Towards a new identity for "GLBT"

Speaking as a linguist, the “word” GLBT (read: (GL/LG)BT(T[T])(Q[Q/?])(I)(S)(A[A])(2)(&c)) is getting untenable. First of all, it just doesn’t end. Everyone always wants to tack the initials of more and more granular sub-groups onto the end of it, which may or may not be part of any of the groups before it. GLBT – Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender – is simple enough. Then sometimes we get an extra T for Transsexual. And a Q, for either Queer, which offends some people, or Questioning. I’ve also seen I for Intersexed, A for Ally or Asexual, another T for Transvestite, a ? instead of a Q for Questioning, and even a 2 for “two-spirit.” And this is to say nothing of the Curious, Unsure, Pansexual/Polyamorous (and I’ll have another rant sometime about the word polyamorous, and how people inventing new words should stick with a singular language root), or even Other.

Oh, but wait! You might also get smacked down for using any of these letters in the wrong combination with any number of groups, to the extent that we can’t even agree at the foremost level if it should start with GLBT- or LGBT-. (Sorry, B and T, but your positions as third and fourth seem pretty firmly fixed at this point.) And i would just like to posit that i fall into the “GLBT” camp, not because i’m advocating that gays should come before lesbians, but because “gl-” is a feasible word-initial combination while “lg-” is not. But regardless of what order you put them in, i consider this word to be phonetically unviable, phonemically confused, and generally linguistically unacceptable. Everyone represented by any particular letter in this group seems to be offended by some part of it, or lack thereof. Myself, i’m offended by it linguistically, aside from the fact that it’s just kind of ugly.

Of course, we have enough vowels to rearrange it into some sort of pronounceable word (Glibtacquo? Galactopigs? Wait, who am i forgetting?), but there are always going to be letters we don’t/can’t use and someone’s going to be determined to feel excluded, upset that they’re not first, upset that they’re last, or in some other way slighted.

What we need is a single, pronounceable, non-acronymic, non-agglutinative word to describe the GLBT+ community that isn’t going to offend anybody or contain bits of other words that might offend some of us, many of whom are already a little overly sensitive. They tried that already with “queer,” but there are some who feel like the word hasn’t been fully “taken back” yet, and so choose (yes, choose) to be offended by it, regardless of the context in which it’s used. I think that’s kind of stupid on some level, but on another level, i don’t really want anyone calling me queer, either, even if i fit the bill.

No, we can’t go on recycling old words to “take them back” and hope their meanings will just change overnight into some joyous hippie lovefest. No offense to hippies or lovefests: I’m a fan of both. And i do appreciate the idea of taking back words (like queer) to use them in a positive light in a way that drains them of the venom with which they are all too often used, both by those in and outside of the GLBT+ community.  But what we need is a blank slate word with no previous connotations or assumptions associated with it, which can act as an all-inclusive word to define our community. Or a word that has fallen so far out of use that any connotations have been wiped clean. Where do we find such a word? We ask a linguist, of course.

So where do we start?

Well, in english, we have a few different choices. English really is an amalgamation of germanic, italic, and hellenic languages, all of which play different roles in the language. Going back to its earliest history, old english (or anglosaxon) was a direct descendant of the west germanic branch of protogermanic, which in turn split off from indoeuropean sometime around 500BC. (And yes, I say BC, not BCE, but let’s just attack one acronym at a time, shall we?) For a while, probably while it was still mutually intelligible with other neighboring languages, we traded a lot of words back and forth with old norse, and probably a few others as well. Then, in 1066AD, english acquires a bunch of french via the norman invasion. (Which everyone says was french, but that was a little bit viking-related too; think about it: Norman. From Nordman. Norðman. Northman. cf. norðmaðr/norrœnr. That’s right – the normans were vikings who had settled in northern France, specifically, “Normandy.” But anyway, they spoke french by this time, so we introduce french and all of the delicious foods associated with it into the anglosaxon world). Thus, middle english was born, spelling went completely out the window, and we suddenly have duplicate words for animals and the foods we make out of them. But that’s a whole different post, too. Eventually, the Renaissance comes along, we dump a bunch of latin and greek into our anglosaxon/norse/french soup, and undergo the Great Vowel Shift thanks in part to the Black Death. Then the twentieth century comes along, complete with globalization and eventually internet, and we suddenly have bits of hundreds of languages seeping in from every major language in the world. So how do we decide?

Well, in my opinion, we should stick with plain old english; that is, an anglo-saxon derivative of a protogermanic word. Immediately coming to mind are words that have fallen out of use in modern english, like “blithe” (< OE blīþe < PGmc bleiþaz or blīþaz; “happy, joyful, blissful” cf. “gay”). Or maybe a nice compound like “elkind” (< PGmc alja, “other, different, foreign” + kundiz or kunþiz, “kind, type, sort; gender; child, kin,” cf. “kind,” “kin,” “kindred,” probably developing into OE ælcynd)... though it also sort of makes me think of “elf-kind,” which in itself is actually kind of cute. Or, perhaps, go with the short-vowel version (cf. “kin”) and use “elkin”? Hmm, perhaps no – it makes me think of “elk-en,” like we’re a bunch of deer or moose.

Now to take this linguistically one step further, a word like “elkind” has a fundamental problem, which is that it is a stressed syllable (el-) followed by a syllable with a long vowel (-kind), which according to the germanic rules of mora loss suggest that the long vowel should actually become short [ɛ́l.kɪnd], or it’s awkward to pronounce. Alternatively, the long syllable could become stressed, which is not the norm, but becoming more normal in english all the time since the introduction of non-germanic languages with words that have non-initial stress: [ɛl.káɪnd].

