katiefoolery: (Fear not the semi-colon)
I want to rant about this article. I want to rant about it so hard and I want to use bad grammar while I do so in the hopes that I'll make some sort of ironic point.

Because.

GAH.

So much wrong in so little time. So much that I was arguing with the screen as I read the article this morning. The author of the article states that she actually loves grammar; she's a fan of grammar; grammar makes her all kinds of happy. And yet, I'd happily stab her with an exclamation mark, should I ever happen across her in the street.

Let's start with this:
Most grammar rules don’t matter, though. That is, if you get them wrong, the reader still can find the meaning. For example, few people know when to use effect and when to use affect. But it doesn’t matter because the first is a noun and the second is a verb so the likelihood you'll mistake the meaning of a sentence because of a grammar error in this case is extremely low.

That's my bolding in there. Because I just love bold font. Or maybe to highlight a basic error before we go on to the substance of the paragraph. (Because you know you want to. You want to hear me ranting about grammar so damn bad, right? :P)

"...the first is a noun and the second is a verb" - actually, the first is a verb, too. Yes, most people confuse affect and effect. I used the wrong one by accident the other day. While messaging. And corrected myself a few lines down. But seriously, I was talking to my writer at the time and I didn't want to give the impression that their beta couldn't tell the different between effect and affect.

Let's see them in use:
He effected an air of jollity, although she wasn't deceived for a second. The effect reminded her somewhat of a puppy that was bravely attempting to pretend its favourite ball hadn't been stolen; it was impossible not to be affected by that.


Three different effect/affects, all used in different senses. Very easy to confuse. (So easy to confuse that I actually wrote "affect" instead of "effect" the first time around...) You could argue that it would still make sense if I'd used "affect" the whole way through. Then again, you could also argue that "ur" is a valid spelling of "your".

I WOULD NOT AGREE WITH YOU, should you try. Fair warning. We could still be friends, but your texts would probably make me wince whenever I read them.

If there's one thing I've learnt about bad grammar, it's this: You can read your own bad grammar, but you cannot read that of another. We're several centuries too young to remember when spelling and sentence structure was an optional, person-by-person concept... but it can't have been any fun at all. And it raises a question: why is it we're allowed to advance in technology, yet we're encouraged by some people to go backwards when it comes to communication?

Around half-way through, I experienced a small paroxysm as a result of the following statement:
We should judge people by their ideas, their creativity, their enthusiasm. None of this naturally comes at the heels of good grammar.

Oh. Oh. Oh.

This, my friends, is the one statement GUARANTEED TO DRIVE ME CRAZY. How, for the love of lamingtons, are people to express said ideas, creativity and enthusiasm if they don't have the tools that will allow them to do so? So you have ideas and creativity to hand... fantastic. What a shame you can't express them, due to your inability to spell or use words in a coherent, easily-understandable sense. Why are we constantly being told we don't have to use our brains? That we don't have to spell properly or understand how our own language works? I can only see one advantage to keeping the general populace in a state of ignorance, so let's just prepare ourselves for our new overlords right now, shall we?

And apparently, those overlords are going to be Google. Please see the following quote:
Anyway, if Google is deciding that these rules are no longer useful guidelines, then we can all follow suit.

Admittedly, at this point, I started wondering if the whole article had been an experiment in irony that had gone horribly wrong. Seriously. Who on earth is going to use Google as the standard by which all things are judged? Google.

I ask you.

We use this langauge of ours every day. Surely it's not asking too much to have a little care and love for it.
katiefoolery: (Grimmy has no words)
So, I had a plan and it went like this:
  • get on board train on Thursday morning

  • connect to my mobile broadband

  • finish off LJ entry and post it

  • optional – read email

  • vital – download copy of my writer’s latest chapter for beta-ing


It was a good plan with solid fundamentals and I approved highly of it.

Unfortunately, it actually went like this:
  • get on board train on Thursday morning (Yes! Off to a good start!)

  • fail to connect to my mobile broadband (Less good...)

  • try connecting with modem in each of my three usb ports (Starting to become damned annoying...)

  • fail to connect (...)

  • end up being told that there’s no SIM or USIM in my modem, which is news to the USIM inside my modem (*begin swearing now*)

  • fume over inability to finish off LJ entry and post it

  • luckily discover that I downloaded my writer’s latest chapter already

  • contemplate throwing mobile broadband modem to the floor and crushing it mercilessly


GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

Yes. Yes, I think that sums it up nicely.

GAH.

There were also plans to spend time with the boy and the Sonia (who live next door to the parents for now), but it turns out they were in Melbourne for the exact same days I was in Beechworth.

I’m told it was a complete coincidence.

Really.

And then there was the set of coloured lights, which I helped the Da put up along the back verandah... only to be told they actually belonged on one of the trees out the front.

So we re-located it to one of the trees out the front... only to find out that it actually belongs on the roofline around the side of the house. I, however, am not convinced. I think it looks fine on that tree. I think the other set of lights will look every bit as fine on the roofline. I think, in short, there is no damn point in un-doing all of the work of putting the stupid lights on the stupid tree just so we can put them on the stupid roofline instead.

