Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

I haven't done a good job with keeping up with this blog for the second half of this year.  I've been doing a lot of writing, so that probably has a lot to do with it.  I've been self-publishing books and working on a novella series.  I've also been writing and submitting short stories various places when I can.  So yeah.  If you're curious about the work I've put out so far, click HERE.

Anyway, I felt like I needed to acknowledge the interesting year we've just lived through.  We flew by Pluto.  We found water on Mars.  We got a new Star Wars movie, and it was good.  Not too shabby, as far as years go.

I just wanted to say Happy New Year!  Let's see what 2016 brings!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hi Pluto!

New Horizons is a success!  Today's flyby is an amazing accomplishment.  It's hard to believe that we finally know what Pluto looks like in great detail.  As a kid, I loved looking at images of the solar system, but I was frustrated by the fact that our best images of Pluto were so blurry.

That's not a problem anymore!

Say hi!

Billions of miles traveled.  9 years have passed since New Horizons loaunched, and it took many years of planning to even get to that point.  Congratulations to the people who made it possible!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zymotechnics

Here we are at the finish line!  Congratulations to everyone who made it!

I have a fun vocabulary word for you today.

Today's word is: ZYMOTECHNICS

Zymotechnics is the application of the principles of fermentation.  Fermentation is, of course, the process that converts sugars to acids, gases, or alcohol.  Sure, fermentation does more than give us tasty beverages, but that's certainly one of my favorite byproducts of the process.

Reasons to know this word:
-This is a good bit of trivia to pull out at a party.  It might impress your drunken friends or colleagues.
-By becoming familiar with this word, you are enjoying my final contribution to the 2015 A to Z Challenge, and that will make me happy.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Yex

Here I am on this penultimate day of the A to Z Challenge with another vocabulary word for you.

Today's word is: YEX

Yex is an old word that means "to hiccough."  In the course of researching this word, I came across this line:

"He yexeth and he speaketh through the nose." -Chaucer

Chaucer died in the year 1400, so that was a while ago.  It's not a word you hear often, that's for sure, but it's a fun one.

Reasons to know this word:
-You can now quote Chaucer, which makes you cultured.  I promise.
-The word "yex" oddly enough sounds a bit like someone sneezing.  That's mildly amusing.
-It rhymes with other fun three-letter words.  The potential for dirty limericks is there.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xenodocheionology

Today we have the letter X.  This is traditionally a difficult letter to write a blog entry around, but I think I found a suitably cool vocabulary word for today.


Whew!  That one's a mouth full!

Xenodocheionology is defined as the lore relating to hotels or inns.  You know, the stories about grisly murders, dead bodies. room #1408, and all that.

Reasons to know this word:
-If you ever learn to correctly pronounce it, you'll have truly accomplished something.
-If you ever wanted to try this out as a hobby, it could be quite entertaining.  I'm a skeptical sort myself, but I still enjoy the stories.  A lot of us enjoy a good, creepy story now and again.

Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Whelve

This is the last week of the A to Z Challenge!  We're almost at the finish line!  Let's celebrate with some vocabulary.

Today's word is: WHELVE

Whelve has a couple of definitions, though unlike the definitions for godwottery, you can see the similarity between these.

1.  To turn a vessel upside down so as to cover something.
2.  To cover up with anything; to hide, bury.

Reasons to know this word:
-I didn't know that the time I turned a large mixing bowl upside down to cover a cake so the flies wouldn't land on it, I'd actually whelved it.  That sounds kinda badass for such a mundane activity.
-When writing, you can say something dramatic like "I whelved my feelings for him in the hope that I might forget them."  Cool, right?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Vagarious

It's the last full week of the A to Z Challenge.  We're almost there!

I have another cool vocabulary word for you.

Today's word is: VAGARIOUS

Vagarious is defined as erratic and unpredictable in behavior and direction.

This word is rare in its usage, though I can't quite understand why.  I mean, we can all think of someone or something that fits this description, right?

Reasons to know this word:
-You now know how to describe the drunken behaviors of your friends or family members.  Or your own, perhaps.
-It's kind of cool to look at the connections between this word and more commonly used ones such as vagary or vagrant.  You can hear how similar they sound and see the similarities between meanings.  The evolution of language is a neat thing indeed.

Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Ubiety

I'm back with another vocabulary word for you!

Today's word is: UBIETY

Ubiety is defined as the condition of being in a particular place.  This word is rarely used, which I'm sure many of you might have guessed.

Reasons to know this word:
-If you're in a philosophical mood, instead of pondering the "whereness" of things, you can ponder their ubiety.  Sure, it's the same thing, but one feels more conducive to a philosophical mood.
-It rhymes with words like society, variety, sobriety, impropriety, notoriety, etc.  You could compose a lovely poem with ubiety and a few of these words listed here.
-It's kind of neat when a word with six letters has four syllables.  Or maybe I'm the only one who thinks that way.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for Tegestology

Today I have a fun little vocabulary word for you.  In fact, it was so fun, I wrote a Choose Your Own Adventure Story for it on my other blog.  You can find it HERE if you're interested.

