(This is a cropped, downsized part of it, for better viewing on LJ.)
Sadly, it appears that I may be headed for impending dual hard drive failure. The figurative kind - I seem to be coming down with the same thing Nef's had. And the more literal variety - after my brother completely wiped and re-installed everything on my computer and confirmed everything was free of viruses and shiny and running correctly, everything seemed to be going great for a while. Unnntil I had another crash, much weirder than the ones I'd had previously. It didn't just lose things that I'd saved immediately before the crash, or was working on at the time, but separate files that I'd saved to the desktop some time earlier completely disappeared as well - it was like the stupid thing had amnesia regarding everything that'd happened for 3-4 hours before that point. Scanning confirms still no viruses that could be causing weirdness, so... I dunno. I'd hoped to get this laptop to last another six months to a year, but... starting to really doubt that's gonna happen at this rate.
Between one thing and another, I'm really starting to get that itch for new technology again. *g* I'm actually seriously contemplating getting an Apple laptop this time around, much to my own surprise. I got so aggravated with our Macs when I was younger - I thought for sure I'd never want to go back to them after I got my first Windows laptop. But seeing how shiny Nef's Mac desktop has been, and looking at a few of the laptops in the store... hmm.
On a totally unrelated note, a question for my various friends who live in other states/countries (which would be, um, all of you, I guess XD). I've noticed a growing trend of people who leave "to be" out of their sentences when writing. That is, they would say, "It needs fixed." or "It needs changed." The first few times I noticed it, I figured it was just an odd typo. But I've been seeing it more and more, even from people whose writing is not otherwise riddled with errors, and it's just... odd. And has been kind of driving me crazy. So I'm wondering if you all have any ideas. Is t just a particularly common mistake? Laziness? Or could it be a regionalism that I'm not familiar with? (scarvenartist, I think you mentioned a similar quirk in the way people talk where you are, but it seems to me that you said it was a bit different - i.e. that people would say "It needs wash." instead of just leaving out "to be." Or am I remembering that wrong?)
Once upon a time in the frozen north, there was a chain of grocery stores. One day, as the weather grew yet colder than usual and the consciousness that Christmastime was fast approaching began to dawn in the hearts of people everywhere, certain mysterious and shadowy Powers That Be within the company decided that it would be a Good Thing to order some festive holiday-themed paper grocery bags for all of their many stores.
And so down from on high came the order to Make It So. And behold, it was Very Good... in theory.
Those orders trickled down to some equally mysterious person or persons, much lower in authority and powers of delegation, but no less capable of creative thought and Good Ideas. And so the person upon whom the task fell went out in quest of the perfect design for Holiday Paper Grocery Bags. It was decided that this design ought to be simple, and cheerful, with a certain flavor of old-fashioned classic elegance.
And so in the fullness of time, behold, a design was brought forth, most likely derived primarily from selections of Free Clip Art. Nonetheless, it was sufficiently pleasing to the eye and appropriate to the season, and all who beheld it declared that it was Just Right and would do fine for this year. And besides, they had to hurry up and get it to the printer, if the bags were going to be delivered to all the stores in time.
Sadly, upon all who beheld that design prior to printing, a certain selective blindness fell. For, while the design was indeed attractive as a whole, in point of fact it contained a number of Errors.
Who can say exactly how it came to pass? Perhaps those tasked with the undertaking were unfamiliar with the conventions of Filler Text. Perhaps they knew no Latin, and so assumed the words to be a festive message of holiday cheer. Perhaps they were simply in a hurry, and decided that It Looks Good Anyway, And It's Not Like Anyone Will Notice. The details are now lost to the mists of time. All we know for sure is that, when those bags made their grand debut in the stores to which they were sent, they were liberally decorated with images such as these:
( Do You See What I See? )
Yep. Vacuuming is no longer a routine chore. Now, it's an Epic Battle which, with the assistance of my Faithful Canine Companion, I wage up and down every floor in the house, until the strange monsters can once more be thrown back into the Depths of the Closet where they belong.
