Wednesday, April 26, 2006

super fun etymology

From the ever-amazing

Karaoke (noun)

Pronunciation: [kah-rê-'o-kee]

Definition: Singing live to an orchestral accompaniment provided electronically or the electronic equipment for providing such accompaniment and recording the mix of voice and orchestra.

Usage: Today's word is not to be confused with "carioca" [kæ-ri-'o-kê], a native of Rio de Janeiro or a South American dance based on the samba. "Karaoke" is another lexical orphan with no other related words. (Don't miss the opportunity to meet other Word of the Day subscribers and discuss today's word in the YDC

Suggested Usage: Karaoke is most closely associated with the karaoke bars of Japan and elsewhere, where anyone with the courage can sing to the accompaniment of a professional orchestra: "Glynnis loves karaoke because she thinks bad accompanists kept her out of show business." Today's word hasn't expanded much metaphorically because of its newness but it already shows great promise: "Slim is a karaoke player: he thinks he is the star when, in fact, it is the team behind him that makes him look good."

Etymology: "Kara-oke" is a clipping (a shortening, like "doctor" > "doc") of kara o-ke-su-to-ra "empty orchestra" where "okesutora" is the Japanese pronunciation of "orchestra," borrowed from English. Clipping also applies to "Makudonarudo" (MacDonald's), shortening it simply to "Makku." As for "kara" it is also found in kara-shuchou "empty business trip," a business trip one doesn't make but collects the expenses for, and "karate" from the Japanese phrase kara te "empty hand." Japanese phonology (sound system) differs from those of European languages in two interesting ways. First, all syllables must end on a vowel and not on any consonant except [n]. Second, all syllables must begin with a simple consonant, not a consonant cluster like [st] or [pr]. So, "McDonalds" becomes "Makudonarudo" in Japanese and "baseball" is pronounced "besubaru" [be-su-ba-ru] to avoid the [sb] cluster and final [l] in [beysbal]. (Thanks to Mark Volpe, rising young mind in the world of word formation, for suggesting and providing the background for today's word.)

–Dr. Language,

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

big changes

Not Mr. Fabulous

Big Change 1:

Mr. F. has decided to transition officially and medically from female to male. I'm excited for him - he won't have to worry about being jumped, being yelled at in bathrooms, being scared. Some people read him as female and some people read him as male. I know that situation isn't a problem for him, it's when the two sides collide. They look to my Mr. Fabulous for an explanation and there isn't one, not really. He's a guy. He still gets a period. No wonder people get confused.

It's funny; when we're in public together solo we're totally read as a straight couple. People (men especially) don't tend to look at men, just women. And I'm so outrageously femme they (again, men especially) see a shadowy male figure by my side and figure "straight" and go back to looking at my chest. Whatever. Being read as straight by straights doesn't really bother me. Actually, I could care less. I am nervous, though, about losing the queer community. I'm a queer femme, chickens, and I can't be anything else. It's scary to think about being rejected from our dyke friends because Mr. F. is taking this step. Actually, I can't think about losing friends quite yet. It's too scary.

I realize this is all pretty incoherent. That's just about how my thought process goes about this these days. On one hand, I'm super excited for Mr. F. I'm excited for the changes, the broader shoulders and stinkier armpits (color me a freak, but I actually like the way guys smell), the whole kit and caboodle. Plus, I think he'll be even sexier (can you imagine that?) I'm attracted to transguys. And I'm really excited for him to move through a public space without trying to make himself as invisible as possible. I'm excited for him to feel safe. I'm excited for how this will affect us.

Then again, I oscillate wildly between excitement and terror. I think, wait a minute. How will this affect us? It can't be all roses. He's going to go through puberty again. I'm going to be dating the equivalent to a 14 year old boy, all hormones and moods and horniness. How will I be with that? What if the sweet, kind, fabulous guy I'm dating comes through this transition as a different person? What if he leaves with the estrogen and a dickhead is left? I know that's selling Mr. F. waaaay shorter than he deserves, but I really do think that going through a huge, life-altering process like gender/sexual transition will produce a different person. How different will he be? How different will I be? I'm so scared thinking about that. I'm scared about the stuff I just have to go through day to day.

