Linguist, lexicographer, radio host, public speaker

Amazon wishlist

This isn’t a prompt for anyone to buy me anything, but I started adding to my Amazon wishlist.

Sometime in the last 10 years I became a list-maker. It surprised me when I realized it. I’ve thought of myself as a bit too carefree for that and I thought I had my mild obsessiveness for order under control. The list-making, I think, comes of my harried days in tech support, when I was so busy I’d forget even crucial things. Like the time I forgot a friend’s party, eventually remembered the date wrong, and showed up 24 hours too late after a 90-minute subway ride from Greenpoint to Harlem. And then wondered why the apartment windows were dark.

To keep the lists, I use Xcode, a program that comes with Apple’s developer kit. It’s intended for programmers to, uh, program with but it’s just right for what I need. (I picked up the tip on Mac OS X Hints ages go.) Xcode works kind of like Microsoft Excel, in that you have one project—like an Excel workbook—that contains a bunch of files—like Excel spreadsheets. Except there are no cells, rows, columns, or bloat. It’s strictly text-based, squeezes very narrowly on the right of my screen, has a drop-menu to access all the different files that belong to the project, it’s searchable across all files, and it’s free.

Anyway, I have lots of lists in my “Notes” project in Xcode. The “books” list contains titles I’d love to own but can’t really justify in my personal budget, or, for that matter, in my budget at work. It’s growing unwieldy, so I figured I’d do something about organizing it and making it real. Some of the items on my Xcode list are merely an author’s or editor’s name and some approximation of the title—I have to look them up in Amazon to determine why I added them to the list in the first place.

Other lists, incidentally, are;

Funny lines I heard or read (before I started blogging again).

Media contacts I’ve made over the past few years.

Drugs claimed to boost mental acuity legally (Ha! I’m nobody’s lab rat.)

Why Firefox blows.

Music to add to iTunes.

Music to remove from iTunes.

Music that comes recommended but I know nothing about.

Various command line stuff in OS X.

Passwords for all the full-text databases I access daily.

Nuggets that might inspire fiction stories.

Words to recommend being added to OUP-USA’s mainstream dictionary.

Words for the second edition of the Historical Dictionary of American Slang, a.k.a HDAS (the second edition will appear, oh, approximately in the year 2020).

Words to use in conversation and writing.

Life-enhancing to-dos, like “bike to work,” “Swedish lessons,” “update family tree.”

Big project-wide tasks to be done on HDAS.

Books to read while looking for new words, especially when searching for slang.

Grand blue-sky plans for various dictionaries and dictionary projects.

An enormous list of tweaks and changes to make on the DTWW site, which are slowly being done a half-hour at a time and will be finished by the time I die.

author avatar
Grant Barrett