Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Word: Bakemeat


or baked meat

noun, Obsolete.
1. pastry; pie.
2. cooked food, especially a meat pie.
“So, what do you think?” Gerald asked hopefully.  He held his hands in front of the digital mock up like some game show presenter.
    “The building looks good, I guess.” Leon answered.  “But why call it Bakemeats?  What does that even mean?”
    “It’s an old word for pie.  I figured it would be appropriate, given the business.”
    “Okay, but why?  I mean, nobody will know what it means.”
    “Exactly!” Gerald exclaimed, pointing at his friend.  “That’s exactly the point.  Everyone will wonder what the name means, that they’ll come into the store to ask.  And while they’re there, they’ll buy something.”
    “I think you’re overestimating people, there, Gerry.  It’s a nice idea, but you could’ve executed it better.”
    “Oh come on, Leon, you know you’ve gone into places just because you were curious about the name.”
    Leon could not argue with that.  He scratched his chin, knowing Gerald was right.  There was power in a business name, especially when that name makes people curious.
    “Okay, fine, I’ll give you that.” Leon continued.  “So, what do you sell anyway?”
    “Isn’t it obvious?  Pies!  All kinds of pies.  Fruit pies, chocolate pies, custard pies, cream pies.  ANd it’s not just dessert pies either.  Meat pies, pot pies, even pizza pies.  If it can be called a pie and is edible, Bakemeats makes and sells it.”
“Huh.  That...that actually sounds kind of good.” Leon said.  He did love him some pie, and had the belly to show for it.  
“I know, right?”
“But I hope you aren’t just going to get the stuff frozen.”
“No way.  If I did that, nobody would buy anything.  It’ll all be hand made in store.  Now, I know I’ll need more people to make the stuff once the store gets going, but for the opening, I should be okay as long as I can get someone to watch the front areas.”
“Good.  And where are you getting the recipes from?”
“All my own inventions.”
Leon was suddenly very nervous.  He had never known Gerald as a skilled chef or baker.
“I know what you’re thinking.” Gerald said.  “And I tell you not to worry.  I’ve done a lot of experiments with all kinds of pies.  All I need is a final taste tester.”
“And I take it that’s me?”
Gerald was already heading towards the kitchen to retrieve the first sample.  He came back with a tray of steaming dinner pies.  A slice of cheese pizza, a mini pot pie, and a mini meat pie all waited for him.
Gerald picked up the meat pie and took a deep breath.  At least it smelled good.  That was more than he thought.  Since the piece was small, he popped it in his mouth and chewed slowly.  He was quite surprised that he actually liked it.
“Wow.  This is a lot better than I thought it would be.”
“Thanks, buddy.”
“Don’t get ahead of yourself.  It’s not perfect, and still needs some improvement if you really want to get repeat customers.”
“I’ll do what I can.  How about you write down some suggestions and I’ll see what I can do.  In the meantime, are you ready for the next one?”
When it comes to pie, I'm more of a chocolate than a fruit kind of guy.  I've never really had a good dinner pie other than pizza though.  And when I do eat a pot pie or something, it's usually the frozen, over salted, store bought variety.  Not exactly the epitome of the craft, that's for sure.  Maybe one day I'll try a real one and see what happens.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Word: Attenuate


[verb uh-ten-yoo-eyt; adjective uh-ten-yoo-it, -eyt]
verb (used with object), attenuated, attenuating.
1. to weaken or reduce in force, intensity, effect, quantity, or value:
to attenuate desire.
2. to make thin; make slender or fine.
3. Bacteriology, Immunology. to render less virulent, as a strain of pathogenic virus or bacterium.
4. Electronics. to decrease the amplitude of (an electronic signal).
verb (used without object), attenuated, attenuating.
5. to become thin or fine; lessen.
6. weakened; diminishing.
7. Botany. tapering gradually to a narrow extremity.
Fred fumbled with the controls as he kept his eyes on the screen.  His thick fingers mashed the buttons he only partially knew.  His character lunged forward, weapon drawn, and impacted with the enemy, only to glance off.  It was the same result as the last three times he tried.  He grumbled and had to resist throwing the piece of black plastic.
    “I just don’t get these things.” He said.  “I’m doing everything, and it’s getting me nowhere.”
    “Oh, it’s not that hard, grandpa.” Kevin said.  “This is an easy enemy.  I mean, all it does is sit there.”
