Di Has Stories…

(and they’re all true)

How Do They Do That? March 1, 2009

Filed under: bitching,books,crazy family,shit i believe in — Diana @ 10:22 pm

I will be the first to acknowledge that I am a bit of a grammar Nazi.  I blame this on my mother, who is Canadian, and taught me that using poor grammar was like stabbing Jebus in the eye.  I think she learned this from my grandmother, who was intelligent, literate, and spoke the Queen’s English.  (She also referred to the Queen as “Liz”.  I’m not sure QEII would be appreciative.)

As a result, I was excellent at grammar in school, and have had a hard time adjusting to a world that does not value grammar as I do.  When text messaging came along, it nearly drove me to drink.  It’s hard to be grammatical, especially when you only have a few characters in which to express yourself.  I have learned to deal with it (sort of) and try not to let the bad grammar of the world get to me.

Until now.

I get most of my books from PaperBackSwap, which is mostly free, and also gives me the opportunity to browse books that I might not have otherwise found.  I recently got a copy of How Do They Do That?, which is fun not only because I get to learn all sorts of geeky facts, but because it was written in 1981, and lots of those geeky facts are no longer correct.

However, I have been prevented in fully enjoying this book because of the way that questioned are phrased:  almost all of them start with “How do they….”

This makes me crazy.

First of all, people, there is no They.  You can spout your conspiracy theories until you are blue in the face, but there is no big, faceless They.  Also, the They that you reference in one question (How do They measure the universe?) is not the same They in another (How do They get lead into a pencil?).

While I understand using They in the title, I do not support the use of They in the rest of the book.  It’s just damned laziness.  Either name a specific person, or rephrase the question.

I have spent most of my reading time with this book not absorbing the facts, but re-writting the questions:

How do they determine a baby’s sex before birth? WRONG.  How about: How is a baby’s sex determined before birth? (This is one of the funny entries for me, reading 28 years later.  Not a mention is made of ultrasound sex determination – you had to have amnio back in the day if you really, really wanted to know.)

How do they wash the windows of the World Trade Center? Sigh.  How are the windows of the WTC washed? (First, horrible, thought that comes to my mind:  they don’t.)

How do they get natural gas to your house? No.  How is natural gas delivered to your house?

Another pet peeve:  Mr. Peters, my beloved 10th grade English teacher, drilled the concept of parallelism into my mind.  If I’ve ever helped you with your resume, you know about this particular obsession.  In short, if you pick a verb tense/way of doing something, keep going with it.

Which makes me even more befuddled about this book.  Many of the questions are styled How do they…. , but some of them are phrased as I’ve mentioned above.  There is no consistency within their own naming conventions!

Maybe I just need to put this book down and realise that it will make me so mad that I can’t get through it.  Or, maybe, this book is going to be updated and reissued, and they need my help in re-writing…..I’m available.  And cheap.  Call me.

 

I have so read more than six February 24, 2009

Filed under: books,memememe — Diana @ 10:39 pm

Stolen from Rebecca via Facebook:

Apparently the BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books on the BBC big read top 100 book list.
How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions:
Look at the list and bold those you have read.
When you’ve finished,  put your total at the bottom.  I’m not tagging, but if you do this, leave a comment so I can have a look!

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zifon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factoy – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

37/100

 

As My Bookshelf Gently Weeps September 14, 2008

Filed under: books — Diana @ 11:05 am

Writer David Foster Wallace found dead

 

Blog Dump – Long Past Due July 28, 2008

In Which We See Cute Things and Receive Spiritual Guidance from I Can Has Cheezburger

In Which We See Awesome Things That I Or Someone I Love Need To Purchase Post Haste

Pickle Jar With Fork from Ooh-Shiny.Net  (Sarah, I’m looking at you)

The Agreeable Sheep from Ooh-Shiny.Net  (Heather?)

Puppet Hoodie from Ooh-Shiny.Net (This one is for me, but it’s not in my size….do these things stretch in the wash?)

The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City on Boing Boing.  (Sarah, you again)

Roku: $100 gadget for watching Netflix movies on your TV (Freaking EVERYONE!  This looks awesome!!)

Portable cardboard toilet on BoingBoing.  Yes, the Shit Box.  My beloved has decided that, because we only have one bathroom, he needs a bucket with a toilet seat in the garage in case we both have the flu or something at the same time.  Last time we were at Home Depot he bought the seat for it.  For the record, I have been lobbying for the installation of a random basement toilet, but so far he’s not going for it.  As a resonable second, I think that we should at least get a shit box.  If I’m going to be emptying my bowels in the garage, I want a proper receptacle.  Those of you that Twitter will find that this is my new icon.  This is why I should never, ever show Christy funny stuff while I am drunk.  When she says, “that would make a great icon”, I’m on it like white on rice.  However, even when I sobered up I still thought it was pretty awesome.

