Saturday, December 20, 2008

"Proper" English

I started reading "Stories of English" by David Crystal. For my English minor, I had to take a history of English course at OU. We read "A History of the English Language" by Baugh and Cable, one of the most comprehensive texts on the subject you can get, featuring both a linguistic and cultural history of the language from the Middle Ages on up. Being the dork that I am, I was really geeked about the class until the professor totally ruined it for me by being the worst lecturer I ever had at OU and thus, sort of ruined the subject for me for a few years. She was a PhD student in her 50's and had absolutely no idea how to relate to people, much less teach.

But anyway, Neil let me borrow a copy of "Stories of English" and it got me looking into it again. Crystal approaches the subject in an entirely different manner, starting out by highlighting how most teach the history of English: Most tell "the" story of English as though there is only one - formal English. What's interesting is that even among those who strive to use formal English, what is actually "proper" English varies from discipline to discipline, style guide to manual. What is correct according to the AP Style Guide is wrong in certain instances of Chicago Manual, just as Strunk & White and the MLA approve of some things that others would not. Psychologists follow different styles than journalists, and so on. And no one typically speaks in those formalities on a daily basis - there are thousands of dialects and different forms of slang around the world. But most histories of English ignore all of the irregularities and try to make it one, seamless story. In the past decade or so, this has changed -- dictionaries and style guides are starting to tell more of the story of conversational English, but Crystal attempts to tackle it more comprehensively.

OK, so I am still a total geek. I think it's really cool. I am way too excited to be reading another history of English, but what else is new?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mason Williams

Thanks to "The Story of Us," I think Classical Gas will always be slightly depressing to me.

At least.

Compartmentalizing Your Life

Every Thursday, Neil hosts board game night - yes, it's exactly as it sounds: a bunch of geeks sit around eating junk food and playing board games all night. It is pretty fabulous.

So anyway, this week a conversation that took place made me think of how often people try to get certain aspects of their lives separate from the other pieces.

When I was at Borders, one of the groups there held a lunch discussion on separating your work and private life, and I'm wondering... when they have been kept separate for so long, can you really bring them together again?

What if, you've been in a relationship so long.. that separated work from live-in partner... from friends... to gaming group -- how could you bring them together again?

I tend to believe that keeping things so segregated shows some cracks in said relationship, but... I guess I can't really relate. In my past relationships, I simply stopped doing things certian individuals didn't want to do, rather than compartmentalizing... and I doubt that is any better.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Creative Pursuit

I have now been in my “new” apartment for more than 5 months and still have a few boxes of notebooks and books to unpack. So, yesterday, I unpacked a box that contained an old composition notebook in it from a creative writing class my senior year in high school. Most of it was absurd and hysterical, but a part of me was appalled that my 17-year-old self had better diction than I do now. I don’t care if it sounds like a crutch – majoring in journalism totally destroyed my vocabulary and any creative urges I used to have. Heh. OK, so that is part of it, anyway – the other piece might have something to do with working 2-3 jobs at a time while going to school full time for four years…

So anyway, my point is that I don’t write anything anymore. I still journal about twice a week as I have since elementary school – but I haven’t done any creative writing, really, since high school (definitely not consistently). It is pretty depressing. No poetry, short stories, novel attempts… nothing.

In the spring 2007, I took a creative writing fiction course at OU that I absolutely loved. It was incredibly difficult for me in several ways, namely because I was so out of practice and because, as a writing workshop… it entailed sharing your work and having it ripped apart by a published professor and peers. I took it in my final quarter of college and I wish, now, that I had been able to take it sooner and maybe delved further into it. OK, before I start another tangent, my point: I don’t really write anymore and I really should. Not just regurgitating another's words, rearranging sentences from an interview or a research article… I mean, really write.

So, starting today, I am going to actually try again. Maybe only once a week for an hour, but something. We’ll see how it goes. There was no way I could have made Megs’ suggestion of going for NanoWriMo, but maybe I will at least do something on a quasi-regular basis from December on.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday Weekends and Everyday Occurences

A few random thoughts that I can't put together into a cohesive entry (except like this, with no segues):

Don't ever, ever drive back home from a family visit on the Sunday after a major holiday. If you live out of town, it will be a terrible experience, I promise.

I don't know why I still want to get married when I know from more than one experience how little it really means, particularly if it has no religious significance for you. But I do. I think I need that assurance, no matter how false it is.

I find that to be sad and upsetting.

I still think I would be happier working for a bookstore (if not necessarily for a bookstore company... =P)

I hate that I hold on at all the wrong times, and let go when I shouldn't. Apparently it is not only my gaydar that malfunctions consistently. Or is maybe just broken.

