Sunday, 31 May 2015

Language things that have bugged me today

Accompanied by begonias. Why? Because begonias, that's why. Actually, just because they were there. Dad recently put them in his front planter, which he generally does every year. Mom usually had geraniums instead, but I'm not that big of a fan of geraniums because of the smell. I'm just as happy to see the begonias.

 All right, let's get down to it. Oh, and I'm hoping that there are less words today than yesterday because I really should do that work drawing I've been putting off.

First, let me say that I'm well aware that when I said "because begonias" up at the top there I completely annoyed a few people. It would have annoyed me if I'd read it in, say, a book, unless a character was being quoted. I figure that there's a time and a place for certain types of language, though, and I certainly use different forms of English depending on how formal the situation is. This? This is a blog. If it was formal it would come across as being incredibly pretentious. I purposely choose a pretty casual voice when I'm blogging (yeah, you read right. There's actually thought behind this blog). However, there are language and grammar usages that are always going to annoy me no matter what the situation, and I found a surprising amount of them even in a short browse around the web and social media this morning. Gotta love the internet for making people sound uneducated, right? Here's a bit of what I saw, then:

More unique.  Or it could have been many other variations on comparing uniqueness. This is a very longstanding annoyance of mine, to be honest, because whether people realise it or not it indicates that a person doesn't know the meaning of unique. Unique is unique, as in there's nothing else like it. By definition, something that's unique can't be qualified. Nothing that's unique is more or less unique than something else that's unique. They're both JUST unique, because saying unique is enough.

It's a usage that's creeping in more and more which means that in a living language sense the meaning of unique is changing for people. That means that, in the end, as a proponent of non-proscriptive language rules (rules should describe a language as it is, not tell it what it should be. In an organic language, at least. A created language like Esperanto is a different animal) I should and will (grudgingly) accept the new, evolving use of unique. It sure the heck bugs me, though.

It's versus its. It's not hard, people. It's = it is. Two words. Its = something it has. Possessive. Yes, I do know that its is an unusual possessive and that most possessives have commas, but English (the ultimate mongrel language) has tons of exceptions to rules and most people remember them without much problem. We all (well, most of us) know that the plural of foot is feet, not foots; why can't so many people remember it's and its?

It's (it is) something you should have learned in elementary school.
 Apostrophes where apostrophes aren't necessary. Oh man. You see this everywhere these days, and I can't figure out if it's (it is...) some form of overcompensation or what the deal is. Plurals do not need apostrophes, folks. The plural of desk? Desks, not desk's. The plural of cat? Cats, not cat's. The other day I was at my local grocery store and they had bagged up overripe banana's for quicker sale. The banana's what? The banana's bag? I didn't even know that bananas owned things.
You're versus your. I can't believe that I even have to get into this one. You're = you are. Again, two words. Your = something that belongs to you. Possessive. 'Nuff said. Or should be.

Have people stopped teaching contractions, or something?

By the way, if anyone's wondering why some of the begonias (not begonia's) have rock-looking things on them, they're (great, now I'll have to do they're versus their) plastic glow-in-the-dark pebbles that my uncle brought home from the dollar store while he was working there. I have no idea why Dad decided to put them in the plants. Whim, I suppose.

They're, their, and there. I'm getting tired. Let's make this quick. They're = they are. See a pattern? Their = something that belongs to them. There = a place that's not here.

Sigh. That was just this morning, folks. It's enough to drive a language freak spare. I'm not really a snob about it, even though it probably looks that way now. It's just... well, part of my job is editing things, and I get really tired of seeing educated, intelligent people looking like they don't know their own language just because their brains have gotten autocheck/internet-speak/cellphone lazy about it. You may think it doesn't matter and wonder what stick is up all the grammar nazis butts, but it really does affect the way you appear to the others who are reading your words. It also makes your opinions matter a lot less, whether you realise it or not. So please, take a breath and think about your language next time you post a comment or... well, anything. It'll be good for your image, and much better for my head.

And so much for less words. Ah well, busy week ahead, so it may well be no words at all coming up for a while. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Presenting... lilacs and two bored-looking cats

Lilacs first:

The only white one in the hedge. Odd man out.

To be honest, there's a lot of digital sharpening going on here. I told you that it was a windy day. And now, two bored-looking cats:

He's not really bored; just sleepy. I should have been taking pictures yesterday while they played in my box of goodies (oh hey. Maybe I just found a post topic), but they sometimes get sick of that. Just like kids with over-the-top parents, I suppose. Although I'm not that bad.


