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Archive for June, 2010

For weeks now, I have given a pass to Savannah Morning News and the consistent inability to be consistent in spelling a particular word.

No more.

I just can’t take another day of opening the paper and seeing this:

Every time someone at the paper writes about the incident on Tybee, the editors use “Tazed” in the headline, but allow “Tased” in the body copy. (Here’s the link to today’s article.)

The proper name of the electroshock weapon is “Taser.” So if the weapon was used on someone, the proper verb form would be “Tased.”

However, AP Style — which is apparently foreign to folks at the SMN — does not approve of verb forms at all.

Better to say, “Tybee police used a Taser on an autistic teenager May 21.”

Or if you are going to ignore AP Style, at least be consistent in spelling.

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Eddie walked in the kitchen and said, “There was a box for you on the porch.”

This can only mean one thing: My Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club shipment arrived!

I sprinted to the door with scissors (yes, I just admitted to running with scissors) because this shipment is extra special.

I am the Member of the Month for June (read this post for the write-up of the day I found out). In addition to getting a month of membership free, I’m featured in the newsletter:

It is a very good day indeed.

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A former student, Elyse, suggested that I take on a particular challenge: Write a letter to my 20-something self. (She got the idea from blogger Cassie Boorn.)

OK.

The only thing is, I’m not much for regrets. All experiences — especially the bad ones — shape us and make us the people we are. I have a decent self-esteem, so I’m fine with how I turned out. If anything in my history changed, I might now be living alone in a van down by the river.

But anyway, here goes the exercise:

Dear Self:

First, the good news: You are going to turn out fine, and you’ll end up having a great job, fun husband, smart kids and good friends. Now the bad news: It won’t be an easy path to get there.

Here’s some advice:

1. Send tapes — VHS, not Betamax — out everywhere, not just stations within a four-hour radius of your boyfriend.

2. Speaking of the boyfriend, break up with him soon. Yes, he’s hilarious and treats you well, but he’s not “the one.” Make an effort to keep him as a friend. If you let the relationship limp along to the end, he’ll be hurt and never want to speak to you again. And you’ll miss his friendship.

3. Don’t date the guy who comes next. Just don’t. And because you are stubborn and won’t listen to that advice, at least listen to this: Break up after your first argument. That really is the real him and that really is how he feels. Save yourself pages and pages of journal angst.

4. Thanks for trying to be a good girl (and thank you so much for not loading us up with STDs or an unplanned pregnancy), but you really should date more people. Don’t be in a hurry to settle down into monogamy. You’ll have plenty of that later. But don’t date the stick figure or the rodeo clown. Stick figure causes more journal angst, and the rodeo clown will make you fear for your life.

5. Only have one credit card and pay off the balance each month. For the love of God, please do this. You’ll add years to our life.

6. Stop going to antique stores. You really don’t need freaky old-lady doilies, mismatched china, and costume jewelry that leaves a greenish tinge on you when you wear it. Save your money for important stuff like traveling.

7. Travel extensively. Take the summer off after college and go to Europe or Botswana or wherever. Just go. You will never be that unencumbered again. And then, when you are older and in that great job, you will try desperately to make a student named Travis heed this advice. He will look at you skeptically, and then squander his own opportunity.

8. Don’t cut your hair short. Or if you do, go to someone who knows what he/she is doing. Otherwise, you’ll look like you are wearing a wig, and you’ll want to burn every picture from this period. The only palatable one looks like this (and that hair is still really bad):

9. Wear clothes that fit. Stop wearing men’s shorts, fat-girl tunic shirts, and anything with pleats. Walk around naked more and stop being so self-conscious. You will miss that body later when you have kids and more closely resemble the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

10. Forget French. Learn Spanish.

11. Don’t let the lack of outdoor space and the two fixer-upper basement apartments scare you away from buying that townhouse on Jones Street. It’s a steal. Trust me.

12. Spend more time with your parents.

13. Practice saying “no” to people who want you to adopt strays. If you don’t, you’ll end up with four cats and four dogs, and everyone thinking you are weird/deranged/stinky.

14. Don’t mix beer with all those Wet Willie’s drinks on St. Patrick’s Day 1993. Seriously.

15. Pay more attention to the cute Puerto Rican in facilities. You’ll be happy you did.

Sincerely,

Self Plus 20

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The summer me is so different from the fall, winter and spring me. I wear hats. I don’t wear shoes. I wear T-shirts. I don’t wear makeup. I have plenty of things to do. I don’t have motivation. I didn’t take a shower yesterday until 10 p.m. because I spent most of the day in my bathing suit.

