Should Be Defined As: Anglo-German

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Weltshmerz:
Pronounced: veltshmerts
Usage: adjective
Describes the change in texture of a dry crunchy cereal such as Honey Nut Cheerios or Shreddies when slightly but not completely dampened by milk.

Götterdämmerung:
Pronounced: as it's spelt, ignoramus
Usage: adjective
Describes the properties of all metal tubes, be they as part of a ladder or shelving system, when they're slightly crumpled through overloading and probably shouldn't be used but then you do anyway and hope it'll hold the weight. Most commonly seen in stepladders because you only use it occasionally and it's not like you'll fall very far, is it?

Schadenfreude
Pronounced: only by the daring
Usage: excessive
The amazing ability of publicists of things of all kinds to produce apparently undoctored photographs that show the product/property/secondhand vehicle to be desirable, situated in a land of eternal sunshine or in mint condition, when in fact it doesn't work, is situated directly underneath a seven-lane highway overpass, or is only in possession of two wheels. There is a small but thriving manufacturing company in Minsk that makes special cameras for those intending to commit schadenfreude.

Ersatz
Pronounced: however you like
Usage: incorrect
The property of cat hairs to appear on and/or in your clothing despite not having been anywhere near a cat in that jacket or in fact at all for the last four years and besides even then you didn't touch it or sit down anywhere there might have been hair so what's that about exactly?

Apfelstrudel
Pronounced: exclamatory and with gusto after a forward roll onto the mat
Usage: during team registration for gymnastic competitions (noun)
The name given to a group of queue-jumping people so large they rival the actual queue. However, an apfelstrudel is a handy way of telling who is most likely to be on steroids.

Gestalt
Pronounced: quietly as though in a library very close to the front desk
Usage: by psychologists, but only on Tuesdays.
The emotion akin to frustration but closer to shame that wells up whenever you fail to correctly tear anything that has been perforated in order to make tearing it very easy. Chronic gestalt is suffered by office professionals who have no choice but to persist for hours in failing to satisfyingly tear tiny perforated labels for binder separators.

Poltergeist
Pronounced: with thirty seconds of high-pitched ullulation after the g
Usage: in cupboards
The kind of person who hangs around nightclubs and bars because that's where they've always gone, even though everyone they know left town twenty years ago and even the bar staff are embarrassed to speak to them so they just sit there or read the paper or wander around looking to see if they know anyone but they don't.

Zeitgeist
Pronounced: gutterally
Usage: down the back of the shirt collar of an old woman in the line for the bus
The kind of person who talks incessantly about work.

Doppelganger
Pronounced: with the tongue pinched between the front teeth
Usage: in moments when, had the word not been said, you could have heard a pin drop, had a pin been dropping
The expanding slick of melted and unusable ice cream at the bottom of a scoop when it sits on a plate that makes other things on the plate slide around in a circle and mess up the arrangement of the dish when you try to cut them up with just a spoon.

Already Been

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Mum got me excited for school. For weeks she told me I was going, what it would be like, that I would make friends and have fun learning things. It was intimidating - my memories are vague, but I was scared of the nun teaching the Reception class.
The next morning Mum woke me with, 'Time for school!' and I told her, authoritively, that I had already been.
She likes telling that story.

If you'd like an overblown and excessively dramatic description of how I fell out of university, you can read one here, but all you really need to know is that I intended to stay a bit longer. I was shellshocked. That worry you have when you're on the bus on the way to school and you realise you haven't done your homework and there's no way you can get it done in time and that particular teacher has already heard all your best excuses? That stomach-clenching panic and worry about what will happen? Yeah.
Dropping out of university was pretty much the adult, irreversible, absolute version of that feeling.

This evening I start a class at NYU.
Once upon a time this would have evoked a 'made a mistake and making good on it' post, with tones of moving on, making progress, righting wrongs and describing the level of emotional satisfaction and determination that a new opportunity presents.
Once.
I don't feel that way, though. Now, this is just a thing I'm doing.
It's a thing I have this evening, as in 'No, I can't, I have a thing.'
I want to pay attention and learn, but it's not a huge epiphanic event with resonances down the timeline of my life, resolving plotlines and themes.
It's just a thing.

Which is good, right? I must be moving on and making progress.

Just Like Home

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Just Keep Getting Better, Don't They?

A photoset from my local supermarket.
And less shit than my normal Flickr fare.
Promise.

Wikis Versus Bloggers

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Bobbies On Broadway

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Everyone's A Tourist In New York City
This picture was taken incredibly badly. Pardon my haste/lack of skill/being on the other side of the street-ness.

I think they were all from the Met. There were a lot of British police on the streets of downtown Manhattan yesterday for the memorial service. These two befriended the NYPD guys at the Broadway vehicle security stop, and couldn't resist having their pictures taken on the bike.

Close To Home

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I work in downtown Manhattan.

When I watched the events of September the 11th, 2001 on television, I was at my parents' house and my childhood home in Ventnor, on the Isle of Wight in Southern England. An unfamiliar yet easily recognisable skyline filled our screens. Wide streets filled with dust and shocked figures; the striking planes, the falling towers...everyone knows the images. I was horrified but I was safe. It was unbelievable and it was terrible, but it was the news. The same 14" television I stood in front of in the kitchen had shown riots, elections, scandals, police warnings and distant wars. I watched the footage, I exclaimed my surprise and shock and talked about it like everyone else.

I just watched, for the first time since 2001, a lot of the footage again. And now it's not news any more. I know the streets down which people ran. I know the storefronts, the crosswalks, the shapes the buildings make against the sky, and I walk among them every day.

We see the world through the television, and everyone filters what we see to a certain extent. It was the same footage, the same moments recorded and replayed, but I have to put my hands up and say that they hit me harder today than they did five years ago.

I keep dreaming of losing my teeth. It's a very weird feeling. Especially last night's dream, where my two front teeth came out together with a lump of gum, and I kept trying to push them back and hope they healed back into place. I remember waking up, running my tongue around my mouth and relaxing in relief.

Krissa and I have been playing a game called Katamari Damacy on the PS2. It's one of the most original games I've ever played. Your tiny character pushes a ball, or katamari, around the place, and to begin with you pick up paper clips, erasers, pencils and thumbtacks, and through the levels you progress to picking up cats, flowerpots, small bears, fish, trees and hapless children, and by then it's only a matter of time before you're rolling through skyscrapers, whales, airports, superheroes and volcanic islands.
It sounds utterly insane (and it is!), but you only have to look at the Katamari photos on flickr to see the effect this game has on people. I'm particularly fond of this picture. A bunch of people built a two-metre Katamari and pushed it around San Francisco.
Nifty.

Update: WIRED article on katamari and how the in-game effects can uh, overflow into your DRIVING HABITS. Man. I don't think Krissa and I are that bad. A woman in the article tried to grab the steering wheel from her husband, and afterwards said, "Sorry. I thought we could pick up that mailbox we just passed". via.

How the HELL is it September?

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