In Which We Have A Commentary On My Job, Which I Am Not Currently Working

From GraphJam:

In Which The Holiest Part of Christianity is Blasphemed for Our Personal Pleasure

From Loltheist:

In Which We Listen In On Conversations:

So I’m Sorry I Did That, Amber  (from Overheard Everywhere)

English teacher: Calling someone a douche is not a constructive comment, even if it’s true.
Flora High School
Columbia, South Carolina

The Pen Had It Comin’! (from Overheard in Minneapolis)

Metro Transit phone employee (on speakerphone): Take the sixteen bus towards…
18 year old girl trying to get directions: Wait, wait you’re talking too fast and my pen died.
Metro Transit phone employee: You killed your pen? You heartless BITCH.

Univeristy/ sixteen bus line
Overheard by Death to ink.

Relax, I’m Just Horngry (from Overheard in the Office)

Financial specialist, in front of his pregnant wife/coworker: God, I would nail someone if they had some bacon right now!
Wife/coworker: What the hell is wrong with you?
Dallas, Texas
Overheard by: God Help Me

Then How Come It Got Me More Time on My SATs? (from Overheard in the Office)

Boss on phone: That is not clinical! Being an asshole is not a clinical condition.
Ginko Industrial Park
Warminster, Pennsylvania

Is It Still a Place Where You Wash Your Hands? (from Overheard in the Office)

Kitchen grunt: You ever poop and suddenly find the world a better place?
Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana

Overheard by: RDC

In Which We Are Surprised.  Wait, No We Aren’t

U.S. still flunks healthcare test, group says

Absolutely fucking OUTRAGEOUS! by Paulius

Fox’s “Anti-Aging Fix” for McCain by Technology Expert

Larry Craig, Daniel Vitter Co-Sponsors of “Marriage Protection Amendment” by Technology Expert

Vampire babies on the attack! by Jen

In Which I Have A Whole Other List of Books To Check Out

List of every book read by Art Garfunkel since 1968.  I’d like to point out that Art started this list the very month and year that my beloved was born.  And that while Art is referenced in this article as a “voracious” reader, he averages about two books per month.  This year, I am averaging two per year.  And I really need to get going on cataloging them.

Speaking of books, some of my favorite books when I was a kid (and even now, I’ll admit it) were the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. 100 Candles Anne of Green Gables grows old and gets her due. When my mom introduced me to Anne, the books were actually out of print in the states, and I read the same copies that she had read as a child…the hardbound editions with all of the dust covers missing.  For years I thought I was named after Diana Barry, Anne’s best friend, my dad recently told me he picked the name from the Paul Anka song.  When my oldest sister was born, when I was 11, I was allowed to pick her middle name.  I choose Anne.  Although my sister didn’t grow up to be a sassy redhead (wait, yeah she did), she can at least say – for sure! – that she was named after Anne of Green Gables.

In Which I Find New Websites to Waste My Time With

Things I Should Throw Out: Clippings From The Eighties

In Which I’m Just….Amazed.  And A Bit Disturbed

Man electrocutes pickle to demonstrate power of Christianity So, because I don’t love Jebus, I will not glow in the dark and I can’t make any difference in the world?  What?

In Which I’m Just Amazed

The Pregnant Man.  I cried recently when I learned that Thomas Beatie and his wife had safely delivered their little girl.  While I might just be a little sensitive about the whole having-babies thing right now, it makes me so happy when people who desperately want children are able to have them, in whatever way it happens.  Birth, adoption, whatever – these people wanted an expression of their love for each other in the form of a child, and they were able to do it in an unconventional way.  It’s beautiful.  It would have been beautiful if they’d been able to do it in a “normal” way, too, but then the rest of us wouldn’t have been able to share in the joyous birth of a child who was so, so wanted.

In Which There Is a Gratuitous Post About Bacon

In Which Women Smarter Than I Talk About Life and Other Big Things

Is HAES Unhealthy? by Well-Rounded Mama

Yeah, whatever, Kate Moss by peggynature

The cult of dieting by attrice

Possibly, The Most Tasteless CUSS Post to Date by Suzanne

ChronicBit: Lab tests demystified Via Lab Tests Online, where you can search for just about any test and learn what it means. Excellent tool for us Babes… thanks for the top, ChronicPal Shannon!

Family Pride by Happy Villain

Eye-Opener by Happy Villain

 

Things I Would Rather Be Doing February 7, 2008

So, the Super Crazy Busy period of the year has passed us by, and the reorganization has not yet happened, so I am now in that time in my job – as I have been on many other occasions – where I do not have enough to keep me busy, but still have to look like I am busy 100% of the time.

 

Interestingly, since I went part time in July, my workload has increased, but not enough to fill the hours of my day.  I’m not entirely sure why I am doing way more than everyone else that works “full time”, yet still have a good chunk of the day to while away.

 

In an effort to look busy while sitting at my desk without the use of my forefinger and a nostril, here are the things I would be doing if I could go home when my work was finished instead of when the clocks says I can:

 

(1)   I started the Mother-in-Law’s sweater during lunch.  I am on the beginning of the third row, and have already messed it up.  I don’t know what it is about me that makes me unable to remember the difference between seed stitch and ribbing until I can actually see that I am ribbing instead of doing seed stitch.  I think that part of the problem is that I learned to knit from my grandma in kind of a half-assed way, and not properly.  I call things all the wrong things, and I tend to label the stitches by what I did to get them than by what they look like afterward.  Therefore, on a seed stitch when it tells me to knit the knits of the previous row, I knit the stitches that I knit the previous row, instead of the ones that will turn out like a “knit” stitch instead of what I call the “purl” stitch.  It’s all fucked up.  It’s almost like watching a lefty knit. 