And for those of you who aren’t fans of traditional anglosaxon etymology, we could take those same ideas – like blithe – and take them back through indoeuropean to make something nice and latin out of them. Blithe < blīþe < bleiþaz < bʰleitos > ɸleitos > lat. flētus (> fletous? fletan?) or grk. φλιτος or φλισος (phlitos/phlisos > phlisan?)

Anyway, blithe and elkind are my two suggestions for now. I’d be interested to hear what others in the blithe/elkind and linguistic communities think about it. Then, of course, there’s the slightly more uphill battle to get it introduced into the language and get people to actually use it; maybe Dan Savage can plug it for us.

Please leave me a comment with your thoughts!


☿℞, ♄▢♇, and other identity crises

So i'm not really too big on astrology.  Most of it is kinda silly.

But i think there's some of it that's fairly legitimate that gets overlooked by "rational" people because it's lumped in with a lot of other superstitious foolishness.  If you believe we're not affected by things like the phases of the moon, you don't deserve to believe in tides, and don't blame me if you get sucked out to sea by a superstition.  And if you think the moon doesn't mess with people's heads, go to a hospital or a police station during a full moon.  Or tell those various sea creatures that only spawn during the full moon that they are evolutionarily out-of-touch, and they should just go extinct.

I think there are a lot of things that affect us very subtlely, sometimes subconsciously, and my rational brain says that should end with the moon, since that's the only thing that really has much of a "pull" on us, literally and figuratively.  But for several years now, i've been keeping track of other subtler astrological happenings that most definitely impact us, even though i can't find a logical explanation for them.  Two of the most profound of them just kicked our collective asses this weekend.


Mercury went retrograde on Friday, and will remain in retrograde for another three weeks.  And experience tells me that it'll be yet another three weeks after that before all the things that go wrong in the meantime get put right again, when Mercury again passes the point where it "stationed" on Friday.

Mercury retrograde is an imaginary phenomenon whereby, due to our perspective in the solar system, Mercury, moving faster than us, appears to stop in the sky and move backwards about three times a year.  What this means in practical terms for us is that "the Messenger planet" basically takes a vacation.  Emails bounce.  Shipments get delayed or go missing.  Mail gets lost.  Computers break down.  404 File not Found errors abound.

I'm waiting to see how this plays out in this year's 1L orientation.  I can already tell you that our 4GB flashdrives that we plan on passing out at orientation are indefinitely backordered, and it now looks like they're not going to be here in time.  Worse yet, the incoming class size has increased and i'm getting worried that we are not going to have enough laptops for everyone.  I've placed an order for more (significantly before Mercury went awol), but no word on them yet.


On a more personal note, we just completed our third run-through this year of Saturn square Pluto on Saturday, and the last for another twenty-some years.   Now, i can buy that the inner planets affect us.  Even Saturn and Jupiter have a gravitational affect on the Earth, cosmically speaking.  Jupiter is even in a 12:1 synchronous orbit with us.  But Pluto?  As far as i'm been able to tell, Uranus and Neptune don't really have much affect on us at all.  But that icy, rocky little former planet has the ability to mess things up on a grand scale.  I don't know why.  It has a particularly nasty affect on my life personally, and on select others i know, though some don't seem affected at all.  It's almost like an allergy of sorts.

Saturn square Pluto is all about conflicts between control issues, money, and secrets.  The traditional astrological definition calls for corruption in high places coming to light, governments and corporations failing, and general lack of compromise causing ruin and downfall.  Sneakiness and greed getting exposed all over the place.  Shady-Ass Behavior revealed.  It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, that means in the world at large.

Anyway, this is just some meaningless rambling at the moment, but it'll be interesting to look back at this in a month or two and see if anyone says, "Oh yeah, that's when blah-blah-blah happened."

So, good luck out there, stay safe, back up your computers, back up your backups, don't trust the mail, don't trust anyone, back up your computers again, and try to have fun.

On a particular note for IT folks - this is not the time to start working on your Disaster Recovery Plan: it's time to use one if you have it, and if you don't, you're just plain screwed.  (Creating one now, you're going to miss something fundamental, and you won't discover it doesn't work until it's too late.  Thanks Mercury.)


Gothic for Goths: Stuff!

So, not one, not two, but THREE new Gothic for Goths videos this weekend!

Now, don't get all excited, they're not the regular sorts of meaty videos full of romans and chupacabras that you're used to, but there are two vlogs that i'd like to think are rather informative, and a "secret" lesson of Gothic for Goths that is being made available only to those lovely individuals who have purchased a T-shirt from the Gothic for Goths storefront.

The first vlog is just about random various things, and the second is a spin-off about a sore subject that gtets a little long.  Check 'em out on my YouTube channel, or watch them right here!

And yes, i know my roots are getting a little out of control.  Don't worry, i'll be doing Something Interesting With My Hair for orientation soon.

And if you'd like to see that third video, which i promise is very interesting and informative, go buy a T-shirt!  And remember that all sleeveless shirts are 25% off for another three, four days or so!


The Jamin & Karen Supper Club: Midori's Floating World Café

Actually, the title is a little misleading: I went to Midori the other night with The Sweeties, not with Karen.  They treated me to what is possibly the only sushi place in the Twin Cities that i haven't been to yet in exchange for some laptop fixin'.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from Midori's Floating World Café, but what i definitely did not expect was how overwhelmingly cute it was!  It's just adorable.

We got some tasty beef pot stickers as appetizers with our drinks, and i was very pleasantly surprised by the delicious peach sake cooler - pretty much a sake spritzer with peach syrup in it.  Very refreshing. Then came little octopus dumplings and some sort of tofu salad.  As cute as they were, i need to accept the fact that i just don't like octopus. 

For an entrée, i got the sashimi and tempura bento dinner, and it was nice enough, pretty; nothing special.  The tempura was particularly good - especially the sweet potato; the sashimi was fine but nothing to blog about... and, having just relearned my lesson for the nth time, i gave the tako to Ms. Fledermaus.


The Jamin & Karen Supper Club: Rainbow Chinese

It occurs to me that there are a lot of "rainbow" things around the Twin Cities.  Rainbow Foods, the grocery store chain (our local version of Food4Less, if you're from California, or maybe the Grand Union if you're on the East Coast, and somewhere between the Piggly Wiggly and Food Lion for you southerners -- by the way, has it ever occurred to anyone that it's weird that there are totally different grocery store chains in every part of the country?  Same gas stations.  Same restaurants.  But totally disparate grocery stores.  But i digress...), Rainbow Taxi, and of course, my favorite, Rainbow Chinese.  All of them surprisingly not gay.  (Not anti-gay, mind you, just un-gay.)  There are also Rainbow Tree Service, Rainbow Research, Rainbow Lawn Care, and even Rainbow Pest Control.  (I don't really know the "gay" status of those last few.)

The first time i ever heard of or set foot in Rainbow was over ten years ago now, on a date with a very nice young man named Steve, of whom i was rather fond, but who was scared away by the now-infamous Evil Matt #1, by introducing himself as my boyfriend long before he was.  But that's another story entirely.  In any case, i've been going there for many years now.  Every time she visits Minneapolis, my mother insists on going there so she can get the Honey Walnut Shrimp, which I'll get to in a moment, and you haven't lived a full and rewarding life until you've tried the Tangerine Beef, now to be had only on their Chinese New Year menu.

Karen and i went there this evening, and they -- almost, mostly -- delivered as usual.  I have to say, though, it's taken some downward turns in the couple of years since i was there last.  No more cloth napkins.  The new formica tables are disturbingly truck-stop-diner-chic.  I didn't notice any blooming orchids tonight (back in the day, they were thick on the ground).  And the new menus, well, they've been upgraded, but to what?  They now weigh several pounds, and their bronze bindings don't really make up for the fact that nothing inside them is the same.  Including a total lack of my own S.O.T., Chicken with Crown Broccoli.

Anyway, we started off with appetizers of calamari and pan-fried vegetable dumplings.  The calamari recipe has changed.
I'm really not a fan, but it was palatable enough.  Not enough to get it ever again, though.

I'd never had the dumplings before, but there was a strange taste to them that didn't agree with me.  Was it lovage?  Celery?
Pan-fried Vegetable Dumplings

I also started things off with a lychee martini, which is the one thing that seems to have improved with time.
Lychee Martini

After what seemed like a fairly long time, Karen's entrée, Jai Mai Fun, arrived,
Jai Mai Fun
...and was very tasty, but then i was informed that they were out of asparagus, and so my Sate Asparagus Chicken was a no-go... but would i like it with green beans instead for the same price?


I felt badly for the waitress, who had to bear the brunt of Karen's obvious question, "Why the hell not tell us they were out of asparagus when we ordered it?"  Apparently, the kitchen doesn't work like that.  Lame.

So i ordered an old stand-by: the Honey Walnut Shrimp.
Honey Walnut Shrimp

Sometimes when Peat and i go there, we'll order a regular meal and get that as dessert, or at least get some to go.  It's so awesome. And that's the one recipe tonight that doesn't seem to have changed. 

Now, i'm not a food critic, nor do i play one on TV, so i'm not going to give this a rating or anything, but i have to say my Rainbow experience this evening was less than stellar.  It was a solid Meh.  At best, a Meh+.

Rainbow is not particularly cheap, but it's worth a shot just for the Honey Walnut Shrimp.  If i'd forgone the need for an appetizer and just stuck with that and the martini, I'd have been blissfully happy.  In all the bill came to right around $35 a piece.  Yeah, and no discount for not bothering to tell me that my meal was out-of-stock until the other had been delivered.  Fail.


New Gothic for Goths Storefront: Official Opening! Free Shipping this Weekend!

Háilai, Gutilans!

I just wanted to announce the official opening of the Gothic for Goths storefront on SpreadShirt.  Thanks to the patronage of our own dear Ms. Fledermaus and Mr. Matt, i've gotten enough orders to upload more designs and present a pretty decent selection of gothy gothware!

Visit http://gothic4goths.spreadshirt.com for a great selection of T-shirts, bandanas, ties, and, yes, even fancy new black underwear!  We currently have eight designs available on a selection of 52 different products, including:

My fancy new black underwear is chafing.

Okay, this party's getting dirty... 

Then on the back:
...I'm putting on my clothes and going home.

...with the optionally cheeky followup of:

Announce to the world just how goth you are with these:
I am gother than thou.

...for the gentlemen, 'gutiza' being in the masculine declension, 
but for the ladies we have 'gutizei':
I am gother than thou. 
...in the feminine declension.  For those of you falling somewhere in the middle, if you are holding out for 'gutizata' you'll have to wait until I can upload more designs, after I've sold another nine products.

And of course, from the infamous Lesson 5, we have:
Goths. Don't. Frolick.

And finally, if you're feeling emo:
I'm going to the corner, alone, to cry.  

Please note that 'áinakls' in the last is only in the masculine declension.  Ladies, you'll have to wait for more uploads if you feel like crying in a corner 'áinakla'.

The above designs are flex-printed on black fabric in your choice of parchment or red lettering.

The t-shirts are all available in standard weight or heavy-weight fabric.  The heavyweight is a couple dollars more, but much more durable.  There are also a couple of v-necks in there, but i thought they looked a little silly, so they're not available for all products yet.  If there's a demand for them, i'll happily expand the line.

If there are any of the above designs that you'd like to see on a different type of fabric or in a different color, please let me know and i'll be glad to create it for you.

