I Can Haz Grammar?

 

 

My Dad and I were discussing the latest drama in the “Luann” comic strip. Two characters are trying to figure out how a third character–who has no obvious means of employment–makes his money. They guessed that he engaged in illegal activities to support himself.

My Dad and I, as we are wont to do with the comics, began discussing the subject with a measure of seriousness.

“I bet he is Mafia,” my Dad postulated. “What do you think he does?”

I pondered the character for a moment, then said, “I think he monetizes his blog with affiliate content.”

[Raised eyebrows from Dad.]

“Ooookaaayy….”

Welcome to a new world, with a new vocabulary.

I don’t usually realize how unusual today’s online vernacular sounds until I speak it out loud to others.

Tweet.

Failwhaling.

I can haz.

Microblogging.

For that matter, blogging.

And a new kid on the grammatical block–plurk.

Each word, however strange and odd, seems to make perfect sense when used in context.

Tweet: Noun or verb. Referencing a status message on the site Twitter.com. As a verb, the act of posting such a message.

Failwhaling : Verb. To break down or fail, especially in reference to a failure to meet expectations. From the whale illustration on the error message that appears when the site Twitter.com temporarily breaks down.

I can haz : I am allowed to possess; or, when used as a question, “May I please have…” From “lolspeak,” originated on Icanhascheezburger.com.

Microblogging : Posting a running stream of thoughts in messages of 140 characters or less on a site such as Twitter.

Blogging : Writing a journal or series of articles on an internet web log site.

Plurk : Noun or verb. The name of a microblogging site, Plurk.com, and also the messages posted. As a verb, the act of posting messages on the site.

So in other words, I can tweet about my wi-fi failwhaling, and plead, “I can haz new router?” then plurk a link to my latest blog post about modern society’s dependence on technology.

Make sense? Kthanksbai.

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor

Published in: on July 10, 2008 at 9:10 pm  Comments (8)  
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Relationships — Day Four

 

It’s Day Four of the Southern Cross Novel Challenge…I’m learning something about life from my imaginary friends.

 

 

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Currents of Life

 

 

 

At the moment, I live at home with my folks and sister. The challenge about this is that it’s hard to find a quiet space for my work or personal time; but the good part is that I can spend one-on-one time with the family I love.

Weekend mornings often turn into “dad and me” time. Dad’s an early riser; I’m usually next. It’s typical for me to walk into the dining area on a Sunday morning and be greeted with the warm aroma of pancakes and coffee, and the sight of my Dad seated at the table with the lights on (no matter how sunny it is outside) and the newspaper and remnants of his breakfast spread out around him. This was the scene that greeted me today.

I poured myself a cup of coffee and drifted over to the table, picking up the career section. The cover story talked about protective parents who need to let go of their college-bound offspring. Not much else there, so as my Dad opened the business section, I peeked over his shoulder. This is a bit of a Sunday ritual–I drink my coffee, he turns the pages. If I’m interested in something, I lean closer or ask him to wait before turning the page. Technically, I’m being a pest, but he doesn’t seem to mind.

My glance idled through a column about one man’s need to let go of an aging parent who tends to make unwise financial decisions. Then my Dad interrupted my thoughts with a comment about the business article he was reading. He closed his remark with diffidence: “Of course, that’s just my opinion.” But his thoughts were right on, as they usually are.

There are times when Dad has a clear perspective on things that I’m either unaware of, or don’t understand. I value his wisdom. By the same token, I know there are subjects that I can explain to him.

Next, we read the trivia column together and started talking about tides. Both of us have a solid knowledge of that subject. We’re on an even field in this respect.

It led us to a discussion of ocean currents. I had never quite understood how they worked, but my Dad was able to explain it clearly to me. Seawater condenses as it gets cold in the north, then sinks. The water moves south, where it gets warmer and rises toward the surface. Eventually, it’s driven north—and the cycle starts all over again.

Suddenly, as I stood there looking over Dad’s shoulder, the puzzle pieces of the past few minutes began to assemble in my mind. My Dad and myself finding common ground and learning from each other. Parents letting go of adult children; adult children letting go of aging parents.

The world keeps changing. Life keeps moving. Yet somehow it always goes back to the place where it started. Like the currents of the ocean.

At some point, it will be my children who are looking over my shoulder; learning from my experience, sharing understanding, teaching me what they know. Looking over my shoulder, and preparing to take their place in the world.

Life flows.

 

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Ok, Geniuses

 

Saturday morning. I emerge into the dining room. My Dad looks up with a cheerful expression. “Aha!” he says. It’s nice to be appreciated, but before I get a chance to feel too smug, he pulls out the newspaper. Oh, no.

Pop: “What was the greatest gift given to America by France?”

Isaac Asimov’s genius quiz. Groan.

Me: “Statue of Liberty.”

Pop: “That’s what I say, too. Who was famous for crossing the Rubicon?”

Me: “Groan.” (audible) “I need coffee before I can deal with this.”

I continue on into the kitchen. Pop is undaunted.

Pop: “Come on. Who was famous for crossing the Rubicon?”

Me: “Ernő Rubik.”

Pop: “Ernő Rubik?”

Me: (sarcasm) “Oh, wait, he was famous for the Rubik’s Cube.”

Pop: (Brief grin.) “I think it had something to do with Kipling.”

I shrug and pour my coffee.