Today's word is: TEGESTOLOGY

Tegestology is the collecting of cardboard beer coasters.  A tegestologist is the person who does the collecting.

Reasons to know this word:
-It's oddly reassuring that odd little hobbies like this have names of their own.
-Now that you know the word, you may be inspired to take up tegestology.  If you do, it could make for some interesting conversation at the next social gathering you attend.  Then again, I'm weird. Keep that in mind.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for Saltativeness

So you decided to come back for another stimulating vocabulary word?  Super!

Today's word is: SALTATIVENESS

Saltativeness refers to the ability to hop, skip, or jump.  It kind of sounds like the amount of salt you can find in your food or something, right?  When I first saw this word, though, I remembered my high school Spanish class and the word "saltar."  Saltar means "to jump."

Wow.  You kind of got two words for the price of one, didn't you?

Reasons to know this word:
-You can say sentences like "His saltativeness makes him an excellent hurdler."  I don't know why you'd want to say things like that, but you totally could!
-You can revel in the humor of this: Saying saltativeness might initially seem simpler than saying "able to jump" since you're using fewer words.  Yet the word saltativeness and the phrase "able to jump" contains the same number of syllables.  Perhaps that's why people use the word so infrequently.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Raconteur

It's another day, and that means it's time to share a new vocabulary word.

Today's word is: RACONTEUR

A raconteur is one who tells stories or anecdotes with skill or wit.

Reasons to know this word:
-It's the sort of word that makes you sound sophisticated when you say it.  If someone is dominating the conversation by telling such witty anecdotes that no one is interested in anything you have to say, you can try using this word.  There's no guarantee it'll help, but hey, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.
-It's clearly French in origin, so you can try saying it in an exaggerated French accent.  It sounds pretty cool that way.  Or maybe that's just me.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Q is for Quagswag

Here we are starting the last full week of the A to Z Challenge.  The time sure is flying.

Today's word is: QUAGSWAG

Quagswag means "to shake to and fro."

Reasons to know this word:
-There aren't nearly enough words that start with Q, so it never hurts to have another one in your arsenal.  Or, lexicon, to be more specific.  While the action conveyed by this word could in fact inflict bodily harm in some circumstances, the mere use of the word will not.
-If you threatened to quagswag someone until their brain turns to mush, the look on their face should be pretty hilarious.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for Phlyarologist

Here we are, already wrapping up another week of the A to Z Challenge.

Today's word is: PHLYAROLOGIST

One interesting fact about this word is that there's a bit of a disagreement online about what the word means.  One source shows it as meaning "one who talks nonsense."  Another claims that it means "one who studies nonsense."  In either case, whichever definition you go with, it's still an awesome word.

Reasons to know this word:
-Any time you're trying to study something that makes no sense to you, you can say you're a phlyarologist.
-You can take comfort in the fact that the act of speaking or studying nonsense is worthy of a fancy name.

Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for Omphaloskepsis

The alphabet is just flying by, isn't it?  Here I am with another vocabulary word, and this one's a weird one!

Today's word is: OMPHALOSKEPSIS

Good luck pronouncing that one!

Omphaloskepsis is defined as being obsessed with one's navel.  Who would be obsessed with their own navel?  Well, besides a little kid, anyway?  Some people actually use navel-gazing as an aid to meditation.  Hey, whatever works, right?

It can also be taken in a metaphorical sense. Someone who is so self-obsessed that they lose all perspective can be said to be metaphorical navel gazers.

Trust me.  I'm not making this up.  I wish I was clever enough to make this up.

Reasons to know this word:
-If someone you know is always engaged in selfish pursuits (and we've all known someone like this) you can accuse them of omphaloskepsis.  It's always satisfying to have more words to describe things that annoy you.
-If you engage in meditation, this might be helpful to you.
-It's a fun word to say!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for Nihilarian

Here I am again, bringing you another vocabulary word.

Today's word is : NIHILARIAN

Nihilarian is defined as one who does useless work or one who deals with things that lack importance.

Reasons to know this word:
-If you're the person who is routinely relegated to doing the most meaningless tasks during group word because the others don't trust you enough with the important stuff, you now at least have a cool title. When people hear that you're the group nihilarian, they might be impressed.
-You have something to call people who seem to have jobs but accomplish nothing tangible other than getting in the way.  Like all the middle men who only seem to make accomplishing seemingly simple tasks more difficult.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M is for Mogigraphia

Are you back for more odd or rare vocabulary words?  Well, if you insist, I can give you more.

