More grammar-type stuff

In light of smoocherie‘s and fatesgirl‘s comment on my recent grammar rant, I started thinking, and what I thought was, “hey, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate,” and then I thought about how much it’s not cool to be a chalky, powdery substance that settles to the bottom of a teacup, and then I started thinking…well, you really don’t want to know what I thought after that.

Nevertheless, they both have good points. So, in the interest of being part of the solution, I’ve decided to add a grammar cheat sheet to my Web site, so that if someone’s confused, it’s there and easily accessible. Any suggestions are welcome. 🙂

I also updated my BDSM and polyamory pages, while I was at it.

Parties, angry spammers, and linky goodness

The House Not Found housewarming party was a great deal of fun, so much so that we’re thinking about turning on the webcam on a semi-regular basis, just for the benefit of all you voyeurs out there. If I get another Mac laptop in the next few months, I may even dedicate my current laptop, which is running OS X Server, to being a QuickTime Streaming Server for the camera so i can stream live video. 🙂

In other news, I’ve recently started receiving death threats from a well-known spammer and software pirate named Art Schwartz. These threats are, in their own particular way, far too funny not to share, and Art’s even been reading my LiveJournal lately. So I’ve put ’em online here. I particularly like the one about how he’s going to expose my child-pornography ways to my wealthy parents so they’ll quit supporting me. 🙂 One wonders what color the sky in his world is.

And now the linky goodness:

Dog Available. Read the description BEFORE you look at the picture.

LoveChess: Chess as a sex game. And people think I’m a pervert.

Courtesy of ladytabitha: The Myth of Unconditional Love.

In the Department of Homeland Stupidity department of the Axis of Asshat: Brown Equals Terrorist. The thing about this story that most strikes me is that it reveals the same flaw the writers of Star Trek often have. The Star trek writers don’t actually know anything about research and have never met any research scientists, so the Star Trek version of a research scientists is cartoonishly distorted; local cops have never met any terrorists and have never been trained in terrorist tactics, so their imagination of what a terrorist would act like is also cartoonish and unrealistic. Hint; Terrorists blend in. They don’t stand out. The 9/11 hijackers were instructed to shave their beards, wear cologne, and forego traditional Muslim garb in favor of casual American attire, remember? A terrorist who wanted a photograph of a bridge would not stand out by the bridge, exposed, with a tripod, day after day. He’d be in a pack of tourists inconspicously with a digital camera, fools! Assuming, of course, he needed a photograph at all…

Aaargh! The grammar nazi rants…

Okay, people, listen up–the next time I read something in LiveJournal, on a newsgroup, or in an email that makes one of these mistakes, someone’s getting stabbed. Fair warning.

1. It’s “Lo and behold,” not “low and behold.” The word “lo!” is a Middle English expression of surprise. “Lo and behold” is kind of the equivalent of saying “Well, hey, look at that!”

2. It’s “Nothing fazes me,” not “nothing phases me.” To “faze” is to disturb or frighten. “She was unfazed” means “she retained her composure.” “He was unphased” means “he was not made of a number of waveforms that were in synchronization.” Big difference, folks.

3. It’s “etc,” not “ect.” “Etc” is an abbreviation for “et cetera” (two words), which is Latin for “and so forth.” “Et” means “and,” which is why “etc” is sometimes written “&c”. “Etc” is correct. “&c” is correct but archaic. “Ect” is not, never has been, and never will be correct.

4. The abbreviations “ie” and “eg” do not mean the same thing! You use “ie” when you mean “in orther words.” It’s Latin for “id est,” which means “that is.” For example: “He is a businessman; ie, he makes his money by operating a business.” On the other hand, “eg” is used to mean “for example.” It’s Latin for “exempli gratia.” “I do not like spectator sports–eg, football and baseball.” For example: eg. In other words: ie.

5. And while we’re at it, “insure” and “ensure” do not mean the same thing either! “Ensure” means “to make sure of.” Double-check your math on your tax return to ensure you don’t get an embarrassing phone call from the IRS. “Insure,” on the other hand, means “to provide insurance for,” you insure your house in order to ensure that you won’t be financially ruined if it burns down.

