Seanan McGuire (seanan_mcguire) wrote,
Seanan McGuire

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The Dictionary of Seanan.

Ever listened to some of the things that come out of my mouth and wondered just what the heck I was actually trying to say? Well, wonder no more: here is a handy-dandy Dictionary of Seanan, containing words, terms, and phrases that have oozed their way into my somewhat uncommon parlance and have shown no signs of oozing out again. I think all people have their own private languages, and that life would be a lot simpler if we became fluent in each other. I can't promise actual dictionary format, because I'm lazy, but I can promise alphabetical order, because I'm also a twitchy little OCD girl. So.


Banana boat ride.
Usually used in phrases like 'smart like a banana boat ride' and 'exciting like a banana boat ride,' if my usage of the phrase is anything to judge by, banana boat rides are the dullest, least intelligent things in the galaxy. I have honestly no idea why I think so poorly of the banana boat ride; I just do. It's sort of sad. I mean, banana boats often have tarantulas hiding on them, and that should be enough to win them a few points. But it's not. Poor banana boat rides. So mercilessly defamed.

Not the hair colour, entirely: this entry relates to the usage of 'blonde' as an exclaimation and justification. Because, you see, I grew up blonde and intellectual in a society where blonde jokes aren't just common, they're practically a religious calling for some people. Now, whenever I do something stupid, brainless, or without thinking about it, I simply stomp my foot, direct a huffy look towards whomever is being foolish enough to object to my, er, foolishness, and assert 'blonde'. It is both a justification and a declarative statement of the highest order: I am blonde, therefore I occasionally walk face-first into glass doors, jump into ponds with my jeans on, forget my food scale in hotel rooms, and dance in fountains when there isn't a towel easily available. C'est la vie.

This is always a question. I like zombies; I like the things that zombies do; I like the fact that zombies just keep coming. Also, I like to be fed. So 'brains?' is usually asked plaintively right after I've started chewing on someone's conveniently available shoulder, elbow, or head, and means 'I am hungry and would like to be fed; if there is no food available, I will happily consume your tasty, tasty brainmeats.' See how much meaning we can pack into a single syllable around here?

I am brand loyal. I am brand loyal to such an incredible and pronounced degree that if there was a way to extract whatever chemical makes me seize on things like Screaming Yellow Zonkers and Mint Aero bars, I would be chased by corporate chemists, boiled down into my component parts, and sold to the highest bidders. Which would be icky, so I think I'm glad they probably don't have a way to do that. Anyway, 'DDP' is short for 'Diet Dr Pepper,' my carbonated drink and caffeine delivery mechanism of choice. I love the taste, and just the colours on the can are comforting to me, because yes, I am that much of a sad little corporate whore. If I'm wailing for DDP, this is what I'm talking about.

Dino dance party!
Something truly awesome has just happened, and I need to share my ecstatic glee by dancing around like an idiot. You're invited. Bring a friend.

Dinosaurs eat people.
This is part of a longer phrase -- namely 'Are there dinosaurs? Do they eat people?' -- but tends to be delivered chipperly and out of context, which means it belongs on this listing. Basically, the statement came about thanks to Jurassic Park III, which was greeted by my friends with near-universal disdain until two very simple questions were asked: were there dinosaurs? Would they eat people? And when both those questions were answered with 'yes,' the movie was suddenly worth watching. Sometimes we're all pretty easy. 'Dinosaurs eat people' is my way of justifying the simple-but-stupid pleasures in life -- eating cotton candy right before riding the roller coaster, driving to Stockton for snack cakes, and, of course, watching endless cheesy horror movies.

When asked 'what's wrong?' or 'how was your day?', I will frequently respond with a low and mournful wail of 'ducks,' and occasionally a fit of angst-ridden quacking. You know it's been a bad day when I manage to make 'quack quack quack' sound like the gothiest goth poetry that ever gothed a goth. This usage of the word 'ducks' comes from the phrase 'nibbled to death by ducks,' signifying a day on which nothing went really wrong, but lots of little things conspired to drive me out of my banana tree. Unnervingly, this is starting to catch on with people who aren't me, thus proving that the English language really needs a word for 'many small but irritating things have conspired to make me want to lay waste to all things, burn the houses of the infidel, and salt the earth behind me to ensure that they will not soon rise to challenge me again.'