Finally, for the grand (official) opening, there is FREE SHIPPING this weekend only!  From now until Sunday you will receive free shipping on all orders!  Just enter "FREEWEEKEND" at checkout.  So go out there and get gothed up!

Cheers, Gothlings!

PS - My categories are kinda farked, and some of them lie.  I'm still trying to sort that out, but ideally you should be able to sort by your choice of Lesson (3, 4, or 5), Apparel (Hamideis [t-shirts] or Undarhams [underwear]), and physical or grammatical Gender (Qēnē [Women's] or Gumanē [Men's]).


Gothic for Goths: Some More Thoughts on Pronunciation

I got most of it out of my system in that last post, but let me just touch on one more pronunciation issue while i'm at it. Fortunately, this one really isn't quite as controversial as the last; this is really just a clarification, though i promise there is a bit of contention to overcome for those of you just tuning in for the drama.

While everyone agrees that the digraphs ai and au are the most contentious to pronounce in gothic, one of the most confusing letters by far is g.  (Well, giba, really, but i'm not going to confuse the issue by using actual gothic letters in my blog.)  Fortunately, there are a pretty solid and undisputed set of rules governing its pronunciation in various circumstances.  I'll try to enumerate them all here for your reference and reflection, as well as the one contentious bit where i once again have to disagree with my hero Mr. Joseph B. Voyles, whose thoughts about g aren't so much wrong as his thoughts about h.  But that's another story.

  • g = [g]
    • when word-initial.
      • gaggan [gaŋgan] (to go)
      • giba [giβa] (gift)
    • when adjacent to a voiced obstruent or sonorant (other than g).
      • baurgja [bɔrgja] (citizen)
      • brigdil [brɪgdɪl] (bridle)
  • g = [γ]
    • when intervocalic.
      • agan [aγan] (to fear)
      • igil [ɪγɪl] (hedgehog)
    • (maybe?) before a syllabic sonorant.
      • hagl [haγl̩] (hail)
      • baugms [bauγm̩̩s] (tree)
  • g = [x]
    • when word-final.
      • dag [dax] (day, acc.)
      • galiug [galyx or galɪʊx] (lie)
    • before an unvoiced obstruent.
      • dags [daxs] (day, nom.)
      • dulgs [dʊlxs] (debt)
  • g = [ŋ]
    • before a velar consonant (i.e. g, k, or q).
      • gaggan [gaŋgan] (to go)
      • drigkan [drɪŋkan] (to drink)
      • igqis [ɪŋkwis] (y'all)
I would also throw a clarification in there that "word-initial," in my view anyway, includes after prefixes, so "gagaggan" would be [gagaŋgan], not [gaγaŋgan].

Voyles postulates that initial g may in fact have been continuant ([γ]), and while i find this unlikely, i don't argue that it is a possibility.

The real controversy i promised is Voyles' (not unreasonable) speculation that the appearance of g instead of h for [x] is evidence that all instances of h were pronounced [h] and never [x].  This contrasts with the other stops b (which becomes f in similar circumstances) and d (which becomes þ).  Once again, i attribute this to orthographical conventions rather than phonetics, and hold firm to my belief that h = [h] when word- or word-segment-initial (except perhaps before a sonorant, i.e. hl-, hn-, or hr-), and [x] elsewhere.  Or perhaps we're both sort of correct, and where i have posited that h = [x], it may in fact be something more like [ç].

Gothic for Goths: Some Thoughts on Pronunciation

You know, no matter how many times i say it, people keep asking me why i pronounce things a certain way in gothic, or "Shouldn't it be ____ instead of ____?" or "How come you say ____ when that other guy on YouTube pronounces it like ____?"

Of particular contention among all gothic scholars are the diphthongs (and/or digraphs) ai and au.  So let me put this to rest here, once and for all.

First of all, no one is "right" or "wrong" about this.  Nevermind, that's not true.  There are a lot of "wrongs," but it's impossible to know if one is right, because gothic just plain doesn't exist anymore.  So let me present the theories, the evidence, and my own personal take on the situation.

Ideas about gothic pronunciation really fall into three basic camps, one of which is just plain wrong.  I fall somewhere between the second and the third, if we think of these three camps on a sliding scale.

Theory #1:  ai and au are pronounced as [ai] and [au], respectively.

This theory is the easiest to explain, and the easiest to discredit.  It's just plain not the case.  Look at any greek word with an epsilon that is borrowed into Wulfilas' bible and you'll find it transliterated as "ai," and epsilon was just plain old never pronounced as [ai], but always as [ɛ].  And this shouldn't be construed as the mispronunciation of a non-native greek speaker trying to render the words: It is thought that Wulfilas' mother was possibly greek, and that he spoke it as a child.

Theory #2: ai and au are prounounced [ɛ] and [ɔ] in some cases, and sometimes [ai] and [au], respectively.

The trick here is to decide what constitutes "some cases," and what doesn't.  My theory of gothic pronunciation falls pretty firmly into this category, as do most scholars, but they are far from uniform on opinions about which are which.

Some of the nicest gothic lessons out there are those by Slocum & Krause, and they fall squarely into this category.  They fall into what we might call "Theory #2a," which would be that ai and au are usually pronounced [ai] and [au] except in very specific circumstances, like in borrowed greek words or when occurring before r, h, or hw.

My own theory i would classify as "Theory #2b," which I'll spell out in some more detail below, but it may be summarized to say that it is Slocum & Krause's pronunciation with mora loss in unstressed diphthongs, particularly in noun and verb endings.  Pronouns are a different story, and i explain more about them below.

Theory #3: ai and au are pronounced [ɛ] and [ɔ], respectively, in all cases.

There is some interesting evidence to back this up, at least in the case of au, particularly in the use of certain transliterations in gothic like the name of the Apostle Paul, where Wulfilas renders Παυλος as Pawlus (instead of the expected Páulus), or the latin "cautio," transliterated as "kawtsjō."

