Friday, December 31, 2004

The calm after the storm

I just spent the last twenty minutes reading about the unprecedented wave disaster in the Indian Ocean and the international aid effort. In particular, I came across these two articles, one on the BBC News site and one on the Telegraph site, both of which left me feeling somewhat appalled, a bit proud and then ashamed.

I'm appalled because of things like the death table, and why I'm so fascinated by it. It's like some macabre version of the Olympics medal table. (And I can't help but wonder what the two people in Bangladesh or the one in Kenya, were doing that they were the only casualties in those countries.)

The hint of pride comes from the fact that Britain currently leads the donations table. Yippee, for all those Commonwealth ties I guess. Thirty million quid in four days is not bad going for Joe Public either. Then I start feeling ashamed that these sites publish, and I read, such things as donations tables. But they did publish them and I did read them, so I guess they've got me (and lots of others) pretty much figured out.

Good News (and hatred, and goats)

Dear Ryan,

We are trying to reach you with Good News! It is real important that you Call Toll free 1-888-279-9221


Call 12 noon to 8 pm EST Monday thru Friday

This was the message on a postcard in my mailbox this morning. For some reason I didn't call Maggie and find out what the Good News was. Why do these people keep on hounding me, trying to force Jesus's love for me down my throat? (Unless, of course I'm terribly wrong and somebody other than crazy evangelicals would capitalize the 'N' of Good News. Whoever wrote this was awfully fond of putting Capital Letters in odd places, so maybe they're just plain old fashioned crazy.)

And incidentally if you are going to send me a little note trying to get me to do something, it is really important that you know how to spell really. 'Cause that kind of thing gets my goat when I see it written and addressed to me by some complete strangers. But then again my goat is a bit of a floozie, because a lot of things get her.

ETA: Actually it is possible that these people were part of a scam. The kind of scam in which they try to make you pay some small fee before you can claim a big prize. Either way, if they are crooks or crazy religious people, I wouldn't recommend wasting one's time by calling the number.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Trousering the loot and other stuff.

For no apparent reason I find myself remembering a quote by, at least this is who I think it's by, Stephen Pound — the Labour Member of Parliament for Ealing North — in which the phrase trouser the loot was used (it was used in regards to the allowance that MP's get for central London housing, and how an unscrupulous fellow could turn it into profit). I'm in love with trouser the loot, as should everyone be.

Christmas this year for me is probably best summed up with the word dull, although cold and fucking cold are probably also appropriate. In fact, it was almost Minnesota cold when I woke up on Christmas morning. Father Christmas brought me (well actually the postman brought them to me, from my mother) a book (Going Postal, by the unadjectivable Terry Pratchett) and a couple of t-shirts. The highlight of my day was probably making bread pudding, albeit without the cloves. All the shops in Columbus were closed on Christmas day and I had to go to a convenience store to get the cheap white bread and milk I needed for the recipe. I ended up eating a baked chicken breast with a selection of vegetables, thanks to the freezer gods. All in all it wasn't a bad day.

In other news I got my Blunkett t-shirt today, and proudly wore it in Columbus. I can't imagine that many, if any, people who saw it got the tasteless joke. I also bought myself a kitchen table (even if it is more of a card table really, it's in my kitchen now so by default it's a kitchen table) and a couple of chairs. Praise be to Target, for cheap shitty furniture.

After only six hours sleep in the last two nights combined, I am really knackered. (Hopefully) I'm going to sleep now.

Friday, December 24, 2004

I'm leaving Minnesota and I'm sad...

... of course these two things are almost entirely disconnected. The reason that I'm sad is that I've lost one of my gloves. Well maybe not lost, lost implies that I don't know where it is. I know exactly where it is. It is sat on the number 16 bus that took me from campus to downtown. Just after I got off the bus I put my hand in my coat pocket and thought, "Bollocks!".

I liked my gloves. They got me through my winter in northern Minnesota. They got me through my winter in State College. Looks like they won't be getting me through my winter in Columbus. Bastard.

Still, two years is probably close to a record for me in the not losing a pair of gloves stakes. I think I need a piece of string that goes through the arms of my coat and keeps the gloves in place, like I had when I was six.

