Wallflower Words: Quantise (v.)

Wallflower Words is a series of Proof (v.) posts dedicated to beautiful but under-appreciated and seldom-encountered words. Those that are never invited to dance at the parlance party; those that deserve more exposure than is currently afforded by contemporary trends in popular English. This is their turn on the dancefloor.

The Word: Quantise (v.)

[or Quantize (v.), depending on your hemisphere]

Huh? To divide into discrete units or into the smallest possible component parts; to express in terms of quanta.

As in? Solace, quantised. Not really. More like “Could you kindly quantise how many times you have rewatched Quantum of Solace?”. [I could not]. Or “Please quantise the expression on your face while listening to The xx on new birthday earphones”.

Again, I shurely could not.

And? Well, it just sounds cooler than ‘quantify’, despite being more or less synonymous. Note to self: preference ‘quantise’ whenever possible. Especially when describing nerdy, spacey, technobabble [<alt=“cool”>]stuff.

See also:

Wallflower Words: Liminal (adj.)
Wallflower Words: Saturnine (a./ n.)

NYYYE: Bewitched at the witching hour by musical magic and Mother Nature

As Oh-Nine switched into Twenty-Ten*… One pedantic blogger, Three friends of mine, and around Sixteen Thousand strangers were wildly dancing to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, in the rural coastal farmland wonderland that is Falls Festival, Marion Bay, Tasmania.

To the North, a full moon — a full BLUE moon — peered through the clouds:

{ via me, @miss_om }

To the South, behind the stage, instead of mankind’s incredible but economically and environmentally expensive fireworks, our pyrotechnics were provided by a truly electric lightning storm, erratically illuminating the wild Tasmanian night from end-to-end, for hours on end.


And then, as if sensing the combined heat of 16000 revellers, great big raindrops began to fall from the sky, lit like glitter by the neon green strobe lights. For the last hour of Oh-Nine, the crowd… went wild. The atmosphere was nothing short of primal.

A witching hour decorated by magic music and some of Mother Nature’s finest miracles? A bewitching start to the new year.

And speaking of witches**, the following is an item of wiccan imagery:

{ Witch Tower, via FFFFOUND! }



…is the official Yeah Yeah Yeahs t-shirt.

Wicked, yeah?

* Entering a new decade has been a popular topic of conversation of late. Personally, I’m more interested in the changed abbreviation. It seems like just yesteryear that we were all in a bother about how to abbreviate 2000 (after the convenience of ‘Ninety-Nine’ and all its predecessors). Turns out we were okay with ‘Two Thousand’, and the the rest of the noughties took care of themselves. Twenty-Ten rolls off the tongue beautifully, don’t you think? Though I hate to think where we’ll be this time next year. ‘Twenty-Eleven’ is far too polysyllabic: too cumbersome. But then simply saying ‘Eleven’ just doesn’t say enough: it lacks clarity. Oh well. At least we’ve got 363 days to decide on a suitably agreeable abbreviation.

** No, nothing about Karen O! Though the fact that she wrote the soundtrack to Where The Wild Things Are (and is pretty darn wicked) makes the wildness particularly relevant.

DEFINITELY RELATED POSTS: Camping on Tenterhooks (aka. Another apt OED Word of The Day)

Camping On Tenter-hooks (aka. Another apt OED Word of The Day)

Today’s OED Word of The Day is…

Tenter (n. 1) “A wooden framework on which cloth is stretched after being milled, so that it may set or dry evenly and without shrinking”.

As in tent.

As in camping.

As in… tomorrow I fly (then bus) to Marion Bay, Tasmania, for the 3-day New Years Eve rural musical escape that is Falls Festival. Sleeping in a tent for the first time since Tibet.

Listening to Grizzly Bear

And Sarah Blasko…

And Little Birdy…

And The Yeah Yeah Yeahs…

And The Temper Trap…

And Art vs Science…

And Wolfmother…

And Midnight Juggernauts…

All while living in a tent city. [Jovial meteorological reference. Last year there was a snow warning. This year, we’ll be expecting midday highs of 34 degrees in the Celsius. Practically unheard of in perpetually chilly Taswegia. Sydney, on the other hand, City of Summer and everything, will be stuck as it is in the mid-20s, with rain in abundance.]

My myringes are on tenterhooks (even without the chance of snow).

Elvis + Helvetica? Hellsvetica yes!

Firstly: Elvis + Helvetica = brilliant.

{by Hulk4598 on flickr, via FFFFOUND!}

This girl approves.

Now, for a bit of waffle. (Err… waffle).

