Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Fingernail File -- Day 1

Welcome to the first edition of the Fingernail File.

Many years ago, I was chatting with the wife of a cow-orker. She noticed that my fingernails were uneven lengths and commented on it. (Nice, eh?)

I told her that I like long natural fingernails, and that I was trying to grow them.

She told me that she did, too, but, as soon as she broke a nail, she tore all of the other nails off so they'd all match.

Shortly thereafter, I started doing the same thing. When a nail broke, I'd trim all the others on that hand to the same length.

I noticed a couple of weeks ago that my fingernails are getting close to their maximum length on both hands.

I wondered how long it takes to grow them this long.

I decided to photograph them near nail-maximum, and note when I break a nail and have to cut the rest.

So, today, near nail-maximum:

Ready for hand modeling!

The nail on the left index finger is one of the longer ones, but it has curved like a claw, so it looks shorter than it is. It's actually longer than the one on the right index finger.

The pinkies and ring fingers always get longer than the others, though.

Weekly-ish shots until the first breakage....

Friday, September 18, 2009

coining words

I hereby claim the word schnoof as mine. I'm not sure I actually coined it myself, but I've been using it for years.

I originally used it to mean a surprise fit of laughter that made tea come out my nose. Later, when I started using nasal sprays to combat sinus headaches, I used the word schnoof for the act of squirting liquid up the nose.

So, schnoof: liquid going through the nose, either accidentally or intentionally.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The True Purpose of Facebook

I sat up until late last night (okay, early this morning) with a good book (Jeffrey Lent's In the Fall), blissfully unaware that I had to get up at 6am this morning to take my eldest in to her differential equations class. After 4.5 hours of sleep, I was looking and feeling my best, naturally, with about 90% of my brain committed to operating a motorized vehicle without mishap.

My daughter, naturally, thought this would be a good time to go over what she needs to study for her first differential equations exam. My bleary brain was about three leaps behind her.

She described several concepts. I nodded in a way that I hoped looked less sleep-deprived than I felt. She then described another concept, and said, “I forget what that one is called; it means something like negligible and it starts with an S.”

“I'm no help!” I laughed, “The only two words I can remember that start with S are synecdoche and syncretism, neither of which will be much use in differential equations.”

We sang along to the music for another ten minutes while my brain climbed to a higher level of consciousness.

“Oh!” I said suddenly, “I've discovered the one true purpose of Facebook, the one thing that justifies its existence forever.”

“The ability to make your relationship status public?”

“No,” I laughed.

“The ability to humiliate people by unfriending them?”

“No, no.”

“The fact that adults don't know how to use email these days?”

“No..., well, YES, actually. People don't know how to use email, it's true, and think that it's too much trouble, but that's not enough to justify the existence of Facebook.”

I thought then how my daughter is often able to latch onto great truths that escape me because they're under my nose. I mused about how email and blogs are too much trouble, because they require people to actually write something that requires some time and thought, while Facebook and Twitter and IM are better suited to quick quips.

“The one thing?” she prompted.

“Oh yes, the one thing. The one thing that justifies the existence of Facebook forever is...”

She looked at me with amused eyebrows while I finished the drumroll.

“...haiku,” I finished triumphantly.

She looked thoroughly confused.

It's true, however. No sooner had I set a pixelated foot in Facebook than my old haiku friends, some of the few people who are serious about English-language haiku that tries to do in 10-14 English syllables what Japanese haiku do in 17 onji.

These people used to hang out on email lists, creating long beautiful chains of haiku and eyeing one another's word choices and use of season words critically. A few years back, they all vanished. They have all been lurking on Facebook, apparently, waiting for me to get with it.

I have missed them.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

last of the big spenders

Every time I hear the words “the wages of sin,” I think, “Darn! If I hadn't squandered my wages of sin, I'd be set!”

This morning I wondered what exactly it is that I squandered them on. So here goes:

I, Heather Madrone, have squandered my hard-earned wages of sin on:
  • fast computers.
  • fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • scruffy intellectuals.
  • books.
  • blond kids in glasses.
  • yarn.
  • the right tool for the job.

how I spent my summer vacation

Songs that have been singing my heart this summer: