le (gros) mot du jour

What could be better, more interesting, and more useful than simply the word of the day? The bad word of the day, of course. We cannot deny that, though we need not necessarily use bad words ourselves, it is important and valuable to know the bad words, so that we are able to recognize and understand what is being said in the world around us. Foreign language courses seem to avoid such things, but at what cost? Firstly, the individual is likely to be quite lost when interacting with a native environment. Secondly, loads of potential interest is lost without them. Because most teens and adults are quite interested in the bad words, whether they’re willing to admit it or not. And thirdly, such words and expressions share loads about the culture tied to the language.

I am very much not a bad word person. And yet two of my favorite words in Japanese are manko and oshiri. It’s probably because they are such silly yet useful words that I enjoy them so much. They are fun to know, more than useful. Which makes them even more fun to know, I suppose.

So, yeah… the (bad) word of the day sounds like a kind of amazing idea to me… so long as the students can handle it, that is…

Post-a-day 2021

Making music

I started writing another song last night. It was initially to help me organize and express some thoughts around the work situation within my life so far – how it isn’t exactly consistent in terms of title or finances, but it is always part of being my true self and being committed to making a positive difference in this world. But an unexpected line showed up right at the end of the session last night, and it was clearly part of the chorus. It was a line about listening to the angels around me. And it made sense, but seemed almost out of place for the content so far in the song…

Until today, that is. Today, for whatever reason, a deeper fullness arose for the song. My mom and I discussed the situation with my Opa, how he is dying, and how he might finish that process in the very near future. It is an uncomfortable thought, itself, but we both are ready to allow what needs to happen next in the situation. At least, as ready as we know how to be…

However, after she and I discussed their things for a while, and then got off the phone, I started working on the song again, as I had just begun before our phone call (I think I had, anyway). As I got reacquainted with what I’d written so far, I started feeling what ideas needed to come next. I was reminded of the encouragement my Opa had given me one day, and felt immediately that it was perfect to use for the song, as it expressed what I was wanting to express… and then the idea fleshed out a bit…, and, without realizing it, the song had a deeper meaning.

Not only am I listening to the angels around me, having them call me forward in life, but a new one has just joined them, and he has given me further encouragement to follow this path I am forging in my life. Every time I sang that part of the song, I could barely get words out by the middle of the verse, and had to stop altogether for the tears and emotion that arose. And I think the words communicate beautifully in the song, even without someone’s knowing the whole situation.

Anyway, I look forward to finishing that song, but, boy, is it going to be a tough one, emotionally speaking.

Post-a-day 2021

Brains and words

I’m listening to a news audiobook this week. In it, the narrator does hand lettering and calligraphy. At various points in the story so far, she has described how she often sees the letters of the words people say, as though they are out in front of her, and she describes to the reader the size and style and font and, even at times, movement of those words. Every time she does this, I find myself agreeing with her. Yes, I saw it that way, too…, because I had seen it that way, when the other characters had said what they had said, before the narrator had described the way she had heard and seen it. I don’t have the education regarding specific fonts that she seems to have, but I’ve done a touch of research along the way, as she mentions something of which I am not certain, and now understand exactly what she means as she describes various fonts and words. And I get it, every time.

Which made me suddenly realize that, though I can relate so easily to this character in this way, I do not believe that was necessarily the intention. That is, I think she was more meant to be a sort of artistic anomaly, one that is fascinating to the normal folk, because they are not like she is; they do not see the world of words as she does.

At the very least, however, I have a fictional comrade in seeing the words that people speak, and then, likely, at least one person in real life, be it the author or someone the author knows. So, I’m not entirely alone on this.

But it does have me wonder how many people do actually see words this way, as I and this character do. Like how some people hear smells or see sounds; like how Julie’s R is always the color purple (a girl from my program back in France, many years ago). Is this a matter of neuron pruning, like synesthesia? Is it only a small piece of the population, or are there actually millions out there?

In a way, I wonder how alone I am on this way that my brain functions…

Post-a-day 2021

Talk

“The pleasure was All mine.”

What kind of comment is that? I know, I know: it is typical in the US. But how did we get there, and why have we stayed there? It was a pleasure for me, too. I even said so. So, why is someone degrading my experience and my statement, declaring them to be false?

Or had no one considered that that was what was happening when claiming the pleasure all his own, instead of having been shared by us both or all?

Post-a-day 2021

^Still had to think about it, but I got it the first time 😉

Grammar, man

I shared about some grammar concerns today with someone new. It didn’t exactly go very well, so far as accepting and understanding go. I was left with an experience of having been not heard, not believed, not trusted, and considered bizarre in a negative way. I merely shared that there were errors in the copy of almost everything official that I had read by this company, and that I wanted to reach out to the right individual or individuals to begin creating the corrections for all of those errors. I even gave various general examples of the error types that I had found. After doing that, I was asked what kind of errors I had found. I repeated myself almost verbatim in answering the query.

And I know that I care about language and grammar loads more than any average human being is likely even capable of caring – I get that. But it doesn’t make it suddenly not suck when I experience someone not only distrusting and disbelieving me but also verbally responding with words that suggest that I am a negative anomaly in the world. Because it does suck when that happens, and that does happen.

