If Trudy Walsh ever reads this, I’m gonna get the world’s biggest “AHA! YOU ADMIT IT!” Sometimes I employ terms that aren’t exactly in OED,* however obviously logical their (brand new) existence, and every so often someone asks me what the heck I’m talking about. The other day, in the middle of a perfectly innocent conversation, my companion shook her head and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Cynthia. Would you translate that into English for me?”
So…in case you, too, don’t speak Cynthia, I’ve compiled a little dictionary that may prove useful when reading this blog. Embarrassingly, when I started this page I figured I’d have only three or four terms. Turns out my writing is a wee bit more creative than that. If I’ve said anything else that confuses you, lemme know and I’ll add it to the list.
Aaaahrt (n). Flavor-of-the-month art as determined by Aaaaahrt critics, generally more pretense and publicity than substance. Always initial-capped because it’s far too important for lowercase. Its status (and usually price tag) is indicated by the number of lowercase “As” following the first A, and has nothing to do with actual talent or long-term historical significance. Someone like Damien Hirst, for example, makes Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahrt; except for a brief period, Andrew Wyeth only made Aahrt.
Aaaahrtist (n). One who makes Aaaahrt.
Abuncha (adj). Several more than one. Usage: “I’m taking abuncha pendants to the craft fair.”
Anonymize (v). What less trustworthy journalists do when they realize that none of their sources are going along with the story outline they gave the editor, the deadline’s looming, they need quotes about stuff that EVERYBODY knows for heaven’s sake…and so all of a sudden their dead-on quote sources can’t be named for Very Important Reasons (i.e., somebody would get fired if the boss found out they were making stuff up). Usage: A source who asked to be anonymized for fear of reprisals, confirmed that the moon is, indeed, made of green goat cheese.
Automagically (adj.). I wasn’t the first to use this one (far from it), but I readily adopted/adapted it. It refers to all the stuff that happens in getting from Point A to Point J that doesn’t seem to have a logical technical progression. (In other words, which you don’t really understand.)
Blujillion (n). Adopted from my mother’s southern relatives, meaning “a whole lot of a lot.” Many abunchas of gazillions.
Calendar-based dressing. Stubbornly wearing whatever SHOULD be in season despite its obvious unsuitability according to the weather report, a glance out the window or even (heaven forbid) sticking one’s hand outside. Minnesotans are notorious for this, frequently wearing shorts and sandals on the first day of spring…as they spread their picnic blankets on the snow.
Caster (n). One who makes glass by making a mold, packing it with glass, firing it (and going through Castuary), then coldworking the result.
Castuary (n). That anxious period of waiting between shoving a glass mold into the kiln and taking it out to discover whether you’ve just made heaven or hell in glass.
Cogitatery (n). Analytical reasoning about a problem that seems to be getting nowhere (but could just surprise you).
Five-finger exercises. From Bach, the act of making up something in glass as an exercise in problem solving, a relaxation respite or just to see what the heck happens.
Frittery (n). 1. The act of making something that is mostly or entirely composed of glass frit. 2. Glasswork that is mostly or entirely made of frit.
Gazillion (n). More than I can count in a lifetime. It’s a lot more than abuncha but ‘way less than a blujillion.
Glasscraft (n, rare). The uncanny ability some people have, almost like second sight, to understand exactly how the glass will behave no matter what you do to it. Partly gained by experience, partly genetic (I think).
Glasserole (n). 1. Art that uses many different glassmaking techniques., 2. (pejorative) Glasswork that’s stuffed with a kitchen-sink’s worth of cobbled-up techniques, leftovers from other projects and whatever adds bling or didn’t go out with the trash last week, without any particular aesthetic sense.
Glassery (n). A collection of tutorials, explanations and other information relating to the making, using, selling or developing art from glass.
Glassist (n). 1. One who makes stuff with glass. Coined in a desperate attempt to lump artists, craftspeople, artisans, hobbyists and every other person who uses glass in some creative way into a single, all-encompassing term. 2. (rare–far too rare, IMHO) One who loves glass enough to pay lots of money for it.
Glassjones (n). A condition common to many glassworkers, consisting of extreme irritability, twitching, unattractive facial tics and boring, glass-related conversation whenever they’re not making, viewing or partying with glass. I suspect it’s my permanent state.
Glassland (n). The greater Portland metropolitan area, which has at least five different glass manufacturers, and possibly the largest concentration of glassmaking studios, classes, pundits and supplies outside of Murano and Seattle.
Glasslander (n). Someone who lives in glassland, whether or not they actually make or buy glass.
Glasswork (n). 1. Stuff that’s made with glass. 2. Stuff that I make with glass that is purely an intellectual or esthetic enterprise, i.e., stuff that isn’t heartwork.
