Monday, January 01, 2007

For 2007, I Resolve To Edit More

Errors I made in 2006 that are bugging me, though not enough to actually fix 'em; plus, a miscellaneous resolution (see if you can spot it!):

1. My work (my stupid, stupid work) has this thing where the New Style is, you type all numbers as Arabic numerals. Well, I'm old. I remember a time [cue flashback music] when you wrote out the numbers 1-10 (and some said, 1-20) but used numerals for all the rest of them. So, 101st Fighting Keyboardists, but Three Bulls Blog (and I don't care how they title it themselves). And I can't shake this, except when I can, and that's how I write posts in which "two hours" becomes "2 hours," but "5 minutes, and usually 10" is still "five minutes, and usually ten." I am caught in-between worlds, stylistically, and it's fucking me up and making me inconsistent, and I hate that.

2. COULD I figure out a consistent capitalization style for post titles? Maybe, in 2007, but certainly not in any year prior. I tell myself that I use lowercase for prepositions and conjunctions, and initial case for everything else; but then I go back and look, and I see that I sort of unconsciously default to capitalizing everything that isn't a preposition, a conjunction, or a tense of the verb "to be." But I don't like that style, actually, and yet it seems to be what I slip into; also, I'm realizing I'm shockingly rusty on what prepositions actually are. I need remedial sentence-diagramming, OR, I need to get the fuck over caring about this, depending on your point of view. I have sympathy with people who choose the latter option (because you are so together, so centered; how do you do it? Can you teach me? Am I hopeless?), but secretly, I'm hoping someone will send me a link to a good book on diagramming sentences, because I used to love diagramming sentences. Fine, hate me! No one likes diagramming sentences. But for me, it's helpful to draw everything out. I'm a visual learner, I guess.

3. I must knock it off with the Friedmanesque metaphors. My beef stock can NOT beat up your honor student; it is not sentient and it has no extremities. But chances are it does still SMELL better than your honor student.

4. Modern comma rules confuse me. The trend is to omit them, but every time I try this, I wince. "There should be a comma there," I think, "but I don't want to look old. Generation Y would not put a comma there." Well, but I am old, or at least I have lived close to half my life expectancy, or more if I don't quit smoking real soon. But for 2007, I resolve to use commas with abandon. Do not forsake the comma, oh the comma, that bit of punctuation which has served us all so well! (And also can replace [I am going to get so much shit for this] an ellipsis, nine times out of ten. [Oh hey, neat! A sentence fragment!] And just so you know, I love the ellipsis, but respectfully. It does not . . . need . . . to be . . . in every . . . sentence.)

5. Hey, you know something? For 2007 I should quit smoking. Check back in 2010, when I am still saying the exact same thing, but also bitching about how cigarettes are now $10 a pack. Sin taxes: Effective in discouraging people to start, and this I cheer. But bone fucking useless in encouraging people to quit. If you told me I could blow people for cigarettes, I'd probably do it. Check with me about 20 hours into a jones and see if I'm not your girl. I don't even care what sex you are. You got a cigarette? C'mere! Really, I flossed AND brushed first.


Rob said...

I remember saying I'd quit when cigarettes reached $1 a pack. I think I paid $3 for a pack at some bar that year I finally quit; 1985. I loves the comma and the ellipsis, too, and I'm always concerned about whether I used them correctly according to my English teachers, not me niece's English teachers. I've been corrected by an ellipsis NAZI recently and have repented. He had a mis-spelling in his correction, though. Quite delicious. Happy New Year, Ilyka.

Rob said...

My niece is what I meant to say. I don't say me niece. Not a limey bone in me body.

Lisa said...

Hey I don't think I've ever commented here, but your blog is awesome.

Anyway, at first glance I thought you said "For 2007, I resolve to Eat More," and I just about burst into applause.

Also ... I'm really feeling the sin tax thing too -- they just raised the price of cigarettes by $1/pack in TX. Which caused me to consider quitting for a few minutes, and rule it out completely. I figure at least the extra money will allow me to feel even worse about smoking. So that's something.

Sniper said...

I need remedial sentence-diagramming, OR, I need to get the fuck over caring about this, depending on your point of view.

I vote the latter. Since I'm an English teacher this may carry some sort of special blessing.

Good luck on quitting smoking. I'm so glad I'm the only one in my entire family never to start. They've all non-smokers at the moment, thank goodness. I say at the moment because they've accumulated about, oh, a billion false starts.

Chris Clarke said...

I have the answer to your Title Capitalization Problems, by the way.

Use sentence case. First word and proper nouns only. Everything else gets lowercased.

If it's good enough for the Economist, it's good enough for moi.

Ron O. said...

I've already fallen off the smoking wagon this morning. It's especially bad because my wife is pregnant and quitting herself. It's not any easier for her when she knows there are cigs on the back porch. I'm thinking I should try an anti-depressant this time. But of course that would require going to the doctor which would require actually having a doctor. I paid $7 for a pack.

I say stick with the rules you learned, rather than try to keep up with the youngins. When in doubt, or when my job requires it, I use the Gregg Reference manual.

Unfortunately, I'm a bad speller, worse typist and am constantly editing and changing tenses. Paying too close attention to grammar doesn't make me appear smarter, when half the time I look like a monkey typing.

gennimcmahon said...

I couldn't diagram a sentence if you put a gun to my head and threatened to make me declare that Dubya is hawt. I squeaked by in grammer because I was such a voracious reader that I internalized how to write without ever learning the actual rules. As such, I have no idea what an ellipse is, and have to think really hard about adverbs and, oh, fuck, the other one...See? It's pathetic.

ADJECTIVES! I had to edit this because I remembered, ADJECTIVES! Whew! No Alzheimer's for me.

gennimcmahon said...

OH, and, well, *do* quit smoking. I likes ya, and want to have lunch without any horrid coughing when I make you laugh, 'kay?

Kaethe said...

I didn't do well with quitting. But for eight years I've managed to keep myself under 5 cigs a day, with lapses that still keep me under half a pack a day. It works for me.

Good luck.

Eric said...

Ellipses? No, just no. You start to use them, and there's no turning back. Personally I'm trying to wean myself from em dashes, but it's a struggle.

ilyka said...

But, Eric, I love also very much the em-dash.

I am so fucked.