Why Use Seven When Two Will Do

I’m at my desk. I take a sip of my coffee and wait for the company database to load. I see an e-mail notification pop up. It announces that my 62-year old boss who begrudgingly uses technology, has just sent me a rare e-mail.

I immediately click to see what could have prompted him to take on this laborious hunt and peck task. The e-mail loads and reads:

Jill,

Do you know how to do an electronic signature?  I am old and helpless.

-B

My lips curl in on themselves. This might be the most hilarious and yet precious e-mails I’d ever received. There is subtle yet remarkable implicit trust in this query.

I reply simply, and wish that all e-mails would be this raw and honest. And realize that, “Why use seven words when two will do?” is a poignant question. This masterful work stated its purpose and made me smile. What more could I ask for?

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Some Serious Wordiness

I really like science. I find it generally fascinating and wonderful, but there are certain topics within science that really get me giddy.  One such topic is cephalopods. I did my science fair project involving the bacteria that make squid glow when I was in ninth grade, and I’ve been gaga for the creatures ever since.  They’re just so nifty.

Whenever I see articles about new discoveries regarding this magnificent group, I’m all in.  I mean what isn’t cool about squid having a symbiotic relationship with bio-luminescent bacteria that reflects moonlight, so it can move about without casting a shadow on the sea floor and thus protecting it from predators?  Or that Octopi have this crazy ability to change shape and texture to blend in with their environment?

Anyway, the other day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, and I saw an article regarding the octopus.  I was instantly excited. What other coolness could I learn? But then, sadness struck. I couldn’t take this article seriously.  They had spelled the plural of octopus as “octopuses.”

What dopes, I thought.

Anybody who knows anything knows that octopus becomes octopi.  This article obviously had no credibility. But something in me just couldn’t let it go.

I soon found myself on Merriam-Webster’s website and to my sheer delight I learned that octopuses is indeed an acceptable plural of octopus. In standard English, octopus would be pluralized to octopuses.  But because people wanted to be more in-line with Latin root words they pluralized words ending in “us” with an “i.”  The rub is that the root word of octopus is not Latin, but Greek, making the plural “octopodes” which is really weird and confusing. In conclusion, technically all three plural forms−octopuses, octopi, and octopodes−are correct.

This was great news! I could read the article after all.  I will still default to octopi, but this is captivating stuff.  See, even the words used to name these wonderful beings are crazy fascinating!

Happy wordy Friday!

Source:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/video/octopus

Goodreads: A Discovery

I love lists.  I’ve always loved making lists, and growing up keeping a list of books to read was my jam. However, my list mania soon grew to include a list of books I had already read.  At first, I just kept it in a notebook, but then when I was a junior in high-school I got an actual book journal.  I didn’t journal about the books I read, but it was a good place to keep track of all sorts of reading things (i.e. lists of…books to read, book read, books borrowed, books lent.)  It was really a list markers paradise.

As I’ve gotten older this obsessive list making has come in handy.  Once after watching a movie with my roommate I said, “I feel like I’ve read this.”  At the closing credits, it showed that it had been based on a book.  I went and got my book journal and sure enough I have read the book about three years previously.

Recently, I began to wonder why more people didn’t have book journals.  Didn’t they want to keep track of all the things they had read and all the books they hope to read?  Why weren’t there more people who loved books and lists as much as I did? Then I remember this newfangled thing called Goodreads

I give you permission to laugh. I have the soul of an 89-year old, even though physically I’ll turn 30 in December.  I go to bed at 9 PM.  I am completely baffled by Instagram and Twitter, but I’m trying my best.  I have an apron collection.  So it shouldn’t be too surprising that Goodreads showed up on my radar this late in the game.  I had heard of it.  I just didn’t know anything about it until I decided to investigate.  I immediately understood why it wasn’t really necessary to keep a book journal or at least in the list sense that I do.

While I’m staunch in not giving way to too many electronics regarding reading and books, I will concede that Goodreads is pretty groovy.  And I think my account is here to stay.  It still gives me the satisfaction of making lists and checking things off, but Goodreads is a terrific help in finding new reads that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about.

I realize that this is not revolutionary news to anybody, but me, but I was surprised at how much I liked it.  Maybe all technological advancements aren’t so bad after all- Good Grief!  I do sound like I’m in my 80’s.