He who knows most says the least, that was my fortune from a Chinese restaurant the other night. I thought it was very apt as I've been working with a guy who can't shut up this week. But the weeks over now, and in a few short hours (I've never quite worked out what makes a short hour) I will be winging my way back to Columbus — that is the Columbus, which is apparently also bloody cold today (Incidentally, Columbus is hotter (in the summer), colder (in the winter) and wetter (all year round) than London. But still everyone says it always rains in London).

Oh well that's all from Marysburg Books.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

3 am from a basement in Minnesota

So here I am at 3 am (okay it's actually 3:30 am now, but I was here at 3 am), in the basement of the physics department of the University of Minnesota. Not only am I here at 3 am, but I'll probably be here until 10 or 11 am. It's moments like these that I love my job. (Note to others: that was sarcasm).

So far this week I've both bled and froze for this bloody, no pun intended, experiment. On the plus side the bleeding, or sacrificing part of my finger to the science gods, helped us go from a non-working flight computer to a working one. I'm not sure what the freezing part has helped, except maybe my character. But, I've always been quite fond of my character...

Has anything else happened of interest whilst I've been up here in Minnesota? I can't really remember. I finished reading the Sandman series of comics — or graphic novels, if you so prefer. They really are bloody good. Not that I'm the first person to note such. I picked up the last of the editions, Endless Nights, along with the two Death stories, The High Cost of Living and The Time of Your Life, from DreamHaven on Sunday. DreamHaven is a very pleasant book and comic store, they even had a pack of Nicholas was... cards, which I wish I'd bought earlier and been able to send to people.

Tonight, if I'm not too tired to read, I'll start reading Red Son, the 'what if Superman's spacecraft had crashed into the USSR instead of America' story. On the subject of Superman, whilst at DreamHaven I stumbled upon True Brit, which is the 'what if Superman's spacecraft had crashed into Weston-super-Mare' story, co-written by John Cleese. Which naturally, I had to buy. I wonder why it is I never have any money.

Oh well, I'm off to temperature watch.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Falling on my feet

I'm in Minneapolis now. In fact I'm writing this (both last night in my yellow notepad and this afternoon on my computer) in a little coffee shop at the corner of N orth Washington Avenue and North Third Avenue, called Marysburg Books. Last night I stumbled into this place due to three main reasons; my great stupidity, the crazy naming system they have for roads in Minneapolis and the freezing Minnesota weather.

You see I thought it would be a good idea to use public transport to get from the airport to the hotel, rather than paying for an expensive taxi. It is quite possible that if I'd had full control of my faculties, as opposed to the drastically reduced state I seem to be running in these days, this would have been fine and dandy — although, I suspect if I'd had full control of my faculties I'd have just thought, "Sod it. I'm not paying" and I'd have got a taxi.

Anyhow, I managed to get on the Airport-Downtown light rail link, the Hiawatha Line, which in fact is the only line, as far as I can tell. I even managed to get off at the appropriate station, Downtown East/Metrodome, after that it all went to shit. I knew my hotel was in the campus area on Washington Avenue, and I saw on the little map at the station, that I was just a couple of blocks away from Washington Avenue. So, I decided to walk. Silly bugger!

Not only did I decide to walk, but I decided to walk in completely the wrong direction. In my defence, at the time I started to walk I didn't realise that I was going completely the wrong way (not even I am that foolish); the case for the prosecution would probably point out that I started walking in the opposite direction to which I saw the campus bound bus was going, and they'd be right. Some fourteen or fifteen blocks later, in the freezing Minnesota weather, I arrived at 701 S Washington Avenue. Sadly, my hotel was at 615 Washington Avenue SE (the SE didn't manage to make it into my notebook), which is about three miles away on the other side of the river.

On the plus side, due to the fact that I was both bloody freezing and lost, I stumbled into this nice little coffee, book and wine place. I like this place. After consuming an okayish double espresso, I was given a complimentary glass of wine, as it was an open bottle coming to the end of it's shelf life, and a free scone. All of which, made my fifteen block detour rather worthwhile. Falling on my feet, you might say. Even if the owner did ask me if I was from Australia or New Zealand — at least they didn't ask me if my Australian accent was real or fake, which inhabitants of this state have been known to ask.

In case you are curious the United-Palace game finished 5-2, which meant that I won the princely sum of £2.50 (less 5% commission). Yea for me.

