Sunday, November 30, 2003

Last day of November ... aiiiiieeee!

My best trick today: Running the end of my cart into a cosmetics display at the Save-on Foods. Urg. Shrieking "Eeeks!" at the appropriate moment. The woman passing in the other direction giggling appreciatively. After quickly picking up and rolling away, vowing never to shop at Save-On on a Sunday again.

Big sigh of relief: Active Voice/La voix active is DONE! Thank you Bruce for persevering in the face of obstacles and amateurs.

Now reading: Island, a collection of short stories by Alistair MacLeod. Very good. Sister Crazy by Emma Richler. Feels uncomfortably, intentionally constructed to be read as biography-based fiction. Conflict, Action and Suspense by William Noble, in preparation for next semester's Distilled Prose class.

Today I like: Tea! Apple crisp (I made a delicious dish for supper). Stevie Nicks' wardrobe. Cotton tights. The glittery night that leaves me ageless, timeless.

Today I dislike: The speed of light. Being late. Running out of time. Beholdenness. Laundry pile replenishing every week! Bad reviews of records I'm looking forward to hearing.

The I-Tunes says... And you dream you're free but you'll awake / too much too late, too much too late — Berlin, "Like Flames" ... Long ago it must be, I have a photograph / Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you — Simon and Garfunkel, "Bookends"

And then from the sublime to the ridiculous: "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" — Elton John with Kiki Dee ... Heavy — ain't it heavy?


Sunday, November 23, 2003

Fondly remembering Thumper's mother's advice...

Take a tortuous journey through the fecund valleys of the heart. Green in the silky honey light. Brass at noon. Creeping pink at dawn. Low-slung and humble in the early evening, running up to the solstice. Red and full in mid afternoon, pulling hard around the trees; deep in dense shade warmed by fingers of light. Find that image.

Life is bigger than you, and you are not me ... I thought that I heard you laughing / I thought that I heard you sing / I think I thought I saw you try ... But that was just a dream ...


Saturday, November 15, 2003

Paintin' the bathroom red

Ah, adventures in home contracting. We're painting the main-floor powder room a lovely shade of cranberry. In such a small room, everything now seems faintly pink, so we no longer have concerns about the trim, or the linoleum, or the hand towels, or even the door, matching. There's just a vaguely ominous red glow radiating from the hallway...

Things the retail industry doesn't tell you about do-it-yourself renovations (and that I, as the daughter of a handyman, should have known):

• That painting even the smallest room in the house will require sixty dollars' worth of paint.
• That no matter what projects you have completed in the past, you do not have the correct tools to complete this job without at least two trips to the hardware store.
• That dark colours are strangely incoherent when concentrated and in no way resemble the two-by-three-inch chip you fell in love with at the paint counter.
• That eggshell is not flat.
• That the phrase "it dries darker" is the industry's code phrase for "you've been had".

Good thing we like electric-neon-raspberry. Maybe we should try a coat of black on the red before we apply the next gallon?

Next project: walls in the basement. Perhaps we'll wait for the winter holidays before buying the drywall... What's that about hiring people to do this stuff?

PS: If we can, we'll post a picture of the finished project ... if it is ever finished.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Thoughts for today

Don't believe in excess
Success is to give
Don't believe in riches
But you should see where I live
I...I believe in love

merci a U2!

Monday, November 10, 2003



Man is a political creature and all politics are created by man (that's the generic, non-gender specific man...). Gosh, if people would quit feeling threatened by everything and just focus on getting the job done, then more things would get done...less people would worry about it and life would be a box of chocolate-covered surprise at all!

Have I had a stressful day? Yes-in-dee-dee. It never fails to amaze me that some people can go through life with no inkling of the political reality of going through life...I sure can't. Just when I think I figured out the players, someone rewrites the script and I get caught up in the dramatic action. Don't they realize that I work backstage? Acting is for actors... I just wanna build things.

Go see Amadeus at the Citadel. Peter Shaffer is brilliant, the actors are brillianter and the gestalt is brilliantest. Theatre the way its supposed to be.

