Pedantics – or, Am I Getting The Message Across?

I’m a fairly pedantic person, I’ll admit. I can be pretty annoying with insisting on people be clear and consistent, because I consider myself a pretty literal person. Being pedantic is part of me because I’m a copywriter by trade, so my English skills have to be up to scrath 100% of the time, and working with English people means I have to work with the classism and jibes I sometimes get.

Last night, however, I realized that I really shouldn’t be so into pedantics when I’m in normal life mode. I at the archery club, helping to look for a wood-shafted arrow while someone else swept a metal detector back and forth. I jokingly suggested that wooden arrows should have an aluminum shaft running down the length of the arrow, and one of the guys helping look smiled and said, ‘What was that? I don’t know what that word is. I DO know what AL-you-MIN-ee-um is, though.’

A couple of chuckles went around and I smiled and said something about how I knew all about aluminum and aluminIum (note the ‘i’). The spellings and subsequent pronunciations of the words ‘aluminum’ or ‘aluminium’ have a long and storied history (just check out this link http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles/aluminium.htm), and basically all you need to know is that an American organization chose to use the no ‘i’ many years ago, and ne’er the twain shall they meet.

The first thought that went through my head, after the ‘oh I’ve never heard that before’ was ‘you know what I mean, why highlight me being an American?’ …which made me wonder about being pedantic in my regular life.

I definitely get annoyed at things like using ‘u’ and ‘2’ in general writing, and I’ve joined the Apostrophe Protection Society, and a Facebook group that has a title like ‘when you use bad grammar I judge you’, but I guess when I’m not in writing/reading mode I maybe should lighten up just a bit.

Don’t worry, I won’t change a thing when writing my blog or anything else, it’ll still be readable!

Happy summer solstice

It’s June 21st! Summer solstice. Longest day of the year.

These days, at the latitude I’m at, the skies are still quite light well past 10 PM. There’s been a lot of rain and storm clouds lately but on a clear night the sky is still lit up to nearly 11 PM.

Any New Agers out there might be interested to know that Stonehenge, which is managed by the English Heritage, was open from yesterday evening to this morning for wannabe druids and drum beaters. You can actually touch and sleep amongst the stones, which some people really believe are sacred and all. You know, ley lines and such. I don’t believe in that sort of thing but I can’t help but marvel at the amount of time and effort that was put into constructing all the various stone circles around the UK and Europe.

I’ve known a couple of people that were into drum circles…one a former housemate in California (I’ll tell you how Californian he is: he invited me to a clothing-optional New Year’s Eve party once!) and one a former boss who believed in divining and ley lines, and spent his weekends camping with friends at a nearby stone circle he says he’d give his life to protect. Nice guys, both of them. But not folks I’d want to hang out with!

British accents

Many Americans think that all Brits sound the same, when the truth is that Britain has a range of accents, just like America does. A Southerner does not sound like a Brooklynite, for example, the same way someone from Newcastle doesn’t talk like someone from Somerset. I’d actually say that there are more accents across Britain* than there are in the States, but without actually experiencing the accents it’s hard to understand all the various ways people talk.

Until now.

A Scottish guy on YouTube has made an 8-minute video explaining pretty much all of the different British accents in a pretty amusing way. Even with a heavy Scottish accent he’s able to very closely emulate the Essex, Cockney, Brummie, Manchester and other accents. The only accents I’d say he doesnt get quite right are the Welsh and Midlands (Derby) accents and probably the rural Irish accents.

 Here’s the link for the video.

* Keep in mind that ‘Britain’ includes Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as all of England…which isn’t just London. 😉

Ready for $4/gallon gas?

According to this CNN/Money article (and many other headlines I’ve seen online), the media is preparing the US public for gas prices of $4 per gallon or more.

Hmm.

All I can say is, big whoop!

The cheapest petrol prices I can find near me are 91.9p per litre. There are 3.8 litres per US gallon. At current exchange rates of 1 GBP = 1.99301 USD, I’m paying $6.78 per US gallon for fuel!

Suck on that!

Yes, I want to get a motorcycle for going back and forth to work. I already do ride-sharing with someone at work who lives near me, and I’ve already considered getting a smaller car, with a 1.1 litre engine – that would get me maybe 40+ miles a gallon rather than the 30mpg or so I get now with my 1996 Saab 900 S.

I hope you lot over there in the US are considering hybrid or at least smaller cars for your next car purchase. I remember when it was a dreamy 90 cents a gallon! That was before Gulf War I…