Last night I sat in a couple of shitty bars near campus watching Atlanta squeak past Carolina. It was a pretty interesting game. But I didn't do very well at trying not to drink beer, which was one of the things that I was going to try and do this week.

Today, I'm off to DreamHaven, and maybe if I feel like sullying myself to Mall of America. But first I'm off to the toilet.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Sitting in the airport, wondering what I'm doing

Here I am, in Port Columbus International Airport, waiting to board my flight to Minneapolis, wondering what exactly I am doing with my life. In a break with tradition I had the foresight to write down the name, address and telephone number of the hotel I'll be staying at. Normally, I forget to do these simple things and just try and blag it when I arrive. (Probably the highlight of my lack of preparation came a couple of years ago when I was attending a conference in Pasadena. I realised, as I was on my second long flight of the day (from Newark to L.A.), that I had no idea of the name or address of the hotel I was staying in. I was meant to be met by someone at the airport but I neither had her number nor she mine. Fortunately she was standing there waiting for me as I came down the escalator into the baggage claim area, there are few people who I've been so pleased to see.)

I'm not really sure what I'm going to do in Minneapolis until Monday morning (it was several hundred dollars cheaper to fly out today than tomorrow). If I had a brain I would have tried to contact some of the people I know in Minnesota and see if they are still around, and haven't gone home for Christmas yet. But apparently I don't have a brain, because I didn't do that.

On the subject of a lack of brain. Which mental midget devised the US banking system, or at least which mental midget devised the legislature that keeps the US system several decades behind the UK or European system (particularly the Swiss). On Wednesday I tried to send some money to the UK to pay off this months student loans (lord knows what happened to my £100 Carey-Foster prize) and after I stopped weeping at the current exchange rate, my hatred of the US wire transfer system increased. I think I mentioned before how stupid the system is, in which I print out my UK bank details at work, walk to the bank on high street, watch them type my details into their computer, before printing out my details, phoning up the wire transfer people and telling them my details, where I can only imagine my details are entered into another computer. On Wednesday this smooth oiled machine went awry, because the forgot to do the call the wire transfer people part of the process. Fortunately, I noticed that the money hadn't been taken out of my account on Friday and went and checked up on them. Otherwise I'd be up in Minnesota and the UK student loans company, or whoever currently owns my debt, would get very annoyed when I couldn't give them this months dues.

Here I am sitting in the airport with approximately $25,000 worth of computers in my little rucksack. Listening to Man. Utd. repeatedly fuck up against Crystal Palace. Crystal Palace! If United don't manage to beat Palace then things have definitely gone to the dogs. It's 3-2 to United now, will they remember how to defend?

In better news it's good to see England doing so well against South Africa in the cricket. Particularly as everyone was a doom and gloom merchant about England's chances. (4-2 now, hat-trick for Scholes and 3 goals in the first five minutes of the second half).

Oh well, I should probably stop rambling now. (Maybe Scholes's second goal was actually an own goal... we'll have to wait and see).

Friday, December 17, 2004

Knicker wettingly exciting

I have to say that I am incredibly excited about today's Champions League draw. Real Madrid playing Juventus, Barcelona versus Chelsea, Bayern Munich against Arsenal, and, of course, Man. Utd. facing off against AC Milan, for the first time in 25 years. There isn't a dud in the other four games either. I can not wait until the 22nd of February. And with odds between 10/1 and 14/1 on United winning it, I might be forced into having a little flutter.

On the subject of knicker wetting excitement, yesterday evening I had a very pleasant surprise. (To give you some context, a couple of weeks ago, one of my favourite — okay, my favourite — barmaid from the cafe quit working there, for various reasons that aren't my business to go into. Every time I've entered the place since then I've wondered if she'll be there, and up till now she hasn't been.) After a particularly greasy meal (a tomatoey chorizo dish served with roast potatoes and parsnips and fried courgette), I went for a walk to give the food a chance to slip some way through my system before I tried dousing it with beer. (The walk also gave me the chance to listen to Kanye West's album, which I still think is very good.) As I neared home, and therefore the bar, I wondered if I would see said lady. Lo and behold she was stood outside the cafe as I rounded the corner. Not only was she there but she was also pleased to see me (I know it's somewhat hard to believe). Seeing her probably rated as the most exciting moment of my week — which is almost certainly a comment on the kind of week I've been having, amongst other things.