Of course, the reason for the particularly thorough cleaning today... Thanksgiving tomorrow! It looks like we're going to have not just our ex-brother-in-law, but our niece and nephew as well, which is two more people than we'd expected would come for a while, there, so. Yay! :D
( More stuff here! Including a baby Agent Coulson dragon. )
Karate tournament went - quite well, all things considered. Lots of apprehension (I hate that my response to stress tends to be so much dizziness/trouble breathing), though not quite as much as I'd expected until the very last moment. We've had so much come up this last week that... honestly, I just didn't have time to get nervous. Didn't really have time to practice, either, which makes me all the happier for how things went.
Aside from the general nervousness, conditions weren't exactly ideal - I'm pretty sure they were still running heat in the building, which was absolutely ridiculous given today's temperatures, and rather awful when combined with lots of people in an enclosed space and intense physical exercise. Then our time slot for competing got postponed, which added 'bout an extra 45 minutes of jitter-building time. Then they moved our competition to a different ring. Without telling us or making any announcement. *dies* We ended up running over and getting signed in just at the last second before they were getting started.
And then... Eric and I were slotted to go first for our division. Now you have to understand, this is not only intimidating - because you don't get the chance to observe someone else before going yourself - but in karate competition you really don't want to be among the first three people competing. Those three tend to be the benchmark scores, which others are compared against, and so tend to get marked lower than they might later in the competition.
But in the end - we got fourth place for our division! Considering how intense the competition can be, and what we're up against at the red-brown/black teen and adult level? I am very, very happy. ^.^ And... we were actually just One. Point. Away. from third place. The judges even commented on how close the decision was - we were one of the few teams to which none of the judges gave a score lower than 990 (the highest possible being 999). I'm fairly confident that if we'd either been able to get one more person on our team, or had enough practice time to introduce one more creative element, we'd have easily made third place, possibly even second.
So. Awesomeness. :D Gonna get either a plaque or a medal, not sure which for this division - they apparently underestimated the number of competitors/had some delivery issues, so some trophies are getting delivered to the schools rather than presented there. I've been so ridiculously keyed up that I've been practically vibrating ever since we finished. Except now that we're home I'm kinda crashing. So tiiiired. And hungry. *g* Between the stress and the intense physical exercise... I think I got all the reserves sucked out of me. I had a hotdog and ice cream there, M&Ms when we got home... think I'm gonna have a slice of pizza now. XD
Oh! And the writing conference yesterday was quite awesome as well. Lots of very useful information on the publishing world, submitting manuscripts, what and how to negotiate on the contract... Very good. Also, one of the more interesting aspects of being an editor: people at conferences randomly giving you books they've written because they hear you're currently editing something related. XD This person wasn't just looking for free editing/in-depth critique, though. Must remember to read a bit this week and send him a note.... Hey, not such a bad deal - free books! *g*
Unfortunately, by now my brother's deleted pretty much everything I had on my old laptop. Fortunately, I tend to back things up obsessively. Unfortunately... I still lost stuff, partly due to a really strange glitch, partly due to me being stupid. Not sure how much is irretrievable yet. "Weird glitch" stuff so far doesn't seem to be anything especially important, and I probably have most of it elsewhere, if I can find it... but I still have to figure out what all's gone. The "me being stupid" stuff - that'd be mainly my most recent internet bookmarks. Heh, not really sure how important they were, because, well, I tend to use them to remind me to do things. And I can only remember one of them now. So yeah. :P
But - I am very thankful indeed to finally be able to get back to normal life and accomplish things. ^.^ In celebration of that - and of the fact that I have just got the latest issue of the magazine finished and safely sent off in the mail, here is some editing-related amusement for your enjoyment. (Or not. *g*)
( Editing? What's that? )
Anyhow - I'm very happy indeed to be back! I've miiissed my friends. *hugs all around*
Happy Easter, everyone!
Take this, at the movie rental place:
Since the fine print isn't legible, you'll have to take my word for what it says underneath: See store for details. (It says the same thing twice, nothing else.) Nope, no "Free rentals to Kids." No "Free Kids' Movies." Nothing. Simply the statement that they are giving away kids here. I would think that one would get in trouble for such things.
Then there's this advertisement for a jazz concert:
Check out the part in the pink circle. Not only a random quote not attributed to anyone, but... erm, devastating? This is the word they choose to try to convince people to come? I've been wracking my mind to try to figure out what similar-sounding word they might have meant. I can come up with plenty that would've worked better... but none of them really look or sound anything like "devastating." Quite unique, that. Appropriate enough for a very sad, dramatic movie, maybe, but a jazz band? Herm.
