The Holiday

My oldest friend, having discovered my plan to hide out alone in my house and avoid all turkey related things on Thursday, decided that wouldn’t do and that I should join him, his brother and a few of their friends in the largest city in the southeast, where his brother lives, for the holiday. I was not at all opposed. I could use a road trip and some time outside of my own city, and I always love spending time with him, so decided on a whim to join them. Off early tomorrow morning (like 4 am…it’s a long drive) and then back early next week after a stop on the coast to sere my old college roommate and her husband, who are expecting a baby any day now.

Lesson #261: The Sibling Digression

A college friend of mine (whom I visited in Amman in the spring, but is now living in Cairo) sent me a link today that I found wholly timely given the post the other day about my brother’s and my divergent sports fandoms. But there’s more than just that. Our personalities are shockingly different.

The article addresses exactly that. Despite growing up in the same family, siblings are not that much closer in terms of personality than if one were to pick two random people out of a population. There are three theories for this:

1. Divergence. Based on competition. When we were kids, my brother and I both played soccer football. I was good. He was better. When we moved to the US, the soccer and swim seasons were the same, so I had to choose between them and since I was always a much better swimmer than footballer (and probably to some degree because my brother never particularly took to the water), I chose swimming.

2. Non-Shared Environment Theory. The idea behind this is that because siblings have different ages, things happen for them within the family at different times. Like a death or divorce or a particularly hard time. In all honesty, the only way in which I can speak to that (given that I have two parents who are less than 6 months away from their 35th anniversary) is that my brother’s severe asthma made things more complicated for him when he was younger. There were times when he got very sick. I was a healthy kid, so I had absolutely no shared experience in that regard.

3. Exaggeration. Essentially, comparisons between siblings exacerbate a minute difference. My brother is as smart, if not smarter, than I am, but I always did better in school. We’re both introverts, but I’m far more social.

Anyway, theĀ  full article is here and it’s very interesting.

Lesson #260: The Blue Moon

I had always understood a blue moon to be the second full moon in any calendar month, but I am evidently not entirely correct.

I came across a really interesting article on today about the origins of the term blue moon. Before it meant what I always thought it meant* it meant the third full moon in a season that has four full moons.

Originally the full moons of each season were called the early[season] moon, the mid[season] moon and the late[season] moon. However, in 1937, because of a misunderstanding in Sky and Telescope magazine that went viral, we now understand a blue moon to be the second in a month with two.**

Merriam-Webster’s definitions include only the modern celestial meaning (though, admittedly, the first definition is the colloquial definition rarely.) The Etymology dictionary addresses, albeit awkwardly, the quarterly definition and notes that the modern definition is incorrect.

For more, go here and read the article, because it’s really interesting.

*I can’t help a Princess Bride reference here and say “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

**An interesting tidbit for the next time you’re at pub quiz…a blue moon will occur seven times in a 19 year cycle.

Lesson #258: Ringette

Inevitably, conversations with my brother end up on hockey. Which, I think, is because on the whole, we’re fans of different sports and what sports we have in common, we support different teams. He’s a Red Sox fan, I’m a glutton for punishment. He loves American football, I love soccer football. But we are both Maple Leafs fans.

Anyway, we were talking tonight and we got onto hockey and somehow that made its way to ringette (and his somewhat hilarious attempts to explain it to someone). At which he informed me, to my surprise, that ringette still exists. I had assumed that with the rise of women’s hockey, ringette was a thing of the past.

We both had friends who played ringette growing up. One of my friends, in particular, was very good at it. It was, essentially, what you played if you were a girl. It’s like hockey…played on ice with five players and a goalie, the penalties are the same, the rink is the same size, there’s a stick (sort of) and a puck (more or less) and the point is to get the puck (as it were) into the goal. The stick has no blade and the puck is actually a rubber and felt ring so it’s easier to handle than a puck, but other than that, it’s more or less the same as hockey.

And, while the largest ringette community is in Canada, once women’s hockey came into play as a viable option most Canadian girls apparently headed in that direction to dominate the world, the Finns pretty much rule the ringette world. They’ve won the last 3 (and 5 of the last 7) world championships. And placed second in the other two. (The Canadians have won the other two and finished second in the other five).*

*That information can be found here.

The delay…the problem…

The problem with the delays of late is that I’m rarely on my computer these days. It is on its very last legsĀ  (after four years of service and three hard drives*) and so I’m really only ever on for an hour or so a day, during which I’m mostly job hunting. This limited time makes doing the research necessary to keep the blog going on a daily basis nearly impossible. So pending my magically getting a new hard drive (which is going to have to happen sometime soon, I think…the wipe I did two weeks ago didn’t really take) or a new computer, the updates will be sporadic at best. I promise it’s not for a lack of interest…or of learning on my part — though to be fair, much of my learning these days is coming from Jeopardy!** It’s more that I just don’t have the same ability to do an hour of follow-up research on something I learned.

*The battery literally no longer works. For a while, it was going into hibernation every time it was unplugged, which was annoying, but it was WAY less annoying than what happens now when it gets accidentally unplugged, which is that it shuts off completely.

**I am killing the college tournament!

Lesson #257: Epalpebrate

It should be noted before this lesson starts that my cousin in a major Canadian city and I have very free form conversations a lot of the time. We’ve known each other our whole lives and have an odd shorthand of made up words and inside jokes. This post is for her…because the dearth of eyebrows is a long-running joke.

I came across the Save the Words website in a sort of roundabout friend of a friend kind of way this morning. It’s fun.*

The best word I came across, by far, is epalpebrate, a noun meaning “lacking eyebrows”. Weirdly, though the site is run by Oxford, I cannot find epalpebrate in any dictionary anywhere (including Oxford’s own) leading me to suspect that it is an obsolete word, which is sad.

Mostly because this is a word my cousin and I could have been using for the last ten years.

*The website, not how I came to know of it.