Saturday, October 30, 2010

Giving credit where credit is due

I write a column for the Worcester Business Journal called Digital Diva, which focuses on new technology and how businesses can use it to make money. In my most recent contribution to the world of sparkling prose, I wrote about "chiclets," which is a term for all those tiny icons that appear on websites to link you to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. I got this column idea from Harry Gold, owner of a marketing firm called Overdrive Interactive, who spoke in Worcester about social media marketing.

Anyway, I was remiss in not mentioning in my column that one of my father's favorite words is chiclets. He uses it to describe anything that comes in a large, plentiful number. It's a fairly apt description given how chiclets are often delivered by the handful. For example, in my father's vernacular, he might describe the number of candidates for governor as being "like chiclets." Same goes for the number of Law & Order spinoffs on TV or the number of Dunkin' Donuts locations in New England.

So, it's true, my Dad invented the use of the word chiclets to refer to anything that comes in large volume. And it's also true, Dad, that everyone steals all your best ideas.

People who come into contact with my dad for the first time are often perplexed by his vocabulary. His use of idiosyncratic phrasing is unique to say the least. I've been threatening for quite some time to put together a dictionary of all my dad's favorite bizarre sayings and there's no time like the present. Here's the beginning of the Jim Hall Dictionary (please note that all phrases should be said with a strong New York accent):

Hoople - Someone who is lazy; often broadly used to describe anyone and everything.

Slew foot - Similar definition as hoople.

Matte black is flat black - Used to say that two things of different names are basically the same, so stop worrying about it.

Get it into your head - Used to imply that the listener is in fact not listening and is being resistant to an idea that is obviously correct. Common variations include "Get it into your barantasorus" and "Get it into your barantasorus rex." Origins of the latter are unclear.

I'd take a hot stove - Another of way of saying "I'm really, really hungry."

Brown shirt - A phrase used to describe people who do basic tasks, like maintenance, waiting tables, etc.

Brain damaged - This one is fairly self-explanatory. It is used in any situation where someone (including the speaker) does something stupid. Often used as an exclamation.

Fasalines - Another word for money.

Cosmoline - A filler word used when you can't think of the correct word. "Hand me the cosmoline." Origin: The brand name of a rust preventative.

Ten-cent head give changes - A phrase used to describe someone who is not that bright. Sometimes shortened to just "Ten-cent head" or just "He gives change."

Wouldn't pay a dime for an earthquake - A phrase used to describe someone who is very cheap.

Smoking in the shower - A phrase used to deride someone for being stupid. Typical construction is, "What are you smoking in the shower?!"

Here's a dime, call someone who cares - A phrase used to minimize the importance of something. Often shortened to just "Here's a dime."

Zips - See brown shirt.

If it were easy, women and children would be doing it - This one's pretty self-explanatory.

We're going to feed you peanut butter and put in the closet - A threat used against a child stemming from the recommendation of a child psychologist popular in the 70s who claimed peanut butter and low light could calm overactive children (please note that my parents never locked me in a closet).

You'll have to live with Barnaby - Also a threat used against children referring to the movie "Babes in Toyland," in which there was an evil character called Barnaby (please note that my parents never made me live with Barnaby, although they did threaten it).

Get his money - To fire someone for incompetence.

Shit sandwich - A phrase used to describe the human condition, i.e. "Life's a shit sandwich and every day you take another bite."

Tiger meat wrapped in barb wire - A phrase used to describe a model human physique, especially that of Jim Hall Sr.

Your arms are too short to box with God - A phrase that implies that you are too small and too weak to stand up to the powerful forces around you. See shit sandwich.

Prowling the world seeking the ruin of souls - A biblical phrase used to describe the travels of a modern women who goes shopping on a Saturday afternoon.

Crying and gnashing of teeth - A biblical phrase used to describe discomfort.

Magpie - A woman who talks too much.

Tainer - A container of coffee, usually purchased and digested between 10 and 11 a.m.

Touch-it attack - A compulsion to fiddle with things that you know you should not be fiddling with.

Burnt out - Someone who is old and heart lazy (see below).

Heart lazy - A phrase to describe someone, usually the speaker, who is truly at their very core extraordinarily lazy.

Gather up ye rosebuds - A phrase often used as one is leaving the house to remind people to take their stuff with them. Sometimes is shortened to just "rosebuds," meaning "stuff."

This week's winner - When someone is a loose look-a-like.

86 - A fanny pack often employed by tourists in beach locales.

The com - The remote control device used to flip channels on a television set.

Badabing - Definition unknown.

Rattatatat - Definition unknown.

Enthalpy - A scientific term used in common speech to describe the sensation of cool air on the forehead when one props up their baseball cap allowing circulation.

-----------Newly added----------------------------------------------------

Hangers-on - Poor people that ride your coat tails.

Dishes cups bowls labashe - A phrase often called out in advance of loading the dishwasher.

It's like eating a broken cookie - Translation: Stop complaining you spoiled little brat.

It was those hot dogs you ate at Hudson Park - If you complain of an upset stomach.

Was the ground cold when you got up this morning? - When someone looks like something the cat dragged in.

Did you walk to school or take your lunch? - A test to see if someone is paying attention.

Did your mother have any kids that lived? - See above.

Pretty good Po-T-Ay - A phrase used when someone does something stupid.

Greetin' Willy - A child that's always whiney (courtesy of Grandma Hall).