Today's word is: MOGIGRAPHIA

Mogigraphia is a fancier term for writer's cramp.  It's also known as scrivener's palsy.  Neither term sounds appealing.

Reasons to know this word:
-If you're a writer, this is a condition you have to deal with from time to time.
-If you have it, you can call in to work and tell them you have a bad case of mogigrahia.  They may be too scared to ask what it is.  After all, it does sound rather alarming and potentially gross,

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for Ludibrious

Here I am again with another wonderfully entertaining vocabulary word.  Language is a wonderful thing, is it not?

Today's word is: LUDIBRIOUS

Ludibrious means that someone or something is laughable, ridiculous, or mockable.  We all know someone worthy of this distinction, don't we?  And I think we can all be ludibrious from time to time.

Reasons to know this word:
-There are so many absurdities in the world, it's worth your time to know all the words that could be applied to them.
-If you must insult someone because restraining yourself from doing so might cause you to strain a muscle, calling them ludibrious might enable you to do so without injury.  After all, if they don't know what the word means, they're less likely to hit you, right?  (I cannot, however, guarantee your safety.  It's still a risk, so do this at your own peril.)

Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for Kenspeckle

I'm back for another week of the A to Z Challenge!  Ready for more vocabulary words?  Well, if you're not, too bad!

Today's word is: KENSPECKLE

Kenspeckle is defined as easily recognizable or conspicuous.

I have the feeling that kenspeckle is easily recognizable or conspicuous when you stumble across it in a text somewhere.

Reasons to know this word:
-If you ever feel conspicuously out of place, you can say you are kenspeckle.  It may not help you fit in, but having an excuse to say the word might cheer you up.
-If you're ever writing a protagonist who has features that draw attention or is so over the top in his mannerisms that he stands out wherever he goes, you can jokingly name him Ken Speckle.  It's good for a giggle, anyway.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

J is for Jiffle

Here I am, just in time to bring you another vocabulary word!

Today's word is: JIFFLE

Jiffle is defined as follows: to move restlessly

It kind of sounds like it would mean that, so in this case, I think it makes sense.

Reasons to know this word:
-If you're writing and trying to convey someone's discomfort, you can only use the same old words so many times.  You can always try to amuse and enlighten your readers with this gem of a word.
-If you had this combination of letters during a Scrabble game, you could go for the obvious word "life", try to get away with using the name "Jeff", or impress your friends with "jiffle."  For this example, we'll just pretend the missing 7th letter is X or something just as difficult to use.

Friday, April 10, 2015

I is for Illecebrous

I imagine you'll love the next vocabulary word I have for you!

Today's word is: ILLECEBROUS

Illecebrous is defined as attracive, alluring, or enticing.

Ooo la la!

Reasons to know this word:
-Pickup lines become so easily overused.  Instead of saying that someone looks beautiful or handsome, you can say "You're looking particularly illecebrous this evening."  Sure, they might look at you like you have three heads, but if they're intrigued by your apparent intelligence, this just might work.
-If you need another word that rhymes with "capricious" or "facetious", this one will come in handy!  Poetry! 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

H is for Halch

Hello again!  Let's get down to business with another vocabulary word!

Today's word is so obscure that I could only find a couple of references to it.  Is it even a real word, or is it a word someone made up in the hope of seeing it catch on?  Not that I'm saying that would be a bad thing, as every word in our language was invented at some point.  Yesterday's word, for example, had a very interesting origin story.

Today's word is: HALCH

Halch is defined as follows: to hug; to press firm against one's self.

You can find one of the few entries for this word HERE.  That way you know I'm at least not fabricating it.  Though perhaps I should consider fabricating a word and trying to spread it around the internet.  It could be fun.

Anyway, let's get back to the word in question.

Reasons to know this word:
-The next time you read a romantic narrative, replace hug with halch and see how funny it sounds.  It could be worth a good laugh.
-In public, you can scream aloud for all to hear "Halch me!" and see how many strange looks you get.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for Godwottery

We're back with another great vocabulary word!

Today's word is: GODWOTTERY

I love this word.  Not only does it sound funny, but it also has two very different and strange definitions.

One definition is: a highly romantic, exaggerated garden that is composed of bizarrely incompatible plants and objects.

This definition comes from a Victorian era poem by T.E. Brown, and you can learn more about that HERE if you're interested.  It's a great history.

The second definition is: affected, archaic language.

So, that means if you're using strange, infrequently used or archaic terms to impress people, you're guilty of godwottery.  The same could be said if you like to keep lots of lawn gnomes and pottery and unusual plants in your garden.

Language is strange and I love it!

Reasons to know this word:
-It's a fun word to say!
-If you're using the words you learn from me to impress your friends, you now know a fancy term to describe that action.  Cool, huh?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for Formication

It's time for another fantastic vocabulary word!

Today's word is: FORMICATION

Read it carefully to make sure you don't confuse it with another word that sounds like and is spelled almost exactly the same, because there's a world of difference in meaning.

