Vernacular Spectacular #5: “laser tag” versus “laser skirmish”

We recently gave this a go, but here we aren’t focused on that adventure but rather what “this” should be called. Let’s get down to business:

The “laser” part is a draw. So then: “tag” is a game for children, a “skirmish” is minor episode in a war between men. The activity involves trying to shoot your foes with laser guns. It’s “cops & robbers” with rifles. The name “tag” takes the edge of violence off of it, but anybody who needs to edge of violence taken off it shouldn’t be playing a game with guns anyway. As words go, “tag” is an ugly word and “skirmish” is a fun one, but “tag” goes much better with “laser”–“laser tag” rolls off the tongue and sounds zippy, whereas “laser skirmish” gets hung up in the r sounds. “laser tag” feels like it is taking-ordinary-tag-and-making-it-awesome.

Jeremy’s winner: Continue reading

Let’s give it a go!: laser skirmish


(This grainy image serves as the only evidence of our adventure.  Notice how Beckie has a Lara Croft thing going with her hair.)

We did this the night we went to the Hunger Games sequel’s midnight premiere.  We finished dinner at it was still hours before the movie, so we ended up at a bowling alley downtown that had laser skirmish in the back.  Let’s give it a go!

How was it?   Continue reading

Vernacular Spectacular #4: “how are you doing?” vs. “how are you going?”

This one takes some time to get used to both phrasings in order to be able to take a step back and provide the sort of objective evaluation we insist upon here at BAJTOTW. At first, “how are you going?” just sounds more like a mistake than an alternative, like somebody got the phrases “how are you doing?” and “how’s it going?” confused.

Really, though, a phrase like “I’m doing fine” is supposed to reflect the inner-state of a person, but the wording gets this wrong. That you can say “I act like everything is okay but really I’m not doing very well at all” should be, semantically, a contradiction in terms.

Jeremy’s winner: Continue reading

Let’s give it a go: roller disco

Where? At a local street festival here, on one of the upper floors of a parking garage.

How’d it go? I used to be a decent roller-skater when I was a kid. I was about as good as one can be without never quite getting the hang of skating backwards, and was regularly one of the last to go at roller limbo until some girls started being able to do the splits.

I thought maybe roller skating was like riding a bicycle, so that once I got the skates on it would all come back. Turns out: not true! Worse, roller-disco security wouldn’t let you figure out your skate-legs off to the side, but instead if you were standing up on skates you were supposed to be inside a mostly-drunk throng.

Would you do it again? Not unless we had a chance to practice.