Voyles falls strictly into this camp, and extends his germanic ai/au-to-ē/ō rule to apply to all instances of ai and au in east germanic.  In particular, the germanic rule:
Monophthongization of unstressed ai, au
Stage 1: ai,au → ɛ̄,ɔ̄ when in a word-final unstressed syllable immediately preceded by an unstressed syllable in east germanic only.
Stage 2: ai,au → ɛ̄,ɔ̄ when unstressed, then → ē,ō in northwest germanic only.
Later he expands this rule in gothic.
Monophthongization of ai, au
ai,au when stressed → ɛ̄,ɔ̄ when word-final or before a non-vocalic consonant.
So there you have a run-down of the classic theories.  Now allow me, if you will, to spell out my own, which as i mentioned earlier is "Theory #2b."

I think that Voyles was pretty darn close, but i would simply cut out his later Gothic Monophthongization of ai,au rule and attribute his evidence for it to orthographical conventions rather than phonetics.  I also have little doubt that this later rule actually did take place, but i don't believe that it had completed at Wulfilas' time.

So in a nutshell, i would posit that:
  • ai,au = [ai],[au] 
    • whenever stressed, with a few exceptions, below.
  • ai,au = [ɛ],[ɔ] 
    • always when unstressed.
    • always before r.
    • always before l. (This would explain away the rendering of Pawlus.)
    • before h(w) except where stressed and from germanic [au], instead of from germanic [u] via the gothic expansion of first umlaut.
      • For example, PGmc hauhaz → hauhs [hauxs], but PGmc luhō- → lauh- [lɔx].
One aspect which stumped me for a while are monosyllabic words with standard endings which ought in most cases to be pronounced [ɛ] and [ɔ], such as bai, twai, etc.  After much consideration, i've come up with the following rather ad hoc rule which is still open to some debate, and is largely based on what seems the most natural to say:
  • ai,au = [ai],[au]
    • when final, as in bai, þai, twai.
  • ai,au = [ɛ],[ɔ] 
    • when followed by a consonant, as in þaim, twaim.
A problem word:

raida:  I've been saying [rɛða], based partially on the much later spelling of the letter R as rēda (from the 9th century Codex Vindobonensis); it is uncertain if the proto-germanic was raidō or rēdō.  It is very likely that the later spelling is reflective of Voyles' later rule.  In my first lesson, i pronounced it [raiða], which stands an equal chance of being correct as far as i can tell, but i've grown to like the sound of [rɛða] better.


The Jamin & Karen Supper Club: Wasabi, revisited

Karen and i haven't visited a new place in a while, so we planned to go out tonight to a new sushi place - Origami, Nami, or Midori's Floating World.  Somehow, though, we ended up back at Wasabi, getting almost exactly what we got last time.  Only we got the spicy tuna, which was very nice, instead of the rainbow roll, which was kinda boring.

I won't spent a lot of time on the details, since I already talked about Wasabi, but I did get some pictures of the volcano roll this time.  Sorry, they're taken in bad light with a fairly low-end camera phone.  But Behold!

Sorry, i'd already eaten a couple before i thought to get a picture of it!

A closeup of the "volcano," which kept burning for a disturbingly long time. By the way, those little orange bits i think are cripy-fried sweet potato, though i can't be certain. Nom!

Spicy tuna on the left and volcano roll on the right.  I love those silver chopsticks!


Exciting New Merchandise, Gothy and Otherwise, for your Home Shopping Pleasure!

Hi Folks,

I just wanted to post a quick note to let you know about two new merchandising opportunities for you!

First and foremost, i've just about got all the kinks worked out in the Gothic for Goths T-shirt store.  The last kink remaining is that i need to sell ten designs before i can upload anymore.  Brilliant from their perspective; really annoying for me.  I've sold eight so far: I just need two more!  Won't you buy a gothy T-shirt?

There are eight items (two designs) available in all:
  • "Sa feina niuja swarta undarhams meins gneidiþ mik" ("My fancy new black underwear is chafing") - T-shirts in black with red or parchment lettering, or boxers in black with red or parchment lettering on the back or on the front left leg.
  • "Ōkai, sō dulþs waírþiþ unhráinja. Ik gawasja mik, gagguh háimō." ("Okay, this party's getting dirty.  I'm putting on my clothes and going home.") - T-shirts in black with red or parchment lettering.  "Ōkai, sō dulþs waírþiþ unhráinja" is on the front, "Ik gawasja mik, gagguh háimō," on the back.
So here's the deal.  I need to sell two more of these puppies before i can upload more designs, and i want to have a good, broad selection available before i launch the shop publicly.  Er, ya know, more publicly.  So if you happen to be reading this, go to the shop and buy a t-shirt or some boxers.  I will personally Paypal my commission (negligible though it may be) to the next two people to buy something (or the next two designs sold) - just email me and let me know that you bought it.  This deal is only available until i've reached my minimum to be able to upload more designs and launch the shop publicly, so order yours today!  Heck, i'll pay for your (domestic ground) shipping too

(Oh.  And for those of you who are going to tell me, "Just go buy two t-shirts yourself!  Use a different name or something." I already got called out on that.  Different name and address and payment information and everything.  And all I got was a delightfully passive-aggressive note: "Congratulations on your first sale! Did you perhaps order a t-shirt for yourself? For testing purposes of course ;-)"  So, meh.)

In other merchy news, i'm in the process of opening a sort of local shop called Cottage Industries where locals can buy homemade yoghurt, maple syrup, and home-roasted coffee.  It's still in the startup stages, so don't buy anything there just yet (because your order will evaporate into the adminisphere!) but i'll post when it's ready to go.  Yoghurt delivery is local only, of course.  Everything else so far will have some sort of shipping cost associated with it unless you live or work in our delivery area.