And I get that this person likely was very tired and rather surprised by the concept I was presenting. That also does not make it suddenly not suck, how that person responded to me.

So, I just wanted to share that – that it really sucked in those moments of someone, whether knowingly or not, invalidating me and my concerns for the betterment of this company.

Yeah.

I guess this is an opportunity for me to look at how I might do the same to others, especially when I am tired or sleepy. 🙂

Yeah. 🙂

Post-a-day 2020

The story for tonight

Tonight, I keep it extremely short:

Lin-Manuel Miranda, I thank you – you have given the world such wonder and love and beautiful creativity and expression, and we, the people, are grateful. 😉

And for all of it – you are a gift, and you have shared your treasure with the world at large… for that, and for following your passion and love, you have helped to make the world a better place on both a personal and a global level.

Thank you.

Post-a-day 2020

Grammar Nerd

I submitted a semi-formal complaint today at the grocery store.

…..regarding grammar…

You see, they’ve been redoing posters in this store recently.

One of my favorite posters was replaced by a somewhat lame poster, right where I can’t miss seeing it as I enter the store.

That was already an annoyance.

Now, add onto it that this semi-lame poster also incorrectly uses the word (the adjective, in fact) “everyday” in place of the correct, two-word, adverbial version “every day”.

That blew it up for me… I wanted to vandalize like that little comic-type drawing is of the old lady spray-painting a correction on some sign, and being carted away for it by the police.

I could practically picture the whole thing.

And so I considered doing what I had done on a sign at my high school once, and just taping a piece of paper over the sign, displaying the correct wording on my added piece.

(Yes, I actually measured the sign letters on this new sign at school that read “PULL UP SLOW”, and hand-wrote “LY” in a similar red block script, taped all over the paper to seal it from rain, and then taped it deftly and thoroughly to the edge of the sign, in line perfectly with “SLOW”, but totally sticking off the edge of the sign, due to how the words were placed….

Not long afterward, the sign disappeared altogether…….. eventually to be replaced by a new sign that read “PULL UP SLOWLY”….. success.)

But the sign was so big, and I worried at being accosted by police or being given a ticket for it, despite my noble intentions…

So, I casually brought it up in conversation with employees here and there, and they mentioned that they would say something about it to management…

And then I waited…

And, months later now, I walked in today and saw this blasted sign, alongside a new sign that listed the store hours, underneath a bit that reads “Open Everyday”…

That was it.

I went straight to the help desk, and calmly asked if I could make a small, likely pretty odd complaint.

Of course, was the response.

‘It’s about the posters outside,’ I said, and three heads and three pairs of eyes suddenly popped straight at me, aghast.

I assured them that it wasn’t anything bad about them, and then carefully explained what was wrong, that I, admittedly, am a teacher and am accustomed to correcting this sort of thing all the time, and that I didn’t mean to freak anyone out, because I know it is a small thing, but I want them to have the accurate version.

And so, as I explained why “everyday” was wrong and “every day” was right for the two signs, the guys who was the initial person to talk to me wrote a note to give to those in charge of all the signage, and he even showed it to me, so I could verify that he’d gotten it right.

He had.

And I was relieved.

They even said that they hoped I still would come to the store (I had told them that it made me not want to come back, it was driving me so nuts now), which I found to be sweet.

Whether they saw me as crazy or not – the guy did say that I needn’t explain myself, not in the least, so that’s hopeful that at least he didn’t find me to be crazy – they were still kind, and still wished me well.

I then did my shopping with a great sense of relief – at last – in my body, having finally done something that truly could handle that “everyday” situation (which, unfortunately, is becoming a sort of everyday event, now that no one seems to learn grammar and spelling anymore).

Post-a-day 2019

Profundity in Precipitation

I always feel so profound when it rains… Like it is time for me to start writing my book… Or to continue writing… to spill out and pour out lines worth quoting, thoughts by which to live each day, a guide to life in ten words or fewer as a page-a-day calendar – as the rain pours around me, words pour from me…

Perhaps it is a sign that I need to go somewhere like Washington to write my book, so I can be often in the rain…

Perhaps… perhaps… perhaps…

Post-a-day 2019

Lingo-bot Life

Occasionally, I feel a bit lame and down about my seemingly lessened and lowered Japanese skills.  But then I have experiences like tonight, where, when speaking with a Japanese man, he was unable to come up with the right Japanese words immediately or at all – we all take longer to process, when we aren’t using a language all the time; even native speakers.  When it happened tonight, I told of the many times I, myself, was unable to come up with an English word while living abroad.  When immersed in one language, it id much more difficult to recall another, native or not, language.  So, I just need to immerse myself more often in each of my languages, and that will help significantly – it is all still there; it just needs a bit of encouragement and exercise.  😛

Not that this is news to me – it was merely a welcomed reminder.  🙂

Post-a-day 2019

late-night chatter

Tonight, I share an exchange I had with my mother on the late-night ride home tonight, as a sort of appetizer for what is to come soon regarding mistaken words spoken aloud:

Mom: “[…] and I had several many [phone] calls…”
Hannah: “How many calls did you have?”

And then we both totally cracked up as she tried desperately to answer, but couldn’t even get the whole word several out, and I commented that she had clearly used the quantification of the phrase ‘huge big’.

Post-a-day 2018