I love words, but I especially love weird, non-English (or American English) “loan” words that Americans have co-opted over the centuries because they so perfectly (and usually much more succinctly) sum up a full phrase. Here are my top ten favorites of the bunch!
10. Yankee – From the Dutch, in reference to the English colonists who began settling previously Dutch-dominated areas in the New England and northern mid-Atlantic regions. To wit: before it became New York City, the Big Apple was known as New Amsterdam.
9. Pundit – From the Sanskrit “pandit”, referring to learned individuals renowned for their wisdom. Nowadays all you need is a decent suit and a TV camera to earn this title!
8. Ad lib – From the Latin “ad libitum”, directly translating as “at one’s pleasure”, but commonly used to describe improvisation, particularly as it pertains to speech. See “binders full of women”, etc.
7. Lingua Franca – From the…lingua franca. OK, this one is weird — it actually refers to the composite language used to facilitate trade and communication between various western European peoples (particularly around the Mediterranean rim) and the wider world who spoke different native languages. It refers to the “language of the Franks”, and became the dominant European language following the rule of Charlemagne. These days, I’m pretty sure the lingua franca is just a mash-up of Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Carly Rae Jepson lyrics.
6. Femme Fatale – French for “deadly woman”. Can run the gamut from sultry vixens like Jessica Rabbit to more authentic representations of the term, like Sharon Stone’s ice-pick-happy character in Basic Instinct or Glen Close in Fatal Attraction. Really, any stab-happy female.
5. Zeitgeist – German for “of the times”. An angrier-sounding synonym for “pop culture”. Or a bad Smashing Pumpkins album.
4. Blitz – Also German, meaning “lightning”, but so much more awesome. “Blitz” can refer to a “shock-and-awe”-style military campaign, sending swarms of large, athletic men after one much smaller athletic man to “tackle” (hurt, maim, kill, disable, grope) him, or as a more enthusiastic synonym for “inebriation”; “I got BLITZED last night, dude!”
3. Nemesis – From the Greek for “retribution”, but currently used as a catch-all for revenge, comeuppance, downfall, etc. Remember the G.I. Joe animated movie from the late 80s? There’s a reason every boy (and probably some girls) of a certain age loved it, and that reason is Nemesis Enforcer.
2. Doppelgänger – From the German for “double walker”, this word has lost some bite over the centuries. Originally it referred to one’s evil twin; now it just refers to any old look-alike.
1. Schadenfreude – Again with the German! I love this word most of all, as it really has no comparable one in English: “pleasure derived from the misfortune of others”. Now, I’m not saying it’s cool to be an un-caring jerk — but schadenfreude has its place AND its merits. “When the Tigers swept the Yankees in the 2012 American League Championship Series, I totally indulged in some good, old-fashioned schadenfreude.”
I don’t ever get to just GO to a lot of the events I sell at — IF I’m lucky (unlucky?) enough to be working a convention or trade show with occasional lulls in foot traffic and wander around, it’s never enough time to fully absorb all that the conventions have to offer, and I can never do it concurrently with Meredith, as she and I switch off who mans the fort while the other wanders.
Which is why I was SO excited to hit the 2012 Small Press Expo this past weekend with Meredith — we got to see the WHOLE show floor, and take our time at each table/booth, engaging with the artists and chatting with friends.
Here are some of our favorite new (to us) artists from the show, and where to find them:
Cute, funny watercolor illustrations of the absurd. Difficult to describe succinctly, as Scott’s themes are wide-ranging, but really well done!
Honestly, there were so many, many other awesome creators selling wares at SPX that Meredith and I found ourselves saying “I want to buy everything!” to one another countless times over the 4 hours we spent walking through the convention hall. Some other really awesome artists to explore include:
This past weekend Meredith and I were exhibitors at the Baltimore Comic Con, and it was a blast! It’s always a ton of fun to do local shows — not just because we get to skip out on exhausting travel, but also to meet people in the area who are new to Ex-Boyfriend!
Here are some highlights from the weekend, costumed and otherwise:
There were of course the usual suspects — your Supermen, your Spider-Men, etc. But this was the only transitional Clark Kent-into-Superman we saw, and we thought it was pretty cool. Especially in conjunction with his buddy…
Two-Face! I loved the commitment to the character with this one — the cosplayer did the half-and-half hair and necktie, as well as the suit and disfigured hand!
But whenever we work at conventions, my favorite costumes are the ones that are either really well-done from a structural/mechanical/design standpoint, or that reference more obscure characters:
My crappy photo doesn’t NEARLY do this guy’s mask and make-up job justice, but his mask was so perfectly applied to his face that you’d be forgiven for thinking he was actually disfigured in this way!
And this dalek from Dr. Who was pretty amazing, complete with lights, sounds, and rolling chassis! EXTERMINATE, indeed!