*blows smoke away from her pistol*
( Pics of mah four-footed babies :D )
And now I am feeling artistic! *g* Mimic dragon concept over at Dragcave is going well, I think. Heh heh, though working there has a way of making me feel veeery ignorant and art-impaired. Particularly since I continue to struggle with a highly irritating mental block when it comes to translating my art experience from paper to digital art. I can have done something can't-even-remember-how-many-times with pastels, know the principles perfectly well, and yet when I move to a computer instantly I need to go over it all again through trial-and-error before the lightbulb goes on and I figure out how to apply those principles. ;P Aaanyway, I'm finally doing some shading on the Mimic male now, and I think it's starting to look good. :)
Did I mention that I'm doing concept art for two other people's dragon ideas, now, too? Very fun. :) Particularly the second one, where I'm collaborating with a very experienced and talented artist. Though, yes, I am a liiitle intimidated by her. She's very nice, but just - *hides*
And! I just got another concept accepted! *is so excited* Meh Long-Furred Dragon. :D Though now the sketching for the male is not going well. Phooey. *pokes it* I just hope I can get the fluffy little babies I have a mental image of to come out right...
Not doing bad, though. We're thoroughly enjoying having a dock on the lake. Yay, lots of fishing! And we've got a whole bunch of torches to light the dock and path down by the lake. Going out there at night, through a yard just full of fireflies, to a lake lit up by flames and the moon, with so many bright stars in the sky... It's just so magical, I can still hardly believe we actually live here. :D
Hehe, and we now have a turtle living in the lake that'll come when called and eat out of our hands. Add one more to our Home for Confused Animals! XD It's so cuuute... Now we just need a name for it. I'm thinkin' maybe Fischel.... *g*
ETA: o.o While I am still enjoying the BBC Robin Hood TV series, there is one thing I will say. I would not recommend the series finale. Seriously. That is positively the most idiotic end to a Robin Hood story I have ever seen or heard of. I'm sorry, that is just not poetic or dramatic - that's stupid. Sometimes, I hate TV series writers. *goes off grumbling*
"Doctor, Patient confident sheltie you know."
For anyone who may be unable to decipher that out of context, no, it was not a Yoda-esque way of referring to a bold mini-collie who happened to be under the care of said doctor. Rather, it should say, "Doctor-patient confidentiality, you know." I just - I couldn't help it. I actually laughed until I cried. The only reasonable explanation I can think of is that the person had never actually seen the word written down, and attempted to spell it solely based on how it sounded. But really, even that's not a reasonable explanation. Even changing it to that because of a Word spell-checker recommendation isn't a resonable explanation.
I'm... not sure there is a really reasonable explanation for that.
Hehe, okay, so I've still got quite a lot I'm working on, but all the really-must-be-finished-now stuff is taken care of and safely sent on its way, and everything else I've got a good handle on and is moving along well. I can ease back and relax, and I should have all or most of it done within the next couple of days.
And I didn't work on Sunday.
God is always faithful. :)
Hehe. Okay, not really. More like: Aaahhh! Ican'tgetitalldoneintime! AAAAHHH! Ahem. No, I can. Really. I think. I hope. It is definitely times like these, however, that try my commitment not to work on Sundays. But if Eric Liddell could hold out when it came to the Olympics... ;)
Anyway. Don't feel like talking about editing anymore at the moment. So -
Very exciting news: Just found out yesterday that Nef has been chosen for "Best Side-kick of the Month" at karate! *is So Very Proud of her sis* For those who don't know, that'd refer to a particular kind of kick, not someone who hangs out with superheroes. ;)
Ah, and by the way, just in case you need any further proof of just how superior Minnesota is... Y'know the official Wisconsin state government website? Betcha can't guess what city's skyline was in the picture at the top of the page. Their state capital, Madison? Nope. Their biggest city, Milwaukee? Nope. Just so happens it was a picture of Minneapolis. *bg* Not even our state capitol, but the other half of our dear "Twin Cities." Yes, that does make me laugh very hard. ;D They eventually got it changed (just within the last couple days, I believe), but still. *pats poor Wisconsin, living in the shadow of our great state*
And I've been doing a bit of reading for breaks, lest my brain rebel utterly and refuse to participate any longer. Yes, I know, that is a somewhat odd choice for a change of pace. But... reading is how I relax. Especially when I have a really good book, which I did. Having finished The Thief and The Queen of Attolia, I have now completed The King of Attolia.