Ideally, once i get the hang of the shopping cart systems and shipping and whatnot, i'd like to consolidate the two shops, but for now i'll leave the t-shirt business in the capable hands of the experts at SpreadShirt.  Maybe i could have other neat little shops in there too, like links to Ms. Maus's fabulous gothy yarn and yarnstuffs, or other delightful local products.

So that's all my excitement currently.  Go buy a t-shirt!  I wanna launch my shop!


Jamin & Peat in NY, part II

I know that when i first posted "Jamin & Peat in NY, part I," that sort of implied that there would be a part II.  There is a part II; let's just say i'd rather not talk about it, and i'm just glad to be home again. 

I'm even glad it's time for finals.


Jamin & Peat in NY, part I

So on Friday, Peat and I set out on our annual spring migration to the farm. It's a little later this year than last, because the maple syrup season was more or less pointless, and we decided to come the week that spring really starts - that is, when Mom's new order of exotic breed chicks were ready to be released outside, when all the baby goats were due, and most importantly, when my sister was due to give birth to "Spooties," the name my niece Aubrey decided she wanted her baby brother or sister to have.

We got off to a fairly quiet start, spending a nice weekend on the farm (and I'll have to talk about Peat's exciting conversation with Twink about politics later on…), then on Monday we went into town, had lunch with Grandma at the Cheese Barrel, which was fabulous as always, and then wandered through the Commons for a bit, where we bought a set of barware from that leaf pattern - gold, so this one goes to Greer.

Tuesday, however, the quiet ended.

We spent the morning fortifying the chick pen, moving the chicks into it (from the box in the house they'd been in for the last week or two), moving two broody hens into more suitable nestboxes, going "nest-busting" and rounding up eggs from nests in outbuildings… and all sort of things.

In the evening I made cheese from some of the milk we'd collected from Cocoa, the goat who had only one kid last week. I used a very over-simplified recipe, and I can't really tell you how it came out, because it's still hanging above the sink, but here's the recipe:

goat's milk
mesophilic starter (I could probably have just used 1/2 of it, but I wasn't sure how long it had been in the fridge.)
rennet (in 2 T cold water)

Warm the milk to 75 degrees. (I think I hit 80 by accident.) In a small bowl, mix culture, rennet, and 4T of the warm milk, then add back to the warm milk, then leave overnight at room temperature. (Here I decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to pour it into sealable containers that would repel cat hair, so I put it into two shallow square Tupperware containers.) In the morning, cut the curd into 1" cubes (a task made easier by having put the milk into 1" deep containers last night!) and put into a colander lined with 2 layers of cheese cloth. The recipe says leave it overnight again, but that seems weird to me, so I decided to hang the cheese cloth above the sink and I'll call it good somewhere around noon.

Anyway, back to yesterday's excitement, Adina called around 5:30 to say she was headed to Cooperstown, and called back just after 9:00 to announce the birth of a baby girl, Teagan Sierra Enck, 7lb 10oz, 19.75", born at 8:28pm. I did a quick work-up of her chart, though I'm not quite sure of the ascendant until I get back to the internetz:

So, er, stubborn, clumsey, and over-emotional, with control issues about putting things back in the right order? Nope, I don't know of anyone in our family like that...

There are also lots and lots of baby goats, the cheese came out great (especially the stuff I blended with maple syrup), it's Peat's 25th birthday (for which i brought him into town to use the internet!), and various other things going on, like meeting up with Michael at some point soon to talk about getting grants to start cheese-making businesses.  Speaking of which, i should get out of the library now and head off to get some pizza.  Not my most cohesive blog entry to date, but this isn't the most cohesive sort of place, and that's just what happens to be going on.  I'll upload some pictures of various sorts of babies soon.


Gothic for Goths Lesson Six Online Now!

I just put the finishing touches on and uploaded Gothic for Goths Lesson Six: Raþjan.

Check it out on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmdqggY40_Y

Or check out the companion site with script and new vocab at: http://ling.everywitchway.net/germanic/east/gothic/gothic-for-goths/lesson-06

Not the most exciting work i've ever posted, but necessary when we start reading recipes in the next lesson.



Gothic for Goths: Lesson 6 takes another turn!

So recently i had promised Gothic for Goths: Lesson 6, which would involve making yoghurt.  Then i got distracted and decided that it would be better to start with the more "gothy" making of beer.  And most recently, this weekend, i realized that no one is going to be able to follow a decent recipe without knowing some basic things like ...numbers.

So this weekend i wrote the script for "Gutiska Razda faúr Gutans: Raþjan" (Counting).  I haven't recorded any of the sound yet, but I have made most of the slides and double- and triple-checked the grammar.  I have a vague fear that it's going to be way too long.  I might add in some information about using the alphabet for counting à la greek and hebrew, and just split it up into a two-parter like that horribly long and boring alphabet lesson.  But you can't skimp on these important subjects.

So once counting is done, perhaps while i'm in NY in a couple of weeks (where it all began!), i'll work on the recipes.  I think i also need someone who is good with photography or film to come and get the live-action shots for me, because, as i discovered during a practice run last week, do you have any idea how hard it is to take video of yourself with a webcam built into your laptop while you're bottling beer?


The Jamin & Karen Supper Club: Moto-I, and a new neighbor!

Well, this wasn't truly a Jamin & Karen Supper Club event.  It was going to be, but instead it turned out to be Jamin & Peat and Matt & Maus, later joined by Andy for an excursion to Moto-I.  There was a bit of discussion about whether it is pronounced ['mo.to.i:] or ['mo.to.ai], and we still have not found out the answer, but for me, the former seems much more reasonable.

