Tuesday, July 27, 2010

all I want is a little work at work

7:30 I hit snooze on my alarm clock. 7:35 I hit snooze on my alarm clock. 7:40 I seriously consider hitting snooze on my alarm clock, but eventually talk myself into getting out of bed. 8:58 I arrive at work to the sound of crickets—inside, of course. 9:07 I have already started up my computer and read through all of the emails sent since the end of the day yesterday, three times each. 9:07 I have run out of things to do. 9:08 I open up my firefox browser to the NewTek webpage and stare at it for a while, scrolling up and down every few seconds, trying to look busy. 9:11 I read through every single one of my (153) junk emails. 9:21 I think about the eternity between me and lunch while staring blankly at the computer screen. 9:22 I organize the six windows on my desktop so that they overlap each other in a seemingly random and naturally esthetic way. 9:24 I pull up My Documents and open up a document or two, switching between them and scrolling up and down as if they hold something of interest to me. 9:26 I take a long drink from my water bottle. 9:26 and a half. Seriously‽

I really enjoy editing. If only I could do it more often. In my capacity as editing intern. But instead, I have spent hours on the Chicago Manual of Style website, learned a lot of new words, and written a lot of non-NewTek and wholly Sharlie-related things. Never before has eight hours seemed so long than when I have to spend about five and a half of them desperately trying to look busy. For you see, I am positioned in my office so that at least four people (and every person that walks into our department) have a perfect view of my computer screen from their desks. That’s really not conducive to my time wasting efforts. So, in order to look like I am working on something important, I will impart some of my newly acquired knowledge to you.

Have you ever wondered why we put the period inside quotation marks at the end of a quote (for example, “sushi makes me puke.”)? …Or am I the only one that wonders these things? Well, back in the first days of the printing press, the period and the comma were the smallest bits of raised metal, putting them in danger of being broken or bent when used. And if they were put outside the quotation mark (for example, “sushi makes me puke”.) they would most certainly break. Thus, they have been placed safely within the ending quotation marks. And that’s the reason we do it today. Fascinating, huh? Good conversation material for a party.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

didn't you want to improve your vocabulary today?

Lugubrious (adj): mournful, dismal, or gloomy, especially in an affected, exaggerated, or unrelieved manner.

Synecdoche (noun): a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole (as in “hand” for “sailor”), the whole for a part “as “cutthroat” for “assassin”), the specific for the general (as “thief” for “pickpocket”), or the material for the thing made from it (as “steel” for “sword”).

Prevaricate (verb): to speak falsely or misleadingly; deliberately mistake or create an incorrect impression; lie.

Punctilious (adj): strict or exact in the observance of the formalities or amenities of conduct or actions.

Ameliorate (verb): to make or become better, more bearable, or more satisfactory; improve.

Esoteric (adj): understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest; belonging to the select few; private; secret; confidential.

Harbinger (noun): herald; anything that foreshadows a future event; omen; sign.

Monday, July 19, 2010

everything is bigger in texas

Uhhh, seriously.


I ate one of those with the help of six people. And when I say we ate it, I mean we ate some of it. After ringing plates full of grease from our slices. Totally worth it. Thanks, Lou.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

it's almost biblical

Remember “Mulan?” Remember that adorable little lucky cricket? Remember looking at an actual cricket and thinking, “man, that guy’s cute!” No, you don’t. Because they’re gross. And Disney lies.

Texas has a serious problem. It is completely overrun with giant crickets. And apparently, it’s not the first time. (http://www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2007-07-26-cricket-invasion_N.htm.) Following Tropical Storm Alex (he turned out to be too wimpy to qualify for Hurricane status), the ground in Texas is now much softer this summer, attracting thousands of crickets to lay their eggs early and pester the world. If only they would stay outside, they might be more bearable. I thought it was charming the first day I walked into work and was serenaded by an orchestra of crickets all morning. Then I saw one run by my desk and under the chair right next to me. Sick. The charm was gone. Then I began to realize (how had I missed it before??) that dead crickets littered every corner of the building. Live ones huddled in door jambs. Their song echoed in the bathrooms. Visions of Jiminy Cricket in his dapper vest and top hat vanished. It only got worse after that, as my foot narrowly avoided being scuttled over at Whataburger and the stench of their piled carcasses assaulted me outside the movie theater. I dread the day that I lose focus while making my way across a parking lot-turned-obstacle coarse and accidentally crunch one underfoot. That will not be a good day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dear World

I really need to teach you something. So you can teach your children and your friends and your enemies and especially anyone who is ever going to write anything ever. There is something called the Serial Comma. You know this comma, world, I know you do. But for some inexplicable reason, some have chosen to ignore it, some deny its existence, and some make fun of it behind its back. Besides being rude, that is also incorrect. So, let me (re)introduce you to my friend Serial Comma.

The flag is red, white, and blue.”

Notice the two commas. That second one is my good friend, Serial. And, unless you are British or a journalist, the rule is to include it. It’s the RULE. Don’t believe me? Read for yourself.


And from the ever tactful and often hilarious CMOS Q&A: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/CMS_FAQ/Commas/Commas36.html

Do it. Or else you might end up looking really ridiculous, like the author who wrote this book dedication, “To my parents, Mother Teresa and the Pope.” That’s embarrassing.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

what are the odds?

When it rains in Texas, by george it pours. Though the rain comes down in torrents, storms don’t usually last more than a few minutes. NewTek is housed inside a very industrial looking building with a roof that is made out of some kind of material so that when it rains, when you’re in the building it sounds like you live inside a drum. It’s actually kind of cool. One day one of these storms came down at about noon. I’m inside at work. No big deal. Until. I feel a tap on the top of my head. I looked behind me to see if Paula or Lindsay decided to use a rather rude way of getting my attention. Negative. I turned back around and immediately felt another tap. Then I look up and realized—I was being rained on. Apparently, my desk has been positioned directly beneath one of the few rips in the ceiling of this football field-sized building. Seriously? And whenever there’s a torrential downpour, I’m going to feel it. Is this just a coincidence? Or are my co-workers ducking behind their screens and laughing into their hands while I go through Chinese torture? I don’t usually have really terrible luck. Maybe this is some kind of office initiation. Good joke, guys. Initiated.