Formication a medical term referring to the sensation of small bugs crawling on or directly beneath the skin.  It is a particularly disconcerting tactile hallucination.

Reasons to know this word:
-If you're ever writing a dirty limerick using the word I referenced earlier, you'll have a word to rhyme with it.  It might make for an odd combination of words considering the different meanings involved, but the truly creative can surely pull it off.
-If you're playing the word game Hangman with someone, this word will probably mess with their heads.
-Another medical term!  You'll sound super smart!

Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for Emesis

Everyone gather to learn another excellent vocabulary word!

Today's word is: EMESIS

Emesis is defined as the action or process of vomiting.

Reasons to know this word:
-If you spent the entire night puking, you can say that you suffered from acute emesis.  It'll make you sound smart and distract from the gross nature of your nightly activities.
-Apparently this word is most frequently seen in the medical field.  So if you're interested in that line of work, this word is for you!
-Come on.  Be honest.  You want to know every word that describes something gross.  It's human nature.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

D is for Dactylonomy

Do I dare offer another word for my distinguished audience?  Well, yes, I suppose I do.  Otherwise my presence here would be pointless.

Today's word is: DACTYLONOMY

Dactylonomy is defined as the art of counting on your fingers.

Reasons to know this word:
-If you're ashamed of your profession or just feeling like messing with people, you can tell them you're a skilled dactylonomist, then act coy when they ask for details.
-If you have kids and someone else is bragging about how good their kid is at everything, tell them yours has mastered dactylonomy.  Yes, it's not the most impressive feat, but it sure sounds like it might be to those who don't know better.
-The word just sounds awesome!  Who wouldn't want to use it?

Friday, April 3, 2015

C is for Chantage

Here I am, ready to celebrate a cool vocabulary word.

Today's word is: CHANTAGE

Chantage is another word for blackmail.

Reasons to know this word:
-If you're ever engaged in any acts of espionage and you need to blackmail someone to get out of a hot spot, this word will make you sound more official.  Like you know what you're doing.  Plus, espionage and chantage rhyme.  How neat is that?
-Another word to pull out during a game of Scrabble.
-The word is French, and it's always cool to know words from different languages.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

B is for Battologize

For this, our second day of the beloved A to Z Challenge, I have brought you another beautiful but obscure vocabulary word.

Today's word is: BATTOLOGIZE

Battologize is defined as needlessly repeating a word or phrase; to iterate.

Reasons to know this word:
-When someone nags you about the same thing over and over, yell at them to stop battologizing.  They'll be so confused that you'll have enough time to make your escape!
-You can use it ironically in a song.  For example, write the lyric "I will not battologize" but use it in the chorus.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A is for Autophoby

Welcome to another year of the A to Z Challenge!  Today we start with the auspicious letter A!

This year I'm choosing obscure vocabulary words and sharing them with you.  I'll also give you cool, or silly (depending on your perspective), reasons why these are words you should know.

Today's word is: AUTOPHOBY

Autophoby is defined as the fear of referring to oneself or of being egotistical.

Reasons to know this word:
-If you're afraid you're becoming a self-obsessed jerk, this may be a good phobia to try on for size.
-If you're on a date and they are letting you go on and on about yourself without interruption, you'll know they may not actually be as interested in you as you hope they are.  They may simply be autophobic.
-If this ever comes up on Jeopardy, you can look super smart in front of your friends.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal

The A to Z Challenge is coming up quickly, and it's already time for the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal.

There are always those weird words that you can't quite believe exist.  Words with weird definitions, or words that describe odd, highly specific situations.  Maybe if we used them everyday, we'd be accustomed to their existence, but for whatever reason, they've fallen by the wayside.

For this year's challenge, I will choose a word each day that isn't well known.  I will give you a definition for that word, and then I will give you a funny, geeky reason or two as to why it is good to know what that word means.  I want to do this because A) being the nerd who likes to know weird vocabulary words is cool (I won't let anyone tell me differently), and B) this will give me the chance to try to be funny.  I don't know if I'll pull off the humor portion of things, but I will try.  And you can expect my love for science and science fiction to come into play from time to time.

Are you participating in A to Z?  What's your theme?

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Fond Farewell to Leonard Nimoy

I was sad to learn that Leonard Nimoy passed away today at the age of 83.

Since I was a child, I've known him as Mr. Spock.  His contributions to the world are many, and he will be missed.

You lived long and prospered, Mr. Nimoy.  Thank you.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Video: Riding Light

This short film is 45 minutes long, but it's worth a look if you'd like a light speed tour of our solar system!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Video: Winning at Rock-Paper-Scissors

Here's an interesting video explaining how you can use psychology to decimate your opponent. Though I've never tried it, I imagine this technique could be adapted to win at Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock as well.