 

(2)   Short of frogging the 230 stitiches of the sweater and starting over, which I will do at Caribou tonight while waiting for my beloved to be done with his allergy shots, I would take working on the present for Carla’s baby (which needs to be done in 16 short days, not that I’m counting) or casting on for Sarah’s baby (which needs to be done whenever it is that we finally decide her baby shower is going to be).

 

(3)   Already be waiting for my sweetie at Caribou. 

 

(4)   Figuring out more stuff on the knitting machine.  Last night my knitting group came over and they figured out how to set the thing up, but there are all sorts of attachments and do-hickeys and things that we can do with it.  I emailed the Textile Center to see if anyone would help us out (for a fee), and I can’t wait to get started on this one.  Baby blankets, here we come!

 

(5)   Taking a shower.  I slept in today, and I need one.

 

(6)   Starting work on our corn bags.  They are all cut, and with the purchase of pinking shears yesterday, I am ready to cut the labels and start sewing! 

 

(7)   Cutting out the quilt that I promised Jeff I’d make two years ago.  This keeps getting further and further down the pile.

 

(8)   Reading the book I got in the mail yesterday.  I am on track to make my reading goal this year!

 

(9)   Be hanging out with my girls.  I haven’t had enough social time lately, and I miss it.  Then again, I am deep enough in the February blahs to not want to get off my ass and do anything.

 

(10)                       Anything, really, as long as it doesn’t involve wasting my time!

 

A Book Meme December 2, 2007

Filed under: books,memememe — Diana @ 9:46 pm

From Fatadelic, via  Ceci n’est pas un blog. and via Ottermatic here’s a book meme about what you have read.

You bold what you’ve read, italicize what you’ve started but can’t finish, and strike through what you couldn’t stand. (And I guess italicize and strike through what you started and dropped because you couldn’t stand it?)

So here’s mine:

1984
The Aeneid
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
American Gods
Anansi Boys
Angela’s Ashes : A Memoir
Angels & Demons
Anna Karenina
Atlas Shrugged
Beloved
The Blind Assassin
Brave New World
The Brothers Karamazov
The Canterbury Tales
Catch-22
The Catcher in the Rye

A Clockwork Orange
Cloud Atlas
Collapse : How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
A Confederacy of Dunces
The Confusion
The Corrections
The Count of Monte Cristo
Crime and Punishment
Cryptonomicon
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
David Copperfield
Don Quixote
Dracula
Dubliners
Dune
Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Emma
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Fountainhead
Frankenstein
Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
The God of Small Things
The Grapes of Wrath
Gravity’s Rainbow
Great Expectations
Gulliver’s Travels
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
The Historian : A Novel
The Hobbit
The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Iliad
In Cold Blood : A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences
The Inferno
Jane Eyre
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
The Kite Runner
Les Misérables
Life of Pi : A Novel
Lolita
Love in the Time of Cholera

Madame Bovary
Mansfield Park
Memoirs of a Geisha

Middlemarch
Middlesex

The Mists of Avalon
Moby Dick
Mrs. Dalloway

The Name of the Rose
Neverwhere
Northanger Abbey
The Odyssey
Oliver Twist
On the Road
The Once and Future King
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Oryx and Crake : A Novel
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
Persuasion
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Poisonwood Bible : A Novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Pride and Prejudice
The Prince
Quicksilver
Reading Lolita in Tehran : A Memoir in Books
The Satanic Verses
The Scarlet Letter
Sense and Sensibility
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Silmarillion
Slaughterhouse-five
The Sound and the Fury
The Tale of Two Cities
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
The Three Musketeers
The Time Traveler’s Wife
To the Lighthouse
Treasure Island
Ulysses
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Vanity Fair
War and Peace
Watership Down

White Teeth
Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
Wuthering Heights
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : An Inquiry Into Values

 

I like it. November 15, 2007

Filed under: books,crazy family,crazy friends,fun stuff,hedgies,memememe — Diana @ 9:54 pm

I’ve been seeing this around the Fatosphere, and thought I’d jump in. I heart the meme, you know.

Here’s the deal: type the answer to each question into a Google image search, and then pick a picture off the first page. Here we go:

(1) Age at next birthday:

(2) A place you’d like to travel:

(3) Your favorite place:

(4) Your favorite objects:

(5)  Your favorite food:

(6) Your favorite animals:

(7) Your favorite colour:

(8) Town where you were born:

(9) Town where you live:

(10) Name of a past pet:

(11) First name of a past love:

(12) Best friend’s nickname:

(13) Your screen/nickname:

(14) Your first name:

(15) Your middle name:

(16) Your last name:

(17) Bad habit of yours:

(18) First job:

(19) Grandmother’s name:

(20) College major:

Found via Kate Harding.  Go check her out!