Oooo-fa - Said every time one plays golf. No clear meaning, but indicates a level of fatigue.

I'm shot - Usually followed by "I'm tired."

Don't feed the Verrini
- Don't get someone all jacked up.

Jacked up - Overly excited.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I'd like to meet the person that...

I was flipping through all the TV shows now available for streaming on Netflix and noticed that you can watch seasons 1, 2, 3 AND 4 of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians."

Really? Really? I can understand if you're bored, eating ice cream in front the TV, and you stumble upon Bruce Jenner's surgically destroyed face and you think, "All right, I'll watch this. It's not Nova, but whatever." But who is the person who actively seeks out previous seasons of this show? Who thinks, "I really have great nostalgia for season one, when Kim and Kholoe had that fight at the store and Mommy Jenner had to have a mini-Camp David to create peace in the Kardashian home?"

The only acceptable way to watch the abomination that is "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" is The Soup. Here's a classic clip:

Is it me, or is Kim looking a little dead behind the eyes?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Time-lapse video

So, I've been looking for an excuse to create a video from time-lapse photography and I found it at the business expo in Worcester.

We set the camera to take a photo every 1 minute. The camera would only take the photos over the course of 100 minutes, so I had to reset it a few times, which is why you see the camera kind of move. Also, we didn't use anything professional like a tripod - just some packing tape to secure it to the top of our booth installation. Low budget, but it worked!

You can see the back of my head during some parts. I was very conscious that the camera was on me, but I had a hard time getting people to move once they were comfortable standing in the corner.

One fun thing to watch for is the table that fills with food. There was an after-hours networking event that included a lot of food, and people kept dumping their garbage on the table in front of our booth. Thankfully the team at the DCU Center were on it and got the table cleaned up.

I downloaded the music off the Internet. It's royalty free, and I think it adds a little bit of fun to the video. Without the music, I don't think it would have been half as interesting.

Now I just have to find my next time-lapse opportunity...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Inspiration really does come from pain

Things I learned while traveling...

Hotels are dumb. When will hotels figure out that they need to put a giant sign up by the front door that give the details on wireless access? For some reason, wireless passcodes are always treated as top secret. Every conference I go to begins with people whispering over their shoulders asking, "Do you have it?" "Nah, man I don't got anything." "Who should we ask about it?" It's like we're all crack addicts jonesing for a fix. We all want it. Just charge us some ridiculous amount and move on.

Hotels are really dumb. For some reason the Affinia hotel in Chicago opted for the type of shampoo pictured to the right. Not only was the bottle impossible to open, the label disintegrated when it got wet. FAIL.

The drunk girl who talks too loud will most definitely be sitting next to you on the airplane. That's a given. Just prepare yourself.

Room service is always worth it. And for some reason, a tuna melt is great when you're on the road.

Ignore the news. Otherwise you get completely panicked over weather and the so-called Chiclone when it turns out to be no big deal at all. From now on I will have a self-imposed Twitter ban within 24 hours of entering an airport. I'm pretty sure blissful ignorance is a better strategy.

Cabbies are the coolest. I had two very interesting cab drivers on my way to and firm O'Hare. The first was a Nigerian immigrant who was quick to point out that his homeland is a difficult country thanks to all the shady guys trying to steal your money via email. We got to talking about politics and he was quick to criticize Chicago's hometown hero for not doing more on healthcare. In fact, he said he didn't have health insurance, that it was too expensive and the only reason to go to Cook County Hospital is to die. But he's still a big fan of Obama, saying that election night was an emotional one for him.

My second cabbie was a Romanian man, who not only owns a cab with his wife, but also runs a construction business, which has, not surprisingly suffered during the down economy. We talking Transylvanian vampires, Romanian gymnasts and babies- his wife is having trouble getting (and more importantly staying) pregnant.

I always asks immigrant cab drivers how they ended up in their chosen cities. I want to hear about how as children they dreamed of their chosen city after seeing it featured in some Hollywood feature. Sadly it's never a romantic story like that. It's invariably the brother-in-law of a neighbor's sister lived here, so that's why I'm here. Not very inspiring, but I suppose real life rarely is. And let's face it. Most of our life decisions are made because someone we know is already doing it. Picking a place to live because you read about it in book or saw it on TV only happens to people who, well, are in books or on TV.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Two for one

Definitely check this video out. Amazing!

Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.

The bike ride

This is a little late, but oh well.

I rode in a 25-mile bike race in Ashford a few weekends ago. It was part of a fundraiser for the town's park and rec department. There were about 200 cyclists registered, biking several different routes (100 miles, 65 miles, 25 miles and 10 miles).

I had never biked more than 12 miles, so this was a bit of a leap of faith for me. But it turned out well. I managed to pedal all 25 miles with a brief break at the Buell's Orchard. It was a beautiful morning, relatively cool, and the leaves were just starting to change. The route traveled through Ashford, Eastford and Woodstock. Lucky for me, I scoped out the route the day before by car with my mom. If I hadn't have done that, I probably would have gotten lost.
Apparently I was a bit of rebel riding my mountain bike. Most everyone else had fancy road bikes and fancier day-glo outfits. I was a little out of place, but hey, I finished, didn't I?

Good times. We're lucky to live in such a beautiful corner of the world where you can ride your bike for hours and see more horses than cars!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Got nothing to say

Sorry. Nothing. I'll try to have some experiences to share soon...