Saturday, August 27, 2016

I become bland

Unsure of myself with new colleagues and a new position, and wanting to maintain a certain dignity and thus obtain a level of respect (and respectability), I find that I am curbing most of my sotto voce comments and asides.

I want to appear pleasant and personable. (I am in fact pleasant and personable, although the way in which I express it is different from others... more prickly and dry. My personality is a cactus.)

Perhaps all my stifled remarks will harden deep in my core, and form an iridescent pearl of sarcasm, glistening with wit, and at some future date, a metaphorical conversational trawl will haul it up and expose it to the world.

In the meantime, I am content to be a little bit socially quiet, observant as usual, and with a vibrant inner life of narration and context-driven jokes.

This post's theme word is hebetate, "to make dull or obtuse." My temporary period of retirement from society shall not hebetate me.

Invisible catnip-cloak

Certain sentences can grind my brain to a halt, demanding attention and completely derailing the reading process, whether by tone, word choice, lyricism, or utter rhetorical madness. Witness:
This amalgamated aesthetic is catnip to a significant portion of American listeners but functions like an invisibility cloak against music writers.
This sentence, appearing in Jia Tolentino's "The Slippery Appeal of the Biggest New Band in America" in The New Yorker, compels further contemplation.

Partly I perform a readerly revel at the idea of an aesthetic which can simultaneously be catnip and and invisibility cloak. (Or at least, catnip which "functions like" an invisibility cloak. Is it worn? Eaten? Brandished?) Partly I cringe at this strangely not-quite-metaphor. Partly I am ready to accept any sentence beginning with the awesome and alliterative "amalgamated aesthetic".

But the biggest part, and the final one for me, is the sheer audacity of writing a sentence about "music writers" in an article about music; this is an incredible feat of non-self-recognition on the part of the author, who surely must be labelled as a music writer. And to whom this band is --- as the feature and focus of this article-let --- definitely visible.

This post's theme word is  eclose, "(of an insect) to emerge as an adult from the pupa or as a larva from the egg." Twenty One Pilots' hit song "Stressed Out" focuses on the difficulties and angst of eclosure.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Purple tree

I would later learn more about it, but for the moment, I remain charmed and baffled by the purple-painted tree, in its own separate zone and with accompanying bench, in the middle of this lawn.

That's no photosynthesis I know.

This post's theme word is senesce (v intr), "to grow old or decay." In their safe, slow sencescence, Swarthmore shrubs sometimes stain strange shades.

The tiniest steamroller

It doesn't run on steam, of course, but this tiny steamroller is just the width of a single sidewalk square, and fits through the adorable under-train-tracks tunnel on campus.

Itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yellow double-wheeled steamroller
Now in temperate zones, this may be the closest I get to seeing a sidewalk snowplow.

This post's theme word is rill (n), "a small stream; a narrow groove carved by erosion." The bottom of the rill was paved smooth and level.