But my faves are always the obscure characters, like Marvel’s Swamp Thing analog, Man-Thing.
Or this couple, who showed up as a spot-on Shredder and Krang from TMNT!
But my favorite costume of the weekend was easily this one:
Wesley, aka the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride! This guy gets extra points for authenticity for his inclusion of an ROUS (those are Rodents Of Unusual Size for you noobs).
And I would be remiss if I didn’t share this fun snapshot:
Some Ex-Boyfriend super-fans who came to the con rocking their Fuzz Aldrin and Pterodactyl Springs Summer Camp tees! We love seeing our stuff out in the wild, so if you’re ever hitting up one of the events we’re exhibiting at, be sure to wear your Ex-Boyfriend gear and stop by our booth for a pic — we’d love to see you!
Hint: we’ll be at the New York Comic Con next month from October 11th through October 14th, and just north of Baltimore October 27th-28th for the next Run For Your Lives zombie obstacle 5k!
So with April being more or less the start of “show season”, we hit the road a couple weeks ago and finally are back home in Baltimore!
Our first stop was up north for Anime Boston, where we got to meet, greet, and sell to some awesome new customers and fellow exhibitors:
The Ex-Boyfriend Booth!
Here’s the indoor version of Ex-Boyfriend’s show booth, Mk II. We’re constantly tweaking the layout and arrangement, but after the last two weeks we think we’re pretty close to perfecting things.
This adorable guy was busting a move in the center aisle of the hall!
One half of Daft Punk stopped by to say 010010000110010101101100011011000110111100100001
You may remember this cosplayer from our Otakon 2011 slideshow where she appeared as a balloon-clad version of Princess Leia in the gold bikini. This year she’s stepping out as Belle from Disney’s Beauty & The Beast!
C2E2 (the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo) was even bigger and a blast to be at; we ran into Tom Servo & Crow of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame!
What nerd-Mecca would be complete without an appearance by dread Cthulu?
Or, for that matter, Godzilla?
C2E2 featured its fair share of Star Wars-related cosplayers, but I was pleased by how many folks showed up as Ghost Busters. However, this Gozer the Gozerian clearly takes the cake!
When all is said and done, though, my favorite characters to see “in the flesh” are the more obscure B-and-C-tier heroes & villains — it’s like going to a DJ night or flipping on the radio at 3am and catching a bored DJ spinning an awesome B-side from your favorite band. This Moon Knight cosplayer was one of my faves of both shows!
And hey! Whaddaya know, but this top ten list goes all the way to ELEVEN, thanks to one of the many new Ex-Boyfans who just couldn’t wait to get back to their hotel room to upgrade their wardrobe from “meh” to “awesome!”
If you met us at Anime Boston OR C2E2 and want to get featured on the Ex-Boyfriend blog, just email us a pic of yourself in your fresh new gear!
Since joining Pinterest (follow me!) I’ve been noticing an obsession with nail art. So many questions, so few answers. Are these women actually painstakingly painting each nail this way? Isn’t doing your right hand a lot more difficult (or your left hand if you’re a southpaw)? In any case, enjoy…I guess…
I’m stuck in jury duty today, so I thought I’d share some awful stuff with you guys — feel my pain!
These are the ten worst commercials I can think of right now that I hope I never see again:
1. Geico’s “Piggy” commercial: Fair warning — Geico shows up a few times on this list. They’ve recently introduced a new ad campaign featuring the fifth “little piggy” that went “wheeeeee” all the way home.
2. Education Connection: Ugh, they’ve made so many of these terrible, terrible ads, each featuring a slight variation of the jingle lip-synched by a slight variation of the brunette for the previous ones. This is the one I hate the most, though.
3. FreeCreditScore.com: I actually don’t hate the newest band they got to do their commercials — they have sort of a harmless OkGo/Fountains of Wayne-on-a-bad-day power-pop thing going on that masks the jingle-ness of the stuff they sing. But the FIRST band they had — those guys sucked.
4. Eastern Motors: Anyone who grew up in the DC-area back in the mid-90s through to today is familiar with these commercials, but the one that sticks in my mind is the one featuring comedian John Witherspoon acting like he’s happy to be doing a local business commercial.
5. Geico’s Caveman commercials: The irony of these is that despite their awfulness, some TV exec thought this was a pervasive-enough meme to warrant an entire sitcom based around cavemen trying to make it in the modern world. Hopefully they have since been fired, or at the very least become better at their job.
6. Burger King’s “sexy” Paris Hilton commercial: My issue with this ad is the conflation of cheeseburgers with sexiness. Das not comput. I’m not a huge fan of Ms. Hilton, but even if this same ad concept were applied to a lady I did find sexy (say, Jennifer Connelly or the red-headed version of Scarlett Johansson), them making out with a Whopper would turn me off pretty damn quickly.