Christmas lights: they look pretty, it’s just in everyone’s interests to have nothing to do with putting them up.

In closing, please accept this photo I took on Wednesday afternoon. It records an historic event: petrol under one dollar a litre. Truly a moment in history... )
katiefoolery: (Olivier is peerless)
OK, so technically I promised that this would be photos of the new house.

It isn’t.

I do have photos of the new house.  The difficulty in bringing them to you all lies in the fact that a) I am lazy, and, b) uploading the photos involves overcoming said laziness.  But I shall.

In the meantime, please accept this list of best ofs served up by my week.

Best moron of the week
This one seems like a contradiction in terms, but oh well.  The award goes to the guy who walked up to my bus-stop this afternoon and proceeded to sit down and smoke, despite the fact that it’s illegal to do so in a bus shelter and that, thanks, but I don’t want to die of lung cancer.

So cue me walking away to stand up and wait for my bus after a long day of work in which precious few breaks were to be found.  The main reason for their scarcity probably lies in the fact that they were cunningly disguised as more work.

And then, this lovely gentleman GETS UP AND CONTINUES ON HIS WALK.

*swears at length*

Strangely enough, bus shelters aren’t actually your personal under-cover smoking seats - they’re BUS SHELTERS.  People might want to, I don’t know, shelter under them in air that isn’t carcinogenic.

Thank-you so much.

I need to swear some more...

*does so*

Best achievement of the week
Actually waking up when my alarm went off.  Once.  I had it set for 6:45am (although it’s actually 6:30am, since I follow in the age-old tradition of putting one’s alarm clock ahead in order to encourage timely efficiency... when all it really does is assure me I can safely sleep in for fifteen minutes longer).  So, as I was saying before that ridiculously long parenthesis interrupted me, I had it set for 6:45am, which only resulted in my sleeping in ’til seven.  Aha! I thought to myself.  If I set it for six thirty, then I’ll only sleep in ’til quarter to seven!

Which was a fantastic theory.

In reality, I woke up at six thirty and just slept in for half an hour instead.

But not this morning!  This morning I was up and stumbling about in the miserable darkness mere minutes after the alarm had gone off.  So huzzah for me and my timely rising.

Best catastrophe
This is an odd one and I apologise in advance for it, but the world’s going to end and it’s all my fault.  I’ll probably expand on this at a later date.

And finally...
Best quote of the week
This one goes to Bindi, although it’s mostly for randomness.  The quote in question?  “I try not to look at my sister-in-law’s ass.”

Yeah.

I don’t know whether to be relieved or offended.
katiefoolery: (Waaah!)
Did you ever have one of those days when nothing seems to go right?  And when you manage to fix one thing and feel all proud and full of shiny goodness... something else breaks instead?

That pretty much sums up yesterday afternoon for me.

It all started with my music.  Or perhaps it started a few weeks ago, when I noticed my CD drive was getting less and less reliable.  It had developed a wonderfully quirky habit of either making the most disturbing sounds when I inserted a CD or simply refusing to notice there was anything in the drive at all.  I rarely use it, thankfully, but it’s been in higher demand since I got my iriver and needed to transfer the music I bought from iTunes onto said player.  Since one of these steps involves writing an audio disc, I’ve developed a bit of a dependency on my CD drive.

On the up side, at least it was good enough to keep working for as long as it took to burn the new music I’d bought on Saturday.

The more annoying down side, of course, was the fact that it immediately stopped working once I’d done that.  There I was, trying to move the music to my iriver programme with a notable and annoying lack of success.  Not only did the drive stop working, it decided to drop off my system entirely.  INCd had a little heart attack and sat in my system tray with an exclamation mark on it all evening.

I didn’t have a heart attack.  I glared.  And fumed.  And raged at the unfairness of it all.

Luckily, there was always my laptop, with its lovely non-crashed hard-drive and its wonderful new battery.

Unfortunately, the wireless network decided that connecting was a newly unfashionable concept and my laptop, being a great follower of fashion, was going with this new trend.  Not a huge issue, admittedly, but I had three CDs’ worth of music to upload and I was rather hoping I’d be able to use Gracenotes to cut out much of the work involved there.

Huzzah for me, though, for I learned how to release and renew my IP.

Pity it didn’t help.

But my brother knows how to fix these things - I shall ring him!

...If only he’d picked up the phone.

Then Google became my friend and I found a fix and it worked!  Even if my laptop did beep very loudly at me before telling me I’d need to re-start and then taking the choice away from me.

Ah, look at that - I can connect to the network, Gracenotes has worked out what album that is and my music’s going onto iTunes!

You know what would make that a happier situation?  If the song could rip at a faster rate than 0.1x.  That’d be great.  Then iTunes wouldn’t be estimating a thirty-five minute wait for a six minute song.

