Damian Kulash. Grammar. Swoon.

If the sentence preceding the example were ‘Our tuition was wasted on our fucking Luddite teachers,’ the meaning is nice and clear, regardless of whether you then follow with ‘use’ or ‘utilize’. Similarly, if the sentence after the example were ‘The Amish kids just looked at their mentors with terror in their eyes,’ the inherent vagary of the example vanishes, whether you use ‘utilize,’ or you utilize ‘use.’

Reason #9,203,541 I love the internet: a vintage 2005 article about Damian Kulash and grammar in an LA Weekly blog, complete with Damian’s etymology geekery in the comments.

style council: Stop Making Sense

a little bit of this, a little bit of that

I just – just! – had lunch, so my brain is all ping-tastic and fluttering hither and thither. Thither. I don’t think I’ve ever used that word without hither attached to it – have you? I am scampering to Merriam Webster right now to see the fun I have been missing.

Well, so. Here I am in the unexpected silence of my house (silence being a term I use loosely, as the whoosh-whoosh of the dishwasher is providing this afternoon’s background noise). The kid and the cat (one of them, anyway) are napping adorably on the bed, and I’m sort of nominally waiting for a phone call from a potential client while searching the internet for cookie recipes using agave nectar. Oddly, I am not finding very many. I think it’s time for a baking experiment, don’t you?

I also think that I need to think of a new moniker for Happy Fun Baby. He’s a toddler now, so the “baby” bit is somewhat outdated, and “Happy Fun Toddler” sounds weird. I could call him by his name, since it’s not like that’s a big secret or anything, but I like using aliases because it makes me feel like a spy. I would have made a very poor spy, although I would have liked the outfits. Probably. As long as I wasn’t undercover as a badly-dressed person. Certainly there’s more call for those than for Jennifer Garner-esque wigs and push-up bras, yes? I mean, way to blend, right?

But speaking of the kid, and my brain, and the two together…he woke up last night at midnight, cheerful as you please, and then would not go back to sleep. He snuggled. He sang songs. He played with my hair. But sleep? Sleep is for losers! At 3am I finally broke down and went to get Not So, who (of course) was still awake, since insomnia apparently runs in the family. Even after he came to bed, the kid was all wriggles and kicks, so basically I shared my pain instead of finding a way to fix the problem. Hey – YOU try thinking rationally at 3am when you’ve been repeatedly yanked from the edge of sleep by a tiny grinning demon baby. Er, toddler.

All I can say is: it’s a good thing he’s so cute.

Photo 40

picture perfect

A while back we got sick of our blank bedroom walls and printed out a bunch of pictures on Post-it photo paper. All the pictures heavily featured the color yellow, and I arranged them to have the most visual impact, because I watch too many design shows. This lasted approximately a day, and then the stickum stopped sticking and the pictures began fluttering, leaf-like, to the ground. It was all very autumnal.

This morning Happy Fun Baby found one of the pictures. This isn’t unusual (paper is, in his opinion, the best thing EVER for chewing and I’m constantly pulling paper pulp out of his mouth, even though it’s not like we leave paper out where he can get it, and OMG why would you want to eat paper anyway) but what happened next is: he held the picture out, studied it, and then said “Da!”

I looked, and the picture he’d found was of him and Not So at the playground. “Yes,” I said, “That’s a picture of you and daddy.” He bounced and giggled and kicked his legs so hard he almost fell over.

He’s never really identified a photograph before (and especially not one of these). I tend to take “artistic” photos. It’s all fine and good to look at extreme close-ups or skewed perspectives as an adult, I can only imagine that they’re nonsense to an 11 month old. Except, Da! Da da da da da. Kick.

He held on to the picture for a while longer, staring at it (and kicking) and touching the surface, and then he forcefully handed it to me and watched while I put it back on the wall.

Kids are neat.

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my kind of fairy

At 11 months (well, almost), Happy Fun Baby’s vocabulary is at a whopping four words: “ghee” for “kitty,” “luh” for “love,” “ba” for “ball” and “da” for “yeah.” “Do you want to go downstairs?” I ask. “Da,” says the baby. It’s like living with a little Russian diplomat.

I’m pretty sure yesterday (and today)’s crying jags are tooth-related. A couple of times today the baby has, apropos of nothing, put his hands to his mouth and wailed. I feel so bad for him, but I don’t know what I can do aside from offering snuggles and the occasional dose of Tylenol, which he sucks down like a little addict. Do you remember when medicine tasted bad? This cherry-flavored baby crack is not exactly off-putting. On the other hand, do I want to wrestle with my child before he will take his painkillers? No I do not.

The Code Fairy (aka my inimitable husband, who loves it when I call him a fairy) performed some sort of magic on my Buzzverb site and now it works gorgeously. I’ve posted the second of my 30 Days of Writing Links: if you’re doing NaNoWriMo (or even if you’re not) you should check it out. I’m not collecting all these links for my health, people.

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year (seriously, where would I find the time?) but I am all enamoured of a new manuscripting application. I downloaded the Scrivener beta yesterday, and it is, in fact, all that and a bag of chips. If you write novels, you know that Word is somewhat lacking in its outlining capabilities; I’ve always needed to either print out my notes and ideas so that I can refer to them while writing or have lots of windows open, neither of which is an optimal solution. And changing the order of chapters? Not exactly painless. Scrivener addresses these concerns and more. I’m digging the hell out of it. I may even do some work on the novel I started a couple of years ago and then abandoned in favor of sleep deprivation and mood swings. Er, I mean, parenthood. Stranger things have happened, you know.

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