Daily Archives: April 17, 2007

Scratch Pad, April 16

More stream of consciousness joy:

10:45 AM:

I am going to reward myself with the two-volume shorter Oxford dictionary after this contract, to help take the bad taste of poorly constructed reference books out of my mouth.


I am convinced that this dictionary was written by people who thought they knew the definitions and didn’t actually look them up, because the ones that aren’t dead-on are kind of but not really right. Or they’re defined as the general populace understands them, which is not the textbook definition. I am appalled that this thing got published.


I am also tired of correcting figurative use when the literal definition should be there first.


No, I’ve got it: it reads as if it was assembled by schoolchildren who inferred the meaning of a word by its use in a piece of text. Therefore, someone reading the phrase “sunnier climes” might infer that “climes” means different or variable weather, as this dictionary says. Except it actually means climate.


Does one “believe in a religion”? Doesn’t one believe in the doctrines, and follow the religion?

12:47 PM:

Looking up “pacemaker” to see if the definition requires finessing, I discover that “An external pacemaker was designed and built by the Canadian electrical engineer John Hopps in 1950 based upon observations by cardio-thoracic surgeon Wilfred Bigelow at Toronto General Hospital. A substantial external device using vacuum tube technology to provide transcutaneous pacing, it was somewhat crude and painful to the patient in use and, being powered from an AC wall socket, carried a potential hazard of electrocution of the patient by inducing ventricular fibrillation.” I’ll bet. (Thanks, Wiki.)


Continuing the thought of 11:28 and 11:17, above — “Tether”: “having no strength or patience left”. Obviously inferred from “at the end of one’s tether”. Argh!


From HRH, on the subject of me being too shy and lame to ask someone I don’t know to escort me in and out of the office while my keycard is non-functional: “You’re not lame, remember you’re a hot lady in an office of guys. Ask and they will comply, Ph34r t3h cut3, resistance is futile and all that.” Me: “Who are you, and what have you done with my husband?”


Mellanmouse takes good, good care of me. I have hot chocolate and a reactivated keycard. I am no longer a prisoner. Now I can listen to Evanescence instead of the soothing Loreena McKennitt I was relying upon to keep me balanced earlier. I love her with much love.


Looking up “exponent”, I found this example: “Jaqueline du Pré was a leading exponent of cello-playing”. I like it when my world and the world of this imaginary dictionary intersect.


The serial comma is your friend. Do not fear the serial comma!


Every once in a while we hear howlers from some part of the room as the team members test code to see if it functions. Some of the definitions that are pulled up are insanely incorrect. Some of them I’ve found so far; others are yet to come.


I think what frustates me most is how *close* some of these definitions are, and yet how they still miss the mark. For example, to admonish is kind of like “to advise someone to do something”, but it lacks the implication of warning. If someone learned this word in the context for which I’m refining these definitions, they’d use it incorrectly. And I refuse to let that happen.



New word(s) today: pelmet.

Also? Yay me for remembering my grandmother’s birthday.