freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Spam is the new surrealist poetry. I still cherish with some fondness the email I received a few months back from the nice Jewish gentleman with the recently dead wife and the fixation on Kabbalah, "post-Auschwitz Spiritists" and Jewish goddess figures, whose ramblings encompassed pre-Christian gender politics, medieval sex magic, Borges, Bacon, Conan Doyle and game theory before even faintly approaching a point, which turned out to be an interest in one of my fairy-tale papers he deemed may be relevant. (Short answer: hell no). Shenanigans with font size suggest that this was a cut-and-paste approach comprising lumps of reference inserted into a hail-fellow-scholar-well-met sort of template, possibly distributed wholesale to swathes of randomly-selected paper-writing populace. The whole left me with the faint, irrational suspicion that some sort of money was going to be demanded about three exchanges in if I in any way responded. Which I didn't. Is this a new scholarly spam? I am curiously tickled to be singled out by it.

Today's was even more surreal, which is rather entertaining and has distracted me very nicely from my current state of hellweek frantic. I reproduce its initial lines wholesale, because wtf, and also because its particular confluence of high-class drivel - mystical conspiracy theory, apocalyptic religion, random header kipple and second-language grammatical and idiomatic solecism - is so deeply entertaining.

Urgent and Immediate Attention - Invitation of Chosen ONE-See “ATTENTION”

I am Saviour of Earth.
This Message is prepared from far away, beyond every Universe.
#############################################################
***************
ATTENTION
***************
Thank you for your immediate attention.
Read “Before Print” on the below, before print email.
_________________________________________________
This email have previously sent email.
During the time of email sending, some of nation government leaders or
ministers, such as Russia, China or other nation government, maybe changed.
People should consider of it.
_________________________________________________
This email have previously sent email.
To improve understanding of email, it would better, read from early days email.

With attached Message document “MASTER_OF_ALL.pdf”.

Readers should consider of it.
#############################################################


There are, in fact, attachments labelled, among other things, MASTER_OF_ALL.pdf, but I have not clicked thereon, on account of basic hygiene and generalised fear of surrealist rabbit-holes.

The perpetrator is addicted to the third-person and admits, apparently with some pride, that "Although Chosen ONE have study background of economy, but during the time when he was lived in western nation, Chosen ONE also studied several years of IT [Information Technology] subject, including, “internet” and “website development”, but never experienced some of sent email, seen on receiving email account, but some of sent email, not seen on same receiving email account, even with correct email address, by not typing email address, but selecting email address from its list." However, "Chosen ONE don’t want spend more of time to solve such problem, or to make discussion with “Gmail” from “Google” internet company, about it. Because Chosen ONE already observed it several months of time, also, importantly, Chosen ONE have to keep focus his attention to element of Earth along with element of Moon. Focusing on element of Earth & element of Moon is important to him."

I now have a mental image of some sort of wild-eyed bearded figure crouched over a green-screen monitor in a shack somewhere, clumsily channelling his element of moon fixation through this strange "internet" thing he only faintly grasps.

This actually requires some sort of medical diagnosis, I think. Schizophrenia?
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Working at home today, hooray! Busy putting together a long and complicated document to convince the Staffing Committee that the job I am doing is not the job they think I am doing (mystic Jedi hand gesture). This is fun, and is allowing me, via the eradication of all actual personal voice, to exercise all my rake-in-the-grass diplomatico-obfuscatory language. I am not entirely assisted by the tendency of Hobbit to lie langorously all over the documentation, but he's kinda cute.

The day has, however, been minorly disrupted by the activities of maddened plumbers plumbing the depths in an attempt to discover why the loo in my bathroom has refused to drain properly for about four days. Answer: giant conglomeration of tree roots in the drain under my courtyard. I darkly suspect the buddleja, which is the only thing really flourishing in that poor, neglected area. Also, I am rendered curiously happy to discover that not only am I spelling "buddleja" correctly, but that it's named after the Reverend Adam Buddle, 1662–1715, one of those presumably happily-pottering ecclesiastical botanists, who lived in Essex and probably never encountered an actual buddleja.