    Fred let out a huff as he glanced at his teenage grandson out of the corner of his eye.  “Says you.  Look, I’m doing everything you said to do.  I’m hitting the button, the guy attacks, but the dang thing just closes up.”
    “That’s because it’s a plant monster.  That kind of enemy likes to protect itself.  You’ll never get through with a front charge like that.”
    “But that’s what you said to do.”  The older man was getting fed up.  He much preferred games that involved boards or cards.  Video games were just not his style.
    “Yeah, and for most enemies, it works great.  But not this kind.  This kind you need a different strategy.  Here, watch me.”
    Kevin grabbed the controller from his grandpa’s hands. The teen hit a series of buttons on the controller and his character reacted.  Instead of lunging forward, the character raised its sword overhead and the weapon began to glow.  The botanical monster was surrounded by five floating ethereal blades.  The glowing, translucent weapons plunged down on the monster.  It tried to defend itself with its thick, metallic vines, but was unable to do so.
    “See?  It’s easy.  One attack doesn’t work.  It’ll just close all it’s vines up and block it, no matter how strong the attack is.  But if you hit it from a bunch of different places, it tries to block them all, but it doesn’t have enough vines to do that.  That means it’s defenses get a lot weaker, so you can get through.  Each attack doesn’t do a lot of damage, but these guys don’t have a lot of health, so it’s fine.  One more attack should do it.”
    Kevin repeated his attack, and sure enough, the monster disappeared in a flurry of virtual vines and bright green sap.  
    Watching all this, Fred was baffled.  He understood the basic idea of what Kevin was saying.  It was a tactic present in many other games. Get your opponent to thin out or weaken their defenses and then hit the resulting weak spots.  It was the application that baffled him.  He could barely keep up with what buttons Kevin was pressing to get his character to use the special move.  It had happened so fast that there was little hope for his old, chubby fingers to match the movement’s of his grandson’s young, slender fingers.  
“You know what, I think I’ll stick to games I can actually play.” Fred said.  “Come get me when you’re ready to play some rummy, got it?”  
Honestly, I don't have much to say about this one, so yeah.  Just, you know, have a nice day and stuff.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Word: Earthshine


noun, Astronomy.
1. the faint illumination of the part of the moon not illuminated by sunlight, as during a crescent phase, caused by the reflection of light from the earth.
   Tom and Sam lay on the grassy hill, looking up at the night sky.  The weather was cool, but not cold, and the sky was clear.  Since they were fairly far from any towns or cities, the stars were brighter and more numerous than either was used to.  The moon did not bring out much interference either, being a slim crescent.  It was looking up at this sliver of silver that Sam decided to break the silence.
    “It’s not real, you know.”
    “What’s not real?” Tom asked.
    “That.” Sam pointed up at the moon.
    “Seriously?  The moon?  The moon’s not real?”
    “Nope.  Or at least, not in the way people think it is.”
    “Oh god, I’m going to regret this, but tell me what you think the moon is.”
    If Sam did not get to voice his insane conspiracy theories, then the guy would be grumpy for the rest of the night.  Tom had no interest in dealing with a grumpy Sam.
    “It’s kind of a big spy space station type thing.  See, it’s hollow inside, and covered with equipment for gathering data and monitoring everyone on Earth.”
    Tom groaned and gently hit his head against the ground.  “Why, pray tell, do you think this?” He almost dreaded the answer.
    “How can you not realise it?” Sam replied.  “I mean, it’s obvious.  For one thing, why can nobody but a few select individuals go there?  I mean, we have the tech to get lots of people there and back, so why reserve it for only astronauts?”  Sam did not let Tom say anything in rebuttal.  “Also, you know those supposed ‘craters’?  Those are sensor arrays and buildings.  Those bright spots?  Cameras.  And it’s obvious the light that comes from it isn’t coming from the Sun.  It’s self-illuminating.”
    Tom rolled his eyes at that.  “What makes you think that?” He asked through a sigh.
    “Well, tonight’s a good example.  Look at it.  Even though the moon’s supposed to be a crescent, you can see the whole thing.  Explain that without it being its own light source?”
    Tom looked closely at the moon.  Sure enough, while only a small sliver of the moon was clearly visible, the entire thing was indeed visible, if only just.
    “That’s light coming from the Earth.” Tom said.
    “Oh, yeah, right.  I can understand how people think the sun’s light is reflected, but the Earth?  Earth doesn’t even emit any light of its own, so how can the moon be reflecting it?”
