Piece of cake

I was a literal child, and I am a literal adult.*  When my Dove Promise wrapper tells me to build a bridge with chocolate, I immediately wonder what would happen on a hot day when the chocolate starts to melt.  That’s the image that comes to mind even as my brain interprets the message correctly.  And then my brain smacks me on the nose and says, “IT’S A METAPHORICAL BRIDGE.”  It’s a sickness, and it happens to me several times a week.

  1. Read something.
  2. See literal image of the thing.
  3. Correctly interpret the metaphor.
  4. Smack for being idiotic.

It’s quick and all internal (usually), which saves me a lot of embarrassment, but it makes the widespread misuse of the word “literally” a real problem for me.  I don’t have to argue the case against using “literally” when you mean “figuratively” here.  I know you all agree with me.  I don’t know if you always imagine whatever the figurative thing is as a literal thing when someone says something like, “My brain literally exploded.”

You probably do, right?  I’m not alone in this?  I’m sure I’m not alone in this.  I’ll admit to other oddball tendencies, but this is a universal thing among the grammatically correct.  Yes?  Yes.

*In keeping with the theme, I can’t help but point out that yes, I literally was a child, and now I’m literally an adult.  I’m itching to change that sentence.

Use your words

Is it possible to live in a world without acronyms? I’m a government contractor; my whole workday is filled with alphabet soup. The business world in general uses them all the time, and it’s everywhere in software, so even if I weren’t in the government contracting business, I don’t think I could escape acronyms. Maybe I can avoid them when I’m not talking about work.  Would I sound like the biggest weirdo if I pronounced whole words instead of acronyms?*

[Big pause: I fell down the Google rabbit hole and learned some things.]

Things I didn’t know before this morning’s googling:

  • Acronyms are only acronyms if you can pronounce them as a word (like NATO). If you’re just saying the letters in order (like FBI), it’s an initialism.
  • Initialism is a word (and its plural is initialisms). Who knew?  Microsoft’s spellcheck does not agree that it’s a word, but the internet says otherwise, and I know that the internet is always right.
  • When you say the whole word (or phrase or proper name or whatever), all spelled out (like I’m considering doing), you’re saying the expansion of the acronym. I didn’t know that was a thing! I mean, obviously it’s a thing. I just didn’t know it had a word (expansion).

And all of this started because I was wondering if I would have to say television instead of TV, so I googled to see if TV was an acronym. Answer: No, it’s an abbreviation.  (I suppose it could be an initialism, but it’s short for one word, not two….it’s debatable, I guess, but now I am equipped for the debate.)

Back to my original point: I am tired of acronyms (and initialisms), and I’m going to try to avoid them in all non-work situations.  I have no idea if this is going to be difficult.  How many do I run into on a daily basis?  What’s much more likely (than success) is that I’ll have forgotten about this plan by morning.

*Will I sound like a weirdo?  It depends (and probably, yes).  If I spell out – I mean, if I use the expansion of sonar or laser, then I will be very much the weirdo.  Zip code is a sneaky one.  And PIN.  This probably won’t last.

One must sally forth, mustn’t one?

What should one do when one can’t think of anything to write?  One could stay far away from the blog, to avoid publishing the vapid contents of one’s brain, but I’m afraid that cat is out of the bag.  One could surf the internet looking for inspiration, but that assumes one isn’t working and should not be on the internet at all.  One could rifle through one’s memories of the past week, full of holiday cheer and conviviality and whatnot, searching for stories to tell one’s adoring readership, but then one might remember the last week was rather low-key and was already mined for interesting tidbits.  One might consider regaling one’s public with details of the sinus issues one is currently experiencing, but one might reconsider, as that would be unseemly, impolite, and gross.  One could try changing one’s writing style, but one might be worried about sounding stilted or snobbish.  One wouldn’t want that.  Best not to try it.

More better words please

A friend and I were talking about orphan rows today (as they relate to databases) and rows with dangling pointers, which are kind of the opposite, like parents who have lost their children, and we realized that there’s no word for parents who have lost their children.  What’s the orphan equivalent?  A wife whose husband has died is a widow, and a husband whose wife has died is a widower….and that’s when we realized that widower doesn’t make sense.  The husband didn’t widow anyone.  He is not one who widows.  So in addition to needing a word that means parent-who-has-children-who-have-died, we need a better word for a husband whose wife has died.  Someone should get on that.  Also, this is sad, so go watch the new Star Wars trailer.  And look for the Lucas enhanced version, too.  It’s funny.  You’ll feel better.

New phone!

I am now the proud owner of a Google Nexus 5, and it only took about 40 minutes in the store.  It still seems ridiculous that it takes even that long, but at least we didn’t have to wait for someone else to finish up.

From this thread on Reddit come a few websites that are cool.  (That is an awkward sentence.  I’m leaving it, though.  Ssh.)  The Nicest Place on the Internet shows short videos of people smiling at you and giving you hug.  Seriously, they seem like very nice people.  You can mute the music.  Also, The Internet is Useful: descriptions of and links to websites, apps, books, etc., that are actually useful.

You are welcome.  Pardon me while I go watch nice people smile at me.

Trying out insufferable

I feel virtuous.  I RAN to my polling place this morning and voted and then ran home.  I exercised my rights as a citizen of this country while exercising.  (John did, too.)  I am proudly wearing my “I voted” sticker, which has so far managed to stay stuck to my sweater, so EVERYONE knows how citizenly and more-civic-minded-than-thou I feel today.

And with that, I think my period of insufferableness (insufferability?) needs to end.  I’m tired, and I’d like to take a nap.


Roxy is gazing at me sleepily (and adorably) from a square of sunlight on the floor in the other room.  That sentence reminds me of an exercise we had to do in Language Arts class in middle school.  I think we had to write a poem describing…something…using a ton of prepositions.  My friend Nicola’s was the best.  It went something like this:

To the house
In the front door
Up the stairs
Down the hallway
Through the door
On the toilet

Something like that.  We thought it was awesome that she wrote a poem about peeing and got an A.  Mine might have been (hypothetical) directions to my (imaginary, totally made up on the spot) secret place.  Kind of an over the river and through the woods kind of thing.  (I was not the most original child.)

October is the prettiest month

When it’s sunny.  I like the color of the sky.  And the leaves.  And we’ve had so much rain that the grass is still green everywhere.  I should take a picture.

Taken from my car window on the way home from work. I could crop the road out, but you get the idea.

Enough with the pretty – prepare for meanness ahead.

Here’s a tip you’ve heard a million times, but it’s important: If you want a job, PROOFREAD YOUR RESUME.  I read a pretty bad one recently.  If you’re not very good with that sort of thing, find a friend who is.  I don’t have high expectations for this person because she apparently can’t punctuate her way out of kindergarten.  Oh, let’s be generous.  Elementary school.  Also, she listed “Blackberry (Curve)” as one of her skills.  I don’t even know what that means.  Maybe she can program for that platform?  Impressive!  Then say so.  She’s not a programmer, though, unless she REALLY doesn’t know how to present herself in her resume, so I’m assuming she means she knows how to use a Blackberry.  That’s not a skill.  My 6-year-old niece can find her way around a smart phone.

I’m not trying to say that I punctuate everything correctly all the time.  (For instance, is it resume, resumé, or résumé?  Does the accent depend on something or are there just multiple acceptable forms?)  I do, however, tailor my writing style to my audience, and my resumé (I like this one best) is flawless.  (I know.  Arrogant, much?)  It might not get me hired, but it won’t get me dismissed out of hand.  Grammar is important, people!


Now, watch me post this with some hugely embarrassing typo I didn’t notice.