Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Secret messages to the world

Secret messages that'll never be delivered (in the tradition of profgrrrl):

  • To students: Apostrophes are not like the confetti or rice that you throw at a wedding. You cannot sprinkle them randomly throughout your paper whenever you think you see a noun or pronoun and hope for a good outcome. There is no good outcome to be had from such a practice.
  • To someone in my building who has some kind of hand-operated machine (for binding stuff, maybe?): Please break out the WD-40 and oil the thing. It squeaks at a frequency that I don't think you can hear, but I can. I feel as though I'm living in a hamster cage with a wheel squeaking away.
  • To the woman who was filing her nails while waiting at the checkout desk at the library: Don't. Just don't. Unless you're a sixth-grader braiding your friend's hair (and even then), personal grooming doesn't belong in non-grooming-related public spaces. You are old enough to know better, and whatever multitasking or time-management skills you think you're showing are more than offset by the way that you're skeeving the rest of us out. Why don't you try knitting, instead, like everyone else at the conference I was just at?

    Sisyphus said...

    Heh for the apostrophe rant. Sounds like you need Bob the Angry Flower's poster:

    And I'm torn on the knitting ---- I like the idea of learning how to knit, but I was at a conference last spring where someone in front of me was knitting during a panel and I found it _highly_ distracting. I craned my neck around every time she moved in my peripheral vision, and missed a lot of the talks. So I _really_ don't like it. On the other hand, I'm quite fidgety and it would be nice to have productive fidgets while sitting in a conference.

    moria said...

    Have I de-lurked here yet? I can't recall. I like the blog a lot.

    I am strangely curious about these abundant apostrophes. I've seen copious comma-usage, veritable commagasms at times, and the occasional wreckage of semi-colon fallout, but never apostrophes. Where do they put them? In plural's? Random'ly scattered ' through'out their text's? Do enlighten us.

    undine said...

    I hadn't seen Bob the Angry Flower--thanks!

    Knitting during conference sessions was a new one on me. I hadn't seen it happen before, but several people were happily knitting away. As someone who sometimes doodles while listening because I really can pay attention better if I'm doing something with my hands, I have some sympathy with it, but it was a little distracting.

    undine said...

    Neophyte, thanks and welcome! I've seen those "commagasms" too (great word). The apostrophe thing seems to be that there's a noun somewhere, and possession somewhere, but as long as the apostrophe is attached to some kind of noun in the same paper (even plural nouns), they think it's all good.

    gwoertendyke said...

    apostrophes are not like confetti or rice.

    this is a fucking.brilliant.line.

    undine said...

    Thank you, adjunct whore!