    “Lots of ways.  First of all, some of the light that comes from the Sun gets bounced back up, and then reflects off the moon.  Second, the Earth itself may not make light, but we humans sure do.  It might not be strong, but it’s there.”
    “Uh huh.” Sam said dully.  “You keep thinking that.  Me?  I’ll keep on spreading the truth.”
    “Truth, huh?  Tell me this, if you know so much, then who operates this whole big spy operation?”
    “NASA.  You mean the NASA that’s not even a hundred years old.  The NASA that need help from other space programs just to keep a small group of people in space.”
    “That whole ISS thing’s just a front to keep us from the truth.”
    “And what about the age thing?  NASA started in the 50’s.  It couldn’t have built a moon that’s been there since before humans were even a thing.”
    “Oh please.  What evidence is there of that?”
    “What, of the moon being older than our parents?  Easy.  The fact that our parents saw it when they were our age.  And the fact that there’s huge amounts of historical data that points to people using the moon for navigation and stuff.  Plus all the mythology surrounding it.  Yeah, I’d say it’s a safe bet that NASA did not build the moon.”
    “W-well then someone else did, and NASA just runs it now.”
    “Uh huh.  Good luck coming up with something more plausible, buddy.”
    “I’ll figure it out, you’ll see.  I’ll find the truth and tell everyone.
    Tom rolled his eyes as his friend continued to rant and rave about how he alone knew the truth and how he would open everyone’s eyes.  Tom started tuning Sam’s words out, and just enjoyed the view of the night sky.
It's sad, but there are people who actually think about this sort of thing.  Big, massive conspiracies that fall apart under any real scrutiny.  But they still defend their ridiculous ideas to the end.  I've got to wonder how these things come about in the first place.  Is there someone who just thinks of the craziest thing he/she can, and then put together some semblance of evidence?  And do people actually believe this stuff?  My god, I hope not.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Word: Bonce


noun, British Slang.
1. head; skull.
           Professor Andrews gently placed the wrapped package onto the examining table, for all those gathered to see.  He unwrapped the bundle of cloth, revealing what at first glance appeared to be a human skull.
“Now, can anyone tell me what is wrong with this?” Andrews asked.
It was an unnecessary question, and it did not take long for the others to answer, as each was almost as well versed in the human skeleton as Andrews was.
“The rear of the skull extends four centimeters too long.” One of them said.
“And what is this protrusion coming out of the front?” Another commented.
Indeed, the skull was too long in the back, and there was a nub of bone coming from the front.  The latter looked almost like the beginnings of a horn, or something similar.  The gathered academics poured over the misshapen skull, examining it in every way possible.  They only stopped when a question was posed to Professor Andrews.
“Where did you find this?”
“That is perhaps the most unusual thing about this particular specimen.” Andrews said.  “I found it on a decent dig near the border of Peru and Bolivia.  There are several oddities about this dig.  The first was that this skull was not particularly deep.  One would think at first that this is some distant ancestor or evolutionary divergence.  But that e ground, but not so with this one.  It was a one and a half meters underground.” The others murmured to themselves.  Andrews continued on, undaunted by the reaction.  “In addition, the skull was found exactly as you see it here, with the exception of having been cleaned.  The lower jaw was intact, as it is here, and there was no sign of any other bones nearby.”
“But that’s impossible.” One of the others said.  
“Not impossible.” Said another.  “It could have easily been placed like that deliberately for some ritual.  It could even be a hoax.”
That brought a new round of discussion from the assembly.  Indeed, the odd shape of the skull, lack of other remains, and fairly shallow depth did make it seem like someone playing a joke on the academic world.  Andrews spoke up again.
“I had considered that, of course.  With that in mind, I performed as many tests as I am capable of performing.  The bones seem real enough.  At least the chemical composition and structure are identical to a human’s.  But this also revealed another oddity.  This skull is, according to my test results, one hundred years old.”  
Eyes widened.  A mere century was nothing in terms of human history.  But it was enough to destroy most human remains unless specially preserved.  Certainly a lone skull without any discernible burial methods would never have survived that long in such pristine conditions.  It also made it belonging to some unknown evolutionary offshoot of humanity impossible.  It also made the skull being a hoax unlikely, as nobody would be able to get a hold of hundred year old bones and arrange them so perfectly.  It was not completely impossible, but highly unlikely.
