Into the 4th Year of the Millenium

Don’t you find it hard to believe it was four years ago already that we were doing the countdown to Y2K? By this time four years ago, Oceania, Asia and eastern Europe and Africa had made the transition and there was a general sense of relief that the Y2K doomsday scenarios weren’t panning out. The fears were replaced by a sense hope and celebration, with the Western economies flying high, seemingly without end. I wasn’t convinced, mind you, since I knew it had to end eventually.

And indeed, in 2000, the bubble did burst. Plus the year ended with an ellipsis, namely an inconclusive presidential election in the United States. The Y2K predictions were wrong, but so was the optimism that reigned on January 1, 2000. The world began changing in ways we hadn’t expected. Then, in the first real year of the millenium came horror on a scale that defied comprehension and unleashed a series of events that have carved deeper divisions than before.

I find it nearly impossible to do a personal retrospective of 2003. While there have been many exceptions on the interpersonal level, my wish for 2003 has largely gone unheard on the global scale. And as I look ahead to 2004, I feel a bit overwhelmed. Professionally, it will be a pivotal year for me, with long, long work hours and few opportunities for fun.

Among the good things of 2003, I can think of:
¤ Poupoune and the Bar Hopper got together and they’re tremendously happy;
¤ BeeGoddessM has had brilliant successes in shedding the weed and pounds;
¤ my business did expand, although not quite as much as I was hoping a year ago, and
¤ I adopted Junior and got to rediscover a bit the pleasure of nowheres.

My most fervent wish for 2004: I want the neocons out of at least the White House in Washington. What happens in the States has so much impact worldwide. There needs to be more moderation. That said, should the neocons get back in, it will have to be a decisive win, which unfortunately seems unlikely either way.

As for me, well …maybe it’s appropriate for me to think of 2004 as a pivotal or transitional year. I will, after all, be turning 39 this year. I could be — in fact should be — setting the groundwork for my 40s. However, I’m shying away from making resolutions since I don’t think I can take the stress. Better to practice what I preach: one thing at the time.

Anyway, I think this post is sounding rather depressing when in fact I’m not really in a funk. So let me simply end by wishing you all…

a joyful and prosperous 2004.

Woes of *This* Blog Writer

Sometimes I go back days, weeks, even months in aMMusing and re-read stuff I’ve written. And the thing that drives me nuts is finding typos and poorly constructed sentences. In fact, it does more than just drive me nuts; I feel mortified when I find mistakes.

The most devastating ones, of course, are those I find in entries in which I rail against bad writing practices. However, I think that’s precisely when Murphy lurks to trip me up. The bastard!

But more fundamentally, I have this thing about leaving mistakes once I find them, even if they’re nested deep in a very old entry and I know readers of aMMusing understood what I meant. Quite simply, I can’t leave them there; I have to correct them. So, you can imagine that, for me, writing a blog entry can be time-consuming since I spend a lot of time revising it before switching it from “Draft” to “Publish.” And even after I switch to “Publish,” I make several more revisions before finally walking away.

The worst part is that I’m the same way with my e-mail. Most of my clients simply fire off messages and don’t pay much attention to how they write. And that’s fine: if it works for them… I, on the other hand, read my messages over several times before finally pressing “Send.” And I feel awful when I find a mistake in a message I sent — sometimes even if I sent it weeks ago.

The thing is, I’ve always been this way about my writing. I can drive myself crazy with it. Yet, cognitively, I know a few harmless mistakes aren’t the end of the world. Still…

Poor Adam…

Adam of Words Mean Things has posted an entry in which he asks, “Why ha[s America] not gotten the point, when every other industrialized country in the world is light-years ahead of us on [this issue of same-sex unions]?”

Today, the Canadian edition of Time magazine named Michael Leshner and Michael Stark, the first gay couple to marry legally in Canada, as “Canada’s Newsmakers of 2003.”

Today, the American edition of Time magazine named The American Solider its 2003 Person of the Year.

(Mind you, on the poll asking “Do you agree with our choice for the 2003 Canadian Newsmaker of the Year?” a whopping 84% of 371 respondents as of 19:25 AST today answered “No.” Then again, we are talking TIME magazine here…)

Regardless, Adam, what do you say? Since I already bestowed upon you the title of “Honourary Canadian citizen,” should I take the next step? I could send you the papers you need to become a landed immigrant as well as a copy of the Chronicle Herald so that you can start looking for an apartment — assuming you’re open to the idea of coming to Halifax. ;-P}

Another One for the “Arrgh” File

Regardless of What They Say…
I read in a blog somewhere — I don’t remember whose — that the non-word disorientated yanks her chain the wrong way. Me, it’s irregardless. I feel the urge to slap somebody — preferably the writer — whenever I see it.

Professional Nose Pickers
Another one is how professional has come to be misused and overused. It’s so bad that on some website requiring registration — again, I don’t remember which site — the form clearly stated “traditional professional (accountant, doctor, lawyer, etc.).” In many instances, the substantive “professional” has become synonymous with “a white collar worker.” As an adjective, it has come to mean something along the lines of “deftly executed.” Consider, for instance, how many times you’ve heard or read that a website was or wasn’t “very professional,” and then examine what I consider a liberal definition of professional. Even if someone were to “perform nose picking” for pay, it’s doubtful it would be a good idea to call that person a professional nose picker.

This Rant Comprises a Rant on “Comprise”
I don’t care that opposition to the usage comprise of is subsiding. There’s no need for it. We’re allowing people who can’t use a thesaurus properly to lower the standard. I can just see it now: a bunch of people decided they didn’t sound sufficiently erudite when writing “consists of” and decided to substitute “consist” with “comprise.” Oh, get over yourself! You’re only making yourself sound more unlearned.

Okay, let’s get this straight once and for all. In English, a period or a comma goes inside the closing quotation mark; a colon or a semi-colon goes outside the closing quotation mark; a question mark or an exclamation point goes inside or outside the closing quotation mark depending on context. Look smart: Punctate correctly.

Real Compounded Words
¤ nevertheless
¤ nonetheless

No hyphen. No space. No other way.

Who’s That You Say?
Don’t reduce people to objects by using the pronoun that to refer to them (e.g., “People that…”). The correct pronoun to use is who (i.e., “People who…”). And use whom as an indirect object (e.g., “The woman to whom I was speaking…”).