ISO Perfect Punctuation

For a long time, I have had an em-dash habit. I use them a lot–perhaps too much–when I need to make a parenthetical or emphasize a clause. My theory is that since I gesticulate when speaking–hands and face, with funny voices–I feel the need to make certain phrases jump out–as if animated.

Recently, though, I’ve taken up with the semi-colon. I tutor several AP English students and make them do the editing exercises at the end of The Elements of Style. It’s then, after I beat them about the shins with far, far, too many commas, that the chimera mark starts cropping up. It’s insidious; there’s little I can do but wait it out.

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It’s Beer Garden Season!

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I know it’s still snowing in the northeast, and that sucks! But form my vantage point, it’s April, the sun is out, and those crisp/hoppy/malty/sour/but most of all fizzy cravings are in full effect. The brewery tasting room not only has the advantage of having the freshest drinkins possible but has a family and pet friendly license for its space. Bring your dog, set your kids loose on the giant Jenga (but watch them, duh), grab a pint, and spring the f* out of this joint.

For my Angelenos, it’s a great place and time to be at/in: Here’s a list I wrote about it a few months ago.  

To update this, I’d have to throw in the  Modern Times “Dankness Dojo” and the new Highland Park Brewery in Chinatown.

Middle School Math

One of my jobs right now, aside from authoring which is–at present–unpaid, is tutoring K-12 students to take standardized tests. It’s true: there’s viable paying work teaching the one thing I was REALLY good at in school, test taking. Most of the tests I’m teaching, however, were not around when I was a student. I can still ace them, because frankly standardized testing does not require you to actually know very much about the topic at hand, only the psychology of people who write test questions. But in a spirit of solidarity with my students and good faith to whatever education we are trying to give them, I’ve gone back and learned some stuff. Here are some observations. Continue reading

Scientist and Alchemist

Sometimes you have to post about things you tried that you like, because your friends will find them boring.

This here tea, for instance. I love tea. Tea is what my friends and I would hunker over late at night in high school, dishing gossip and making fun of people and pointedly not mentioning how none of us had the wherewithal to procure a fake ID. Tea: the thing I do when I want to stand up and take a break from writing but don’t want to admit that that’s the plan. Tea: the source of many of my calories when living in England on precious saved dollars when the pound was soaring.

A recent crackdown on caffeine use led to this revelation:

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Sunshine m-f-ing dust

Continue reading

No One Really Loves Traveling

If you’ve ever online dated or read the interests section on a resume, it might seem like we are a nation of wanderers. You know: I love movies, sports, traveling.

I always felt alienated by this because I hate traveling. I love being new places, seeing cool stuff and learning how other people live, but the process of getting there–the actual TRAVEL part–fills me with dread. Planes are claustrophobia-inducing. I have severe packing anxiety. Hotels make me feel like I’m in the beginning of a slasher film, and I can never sleep thinking about how many other bodies have shed their skin cells on those mattresses (you’re welcome).

Which leads me to think everyone else is a liar.

No one likes flying, except maybe prop plane pilots. They seem like they’re having fun.

No one likes waiting in line for tickets, for bathrooms, for transport.

Sure, it’s nice when you get there. But I really think people ought to be more specific.

No one actually likes to travel. What we like is arriving.

Just sayin.