My house is a wreck and I have people coming over tonight. I’m finding it hard to care about cleanliness. Eddie and I have a list of 20 things that have to get done before we have about 40 people at our house next weekend for what we have dubbed “Brokeback Weekend.” It is a reunion of the facilities crew.

There will be tents in my backyard. Tents!

Eddie claims that most of the guys will be sleeping in one large eight-person tent. The ones who stink or snore will be booted to two smaller tents.

He also begged me to buy a small trampoline to insert danger into the act of jumping in the lake. His words: “This will increase the chance of medical attention by at least 50 percent.” Fantastic.

Gideon tests out the Injury Express

While the guys are out threatening each other, wrestling, farting and whatever else a guy herd does, the ladies will be inside wrangling children and enjoying the air conditioning.

And not noticing the layer of dust, I hope. (Cleaning, I do know how to quit you.)

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Most colleges offer students the opportunity to give feedback on their classes and/or professors. The university for which I work releases the evaluations, which consist of a statistical section and a comments section, roughly two weeks after the end of the quarter.

I await the comments section with excitement laced with crippling fear. People like to be liked, and professors are people too. There is always a comment that makes me so happy I want call my boss and read it to him over the phone.

And then there is the other kind.

There’s always one student who hates my guts, or hates something about the class that I may or may not be able to change. And that negative comment lingers in my mind like the last drunk guest at a house party.

I learn from all the comments, even the ones that make me reach for the Cymbalta. I appreciate the constructive criticism, because I want my classes to be interesting, useful and fun. And I want to keep my job.

Spring quarter’s Cloud Nine comment was this one from a graduate student in the Promotional Writing class:

The case studies & examples of things that are currently happening partnered with student presentations were an excellent tool to utilize.

To the disinterested reader, this may seem like a positive, if pedestrian, comment. But to readers of this blog, this is a sentence that reveals a deliberate attempt to yank my chain (in a good way) by combining four of my pet peeves: ampersands and the words “currently,” “partnered” and “utilize.” Well done!

Spring quarter’s Cymbalta comment was this one from an undergraduate student in the Writing for the Web class:

I really wish she would explain her assignments.

Such an innocuous comment. I could accept it, except that I posted an assignment sheet for every assignment, and each sheet detailed everything I expected and how I would grade the assignment. And I went over each assignment sheet in class. Twice.

Of course, the evaluations are anonymous. I have my suspicions as to who wrote the comment, but I can’t be sure. I practically beg students to talk to me if they have problems in the class or want clarification. I wish the writer of the comment could have elaborated on what, exactly, was lacking because, in my (drunk-littered) mind, I’ve done everything I could possibly do.

Sigh.

Cymbalta, anyone?

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As you probably noticed, I was on a blog hiatus. Eddie and I took the kids to New York, and it was too hectic to blog. I did Tweet occasionally, but that’s about it.

Here’s the reason we went:

T. Rex and the gang

The American Museum of Natural History was a big hit with the boys, and I got to see some relatives.

Mi gente

We may have spent more time in the gift shop, though, explaining to Dominic why we couldn’t buy him a $78 puppet.

And why Eddie couldn’t have a ridiculous piece of headwear. (Seriously, who buys this stuff?)

We also enjoyed the (free) Staten Island Ferry where the kids got a look at a famous landmark. They both called it the “Statue of Liverty,” which made me laugh every time.

And Times Square, of course.

We also enjoyed gazing at some interesting fashion choices on display, such as this Patternpalooza.

My eyes!

And, the clothing and hairstyle selections of a man we saw on the subway. I give you the front and side views:

But no trip with me can ever be complete without me pointing out sign mistakes.

"Neighborlines" or "neighborliness" -- which is it?

That's a creative spelling of "souvenirs."

If you combine "Belgian" and "Belgium," you have a fancy new word (No. 9).

And finally, above Eddie and Dominic, you’ll see a sign featuring another one of my pet peeves.

Seems to me that the plural of "person" is "people."

I’d give the trip a B+. A few whine outbreaks and near tantrums (not mine, believe it or not) kept the trip from being Grade A.

Now back to the regularly scheduled blogging …

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Dead man reading

If I’ve been killed, I’m certainly not reading billboards on Hwy. 441.

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