Thursday, October 25, 2007

Annoying Vernacular

I understand that in many ways, the English language is an ever-evolving thing, but sometimes the direction of its evolution bothers me. Sometime in the past year, I started noticing that every cashier I have spoken to starts our conversation with "Can I help who's next?" This makes me cringe every time I hear it. Did "May I help you?" suddenly become too direct and clear? I start to wonder if every one of them started reading the same training manual. For the record, it is "May I help you?" One request to help the person you're looking at, who obviously wants to buy something, since it's in her hand. You can help her, if you're the cashier, since you have the training to do it. Whether you may help her is up to her. And "who's next" should be obvious. Using "you" seems to have become taboo in favor of this indirectness. Are people afraid to single others out even in a question these days? And don't feel the need to cram two questions into one. (May I help you? Who's next in line? Maybe it's another attempt at shortcutting communication. Ugh.)

While we're on the subject, "in regards to" is another one that makes me wince. I don't know whether people are trying to sound extra smart, or what, but just plain "regarding" suffices.

My college roommate always had issues with the phrase "I wish I was ..." Its proper use is "I wish I were ..." Steph, I hear ya.

There you have it. My one-woman crusade to keep the clarity in our language. Write on, fellow authors. But clearly. :-D

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Old Friends (and Some New Ones)

An old friend from GA came to town this week. She used to live here, but hasn't been back in five years. A bunch of us got together for a bonfire, a couple dozen or so assorted people and our kids. Some of these people I've known for years, and some I just met last night. And it was like old times, only better. I guess you don't realize how much you miss something until you come back to it years later. We all recalled some old standing jokes, or places we've been, but now we had new stories to add. It was good to see them all, and I wonder where the hell I've been hiding myself for the past whatever years. Note to self: make time for those guys. Besides, they've got dirt on me I've forgotten about. :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

"... and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" or, The Power of Three

So, this week, I get to channel that guy from "Network" who, at a breaking point, leaned out his window and yelled that he was mad, mad, mad. That's me, folks. My three-year-old furnace died at 3:00 o'clock Saturday morning. How? Search me. But the people who were supposed to come fix it have dragged their feet for three days now. (Maybe I should play threes in the lottery. Maybe Fate is trying to tell me something.) I have a 9-month-old son, so to experience no heat at this time of year is, as you might think, Really Bad.

The tech who came out to look at it first was prompt, if sleepy, but since then I have had nothing but headaches from this company. We have paid them three years in advance (see, threes again) for service contracts, and their techs never show up on time, or at all, for the service appointments. Yo, a phone call would be nice! When I got a rep on the line, she told me it wasn't her problem. Hmm. I doubt she's a mom. After telling her I was Less Than Pleased with that, she gave me her supervisor, who, while clearly longing to tell me more of the same, at least shaved off some more of the outrageous bill they tried to quote me. I'm not convinced that they don't engineer these things to fail. The furnace that came with the house when we bought it went over ten years before quitting. I buy a new one, and poof, I need to fix it three years later. As my country-boy hubby sometimes jokes, "That ain't right."

The silver lining is, Peanut and I had somewhere to go while all this insanity went on. My mother offered to let us stay over the weekend, and longer if necessary, until the heat gets fixed. But what happens to all those people who don't have local family? Would the heating company just have told those people to suck up and deal? I may be an adult, but sometimes I envy the freedom a toddler has to stomp her feet and yell, "Not fair! Not fair!"

What WOULD be fair is, if you play threes in the lottery this week, to send me some of it. Say, three bucks. LOL

Friday, October 12, 2007

I Oughta Know By Now ...

... that whenever Peanut gets the slightest little bug, Mama's going to get it worse a couple days later. I have a wicked cold. It hurts to talk, and everything. I came home early from work yesterday, ate soup, and conked out for the next 12 hours. I am still run down. Ugh. Chicken soup and tea for me, the next few days! On the other hand, I got some (enforced) rest. Just gotta keep pouring tea down my throat for a while!

Monday, October 08, 2007

NJ Rocked!

New Jersey's conference was a blast this year. I met a lot of great people, and had a ball. One of the writers from my chapter, Christine Wenger, was there, but Cara Summers couldn't make it - which was a bummer, because she won NJRW's Short Contemporary category for her Blaze, "The Cop!" Woo hoo, Cara!

So now, I am all jazzed up and ready to pound out about eight hundred books. OK, well, that's an exaggeration, of course (wish it weren't), but I did get motivated to work! I love conferences. If you haven't been to one, go!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Editing

I think if, in an alternate life, I grew up in NYC, I would have become an editor. Coming next year, I will be teaching a workshop on editing at the Central New York Romance Writers. One of my fellow writers suggested it, and I, being the not-so-closet line editing junkie that I am, could not resist. Keep an eye out here for details, and if you are in the CNY area when the workshop comes up, drop in! It should be a great time.