*is dead of utter awesomeness*
Seriously. Every time I'd think I was completely convinced that Eugenides was thoroughly awesome and I loved him, he'd come into the scene again and I'd realize... I adored him even more than I thought I did, and he's even cooler than I realized. Love, love, love, love, love. Want more. Very glad that I bought the books (except Thief, which wasn't as pressing since I'd finished it, but which I will be getting), because these are definitely ones to re-read. *sighs in the bliss of wonderful books*
Back to work!
"Why are there lasers coming out of his eyes?"
Yep, we have done well - the sci-fi mindset is now thoroughly entrenched. Believe me, considering our mom's very low interest in such things, it took some doing, too. ;D
In other news... Karate promotions were last night! Not too bad, considering the far-more-than-expected chunk of time we wound up taking off over Christmas/New Year's etc. due to some big snowstorms. And I'm a blue belt now! *bounces* Which means this is my eighth belt, with six more to go before black belt. That's... kinda hard to believe. Huh.
Bit of excitement this morning. It's garbage day, and some idiot vandal decided to go down our street and knock over and/or break all the garbage bins on our street. People. *sighs* Ours is totally useless now, so we're gonna have to get a new one. Still working out with the garbage company who's paying for what, and we had to have the police out here to take a look at things and make a report. Policeman was really nice and helpful, said in thirty years he's never seen anything quite like this around here. LOL, took him a while to get here, though, because turning a corner his car slid on the ice and went partway into the ditch. Ah, winter...
Anywho, back to work for me! Hehe, I think I may actually be a little ahead of schedule at the moment... because I sort of freaked out just a little yesterday, feeling like I was getting behind. Ahem. So yay! But now I have to contact tech support for my antivirus today, because I'm getting stupid errors over an important update. So, don't know how big a chunk of the day that's gonna take up. Bleh.
Perhaps it shouldn't surprise me anymore, but I am always startled when people attempt to use smiley faces in their articles. I am all for smiley faces. Obviously. Love them - in e-mails, IM, casual interaction. But in an article you're preparing for publication? Seriously? O.o
Also, the number of people who try to use multiple exclamation marks. *shakes head* I mean, I do know that many of these people are not professional writers, but... many of them are. Many of them have books published. Yep, books, plural. C'mon, they know this stuff... don't they?
It's also amusing when someone tries to make an excellent point... using an argument or example which is unfortunately less-than-effective in demonstrating that point. Especially when better examples are readily available. Such as the review of a book on real-life heroes from various wars in American history (sounds great!), in which the writer asks if you're tired of genetically modified heroes - and gives as example Batman and Superman, of all the superheroes. *mutters* ('kay, actually Batman's a normal human who just uses lots of cool gadgets and martial arts training. And Superman's an alien, who wasn't genetically modified, but was born that way and has the abilities he does due to the differences between our planet and Krypton, most particularly our sun. *sighs* Yeah. Okay. I let that one go. Decided she made her point effectively enough to be understood without me displaying my utterly geeky side. Still. Spiderman? X-Men, even? Though technically they're not genetically modified so much as evolved, actually. Fantastic Four? The Hulk? *flails* Research, people! *glances around sheepishly* Okay, I'm done. You can stop laughing now.)
So yes, I get a good laugh editing certain things. Not because I am mean, or think these people are idiots. I have a great deal of respect for them, and they have some wonderful stuff to say. And certainly not because I don't understand how typos and mistakes happen, or believe that they are necessarily a sign that people don't know better when they should. Really. I do understand, from personal experience. I have a great deal of mercy for such things, and I love doing my job.
It's just that certain mistakes have really very funny results. (Erm... you're gonna show love to your children by treating them to electroconvulsive therapy? Think you mean "etc." there, not "ECT".) And correcting other mistakes... kinda makes me want to cry. Because really, they should've been caught way before this point, especially considering several people should have gone over it. And especially when it's the same ones again and again and again and again. But I choose to be amused, and giggle instead. :)
And then I get distracted and accidentally write on my face with my red pen. Or tap the wrong end of a highlighter against my lips. The results of which are somewhat undignified.
There is a very good reason why, when I have been working, I like to check the mirror before I'm seen in public.