I'll get to the magic box in a moment, but first let me mention Bored-looking Cat #2. Also sleepy.

These guys are turning into real people cats. They always have to check out who's around (and what they're doing, naturally. They're cats, after all), and if you're downstairs they'll be downstairs too. Well, usually. At the moment they're sleeping upstairs because they got bored while Dad and I were outside.

It's easy to tell that even though the Turkey Brothers are from the same litter, they have different fathers. Not uncommon with cats, if you weren't aware. Tom is sleek and kind of lithe, and Bob has more of a bruiser build. If he hadn't been neutered I imagine that he'd be nothing but muscle.

What he is instead, though, is muscle covered in a layer of Tubby (which, in fact, I've been calling him lately). I don't think that we've dealt with an overweight cat before, but I think that Dad's going to have to watch him if he's already showing that tendency. It shows that it must be at least partly genetic, I guess. Tom probably eats just as much if not more, but no one could ever call him even slightly tubby.

And now, the box. A while ago I was given a reasonably substantial gift credit card for long service (sigh) at the nature centre, and since my policy on gift cards is that I treat them as gifts rather than buying things I need I decided to splurge on some stuff from the Has-Everything-But-Doesn't-Need-An-Ad-From-Me store. It was an extra-interesting online shopping trip because amongst other things I found out that for reasons I don't quite understand they had some pretty deep discounts -- even for them -- on certain art supplies.

Like I need more art supplies, but whatever.

Anyway, the package arrived here at Dad's on the 12th. Erm, yeah, at Dad's. For reasons too pointless to explain, it's far easier for me to have things shipped here than to my place. The downside to that, however, is that the box came on the 12th. And I opened it yesterday because this is the first time I've been here in a few weeks. Waiting for presents that you bought yourself (well, kind of, anyway) really sort of sucks, you know?

I've got them now, though. Three books (and I've threatened before to start taking pointless photos of what I'm currently reading and giving you reviews. Maybe I'll start doing that after all), a bone folder, some Nupastels, a bigger set of Art Stix because I like the small set I already have, same goes for the Inktense pencils, and... a ManaTea. Because, come on. ManaTea. Besides, I already have this one, so I figured that he may as well have a companion.

Incidentally -- and anyone who knows me won't be surprised at this -- I certainly didn't pay list price for either of those infusers.

So there you have it. Lots of new toys (thanks, Work), and the boys enjoyed the packing materials so I guess it was a win for all of us. Well, maybe except Dad, since he got the excitement of keeping half an eye out to see where the courier would throw my package. Thanks, Dad. And as for the new art supplies, if I get off my artistic butt you'll probably see a bit of something in the next day or two since I have something I really should get done for work. Only fair, I suppose. Work buys new supplies; work gets the results.

That's enough words now. Type at you later.

Quick note

I may actually post today. I mean, proper post. I'd like to get out and take some new photos first (even though they'll probably suck because it's a drab, windy day).

Sorry the place has been so neglected, but hey. Priorities, you know? And this is why I've been thinking about making my twitter account an active one rather than just using it for following. Not that anyone would follow me, of course, but twitter's just so much faster than bothering with a blog post...

Until later, then. Maybe.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Quick photo of the day:

Yeah, again, but this time mostly just because I'm not in the mood to blather.

I imagine that this tulip is open by now, but I'm not going in to Dad's this weekend so I likely won't see it until it's not worth seeing, First we've had actually make it to bud stage in years, though. The constant deer nibbling really did a number on those plants.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Quick photo of the day:

Sorry, all -- it's training week for the summer staff and I've been busy.

I did want to say quickly, though, that I thought it was too bad on Tuesday night that Rachel Notley isn't the type of person who would start a speech with holy fuck, Alberta. What just happened?

That's certainly what it felt like. Back to work for me, now.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Smack the smug off his face

 No, the flower isn't smug; rather the opposite, actually. It's Pasqueflower or Prairie Crocus (not a crocus at all, but just named that for the early blooming), and I'm sorry that I didn't get a better picture of this one but I won't be around when it fully opens. Colour's nice, though, isn't it? I'm a big fan of pasqueflower.

I'm not, however, a big fan of Jim Prentice, as you may have gathered from some not-so-veiled hints in yesterday's post. In fact... well, go back and read the post title again. It's a standing phrase with me, I'm afraid. When someone -- usually in the entertainment business -- tends to spend too much time looking like the cat that got the cream, I have a pretty low tolerance for it. Not that I want anyone to really be smacked, mind you. It's just a phrase. A phrase that it's hard to get out of my head when it comes to some people.