Mostly, I am happy to report that choosing a plumber by the spelling on their website results in a high quality of response and service. I found Clyde Bosman plumbing by dint of googling for "plumber recommendation cape town", and was favourably struck by the tone of chatty, grammatical professionalism on their site. They were very pleasant, arrived within a couple of hours despite a self-confessedly booked-up Friday, sorted out the problem in 45 minutes, did a random lateral additional sweep for roots in other bits of drain by their own suggestion, and charged their absolutely standard drain-clearing fee for the whole bang shoot. This is why grammar is important. Also, hooray! the need to dash semi-naked through the house to use the Evil Landlord's bathroom was wearing a little thin.
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Today there are Things That Make Me Happy On A Friday (apart from the fact that it's a Friday, naturally, this week's Fridayness being unpleasantly undercut by the fact that I have to be on campus tomorrow to guide confused would-be students through the mysteries of curriculum design during University Open Day, sigh...). Therefore and however, anti rant list!

  • Despite being actually quite good recently about not eating junk food, I succumbed and bought chocolate Viennese shortbread yesterday, and have scarfed the lot during the course of the day. This was evil, but pleasing.
  • I got invited to give a paper at a conference! In Glasgow! In August! By someone who liked my book and felt my interests are relevant! I can't afford it and am not sanguine about finding funding, but it's nice to feel wanted.
  • Castle is just as much fun second time around.
  • Students give me stuff sometimes, as a thank-you for disentangling their tangled lives. Things students give me have included chocolate, flowers, books, cards and, today, a rather beautiful wooden keyring with my name carved on one side and my surname on the other. I can't even remember what it was I did for the student. But it's cool.
  • I spent an hour earlier putting up posters for orientation leader applications in three separate buildings. During the course of this five separate students started random conversations with me, all cheerful, interested and friendly, and only some of them actually about orientation leadership. Either there's something fundamentally accessible about putting up posters, or I'm becoming a Known Figure in the faculty and hold no actual terrors any more. Either way, it made me remember how much I actually like students.
  • I finally finished compiling my reader for the eroticism lectures. Reading through it, I am amused to notice how much it's evolved over the years, to include far more explicit sexy stuff. I can't help wandering what the photocopy people make of it. Particularly the Weaslycest. I have to make them read Wincest, too. Heh.
  • I like hyperbole. In particular, I like Hyperbole and a Half, who is completely insane and pleasingly demented with Paint, and I really like the alot. I want one. Several. A pack. To set on people who make me grammatically unhappy. Also, her Spaghatta Nadle is a perverse sort of genius.


I am still sinusy and exhausted and have ricked my back putting up posters, but I'm buggered if I'm going to let it get me down. Up yours, Chronic Glandular Fever!
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DSCN1812, originally uploaded by extemporanea.

This sign has recently popped up at an intersection near our house. It fascinates me not because it's completely futile (the red-shirted gent in the background of the photo is, in fact, one of the cohort of usual traders, whose activities have diminished not one whit since the sign went up) but because its grammatical construction genuinely perplexes me. Why the continuous tense? If that is, in fact, the continuous tense and not some kind of misshapen gerund. The sense seems to be something along the lines of "[This sign is] prohibiting trading in the intersection", which is self-referential and redundant. I find myself mentally filling in chirply little slogans: "This sign! prohibiting trading in the intersection since 2010!"

As usual, it all seems curiously unnecessary - why the hell they couldn't simply say "Trading prohibited at intersection" I do not know, unless it has something to do with wanting the two halves of the sentence to balance out in terms of number of letters, for sheer artistic purposes. Honestly, I sometimes think that sign-painters are raised deliberately in sealed environments into which no vestige of grammatical sense is permitted to intrude.

Interesting sidenote: when I completely ignored the avocado-proffering trader in order to haul out my camera and snap the sign, he immediately wanted to know if I was "some kind of journalist." Only, I fear, the most limited and eccentric kind.

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Hooray, my dreams are back! not sure why, but I've apparently got the stress under control, or at least come to terms with it, to the extent that I'm sleeping properly and being properly active of a night. The night before last featured a dark, desolate, Mordorish landscape filled with dank lakes, in the middle of which a ruined castle on an island suddenly burgeoned madly into a sort of insanely excessive edifice bristling with Disneyesque glass towers in various shades of gold and peach. Last night I apparently re-enacted the "Snow White and Rose Red" fairy tale, except both Snow White and I were rather kick-butt girl pirates aboard a ship, each with an entourage of rough pirate side-kicks, jockeying for the attentions of Johnny Depp instead of a bear. I await with some interest tonight's contributions, given that I plan to go and see the new Harry Potter this evening, finally, as a reward for surviving Hellweek. All that adolescent angst has to feed the subconscious the psychic equivalent of so much cheese.

In other, even better news, I'd completely failed to register the fact that Monday is a public holiday and had taken Friday off as an other Reward For Surviving Hellweek. Sudden four-day weekend to the side of the head! In a good way. I plan to do nothing much, with concentrated energy and verve.