Thankfully, it got over that.  Then the next step was to install my iriver programme on my laptop and put all of my new music onto my iriver player.  This went without a hitch, for which I was both grateful and a little suspicious.

All in all, a process that should have taken no more than ten minutes ended up consuming most of an afternoon.  And to think I was wondering where my weekend went...
katiefoolery: (Moi)
Bah bah bah!  Why did I spent all my valuable working hours writing blurbs and descriptions for my stories if I was going to forget to email them home so I could start uploading them to my website?  I really don't know the answer to that one.  It's just stupid.  And annoying.  More to the point, this means I can't make any progress on the site until Monday afternoon.

Bah.

Ah well, I suppose it means I can do some more fiddling around with making my own template on WordPress.  And I do have my bio and writing CV here, so I suppose I could upload those.

It's just frustrating.

While we're on things that are annoying me, I want to rant about the stupid kid and his dad at the supermarket the other day.  I was behind the dad in the queue and he'd just finished paying for his groceries when his son joined the line with a bottle of drink that he wanted to buy.  I thought I'd be nice, so I stood aside and said to the kid: "You go next."

Well.  He just gave me a weird, ungrateful look and went right ahead.  I was bewildered.  There wasn't even an attempt at a muttered "thanks".  Even worse was his dad, who said absolutely nothing to his ungrateful wretch of a boy.  He just stood there, unconcerned, while his son was rude and sullen to someone who'd just done something nice to him.  I couldn't believe it.  No wonder half the kids I deal with in the library are nasty little brats if this is how their parents are bringing them up.

I still can't get over that dad.  If it had been my dad... well, for starters, I would have said thank-you without being prompted.  And if I hadn't, my dad would have made sure I did.  Loudly.  And gratefully.  I thought we were supposed to ask what's wrong with the youth of today.  Now it appears we have to ask: "What's wrong with the parents of youth today?"

Is this all part of the "me!" culture that we seem to be developing?  You don't thank people who do nice things for you because of course they're going to do it.  It's for me after all, isn't it?  Everyone should do stuff for me, because I'm great.  Of course I should go ahead of you in the queue, because I'm me.  Of course I should shove my way to the front of the bus line, ahead of the people who already have tickets ready to go, to hold everyone up while I buy mine... because I'm me.  Of course I should expect you to get out of my way, because I'm me.

My parents brought me up to consider other people and not to be selfish.  But I have to tell you, I'm sorely tempted to ignore all of this when people behave so rudely to complete strangers.
katiefoolery: (My beloved apostrophe)
Here's a quick quiz for you all. Tell me which of the following is correct:

1. There's plenty of options...

- or -

2. There are plenty of options...


Did you guess correctly? Are you aware that you have to use "are" with plurals and "is" with singular items? If so: congratulations! You're more intelligent than the new vice principal at my work.

Yesterday afternoon, we were treated that most pointless of creations: the work meeting. After a long and busy day, we all filed in to the staff lounge and prepared to be bored within an inch of our lives. Firstly, the principal read out information that had already been handily placed on a sheet of paper that we were all quite capable of reading ourselves. Perhaps he just wanted to make sure we were all still awake.

Then came the introductory speech of the new vice principal. She told us all about her adventures in working in the main office, the headquarters, if you will, of the Education Department. Or "at the region", as we call it in the trade. There she was, working on building curriculum and creating a well-educated state, without being able to properly conjugate one of the most basic verbs in the English language.

And let's not forget the fact she didn't know when to use "its" or "it's", as evidenced by her powerpoint display.

I sat there in the dark, grinding my teeth in annoyance and watching the education and literacy standards of today's youth disappear down a well of ignorance and illiteracy. What hope do the kids have when the people in high positions reveal themselves to be lacking in basic knowledge? It's all quite incredibly depressing.

What can be done about it? Personally, I think that the case is all but hopeless. A decision made by the education department in the seventies has ensured that nobody knows proper grammar any more. You see it on TV, in magazines on signs on windows - people don't know the basic concepts of stringing together letters and words in meaningful ways. In five years' time, I am willing to bet that nobody will believe me if I tell them that you don't use an apostrophe to indicate a plural.

Language is vital. Even more so now, with the majority of communication being carried out on the internet. You are judged by the words you use and the way in which you use them and to fail to give kids the tools with which to express themselves in a meaningful manner is one of the biggest crimes being committed in our country today. Why not just lock them all in small, dark rooms for the rest of their lives? We're taking away their ability to communicate and to express themselves and that is just not cricket.

In the past few years, I have befriended several people for whom English is not their first language and they have a better grasp of grammar than the average English speaker. They're taught respect for their language and how to construct and use it properly. No-one teaches respect for English. Some lucky people learn that for themselves. I, for one, love my language. I love its stupid rules and the way it's constantly breaking all of those rules. I love its versatility and the way it likes to create new words and new ways of using old words. I respect it and it's good to me in return.

The question is: how do we stop ourselves from producing generations of people who are unable to understand the very language they use to communicate? I'm only one person and I have no idea.

April 2011

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