Saturday, December 31, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “persnickety”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/22/10: “persnickety”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg


1. Fussy about minor details.
2. Snobbish.
3. Requiring keen attention to detail, as a job.
Variant of pernickety (the spelling still used in the UK). Of unknown origin.

“Clean sheets and towels?”

“Of course, that’s the first thing I did.”

“All of the ESPNs unblocked from the DVR?”

“Yes, but how many football games can one man watch, anyway?”

“I don’t know; he’s your father. What else, what else....Hypo-allergenic soap in the bathroom, decaf coffee and six different kinds of bran cereal in the kitchen....”

“Would you please relax and stop being so persnickety! They’re just my parents.”

“Just your parents. Just your parents! Are you kidding me?”

“They’ll love you. Because I do.”

“Oh. That’s so sweet. Now, go mop the garage floor before they get here.”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “weathercock”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/21/10: “weathercock”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
The French writer and philosopher Albert Camus once said, "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal." Can you recognize people like that around you? This week's words will help you describe them.


1. A weathervane, especially one with the figure of a rooster on it.
2. One who changes readily or often.
From weather + cock.
The words weathercock/weathervane are especially suitable for politicians who change according to prevailing winds. Quebec's legislature has gone so far as to impose a ban on their use.

“Black T-shirt, three o’clock. So hot.”

“Agreed. You should go for it.”

“No, he’s talking to that blond guy. What about the guy in the red shirt?”

“Ooh, yeah, spicy.”

“No, now all I can think of is the red-shirts from Star Trek.”

“That’s true.”

“There’s Martin, he’s single.”

“And cute.”

“You called him ‘Martin the Martian’ the last time we were here.”

“Did I?”

“You know, you’re supposed to be helping me pick someone to hit on.”

“I am! I’m being supportive! It’s not my fault you’re such a weathercock.”

“Well, if I’m a weathercock, then you’re a weathercocktease.”

Friday, December 30, 2011

AWAD serial, part 4: nimbus (warning for f-word)

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/18/10: “nimbus”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg


PRONUNCIATION: (NIM-buhs), plural: nimbi or nimbuses
1. A rain cloud.
2. A halo or aura around the head of a person depicted in a piece of art.
From Latin nimbus (cloud). Ultimately from the Indo-European root nebh- (cloud) that is also the source of nebula, nephometer (a device used in measuring the amount of cloud cover), and Sanskrit nabh (sky).

He’d put his kids on the plane back to their mother an hour ago. Now he was home again, alone, a dark nimbus of self-pity hanging overhead. And he was out of beer.

The cashier at the convenience store smiled and flashed her cleavage when he came in. He nodded and wandered towards the cooler.

When he went to pay, she was talking to some swishy guy who was telling a story about “Michael and Tommy and Nigel.”

The word just slipped out.

“Excuse me?” the guy said.

“Did you just call him a fag?” asked the cashier. “Get out.”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “pluvial”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/17/10: “pluvial”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg


adjective: Of or relating to rain, especially much rain.
From Latin pluvia (rain), from pluere (to rain). Ultimately from the Indo-European root pleu- (to flow), that is also the source of flow, float, flit, fly, flutter, pulmonary, and pneumonia.


I had to cheat a bit and use google for this one. Sort of a follow up to "virga".

“Well, you got your rain.”

“It’s definitely not as romantic as the song.”

“Especially when you can’t get home due to the pluvial flooding.”

“What the heck does that mean?”

“It means that when it rains, this road is underwater.”

“You could have just said that.”

“I was trying to impress you with my big vocabulary.”

“And I just wanted to get you home so I could impress you with my big...vocabulary. But the pluvial flooding has put a pluvial wrench into the works.”

“ could come to my place.”

“Really? Are you sure?”

“Yeah. Consider it an olive branch.”

