Word of the Day: haptic

It’s been a week since the Olympic flame was extinguished in Vancouver, which means you might be experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Your friendly neighborhood Word of the Day writer has heard your cries, and to you I deliver an Olympic-themed story.

This story was inspired by my friends  Marty and Bryan, who came up with the idea for the event behind….

Today’s Word:


As in:

The success of the new Olympic event, Snow Cross, and the growing fascination with the sport of curling, has led to the creation of a new Olympic event.

Curling Cross, an exciting hybrid of curling and snow cross, will debut in the 2014 Olympics.

Instead of being indoors, Curling Cross is played outdoors on an elaborate ice covered course. The course includes ramps and curves.  Each team lines up with a curler from each of 4 teams at the starting line. The curler shoots his stone along the course, and the two sweepers help the stone achieve its final distance. The stone must cover a minimum  distance, and once it has reached that point, a second curler will curl from the point the stone has rested.

The race is timed, and since the curlers leap frog each other to curl from the point the previous stone stopped, there are advantages to achieving as much distance as possible. If a stone fails to meet the minimum distance, in addition to having to start from the shorter position, the team will face a two second penalty to their times.

Since there are winding passages and ramps on the courses, and there are four teams racing at any given time, the stones themselves become dangerous. They must reach ramps going a minimum speed, else they will not clear the ramp and will come sliding back. In addition, too much speed over the ramps will cause them to “leap” into the air, potentially landing on players of either team. Sweepers are not allowed to sweep in front of the stones preceding certain elements of the course, instead waiting at the bottom of ramps for their stone to appear. 

In some cases, very shortly after a curler launches the stone on the icy course, it will disappear from view. This means that he or she must rely on instinct and haptic feedback, to launch the stone correctly. In addition, having a good mental image of the course at all times is essential to giving the stones enough of a “curl” to round corners and stay on course.

The teams will swap positions and go through the course 8 times, one for each stone, and their times are aggregated for a team time. The team with the fastest time will advance.

It is unclear whether the newly minted event is going to attract the interest of curlers, who might not be interested in putting themselves at risk of severe brain trauma from falling stones, or other injuries from navigating winding, icy, hilly terrain.

When I saw “curling cross” all I could see were stones hurtling through the air over ramps, and it had to be done. But, it had to wait for the Oscars to be over, more’s the pity.

Thanks again Bryan and to Marty.

haptic / HAP – tick / relating to or based on the sense of touch.

Word of the Day: quixotic

It’s Monday yet again, and that means that you are opening your e-mail to find this lovely little package. Think of it as a belated Valentine from me to you.

Of course, it being me, it is a slightly warped Valentine. And, you being you, reading this at all, you probably don’t mind so much.

Today’s Word:


As in:

This year, the IOC has approved an Olympic Games for a unique subset of the “differently-abled,” and invited athletes from all over the world to participate in the first games of its kind in Vancouver.

The first Zombie Olympics will take place the week after the traditional games have ended. As the number of events that Zombies are able to perform are limited by their special conditions, both the summer and winter events are going to be held at the same time.

Summer events include distance shambling, the brain maze obstacle course, and the weight pulling events. In obstacle course events, the athletes are given a limited amount of time to get through a course where the succulent brains have been completely hidden, and must be detected using scent only. In weight-pulling events, the competitors are strapped to large weights, and pull them in pursuit of tempting platters of flesh.

Winter sports include ice dancing, which is a non-skate event, snow shoeing, which involves racing through snow in shoes, and sledding, which involves pairs of zombies in bobsled-type vehicles on snowy hills.

In all zombic sports, contestants are not penalized for lost body parts, and each event usually has several “clean-up” periods between races to clear the courses of any debris.

Zombies are divided into two classifications based upon their speed class. The “classic” category, often referred to as the “Romero Zombies,” are noted for much slower race times. The “Half-Life” category is for those zombies capable of much faster speeds.

Critics of the event object to the exploitation of these athletes, as well as the term “Zombie.” Preferring the term “Unwell,” they feel that these sorts of events are nothing more than a way to experiment on the undead, and they are adamant that this quixotic, zombic Olympiad is simply degrading to both the healthy and the Unwell.
Clearly, I have Zombies on the brain lately. 

Some may object to today’s word choice as being far too familiar. I chose it in honor of Bob Costas, who used it in the opening ceremonies broadcast on Friday, and given the subject matter, it was a no-brainer. Pun totally intended.

quixotic / quick – ZOT – ick / foolishly impractical;  marked by rash, lofty, actions. Capricious.

Word of the Day: pervicacious

I am sitting here typing as a means of jogging my brain into an idea of some sort for today.  It’s feeling vaguely hopeless, but, I’ve only got about an hour to write this before I have to post something.

I’ve been having not-so-fun computer issues all weekend, and am grateful for the use of my sister’s other laptop so that I can get anything posted at all.


How was your weekend? How ’bout them Saints?  The commercials acquitted themselves nicely, didn’t they? The Olympics start on Friday. I wonder if Vancouver has any snow. HMMMMmmmmmm. Yes. Snow. That might be an idea. 

Today’s Word:


As in:

For many years, Vancouver has increasingly served as “little Hollywood,” where television and movie crews can work at a substantial savings over similar facilities in Los Angeles.

The proximity of so many talented producers and directors, has lead Vancouver’s city fathers to seek them out in their time of need for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

The city needs snow. And, if it can’t get any, or make enough, they figure the <em>illusion</em> of snow might just be enough.

“Hollywood’s special effects wizards can do anything. If they can transport an audience to a world where unobtainium can be found, well, a little snow should be child’s play.”

One company is modeling the Vancouver slopes for the downhill races, which competitors will navigate using skiing simulators. When several athletes protested that no simulator no matter how good, can create a world-class skiing venue,  one pervicacious modeler insisted that it will look and feel “pretty much” the same. “You won’t have cold, or wet, or crashes, but, other than that, it’ll be identical. Identical. No one will even notice. They’ll probably even like it better, since it’ll all be warm and dry.”

The company will take motion capture of the athletes, and marry their performance onto the rendering of the mountain, providing NBC with footage of skiers going down the slopes as if they had actually skied the course. “No one will ever know. Well, except the people who read this.”

Another company has created vast quantites of a biodegradable fake snow for cross-country skiing events. It conveniently washes away with the rain, so clean-up will be easy. The downside is that multiple applications will be required over the various courses during the 16 days of events.

When asked about the cost for this special effects wizardry, a city official stuck his fingers in his ears and said “NAHNAHNAHNAHNAH. NOT Listening. NAHNAHNAH.” Later he could be heard to be muttering “Who picks a host city for a Winter Olympics that only has a 27% chance of having snow in February?”

Thank goodness introductory brainstorming, eh?  Welcome to your week.

pervicacious / per – VEH – kay – shus / very stubborn