September 19th, 2007

webster

(no subject)

Origin of phrases, by way of instant messenger:

[10:42] d: Is "on the ball" a soccer thing?
[10:42] m: probably a victorian england thing
[10:42] d: victorian england soccer?
[10:42] d: tennis?
[10:42] d: rugby?
[10:43] d: I say, fraffly good scrimmaging there, old bean. On the ball like a muttonchop.
[10:43] m: i say, you've cleated me in the face yet again, windsor
[10:43] m: ha!
[10:46] d: etymonline.com says 1912 for "on the ball", from - get this - "sports".
[10:46] d: I'm pretty sure "sports" came out in 87
[I go off and google the answer and paste in a bit from word-detective.com]
[10:48] d: But all this ball-dropping has nothing to do with the origin of "on the ball," meaning "to be alert" or "to be prepared and in control of the situation." According to Paul Dickson's New Dickson's Baseball Dictionary, the phrase originated in the early 20th century U.S. in the sport of baseball, where a pitcher who dominated and successfully manipulated the opposing batters was said to "have" or "be putting" a lot "on the ball," possibly referring to spin or other sorts of sneaky pitcher tricks. From there the phrase migrated into general use and acquired its current sense of "able to handle whatever comes up."
[10:48] m: sneaky pitcher tricks
[A non-sequitur, from browsing further along the same word-detective.com page:]
[10:49] d: "T-shirts, by the way, are so called because they form a "T" when laid flat."
[10:49] d: erm
[10:49] d: as opposed to Q-shirts?
[10:50] m: F-shirts for people with both arms on one side
[10:50] d: V-shirts, also called "pants"
book

(no subject)

Having heard the author interviewed on The Colbert Report (? Or the Daily Show? I think it was TCR), I got me a copy of Happier, a book about the psychology of happiness. I read one chapter over lunch, and found myself smiling more than what must be normal for me, because the women were smiling back more than normal.

Either that, or I'm that much more of a sexy beast today. Could happen.

The book is structured as a workbook, with exercises and encouragements to stop and reflect on stuff in your own life that ties into the topic at hand.

The first chapter talks about establishing some good habits, mentioning that once a habit's really taken hold, it's hard to change. That's bad for smokers, but good for you, once you've adopted some "positive emotional hygiene" habits (my phrase).

One thing he mentions is the value of maintaining a "gratification journal" - write down 5 things you're thankful for today. He cites some study which found that people that maintain that habit are happier (quantifiably so, as measured somehow that I can't recall right now, and the book's waaay over there).

So. I don't plan to make that a part of my LJ, I don't know if I'm going to actually stick to a daily ritual. However, I'm going to do it once, and if you like the idea, you can pass it on like a meme. Or, do it privately. In your head. Whatever. It's your happiness, you're in charge of it.


In no particular order, just a few things that I'm happy for right now:


  1. I'm thankful for Amazon - I got 3 packages on my doorstep today, including 2 books, and a pair of pants. Not all from Amazon, so I could extend that to online mail order in general. Yay, click and ship.
  2. I'm thankful for a job where I can work from home - opening my door at 11:30 am to find gifts on my doorstep is possible because I get to work where I live. That's nice. Plus, if I work late, I don't have to drive home groggy. If I want to work in pajamas until noon, I could. I don't, often - the showering and getting dressed is a good habit to put me in the work mindset.
  3. I'm thankful for Qdoba's taco salads - they're tasty and more healthful than a lot of stuff I might otherwise eat. I order them in a soft tortilla instead of the deep fried shell that they'd otherwise come in. Presumably healthier still. Healthfulier. You understand.
  4. I'm thankful for geeky friends whose company I enjoy and who enjoy my company - I'm gaming tonight with some buddies I haven't seen in a long while. There will be dice and pencils and paper. Nuff said.
  5. I'm thankful for online geeky friends whose writing I enjoy and who enjoy my writing - that's you folk. And I call you 'geeks' with love. I'm frequently amazed by the incredible people I know who I keep in touch with principally over the Internet. You guys rock.


(bonus: I'm thankful for International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Yarr!)

Tag. Be thankful. It's a beautiful day. Enjoy it.