What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

25 March 2011

Gave Away, and some Semicolons

My slightly nutty giveaway has come to a close, and random.org chose the winner. And since you are all dying to know who it is, I give you:

#44! Who, in real names (real blog names, that is), is generally known as The Golden Eagle. Is she here? If you would step forward and claim your prize... just kidding, being present is not a requirement to win. I'll scoot by her blog directly to let her know, and urge you to do the same (minus the letting her know part), because she is brilliant. So, the Eagle wins the prize pack (and it's already packed, and I don't remember what's in there, so we'll all be surprised when she gets it) and a guest post at Cheekyness if she is so inclined.

As a runner-up, who I also invite to guest post and will send a postcard to: JEFritz, by virtue of having the most entries. And if you don't read her blog already, you are likewise missing out on greatness. Head on over after you finish reading here. :)

Also this week, besides running giveaways and being happy about being back in class after spring break (yes, I'm strange), I've re-read Eats, Shoots & Leaves, which is a delightful punctuation book by Lynne Truss. And if you haven't read it, please do rush out to your local library (bookstore, Amazon, whatever) to get your hands on it. It's brilliant. And while it's hard for me to choose a favourite bit, I'll have to settle on the page about semicolon addiction: "Many writers hooked on semicolons become an embarrassment to their families and friends. Their agents gently remind them, 'George Orwell managed without, you know.' [...] But the writers rock back and forth on their office chairs, softly tapping the semicolon key and emitting low whimpers." Alas, 'tis true.

My rhetoric instructor from last summer (good grief, I have got to get that woman a nickname) wrote on one of my papers, "You are a bit addicted to semicolons. Perhaps you should look up the colon and try one from time to time." And that would stand as my favourite comment from an instructor, ever, if I had not gotten this one from Red Ball last semester (that had nothing to do with semicolons): "While you don't have to have topic sentences in every paragraph, it's nice to have one from time to time." Guilty. To both.

After the jump: My latest run-in with Skinny Jeans, mostly for my own amusement. Just skip it if you aren't interested in this continuing saga. Today's question (in bold since it's sandwiched): Which is your favourite punctuation mark?

Skinny Jeans asked for an outline two weeks after we turned in our paper topic, and three months before said paper was due. I don't know about everybody else, but a paper that isn't due until the end of the semester is not high on my priority list in February, as far as research goes. So, I got the outline back yesterday, and she marked off because there weren't any paragraphs. Well, hello; it's an outline. One does not normally include paragraphs in an outline. You're lucky to get complete sentences. Since I have grown weary of her really useless feedback, I stuck around to complain and pointed out that she specifically said in class to include as much information as we could without writing paragraphs. To her credit, she apologized for the miscommunication, and offered to talk it over some more. I declined, because I'm a jerk and didn't really want to have a long conversation with her, and she said, "You look really disgruntled." Oh, ya think? Sigh...

Again, I know she's still learning how to do this "teaching" thing. But seriously, I hope when I become a TA I can be a little less confusing and a little more helpful to my students.


Kittie Howard said...

Thanks for the semi-colon chuckle! Oh but the times I've read on and on...all those semi-colons lined up like bridges. My favorite is the sentence frag hanging onto a semi-colon for dear life.

Mary Vaughn said...

Congrats to all your winners.
Hmmm, ? because i leads to so many new places. (in my mind not my MS)

Anonymous said...

now I've learned not to live in Austin AND that I don't miss college one bit.

Bob Sanchez said...

I'm rather partial to the em dash. One way to insert it in your blogs is to go into your html and replace the double hyphen with —

Critiquers have bludgeoned my drafts for overusing the semicolon, though; they don't like them much in fiction.

Bob Sanchez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Sanchez said...

What I meant was to type an ampersand followed by mdash and then a semicolon. That gives you the —

JEFritz said...

Congratulations to the Golden Eagle. And a postcard for me? :)

I like the semi-colon, too, but am trying to ween myself off using it. It's too much fun. Same goes for my fondness for emdashes.

PS. Confusing instructions are the worst.

Su said...

@Kittie: I'm guilty of the sentence fragment offence, too, but not nearly as often as just putting a semicolon into every sentence.

@Mary: An excellent point! Questions are an excellent place to start.

@Charlie: Austin is fab. Really. You don't have to take the public transportation. But hey, if you want to stay up north and freeze, on you go. ;)

@Bob: I do manage to refrain from too many semicolons in my fiction writing. Essays, on the other hand, seem like the natural habitat for semicolons and it would be a shame to remove them. And thanks for the tip on the dash!

@JE: Yes, a postcard for you! After you were so faithful in your comments, and you tweeted and blogged and whatnot, I didn't want you to walk away empty-handed.

erica and christy said...

I am a recovering semi-colon addict. One can never say they're "recovered" from such an addiction, so to be safe, I also stay away from colons, em-dashes, and ellipses.

However, I probably use twice as many commas as is healthy. Everyone has their vices. :)

Su said...

Essays are the natural habitat of ellipses, too. I love it when I get to truncate a quote with three dots! :)

I do admit that I feel like I'm cheating on the semicolon when I see other punctuation.

Michelle in a shell said...

I should pick up that book seeing as how I'm terrible with punctuation. I over-abuse commas :)

And I have a love for exclamation points ! Looking at them makes me happy

Su said...

You should read it! Not only does she explain punctuation really well, but she's also hysterically funny. I've read the book about four times, and I still LOL through the entire thing.

L'Aussie said...

Hey Su, have missed you. How easy to lose touch. Just came across you at Grandad's so popped in to say hello. Looks like I've been missing some fun. Congrats to Golden. That book looks great. Glad you're enjoying being back to your studies.


Su said...

I know! With so many crusaders it's easy to get lost in the shuffle.

Brandon Price said...

That looks like an awesome book, and one I would definitely like to read. I was a little disappointed to see that the Kindle version was actually a dollar more than the paperback. Oh well. Maybe one day.

Su said...

That's weird. Sometimes I wonder if publishers are keeping close enough tabs on the prices when the Kindle price is higher.