Apropos of nothing (well actually, because somebody started a sentence with, "Happiness is..." and I finished, "... a cigar called Hamlet."), here are a couple of links that made me smile. The photobooth advert and the John West bear advert (the quality is a little poor for both of these). And, of course, these made me think of the fake/spoof/real Mastercard blowjob advert.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The squirrel and the Snickers wrapper

Yesterday afternoon while I was having coffee, I saw a very polite squirrel. At the time I was sat in the Brenen's at the library, listening to a colleague's history of their, recently extinguished, relationship with some guy. Anyhow, I was sat staring out the window — my other colleague was offering sage advice, so I didn't feel compelled to — when I noticed Mr Squirrel (actually it could have been Mrs Squirrel, not being a squirrel sex expert) sat on the rim of a litter bin. He'd picked up a Snickers wrapper, well actually it was a Snickers Almond wrapper, from the bin and was busy licking it. For a couple of minutes he sat there licking his wrapper, then when he finished he dropped the wrapper back in to the bin. I thought, if a bloody squirrel can put his litter in the bin why can't the rest of us?

I think I'm probably going to hell for wanting one of these. Or am I going because I want nearly all of these.

ETA: I ordered myself one of the Blunkett t-shirts. I hope my room in hell has a nice view of the bubbling oil pits.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The first snowy post of the winter

Winter has finally arrived in Columbus. Yesterday was a little chilly, but not too cold, at least not until the evening. In the evening it got really very cold, and it started snowing. It's kept snowing, on and off, ever since. Now it's not Minnesota snow or State College snow, but still it's more snow then we get back home in London most years (more on my London love affair later). To conserve money, well actually to conserve body heat (mine) as I'm too tight to turn the heating on, I'm writing this post fully clothed wearing my dressing gown over the top of my clothes and my duvet is wrapped around me. I'm not much of a winter person. On the subject of not being much of a winter person, next week I get to go to lovely warm Minneapolis for a week.

Another thing that came to Columbus this weekend was the film Closer. As has been mentioned more than once in this blog, I will watch pretty much anything with Natalie Portman in it. Once more this proved to be a very reasonable way of a selecting a film. Particularly as she plays a stripper in the film, although, sadly, there were no gratuitous naked shots — we do get to see one side of one breast, sans nipple, which will do. It was a very good film, about four people and their very messed up relationships with each other. My top five reasons for liking this film are: the aforementioned Natalie Portman, who was very good; gratuitous use of the word 'cunt'; gratuitous (my third in this paragraph, is that grat... no I can't be so cheap) use of the word 'fuck'; the excellent Clive Owen (when will Chancer come out on DVD?); the ubiquitous Jude Law (when does he sleep?);

Actually, I think I probably just lied. My favourite thing in the film was probably London. There's one scene early on in the film, in which Jude Law is showing a freshly arrived Natalie Portman a few pieces of his London, that resonated strongly with me. It's always been something of a fantasy of mine to show a pretty girlie around London, and I'm not talking about the standard touristica thingies but those parts of London that I like, and now miss. While we're talking candidly I have a small confession to make, in these fantasies the girl is usually American. I'm not quite sure why but I find some American girls, c.f. Miss Portman and my obsession post, irresistibly something. Maybe it's just that wide eyed amazement that some American girls get when they hear a British accent.

This weekend was something of a shopping spree for me. I tend to spend more money when I'm feeling slightly sorry for myself, which seems faintly ridiculous. Distressingly, most of the spending spree was on comic books, or graphic novels for those tarts in the audience. Now I'm not sure if I'm more distressed at spending so much on (geeky) comic books, or at the fact that I'm distressed about spending money on this legitimate media form. The rest of the spending spree was spent on Chris Rock, which I haven't watched yet so can't comment on, and the multiple Grammy nominated Kanye West, which I have listened to and is excellent (one chorus in which kiddies sing about entrepreneurial drug dealers counting their money, is very good).

In other news, a beggar reprimanded me for having my music on too loud so he had to ask twice for money (he didn't get any either time), and I found out what CBT is in some circles. At this point I'd like to mention that I only found out what CBT stood for and not what it felt like, as it is Cock and Ball Torture.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Come on you Supreme Court justices

I just read this happy little tale of prohibition hangover laws, that are going to be reviewed by the Supreme Court. I don't really have much to say about it except, I find the idea of a teenager mail-ordering a nice bottle of wine fairly amusing. The fact that this idea is the crux of the authorities argument against being able to mail-order out of state wine is somewhere between ridiculous and scary.

