Dictionary Challenge Week 45: Breaking Even

I’m a little late on putting this one up, but on the 313th day (January 21, 2017) of the challenge, I finally stopped being behind. And here’s what that felt like:

Week 45 Stats

Starting Word: Streisand, Barbara          Ending Word: tardive dyskinesia

Total pages: 1591/1815                             Ahead/behind: +6

 

Dictionary Challenge Weeks 32-33: Hey Nimrods!

Prepare yourselves folks. Because I’ve been treating you pretty good so far… you know, choosing the best words to pass along to you without making you slog through the dictionary yourselves. Today, however, that changes. So watch this video and share this painstaking experience with me.

If you actually made it all the way to the end, I applaud you. (Though I’m willing to bet no one did and I really don’t blame you for tapping out.) I know it wasn’t easy. And that’s now 8 minutes of your life you’ll never get back. Which is pretty insignificant when compared to the amount of time I’ve already dedicated to reading The Behemoth… that being somewhere between 90 and 100 hours so far.

Jeez. I’m going to be able to do so many things when this challenge is over.

Anyways, it’s not always like what you just witnessed. There really are some awesome things in that big old book of words. Take murder for example. Okay, that maybe came out wrong. I don’t mean murder is awesome. I’m all about non-violence. But! The second sense of the word is “an unpleasant, or dangerous state of affairs” and I think it’s awesome that the definition made me laugh out loud…. Because, really – what an understatement. Imagine someone being murdered in cold blood and the newscast comes on the TV with the anchor saying “The family of Alfred Thompkins mourns an unpleasant state of affairs. Mr. Thompkins was murdered by a deranged psychopath.” Yeah, I don’t think so.

Some other thing that I have recently learned… a musk-ox is “a large goat-antelope”. I didn’t see that coming. Also, we are all basically netheads because most of us are “frequent users of the internet.” And…  the word nice was originally a Middle English word meaning stupid/wanton from Old French for silly/simple. That one makes me a little sad because I can see the evolution at work. Nice people generally get taken advantage of the most for being caring, trusting, generous and good to others. Which boomerangs back around to them being kind of stupid when they get taken advantage of. Kind of like the dog biting the hand that feeds it. Most of us have been there, getting bit by our dogs… we’ve been the nice guy… and where did we finish? Last! Ah, but thank goodness for Karma right? Good things are a-coming. Right? Right? I think so. So despite the word’s origins, stay nice. You’re not stupid. You’re a good person and the world needs more people like you.

Hunter

Original photo courtesy of M01229 via Flickr. Adapted by me.

And while we’re on the subject of stupid… to all my hunter friends, don’t get angry the next time I call you a nimrod. It’s actually a compliment meaning, in the second sense of the word that you are “a skilled hunter.” Well, I guess you won’t really know for sure though, because in the third sense, it also means “an inept person.” So… happy hunting ya nimrod!

Now I saw a news story the other day in which kids didn’t know that beef came from a cow or that when they were eating their burger they were eating a cow. There are words sort of like that. We get accustomed to words without really knowing what they mean sometimes. For example, o’clock. We all know what 6 o’clock is. It’s 6 in the morning. Or 6 at night. But did you know that o’clock means “of the clock”? It’s not a surprising definition, but it reminds you that sometimes you don’t think critically. You don’t know the why, but the word is so ingrained that you don’t think to ask why.

There is, however, something I want to ask “why” about, and it is… why is an ordinary seamana sailor of the lowest rank, that below able seaman”? Titles aside, you’d think that your common, ordinary seaman would at least be able. Their ranking system kind of says that the average seaman isn’t able. Not really good odds on your ship since that puts half of them as unable. Maybe changing the titles would make people feel more at ease.

Another thing I’ve noticed since I began this challenge, is that there is a form science dedicated to everything. I mean everything. In just the past two weeks, I’ve come across orthoepy, “the scientific study of the correct pronunciation of words” and oenology “the study of wines”. If I knew that oenology was a thing when I was 18… my career path would probably have gone a lot differently.

Next up I have to talk about some words where I have some sort of an appreciation for the way in which they were defined. First, is overkill, being defined in the second sense as “the amount by which destruction or the capacity for destruction exceeds what is necessary for victory or annihilation.” Pretty sure when you’re talking about annihilation, there is no such thing as overkill. But what a grand definition. I mean, it’s big, you know? I usually use overkill for more simple things, like the amount of homework assigned was overkill. And that’s not exactly something that would destroy the world as we know it.

Similarly, the definition of overwhelm in the third sense is “bring to sudden ruin/destruction; crush.” Yup, being overwhelmed is a pretty monumental thing. But again, I usually take it more along the lines of “I’m overwhelmed with the amount of chores I have” but I wouldn’t say that means I will be ruined or crushed. I can… and will… *Cue gladiator music* … survive my chores!