Note Exhibit A, above. Young Elvis* all dolled up for the film Roustabout, in too-neat leathers with too-tidy hair . Movie tagline: “Elvis Presley as a Roving, Restless, Reckless, ROUSTABOUT”. [Insert sceptical looks here].

But also note Exhibit B:

{also by Hulk4598 on flickr, via FFFFOUND!}

Young Elvis in a rather naff suit, with an acoustic guitar that he never really played much, and a messed-up coiff that looks like he’s just come off stage after this:

(Skip to 1:00 and press play. Watch to the end. DO IT. Honestly. Just trust me on this, okay? You won’t regret it.)

Now isn’t it ironic that despite the extra “L” in Exhibit A [“Hell for leather[s]”, anyone?] Elvis was actually at the peak of his corrupting deviance not as a “Roving, Restless, Reckless, ROUSTABOUT”, but as a cheeky, messy-haired rockabilly boy?

Clearly, the 1950s were hella good for the Rebellious Youth, in music and typography.

*[as opposed to Old Elvis: let’s just not go there, okay?]

PS. Much as I appreciate the sentiment, I’m not such a fan of Helvekitty.

PPS. Whatever happened to Elvis movies on Sunday afternoon TV? Oh well, at least we’ve still got:

“Refridgerators”, “pidgeons”, “burried”, and The French Band.


Read (v.)>> Good luck selling that “refridgerator”

A brilliant (and very astute) rant from Verbal Remedy (“The She-Lord Of Perpetual Nattering”) on her Open Salon blog Verbs and Spices (once upon a snark) about the relationship between spelling and selling.*

Reminds me of something I once posted about back in the day: Good luck finding that “pidgeon”.

And also, of something I haven’t posted about, but  keep meaning to:

I can forgive a typo like this. I kind of like the idea of one Mike Mills being too “burried” in romantic sentiment to spell it correctly… And yes, it’s mainly because, as I just discovered, HE DID THE COVER ARTWORK FOR ALL THOSE INCREDIBLE ‘AIR’ ALBUMS!

My gosh, how I adored (and still do adore) this album and its cover art:

In fact, I wholeheartedly believe we should all listen to it now, and “burry” ourselves in romantic sentiment. So very Virgin Suicides.

* Brilliant name, by the by.

Earworms and Mind Wanderings

The Sprout and The Bean, by Joanna Newsom

Lose Yourself in Melbourne

Last heard: in the ‘Lose Yourself in Melbourne’ TV ad.

Right now, deadlines are swooping down upon me
like the vengeful fighter jet-turned-eagle
in Douglas Adams’ The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.

So wandering along cobblestones
to the tune of harps/nonsensical lyrics,
wearing a pretty dress
and carrying nought but a big ball of red wool
sounds like a charming idea.

First published at tumblr proof (v.)

Earworm (n.)

An earworm is:

  • A song, or part thereof, that becomes stuck in one’s head — often inextricably and inexplicably going around and around and around and around and around…
  • Etymologically, a calque (ie: borrowed and phoenetically adapted into a similar-sounding English word) from the German word Ohrwurm, of the same meaning.
  • Called chiclete de ouvido in Portuguese: literally chewing gum of the ear.
  • Also known as: Phonological Loop, Last Song Syndrome, Repetuneitis, Aneurythm &c.
  • Usually carries negative connotations — as with advertising jingles and repulsive 1980s soft-rock intros (follow that link at your own peril). But in the right context, earworms can be a good thing. In exciting times, an internal loop of Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries creates just the right sense of dramatic ambience. The riff from Rage Against The Machine’s Wake Up is great for angry stomping in the city. And The Puppy Song (from You’ve Got Mail) burbles with overtones of an impending Springtime long weekend…At the moment, I’ve got the entire Darjeeling Limited soundtrack burrowing deep into my aural canals, and I love it.
    The Darjeeling Limited Soundtrack

If your earworm curiosity is particularly voracious, read Can’t get it out of my head, Vadim Prokhorov’s epic earworm article from The Guardian (June 2006):

“Earworms seem to be an interaction between properties of music (catchy songs are simple and repetitive), characteristics of individuals (levels of neuroticism) and properties of the context or situation (first thing in the morning, last thing at night or when people are under stress),” says Kellaris, whose study, Dissecting Earworms: Further Evidence on the ‘Song-Stuck-in-Your-Head’ Phenomenon, found that at one time or another nearly 99% of people have had earworms.

All Proof (v.) audio posts are archived under ‘Earworms’.

First published at tumblr Proof (v.)