Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm pretty sure I couldn't make it there

I lie to myself and everyone else and say I once lived in NYC. I didn't, though. Not really. I stayed there for a month for what I later realized was an ill-advised career program. I lived in a hostel up on Amsterdam and took classes and didn't do a whole lot other than drink and walk so slowly people scowled at me.

But I always thought I should live there, at some point, because I dreamed of being in the publishing industry. And then life happened and graduate school happened and the publishing industry existed in DC, too, and it just seemed like I got too old for it to be worthwhile to up and move to the hard, fast world of NYC. So I didn't. But sometimes, just occasionally, I wish I did.

Tina did. She took a fairly ritzy-sounding job in New York and moved from Seattle and logs her experiences as a newbie New Yorker. Fascinating, right? Well, it should be.

Let's just get the design out of the way. It's your standard white Blogger template with no personality. The header is a bit large, although I do like the picture. The subscribe section just under the header is overkill -- it should be off to the side. Hello, off-putting. It screams "LOVE ME!" Just take me to the content. And move the stuff in the sidebar to tabs. Roll up your archives. Give us an About page.

I should love this blog. Cute Seattle girl moves to NYC and works in the news and drinks a fair amount and tries to find her way around. But, especially at first, the writing is very much "letters to home." There's a serious lack of editing and most of the posts are ungodly long. And, Christ, the ellipses overkill. These are such a crutch. Get rid of them entirely. They should only -- and, dammit, I mean ONLY -- be used when you're trailing off an idea or when there is missing information from quoted material. And if you trail off every single idea you have and so tack on the ellipses then I don't want to read you. Be concise. Have a thought and finish it.

Though quite a few of the "girl in NYC" stories are interesting, they're robbed of life by the writer's slap it on the screen style. There's an inelegance that interrupts these could-be-interesting vignettes, especially when she writes about things like roaches. Who cares? Do you care, Tina? In five years are you going to want to know about that roach? Maybe you will, but I pretty much don't, not unless you can make that roach enthralling, hilarious, or terrifying, none of which you've done.

I think I'm being extra harsh because the potential is here for a really interesting blog. But it's just not delivering. Though the author is candid about her identity, we don't learn anything real about her other than her various encounters with the denizens of New York and her love for Lyle Lovett. There's not a lot of depth provided, and maybe that's precisely because she's written her name on the blog.

Tina, I did some snooping (it wasn't difficult) and discovered your title is or was "writer." Why aren't you writing here? You're just jotting down snippets of your life, without care, without editing, without polishing, without pulling in your reader. In scrolling through, I notice there are very few comments from readers. And maybe that's the point. This blog is for you, for posterity, not for us.

If you want it to be otherwise (and I hope you do, considering you submitted for a review), clean up the sidebar clutter, give us some organization, and write like you care that we're reading. If you don't, just keep this stuff in a ruled notebook by your bed, carry it in your huge ass purse and jot things down on the subway when the crazies come out. Because if you don't care about us, why should we care about you?

143 comments:

  1. That was pretty scathing, Cal. I like it.

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  2. I hope it wasn't unreasonably so.

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  3. I agree... so much wasted potential.

    Also? A writer should never, ever write, "Go for the black and white, it’s cold – where tights."

    GAH! I get that english is confusing, and that homonyms make it even more difficult to master, but I think the where/wear thing drives me more insane than there/their/they're.

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  4. SciFi: For me, I can't stand the to/too. And yes, I sometimes make that mistake. Luckily, I wrapped two pieces of barbed wire around my thighs and each time I catch myself making the error, I grab some pliers and twist.

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  5. There was a manners/manors slip up that I neglected to highlight. Sigh.

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  6. The only post I opened was the one on roaches. After all of the grammatical, spelling and syntactical errors in that post alone, I decided I could not go on. Maybe I'm too critical when it comes to that kind of thing, and certainly I'm not perfect in that respect, but fuck is that ever some distracting shit. The content better blow my fucking mind for me to able to put up with that mess.