Today's subject line, incidentally, courtesy of a delirious little flyer brought to me by my MA student, who has a nice taste in the weird. "Professor Adams: The Great Clinic" promises not only to cure the usual range of sexual ills, including using "Mexino herbs" to produce penis sizes from M and L through to XXXL and Tall, but to remove evil spirits, win court cases and the Lotto and call your loved one back. He's a lovely example of random capitalisation, too, as evinced in the "Women's Vagina Special, Lovely ever wet & Sweet." (To which I add: aargh). Also, it's lucky my mother's staying with me at the moment, her school nanny software would curl up its toes and faint at this post.
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It turns out I actually did make a New Year's resolution, despite intending not to - it seems to have sort of happened. Apparently I've resolved to keep on top of my work email instead of letting it build up to ridiculous unanswered piles of increasingly querulous queries dating back up to a month. There's this happy little row of orange answer arrows in my inbox, stretching back two weeks, interspersed with follow-up emails sprinkled with enthusiastic and validatory comments about my efficiency. I feel smug.

Huh. We'll see how long it lasts. Of course, it does mean I have to cut down on the random web browsing in favour of random email answering, but all is not lost. I still have time to stumble on truly amusing links such as this one, courtesy of Elizabeth Bear. Balloon animals having sex. N really SFW, in a lateral and rather endearing sort of way. It's a Durex ad that's probably old news to you mad overseas hordes, but it's new to me, so there.

It's also horribly apposite, in that I just sat through ninety minutes of orientation leader training in HIV/AIDs awareness, now with added giant floppy dildo and incredible lists of obscure and colourful phrases for even more obscure and colourful sex acts. I was forced to correct the presenter's spelling of both "abstinence" and "fellatio".

Now taking bets on how many witterers have this post blocked by nanny software. Sorry, mother.
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Wading through CVs for a job we've advertised. No selection process in which I have had a hand will ever employ anyone who:
1) promises to "develop the implementation model";
2) writes an application letter with the caps lock on;
3) does these completely obscene things to the innocent apostrophe.

A girl has her code.
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Ah, proofreading. The process wherein one engages with a professional nitpicker who is engaged, about 80% of the time, in eradicating infelicities and inconsistencies from one's writing. The other 20% of the time they are engaged in enforcing arbitrary and unnecessary visions of "correctness" upon one's deathless prose. I have prevailed in the which/that issue, but this editor is proving wretchedly firm on the subject of the Oxford comma.

I loathe the Oxford comma with a loathing that is deep, passionate and possibly unreasoning. I do not, personally, take a deep breath before saying "and" in a simple list; to insist on the comma in these circumstances gives the sentence, in my view, a bad case of the comedy hiccups. The otherwise nice editor insists that the serial comma is invariable in American non-journalistic prose, but she's wrong - ten minutes with Google suggests that the serial comma is predominantly used in American non-journalistic prose, but there's a lot of debate, disagreement and axe-wielding.

I don't like false absolutes. False absolutes bring me out in a rash. So does the serial comma. Piffle. Memo to self: next time, find English publisher.

I am spending the weekend more or less peacably editing page proofs, which is a relief: I've been out making with the mad socialising on Wednesday night (game, intense and trying role-playing times), Thursday night (book club, booze, much giggling), Friday night (end-of-month dinner, Harbour House, springbok in port and chocolate sauce, recommended!) and tonight (jo&stv, trip planning). Together with the stresses of the last two weeks of work, it is not entirely suprising that I'm a bit buggered. I should have been having dinner with my sister last night, but I bunked and lay on the sofa watching Farscape instead. The episode with John Crichton's internal dilemmas represented as cartoons? genius! Also, a new addition to the distinguished and growing list of Episodes Where They Clearly Gave The Farscape Writers Lots Of Drugs. I then slept until 9.30 this morning, which may have done something towards restoring levels of the Milk of Human Kindness, currently a bit low from insufficient hermitaging. I like socialising, just not perpetually.

Since embedding is apparently where my brain's at right now: Vampire Weekend, "Oxford Comma". Rather fun one-shot video, even if the band's a bit naff.