6. To be caught “between the devil and the deep blue sea” does not mean “between two unattractive options.” It means “to be in a position where you have no room to manuver.” The ‘devil’ on a wooden sailing ship is the main spar of the ship–a brace that runs the whole length of the ship from front to back, around which the frame of the ship is built. There is a very narrow space–typically less than 3′ high–between a ship’s devil and the bottom of the hull; this was sometimes the space where the most lowly members of a ship’s crew slept–“between the devil and the deep blue sea.” It’s a very, very tiny space.

7. “Too” means “also” or “to a great extent.” “To” means “in the direction of” or indicates an infinitive. Get these two wrong, and you might end up in the position of the unfortunate street racer I saw yesterday whose vanity license tag reads “TO L8 4U”. “2 L8 4U” or “TOO L8 4U” would’ve communicated the idea that he was trying to convey; the idea conveyed by “TO L8 4U” is “Hi! I’m illiterate.”

Don’t even get me started on “accept” and “except,” or “affect” and “effect.”

Any typos in this post are a feature, not a bug. We now return you to your regularly scheduled friends list.

Busy, busy week…

…and only one week left ’til the formal housewarming party of House Not Found (so named because our apartment number is 404, of course).

You should be there. Really. I mean you.

This last week or so has been an unending series of boxes to be packed, moved, and unpacked, and even with the assistance of a large number of friends, it’s been slow going. Right now, the new place is stacked eyeball high in oxes waiting to be unpacked.

Still, it’s starting to come together. Most of the computers in the computer room have been hung from the ceiling by chain, making the computer room look a bit like a cross between Hellraiser and Resident Evil, the loft bedroom is more or less assembled, and the space is gradually becoming livable.

Which is good.

On the not-so-good side, we’ve received a couple bits of bad financial news in the last week, meaning that we won’t be able to attend DragonCon after all. Disappointing, but we’ll be there next year.

On the good side, merovingian will be in town for the housewarming party next week, and that will be very cool.

Also on the good side, we were able to have lunch with an old friend, Fritz, yesterday, and learned that he too is a transhumanist…who knew? He came up with the best answer yet to the question “If you completely change your body for a totally artificial one, or upload your consciousness into a computer, will you still be recognizably yourself?” His answer: “Who cares? Life is about evolution. If you change, so what?”

And on that note, I’m going to bed.

Link o’ the day

Why Nerds are Unpopular

A lot of people seem to think it’s good for smart kids to be thrown together with “normal” kids at this stage of their lives. Perhaps. But in at least some cases the reason the nerds don’t fit in really is that everyone else is crazy. I remember sitting in the audience at a “pep rally” at my high school, watching as the cheerleaders threw an effigy of an opposing player into the audience to be torn to pieces. I felt like an explorer witnessing some bizarre tribal ritual.

If I could go back and give my thirteen year old self some advice, the main thing I’d tell him would be to stick his head up and look around. I didn’t really grasp it at the time, but the whole world we lived in was as fake as a Twinkie. Not just school, but the entire town. Why do people move to suburbia? To have kids! So no wonder it seemed boring and sterile. The whole place was a giant nursery, an artificial town created explicitly for the purpose of breeding children…

And as for the schools, they were just holding pens within this fake world. Officially the purpose of schools is to teach kids. In fact their primary purpose is to keep kids locked up in one place for a big chunk of the day so adults can get things done…

What bothers me is not that the kids are kept in prisons, but that (a) they aren’t told about it, and (b) the prisons are run mostly by the inmates. Kids are sent off to spend six years memorizing meaningless facts in a world ruled by a caste of giants who run after an oblong brown ball, as if this were the most natural thing in the world. And if they balk at this surreal cocktail, they’re called misfits.

An interesting essay, with a few sideswipes on school, surburbia, and the nature of popularity (“Popularity is only partially about individual attractiveness. It’s much more about alliances. To become more popular, you need to be constantly doing things that bring you close to other popular people, and nothing brings people closer than a common enemy.”).

Hurricane preparedness

So, here we sit, waiting to get the snot beat out of us by Hurricane Charley, which the news is saying may flood downtown Tampa, knock out power for the weekend, rip the roofs off houses, and my neighbors are…

…mowing their lawn.

Pays to be prepared, I suppose. A well-tended debris field is so much nicer than an overgrown debris field, after all.

And in completely unrelated news, I want to make a vampire movie starring Gary Busey as a vampire. He’d be an excellent antidote to angst-ridden, whiny, introspective, Anne Rice postmodern vampires, don’t you think?