Heartwork (n). Stuff that I make that isn’t purely an intellectual or esthetic enterprise (such as glasswork), and that usually cuts a bit too close to the bone to show people. I’m slowly getting over that “show people” thing.
Honeymix (n). A particular combination of colored glass powders that I use in pate de verre to obtain an extremely warm, translucent neutral glass that, not surprisingly, looks like whipped honey. (It’s roughly 50-50 mixtures of BE Crystal Clear and BE Light Peach Cream powders, or a 25% mix of BE LPC powder with 75% BE CC fine.)
Kilngod (n) (also kilngoddess). 1. The supernatural folk who, even in this very rational day and age (yeah, that was a joke), seem to control the outcome of all our hard glasswork on a whim. 2. Someone who builds kilns for a living. If he doesn’t deliver them after you’ve paid him, see kilnjerk.
Kinda (adv). Qualifier used when I don’t want to commit myself, but I’m pretty certain. Usage: “I kinda like that painting but maybe this one is better–I’ll wait to say until I’ve seen it.”
Lemme (v). Short for “let me.”
Meaningfulless (adj). Comments, pronouncements, opinions or advice that appear to be profound and useful but, on closer examination, are probably claptrap repetitions of what somebody’s third cousin’s wife’s best friend’s boss’ brother heard an expert say.
Nevereverland (n). The place where people go when they’ve not only made up their minds incorrectly (according to me), but are so stubborn that a rational presentation of facts won’t change their minds and a sharp whack over the head with a blunt instrument won’t do much good, either.
Politicoentertainery (n). The ability of many politicians and legislatures to amuse us with their antics.
Statement art or, more appropriately Statement Aahrt. Aahrt whose primary purpose is to illustrate platitudes, i.e., “war is bad,” “you shouldn’t abuse women,” etc. Frequently employs startling juxtapositions for the shock value, rarely has much staying power once you get the punchline, and becomes slightly embarrassing a decade later. See also trite, boring, banal.
Traft (n). Art or craft that employs high-tech gadgetry to add some oomph to the work. Although it’s difficult to do well, (i.e., so that it’s not just a novelty), it can be awfully cool.
Uhmm (intj). Term I use when the situation is so ludicrous that my brain is, quite simply, gobsmacked, (love that word) because it’s the only thing my fingers are capable of typing on their own. The number of Ms at the end signifies the degree of gobsmackery.
Vignettes (n). Didn’t make this one up, either, but in my world it’s both word portraits and sculptural portraits.
Vitrus interruptus (n). Being pulled out of a warm creative glassmaking fog to do something totally mundane and irritating, like going to work, grocery shopping, answering the phone or having a baby.
Warmwork (n). What more official sources call “kilnforming,” i.e., glass that at some point in its creation is processed in a kiln. I’m not sure I agree with the idea that the term “warm” has no place in glass–the term is always relative. In warmwork you almost never get the glass as molten as you do with “hotwork,” i.e., glass formed at roughly 2300F in a furnace, and it certainly isn’t coldworked. Besides, there’s a symmetry–coldwork, warmwork, hotwork–that tickles me.
Weirdicle (n). An unusual or strikingly out of place point that should provoke a lot of thought and possibly some action but probably won’t until I point it out. Like its cousin the wavicle it encompasses matter (or at least stuff that matters) and energy (or should), but doesn’t get on your wavelength unless I particle-ularly point it out. (sorry about that)
Yarg (intj). An expression of dismay, possibly also of mild revulsion. Variation: Yargle.
*For those of you who aren’t clued-in, OED is the acronym for Oxford English Dictionary, that bible of English wordsmithing. I have the honor of being credited for adding a word, submarining, to the OED, thanks to Trudy Walsh.
She was the copy chief at Government Computer News, and almost weekly accused me of making up words in the articles I submitted. This I indignantly denied (even when she was right, just on principle). “It’s a common industry term that every knowledgeable techie uses,” I’d say loftily, and with just a touch of pity for the uninitiated copydesk.
Usually the copydesk grimly edited out the offending term and made me provide a less esoteric explanation. Sometimes, though, I got away with it, as I did for “submarining,” the tendency of a cursor to disappear in one place and reappear in another when you moved the mouse too fast on a slow LCD screen. Either Trudy was having an off day or I was especially convincing, because she allowed it. (And, actually, I wasn’t the first to use it; I think I heard it at a computer conference.)
Sometime later I came to work to find my cubicle stuffed with balloons and other items of celebration, and a copy of the OED’s news bulletin plastered to my computer screen. There was a big red circle around the entry crediting me as the first to publish a brand new word just added to the OED: Submarining.