zeborah: Zebra with mop and text: Clean all the things! (housework)
(Context: my roof appears to have sprung a leak, probably many months ago, but the vaguaries of roof-spaces and gravity have made the problem visible just recently. I'm awaiting a builder but today the carpet could no longer be ignored.)

1. Carpet that has shown itself capable of growing mould is probably also capable of growing other fungi, such as mushrooms.

I am told on good authority (ie one of my siblings) that fluorescent mushrooms growing in one's house is a Very Bad Thing. Fortunately, the mushrooms growing in my carpet were not fluorescent. If they had been fluorescent I might have noticed them earlier, because at this time of year I leave the house when it's still dark and get home after it's darkened again so only see things by daylight during the weekends. Thus, this morning I discovered mushrooms growing in my carpet that, while not fluorescent, did not look very edible either.

2. A screwdriver (to pry up the first carpet nail) and thereafter some sturdy pliers (to grip and pull) are a pretty decent way to rip up dry carpet.

There is no decent way to rip up rotten carpet. You still probably can't beat pliers but at a certain point of rotten they're just tearing it apart a few chunks or threads at a time.

3. Sufficiently thin carpet and underlay is indistinguishable from thin carpet.

When I bought the house, the inspection report commented on the thin carpet and lack of underlay. I've been meaning for years to get new carpet and underlay and revel in luxury but first I had to get earthquake repairs finished, and then I've been hunting for some decent carpet in a colour other than grey or beige (that's a rant for another day), and now fixing the roof and whatever wood has rotted in the process is probably going to take priority. But anyway.

Joke's on the house inspector, because when I started ripping up the rotten carpet it turned out there was too underlay, just for some reason it was cut an inch away from the walls.

4. Damp wool carpet smells bad. Rotten wool carpet smells worse. Fungi-ridden carpet smells even worse[1]. But if you want to smell the worst thing of all, that comes when you start ripping it all up.

Yes, I wore a face mask. It was still foul. I think the rotten underlay was even worse than the rotten carpet.

5. The best way to cut through carpet is with a craft knife.

I tried scissors but they didn't seem keen on it and I wasn't keen on dulling my good fabric scissors. But Dad suggested a knife and that cut through both the carpet and the underlay like soft butter.

Bonus discovery: a previous owner appears to have laid the kitchen lino on top of the old kitchen lino. I can only see the edge of the latter, but it appears to be peak 1970s. (Like my carpet, in fact. I actually quite like my carpet, apart from it being threadbare and also now missing a large chunk due to rot and mushrooms. It was good Axminster carpet; not this but very similar to this. --Oh hey, maybe if I can't find any coloured carpet in New Zealand I could simply import some carpet at great expense from the UK, because this one is pretty close to what I'd really like.)

Conclusion: Please let it not rain significantly before I can get the builder to come and figure out what's going on up there. <weep>

[1] Linguistic sidebar: Is it universal with adjectives to have the absolute ('bad'), the comparative ('worse'), and the superlative ('worst')? I'm wondering because lots of languages have three degrees of distance (Spanish: aquí, allí, allá; Māori: tēnei, tēnā, tērā; even English used to have here, there, yonder) but then there's occasional glorious exceptions like Malagasy which has seven. So now I'm imagining a language with multiple degrees of comparison, kind of like: bad > worse > worser > worst > worstest. Ripping up rotten underlay is the worstest.
zeborah: Zebra against a barcode background, walking on the word READ (books)
Okay, so I learned it from someone on the #eqnz Twitter feed, but that's not the point.

The point is this: I'm clearly behind the linguistic times, because this has been around for at least two years, and the word is this:


New Zealanders may be able to parse it without aid. (I only had trouble the first time I saw it today because it was ROFLNUI so I thought it was all an acronym.) It's apparently pronounced "roffle-nui". It's derived from the acronym for "rolling on the floor laughing" plus the Māori word "nui" = "big" and thus means something like "this is hilarious!"

I really love New Zealand English.

