Wednesday, July 27, 2011


When I was in college, my biggest problems were hangovers and finding parking. My students seem to have to deal with so much more. Many have to work full time because their parents are unemployed, many of them struggle with learning disorders, and many of them even struggle with health issues. Consequently, I often feel sympathy for my students. But last week, I stood in front of the class and saw twenty-five pairs of eyes filled with pity directed at ME.

They were feeling sorry for me because they couldn’t believe that my life was so pathetic that I actually found the shit I was teaching as interesting as I did. You see, I tend to get really excited when I teach language awareness.

Enthusiasm oozes from me as I encourage them to take advantage of all the wonderful verbs at their disposal. I work myself into a frenzy as I ask the class, “Why use boring old walk when you could use verbs that paint a picture like lumber or saunter or parade? Isn’t skulk such a fun verb? Isn’t the verb wilt just so beautiful? ”

My enthusiasm, however, isn’t contagious. My students just stare at me with this expression that says, “Awww. The poor dear. She really needs to get a life. Maybe we should show her how to play Angry Birds.”

However, I think I actually broke through to one student. I was grading her essay today, and she used a very interesting verb in an essay about her bike:

The feeling of absolute freedom I get when I curse down the street at full speed with the wind in my hair is amazing.

Everyone cruises down the street, but cursing down the street on a bike at full speed is pretty unique.

Usually, it’s me in my car cursing at the bikers.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm Interested!

Now that I have an agent and am one step closer to publication, I have started to seriously contemplate my writing career. I have started to ask myself really important questions about my literary future, but none more important that this one: What am I going to wear when Jon Stewart interviews me on the Daily Show regarding my bestselling book?

Since Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares is sure to spark an unprecedented grammar renaissance, I have been preparing for my worldwide media tour. The first thing I’ve done is purchased French language CDs. This was inspired by how incredibly sexy Bradley Cooper sounded when he gave this interview in fluent French while promoting Hangover 2. (Seriously, if you do nothing else today, watch it. It’s crazy sexy. I watched it last week and I’m still rattled.) Another thing I have been doing is paying more attention when I hear authors interviewed.

Yesterday morning, for example, I was listening to a radio interview on KROQ with Demetri Martin, a comedian who wrote a bestselling book called This Is a Book. From his interview, I picked up a successful sales technique: tug on the emotional heartstrings of the audience. When he revealed that not one member of his family owned his book, I wanted to go out and buy it immediately.

Terrible, right?

Even more terrible was when one of the interviewers asked, “Is your family just totally disinterested?”

Um, I don’t think that means what he thinks it means.

If his family was disinterested, it would mean that his family wouldn’t let the fact that Demetri was family influence how they felt about the book. Disinterested means unbiased.

Unfortunately, the fact that no one in Demitri’s family had the book meant that his family was uninterested, meaning they didn’t have any interest in the book.

I know that this won’t happen to me. I know for a fact that everyone in my family will own my book. And I know this because if it does get published (fingers crossed!) guess what everyone’s birthday present will be.

Au revoir!

Also, Rachael won the raffle from the last post. A copy of the best movie of all time, Zoolander, will be headed her way.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Can I Buy Me Love?

Look at Oprah up there, welcoming us all into her world of poor capitalization. Thanks to the Oprah Effect, millions of women have probably stopped capitalizing their O’s, their names, or both. It’s probably a good thing that Oprah’s grammatically irresponsible show is over.

Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s great that she so generously shared her favorite things with her audience. It’s just that one of my favorite things is properly capitalized words. It would have been great if she would have done both: given away her favorite things and practiced responsible capitalization.

Well, there’s a famous quote from one of Oprah’s favorite authors, Toni Morrison: “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” So I guess I must heed her advice. If I want to experience a properly capitalized favorite things give-away, I’ll have to create it myself.

And here are a few of my favorite things :

1. A Johnny Depp calendar. He's my flavor of every month.

2. A box of Lemon Zest Luna bars. I usually opt for chocolate-flavored, but these lemon-flavored bars are so dang delicious.

3. Nag Champa incense. It just smells so good.

4. The best movie ever. No, I'm not taking crazy pills.

5. I never get sick of listening to PJ Harvey's amazing CD, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea.

If you want a chance to win one of my favorite things, all you really have to do is "like" me.

In my last post, I mentioned that I was going to try to expand my social media horizons, so I was thinking that maybe I could buy some friends.

You can earn a total of 5 points:

1 point for liking my Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares Facebook page

1 point for following me on Twitter @missedperiods

1 point for tweeting about this give-away

1 point for posting on Facebook about this give-away

1 point for leaving a comment telling me what one of your favorite things is (Sue me. I'm nosy.)

Then, leave the following information in the comments section:

The number of points you’ve accumulated

Your preferred prize

I will draw a winner a week from today, and if you happen to be that lucky winner, I'll contact you.

Coming up next week: Tom Cruise jumping like a lunatic on my couch. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Open My Eyes

Facebook is to grammar what an orgy is to sex: a medium in which anything goes. (I’m assuming this about orgies, just so you know.) But this isn’t the reason I am relatively non-existent on Facebook. When I log into Facebook and see all of my friends’ profile pictures staring at me, I start to get social anxiety and can’t think of anything to say.

But this is no longer acceptable. I have to buck up and let go of my Facebook and Twitter inhibitions because… drum roll, please: I got an agent for my book Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares, and MY AGENT (I’m sorry; did I write that in all-caps?) said that I needed a comprehensive social networking plan for my proposal that should incorporate Facebook and Twitter.

Here’s my thing: I don’t really know what I could write on Facebook and Twitter that I don’t already write on my blog. I already set up a Missed Periods Facebook and Twitter, but they’re just sitting there neglected, waiting for some action. I’m wondering if you have any tips or know of any resources that could help a poor wallflower engage in the orgy of social media.

Also, while I’ve got you here, I need your opinion. This morning, MY AGENT (Sorry, did I do it again? Geesh!) and I were discussing the primary market for the book. Based on what you’ve seen on this blog, do you think it’s geared more for the general public or the college classroom?

Update: I just added the Twitter and Facebook links to my blog. See them over there on the right (assuming you are facing your computer). And it only took me all day to figure out how to do. Please follow me!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

When the Cats Are Away

I should have seen this coming. I should have alerted Buckingham Palace before they left, but I guess I was just so bloody excited that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were coming to my continent that I was in denial.

I wonder if William and Kate even know that the day before they left for their tour—the day when they would have been too busy transferring all of their carry-on liquids into 3.4 ounce bottles to notice—that England reverted back to its Sex Pistol "Anarchy in the U.K." ways and did away with the Oxford comma.

It’s actually worse than you think: it was the Oxford Style Guide that dropped it.

The Oxford Style Guide dropping the Oxford comma! That’s like Chicago refusing to serve the Chicago-style hot dog. It’s like Frankfurt banning the frankfurter or Brussels ditching brussel sprouts or Cologne outlawing nice-smelling liquids. (I want to say it’s ironic, but I’m terrified to say it’s ironic because of the Alanis Morissette backlash.)

The Oxford comma is the comma that comes before the and when listing items in a series:

I’d like a frankfurter, brussel sprouts, and cologne.

I get that technically we don’t need it because we’ve got the and there to separate the second to last item from the last. But I was always told the Oxford comma was optional, and since not too many things in the grammar world are optional, I appreciated having the choice.

What say you?

"God save the Oxford comma" or "Cheerio and good riddance?"


Boog, Jason. "Oxford Comma Dropped by a University of Oxford Style Guide." Galley Cat. 29 June 2011. Web. 5 July 2011.