The Good, the Bad, and the Irritating

Good: The implant went well–it’s a good sign when the dentist says things like “perfect!” I am more used to hearing “well…” ūüôā It doesn’t even hurt.

Bad: I often have weird reactions to medications (not bad, usually, but weird). This time, the antibiotic caused low blood pressure (something that I tend to any way) and being generally down (thus, no blog post yesterday). I’ve also been easily tired. The good in the bad is that Thursday is the last day I have to take the antibiotics.

Good: I had enough energy yesterday to get my Claritin and do some light grocery shopping.

Bad: Our list had three items. We bought a cart-full. Sigh. And I got WAY more tired than I should have.

Irritating (may veer into bad): My mom takes a migraine prophylactic and since it was a holiday yesterday in the States, we didn’t get it filled (we’re bad at holidays). Also, since it was a holiday, the local drugstore was closed. No problem since we were going out anyway. We went to the pharmacy counter and were told (a bit snippily, if I’m honest) that they couldn’t possibly fill the prescription unless the original pharmacy was open. Aggravating! Especially since I know there are drug databases (when my mom was in the hospital last, they knew every drug she’d been prescribed in the last ten years. In this age of technological prowess and databases, the only way to fill a renewal is to call the original pharmacy? Really? (I can only assume this is to prevent people who are addicted from getting more pills than they are supposed to. But who’s addicted to migraine prophylactics?)

Really bad: My mom’s already had a migraine today. She described it as a humdinger. For some reason, she’s still doing things. When I have a migraine, I go to bed and then whine a lot.

Good: We can get the medication today. After 11. Maybe see below.

Irritating: The phone thingie was acting weird which sometimes means that the order didn’t go through. And since I live in a town that’s about twenty years behind the times, there’s no easy way to check.

Bad: I saw an interesting take on the philosophy of grammar on Twitter and I’d really like to show the tweets (like I’ve seen on other websites), but I don’t know how. Is it Storify? Or something that one can do right in Twitter? Does anyone know?

Interesting: Something I saw on line recently said that posts published on Tuesdays were more likely to be read. Fame and fortune here I come? ūüėõ

That’s it for now–how are things going with you all?




Notice to the Person who just Knocked at the Door

We¬†don’t want what you’re selling, or even what you’re giving away. We¬†are more than capable of buying our¬†own wrapping paper, popcorn tins, and¬†candy. I do not want, nor do I need, those cookies. Not even one box. I will not ever buy food that comes from¬†a truck, especially if it’s not refrigerated. Therefore, I am not interested in your ice cream or steak.

If there some yard work that we need to do, we will either do it ourselves or hire someone we know. Goodness knows what would be left of the plantings in the yard after letting “some dude on a tractor” loose on them. We don’t need our trees trimmed or shaken for their seeds. We like for the leaves to mulch into the soil, so we don’t want you to rake them. We can shovel our own driveway.

This applies to handiwork as well. We don’t want you up on our roof (putting holes in!), tarring or “asphalting” our driveway. We don’t want you poking at our siding or our foundation, nor digging any holes.

Our souls are not your concern. They are well-taken care of, thanks. If we were interested in your church or your denomination, I assure you, we would be able to find it, since places of worship are well-marked. The fact that no one answers the door when you come around, anywhere on this street, might give you a hint that we’re ALL good.

“No” is a complete answer. It doesn’t require negotiation, nor will that help you. We’re not changing our minds, especially if you say “but we can do it right now.” We like to research and think about things. Not accepting no as an answer means that you are being rude, and I guarantee that I will be ruder.

So please, please, go away. Stop bothering us. We just want a quiet day. We promise that we’ll give you one.

Can’t Write Today…

I’m really sorry that I can’t write a blog post today, but…

There’s no Internet. Nor is the electricity working. Additionally, my computer has decided not to work because of the political climate.

My hands are crippled with leprosy, which I caught from red squirrels in England which makes it difficult to type. I’ve also contracted plague from prairie dogs and anthrax from goats. Or maybe cows. The white tailed deer gave me TB and the cat’s passed along toxoplasmosis causing me to be fearless and promiscuous. As you can imagine, that takes up a lot of my time.