Oscar is once again living with me. That makes me very, very happy. And better yet, he and Chewy seem to be good influences on one another. Oscar keeps Chewy calm when they are home alone, and Chewy makes Oscar get a little bit of exercise (in all the right ways, I hope, or pretend, anyway). heh.

The right music can ruin my mood or make me feel better immediately. I find that to be incredibly comforting. Books do the same thing. That may explain while I can't stop listening to The Beatles, Aimee Mann or Tuesday Tunes and Jamfests right now. And also why I currently can't handle anything more in depth than Fables or YA fantasy at the moment in the literary world. And why I am consistently seeking out Edna again.

Silly holidays.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

And every year, I'm reminded why this is my least favorite of the majors

Someday, my family will presently surprise me and not make Thanksgiving horrible. Someday, it will become a holiday centered on food and togetherness, not politics and face time. Someday, I will actually be able to enjoy it again.


The year that I am actually able to get through Thanksgiving Day without a family blowout will be incredible.

Every year I try to be excited about the season and every year, it just gets harder and harder.

One can always hope. There is that.

People often say that they enjoy the holiday season because it makes people friendlier to strangers, more pleasant... things bother them less. In my experience, it is the opposite. People are tense, under pressure to have the perfect outfit by New Year's... the "right" gifts for everyone... tempers are high and people are unreasonable.

It shouldn't be so stressful. Just enjoy what you have and deal with it. Why is that so hard for everyone? I'm no exception, I know. But at least I'm aware of it and working on it. Don't focus so much on having your lot in life change, but learn to live with it. You would be amazed at how much happier it makes everyone.

Late night tangent? Maybe a little...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I just noticed a grammatical error in my last post.

I am so, so sorry, Bill Reader.

It was corrected approximately 36 hours after publication. I understand I will receive a two letter-grade deduction for that erroneous sentence.

Crap. I'm still brainwashed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

He said it best with "bittersweet"

I sat down to write this about an hour ago and ended up catching up with a fabulous old friend on chat and have absolutely no clue what I wanted to type about, now. So, I suppose I'll just type about him, instead.

It still sometimes amazes me who I have kept in touch with from high school and college. One of the girls I spent more of my time with than anyone in high school was one of the first people I lost touch with. Of course, I suppose there will always be people in life who you expect to be there forever, or a part of your life for the vast majority of it, and how often does that really happen? At least in the capacity you expect...

Five years later, it's down to about a handful, and it's something of a surprising, sporadic group, I suppose. Some people, who I weren't really particularly close to in high school, I talk to on a more regular basis now. Other relationships haven't really changed at all, and Mouse is totally one of them. It still amazes me that I haven't seen him in years (I think we've seen each other three times since 2003), yet when we do... it's like no time has passed. I mean sure, when I actually physically see him it is pretty awkward at first (especially unexpectedly -- can we say: Borders, Mr. Harris, Steven. Circa 2005. Unbelievable.). Heh. But, on person and online it's the same it has always been.

Man I've been sentimental lately. I'm sure it's a phase, too. =P I will digress before I go on too much about how much I love everyone. heh.

It really is funny, how the world turns.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I think winter has arrived. for real, this time.

OK, it's starting already. There was snow on my car today. It's been too much of a sporadic rain/snow mix to actually stick to the ground, but it's slick enough and already sticking to my car.

I know everyone cares about this as much as I do.

So that I don't make this yet another entry of whining about the weather, some random good news for you:

• I finally saw Avenue Q with Neil yesterday and absolutely loved it. Good company, good show, good food afterward (all you can eat Brazilian Steakhouse - I'm pretty sure you can't go wrong). That is what it is all about. If you have not yet seen and have the opportunity, I highly recommend. I hadn't been to a show in ages and want to try to go more than once a year, again (Spamalot is coming to Detroit in February...).

• My boss is going down to part time in two months. I can last another two months. And then, I can go back to being grateful for the fact that I actually have a job in southeastern Michigan and all that.

• I'm going on a double date to see the Killers in January.

• I am 98 percent sure I will be going back to the U.K. in the Spring. About flippin' time, eh? And I'm 98 percent sure Neil is coming, too, which makes it that much better. (Yes, I'm a sap).

• I will actually be getting a holiday bonus this year (apparently, everyone at the company gets at least a few hundred dollars). This is an unbelievably nice change from getting pro-rated raises that don't cover inflation. I'm just sayin'.

