Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mr. Popular

I just checked Matt's and my profile views to see which one of us is more "popular." Matt's 1,316 views squashed my 358.

I guess I'll just have to go start my own software company to compete.

Here's a photo shout-out to my popular husband--he is singing karaoke on a cruise in Russia.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

grammar clarification: puzzling

I wanted to clarify the grammar rules applied in the "puzzling" post. I, acting as a sort of Shakespeare (who made up hundreds of new words in the English language), made a sort of made-up word out of a very standard word: puzzle.

Puzzle functions as both a noun and a verb in English:

Puzzle (as a noun) means a thing that tests one's ingenuity (such as the puzzle I was making on the floor).

Puzzle (as a verb) means to confuse or complicate (such as "I am puzzled by this puzzle").

In my post, however, I referred to "puzzling" in an alternate noun form of the standard word to refer to the sport of making a puzzle. This makes "puzzling" a noun; however, a few comments have suggested it may be a gerund...which is true!

Even though "puzzling" (the noun I made up) was made from "puzzle" (the noun), I used a sort of hidden step in between. Think of it this way: I first made "puzzle" a verb (as in "I like to puzzle" which means "I like to make puzzles"). Having completed the hidden step of making "puzzle" a verb of my own definition, I attached the -ing to make it a gerund. (A gerund is a verb ending in -ing that acts as a noun.) Hence, I like to participate in puzzling. I could also say, "Puzzling is a great sport."

All of this is not to be confused with "puzzling" being used as an adjective (which is the standard use of the word in current English usage). And so, in appropriate (and standard) fashion, I hope this explanation has not been puzzling (adjective) and has enlightened the readers as to the sport of puzzling (noun--gerund).

Monday, June 9, 2008

Steve Jobs

I got an email from Apple tonight announcing the new iPhone, with a link to Steve Jobs' keynote address introducing the iPhone 2.0.

Steve Jobs is known for his great powerpoints, so I thought I would take a peak. I started watching, then Tricia who was sitting next to me actually doing something useful with her time, set it aside and snuggled into me to watch Steve's presentation.

After a couple of minutes I realized that presentation was longer than I had anticipated, so I closed the web browser, not without hesitation. Tricia emitted a feeling next to me, which I interpreted as feeling like I was a bit insensitive just to shut it off since she was watching.

We then came to ourselves and laughed a little. Neither one of us owns an iPhone and probably won't for years. Why on earth did we feel like it was hard to pull ourselves from watching what was basically a commercial?

I can think of two reasons. First, we're a little bit nerdy. (I actually would love one of those new iPhones with a GPS). Second, that's the power of a good presentation. If you've never seen Steve Jobs give a keynote, take a look.

Keyless entry?

We locked ourselves out of the house today for the third time since we were married. After it happened the second time, we even set up a routine to prevent further occurrence: if we wanted the door locked, I went first, if we wanted it unlocked, Tricia went first.

We're not quite sure how it happened tonight that we locked it as we took a nice evening stroll without keys--I think the problem was that I told Tricia a pretty funny joke as we were leaving, and we both kind of stumbled out the door at about the same time.

Thank goodness our landlord lives down the street.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Lest you think I am referring to the adjective "puzzling" (ex: the clues were puzzling), I am actually referring to the noun "puzzling" (ex: I recently participated in puzzling). Last week I finished a 1500-piece puzzle called Noah's Ark.

Here are a few tips for successful puzzling that I decided to jot down from the experience:
  1. Start with the border. It's always the easiest part to put together.
  2. Organize pieces by color and begin on the section with the most color variation. In this case, the people and things on the boat provided the most variation, so it was the easiest part to put together.
  3. Match shapes. Look for variations in the hooking joints (not sure if that's the technical term). Sometimes an arm of a piece will be perfectly round--other times it will have a knob leaning in one direction or a straightened edge.
  4. When you get stuck, start organizing pieces by the grain of the paper. If you let the light reflect just so on a puzzle piece, you can tell the direction of the grain of the paper on which the puzzle was printed. You will then know if the piece fits in hortizontally or vertically.
  5. Don't spend too much time on the puzzle. I always can spend hours on a puzzle because I think, "Just one more piece!" Be sure to manage your life in such a way that you add variation into your daily activities.