There’s also the problem of the entertainment industry. I have movies and TV to watch and rewatch. I don’t even like most of this stuff, but if I don’t pay attention, than who will? Thousands of books are published each day. Then people thoughtlessly review those books and I have to read that as well, in case I don’t agree with them. Also, people are constantly publishing blogs that I have to take in. They just carelessly strew their words and ideas everywhere. There are newspapers and magazines to peruse, more arriving everyday and I have to get a handle on them.

Companies also publish games–computer, console, tabletop–all the damn time. Some of them require a lot of concentration and skills. They also require a lot of devoted time, so I can’t possibly write this blog.

Moreover, there are millions of places on this planet to visit. Today alone, I have to see Alaska, Thailand, Madagascar, New Zealand, Turkey, Italy and Argentina. I’d visit more, but waiting in the security checkpoints takes up too much time. Tomorrow, I have to experience Newfoundland, the Philippines, South Africa, Israel, ¬†Norway, and Mexico. It’s very tiring and I’m not going to be able to blog.

I’m afraid that my garage is infested with Sasquatches. My basement is full of wareducks, and my attic has a that smell that indicates that pixies have taken up residence again. My front yard is full of unicorns and the back has manticores. The side yards are full of djinns, so be careful where you step. The airspace above and around my house contains rocs. This racket makes it impossible to construct a blog.

So as much as I’d like to write something for you wonderful people, I simply can’t. I’ll try again tomorrow.




Review–Among the Janeites

Deborah Yaffe’s¬†Among the Janeites: A Journey through the World of ¬†Jane Austen Fandom¬†¬†is an interesting look at the often fervent fans of Jane Austen. According to Yaffe, Austen is interpreted by people differently. She is considered liberal, conservative, radically feminist and completely domestic. Her writing is either artless or carefully constructed, sharp or sweet. She’s all things to all people.

I quite liked Pride and Prejudice, but was in a bad mood when I went to read Sense and Sensibility. However, I also enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Clueless, so I am not the most ardent fan (although her book was the best in the course I read it in).

Although the book follows the pattern of the last one I read of being somewhat journalistic and somewhat memoir-like, here it works. The two tones complement each other. And no section is too long. However, there are sometimes a few too many people per section, some of which are returned to later in the narrative and some of whom aren’t. Yaffe covers academics, movie fans, cosplayers, people who argue on the internet (what an idea!), event organizers, and she even delves into the more kitschy aspects of Austen potholders and thongs (!). She touches on Austen’s brief biography (private person who have their letters burned are naturally more obscure), but I would recommend a good Austen bio before delving in, although it’s not required. It’s also going to be helpful if you’ve read at least one work by Austen (although you’ll get more from this work if you’ve read more).

This is an enjoyable and fair look at the various aspect of a fandom–and may be helpful if you’re an outside attempting to understand¬†any fandom. It’s interesting and zippy, with some delightful writing and moments.

Butterfly Garden, Day 1

As promised, I have some pictures of the butterfly garden in progress.

This first picture is what the site looked like before I began:May 2016 003.JPG

The high-ish grass there isn’t ours. The state owns that and haven’t been mowing. No, I don’t know why. Nor do I know why they don’t put it up for sale. There’s a little creek where all the trees are.

May 2016 001.JPG

This is the second step. Since we don’t want one million weeds in this bed, I put down barrier material. Then I ran out of newspapers, so I grabbed some cardboard boxes. I guess not having proper recycling in our community for almost two years is a good thing? You’ll notice that I put the boards in the pattern and filled in? And that people on TV do fancy things with measuring and stakes and spray? That’s because people on TV can work with numbers and I can’t.

May 2016 002.JPG

Here’s the next barrier, landscape fabric. This is for both weeds AND to keep all the lovely, precious dirt in the raised bed. We had lots on hand–good since I used up most of it!