OK, I'm done. Someday, I will actually figure out what I am doing with this thing and make a proper blog. Maybe. =P

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lillie, Part II

So Lillie Park was the first park I went to in A2. For reasons I've already stated, it's still my favorite. Everyone just thinks it's this gazebo and pond and that's pretty much it. Well incidentally, the road to nowhere does indeed lead somewhere. Who knew? Lillie actually has a ton of trails to the southwest (maybe - I am mostly guessing with my sense of direction, shh) and two more pond-like things. I was ridiculously excited when Neil and I discovered more nearly-empty places in the midst of suburbia to wander around with our dogs. And better yet, it's actually really pretty, even if I am not anywhere close to being a photographer.

Neil took the last two (I think).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Frozen Pumpkins

Neil and I carved pumpkins last night and they were frozen. No joke.

My first Michigan carving and the pumpkins were frozen; it is too fitting. See, I was not exaggerating about the weather, Thomas. =P On the bright side, while it got down to about 27 last night tomorrow is supposed to get up to 60 or so; at least it will be nice for Halloween!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Christmas comes but once a year

Yesterday I took Chewbacca to Lillie Park. I was in such a weird funk and could not get out of it, so I thought maybe I could distract myself with a hike around my favorite Ann Arbor park. It's a great one because no matter the weather is like, it is almost ALWAYS empty.

Um, yeah. With the way my Sunday went, naturally the universe had to prove me wrong and have Lillie be the most crowded I've ever seen it. Heh. There was even a bride and groom there. Too ironic for words. Except. maybe. those. words. erm.

Anyway, I took some photos, Chewy ran around the pond with me and we explored previously unexplored areas. And managed to find some empty spaces away from the gazebo and docks, so it was not a total waste of an afternoon.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Secret agent drug lords in the mafia

So I've decided that my neighbors must be secret agents, mafia hit men or drug lords. Seriously. Every day when I come home they're driving new cars. And they're always brand new, nice cars. That car will be here for a few days, then another one will take it's place. They'll drive that one around for a few days, another one will show up and within a day or two the one from the past week has vanished. Expensive...immaculate...devoid of personality.

They always have the same Honda Civic... but otherwise, Dodge Charger, Benz, who knows? Never more than three in the driveway, but never the same two aside from the Civic. I'm telling you, mafia!

Maybe this is what happens when you have too much time on your hands and you live alone. Oh well.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My annual weather rant

It's the first week of October and already the temperature in Michigan has gotten down below freezing.

Someone is always telling me I need to be more zen about the weather (cough cough Neil), but I can't help myself... it's so depressing. We went from this gorgeous weather in the 70's and 80's right to 40's and 50's. What happened to the 60s?!?

I love Fall. I'm hoping I'll still get to experience it a bit before the tundra really settles in. Bah, silly weather.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Being social while sitting home alone

I love the fact that I feel social sitting by myself in front of a computer screen.

Simultaneously talking to eight people while being able to lounge around in your PJs... relax and unwind while having a political discussion... reminiscing with an old friend from high school...

A comforting thought: to think there really might be some people who will always be in your life, as long as they're able.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wow... so it's been awhile

I feel like I should go back to the beginning.

Almost a year ago now, I moved to Michigan and started my first job after graduating after college. In my first few weeks of employment, I talked about blogging a lot with a coworker, and she made me a bit more paranoid about how much I should share online. I backed off for a bit, and then really slacked on updating this at all as I got out of the habit of posting. So, in brief, allow me to catch up:

In less than 12 months, I graduated college, moved out on my own for the first time with any real promise of permanence, started my first job, Steven and I broke up, lost my first job, and am now probably moving back home again. What a cycle for less than a year.

I have now been unemployed for about two and a half weeks and I still have absolutely no idea what I want to do with my life. I am pretty ok with it, all things considered. I will definitely feel better when I have some idea where I am going to be living as of June 30.

Heh. For the most part, I try to look at it as moving on to the next great adventure. For the most part, it works.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I wish I was not so confused. I think it would benefit my life greatly.

That's all.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A really great unknown

I found this quote in a friend's social networking profile. I haven't updated this in such a long time, I thought at this point, stealing someone else's words would be better than waiting another three months to update this...

"I wish that I could claim that all the people whom I have loved have loved me back, or that my needs and those of the people closest to me have always dovetailed perfectly. But friendship doesn't work that way, and people's needs aren't always the same, so it is only fair to say that I have often wished for more, or wished for something no one had to give and in that I know that I'm not alone.

Some people feel angry when they think of moments when they've had to stand alone, and question the value that they once put upon friends who weren't there when they needed them. But I think the thing to remember is this - you don't get from friends what you give to them, you get what they have to give, and that is the thing you must not forget. People can only give you what they have to give.