I forgot to mention something earthquake-related but I've forgotten what it was again and anyway I said this wasn't an earthquake post, so I'll just go to bed instead.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes falling off (stress and confusion)
"What makes a man betray his own family?"

"The same thing that makes him kill a friend. Or let him kill himself."

So this scene is slightly less stuck than the previous 2023 scenes(*) but it's still the kind of thing where I
  • write a sentence,
  • check all my rss feeds,
  • write three sentences,
  • check my feeds,
  • delete four sentences,
  • check my feeds,
  • replace them with four sentences and, in an absolute brainwave, a fifth;
  • check my feeds,
  • decide these sentences might actually stay,
  • check my feeds,
  • peer at my sentences for a long time,
  • and start contemplating causative modal verbs, how these are (in various languages) lexically or grammatically encoded, and what categories there are other than "make someone do something" and "let someone do something".
I thought of "force" but I think that's just a (more intense) synonym of "make".

Irina enabled this cat-vacuuming of mine by suggesting:
  • get smn to do smthg,
  • take care that smn does smthg,
  • have smn do smthg.
Thinking more. What I'm talking about are verbs that describe the subject's part in an action that is actually being performed by someone else. Which also suggests to me maybe help someone do something, and sort-of-negatives like hinder or stop someone doing something.

Which gives me a draft classification of:
  • I make them do it (synonyms include force) - this is a causative, pure and simple. I want it to happen, they probably don't, but because of me it happens anyway.
  • I have them do it - it's my idea and I've got the authority to be still primarily responsible but they could probably still refuse. (This should probably be collapsed into either "make" above or "get" below, depending on their willingness. Irina had a different definition than mine but I don't think it changes my schema? I'm thinking of synonyms like order.)
  • I get them to do it (synonyms include ask, convince) - it's my idea but they end up doing it more or less willingly.
  • I take care that they do it (synonyms include make sure) - they might come up with the idea and do it all by themselves - but if they don't I'll use one of the other options above.
  • I help them do it (synonyms include enable) - it's their action, but I'm active in providing conditions to cause it to succeed.
  • I let them do it (synonyms include allow) - it's their action, I'm not actively helping, but I'm not actively hindering either.
  • I hinder their action (cf "help") (can this take a verb as complement? "hinder them from doing it" sounds odd to me) - it's their action, I take action against it but I may not succeed in stopping it.
  • I forbid them to do it (cf "get" above) - their idea, I've got authority that may stop them but they could defy me.
  • I stop them from doing it (cf "make") - it's their idea and action, I take action against it and succeed in stopping it.
That feels fairly comprehensive and really I should see if I can add a 6th sentence to this scene before bedtime, but have I missed out anything really obvious?

(*) Actually I can count that, and it turns out to be a mere 162.
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Stressed)
Look, I love apostrophes as much as anyone, but really I think it's time to admit that all this angst and mocking is just a waste of our time.

Does it really, in the greater scheme of things, matter all that much?

So someone says "Fix your stilleto's here" -- we know what they mean. So someone says "Its stupid" -- we know what they mean. We don't actually *need* apostrophes or lack of apostrophes in order to figure out what a sentence means.

So why force people to learn rules in order to write those sentences?

I figure we've got three choices, because this whole "Let's force pointless rules on generations of schoolkids who don't care" is getting old:

1) accept that the apostrophe can be used to signal the plural of nouns. It seems silly, but hey, why not?

2) get rid of all possessive apostrophes. All the other Germanic languages manage fine with "Deborahs book". Then we can teach simply and clearly that we use apostrophes only when letters are missing, as in "it's, that's, don't, can't".

3) get rid of all apostrophes entirely. This has the added bonus of providing a simple solution to a bunch of problems in computer coding.


Nice doctor diagnosed BPV and gave me medicaments for the vertigo symptoms. I thought him a little optimistic about how quickly it was going to go away since it just isn't fading in a nice linear fashion (ie, it was quite a bit worse today) but there's enough pills for a week or so.


zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)

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