Vernacular Spectacular #3: “tater tot” vs. “potato gem”

No suspense here. “tater” is a more fun, and quintessentially American, way of referring to a potato than just saying “potato.” And “tot” conveys that what we have here is a rootin’-tootin’ little offspring of a tater. “Gem” gets at the same thing, I suppose, but less obviously. Plus, since we’re talking about a fried-food, any name that sounds like it should be said with a drawl gets a bonus point.

Jeremy’s winner: Continue reading

Vernacular Spectacular #2: “pepper” vs. “capsicum”

This one is generally confusing, as in the US you’d usually put the adjective green/red in front of “pepper,” unless you were talking about the “salt and”-type of pepper. Because capsicum is an extra syllable and feels more than 50% longer even with the extra syllable, an adjective is added less often, and instead folks usually just say “capsicum” and rely on your eyes to figure out what color they are talking about. (In Australia, they cull the color blind.)

“Capsicum” is an exotic word to my American ear, the sort of thing that seems like it should be like the name of a flying unicorn or other exotic beast rather than something you can get for free on your sandwich at Subway. “Pepper” is zippy to say and spunky in its own right, like you can imagine it being the name of a detective heroine in a young adult novel.

Jeremy’s winner: Continue reading

Jeremy reads The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler

Why did you read this book? We were looking for something to read during a long-car trip. We liked his novel Adverbs, and crime/thriller books work well while driving. This is the same guy who writes the Lemony Snicket books, but I haven’t read any of those.

Has Beckie read it? She read it to me while I drove! You wouldn’t believe what a difference it makes for passing the time. Since we weren’t done when we got back, she kept reading it to me while walking around to yoga and restaurants for the next couple days, and then finally a marathon session in the apartment to the end.

42 word review: Knocks off The Secret History, only with artsy high-schoolers instead of classics-obsessed undergrads. Reader knows from beginning that protagonist murders friend, but why? how? Absolutely hilarious given that a homicide looms. Great voice of girl protagonist. Downside: big twist tipped too early.

Rating: 4 potoroos (out of 5). Plus a bonus potoroo for what a fun read it was on a trip.

She’s crafty: Ashes outfits

My enjoyment of crafts and Jeremy’s love of Being Serious have resulted in some elaborate costumes for Halloween and various Northwestern sporting events. We are going to day 4 of the first Ashes test tomorrow, so we obviously needed some Australian superfan outfits.

I didn’t start working on them on Thursday as I’d planned because Australia played so dismally that we thought they might have lost before Sunday. Fortunately, England’s massive collapse yesterday means that we’re in a good position to see Australia win tomorrow, so today was craft day.

Actually, being Northwestern superfans hasn’t required much in the way of crafts, since there are two shops within walking distance that are dedicated to purple gear. It was surprisingly hard to find good green and gold stuff here, so I made some iron-on transfers for plain green t-shirts and painted some cheap sneakers (the second pair are in progress.

Stay tuned for the full outfits and match report.