I know I just need to trust him, trust that he's actually a good person and not sell him so short. June is when we're planning his first shot of testosterone. June is so close. Sometimes I wish he was getting the shot right now, sometimes I wish never. Sometimes it's hard to differentiate between the two.

Big Change 2:

Mr. F. and I were hanging out yesterday. We know that we'd like to buy a tiny little house somewhere in the Twin Cities (should that sentence be Big Change 2? Oh well, I'm sure you can keep up). I know that Mr. F. wants to buy a motorcycle like nothing else. Between those two big purchases, I was worried that Mr. F. wouldn't be able to propose to me in the next year (or should that sentence be Big Change 2? Yeah, we want to get hitched. Not anytime soon, but I would like to be engaged sooner than later). I asked him about it. He turned to me and said, "This is KILLING me. I HAVE to tell you. I ALREADY BOUGHT THE RING."


So I don't know when or how or where (I do know who and why, though), but Mr. F. and I will be getting ourselves engaged one of these days. We've looked at antique rings before, I can't deal with blood/civil war diamonds. I CAN deal, however, with a dead lady's diamonds.


I'm so excited to go wedding shoe shopping one of these days. It's going to be FABULOUS, darlings. FABULOUS.

So my two big changes are BIG, kids. BIG BIG BIG. And I'm very nervous and very excited for both.

This is neither me nor Mr. Fabulous.

sushi? moonies?

Now, ordinarily I'd scoff at articles that seriously linked Moonies to multinationals. Apparently that's just naive. According to this Chicago Tribune article, the majority of the US's sushi comes from True World Group company which operates under the dictates of Mr. Moon himself. Fuck. And I love sushi too. What to do? What to do?

Choice quote:

Adhering to a plan Moon spelled out more than three decades ago in a series of sermons, members of his movement managed to integrate virtually every facet of the highly competitive seafood industry. The Moon followers' seafood operation is driven by a commercial powerhouse, known as True World Group. It builds fleets of boats, runs dozens of distribution centers and, each day, supplies most of the nation's estimated 9,000 sushi restaurants.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

oh dear.

Someone thinks I'm sagacious! They're clearly misinformed and possibly (super) amiss in their idea of me, but hell, if some poor soul wants to think I'm perspicacious who am I to judge? Anyway, onward and upward:

Dear Abbess E,

A friend of mine* recently wrote to me with the following quandary:

"I'm sorry I've been out of touch. But I'll give you a brief update on my love life. I've got this terrible crush on this woman (yes, you heard right, woman) and it's killing me. Because I can't have her. Ok, it's worse than not being able to have her -- I actually think I could steal her away from her girlfriend of almost two years but I don't think I should. So everyday is a tug of war. I know she is having problems with her girlfriend and she does flirt with me but I don't want to be the reason she leaves her. I've never been with a woman. What if I break up this two year relationship & then decide it's not for me a week later? So I've just been waiting for her to decide if she still wants to be with her girlfriend but I'm getting impatient. I can't take her flirting with me much longer without seriously reciprocating. It's so damn hard being good. I think I'm gonna just break next weekend & make a move. If I have hot lesbian sex I'll let you know."
How shall I advise her? I await, with desperate expectancy, your reply.

Sincerely yours,Pal of Potential Sappho

*Please note that this is not one of those "friend of mine" is really ME affairs. Though I have been known to enjoy a good cliche as well as the next man.

Okay, POPS (ha), here's the deal. I've met your friend. Well, I haven't actually met your friend, but I've met That Girl a million times. That Girl is the bicurious one, the possibly even queer one who, oops, just happens to surround herself with queer women and, oops, befriends a hottie! What are the odds? This is what you tell your friend, "Honey, you answered your own question. You shouldn't break up the hottie's relationship. Can you even imagine the drama? You'll have your rebounding hottie on one hand and your own psycho-sexual drama on the other. It sounds like an angst-y, fucked up situation that can only escalate into more angst-y fucked up drama. And you're right. If you still think you're straight or at least primarily into men you'll just be hurting this girl in the long run. And speaking of run, run. Run now."

That said, who knows? Maybe your friend and her hottie are ultra drama queens. Maybe half of the attraction is based in the grief (oh the grief) and sorrow (oh the sorrow) of not having what you want. I'd like to bet that actually fucking would be anticlimactic but c'mon, we both know what will happen. Tears. An anguished reunion with the hottie's ex. Tears. Sloppy sex. Drama.