So come on you Supreme Court justices (justii?), anything that chips away at the US's draconian alcohol laws has got to be a good thing.

ETA: What the BBC article neglects to mention is that one of the attorneys arguing for the little wineries (and wine drinkers) is the excellent named Clint Bolick (you probably need to be registered or use Thanks, once again, to Mediawatch for providing me with this childish giggle.

Obsession and its consequences (and a Happy Birthday)

Like all good posts this one is about a girl. Well it's almost about a girl, it's really about my increasingly disturbed mind. This girl is a girl that I find rather attractive, not that that narrows it down too much. But of all the flesh and blood girls that I actually talk to she ranks pretty near the top.

Anyhow, a few days ago I was told something, about said girl, that has sent my (fevered) mind into overdrive. (At this point I should probably note, that the rationale 3% of my mind realises that what the rest of mind is doing is utterly ridiculous, but still that doesn't change anything). Apparently, this, girl said something to a friend of mine which could be interpreted as not entirely unflattering about myself. The comment was entirely hypothetical, ambiguous and open to interpretation, so the fevered part (approximately 97%) of my mind chose to interpret the comment in the most overtly pro-Ryan way possible.

The net result of my liking this girl and her, alleged, comments, was to send my mind into a fit of impressive gymnastic contortions, involving elaborate future meeting scenarios and the re-analysis of every encounter we've had. After spending the last few days with a mind performing such feats of irrationality, as will not be mentioned here, today I heard some potentially disastrous news. Apparently (remember this apparently has to be mixed with the earlier allegedly), due to reasons entirely unconnected to me (as, indeed, most reasons are), I might not be seeing this girl very much from now on. If this (the apparently part, not the allegedly part) turns out to be true, I will be sad. It should be pointed out that regardless of if I had heard about the girl's, alleged, comments, I would be sad if I didn't see her much from now on. But, now that I do know about her, alleged, comments (and have experienced the subsequent mind gymnastics), I'll be much sadder.

On a happier note, and I'm sad to say I really do need a happier note right now, I had a beer with a cute little owl on it's beer cap. I'm thinking about sending a six-pack of these beers to my, teetotaller, Mum as a Christmas present. She collects owls you see. The beer cap is very cute, if a little Hooter-esque.

On the subject of Mumsie dearest, yesterday was her birthday. So Happy Birthday Mum (not that I tell her about this blog). Disappointingly, I didn't manage to call her and say 'Happy Birthday'. In my defence, I did try and call on three separate occasions, but each time she was either out or talking to someone else on the phone. To compound my birthday related uselessness, I only got round to posting her a card on Monday. I did at least send her a present this year, thanks to those nice folks over at, which is more than I managed last year. (I sent her the DVDs of Cold Mountain and Love Actually, in case you're interested).

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Containing illness, Indian food, nudity, Guzzlefest and other nonsense

I sometimes take a little yellow notepad down to the bar with me of an evening. This last week I've probably started three or four posts in that little notebook that didn't ever make it out in to the big wide world of the internet, well the small piece of the big wide world that is my blog at least. So here are some of the high, or low, lights. It's one of those start one day, add a few bits and pieces the next day and finally finish it another day kind of posts, so probably not entirely coherent.

On Thursday I did something that I very rarely do, I took a day off work because I wasn't feeling well. Admittedly, there are several days during which I don't do any work, but I do normally try and be physically present in my office. Yesterday I just couldn't. Try as I might it was impossible to get out of bed. My head hurt (which could probably be attributed to a hangover), my stomach hurt (debatable whether it was alcohol related), my throat hurt, eyes itched and nose was blocked (which were all probably unconnected to Wednesday night's excesses). So I snuggled up under the covers and stayed in bed most of the day. I thought isn't it nice that I have the kind of job where I can take a day of work with nobody complaining. I also thought isn't it a shame that when I do take a day off work nobody inquires as to why I'm not at work. It is probably indicative of how unimportant the work I am currently doing is, and therefore I am.