We got reservations online, which is always helpful, but the latest time available was 5:30, so we rushed about and headed down there post haste.  Upon our arrival, i discovered (and apparently everyone else already knew) that they had a rooftop patio, so we headed up the elevator and perched ourselves in the late afternoon sun.

Originally i wanted to go there because i had a Groupon to use up (actually i have several), but they apparently don't accept them during happy hour.  Not a problem, though, considering that we were there for quite a while, and they did take them for non-happy hour fare.

I can't even tell you what i ate.  Moto-I is like that.  There was a lot of sake.  I think i got the hamachi sashimi platter, which was awesome, of course, and lots of various little buns filled with... stuff.  I vaguely remember sweet potato fries.  And, oh, the sake!  While i mainly stuck to the junmai nama genshu, i thought it was a good idea (and i recommend this to everyone who goes there) to get a flight just to remind myself of the possibilities: I always forget how much i like the tokubetsu.

Look, i'm not going to lie.  Moto-I is not cheap.  It seems cheap, because it's a lot of little $3 - $6 items.  But with enough sake, you don't realize that you've ordered 30 of them.  Still, it's totally worth it once in a while.  For the five of us, the bill came to just about $250.  I had a $50 Groupon, but somehow I ended up paying an additional $110... hey, wait a minute!  Oh well. "Those telemarketers always get me!"

"Grandma, you have to stop answering the telephone."

"But it rings!"

Anyway...  After dinner Andy followed us back to the Island, where we introduced him to Lauren & Maryn, since we just discovered that their downstairs neighbor will be moving at the end of his lease, and Andy is currently looking for a place.  We were also happily surprised the next day to hear through the Island Grapevine that he'd signed a lease!  Wow, they sure process those credit and background checks quickly here on the Island.  On Sunday.  Easter... hey, wait a minute!  Got me again!

That's okay, i'll vouch for Andy.


Public Service Announcement

I'm taking a break from projectile vomiting after eating some one-day-too-old asparagus I found in the fridge to offer up the following Public Service Announcement:
There is a rumor going around that comments on my blog don't work.  I'd like to take this opportunity to assure you that they in fact do, and that you should feel free to give it a try.  If you don't have a Blogger account, you can also use OpenID for a LiveJournal or other login, or just leave your comments anonymously.
Okay, back to it.


The Jamin & Karen Supper Club

I'm pre-dating these a bit to reflect actual dates, but I decided to start including some adventures I've been having with my neighbor Karen who lives "over the way."

The Jamin & Karen Supper Club really started a couple of years ago when we snuck off to visit the Longfellow Grill after dropping off Peat & Rocky at some function or other.  Recently, we've been going out to one place or another about once a week.

So be sure to check back through the blogs this month and see where we've gone, and there will surely be some more tasty adventures to come!

The Jamin & Karen Supper Club: Izzy's

This wasn't really supper, but Karen called me up this afternoon and asked if i wanted to go out for ice cream at Izzy's.  I'd never been there, but it's supposed to be quite a landmark just over the river from the Longfellow Grill into St. Paul.  They beat out Bobby Flay in a blind taste test when he came to challenge them to an ice-cream-off a couple of years ago.  (Not that that's so impressive to me, anyway, because i think he's kind of a tool. I mean, who wants BBQ-sauce-flavored ice cream?)

Anyway, i ended up grabbing an ice cream sandwich out of the freezer case.  ("How much could it be?") And i just about choked when she said it would be $5.  It was good and all, but come on, it's a freakin' ice cream sandwich.

I was also dismayed to see, on my way out the door, that they had blueberry cheesecake ice cream.  I was so sad when Ben & Jerry stopped making that 15 years or so ago.  But we were illegally parked, so I hurried out and made a mental note to get that next time around.

And if it's good blueberry cheesecake ice cream, they could charge me $20 a pint and i wouldn't balk.  (But i'm hoping for something more like $5.)


The Jamin & Karen Supper Club: The Longfellow Grill

So we decided to give the Longfellow Grill another try this week, and this time the wait was only 15 minutes.  Well, really it was more like 25 when all was said and done, but we waited around for it, and i think it's fair to say that it was worth it.

Karen got the Walleye Benedict, which is what i got the last time we were here years ago.  I got the Stuffed Chicken, which is an understated name for something that falls squarely into the category of "fabulous!" with a lilt.  A breaded chicken cutlet rolled up around roasted red peppers and some sort of boursin creamy sherry cheesy lovely paste that goes straight into your arteries from your mouth.

My drink, on the other hand, the Blackberry Margarita, kinda sucked.  I mean, it didn't suck badly enough that i didn't drink it, but it was sour, bitter, and had little-to-nothing to do with blackberries other than it was slightly purple and it had one floating in it.  It was mostly lime juice from sub-par limes and some sort of low-shelf tequila.  The glass was also rimmed with salt, which seemed odd to me for a fruit margarita, and just added to the bitterness.  Anyway, I can't complain too much, because we arrived just short of the end of happy hour, so it was $3 off.

But that chicken.  Damn.  Yum.


Gothic for Goths: Lesson 6, coming soon!

A new Gothic for Goths lesson is percolating. It's a few weeks from completion, but at least it's moved into the conceptual phase. The next lesson will be "Matjan miþ þaim Gutam: Cooking with the Goths" and will include an instructional video on making the perfect yoghurt.

I've been having a great deal of fun all day coming up with gothic words for things like twisƕair (double-boiler), jōgaúrtareis (yogo-therm), and faítlaúss þaúrsus milukastubjus (non-fat dried milk powder), though that last one is a little bit of a stretch. Not to mention matlapin (tablespoon), drigklapin (teaspoon), and gamitastikls (measuring cup).

I have a floating holiday coming up, so i might have time next weekend to get it done; i hope my subscribers will forgive that the video portion will be taken courtesy of my phone and/or laptop.  I might have to invite some neighbors along to help with the preparations.