Like our dear premier. Or his far-too-long-ruling party.

I just can't stand the sense of entitlement. We're the PCs. Of course you're going to vote for us because you're Albertans (baaaaah. Sigh. I wish my province wasn't so full of sheep impersonators). We run things. And if we don't run things you know what? HELL IN A HANDBASKET, EVERYONE. Want proof? Well, let's get a bunch of CEOs (um, Jim? You do realise that plenty of people are already upset that corporate taxes are far too low in a province where you've told the average taxpayer to suck it up, right?) to tell you that if the PCs don't run things,  HELL IN A HANDBASKET. And if you're actually thinking of voting in another party to govern? We'll fix that with attack ads and scary robocalls. Hell in a handbasket, people. Hell in a handbasket.

My two fans know that I'm not very political, but this kind of garbage campaigning pisses me off. Not just from the PCs, of course, although they're the masters of it. The moment that any party leader spends more time telling me how crap his/her opponent is than what s/he (can we please have a way of being inclusive without all of this s/he stuff, English? That kind of pisses me off too) is about, my vote is gone even if I might have considered that party. We're not Americans and we shouldn't have to put up with American campaigning.

Um, I have problems with their platform too, if anyone wondered. It just doesn't piss me off as much as the smugness and the childish campaign strategy.

And yes, I'm going to stop typing piss me off soon.

Anyway, if we have to have a PC government (and for a change it's not a certainty), I hope that it's a minority. That'd smack some smug right there. And Santa? It'd be all right if Entitled Jim lost his seat as well. I promise I'll be good 'til Christmas.


I was on Internet Book-And-Everything-Else Giant yesterday. Yes, on Independent Bookstore Day. Sorry for the blasphemy, but the fact is that as much as I like a good bookstore (and I really do), there just aren't many around here unless you count used book stores. Add in the part where someone like me who's on a fairly limited budget can get a helluva lot more for their money on the internet these days, and I can understand why in areas where there actually are independent bookstores those stores are hurting. I'd help if I could, folks, but they'd have to move here.

The reason that I was shopping yesterday was that courtesy of my personal job inertia I had a healthy VISA gift card to spend. Years ago when we used to do service awards the award was whatever wasn't selling in the local museum's gift store (that could be good or really wretched. I have one of each), but since the current board decided to revive service awards they went with the money (well, credit) instead, which was a nice surprise. And fun, since I have a personal rule that when given a gift card I treat it like a gift and buy at least one thing that I might not have bought otherwise. Yes, I do have moments of thinking that I reeeally should buy that thing I need that's much more useful, but they're short-lived. If you can't have fun with a gift card, then why bother being given one?

Erm, or something like that. You know what I mean.

Anyway, now the anticipation sets in because I told the free shipping bot (yes, I know that I'm spending someone else's money. Still doesn't mean that I should pay for shipping) to group my shipment in as few boxes as possible, and one of the things that I ordered takes a while to come in. As a result, I'm waiting semi-patiently on three books, a bone folder (because... project-thingy that I still haven't fully explained to you people), some art supplies because for whatever reason both Derwent and Prismacolor products had some pretty deep discounts going on, and... a tea infuser. Yep. Shaped like a... well, I'll show you when I get it.

And since that won't be for a while, I suppose I'd better get to work FOR work with the art supplies that I have with me at the moment. Eventually. Doodling for work always takes a bit of procrastination to get to.

I should be done by next year.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Pictorial essay of the day:

First, congratulations to the Cambridges on the new baby sister for Prince George. I imagine that he'll like her.


Second, I voted in the advance poll yesterday for the provincial election, which means that a) my vote won't count yet again since I refuse to vote for a conservative party (more on that tomorrow, maybe. And uncharacteristically), and b) I'm already sick of political ads. Tuesday can't come soon enough, boys and girls.

I spend part of the morning at the local Royal Canadian Legion garage sale (my dad's a member) and part of the afternoon taking and editing some new photos (yes, finally), so you're not getting much of a post. In lieu of that, I thought I'd present How to Feed A Tom. The feeder comes from my uncle. His cats didn't like it, but Tom prefers it to a regular dish. More of a challenge, I suppose. Ready? Here we go...

Good job, Tom. And what was Bob up to while all of this was going on? Let's see...

Somebody had to keep that mat from leaving, you see. Later, folks. I'll try for an actual post later.
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