The only good thing that could come out of this - the hottie could (maybe) leave her current gf, which she obviously wants to do AND your friend could take that footstep out of the closet if she is in fact queer. Let me know what happens! I love this sort of drama now that I'm not, you know, LIVING IN IT.

Classic lesbian drama, much like your friend

Friday, April 07, 2006

happiness, part 2


Almost a month ago I let my Chilly Willy go. I miss her so much everyday. Here are two pics of us on her last day.

I just hope she's okay. I hope she knows I still love her.

those simpsons, they're so clever

I still haven't seen this episode and I still haven't read Gravity's Rainbow but oh, those Simpsons are funny.

18 lbs and whad'ya get?


So let's say you decide to send 18 lbs of stuff to your ex two years after the breakup. What would you put in the box? Meaningful old letters? Forgotten favorite sweaters? Old books? Photos? That'd be nice of you.

But let's say instead you fill your 18 lb box to your former lover with old bills, hated sports bras, shoes that pinch, old college assignment sheets (and let's say your former lover graduated, oh, four years ago?). Maybe you'll throw in some random books and yes, a stack of prized photos.

Now, of that list, I get the photos. That's nice. But the ratty sweatshirts? The bridesmaid dress that went with the most horrible wedding ever, complete with the archetypical Bridezilla? Why? It's CLEARLY trash, but hey, why not go through the hassle of packing and sending a huge ass box of random crap?

I remain mystified.

If you did all of the above, you and The Ex would be great friends. Maybe you could even go bowling together and commiserate about your days in Crazyville. Feel free to kick it on the weekends but for the love of our lord above please don't breed. That's my singular, humble request.

Ach, lest you think I'm a bitter, bitter lady (I'm only mildly bitter, promise) let's fill the rest of this space with good things! Last night was my friend Jessica's birthday, a truly lovely lady. First we had cookies at our book group (the funny and utterly fierce
eclectic Dykes) and then Thai food (Thai It, You'll Like It!) It's so funny to think how things have changed in the past two years. I remember being sick, being lonely. That real kind of loneliness that distorts things, makes intimacy seem scary and dark. Makes friends hard to find or see. I feel really lucky these days. Maybe it was all getting my Graves' stuff under control but I think it's more than that. I feel like my life is settling in comfortable ways, and comfort in the best sense of the term. That's exciting to me, you know? Lucky.

OH! And I've had a fire lit under me to get a tattoo. I'd like to go to this
cool-looking local place, the artist seems like she does really beautiful work. I've had the idea of a snowflake rolling around in my brain for the last few years and I've finally decided where I'd like it - upper back, just under the nape. Here's the sort of snowflake I'm thinking about - the kind of that make me think of rose windows and mandalas:

Namaste, of course, remains unblocked, unseamed, and unloved.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

that's it, i'm moving.

From today's New York Times:

BOSTON, April 4 — Massachusetts is poised to become the first state to provide nearly universal health care coverage with a bill passed overwhelmingly by the legislature Tuesday that Gov.
Mitt Romney says he will sign.

The bill does what health experts say no other state has been able to do: provide a mechanism for all of its citizens to obtain health insurance. It accomplishes that in a way that experts say combines methods and proposals from across the political spectrum, apportioning the cost among businesses, individuals and the government.

Universal health care AND gay marriage? Fuck this Minnesota shit, I want to move to Massachusetts! They're the only rational state in the union these days. AND I wouldn't have to deal with visa issues a la Canada.

Besides, I hear it's quite lovely there in the fall.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

word of the day: Atrabilious

Atrabilious (adjective)

Pronunciation: [æ-trê-'bi-li-ês] Listen

Definition: Peevishly gloomy; melancholic in the original sense of the word and exhibiting a proclivity for hypochondria.

Usage: The medieval assumption was that a superfluity of black bile (atrabile) caused melancholy, a gloomy and nasty disposition (black bile being one of the four humors flowing throughout the body—blood, phlegm, and choler, the other three). Now, "melancholy" has come to refer to little more than a pensive mood, perhaps soured by a jigger of depression. Today's word, though, retains the original meaning of peevish gloom, a setback many of us suffer (or enjoy) from time to time. "Atrabiliously" is the adverb and ”atrabiliousness" is the noun.