Gawizneigai sijum!


The Jamin & Karen Supper Club: The Monte Carlo

So Karen and i had plans tonight to go back to the Longfellow Grill where it all started, but upon arriving there we were told that there was a 45 - 60 minute wait, so we decided to try our luck elsewhere.

"Have you ever been to the Monte Carlo?" Karen asked me, "They have the best burgers!"  So we called them en route and made a reservation.

The burgers were indeed good; i got the Plaza Burger, which is one of my favorite kinds of burgers, and which i miss a lot since they stopped serving them at Sargent Preston's near my work.  Medium-rare, of course.  It wasn't the greatest plaza burger i've ever had, but it was pretty darn good, and the fries were just awesome.  I couldn't decide what i wanted to drink, so i ended up just having water.

I had never been to the Monte Carlo, just a few blocks away from home, and it's definitely an interesting atmosphere: very 20's-style, old flocked wallpaper (in a tasteful way), tin ceilings, lots of woodwork, and that sort of thing.  Very loud, though, and it just got busier the longer we were there.  Valet parking is a definite perk.  And the meal itself was surprisingly inexpensive for what it was.  Including tip and valet we walked out of there for under $30.


The Jamin & Karen Supper Club: Wasabi

Karen and i visited Wasabi in Downtown Minneapolis on a Saturday night.

You know, say what you will about Wasabi; a lot of people i talk to don't seem to like it much.  I love it, though, with the exception of nearly impossible and/or extremely expensive parking.

Whenever i'm there with three or more people, i always recommend the Treasure Boat, although the last time i was there it left a little to be desired.  I wish i could say why specifically - it just wasn't as fabulous as it usually was for some intangible reason.  I guess that's why i'm not a food critic.  Yet.

(By the way, i'm inserting here this picture of the Treasure Boat, which i took in July 2010 at another trip to Wasabi with Eric and Linc, and for the record it was stellar again as usual.)
Treasure Boat

Anyway, Karen and i got a small selection of sushi, thinking we would order more in a bit: the Rainbow Roll and the Volcano Roll, as well as some drinks.  I got my Wasabi standard: the Drunken Samurai, which is a dazzling green blend of rum, coconut, cream, Midori, and ...and other stuff.  Good stuff.

The Rainbow Roll was okay, nothing to write home -- or blog -- about.  Pretty, plain, bland.  The Volcano, however, was just awesome, and try as we might, we didn't have room for anything more once we had finished it.  Hopefully next time I can get a good picture of it, because it's really quite impressive, complete with actual fire.


Reform Spelling and other Trite Nonsense

So I haven't blogged in a while now, mostly because the last post i made ended in disaster.  So the lesson to learn here is that while anyone can put anything they want on Facebook, blogs are apparently more important, and nothing of any sort of substance or anything personally important to the blogger should ever be put there.  I lost a kitchen window to learn that lesson.

So on to unimportant things that no one but me could possibly care about.

I've been doing a lot of updating to the northeadish website, having changed a couple of rules (like intervocalid d > ð), updated some reform spelling orthography (like changing the -an verb ending from pgmc. -jan verbs to -en, though there is no change in pronunciation), and finally got the entire lexicon online, though I'm still formatting some of it.  The reform spelling in particular has undergone quite a few changes, and is really quite "germanicky" now.

For instance, compare the following in the standard literary alphabet and the reform spelling:

 Standard Literary Spelling

Æwlect mænsc sculða swō cnæʒɴ ōc cunɴ: 
ǣnɴ venðʌ vecslɴ, 
ǣna īnstœ̄rӿ fūrlægɴ, 
ænt farh slahtɴ, 
ænt scep stȳrn, 
ǣna baʒðþ ænðverpɴ, 
ǣna sunetqeðþ scrīvɴ, 
ǣna antal evnɴ, 
ǣna mūr baʒɴ, 
ǣnɴ bǣn fastsætɴ, 
þa daʒɴðɴ þræfstɴ, 
bafelhӿɴ nemɴ, 
bafelhӿɴ gevɴ, 
selvʀ wᵫrcɴ, 
talevnӿɴ lœ̄sɴ, 
ænt nȳwt tʀver ūtþeŋcɴ, 
drīt slenʒɴ, 
ǣnɴ recnʀ īnfelhɴ, 
ǣnɴ smaclect māl cuqɴ, 
hrǣnlīca fehtɴ, 
ænðþ balðþ stervɴ. 
Þī basunðrӿ fʀðɴ cervfdȳrn ærðþ.

 Reform Spelling

Ewlekt mensk skulða swó knewgun ók kunan: 
énan venðal vekslen,
éna ínstørang fúrlegen, 
ent farh slahtan,
ent skep stýran,
éna bawgþ enðverpan,
éna sunetkweþ skrívan,
éna antal evnen,
éna múr bawgun,
énan bén fastseten,
þa dawgunðan þrefsten,
bafelhangan neman,
bafelhangan gevan,
selvar wyrken,
talevnangan løzen, 
ent nýwt turver útþenken,
drít slengun,
énan reknar ínfelhan,
énan smaklekt mál kukun,
hrénlíka fehtan, 
enþ balþ stervan. 
Þí basunðrang furðan kerfdýran erþ.

(By the way, the above is Heinlein: “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”)

Of course, you'll notice in the standard literary spelling that i've had to resign myself to certain limitations of the inter-tubes, such as using ȳ instead of my beloved ᵫ-macron (the spacing just isn't compatible yet). 

I'm still wracking my brain to come up with a new Gothic for Goths lesson, but that's not going to be happening anytime soon.  As much as i'd love to crank out a new one, i just have too many other things going on in my life right now.  Peat's headed to San Francisco tomorrow for a good three weeks however, so maybe while he's away i can do some gothing.