'kay, end of
Got up this morning and discovered the temperature was twenty-six degrees below zero. So I washed my hair, and then went out for karate class. As I was walking through the parking lot after lunch, without a coat on, no gloves, no hat, drinking my strawberry icee, it occurred to me - much as it may astonish you to hear this - that on occasion I can display behavior which might be described as... not terribly bright.
Actually, it wasn't all that bad. Wasn't windy, and really felt quite good after karate. They turn the heat up much too high in there.
But now my fingers are really cold.
On a different note, the professor teaching a writing course I'm taking has recommended a book I simply have to read, if for the title alone: The Elephants of Style: A Trunkload of Tips on the Big Issues and Gray Areas of Contemporary American English. Sadly, the library doesn't have it, so I think I'm gonna have to buy it. From what he said, I suspect it will be worth it, though. :D
I'm gonna go get a Mountain Dew. Out of the fridge. Yes, I'm stupid. But I neeeed caffeine.
There... are times when I really wish I could get myself to like coffee.
Anywho - since we didn't make it to karate promotions last night, we had a private testing today. Not too bad, got two stripes... Our teacher says we really need to start sparring now, though. So. *gulps* I'm so totally gonna get beat up. *cringes*
And a police officer came to karate today. Not for class, but because I found his ID badge lying out in the snow, so we had to call and let him know where he could come get it. He was very relieved. LOL, yeah, not the kinda thing you want to lose, I'd imagine. *g* Ah, the great excitement and adventure in my life... Yes, I'm boring, I know. ;P
Started snowing like crazy again on our way home, and it's not showing any signs of letting up. Yays! *dances* We're gonna have a very white Christmas, it appears. ;D
Oh! And I started reading The Copyeditor's Handbook. Not very far into it yet, but already So. Very. Awesome. He! Reading books like this makes me so happy. *hugs it* So far the author seems to have both a whole lot of great down-to-earth common sense, and a fun sense of humor. And since the book comes very highly recommended, I have high hopes that it'll prove both useful and very interesting. *bouncy*
So, not a whole lot to say, just feeling like being random. :) Think I'm going to curl up with my electric blanket and do some more reading.
Y’know what? Sometimes, Word’s grammar checker really bugs me. Especially when it decides to not only give awful-sounding suggestions, but to be politically correct about it to boot. Seriously. Do not tell me that I ought to say “humanity” or “humankind” instead of “mankind.” I am perfectly capable of deciding which sounds best in the context of what I am writing. I do realize that no generalization including the word “man” is PC, and you know something? I don’t care. And since I’m a woman myself, I think I oughta have just a little say in what words should or should not bother me. *growls*
Oh, I’m quite aware of what’s considered all correct these days, and I am capable of writing and editing accordingly when the job requires. But I get really, really sick of hyper-PC-ness that is required in our phraseology these days. Yeah, I do see why some of it is desirable, but seriously… So much of it just sounds so bad or awkward or silly. Something in me revolts at the idea of using elaborate, meaningless phrases or intentionally writing something awkward, just out of paranoia that someone may be insulted.
Honestly, I really, truly, don’t want to insult or hurt people. Seriously, anyone who knows me probably knows that I can actually be ridiculously paranoid about it at times. But I think sometimes, over things like this… people just want an opportunity to be insulted. I want to be sensitive, yes, but can we PLEASE be sensible as well? And I guess as both an editor and an artist, it irks me when people start making rules for writing that have nothing to do either with clarifying one’s meaning or with what sounds good. *huff*
And now that I’ve finished that little rant, a vaguely related but quite random aside: I’ve come to realize that I greatly overuse ellipses in casual communication. I’m addicted to the things. I also have a definite weakness for dashes. It’s a sad thing, really.
Oh well. Could be worse, I suppose. I could be addicted to semicolons. Now there’s a dangerous thing. Some people can’t go more ‘n half a page without using one, you know. Perilous things, semicolons. Gotta be careful about getting yourself mixed up with ‘em.
And some people think the life of an editor is dull. It’s littered with pitfalls, let me tell you….
Yeah, I'm in a weird mood. I'm nervous, 'cause karate promotions are tonight, and I'd reeeally like to make it to the next belt, and I Can. Not. seem to write today. Must go and try some more. *marches off*
( Kitties, Editing, and Karate - what a mix... )