Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Need My Kneaded Biscuits Plain

I've got a beef. It's a nerdy beef, but it's a beef all the same. And I'm going to write about it. Are you prepared? Okay, here we go.

I am occasionally "ashamed" of the fact that I tend to be a prescriptivist when it comes to how the English language is used (chiefly as regards its spelling, actually). Needless to say, my descriptivist friends all but call me a Nazi just because I dislike seeing a phrase such as "a lot" spelled as one word. Look, I understand that language has to be malleable. I don't want English to become a dead language thanks to a bunch of stodgy rules we've forced onto it. Besides, there are so many exceptions to existing English grammar and style "rules" that it would be impossible for me to keep track of them all, much less attempt to lump everything together in one "giant Jell-o mold." (gold star for who knows that reference.)

But I'm sick of apologizing for the fact that I enjoy correct spelling. Is it so hard to add an "L" and a space to the horrific and indolent "alright"? I know that "alright" has its defenders (and has for the last century), some of whom might be among my readers. But in my opinion, "alright" came about because people decided to justify laziness by saying they follow such examples as "all together" and "altogether". That argument holds no water, guys, because the phrase "all together" and the word "altogether" have different meanings! Not so with "all right" and "alright", if you ask me.

And thus is stated one example out of many lovely pet peeves I have acquired throughout my life, my study, and my work. (ooh! the serial comma in that list could spark another writing debate concerning style, but let's not go into that. i'm sticking to spelling nuisances for now.) Some of you may find it hard to believe, but most of the time I do manage to keep quiet when somebody misspells or misuses a common word. Maybe I should keep quiet more often than I do, but I used to be worse. Really. I don't wish to ostracize my friends and family by relentlessly correcting their spelling. (especially since i make mistakes, too.)

To the general universe, though, I beg you. Please stop making me feel ashamed for liking some rules, especially when it comes to spelling. Spelling used to be a strength of mine that I was proud of; now it seems to mark me as stuffy, pretentious, and old-fashioned. I'd like to be happy with my spelling abilities once more. Is there any way we can let me spell "all right" as two words without making me feel like a dinosaur for doing so?

Only an ELang graduate would giggle at this.


"A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the word you first thought of." -Burt Bacharach

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Hazy Shade of Winter

Just in case anyone was wondering, I am alive. You can all return from the edge of your seats now.

I won't attempt to catch y'all up on the last month, because it would be an insanely long post, and I just don't have the patience. :) You can just assume that Christmas and New Years' and all the celebrating that went along with the holidays were excellent. (and you'd be right.)

Today I'm simply relieved that the glacial two weeks (or more?) we had here when I got back from Oregon are over. It really wasn't any fun getting up for work and scraping off the ice in 5-degree-weather ... every day for two weeks. Not that I ever thought weathermen were incredibly reliable, but I felt like they kept on predicting at-least-freezing temperatures simply to torment me. (oh, i'm sorry, do i sound like a baby? i don't care; it was TOO COLD!) The first day it reached 32 again, I was excessively happy. And "excessively" in this case is no exaggeration.

Now is the season for list-making: resolutions, places to visit, people to see, repairs to make, music to practice. It seems pretty daunting when I lay it all out at once, but I'll try to take one day and one goal at a time (maybe two goals if the first one isn't terribly difficult).

Today's Focus List: The Groceries. (quite possibly the most important list, period.)


"Canada is a country whose main exports are hockey players and cold fronts." -Pierre Trudeau