AWAD serial, part 3: El Niño

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/16/10: “El Niño”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg

El Niño or El Nino

noun: A weather phenomenon characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.
From Spanish El Niño, literally "The Boy Child", referring to Baby Jesus as El Niño phenomenon is noticed near Christmas.
El Niño, which occurs every three to seven years, is marked by warm sea surface temperature along the coast of Ecuador and Peru in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Its effects on weather are observed around the globe. A counter part is La Niña "The Girl Child" in which unusually cold ocean temperatures are observed in the Equatorial Pacific.

Even the weather hated him. He was alone and depressed, and normally at this time of year the weather would have justified that mood. But El Niño had to go and wreck it by giving him sun, blue skies, and a soft breeze instead of clouds and drizzle.

Well, he sure as hell wasn’t going to enjoy it. He grabbed a beer out of the fridge, popped the cap off, and went to sit on the porch. If Miss Rhonda across the street didn’t want to see him drinking at eleven in the morning, she could shut her damn curtains.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “virga”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/15/10: “virga”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
noun: Rain or snow that evaporates before hitting the ground.
From Latin virga (rod, streak).


“You know that old song, “Laughter In The Rain’?”


“Infant,” Chris sneered, and Alec laughed. “I used to look forward to the rainy day when I could be ‘waaalkin’ hand in hand with the one I love’,” he sang. “But I’ve begun to doubt that’s ever going to happen.”

Alec felt like he’d been kicked in the stomach. Forcing a smile, he said, “You’re usually so optimistic.”

Chris squeezed his hand. “No, it’s just that Phoenix gets more virga than actual rain.”

“And staying dry is somehow less romantic than being drenched?”

“Well, when you put it that way....”

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “aeolian”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/14/10: “aeolian”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
aeolian or eolian

PRONUNCIATION: (ee-O-lee-uhn)
adjective: Relating to or caused by the wind.
After Aeolus, god of the winds in Greek mythology. As keeper of the winds, he gave a bag containing winds to help with Odysseus's sailing.

The way to most men’s hearts may be through their stomachs, but for Marty, it was through his nose.

He was weeding his garden when Fate decided to take his life in hand, calling upon an aeolian ally to waft the smells of apple pie, tomato sauce, and coconut oil directly to Marty’s nose.

He followed the scents to their source, the house next door, where his new neighbor had a pie cooling on the windowsill, a pot simmering on the stove, and a toned torso glistening in the sun.

“Hi, I’m Flynn.”

Minty fresh breath. Marty was a goner.

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “kudos”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/11/10: “kudos”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg


noun: Praise, honor, or credit.
From Greek kydos (praise, renown).
The word kudos is a relatively recent addition to the English language. It entered the language as university slang in Britain, in the early 19th century. It's a singular word, in Greek and in English, but its plural-like appearance prompted some to coin a singular form by dropping the letter s. Many dictionaries (including the OED) now list the word kudo, though marked with an "erroneous" stamp. If the current trends are any indication, chances are over time kudo will drop the black mark on its reputation and become a well-respected word in the language, just as no one today objects to using the word pea (instead of pease) or cherry (instead of cherise).
Non-fiction this time: Married after 64 years together


A commenter online somewhere made a good point: it’s not “gay marriage”, it’s just marriage, and therefore, marriage is legal in only a few states.

New York is the largest state, in terms of population, in which marriage is legal. John Morgan and Lou Halsey took the plunge on November 11, 2011, although they’ve been a couple for the past 64 years.

64 years! Let that sink in a moment.

They dealt with their legal arrangements years ago, the sorts of things that come automatically with a legal marriage, so the only reason to wed was love.

Kudos, New York.