Okay, okay. I know I put you through the gears in making you watch me read the entry for just one word from the dictionary. So I won’t drag on forever here. Here’s a list of some of the other words I either learned, found the definition to be interesting, or just simply liked from the past two weeks:

Orgulous – haughty, proud

Orphan drug – a drug that is useful but is not commercially available for the pharmaceutical company producing it unless it is granted tax credits and other special status

Overweening – arrogant, presumptuous, conceited

Olivaceous – olive green; of a dusky yellowish green

Obstreperous – 1. Unruly, resisting control 2. Noisy, vociferous

Obstinate – 3. Inflexible, self-willed

Normal school – a school or college for training teachers

Nullity – 2a. the condition of being non-existent b. a mere nothing

As always.. thanks for reading! If you want to know as soon as the next post is up, click on the little blue rectangle at the top of the page to the right that says “Follow Exit Sideways.”

Week 32-33 Stats

Starting Word: Munition                     Ending Word: Pacific Daylight Time

Total Pages: 1114/1815                        Ahead/Behind: -51 pages

Dictionary Challenge Week 20: All Good Things Come to an End

In the wise words of Nelly Furtado… all good things come to an end. So, I included a little video below so you can hear Nelly Furtado elaborate on this a little bit. Go ahead. Press play.

Now scratch the part about lovers and friends. Why? Because I never loved Bertie The Behemoth (which is what I have decided to name my hulking companion) and we are not friends despite this constant companionship. And also, the “good thing that is coming to an end” isn’t Bertie The Behemoth, but my once glorious comeback about demolishing her.

Yup. I have not broken even yet, but over the last 8 weeks I have been steadfastly digging myself out of the egregious hole I had dug for myself with this challenge (that being the attempt to read the Canadian Oxford Dictionary in under a year by keeping a schedule of reading 35 pages a week, which I had fallen pitifully behind on.)

That’s two months. And I have to bite, claw and fight every inch of the way back to par. This week the comeback stopped. I really tried to fight to keep the comeback going, but I have to be honest… I’m tired.

I’m really, really tired.

Do I stop? Do I just walk away and pretend I never tried at all?

I could.

And some days I really consider it. Some days I want to quit. Some days I want to light a match and watch The Behemoth go up in flames. (And book burning is something I do not take lightly at all…)

But then the sun rises again, I pour a cup of coffee, and I crack open The Behemoth. Some days I win, some days I lose, but all I can do is take each loss and each win and stack them up day by day until I reach the end. It is, after all, up to me whether I make it to the end at all. And when or if I do, I’m not so sure how I’ve been defining success and failure is going to be quite right.

And speaking of defining…

Clearly the challenge itself is always on my mind, so I have found that many of the words that jump out at me and I end up scribbling down are related to the experience or how I feel about myself during this challenge. As in.. I consider myself a fantast with a fighting chance despite my false start at the beginning of this fandangle in which I am trying to fight the good fight and avoid a fiasco… but maybe I’m just a fanatic who is trying to avoid a facile way of living and in doing so made an unfortunate faux pas.

But I guess not everything is about me. Right?

Fantast – a visionary; a dreamer

Fighting chance – an opportunity of succeeding by great effort

False start – an unsuccessful attempt to begin something

Fandangle – (in sense 2) nonsense, tomfoolery

Fight the good fight – act with strong commitment to a worthy cause

Fiasco – a complete and utter failure

Fanatic – (in sense 1) a person filled with excessive and often misguided enthusiasm for something

Facile – (in sense 1 a) easily obtained or achieved and so not highly valued

Faux pas – (in sense 1) a tactless mistake; a blunder

This week I also came across a few quite powerful words. Fie being one of them. It comes from Old French from Latin and is an exclamation of disgust at a stench. That right there is powerful. Because you don’t use the word stench lightly. You could use fetid or fetor and they both relatively mean something stinky. But when you whip out the big guns and say “stench” you know that is an utterly devastating smell. Plus, fie is such a hard, short word…. I can’t wait for someone to fart so I can raise my fist to the heavens and shout an impassioned FIE!

But back to fetor. That’s also kind of a fun definition, that definition being “an offensive smell.” So it’s a bit more than just stinky. It’s offensive. Just picture yourself letting a big one rip right by a high society lady who instantly becomes offended by your fetor and curses discreetly under her breath… “fie.”

Because it’s unbecoming to use actual curse words. And to shout.

Ah. Okay, enough of this fible-fable (nonsense). Find me on facebook or twitter  or subscribe over to the right of this page to follow along as I keep trying to fight the good fight… for the moment.

Week 20 Stats

Starting Word: F                   Ending Word: fighting fish

Total Pages: 551/1815         Ahead/Behind: -154

Dictionary Challenge Week 18: D is for Done

You thought it would be another month before I got through the next letter, didn’t you? Sheesh. Ye of little faith. Just kidding. My track record hasn’t been quite up to snuff this go around. But guess whhhhhat?? This gal did it.

D is Done.

I still can’t breathe the sigh of relief that comes with being out of the red, but at least I don’t feel like quite as much of a loser as I have been the last while. Those of you who have been with me through my other challenges know that I take losing, failing, and being inadequate kind of hard. Sure, I’m an advocate for it being a necessary part of the journey to success, but it still puts the hurt on a person’s ego. Maybe that’s why I’m so humble…. Pfft.

Anyways! Slowly, steadily…. I’m coming for par.