'Feh' is a fully concious and coherent rejection of some proposed option, activity, opinion or other thing suitable for rejecting. If I 'feh' something, I am saying 'I do not want that', and I'm doing it with full awareness of what I do want (see 'meh' for an example of what happens when I don't know what I actually want). Usually 'feh' comes attached to a suggestion of a) what movie to watch, b) where to eat, c) what to do, or d) all of the above. More commonly, it's the bridge between nodding and expressing a lengthy opinion about what we should be doing, rather than what we currently are doing. 'Feh' is sometimes greeted by people throwing things at me, and in those cases, I generally deserve it.

It's a greeting. It's a warning. It's a handy monster noise. Gnar is just an awesome word, and is fun to shout. It makes you feel better when you shout it. Seriously, give it a try. GNAR! See? Better.

Go away, Kim Delaney.
Yes, my vocabulary has been influenced on a near-permanent basis by The O.C.. You're welcome to make somethin' of it if you feel the need, but it probably won't change the way I talk (although it may make me laugh, so you should go right ahead). 'Go away, Kim Delaney' basically means 'this is pointless angst which does nothing to advance the plot/solve the real problems currently complicating your life, so why don't you just cut it out, send the nice B-grade actress back where she belongs, and move on with the story that people actually care about hearing?' Four words can say a lot, when you spin them properly. It helps to be completely insane, which is probably how this entered my vocabulary in the first place.

He NEEDS to call me.
I am either talking about James Gunn or Jeff Goldblum circa 1986. Just as an FYI.

Immunodepressant smallpox?
This probably wouldn't be so disturbing if I didn't sound so happy about it. Basically, this is my cheery request for permission to wipe out the human race. It has, thus far, been refused. Which is probably for the best, all things considered.

Made of win.
Something is awesome beyond all reasonable articulation of awesomeness, and so I have resorted to somewhat surreal verbal shorthand. 'Made of awesome' is a frequent variation, one which actually appeared on The Middleman, thus proving that our vocabulary can also influence television. Bwahahaha.

Mandibles of looooooooove.
So, uh, spiders. They have lots of legs, and really sharp mandibles, but no lips. Ergo, spiders can't kiss. How do you kiss a spider? You really don't. What you can do, however, is shake those really sharp mandibles briskly up and down and up and down, while telling the spider how much you love it. This has turned into a really weird way of saying 'I care about you', although I need to be careful not to say it to my arachnophobic friends, as I enjoy having them remain my friends. Really. (Note: when saying this aloud, you should make the word 'loooooooooove' last as long as humanly possible. If you're someone like, oh, me, and have extremely toned and well-conditioned lungs, this could take a while. You should thus cause the word to remain interesting by dancing a little while you say it. Trust me, it works.)

'Meh' is basically an injection meaning 'I am unhappy and vaguely grumpy, but I cannot articulate what I actually want, so I'm just going to make proto-verbal noises and hope that someone eventually figures out what I don't know I'm asking for.' This is most common when I've just woken up -- no real surprise there. I can usually be snapped out of meh-mode by handing me a DDP; even if that isn't what I actually want, it's likely to be surprising enough to make me respond with actual words in actual English.

Om nom nom.
Occasionally shortened to 'nom nom,' normally when being described as an action, rather than spoken aloud, 'om nom nom' is the sound-form meaning 'to eat enthusiastically.' It gets used in phrases like 'and I was all om nom nom over the candy corn,' or simply spoken in isolation while eating is being mimed, or someone is being chewed on. Don't ask.

I used to have a real talent for hooking up with boyfriends who wanted to know what I was thinking. This, of course, engendered the reciprocal habit in me. (What was funny was that I was never offended when the answer to 'what are you thinking?' was something like 'about porn' or 'I really need to finish statting that Champions character,' whereas they expected me to actually be thinking about them while we were, say, making out on the couch. Thus proving that we'd never actually met, despite dating for upwards of a year.) I eventually got tired of saying 'penny for your thoughts' all the time, and shortened it to just 'penny,' which really means something along the lines of 'tell me what you're thinking or I'll ram this useless copper coin up your nose.' Given my fondness for pre-decimal British pennies, this is a real threat, and should be treated with respect.

Personal superhero.
My agent, who makes everything better.