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Today I finally found time to work through the sample edited chapter of my book the nice copy-editor sent me. She is on record as saying that it didn't need much editing, as I write very well (preens), but she's bloody well gone through the entire thing and changed "which" to "that" throughout. I am reconciled to the American spelling, although the word "marvelous" in the title is going to look extremely odd. I will even put up with her refusal to hyphenate sensible words such as "re-explorations" or "pre-eminent", and I positively approve of her tendency to swoop wholesale upon the egregiously unnecessary commas with which I am prone to sprinkle my writing, and to expunge them ruthlessly. But "which" is NOT incorrect in a relative clause. The desperate need to replace it with "that" is a popular grammatical urban myth which I deny, disbelieve and excoriate. It's nonsense. It's an incorrection. Language Log agrees, and they know everything. I shall fight this to the bitter end, in the teeth of editors and worse. *plants grammatical flag, glowers threateningly*.

In the Department of My Evil Landlord Is Completely Insane (In A Good Way), he has madly constructed a beautiful little piano stool, only to inform me that it's the mock-up and "not very well made". The real one will be made in cherry wood, presumably to some exactingly Germanic standard of perfection. (This has not prevented me from seating myself upon the mock-up for an hour and playing Beethoven. Badly). He has also made something of an epic record for belated birthday goodness in presenting me with the first six volumes of Girl Genius, which are by some bizarre happenstance apparently available on Take2. I mean, overkill much? There's generosity, and then there's wow, insane. I am a very, very happy pseudo-Victorian spark-fancier. A favourite web comic is somehow different, and much realer, in hard copy.

And, in the Department of Belated Linkery, I promised various people last night to link to Passive-Aggressive Appetizers. Courtesy of the Whatever. These are amusingly evil-minded.

Now off to brief my next year's cohort of orientation leaders, about to begin training. This will end at about 7pm, thus presenting me with a perfect 12-hour day. Phooey.

hello, spaceboy

Sunday, 1 June 2008 05:19 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Quite the worst part about a full-time job - or, possibly the combination of full-time job with Sid and glandular wossnames - is that it renders me incapable of much over the weekends, as I veg out and gently recover sanity. This, alas, is not good for my research goals, or for the marking I should have been doing. Do I care? Not a whole lot, no.

In default of actual brain, or actual ability to be interesting, I shall fall back on the eternal blogging standbys: viz, grammar, and cats. Behind the cut, since both are photo-heavy. )
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The late, lamented Kurt Vonnegut apparently doesn't think much of semi-colons: they are, he says, "transvestite hermaphrodites, representing exactly nothing. All they do is suggest you might have gone to college."

Oops. He has something resembling a point, in that one of the basic editing jobs I need to do on pretty much anything I write is to sneak through the wordy thickets with a shotgun, scientifically decimating the semi-colons as they peacefully roost amid the clauses. I seem to think naturally in semicolons, possibly because of a pathological need for balance: on the one hand, this, on the other, that. It is, as Vonnegut suggests, a vice to which the academic writer is particularly prone; its careful weightedness can, indeed, be pretentious.

On the other hand, while I try to cut down on the vice I don't think that it's valid to demand I give it up completely; I'm not sure I agree with him that semicolons are "transvestite hermaphrodites". In its shy, bashful way the semicolon is a valid little gidgit, unassumingly linking two clauses whose connection is too important to be disrupted by the solid, divisive thump of a full stop or the portentous pause of the colon. It's a coded deep breath, a neatly-encapsulated "also". It offers a useful alternative to the headlong rush of the comma so beloved by my reckless undergrads, whose tendency to gaily link strings of clauses with commas causes me active, green-inked pain. Shotgun and Kurt Vonnegut notwithstanding, I like semicolons and wish to pet them, like shy fluffy birds.

Grammatical musings aside, thank FSM it's Friday. I am glandular, headachy and tired, badly needing the weekend to collapse in: the week has been a nasty succession of days in which I wake up feeling OK, but become progressively more feeble and headachy as the day wears on, ending with helpless horizontality in front of the TV in the evenings. Alias Season 5 is only marginally helping, the bastards have just offed Vaughn. I like Vaughn - he was the first TV character crush I ever had that suggested I might be getting over the bad boy thing. Fortunately this is Alias, so I don't actually believe he's dead. Also, the blonde computer-geek replacement to pregnant!Sidney is annoying and unconvincing as a geek, she's clearly an airhead.
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Things I never thought to find myself doing: watching America's Next Top Model. While knitting. The knitting is probably vaguely explicable, but the TV isn't. Honestly, it's like a car crash. I can't look away.

I shall attempt to retain my intellectual pretensions by indulging in some random grammatical rantings. Below is a photograph taken by friend at institution of higher learning which shall remain tactfully nameless (not my Cherished one). The hose cupboard in question is located directly outside the Literacy Department.