Monday, December 26, 2011

AWAD serial, part 2: shambles (warning: F-word)

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/10/10: “shambles”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
1. A state of great disorder.
2. A scene of carnage.
3. A slaughterhouse.
From oak to acorn, from a little piece of furniture to a slaughterhouse. The word known today as shambles started out as scamnum (stool, bench). Over time the word's sense evolved to "a vendor's table", more specifically, a butcher's table. Eventually, the word came to be applied to a meat market or a slaughterhouse. From the state of disarray of such a place, today we use the word metaphorically to denote a place of complete disorder. That's the story of a slaughterhouse. To know what became of a fish market, see billingsgate.

A little continuation of a previous drabble.

The house was a shambles, even though the kids didn’t live there anymore. His wife—no, ex-wife—had taken them with her to Phoenix when she’d gotten transferred there. He supposed he was filling up the house with crap now so that it didn’t feel so empty. If you recognized the insanity, that meant you were still sane, right?

His life was also a shambles. In an attempt to prove his wife—ex-wife—wrong about his being gay, he’d started dating a lot of women. Dating them, fucking them, because getting off with women that meant you weren’t gay. Right?

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “congeries”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/9/10: “congeries”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
PRONUNCIATION: (kon-JEER-eez, KON-juh-reez)
noun: A collection of miscellaneous things.
From Latin congeries (heap), from congerere (to heap up), from con- (with) + gerere (to carry).

More or less stolen from “The Simpsons”.

“I’ve got something special planned for tonight,” Jason said. “Go look in the dresser.”

Dane practically skipped up the stairs to Jason’s bedroom, where he found that the dresser contained a congeries of seemingly unrelated objects: a Slinky, a half-eaten box of chocolates, a red satin thong, a copy of Madden NFL 11, one wool sock, some illegal fireworks, a jumbo bottle of lube, and a baseball bat.

Dane stormed back down the stairs. “I don’t know what you had in mind, but count me out!”

“What? Didn’t you find the tickets I left on the dresser?”

“...On the dresser.”

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “starets”

Knockin' 'em down! If I do two a day, I can be caught up to real time by....April 12, 2013. *facepalms* Maybe the world will end before then.

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/8/10: “starets”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
PRONUNCIATION: (STAHR-its, -yits), plural startsy (STAHRT-see)
noun: A religious teacher or adviser.
From Russian starets (elder). In the Eastern Orthodox Church a starets is a spiritual adviser who is not necessarily a priest.
"Grigori Rasputin, was neither mad nor a monk, but an unconventional starets."
Cecilia Rasmussen; Shadowed by Rasputin's Evil Reputation; Los Angeles Times; Oct 10, 1999.

“Dmitri, I have been hearing rumors, and I am shocked and disappointed.”

Tears sprang up in Dmitri’s eyes, shocking him. He hadn’t cried since he was a child, but he couldn’t stand the disapproval in the eyes of the man who had always been there for his family, both as starets and as a friend.

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but I won’t stop seeing him. I love him.”

Sasha shook his head. “I’m not talking about the boyfriend. It’s lovely that you’ve found someone. No, I’m talking about your ties to the Russian mob.”

“Oh. Yeah. About that....”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – “taxis”

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/7/10: “taxis”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
PRONUNCIATION: (TAK-sis) plural taxes (TAK-seez)
1. Movement of an organism towards or away from a stimulus.
2. Order, arrangement, or classification.
3. The manual repositioning of a displaced body part to its normal position, in a case of hernia, for example.
From Greek taxis (arrangement, order), from tassein (to arrange).
1. The word tropism is usually applied to plants. 2. The word for a public vehicle, taxi, is unrelated. A taxi is one which taxes, etymologically speaking. It's short for taximeter, the name of the device that calculates the fare. 3. Also see parataxis.

“Move over!”

“Mmmr.” Rick shifted closer to Ray, who sighed. Every night, the same thing. The sex was great, and the cuddling afterwards was unexpectedly nice, but once Rick was asleep, the bed became a war zone.

It seemed that every time Ray rolled over, changed positions, breathed, Rick would snuggle up to him, a sort of taxis that made his body move towards Ray, even in sleep. Rick was a bed hog, and Ray couldn’t sleep that close to someone else.