After spending all day in bed I ventured out into the world Thursday evening so that I could find sustenance. The place I chose was on a little street a couple of blocks away from my lovely abode. Apparently it used to be an establishment by the name of Champs Diner, bedecked in Buckeye scarlet and grey of course. Now it is an Indian restaurant by the name of Food of India. It is still bedecked in Buckeye colours, but now has a pink curtain and a few little Indian nick-nacks on the wall. The food was okay, nothing amazing, but edible, if a little sweet. The whole thing was very strange though, you had your stereotypical Indian restaurant owners, terribly nice and poorly spoken, in this really odd location.

Thursday night the world was a very strange place. Firstly, I saw a girl flash her bits and pieces (both those upstairs and downstairs, if you know what I mean... and I'm sure you do) out the window of the bar. Well actually I saw the back of the girl while she flashed her front bits out the window. (The same girl was crying on the owner's shoulder on Saturday and, incidentally on Thursday night she had a parrot on her shoulder, not during the exposure but before and afterwards). Apparently, although I did not see it myself (fortunately), on the outside there was a gentleman (probably not one fit to be called so) reciprocating by flashing his member at her. It's not everyday that you see people flashing their private parts at each other in public, at least not at the establishments I regularly frequent. I also saw two grown men acting like school children; verbally poking each other for two hours before one of them physically removed the other from the premises. There were lots of drunk Russians, which is not particularly odd for Russians, but was moderately interesting for Ohio. I was left dumbfounded as to why someone would piss in the toilet without closing the door (to the bar). I'm pretty sure nobody wants to see a man pissing when all the wanted was a drink, I'm definitely sure that I don't want to see it. Oh and then somebody explained they're landmine removal theory to me. Sadly, it involves having surveyed the area beforehand, so not entirely ideal for the all the mines blowing people up in places like Angola. Between the nudity, the pissing, the Russians and the mine-man, I felt terribly normal by comparison at the end of the night.

After briefly returning to something akin to normality on Friday, Saturday was filled with work (unfortunately), art and beer. Lots of beer. You know it's going to be something of a heavy night when you start drinking at 3pm. If for some reason you have four pints (okay four girlie American sized pints) in less than an hour, you know it has the potential to be an enormously heavy evening. If you have the sense to stop drinking at George Best's best session rate, then you start to believe that maybe by the end of the evening you will not be offensively drunk. I even sobered up enough to wander down to the Short North and take in the sights of Gallery Hop, and feel, if only for a little while, that Columbus is actually a real city that has real people in it. The reason I went down to Gallery Hop was so that I could see the Civil Disobedience themed show that a friend was organising at a futon shop. Inevitably though I was drawn back to the bar for the Bacchanalian festival that is Guzzlefest Extravaganza. It all started mildly enough with a sipped beer and some food, but soon enough it, and I, descended into a state of drunken disorder. There were two bands playing at the bar, the first an Irish-drinking-folk band, The Bogtrodders, the second were the cowboy hillbilly hippy folk music group, Gruver-Deeluxe. Both were very good. Although I was a good deal more sober during the Bogtrodders than I was during Gruver. By the time the end of the evening came around I was on something like beer number 13 (of the evening session) and was pretty much the last person to leave the bar. Upon leaving the bar I stood outside my apartment for a few minutes in such a manner that the last barmaid to leave wondered if I'd locked myself out. I think I was just enjoying the cool air, well that and psyching myself up for climbing the stairs.

Needless to say, much of Sunday was clouded by a fuzzy head. In fact all of Sunday was. When I went down to the bar, for my free Sunday beer, there wasn't even a barmaid there to converse with. I had to make do with conversing to the other patrons, and, of course, the owner. Which wasn't too bad, but it's always nice talking to a pretty girl. At least I had an early night last night, not that that helped me to get in to work any earlier this morning.

Now I think I might go off to the gym, and try and work some of the residual laziness out of my bones.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


You may have noticed that those nice folks over at Merriam-Webster have published a list of the top ten words that people looked up in 2004 (not entirely sure why they didn't wait until the end of the year, but there we go).

I can understand why blog was a popular word and I can see how all the confusing presidential words would be popular, and I guess people were just looking for how you spell hurricane, but what is defenestration doing on the list? Where has this word been used that has made it such a popular search term?

Also I wanted to draw attention to, "Its list of most looked-up words is drawn up every year and it discounts terms such as swear words, that everyone likes to look up...". Why? Because I really do like to look up rude words.