In other news, jo&stv will be pleased to note I have started watching Life On Mars. It's bloody good, but has caused me to spend an hour and a half this evening trying to play David Bowie on the piano. David Bowie is a nasty, tricksy little man with his piano chords, but very satisfying to play once I have them approximately pinned down. Memo to self, try and find sheet music to "Life on Mars", I suspect I'm slaughtering it.

Last Night I Dreamed: I was working for Brangelina, which meant an afternoon of frantic phoning trying to get hold of Angelina Jolie, because she was unexpectedly needed to play the fairly minor part of Emilia in a Shakespeare production (must have been Othello) because the other actress was ill. I kept writing her cell number down on a piece of paper and then losing the piece of paper. Nice house, though.
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Name and shame, I say! The above atrocity courtesy of stv, who sent it to me as the subject line of an email, just to see me twitch. Now I'll have to find the staple-remover to disembed all those painful apostrophes from my flesh.

Because stv has stunned all actual brain power through sheer horror piled upon my already-foggy post-insomniac daze, I fall back upon random linkery in place of an actual post. Also, this has to be done quickly as today's IBurst connection, under the tender care of my personal techno-jinx, is more of an IDribble and may refuse to talk to LJ at any moment. Connectile dysfunction, one might say. If one were driven to not very good horrible puns, which of course I am not.

This is an insanely cute flash game of max simplicity and disgusting appeal. It has a bouncy, over-eager bunny with floppy ears and an adorable leaping function, and bouncy, pseudo-baroque music which will drive you to homicidal distraction within about a minute and a half. If half my female readers aren't both addicted to it and loathing themselves within 24 hours, it's a cold, hard world indeed, is all I can say.

This appealed to the postmodern, self-referential RPG geek in me (i.e. possibly most of me). 'Nuff said.

And, courtesy of a number of sites including boingboing, Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday. Woe. The world can't afford to lose postmodern writers capable of rubbing the nose of serious literary critics in the science fiction genre and making them like it. Besides, I loved his writing - Cat's Cradle and The Sirens of Titan made me laugh until I hurt, or possibly hurt until I laughed.

B5 is at T, although I don't know if it's arrived as I was too stunned by my regular Thursday afternoon's horse-whipping of four reluctant students through medieval romance to remember to go and check for it. My guess is we're moving into the plusses.

Bunny Threat Level: lalalalala! Interesting weather for curriculum advice lately.
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Yes, really. (Courtesy of Neil Gaiman, who has an amazing nose for weirdness). I am so linking this to my academic pages as a cautionary tale to all my grotty students. I may feel a Ruthless Rhyme coming on.

head a-splode

Tuesday, 27 June 2006 11:47 am
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Who'd be a grrrl? Damned 2-day hormonal headache. Mutter. Not helping is the fact that I'm (finally) finishing up this wretched Disney encyclopedia entry, which entails digging around on the Disney site, which is (aargh) all Really Slow Flash Animation, punctuated with relentless advertising and cunning concealment of actual information. Deeply annoying.

I have, however, read a couple of rather enjoyable young adult fantasies this weekend. Holly Black's Valiant has just won the Andre Norton award, a new category in the Nebulas for young adult fiction. It's the gritty urban faerie thing she does in Tithe, but here is edgier, dealing with issues such as teenage drug addiction and running away from home to live homeless on the streets of New York. Nicely done: her faeries are downright nasty, even the Seelie ones, and way more sexy than they have any right to be. Also, judging from the fact that I wanted to slap them quite often, I'd say her angsty teenagers were fairly spot on.

Book Club last week netted me Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, another in the long line of contemporary Greek godscapades. I didn't have high hopes of this, which represents a Very Done theme. However, Riordan, whatever you might want to say about his originality, has a good sense of pace and character, a somewhat off-the-wall sense of humour, and a completely stunning ability to actually write full sentences. (The full sentence is a dying art, had you noticed? More and more writers who really should know better are scattering their work with these poor, mutilated, verbless things, which are presumably meant to sound punchy and with-it. There was a verb-deprived M&G article by Khadija Magardie this week which made me gnaw my own foot off in sheer irritation). I wouldn't say The Lightning Thief was great literature, or even great kids' literature, but it was a fun read, I wouldn't mind reading more in the series.

I also scored the next in the Lemony Snicket series, which I am still, in defiance of everyone else I've lent them to, really enjoying. Book 11: The Grim Grotto. Submarines, tap dancing, evil fungus, a missing sugar bowl, and more than you ever really wanted to know about precipitation.