Pop: “Who ruled Spain from 1939 to 1975?”

Silence.

Pop: “Who was the Soviet leader during the Cuban Missile Crisis?”

I remain silent on this one, letting him have it. He was in the service during the Missile Crisis, after all. Surely he…

Pop: “Gorbachev.”

Me: (Stunned) “Um… Khrushchev.”

Pop: “Ooh, right! Very good.”

Me: “You want to know the impressively intelligent reason I know that answer?”

Pop: “What?”

Me: “When we were growing up, you had that book of political photo cartoons, and Krushchev was in it. It stuck with me.”

Pop grins. Moves on.

Pop: “Who allegedly killed officer JD Tippit?”

I have a vague feeling this is related to the TV show “Dallas.”

Pop: “What country was Leon Trotsky assassinated in?” Silence.

Pop: “During what war did the battle of Jutland take place?” Silence.

Pop: (Looking up at me in disbelief) “Who knows this kind of stuff??”

Me: “What’s worse: knowing it…or not knowing any of it?”

Pop: “We knew the Statue of Liberty.”

Me: “True.”

We continue. We have FAIL. Pop reads the answers. We got the Statue of Liberty right. Oh, and Krushchev. But the Rubicon?

Pop: “Huh. It wasn’t Kipling. Julius Caesar was famous for crossing the Rubicon. I thought he was famous for ‘Nobody sees her like Julius Caesar.'”

Me: (Finally admitting) “I’ve never even heard of the Rubicon!”

Pop: “It’s famous. Julius crossed it.”

Mom walks in the room.

Pop: “Who was famous for crossing the Rubicon?”

Mom: (Blank stare)

Pop: “It’s a river in Italy. Don’t feel bad, I thought it was something Kipling wrote.”

Nobody tell Asimov, okay?

 

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 7:52 pm  Comments (7)  
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Being a Noun Means Nothing Without the Verb

 

My Mouse by mousewords

 

We all identify ourselves with nouns. Like me, for instance. I’m a writer, an artist, and a web designer. I say this quite often, and type it into all my social media bio pages. Everyone knows me by these nouns.

Nouns are great. But I need to remind myself of verbs. Being a web designer doesn’t mean anything unless I design web pages. Saying I’m a writer is meaningless unless I put words on a page. I am those nouns, so one would think that performing the verbs that go with them is second nature to me. It is…when I let it be. But more often than I care to admit, I let myself forget.

Sometimes I fall prey to thinking that the verbs that are most important in my day are the demanding ones. Answer that message. Work on that project. Clean that room. They need to be done by a certain time, so they must be high priority, right? But that’s not always the case. There will always be tasks and “to-do’s” that are deadline-intensive, in the short term. Be assured, there will always be a steady stream of them. When one is dealt with, another will arise to take its place.

On the other hand, the long-term goals—the ones that are really most important—will be there consistently, not moving, not going anywhere. It’s tempting to let them slide down the priority list, simply because they’re always there. But the truth is that they’ll always be there because I’m not doing any verbs toward finishing them.

Long-term goals are kinder and gentler than short-term requirements. Quieter, not so demanding. They sit meekly in the background and await one’s attention. Making them very easy to neglect—there’s no knee-jerk reaction to deal with them, as there is when a short-term shouts at you. And neglect can become a habit. If there’s no unpleasant reaction, no shouting, no chastisement for being neglectful, chances are good one will put off remedying it. You can get used to leaving the quiet things for later…even when they’re really the most important. But they’re usually the most faithful. They’ll wait for your attention.

I know I do this. I get a lot of things “done.” But I don’t do enough towards what’s important. So I need to take a step back every so often. Reorganize my goals. Trim the short-term off the top of the to-do list, remember that taking care of them will not get rid of short-term tasks. Others will take their place, and I will be trapped in an endless cycle of crisis management. While the goals that are most meaningful to me and my future waste away in the background—and may never be achieved.

I don’t want that to happen. So I’ll remind myself to actually perform the verb that comes with my noun.

Writers write. Artists paint. Lovers love.

What verb should you be doing?

 

Beer Pancakes-Yes, Really

 

Beer Pancakes

1 1/2 cups sifted flour
3/4 teapoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon double-action baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup beer*
2/3 cup milk
1 egg white

Sift four, salt, baking powder, sugar into bowl. Stir in egg yolks, butter, beer, and milk until smooth. Beat egg white until stiff, but not dry; fold into mixture. Drop onto lightly greased, heated griddle or skillet. Cook until bubbles cover top, turn and cook until browned. Serve with maple syrup, or heated corn syrup mixed with equal quantity of beer.

These have a slightly yeasty flavor. Let beer set for awhile until it loses most of its carbonation before using.

~Doris Neumeister, from the cookbook “From and Adobe Oven…to a Microwave Range,” Pueblo Service League, Pueblo, Colorado, 1972/74

~~

*variation: Nonalcoholic beer may be used.

We had these for supper last night. The pancakes were rich and tasty, with a yeasty flavor. The sauce tasted for all the world like honey–or apples, depending on how long it sat, or who one asks. :-):-)

We used nonalcoholic beer–it’s possible that regular beer may produce a different flavor.

Enjoy!

(And no, I don’t think leftovers have anything to do with my perky mood today.)

 

Published in: on February 1, 2008 at 3:04 pm  Comments (5)  
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