“Gentlemen,” Professor Andrews said while placing a hand on the skull, “What we have here is one of the greatest mysteries in our field in modern history.  I propose we join our collective intellects and allocate as many resources as is reasonable towards figuring out what this skull is.  All in favor?”
It was unanimous.  Everyone stared at the skull, each forming his theories about what it could be.
Not sure if this'll go anywhere, but we'll see what happens in the future.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Word: Sawbones




noun, plural sawbones, sawboneses. (used with a singular verb) Slang.
1. a surgeon or physician.
 There was a quiet murmur in the room.  The lack of CO told the officers and detectives that they could talk quietly among themselves until the briefing started.  They did not have much time.  The Sergeant entered the room and all talk ended.  The head of the police department looked around the room for a moment before speaking.
    “Good morning, and thank you all for coming.” He said it like any of them had a choice.  When the Sergeant called a meeting, everyone called had to come.  “In front of each of you, you will find today’s report.”  There was a shuffling of papers as each officer present examined the first page of the report.  Once they saw what they were dealing with, they could not keep quiet.  Sound filled the room as the officers showed their distaste for what they were seeing.
    “Quiet down.” The Sergeant said.  It took a few moments, but the chatter died down.  “As you can all see, we’ve got another Sawbones murder on our hands.” THe briefing room filled with grumbles.  “I know, I know.  I don’t like the name either, but it’s what we were given.  And, given recent information, it is increasingly relevant.
    “The victim today is a Caucasian male, age 27, name Gregory Sampson.  Like the other three, he we found dismembered and dissected.  Reports of the call, time and location of discovery, and other important information can be found in the report.  As unfortunate as this is, it has made us increasingly sure that our killer is a doctor, surgeon, or has high end medical knowledge.”
One of the detectives raised his hand.  The Sergeant nodded his permission for the man to speak.  “What makes you say that?  Sure the cuts are clean, but anyone with the proper tools can do that.”
“There are three reasons.” The Sergeant said.  “One is that these are not just clean cuts.  These are highly precise, and were made along very specific parts of the body.  Each cut actually caused minimal damage, except for those that removed a limb.  Only someone with extensive medical training is likely to be able to perform such dissections.  Second is the state all the victims were in.  None of the victims were healthy.  Take Mr. Sampson here.  He was found with extensive bone fractures in his arms, legs, chest and head.  However, there were signs of at least a week’s worth of recovery, so they are not due to any actions by Sawbones.  All his victims show either a severe injury or disease, although none were immediately deadly.  All the victims were hospitalized within a week of being murdered.  And finally, the cause of death.  All the major wounds shown in the report were done post mortem.  The actual cause of death in all four cases is a cocktail of drugs that are found in hospitals.  Basically, they were medicated to death.  What’s important here are the drugs used.  They are only found in hospitals, and only medical professionals would have easy access to them.  Given these three facts, the likelihood of Sawbones being a doctor is very high, and unless evidence to the contrary shows up, we will operate under this assumption.  Any questions?”
    “Are there any suspects?” Another detective asked.
“As of this moment, no.  Motive is also unknown.  There are working theories, but nothing conclusive.  As of right now, our most likely motive is research.” That got the officers talking again, forcing the Sergeant to quiet them down again.  “Given the fact that the victims were each dissected in different ways, and with all organs accounted for, it seems likely that Sawbones is conducting some kind of illegal medical experiment, although what the purpose of it could be is unknown.  Like with the murderer’s identity, operate under this assumption until better evidence is presented.  Any other questions?”
There were several of them.  Questions about witnesses, about the victims, and others were asked.  But it was not long until the Sergeant had exhausted all his knowledge about the serial killer and his most recent kill.  He held his hands up to silence any further questions.
“I’m afraid that’s all the information I can currently provide.  All officers here will make this case their top priority.  I want you each to find out as much as you can at the crime scene and gather as many suspects and witnesses as you can.  Do everything you need to to catch this killer before he finds a new victim.  Dismissed.”
The officers shuffled out of the briefing room in a semi-orderly manner.  The Sergeant sighed and took another look at the crime report.  His eyes narrowed to slits.  He would see Sawbones arrested, even if he had to do the dirty work himself. 
Obviously my knowledge of the workings of a police department are limited to what is seen on TV, making what is written here highly inaccurate.  As such, I apologize to any officers of the law who dislike such things.