Monday, September 3, 2012

Vocab fetish

When I interviewed Alyssa Harad, she told me that she used to love reading the liner notes on jazz albums even though she had no idea what they were talking about. Along similar lines, I have always loved video game terminology and, really, gamer culture in general, though only as an observer. I mean check out this awesome verbiage:
More often sprite now refers to a partially transparent two dimensional animation that is mapped onto a special plane in a 3D scene. Unlike a texture map, the sprite plane is always perpendicular to the axis emanating from the camera. The image can be scaled to simulate perspective, rotated two dimensionally, overlapped with other objects, and be occluded, but it can only be viewed from a single angle. This rendering method is also referred to as billboarding.... When the illusion works, viewers will not notice that the sprite is flat and always faces them. Often sprites are used to depict phenomena such as fire, smoke, small objects, small plants (like blades of grass), or special symbols (like "1-Up"), or object of any size where the angle of view does not appreciably change with respect to the rectilinear projection of the object (usually from a long distance). The sprite illusion can be exposed in video games by quickly changing the position of the camera while keeping the sprite in the center of the view. Sprites are also used extensively in particle effects and commonly represented pickups in early 3D games especially. 
This morning I discovered that roller coaster lingo is equally badass:
There are several different layouts of Suspended Looping Coasters although most feature a similar pattern. The ride starts by taking riders up a 33.3-metre (109 ft) chain hill. Once at the top, the train goes down a steep, banked turn to the right where it enters the first inversion element, a roll over. A roll over (also known as a Sea serpent roll) first features an Immelmann loop quickly followed by a Dive Loop. Upon exit from this element, the train goes up a hill which features some banking at the top before descending and approaching the ride's next inversion, a sidewinder. A sidewinder is similar to an Immelmann loop however it features a half loop followed by a half corkscrew (rather than an inline twist). From the exit of this sidewinder, the train goes into a sharp helix before entering the ride's final two inversions, inline twists. These two twists are followed one after the other. A banked curve to the right turns the train back around to face towards the station. At this point some models feature an additional helix to the left while others simply continue straight into the brake run. The standard model also has a relatively compact layout, providing for "footchoppers".
Happy Labor Day, laborers. I think I pretty much maxed out on fun yesterday at Elitch Gardens, so today I am cleaning the apartment and working on my lines. New inspiration: Mae West.

7 comments:

  1. Elisa - I love your 'language geekness'...it's cool.

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  2. Years back I went to school for a year to learn typesetting and printing, and then worked for a little while as a typesetter. Typsetting and printing, and related areas of work (keylining, camera work, platemaking) all have specialized vocabularies that are, to me, evocative.

    The font names alone are amazing. A full-on typesetting shop might have several hundred fonts on hand, with most of them available in standard style, italic, bold, bold italic, plus condensed and expanded versions of each, and heavy, medium and light versions of each.

    A few of my favorite font names (from back then and from now) include Hippie (a slightly gaudy display font), Frankenstein, Andalus, Elephant, Fangsong, and Dingbats. (The last being an assortment of odd typographical symbols, similar to the Webdings that are in MS Word these days.)

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    1. FANGSONG! Awesome band name.

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    2. I love the specialized typesetting vocab, too! In addition to the font names, I like the expression "pi the type" particularly, for what it means and for its nebulous etymology.

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  3. I wrote a high school music paper -- on "third stream" jazz -- without hearing any of the music involved, or really much jazz at all. (It wasn't so easy to get ahold of whatever music you wanted back then.) I just read some secondary sources and explained what they said. I think I was flying under the radar in that class, because the teacher asked me if I had actually written the paper, which must have seemed very knowledgeable -- of course I had, I had just written it without any real contact with its subject matter.

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    1. I've never heard of "third stream jazz" of course. But "without any real contact with its subject matter" doesn't sound to off the mark from most high school papers...

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