Nutella Proves a Point

The other day I was in the mindless pursuit to waste time, and one of my favorite places to do that is Pinterest because all kinds of goodies can be found there. I like my time wasting to possibly turn into productivity, then I don’t feel so bad about it. Technically, this happened because I stumbled upon this quote and thus I could write this post. The quote was:

“You can’t make everybody happy. You aren’t a jar of Nutella.”

I started laughing. It has a very solid point.  It’s a general concept that’s been around of awhile but this was a fresh twist.  However, what I found so amusing wasn’t the wit of this new wording, but the fact that this quote isn’t true.

What do you mean? You may ask.

Well…I don’t like Nutella.  I guess it just makes the point all the more accurate.

This why I love words.  They’re good for a laugh and a ponder.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Firing Off Another Review- Inferno

Vitals-

Title: Inferno Author: Dan Brown Genre: Fiction

The Gist- Robert Langdon once again finds himself on the path of adventure where history and modern day weave together to profoundly change the future.  This time it’s Dante’s Inferno and the threat of overpopulation.

What Stuck- Dan Brown has a great ability to educate with art, history, and symbols in a way that doesn’t over complicate the story. I love learning, so I kind of feel like I get a two for one special with these books.

Should you give a flip- Yeah.  It’s an intriguing read and if you’ve enjoyed Mr. Brown’s other works, this should not disappoint.

The Book Flood

Iceland- the not so icy island with delicious hot springs and stunning views also is the land of high literacy culture.  I learned last Christmas right before the holiday that Iceland has a tradition dubbed “the book flood.”  It’s basically where everyone exchanges books on Christmas eve and spends the rest of the evening reading.

I first saw this posted on Facebook, but since Facebook’s accuracy may be up for debate I decided to do a little research and found an NPR article about Iceland’s tradition.

I was thrilled to confirm that this is a real occurrence.  I also learned that Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other nation in the world.  So naturally, Iceland is my new favorite county.  I mean its and entire nation doing what this girl loves.

I kind of hope to start this in my own family.  I want everybody reading or listening to books. I know that my aunt and mom would be on board.

I guess I like it so much because it’s not just about reading it’s about sharing the reading experience, sharing knowledge.  It’s a solo thing as well as a group thing.  It’s like the whole country is doing a big read-in. I find that notion just fascinating.

Okay, who’s ready to move to Iceland?!?

Writing Woes

As I’ve mentioned before, I not only spend copious amounts of time reading, but also scratching out my own scribblings. I tend to write long-hand in a journal I carry with me.  However, I have recently been having some writing woes, but not the usual writer’s block and such. I have been struggling with what people say and do when they see me writing.

I have been given the impression that they think my scribblings are silly, and what could I possibly be writing that is so important that I fill up so many pages.  I’m currently on my fourth journal. There are many people who I have kept this hobby hidden from due to fear of judgement.

Now I know that I really shouldn’t give a flying flip what other people think, but a writer’s ego is fragile.  And sometimes things said really sting, such as one morning a co-worker saw me writing before work at my desk and mockingly said, “Dear diary…” like I was an angsty teenaged girl.  I was instantly embarrassed of my writing and felt foolish for it. It made me feel that my hobby of writing and blogging were inferior to other hobbies.

It’s difficult to not let comments like this burrow their way into your mind and under your skin and make you really question what you’re up to. It makes you wonder, is it really worth it for those of us who are not professionals?  Answer: Of course, it is!

However, it is a bit ironic.  A professional writer, such as a journalist or a novelist, is held in quite high esteem, but it feels like if you haven’t reached that level then you’re inadequate. Yet how does one reach those levels without toiling away with a pen and a piece of paper or a keyboard and a monitor before their day job? And what if you just like doing it with no aspiration to be paid?

Writing is difficult.  It is a process.  I don’t like criticism, but I’ll take it and do something with it if it will improve my work.  However, criticism for the act itself seems unnecessary and rather unproductive. I haven’t come upon any solid advice other than to ignore people and their comments and their eye rolling.

I am, however, very lucky to have many supportive people in my life regarding my writing. They are pretty amazing, so I’m going to focus on those awesome peeps, jam to “Shake It Off” and keep doing what I love.

Happy Friday, everyone! Keep on keeping on!