Finally, in the Department Of There May Actually Be Something In Astrology*: I apparently share a birthday with Joss Whedon. It's not my fault I'm a devoted fan, the stars foretold it.

* not really.
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Right, let's not do that again in a hurry. Having goofed off all week on the marking, it suddenly occurred to me somewhat belatedly on Monday night that, in fact, the deadline for mark submission was, in fact, today, at 10.30am, following the happy experience of an invigilation from 7.30am (eeeuw: my Cherished Institution, in its infinite wisdom, has just redesigned exam scheduling so the first one is at 8am, not 9am as heretofore. Academics storm the admin block, news at 11).

Yesterday I marked all day, nonstop, until just after midnight, resulting in:
1. Five hours of sleep last night as joyous preparation for a 6am wake this morning.
2. A state of grammar-nuke-from-orbit-mode mental hype that meant I lay in bed for an hour and a half without being able to sleep owing to the buzzing apostrophes and the slow dripping of blood from mutilated verbs.
3. A blister on my marking finger.
4. The discarded corpses of two green marking pens, gallantly perished in action, in my waste-paper basket.
5. An uncontrollable and recurring fit of the giggles at the student who insisted, throughout her essay, on referring to the notable Arthurian hero Lancelot du Lac as "Lancelot Da Lake", which to my mind makes him sound like a somewhat poncy Mafia hit-man (which, in fact, for some versions tends to describe him more or less perfectly).
6. The horrifying realisation that KFM played the new Red Hot Chilli Peppers song SIX TIMES between 10am and 12 midnight - slightly more than once per DJ. It's not even that good a song: one of those ones that sounds vaguely like a band who want to sound vaguely like a rehash of The Greatest Hits Of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
7. Another Ruthless Rhyme, which I'll post when I've tracked down a rhyme to "epiglottis".

The invigilation, I have to add, was a total workout. Huge raked lecture theatre: I must have climbed two flights of stairs about thirty times. I ache. I've done easier gym routines. In addition, anything but an aisle seat is totally inaccessible to the invigilator, so I spent a lot of time trying to telepathically attract the attention of exam-zoned students with their heads down, four metres away. The skills required by the modern academic simply don't get any easier.

Now I have to go conduct a private invigilation of what I suspect is an information systems exam for a friend who doesn't want to fly up to Pretoria to do it, and has invoked the Great Seekrit Brotherhood of Academics. With any luck they'll feed me wine.

*staggers off*
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A tragic trend in modern youth
resides in this disgusting truth:
their writing skills are somewhat vile,
devoid of substance, form or style.

But worthier still of deep repentance
their offenses to the sentence!
With blind indifference quite superb
They brutally excise the verb.

Faced with grammar thusly maimed
- mutilated, bleeding, lamed -
I swear I will, by all the gods,
chastise the perpetrating sods
with metaphor that's rather neat
by sawing off their hands and feet.


What tells you I was marking essays all yesterday? Actually, this lot on vampires weren't half bad. Someone wrote an amazing, insightful, focused, intelligent response to From Dusk Till Dawn, which I would have thought was a feat completely outside the bounds of human capacity.
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Message on the packet encasing the booklet of instructions for the gas heater acquired today by my Evil Landlord, who seems to be on a roll with this heater-acquisition thing (they now outnumber the cats):

WARNNING: TO AVOID DANGER OF SUFFOCATION KEEP AWAY FORM BAGES AND CHILDREN.

My eye persists in reading "bages" as "bagels", and "warnning" as being somehow more emphatic than the ordinary kind.

The usual drunken Thaifoodfestdrunkup with jo&stv this evening resulted, among the usual Wayward Puppy conversation, in the concept of Revised Standard Orthodox Grammar, a new religion which metes out fiery death to apostrophe abusers and other heretics. First up against the wall when the jihad sweeps the land will be the Dear Little Students who rendered this afternoon's batch of marking horrible by their persistent refusal to believe that a sentence actually needs a verb.
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Of student crimes unsavoury
The worst is to the apostrophe.

You'd think the wretched little twits
Could learn to tell their its from it's;
Or not, with doltishness excessive
Confuse the plural and possessive.

But since they do, I find it droll
To have them clubbed to death by trolls.


This one courtesy of the last two weeks of marking, and of Stace, who wanted to see students clubbed to death by trolls. Dedicated to anyone who feels that the author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves is a soul sister. I have for years had exactly the fantasy she describes, of guerilla signage activies with a small can of spray paint.

Happy June, everyone!

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