Back on the 9th May, Anthony shared ten words beginning with the letter ‘I’ with us. When prompted he gave me the letter ‘E’ and I gathered some words up and never got around to formulating my post with them in, so here for your delight and delectation are ten words starting with ‘E’ and what they mean to me…

Where a lot of people see ‘odd’ or ‘strange’ I see ‘eccentric’. Eccentricity is simply a deviation from that which people consider normal. One could say “centered differently” or “not in the usual way” but to me, eccentric simply means interesting. If noone was eccentric, how would we find new normals and new ways to express ourselves?
A lot of people see emotion as a weakness, but to me it’s a strength I could not live without. Emotion is what drives us to smile unbidden, to hug someone, to live life to the full; to love.
In my life I have been many thing and I will be many things more, but first and foremost I am a geek. In my life as a geek I have been fascinated by many thing, but none quite as much as data security in the form of encryption. Encryption is a way to protect our secrets and a way to communicate without being understood by someone intercepting the message. Encryption is a fundamental part of the way I do my job and the ways in which I contribute to open source projects. I doubt that, without encryption, I would be working on as much free software today as I am.
The word ‘engineering’ means different things to different people. It might mean the design of new buildings, or machine parts. It might be the construction of new software or the act of looking after a steam engine. To me it is, quite simply, the act of directed creation itself. I apply engineering principles in almost every part of my life, from the software engineering I do for myself and for my job to the engineering of situations or the organising of others. Engineering is fundamental to my way of life.
Quite simply, without entertainment our lives would be less rich. Both being entertained and indeed entertaining others gives us, as a people, a rich and powerful way to derive joy. And joy is paramount.
Equality is a concept which in my opinion needs to be considered carefully. For example, total equality is one of the ways in which communism intended to save the world. But ultimately there cannot be equality of treatment without physical sameness and equivalence. There are degrees and axes of equality and the concept of equality in law of ethnicities or other demographic slices of society is perhaps the most important to me (being of a potentially disadvantaged demographic).
“munching on a chocolate starfish”, “spanking the monkey”, “Miss Palm and her five daughters dance the shuffle”. Come on, how many of you didn’t even crack a smile. Euphemisms are a glorious way to inject a little humour into what some consider to be an offensive thing to express.
Without exceptions one has only the expected. And that can become rather dull. Exceptions are what inject a litle excitement and confusion into our lives and through that we can grow to understand more of the world around us. The phrase “The exception which proves the rule” is a beautiful example of how the concept of exceptions being fundamental to our lives is deep-seated within our collective consciousness.
Simply meaning ‘foreign’ or perhaps “Not from round here” — to me, exotic invokes the idea of an opportunity to learn something new or to extend my range of understanding of something I already know a bit about. Exotic foods are an opportunity to see how others eat and to learn new ways in which to prepare food for myself. Exotic ideas give rise to the potential for even better engineering within my life.
The word ‘exploitation’ has such negative connotations in so many of its uses in modern society, but I prefer to think of it as the more benign “act of making something more productive”. For example, in software engineering one would ‘exploit’ a property of the data to engineer a more efficient solution. For example compression ‘exploits’ redundancy in data streams to produce a representation of the same information in less space. Perhaps we should all learn to think less about ‘victimisation’ or the other negative forms of exploitation and instead learn to exploit the richness of our languages to better express ourselves.

I hope that in some way this has enchanted, entertained, engaged or enlightened you and perhaps encouraged you to express an enthusiasm for some words which mean a little to yourself.

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