Porn channel.
There's a channel called 'Chiller' which shows nothing but horror all the time. (Well, horror and Twin Peaks.) They even show the 1980s horror anthology shows which did so much to warp my psyche at an early and impressionable age. This, my friends, is the porn channel. Porn for Seanans, all the time. Kate and GP get this channel. I do not. It's not uncommon for me to arrive at Kate's house, request the remote, and click straight to Chiller, which delights me simply by existing. I am a blonde of small and simple needs, really.

I have seen a dog. I think the dog is adorable. I have probably just shouted in your ear.

Purple hair problem.*
'Purple hair problem' or 'having a purple hair problem' is probably one of the most useful phrases in my personal lexicon, because so many people have needed a way to say this that didn't involve flailing their hands wildly in mid-air and eventually throwing something. Although that can sometimes be a lot more satisfying, so your mileage may vary. Basically, a purple hair problem is any sort of personal conflict caused by differences in absolute viewpoint and perceived differences/enmities that may or may not actually exist for anybody else. If you dislike me because I'm loud, blonde, obsessed with structured poetry or addicted to kettle corn, you're expressing an opinion. I may not agree with your opinion, but I have to live with it; something that actually applies to me, as a person, bothers you, as a person. That happens. Not everybody gets along. If, however, you dislike me because my army of giant alien super-snails ate your cat, you're having a purple hair problem. I don't have an army of giant alien super-snails, and if I did, they certainly wouldn't be cat-eaters...but that's the basis for conflict. You can't defend yourself from purple hair problems, because they're not actually based on anything real: they're differences of opinion that are almost optical illusions, because one person is seeing the grandmother and the other is seeing the beautiful young girl. Purple hair problems make me want to smack people.

(*This entry is a nearly direct quote from the APWiaB column from 7/12/02. Because frankly, I said it well enough back then that I don't really need to get creative about saying it again, and it's not plagarism if I'm stealing it from myself. So there.)

Romanian au pair.
Basically, a Romanian au pair -- in the context of Seananese -- is someone who really has no deep emotional connection to or concern for the welfare of your baby; she's just there to pick up a paycheque, eat all your food, make long distance telephone calls on your phone, and traumatize the cats. I usually use this term in regards to media. When Joss Whedon went off to work on Firefly and stopped caring about Buffy, he left the show with a Romanian au pair. Chuck Austen was Marvel's own Romanian au pair. And so on. These are the people who like to shake the baby back and forth in order to hear the pretty snap-snap noises that its neck makes.

So the Marilyn.
When I grow up, I'm going to be Marilyn Munster. This phrase either means that I am perky, blonde, and surrounded by monsters, or that I'm wearing a really cute outfit. Or both. I'm flexible.

Street pennies.
Street pennies rock. Street pennies are pennies found on the street, carriers of intense amounts of good fortune (twice as much if they're heads-up when you find them). The coolest street pennies are either really, really shiny, or incredibly rugged, pitted and distorted from being run over by fast-moving cars. I tend to save the latter kind of penny for special purchases. I'm not sure why; that's just how I've always done it. My love for street pennies has endured from the days when a penny was actually worth something, and since it's a relatively harmless love, I see no reason to get rid of it. Street pennies make me happy. I wish everyone could say that.

The Turtle couldn't help us.
This statement is either a) delivered with great sorrow, in which case it means 'leave me alone, I'm trying to deal with some major problem that you really can't do anything about,' or b) delivered with great frustration, in which case it means 'I have a major problem that I don't know how to articulate in any meaningful way, so please, just let me work it out.' It was taken from IT, my favorite book of all time. Stephen King should be so proud.

'Toaster' is short for 'shaking the toaster cord' -- the act of talking until I pass out, thus shaking all the electricity (thoughts and words) out of the toaster cord (my head) so that it won't burn the house down in the middle of the night. Mrs. Stewart introduced this phrase into my personal lexicon after listening to the way I tended to babble my way from 'awake' to 'not' practically every night of the week. Mrs. Stewart rocks in more ways than I can possibly count, amongst them the fact that for many years, she alone kept the house of my psyche from burning down at two o'clock in the morning.


So there's my dictionary, 2008 edition. Somehow, I'm not sure it makes me any easier to understand. But hey. It was fun to write, so really, who cares about its functionality?

What's in your dictionary?
Tags: a few facts, about the author, so the marilyn
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