It is difficult to remember this when you know just what you need and none of your friends have it to give, and especially difficult when you have given it to them in the past. But you will save yourself a lot of grief if you keep in mind that you don't have you for a friend, however much you might wish you did. You have the person out there instead.

Perhaps you will take chicken soup to a friend who is sick, and they will forget your birthday just the same. Or maybe you will have them to your parties and they will give none to which you might be asked. But maybe they will hand you a piece of truth one day, in a sentence tossed off with a sidelong glance, and if it's something you couldn't have found inside yourself, you will have been repaid in full."

To me, this is perfect. It is something I try to follow and keep in mind.

Thanks for sharing, Jen.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A vile, chosen victim of life

My favorite Orson Scott Card quote of all time is from Enchantment. "Life is vile, but at least I'm one of the chosen victims." Every time I become down about something, so down that I can't remember why I bother, I usually remember that quote. Some might say it's entirely pessimistic, but to me, it's purely realistic. Life can be vile and awful. But yes, I really do realize that it can be beautiful and wonderful too. I always try to remember that I am just lucky to be alive. It can be hard, though. It's hard when you see bliss all around you, in simple smiles that another couple may share, in a laugh between two friends. In a glance between two people that make them look like conspirators, lovers, so different from most glances my fiancé throws my way. I crave affection and someone who loves me enough to show it. I want to be happy. Is that too much to ask? Why do I always feel like everything I ask for is too much to ask? Cause really, it shouldn't be.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Some selfish, insipid ramblings

You know, I used to feel like a bad person for doing these. I guess I have become such a bitter husk of a person since, well who knows when, that I am simply indifferent now.

To the point: I had two very interesting conversations after midnight on Saturday. The first was with Al, whom I have not spoken with in such a time, that I cannot remember how long it has been. He still seems like the person I drifted from so long ago, only a bit more brooding. He said something to me that really struck home: he said I am not anti-social but that I have my priorities more inline "than the rest of us, which I have always admired." I must say that I find this to be quite ironic. Yes, I am the person to be admired, but never the person to be friends with. I am insecure, filled with doubt and disbelief, overly internal and withdrawn, quiet, awkward, but I am self-possessed enough not to follow others blindly. And where has it gotten me? It has gotten me admiration, I suppose. Who ever wants admiration? I want someone I can relate to. I want a best friend. I want a real, inseparable best friend again. The one you can tell anything to; the only who will always be there for you. Not the one you could lose if you break up, or finally move away from because really he shouldn't be here, as his job market isn't here. I want so many things that are quite obtainable, only I can't have more than one or two at the same time. I'm sure it is much the same with a great many people; my problem is that I am not sure which I want the most. Will I always wander through all of this so confusedly?

And the other was with Jeffrey. Conversations with Jeffrey are always interesting. We either talk about nothing at all, or so much of everything I feel as if I might explode because I don't have the energy to say it all. Saturday, was, of course, a conversation of the latter. Mostly about, you guessed it, relationships. I said some things I probably didn't mean that came out all wrong as usual, but then I have to wonder - do I say things so easily misinterpreted because how others interpret them are closer to the true meaning, regardless of what I'm telling myself? I am not even going to bother re-reading that last sentence because I probably won't be able to make any more sense of it. As usual, I know what I'm trying to say, even if no one else can construe any meaning of it.

All of this boils down to one thing: I have no idea what I really want. In the meantime, it's fucking up everything.

To further clarify the impossible, I bring you The Killers' "All These Things That I've Done:"

When there's nowhere else to run
Is there room for one more son
One more son
If you can hold on
If you can hold on, hold on
I wanna stand up, I wanna let go
You know, you know - no you don't, you don't
I wanna shine on in the hearts of men
I wanna mean it from the back of my broken hand

Another head aches, another heart breaks
I am so much older than I can take
And my affection, well it comes and goes
I need direction to perfection, no no no no

Help me out
Yeah, you know you got to help me out
Yeah, oh don't you put me on the back burner
You know you got to help me out

And when there's nowhere else to run
Is there room for one more son
These changes ain't changing me
The gold-hearted boy I used to be

Yeah, you know you got to help me out
Yeah, oh don't you put me on the back burner
You know you got to help me out
You're gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, you're gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, you're gonna bring yourself down

I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
I got soul, but I'm not a soldier

Yeah, you know you got to help me out
Yeah, oh don't you put me on the back burner
You know you got to help me out
You're gonna bring yourself down
You're gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, oh don't you put me on the back burner
You're gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, you're gonna bring yourself down

Over and in, last call for sin
While everyone's lost, the battle is won
With all these things that I've done
All these things that I've done
If you can hold on
If you can hold on