Sigh... B

P.S. Go Here for a flash political commentary to make you giggle.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Is this lame or what? My mind is in desperate need of freeing, so while I'm out finding a mental purgative, please read my recent review of an important editorial tool, the Chicago Manual of Style. I wrote this review for Active Voice, the newsletter of the Editors' Association of Canada. I will update with a more personal entry soon, I promise! — L

The fifteenth edition of the Chicago Manual of Style has finally arrived. It’s been only a decade since the publication of Chicago 14, but editorial processes have changed so dramatically in the interval that the need for a new edition has been keenly felt. With roughly fifty more pages than its predecessor, Chicago 15 answers many editors’ hopes and pleas.

Updates to accommodate electronic publishing and desktop technology were widely expected, and the editors delivered. Chicago 15 provides extensive detail on how to cite electronic materials and includes a succinct overview of considerations for citation, a list that should prove valuable to editors and authors alike. It also acknowledges emerging technologies such as digital bluelines and electronic books, and discusses their specific handling. Another major addition is extensive coverage of journal preparation. Rather than being slushed into book production, journals are treated as a distinct form with particular needs and timelines.

The other big feature of Chicago 15 is the chapter on grammar and usage, and several early reviews have focussed on it. I must confess that I, as a grammar instructor, was drawn immediately to these pages to see how didactic Chicago might have become.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a thorough yet accessible and largely descriptive discussion of American grammar. No Miss Thistlebottom here: the chapter is solid but thoughtful. Take for example its ruling on the split infinitive: "it is now widely acknowledged that adverbs sometimes justifiably separate the to from the principal verb"—a clear statement that is neither permissive nor absolute.

The usage section is similarly thoughtful. Its "glossary of troublesome expressions" breaks out commonly confused words and phrases, such as adverse and averse, convince and persuade, but also extends to some subtler distinctions, such as obtuse versus abstruse or mistreatment versus maltreatment. It also gestures briefly to considerations of bias-free language and includes a helpful list of prepositional idioms.

One change that does not entirely satisfy me is the relegation of production matters to an appendix (albeit a lengthy one). Here too is the new home of the former glossary of technical terms, now reduced to a list of key production terms. Certainly the continuing advance of technology makes the detailed discussion of prepress issues difficult, and in this age of specialization, production editors without design training are increasingly rare. But surely editors—especially new editors—need more than a superficial understanding of the processes that turn an edited manuscript into a bound publication. Perhaps by the time the next edition of Chicago is published, technology will have stabilized sufficiently to permit more leisurely consideration of production and printing issues.

Numerous strengths compensate for any perceived weaknesses, however. The table of contents has been expanded for clarity, and the bibliography has been reorganized and updated. All numbered paragraphs have descriptive headings to allow editors to evaluate content quickly. And the style section—the core of Chicago—remains largely unchanged, though expanded. Margaret D.F. Mahan notes in her preface, "As for the rules that many of us either know or know how to look up, we have changed only a few, and mainly those that have never caught on." This is probably one of the greatest achievements of Chicago 15: that it has provided guidelines for tackling the new and unfamiliar without removing what is familiar and valuable.

One other subtle, yet entirely effective, change deserves mention. The moderate use of a second colour throughout gives the book a softer, more accessible feel, rendering it authoritative, not authoritarian. In short, Chicago Manual of Style remains the essential guide to editing and publishing. Plan to add the new edition to your editorial bookshelf soon.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep...

Well, at least it's better than the other message: "The number you have dialled is not in service..."

Did you have a happy Hallowe'en? I did, but I ate too many mini chocolate bars. My parents are back from the West Coast now, I think. I am almost caught up on my marking. Thankfully November is much less demanding for marking than October was. Other than the grammar exam next Friday. Oh and the grammar exam on Monday. And the critical research projects. And the second set of essays for advanced grammar. And ... Sagittarius is ruled by the planet Jupiter, which has many many moons. Maybe that explains something.

Started watching Little Big Man last night because I have never seen it before (although it's one of B's favourites). We had to stop partway through because I couldn't see the television any longer. The film made me ashamed to have been born. How can anyone ever hope to escape our collective guilt for the genocide that has been perpetrated in the name of the future? Anyway, I will hope to watch the rest tonight. An amazing film thus far.

Must run now. Is that Citizens for the Preservation of Paper I hear calling?