He closed his eyes. When he opened them, it was morning, and he was wrapped around Rick. Huh.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

AWAD serial, part 1: guillotine

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/4/10: “guillotine”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
PRONUNCIATION: (GIL-uh-teen, GEE-uh-teen)
noun: A device with a heavy blade that drops between two posts to behead someone.
verb: To execute by guillotine or to cut as if with a guillotine.
After French physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin (1738-1814) who recommended its use. Ironically the instrument designed as a humane device has come to symbolize tyranny. Dr. Guillotin realized that hanging by rope or beheading by a sword were cruel and urged a more humane method of execution, one that was swift and relatively painless. Dr. Antoine Louis, secretary of the College of Surgeons, designed a device that was called a Louisette or Louison in the beginning, but eventually became known as a guillotine.

“I want a divorce.”

And just like that, his quiet, comfortable, normal life ended. Now there was only “before and after”, his life divided as cleanly and sharply as if it had been split by a guillotine.

They say the wife is always the last to know, but it counts for husbands, too, apparently. She had to be seeing somebody, even though she’d denied it. That’s why she wanted the divorce, not that bullshit about him being gay. He wanted to erase her words, go back to a whole life, but he knew, somehow, that “before and after” was permanent.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – "Buridan’s ass" (drabble is NSFW)

Definition is safe for work; drabble is not.

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/3/10: “Buridan’s ass”

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
Buridan's ass
PRONUNCIATION: (byoo-RUHD-uhnz ass)
noun: A situation demonstrating the impracticality of decision-making using pure reason, especially a situation involving two equal choices.
Named after French philosopher Jean Buridan (1300-1358).
Imagine a hungry donkey standing equidistant from two identical piles of hay. The donkey tries to decide which pile he should eat first and finding no reason to choose one over another, starves to death. This paradox didn't originate with Buridan -- it's been found back in Aristotle's time. A hungry and thirsty man cannot decide whether to slake his thirst first or his hunger, and dies. Buridan, in his commentaries on Aristotle, chose a dog, but his critics, in their parody of Buridan, turned it into an ass. So Buridan's ass was named after a person who neither proposed the paradox nor picked that animal to discuss it.
Buridan studied under William of Ockham (of Ockham's razor fame).


Charles went a bit dizzy for a second, because stuff like this just didn’t happen to him. Identical 22-year old twins lounging naked on his bed, with their identical tousled dark heads, identical cheeky grins, identical hard, curving cocks. He lay between them on the bed, unable to believe his luck.

“Mmm, do me first,” one of them (Barry?) said.

“No, me,” the other (Danny?) murmured.

“You gotta choose,” they said together.

Charles nodded and thought, logically, about where to start.

Ten minutes later both boys threw on their clothes, shouting, “Cock tease!” as they slammed Charles’ door behind them.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A.Word.A.Day drabble – orrery

I was away for awhile, but I'm back, and I'll try to do better with the blogggg....

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/1/10: orrery

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
noun: A mechanical model of the solar system that represents the relative motions of the planets around the sun.
After Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery (1676-1731), who was given one of those models by John Rowley, a London instrument-maker. They were invented by George Graham c. 1700. The device would have been better named either after its inventor, Graham, or its maker, Rowley.
Another weird one, but I think I FINALLY got it. Spending way too much time on these, but I still want to catch up eventually.


Jimmy knew that Shawn couldn’t help his sunny disposition or his infectious grin, couldn’t help the way people were drawn to him. Most of the time, Jimmy was content to stay in the shadows with a drink and a pasted-on smile as all the women in the bar – single or not – began orbiting Shawn, turning the dance floor into an orrery, with Shawn the bright star at the center of it all.

That was before Shawn pulled Jimmy outside and kissed him up against the wall. "Quit ignoring me.”

“I’m not. I just don’t want to get burned.”

“You won’t.”