Here are a few words that jumped out at me over my perusal of the D section of the dictionary:

Starting Word: developer                  Ending Word: empty

Total Pages 491/1815                         Ahead/Behind: – 144 pages

Dictionary Challenge Week 17: Eat. Breathe. Dictionary.

When you say you’re going to do something, you have to do it. And if you don’t, there are consequences and you have to pay the price. When I started this challenge I was too busy to dedicate the time it required and foolishly thought I could easily make it up later.

A familiar story right?

Well. I’ve been living in later for the past few weeks and I am going to be honest here…

It’s been brutal. The dictionary has taken over my life.

I am not joking. I am not being facetious. I am not exaggerating. If I’m not reading it, I’m thinking about it. Every. Spare. Moment. Mostly I’m plagued by questions of am I wasting my life away with my nose in the dictionary? Will I ever make this come-back? Can I break the ten minute page and still retain things? Should I have brought the dictionary to ball to read between bats? Does anyone care or get why I am doing this? How many more hours until I’m no long behind? Am I, quite possibly, the biggest geek of them all?

I can actually say thank god for my job because it gives me 8 hours of guilt-free reprieve from reading the behemoth and from thinking about it. It’s gotten to the point that if someone doesn’t talk succinctly I start to feel anxious because they’re wasting time that I could be spending with my *precious* dictionary.

This is not something I feel good about.

But this is the price I have to pay. I was the one who fell behind. For good reasons, but it’s still on me to deal with the consequences. I just want to say sorry to all the people out there that are suffering along with me. I promise it won’t be this way forever. I hope.

This is a familiar point in every challenge I’ve ever done. It’s the point where the initial enthusiasm has worn off and I can’t rely on excitement alone to carry me through, doubt starts to creep or come crashing in, and I question the validity of what I am doing. Most people might think that at this point, it’s time to cash in those chips and walk away. I’m not one of those people that can do that. I know I won’t always succeed as I’ve learned from my last challenge and the one before that. But I won’t ever quit trying. I know to most people that reading the dictionary is odd, it’s not the same as trying to get into shape. But if it were about that, when things get tough, you don’t just walk out of the gym never to return. You buckle down and deal with it.

On June 7th I hit my lowest point: behind by 242 pages. Since then I have been reading this thing every morning before work… over every noon hour break… after work… in the evenings… on the weekends… in the car… on the couch… at the table… in my home office… in the park… in bed… on the porch… on park benches… everywhere… all the time.

I have only made a 54 page comeback in that time.

This past week I read 61 pages. Almost double my weekly quota. And it took everything I had. My eyes are red, my head actually hurts, and… I now know that deep-six originally meant bury at sea.

Which is what I sometimes feel like doing with the dictionary.

But, you know, I’m an obstinate thing and I’ve dedicated myself to the dictionary. Dedicate, if you don’t know, means devote (oneself) to a noble task or purpose. So maybe that was a catachresis (an incorrect use of words) because I don’t know how noble reading the dictionary really is. Enough of this, though. Because all that reading means I have a lot of awesome things I feel I need to talk about. First up… the action of throwing (especially a person) out of a window has a word and that word is defenestration. Especially a person! I have no idea when I will ever get to use this knowledge, but I hope when the day comes… I’m ready.

Now, decadence. It brings up images of gourmet food right? Sweet chocolates of marginal size and exorbitant prices? Well. It is the moral or cultural deterioration especially after a peak or culmination of achievement. I will throw you a little bit of a bone: the third sense of the word decadent is (of food) very rich or sweet [with the implication that eating it is an act of self-indulgence] So the question you have to ask yourself is… is self-indulgence a bad thing?

Now one that I liked was devastating, meaning crushingly effective. That sounds pretty killer… So effective it destroyed, annihilated, crushed!

But don’t think the awesome stops there. My favourite word of the week is one you’ll all know (kind of like pretty much all of the ones I’ve already mentioned) and that word is delicious. The word itself could even be considered delicious as the second sense means entertaining; very enjoyable given that I clearly have been entertained by the first sense of it. The first sense being highly delightful and enjoyable to the taste or sense of smell. Come on. You totally have to picture your personified taste buds having a discussion about a “delightful” pastry like they’re a bunch of old British ladies at high tea. You didn’t picture that? Well, I’m glad I put that image in your head.

Then there is also the dawn chorus (the singing of many birds at the break of day) and cube farm (an office where the workspace is divided into cubes) and crocodile tears, meaning not giant tears, but insincere grief. And lastly, there is cowpunk which is a cow that farmers make look punk-like by piercing their ears with jewelry and putting spiked collars around their necks.Punk Cow

Didn’t fool you for a bit on that last one did I? Cowpunk is actually country/western music mixed with punk rock. I know. You’re thinking a genre mashup like that isn’t possible. But I’m not pulling your leg this time.

That’s all for this week, folks. I really do appreciate all of you who have been here sticking it out with me. So, thanks.

(And yes. I verbed dictionary in the post title. I also just verbed verb.)

Week Seventeen Stats

Starting Word: cowpoke               Ending Word: develop

Total Pages 412/1815                     Ahead/Behind: – 188