to write about, and yet, because these are the words I love to use in daily life (and really love to slip into my papers), you'll probably see them a lot in my other writings, so here's where it all comes from:

"Accost" - Used by some friends of mine while gathering to go to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert 27 December 2005 to describe the feeling of being asked for money by beggars downtown, and how it is usually best to try to avoid getting into that situation.*

"Assail" - A word originally employed by my psychology 125 class at St Olaf, but made all the funnier when used by our wonderful teacher, Gary Muir:
"See, the trouble with babies is they can't communicate. You can't ask them things like 'Do you see a doggy?'
'Do you just hear a buzz?'
'Are those entrails you're being assailed with?" - Gary Muir

"Context" - It's a legitimate word in and of itself, but it entered my vernacular as a tribute to my love for Apple computers. How on earth do those relate? The presenters in more than a few of Apple's online publicity videos for various software products like to use phrases about keeping workflow items in context (the specific example I have is the demo for Shake). Also, with the introduction of Mac OS X "Tiger" came the advent of Apple's "Core Data" system, in which managed objects are maintained within a "managed object context". Yes, it's a stretch, but after writing an Objective-C program using the Core Data backbone, words like that tend to seep into my vocabulary.

"Core ____" - No, it's not an apple core. When I use the word "core", it's most often in the context of referring to a basic underlying set of pieces (be that principles, values, beliefs, courses, or anything else that might be considered a building block of something larger). This, like "context", comes as result of my exposure to Apple's Objective-C programming environment, in which one comes across words like "Core Foundation", "Core Data", "Core Image", and "Core Audio". And then there are the "CoreServies" in OS X's system folder. Yes, I'm a geek.

"Homegoing celebration" - I'd never heard this combination of words until just a few days ago (added early August 2006) when one of the KTIS hosts was talking about his friend's funeral. It really resonated with me; I've long believed that funerals are supposed to be times to celebrate a person's life and accomplishments, especially when concerning someone who has lived a full, long life, and also to celebrate the beginning of their journey heavenward - this new phrase seems to aptly fit that aspect of my theology.

"Howdy" - When I first started in retail at the age of 14, I commonly greeted customers with a mere "Hi", but that didn't have enough syllables for my liking, so I gradually progressed into the more formal "Hello". That's okay for in-person encounters, but it's way too formal for the intrinsically impersonal email, thus I stole the word "howdy" from friend and former co-worker Peter Jerde.** (I also use the greeting "Hey!" or "Hey there!" [not to be confused with "Hey ya!"] because it is even more informal than "howdy" yet still maintains a higher respectability than a mere "hi").

"It went" - For when something has not gone particularly well, though not necessarily as badly as possible; this phrase is most often used in reference to tests to show a certain level of exasperation, the effect being something similar to: "the [test / event] is over, it didn't go as well as I'd hoped, but I don't think I completely failed, either".

"Simplistically put" - Stems from a now infamous quote in one of the books we read for my first-year religion class at St Olaf. This phrase is generally used in a sarcastic sense, the reason for which you will understand after reading the original quote:

"Simplistically put, reality is composed of an unending stream of transient, constantly changing, unreliable, contingent, and conditioned entities/forces, which are seemingly oppositional in nature, yet simultaneously harmonious, inseparably unified, and interconnected with their opposite and with all other reality in an interdependent, interpenetrating web of existence." --Lyn Bechtel

"St Mattress" - A term I use to describe my mornings on those Sundays when I just need to sleep in a little bit more. Rooted in Catholic tradition of praying to the Saints (I first heard this phrase from my my best friend Matthew Feeney, himself a Catholic), the most likely phrases are along the lines of: "I worshipped at the Church of St Mattress this morning" or "I was practicing my horizontal prayer to St Mattress."

"Sufficiently awkward" - Used by the wonderful math teacher in one of my favorite movies, 'Mean Girls', to describe her out-of-school encounter with some of her students.

"Y'all" - I use "y'all" partly because I work with a southerner in the theatre at MA, but primarily because I have long held to the belief that English should have a separate and distinct plural version of "you" like so many other languages."Y'all" fits this description nicely, and it's distinctive enough to make my language stand out slightly (at least amidst my normal midwestern surroundings). As an aside, I also think English should have a respectful form of "you" (like "usted" in Spanish).

*This is not an endorsement or ridicule of the spoken viewpoint, merely a factual retelling of the event that brought this word into my often-used vocabulary

**Peter always used "Howdy there" because it has three syllables, and can thus help cover up the fact that he had most often forgotten the person's name whom he was speaking to.

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