Finally, my reading has paid off

February 23, 2009

I know, it’s been a long time since I’ve written. But, don’t worry, I have plenty of excuses. Actually, coming up with excuses is one of the things that I do best. My biggest excuse is that I’ve been working in Nashville a lot recently. That’s not the best excuse, since I had a computer when I was in Nashville, but it’s better for you that I didn’t write while I was there. There’s only so many “yee haw,” ya’ll, and cowboy jokes that I can make before they get old. In fact, they’ve already gotten old. Also, I bought a condo. That’s usually a decent sized accomplishment, but I made it all the more impressive while doing it without money, in a horrible economy, while spending all of my time reading instead of coming up with extra cash. (Please send me money.)

Anyway, my reading has finally paid off. I knew this day would come. It doesn’t have to do with the most recent book I read, but it has to do with the “Woe is I” book I read a month or so ago. Yes, it also has to do with pancakes. I was lounging around with Melinda today when I threw out the idea of us eating some delicious pancakes before dinner. These aren’t your usual pancakes. They’re not even your usual DELICIOUS pancakes. These are pancakes from Mandalay Restaurant near Melinda’s, and they are some crazy pancake appetizer that you are allowed to eat at dinner without your mom getting mad or girlfriend giving you dirty looks. I told Melinda, “Let’s get some pancakes. That will whet your appetite. W-h-e-t.” I don’t know why I decided to spell out whet. I don’t think I was trying to be obnoxious. Sometimes I just spell words. Melinda quickly responded, “Whet is not a word.” Holy moly. For anyone that knows Melinda, you should know that I was in trouble. She’s always right. She’s right so much (always) that every time I try to prove her wrong I fail miserably and she makes me say to her, “Melinda, you’re right….as always.” It’s really degrading and something no man should have to do. You can see why I was concerned that she didn’t think whet was a word. I figured I was about to become less of  a man. However, thanks to the power of the iPhone I was able to pull up the definition of “whet” and shove it in her face. Thanks to the silly grammar book I read, I knew that whet was a word. Unbelievable. I learned something.

I may not be right “as always” but I was right for once, and that’s good enough for me. Thank you books. I owe you one.


Woe Is I for Finishing this Book

November 30, 2008

I’m starting to get depressed every Sunday when I finish a book. Wait a minute, that’s not even close to the truth. I’m actually pretty happy when I finish a book, but I thought I’d sound cooler if I said I was depressed. Wow, I have issues. Thinking being depressed is cool is like thinking it’s cool to watch Battlestar Galactica (which, for the record, I do). Anyway, I have finished Woe Is I and I must say that it was delightful.

But, before I give a summary of the book, let’s talk about one of its chapter’s titles: “Metaphors Be with You.” hahahha, I could not stop laughing when I read that. If you don’t get the joke then you haven’t watched enough Star Wars. As you probably guessed, this was the chapter on metaphors. The chapter itself was good, but the title was priceless. I could have spent years and not come up with a pun that good. My hat’s off to you Mrs. O’Conner. <begin slow clap>

There were two things that I was happy to learn through the last 75 pages of the book.

  1. It’s okay to end a sentence with a preposition.
  2. It’s okay to start a sentence with and or but.

I’m sure grammar dorks (people even dorkier than me) could argue about this for years, but I’m going to take the author’s word for it and high five myself for all the times I started a sentence with and or but. (That means I get three high fives for this post alone.)

Getting back to the book, it was good and I recommend it. (I’m now convinced that people don’t read this blog for the book reviews). I thought that it would make me some grand master of grammar who kicked grammar butt and took names. I imagined myself saying stuff like, “I’m here to kick grammar ass and chew bubblegum, and I’m all out of bubblegum,” but, quite honestly, that never happened. I also thought I might get a tattoo with something like, “i before e, except after c,” or ,”I’m the comma sutra.” But, that didn’t happen either. I guess I’m much less extreme than I’d like. Instead, I mentioned the book to a few friends, and became much less anal about grammar. One of these days I’ll become the Jack Bauer of grammar, but for now I’ll just read silently and politely. (Oh no, Woe Is I would be mad at me for saying that I read politely because it doesn’t make any sense. But, I don’t like using the delete key so I’m just going to leave that sentence. Look at me, I’m finally being a rebel.)

Grammar Snob

November 27, 2008

Let’s start this thing off cheesily (even though I’m reading a book on grammar, I can still make up words like “cheesily”). I am thankful for the book Woe Is I. Not only am I thankful for this book feeding my inner grammar nerd, but I’m also thankful that it’s making me less of a grammar snob. There are so many grammar rules that it is unbelievable. Woe Is I is page after page of grammar rules, there is no way anyone can know all of these. The author, Patricia O’Conner, must be the only human on the planet with a complete grasp on the English language. A week ago I cringed whenever someone used then instead of than, or used it’s when they should have used its, or said anyways instead of anyway. However, now I realize that although I have these rules down, there are a million and one that I don’t know. Look at me, I’m growing and progressing. This book a week thing is making me a better person. Okay, that’s not true. I’m still going to judge people when they use it’s instead of its, now I’ll just judge myself as well.

Okay, here are some interesting things I’ve learned over the past few days.

  • Restauranteur is not a word. Am I the only person that didn’t know this? The word is actually restaurateur.
  • Irregardless is not a word. What the? The word is just regardless. Again, am I the only one that didn’t know this? When I googled “irregardless” the first result said, “an erroneous redundancy for regardless.” Crap, I must’ve been the only person that didn’t know. (Darn it, I just broke a rule. According to Woe Is I I’m not supposed to say “must’ve”.) (Darn it again. Quotes, period, and parenthesis. I don’t know what the crap goes where.)
  • A dash is different than a hyphen.

Anyway, if it wasn’t already obvious, there’s a lot I don’t know. However, at least I have this book to tell me how much I don’t know. Normally I just have my friends to tell me that.

Woe Is I

November 24, 2008

Darn you Google for showing me ads targeted to things that I’m interested in. An ad appeared on the top of my Gmail account promoting a book called Woe Is I which is described as “The grammarphobe’s guide to better English in plain English.” Now, I’m not a grammarphobe. In fact, I’m a grammarphile. (Did I just make that word up? Maybe.) I think it has to do with the fifth grade teacher in me, but I’ve always been incredibly interested in grammar. I don’t know what it is. Some people are obsessed with video games, others with reading or music, but me….I’m obsessed with grammar. Before you get too anal on me, just because I’m obsessed with grammar doesn’t mean that I’m good at it. It also doesn’t mean that I’m well at it (haha, grammar jokes for life).

So, after seeing the ad I made a trip to Barnes and Noble to buy the book. I’m really trying not to buy many books, since I have plenty at home that I haven’t read, but the grammar nerd in me came out and forced me to make a purchase. After reading 50 pages, I can tell you that this book was worth every penny. Take these two sentences as an example: “Though it’s technically incorrect, octopi is now so common that dictionaries list it as a second choice after octopuses, the preferred plural. Octopi is for suckers.” If reading this blog gets you nothing else in life, it will prevent you from being a sucker.

Expect to get some great grammar tips this week. Actually, don’t expect much, I’m feeling quite lazy. Anyway, first things first, time to turn off Google ads before I go and spend more money.