7. Geico’s Gecko in NYC commercial: For the most part, I’ve found the Geico gecko to be the least offensive “pitchman” in the Geico stable of crap. However, two ways to erase any hint of that goodwill indifference is to force the limey voice actor to try and sound like he’s some sort of mutant from the Bronx, and to give yet another pop-cultural BJ to New York City.
8. Verizon LG Spectrum commercial: Let me get this straight — given the option to choose between a phone that will be outmoded in less than six months that does NOT send holographic messages or make repairs to X-Wing fighters mid-flight and a functional R2 unit that DOES, we should opt for the phone because it doesn’t require opening a user’s manual or, y’know, THINKING?
No, David Blaine.
9. Geico’s money with eyes commercial: WTF, Geico? You’re not even trying here, are you?!
10. Miller High Life’s one-second commercial series: This is actually a decent concept from an execution standpoint, and also helped underscore High Life’s brand positioning as a blue-collar beer during the aftermath of the economic crash in late 2008.
That said, it also is advertising Miller High Life. No, David Blaine.
Dis-honorable Mention: KFC’s Cheesy Bacon Bowl, only because I couldn’t find the ad on YouTube. I know this is an un-trendy position to take, but no, “add bacon” does not always mean “made better”. And the way the dude says it, it just sounds like KFC’s not really trying:
“Sir, we really need to get some new product out there — Wendy’s is killing us with that Big ‘n’ Juicy, and the Double-Down was a flop!”
“Eh? Jeez, man, do I need to think of EVERYthing? Just throw some bacon on it!”
10. A really crappy gin & tonic from the saddest tiki bar (imaginatively-named “Tiki Bar”) I’ve ever been to. I really wanted a Dark & Stormy, but apparently a rum-based drink with only one mixer (ginger beer) like that is much too exotic for a bar whose entire existence is predicated upon knowing how to make rum-based drinks with 3+ mixers, a shitload of fruit garnish, and a tiny paper umbrella.
9. Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup: A variation of my grandma’s recipe, nothing helps temper the inevitable “airplane” cold like chicken noodle soup.
8. Salad: Real talk: after three straight days of carb-coma, my body was absolutely CRAVING a big, dirty salad.
7. Whipped potatoes: “Mashed” has become the “Kleenex/Band-Aid” of the potato world, but I actually prefer the silky smoothness of whipped potatoes. And since rolling out of bed looking like a twee Adonis don’t come easy post-30, I don’t get to indulge as much anymore.
6. Vegan “turkey”: I love fake turkey, and Darbster’s Bistro did a fine job of approximating what we would have made ourselves.
5. Pecan Pie: I love pecan pie. It’s probably in my top five desserts list, but I rarely come across a really good one. This one was really good.
4. Leffe Blond Beer: Yeah, I was drinking pretty much non-stop; it is my style. Especially when the holidays roll around and I’m seeing a lot of family (just kidding [sort-of]; I love you guys!)
2. Lindeman’s Cabernet Sauvignon: See below. Seriously though, Lindeman’s is a fantastic low-to-mid-priced wine from Australia. And if you want to read a hilarious mash-up of pop cultural signifiers, check out their About page—rampant sex, arson in the cut-throat wine biz, and a real-life imitation of the Three Little Pigs story.
1. Lindeman’s Shiraz: I first discovered Lindeman’s on one of our quarterly wine-buying treks to Trader Joe’s in Virginia (Maryland really needs to allow grocery stores to sell alcohol). Our first stop on the way from the airport to spend three days with the in-laws’? Total Wine, naturally.
How about you guys? What were some of YOUR favorite foods over the holiday? Let me know in the comments section below!
Halloween in Fells Point is always a blast, because all the most creative revelers come out in some pretty sweet costumes that are either really obscure, or really authentic and detailed, or both! Meredith and I went as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big, Bad Wolf this year, and while we saw a fair share of both characters over the course of the weekend, I think Meredith’s Red was the best because it was the most authentic-looking and wasn’t super-slutty.
And speaking of slutty, we were shocked to discover that the sluttiest costume we saw last night was being worn by a dude! It was pretty nuts given the outside temp (a not-so-balmy low 40s, with a nice wind whipping up off the river about 100 feet from the square) — just a skinny dude in gold lam´hot pants, humping everyone he saw. If I had to guess, I’d say he was supposed to be Chris Kattan’s ‘Mango’ character from SNL.
Anyway, here are some highlights from the weekend!
10. The big pumpkin-headed character from that animated movie I never saw:
3. Meredith & Me as Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf:
2. Disco Ball:
Now, if it was just a dude in a costume, this wouldn’t be quite so impressive. But I always give bonus points to costumes that incorporate electronics. And not only did this thing have lights all over it, but he seemed to have built servos to help improve his mobility. This doesn’t really come across in a still; luckily, I took some video, too: