outside the two volume dictionary
Thursday, July 3 2014
As had happened yesterday, thunderstorms arrived in the afternoon and ruined the DSL-based internet, so yet again I spent the time that would otherwise have been spent at my computer sitting on the couch watching teevee. Today the thunderstorms arrived later than they had yesterday, giving me more time to get things done before the deluge began (yesterday I'd had to do my salvaging of firewood after the rain, when the forest was dripping wet, though today I'd done it in the morning, after it had had a chance to "drip-dry" overnight).
The internet remained dead into the evening hours, so I decided to surprise Gretchen by having dinner prepared by the time she got home. I collected kale and broccoli rabe from the garden, sauteing them separately. Gretchen arrived soon after that, at which point I discovered that the rice cooker I'd thought I'd started was instead just in its stupid "warmer mode," something it is always in if plugged in. (I do not recommend the Imusa brand of rice cookers.) So Gretchen made the rice in the pressure cooker instead, while I made a bean & faux-sausage glurp to be used as the delicious filling for Stand & Stuff taco shells.
The internet eventually started working, but then, after a brief power outage, it died again. I picked up the phone and didn't hear a dial tone, so I suspected a tree had snapped the line somewhere. But when I talked to the nice Verizon woman in India, she told me that everything should be working again by 7:00am tomorrow.
Without much else to do at my computer, I wrote yesterday's entry in this online journal (since last September, I've been pretty good about always writing an entry the very next day, though for years the pattern was to write an entry later). In the course of doing so, I realized that I didn't know how to spell "bucatini" (which at the time I thought was "bucatoni"). This caused me to hunt for a real paper-based dictionary, something I have not used regularly since the mid 1990s (indeed, throughout the early 1990s, I had a dictionary application on my Macintosh that worked as well as various dictionary sites on the internet, which is of course what I use these days). I didn't have a dictionary in the laboratory, which was no surprise, but I was amazed to discover that Gretchen (who is always talking about her preference for real books) didn't have one in the first floor office either. That's the place where she does all her writing. I managed to find a dictionary in her basement library, and though it was a massive two-volume copy of the New Shorter Oxford Dictionary of the English Language, it did not have an entry for "bucatini" (or any word that began with "buc" that did not include a second "c"). Fortunately, there happened to be an Italian-English dictionary nearby, and it had the word. It's interesting to me to think that my interactions with the world these days are so culturally diverse that they routinely stray outside of the vocabulary of words listed in a massive two-volume collection.
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