May 2016 004.JPG

And here’s the final-for-the-moment stage. It’s not¬†excatly an octagon, but it has eight sides, so that’s something. Step two awaits the shipping of the next two boxes of raised bed since, as I said, numbers are not my friends. And then…dirt! And eventually…plants! Perhaps even butterflies!

Gosh, am I tired!

Uncontrollable Editing

I have a terrible condition. It’s chronic, but it also flares up at inconvenient moments, often in public. It’s embarrassing for me ¬†and the people around me, especially when I can’t control the urge to shout.

It’s called Uncontrollable Editing Syndrome, UES for short. UES cause me to yelp out corrections to people on television, in the newspapers and in books. Signs are a particular problem, what with all the extraneous apostrophes. I have to bite my tongue to avoid correcting people who say “between you and I.” I have heated discussions with other sufferers about word choice– “Is crash appropriate in an accident involving one car and one pedestrian?” I correct tweets and Facebook posts. I have refused to vote for politicians because they thought that there is always singular.

I never really had a chance, though. My mother was an English teacher. I was raised in a poisonous environment of proper English and reading. I had a library card before most kids can even read, which twisted my poor brain beyond any hope.

It was made worse in college. More reading, yes, but also classes in linguistics, taught by recognized experts. Even a required grammar class in grad school. It was awful. By that time, of course, I was desperately hooked. Any lingering hope of recovery was dashed.

By grad school it was clear that I was going to have to find some way of dealing with UES, so I began teaching freshman composition. I know now that making that decision was unwise–it only added to my misery. Seeing new mistakes only energized my disease. Each semester made it worse. By the first year with my MA I was teaching five comp courses. Five.

I know now what my limits are, two classes a semester. Admittedly, since I dabble in developmental classes, it’s more like the hard stuff, but at least it’s manageable.

But there’s something that you can do to help! Get yourself a handbook–if you don’t have to worry about citation styles, purchase a second-hand one (they’ll be cheap, I promise). Read and practice a section at a time until you truly understand the basic rules of our language. Fill your mind with excellent, well-edited prose. Follow people on social media who can conjugate.¬†Refuse to watch programs that have poor speaking habits. Demand that newspapers and nightly news programs hire copy editors. Take a grammar or linguistics class. Refuse to put apostrophes when you need a simple plural (“Pizza’s for $5” ?!?). Embrace proper punctuation and usage, mechanics and style. Only then can sufferers of UES like me put our poor minds at rest.

Please. We’re counting on you.

Review: The Heretics

I’ve just finished Will Storr’s¬†The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science.¬†The book deals, as one might expect from the subtitle, with people who disagree with one or more accepted principles of science. Storr discusses creationists, folks who believe that they’ve been abducted by aliens, Holocaust deniers, proponents of psi powers and others.

Perhaps because at least some of it was published as articles before finding a home in this book, some of the flow is disjointed. Additionally, there are some abrupt style changes, especially in the chapter on David Irving, someone who believes that Hitler was a jolly good chap, friend to the Jewish people, and who would have certainly have been appalled if he had just known what his underlings had been up to (please take as much time to splutter at Irving’s view as you like. I read about it yesterday and I’m still having a difficult time). This chapter is reminiscent of a series of diary entries, while much of the rest reads as longform magazine entries.

However, even beyond that, the book lacks a certain amount of focus. Storr attempts to write journalistically about the people he encounters, scientifically about theories of mind and how people might come to their beliefs, confessionally about his past and difficulties with his own thought processes, and anything else he thinks might be interesting (and most of it, to be fair, is). But these three things don’t necessarily flow together well.

Having said that, however, the book and the people that he encounters are fascinating. Almost all of the explanations he finds for why people believe things that mainstream people would reject are compelling. As I tell my argument students, people have good reasons to disagree with you. Storr is incredibly even-handed with folks that others might dismiss as “nuts.”And while I found the shifts in tone jarring, I also sped through this nearly 400 page book.

If you are interested in how people form beliefs¬†and¬†how those beliefs can contradict the norm, I would recommend this book. But be warned–one of your precious beliefs might be held up for scrutiny (one of mine was!), and you might not like what Storr sees.