Saturday, February 18, 2012

Your Beer is not "Delicious," nor is it "Amazing."

Some perfectly good uses of "Delicious" from the OED

I have a serious problem with the ever-presence of "delicious" and "amazing" in commercials, emails, social updates, and even conversations.  I would rant at you, but these texts messages might explain better.

Saturday, February 18.  Robyn and Erica discuss words, croissants, etc. 

R: Haha. I think [croissants] are about equal parts butter and flour.

E: Mostly. And delicious.  Don't you hate that word? 

R: I do hate delicious as applied to food and especially drink.  It was just gross sounding at first, but now people say it constantly so it's even worse.

E: Speaking of bad words, parry gripp, lead singer of nerfherder has reinvented himself and has a song called nom nom nom nom nom nom. Disgusting.

R: That is sick.  I'm also tired of people saying everything is "amazing."  It's like the educated person's cool word.  If something is "amazing," it better be goddamn good.

E: People don't know how to describe anything anymore. "these croissants are amazingly delicious!"

E: nom nom.

R: LOLOLOLOL!!!!!!     [This is hilarious to us because we NEVER use LOL in earnest.  Like, never.]

E: Haha!  Ewwwww.  This is a deliciously disgusting conversation.

R: Now that is a good use of delicious.  I like delicious air or a delicious morning.  Or Dean Martin: "Gosh your lips are...delicious!"

E: To me that line makes me picture him chewing on her lips.

R: Certainly.  But at least he isn't nomming on a delicious beer.

E: I guess I can only associate it with food.

R: I think people should use words that more precisely describe flavor.  Savory, sweet, aromatic, pungent...they've replaced them all with one word.

E: Ugh. True.  I'm so glad you have superb word taste.

R: I want to blog our conversation.  I was on the verge of writing about both delicious and amazing and this about covers it.

E: I was just thinking what a good conversation this is.  And I was going to describe my beer as definitively Midwestern with a cheap but not unattractive taste.  The wide mouth delivers its lackluster liquid languidly to my lips.

R: A perfect description.  I think you hit the nail on the head, that it is the power of description that people have lost.  Probably along with observation.

E: I know.

Erica knows.  Now go forth and use some good words.  Preferably ones that aren't vague.  And even more preferably, ones we haven't heard sixteen times today.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Public University Aesthetic

Gorgeous foliage outside teal-and-glass Gabel Hall.
One fine fall day I snapped some photos around campus.  The trees were turning golden and scarlet, and the teals and greens of some of the 1960s and '70s buildings complemented the look of the day, taking me back to the era of the hyper-hued Polaroid.  Who needs a "Hipstamatic" filter when the place actually looks like the 1970s? 

Most of these shots come from the English building, my home, Reavis Hall.  It is one of the oldest, least updated structures on campus.  Last year when the rains came, ceiling tiles were crashing down on the heads of our students.  When the snows melted, the leaks in the roof mixed with the efforts of the newly cranked up furnace to create a building-wide mist.  It was dreamy.  And it smelled like socks.

The interior office photos show the working conditions of new TAs at a public university.  This may be standard outfitting for underlings, or we may be enduring egregious OSHA violations.  None of us seem to mind.

I post these photos not to complain about my lot, not to be "ironic" (I didn't take them with an iPhone so they wouldn't count as hip anyway),  and certainly not to impress anyone with my digs.  I post them to show what a public university really looks like, inside and out, and to give an alternative view of a college campus aesthetic, especially for those who think that these environments fit into a false dichotomy of the ivy-cover ivory towers of the big private schools and the characterless mega-campuses of State U. 

NIU is a mega-campus in a cornfield, for sure.  The bulk of it offends its natural surroundings.  The phallus of the Holmes Student Center pierces the sky relentlessly.  Zulauf (sounds too much like Zoloft) is a brick slab that creates dangerous, blinding winds and keeps Reavis from basking in much needed sunshine.  But tucked back in the middle of the ugly sprawl are the library with its mosaic tiles, the Altgeld  "castle" with its merlons and ivy (all five major Illinois schools have one of these!), and the crop of cute, dated '60s buildings where I spend most of my days. Here's what some of that looks like.

Our Nixon-Era chairs in their grey, grey splendor.

Have a seat.  Cigarette?

Garish '60s buildings are beautiful when nature joins in the colorsplash.

I hope it still works.

We have Ivy too.  Public Ivy.

But no, we cannot afford matching linoleum.

Reavis 314, home of new TAs.  Seats 20. (Currently used by only about 15. You could join us, but the fridge will freeze your salad, and the rest of the room is only about ten degrees warmer than that.)

This painting gets moved around the building. Maybe it's the only one we have. (Don't drink that water.  It tastes like old books, which is appropriate for the English building, but totally not fit for consumption.)

They don't make plenums like they used to.

I thought I heard screaming coming from somewhere...

My first classroom.  Reavis 305.  Only missing one ceiling tile.

I think any of the retro chairs and couches could be designated areas.

L'esprit de l'escalier!

We all live on the third floor.  With the asbestos.
Funny thing is, I can't wait to go back on Monday!