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Friday, March 25, 2011

Word Games

You know what's a weird word? "Cleave", that's what. For those of you not in the know, cleave means two things: either a) to split something apart, often with the connotation of forcefulness, or b) to strongly adhere two or more things together. Now, how many other words do you know in the english language that have two possible definitions that are such polar opposites of each other? Actually, what other words like that do you know? I'd be interested to see any you can come up with. Also, another thing I was wondering about this morning was which word in the english language has the most different definitions associated with it? Let me give an example with the word "lap". You could have a cat curled up on your lap that then jumps off and makes a lap around the house before going over to lap up some water from its bowl. As you can see, lap can mean either your natural leg-tray, a complete circuit of movement or a verb for using one's tongue to drink. All viable definitions and all very, very different. So, yeah, which word has the largest number of different definitions like that? I surely don;t know. I leave that to the bigger word nerds among you to try and divine. In the meantime, I'ma go waste time on the internet. Well, elsewhere on the internet q;

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I think it's time to face the music. I can't deny it any longer. This has gone on long enough and it's long past time that I came clean. So here it is, the confession that I've been dreading, the words that you've all known had to be said one day. I...

I have an unnatural affinity for office supplies.

It's true. Shocking, I know, but true. I seem to be particularly drawn to fasteners of various kinds, but particularly paperclips and tape. If you place a paperclip in front of me for any length of time, I will pick it up and I will play with it. More than likely I will just flip it around between my fingers but I have also been known to unbend them, rebend them, make constructions of various kinds with them, clean my nails with them, try and pick locks with them, and, very occasionally, fasten sheets of paper together. I have even tried to use them (in conjunction with some rubber bands, another weakness of mine) to construct a working miniature bow and arrow. The prototype was...less than successful but we're holding out hope that R&D will iron out the kinks any day now. I may have also heated them up with a lighter until they were red-hot for no particularly good reason except, apparently, to burn my finger and melt a paperclip shape into the carpet in the basement of my parents' house. Anyways. On to tape. Ah, beautiful tape. My building and crafting material of choice. Historically, I have used tape, often in conjunction with cardboard to make numerous things, usually toys of some kind but also art projects and the like. One of my greatest works was to update the wooden rifle my grandpa had made me by wrapping it in black gaffers tape, and taping on a scope (made from a foam tube) and and removable magazine (tape and cardboard). All of this, however, pales next to the tape-based innovations I have begun almost obsessively crafting at work. It's starting to get out of hand. First, it was a bandolier-style holder for some 1.7 mL reaction mix tubes. Then I made another one. Then I made a simple loop to hang my pens from, but that wasn't enough for me and I reworked it as a full on, index card incorporating, labelled, hanging pen holder. Before that however, I crafted a box to hold some blank tubes in. I've made little victory flags for the PCR machines. Lately, I've turned to making latches. I made a latch for the freezer out of tape and pipette tip. I'm sort of out of control. I should probably seek help. I probably won't. After all, do you think I have that kind of time? This fully functional, articulated tape and paperclip clockwork robot isn't going make itself.

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