Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Phase Me

AdventureMan and I were having one of those conversations we love so much – why we say what we do. This time, it was on the word phrase “phase”. We have a collection of words you use one way but not the other, and we are adding to it all the time.

Like with “phase” – we never say “Oh, man, I was so totally phased.” We never say “that phased me.”

We MIGHT say “I sort of phased out when he started talking about molecular electronics and phased back in as he summed it up,” but that is a phrase – phased-out / phased-in. I’m not sure they are related.


We say:

That didn’t phase me.
I wasn’t the least bit phased.
We got throught he entire procedure unfazed. (It’s the same word.)

I’ve been searching the internet for any kind of explanation as to why we use this almost exclusively in the negative, and I can’t find much.

I did find a website, Urban Dictionary which asks for audience participation to define what words and phrases mean. Very interesting:

1. phase
(Votes) 132 up, 17 down
(Verb) To disturb, perturb, deter or intimidate. Usually used in the negative.
“They swore at me, but hey, I’m not phased.”
“You can’t phase me by talking while playing chess.”

This entry brought to you by Mrm who used the phrase in a recent comment and it was just too much of a co-incidence, so I had to write about it.


I just couldn’t let it go. Finally I discovered the problem. Me and Mark Twain have the same problem, thinking phase and faze are related. They are not. From Wiktionary:


fāz, /feɪz/, /feIz/
Homophones: phase
Rhymes: -eɪz

Verb: to faze
third-person singular simple present: fazes,
present participle: fazing,
simple past: fazed,
past participle: fazed

To frighten or cause hesitation; to daunt, put off (usually used in the negative)

Jumping out of an airplane does not faze him, yet he is afraid to ride a roller coaster.

Related terms

to frighten or cause hesitation; to daunt

Usage notes
Citations for faze in the OED start in 1830; usage was established by 1890.
The word phase is sometimes used incorrectly for faze; such notables as the New York Times and Mark Twain have made this error. This sometimes leads to the supposition that faze is an uneducated spelling of phase; they are distinct terms.

February 19, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Community, Cultural, Language | 13 Comments

Kuwait View

This is for people who lived in Kuwait a long time ago – like pre-invasion – and still think of Kuwait as a sleepy, spacious little city. It is taken from near the Marina Mall, a mall that has an overpass across Gulf road to take shoppers to the Marina Crescent, a collection of many restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating.

This is a view looking north, toward Kuwait City:

This is a view looking south:

February 19, 2008 Posted by | Building, ExPat Life, Kuwait | 12 Comments

Sunrise 19 Feb 2008

“Not with a bang, but a whimper. . . ”


That tiny tiny bright speck you see is the sun fighting to shine through the clouds. It was only there for one brief moment – then gone! Maybe we will have rain today?

The gasp of brightness brought to mind T.S. Eliot’s poem, The Hollow Men (by clicking on the blue hypertext, you can go to a great website where it explains all the references in the poem.) Although it was written in 1925 – almost a century ago – it has a very modern feel to it. Your challenge for today – read the poem. Those with more time or interest – go to the website and read the references.:

The Hollow Men

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us – if at all – not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer –
Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom
This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.
The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.
Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

February 19, 2008 Posted by | Character, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Language, Poetry/Literature, Relationships, sunrise series, Words | 2 Comments