Suggested Usage: First, remember that the original meaning of today's word was pseudo-medical, so it always works in that context, "The dinner of cabbage and Polish sausage left Waldemar a bit dyspeptic and atrabilious, so he went home to call his doctor." But today it has become a fascinating substitute for "bad mood," whether passing or permanent: "Don't waste your jokes on Hammersmith; that atrabilious old goat has no sense of humor."
Etymology: From Latin atra bilis black bile + adjective suffix -ous. "Atra" comes from the same root as the adjective atrox "gloomy, dark, terrible," whose adverb, atrociter "violently, cruelly" underlies English "atrocity." Apparently, the connection is through "black" from the idea of "burnt." These words are somehow related to Sanskrit atharva "priest," and more clearly to Serbian vatra "fire" and Persian ataš "fire" from Old Persian "atar." Apparently, Latin atrium "atrium, foyer" shares the same origin, though the connection between fires and Roman atria is unclear. (Scott Stambler, a bit atrabilious himself at the time, sent us today's word.)

–Dr. Language,

Monday, April 03, 2006

18 lbs of drama, people.


I have this ex. The Ex, if you will (and oh, shall we). We dated for four tumultuous years. I would cry to Rich that'd we'd broken up (again) and he'd pat my shoulder with the appropriately sympathetic look on his face and then say, "Hey! Let's watch some Buffy!" and go off skipping. The man was bored with the breakups - who can blame him? I was bored. Well, actually, I was full of angst and confusion and overwhelming amounts of drama. Want to see a typical day? Okay, my chickens little, here it is:

Wake up.

Breakfast (low fat, low cal) She worried about my weight "for my health," even though she was a documented former and unreformed ana and loathed fat people. She liked my chest, hated the accompanying belly fat. You know, "for my health." Yep.

Stumble to work.


Lunch (low fat, low cal) See aforementioned reasons.


Sneak in my covert high sugar/salty snack treat. Be consumed with guilt and shame.


Stagger home.

Fight about going to the gym. Me: "You should love me for who I am!" Her: "You don't care about yourself!"

Break up.

Workout at the gym.

Get back together with a lot of tears.

Eat dinner (low fat, low cal)

Watch TV

Discuss maybe breaking up again.

Decide against it.

Go to bed.

Lather, rinse repeat.

Notice the lack of sex? Yeah, me too. Now stretch that day into FOUR YEARS and tell me you wouldn't walk out of that relationship with major issues and consequentially run through a herd of fucked up alcoholic queers with anger issues (of varying degrees). It's still a wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles that I found the nicest, cutest queer around, Mr. F. Seriously, it's so weird.

Anyway, the Ex decided to run through the old apartment and decided that two years after the breakup would be a good time to send me 18 lbs of my old crap. Clearly, I've been missing it. Or she thinks so at least. In her email of "Hey, I'm sending you 18 lbs of stuff!" she also said, "Hey, I want to be friends now! Let's email each other!"

Um, no.

Good lord no.

How do I go about saying "Um, no. Good lord no" without coming off mega bitch? The girl training in me decrees that I suck it up and email her short missives every so often and be her friend. The rational feminist training in me decrees that I can fill my life with whomever I goddamned please. Obviously, I'm going with the latter.

This is what I'm contemplating as my reply:

Dear Ex,

Thanks so much for sending my 18 lbs of stuff! I'm excited to see what's in it. As for e-mailing, I don't think it's a good idea. You're an awesome person and we had some really good times, but I think we had too much drama for too long to have a real, solid friendship. I hope you're doing okay these days and thanks again for sending my stuff along,

Take care,

How's that sound? To businessy? Too fake? It's not - it's 100% true but sometimes it's hard to tell what's real in email.

As I've been recently clued into, flah, I say. Flah.

Namaste is finished, I just need to block and, gulp, seam. I hate seaming but I figure having a project with a shitlong seam is a good way to get me to do it and hopefully, hate it a little less.

Also, I just found out today that I'm referred to as "The
HRC Sticker Girl" at work. I mean, yeah, I have a small HRC sticker hanging up here at work, but that gets me a whole title? I mean, go gay pride and all that, but still. Shiiit, at least I'm not "The Dead Plant Girl," which I could easily, easily be.