Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's My Birthday.

And it's special because I'm the same age as my best friend right now. "Hm, that's not unusual," you might be thinking. In normal circumstances, you might be right, but my best friend just so happens to be my older sister, too. Now say that's not unusual.

I love you, Irish twin.


Note: The above picture was taken on the last day of one of Lexia's trips home. My mom and the girlies and I were dropping her off at the airport. The few minutes before this picture was taken, I had been crying. I'm sure I cried after she left, too. I wanted to go to New York with her.

Thing I'm thankful for: physical therapy. I could really use some on my neck right now . . .

Friday, October 19, 2007

Solving the Rubik's Cube . . . Blindfolded?

Has anyone seen this video? It's incredible.

Rubik's Cube Solved Blindfolded.

Of course the guy is Asian, right? Asians are so, so smart!

So who is this Rubik, anyway? Learn about him on Wikipedia: Rubik's Cube.

Thing I'm thankful for: sweet potatoes, which I had for lunch today, along with stuffing, green beans, and apple pie. It's my pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Why Celebrity Praise Sometimes Bothers Me

I don't read celebrity gossip much anymore, although I will read magazine headlines once in a while. Tonight while I was waiting in a Kroger checkout line, however, I actually picked up this week's issue of People and skimmed the pages. I came across an article about how amazing Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are, and for the first time in the last two or so years, I was able to articulate why I was bothered by all the positive media attention they get.

Now, let me just say that I don't dislike them for any good reason, but I just get tired of the praise they get from media all of the time. People say things like, "I love them!" "They seem like such nice people!" Or "Wow -- they are such great parents!" There's nothing wrong with sentiments like these, but when I saw the article tonight, I realized that people think they're exceptional because they're rearing three children together, and they often get photographed personally taking them out without a nanny in tow. I guess it's a good thing for people to recognize this as model behavior, but it makes me wonder: Shouldn't they be doing this anyway? Isn't it their responsibility to have and rear children -- on their own? The American public gushes over them for taking time out for their kids -- but that's what they're supposed to be doing. That's what millions of Americans do on a daily basis. Why are celebrities revered more than "ordinary" people when they are seen doing what people are supposed to do?

I don't know what I mean by this post, really . . . I guess maybe I think celebrities should be viewed as regular people, and they should be expected to do most of the things non-celebrities do. Why not highlight the truly extraordinary things people commit? Or talk about why a person's actions do not merit a full-length magazine article?

What are your thoughts, readers?

Thing I'm thankful for: national holidays.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Could You Pass a U.S. Citizenship Test?

How well do you remember high school social studies classes? More importantly, how do you fare against immigrants who take the U.S. naturalization test? Maybe you can gauge yourself by how well you do on's recent quiz:

How well do you know the United States?

Bonus quizzes: U.S. Map Puzzles
Owl & Mouse Education Software -- It's a free U.S. map puzzle, and it includes a quiz on state capitols, too.
Sheppard Software -- This one lets you know how accurate you are or aren't by giving you your average error in miles. It also has quizzes about other countries of the world. Fun!

(Wow! It's like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? all over again! I loved that show and old school computer game!)

Thing I'm thankful for: The American flag. I think it's so pretty.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Recommendation, an Excerpt, and Some Musings on Language

Two books that all writers should have are The Elements of Style and The Copyeditor's Handbook. They present the rules of grammar and punctuation and language editing in the best way I've ever seen. (A big thanks goes to Dr. Snyder, the professor who introduced his copyediting classes to these precious volumes.)

Tonight I want to highlight an excerpt from Einsohn's Handbook (University of California Press, 2000.):

Despite what may have been drilled into you [. . .] in high school, all of the following taboos are routinely broken (even scoffed at) by well-respected writers and editors and by experts in contemporary American usage:

Never begin a sentence with and, but, or, also, or however.
Never end a sentence with a preposition.
Never split an infinitive.
Never use which to refer to an entire preceding clause.

But maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. Or perhaps my sole intention is to further addle your brain by breaking the rules, which would be a despicable betrayal of your trust. However, even if you should happen to feel betrayed, it is now time for us to confront the vexatious creatures one by one. (339)

Did I leave you wanting more??? She continues with explanations of subject-verb agreement, troublesome verbs, split infinitives, misplaced modifiers . . . The list goes on and on, and it's the kind of thing that gets me excited about writing. You might call me crazy for that, but it's when we really know and understand a language that we can use it to communicate exactly what we want, so there's no confusion in meaning. We can explore its depth and breadth to create poetry and rambling prose.

Ah, writing. I love writing. Why haven't I written on this here blog more often? :)

Thing I'm thankful for: Hardy laughs and late-night roommate chats.