    You were right about the ellipses, Cal. The exclamation points in the roach post made me recall a funny Seinfeld episode, so at least it got a laugh out of me by making me think of something unrelated to the post itself.

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  7. I loved the corkboard-perfect complaint about ellipses, Cal, but I always love it when I can hear you grinding your teeth about those three little dots...

    Everyone makes mistakes, sure, but I don't think everyone has the same self-loathing over grammatical ones as we do here at Ask - they should, but they don't. Maybe we can convince Key to roam the countryside with razorwire lassos to teach ignorant word-butcherers how to flagellate themselves?

    Saving the printed word one decapitated dipshit at a time.

    Dot-dot-dot.

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  8. ghost: the to/too thing can be explained away as a typo or pressing the "o" key too hard... the others (I missed manners/manors, which may outrank where/wear) are just ignorance

    and thanks for the barbed wire/pliers visual - now I have to go get my mind scrubbed

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  9. NJ: I'd like that to be my next assignment.

    SciFi: You're welcome. I also hate you're/your.

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  10. Murr murr murr.

    It's a decent title, though, just because I love that song. "Hey, I've got nothing to do today but smile. doh-do-do-doh-do-do doh" fucking gibberishy whatever and fun.

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  11. Does anyone else feel like Cal's tough love is the right kind of love?

    I do...

    Those are for you, because I used to hammer those things.

    Now? It's the question mark.

    As if that is somehow better.

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  12. NJ -

    I think the problem is that if people are asking for a review, whether (or would that be weather... hmm... maybe I should ask today's blogger... what... she... thinks...) it's (its?) from here (hear) or somewhere else, there is an implied sense of pride and/or arrogance that comes along with it. That is what makes me hyper-critical of those types of errors.

    If someone is going to ask others to take their time and review a blog, they are doing so expecting it to be favourable. However, when they miss things like those we have highlighted here and in other reviews, it demonstrates a lack of respect for both their blog and the reviewer (not to mention their readership). Then again, maybe that's just me and my years of grammar education from nuns talking.

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  13. This would be such an easier pill to swallow if I didn't give a shit what you thought. But alas it's all true.

    It really is just a continuous letter home - I think I'll shut her down and make it just for friends and family. For clarity sake - the title of "writer" in radio has (thankfully) little to do with writing - I write so that it is spoken not read...I won't go quitting my day job anytime soon.

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  14. Tina, thanks for being so gracious. If it's just for friends and family, that's all well and good. Keep at it, privately. But for a larger audience, well... (look! ellipses!) It needs some spit and polish.

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  15. and yes those dots were intentional, keep on twisting.

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  16. My teeth, they are a-gnashing.

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  17. Yo, SciFiDad: I agree. We're fucking grammar nazis over here (and I mean that both in the profane-adjective sense and in the "I've-got-a-grammar-nazi-bent-over-my-coffee-table" sense), and I don't really think one can emphasize the importance of proper grammar when one declares themselves a capital-w "Writer".

    Much arrogance, much, much more delusion in these submissions - but you've got to be a little arrogant to send your shit our way, don't you?

    Sorry: "...to send your shit are way..."

    Tsk; how embarrrasssing.

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  18. Nutjobber -

    See, I've got the arrogance (in spades) but I lack the delusion necessary to submit, which is why I have not done so. I fully expect that my blog (a loathsome daddy blog of all things) would be eviscerated, and my ego cannot take that.

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  19. NJ: That isn't embarassing. This, however, is:

    My Son to DPH: 'I don't want Daddy to get married. This is all your fault.'

    Yep. That happened.

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  20. SciFiDaddyBlog: It seems like decades ago when I submitted here, back when they weren't nearly as jugular-slashingly nasty as we are now. Of course, I can say that because I was sexually-propositioned by Love Bites, so I really had nothing to complain about.

    Ghost: With full apologies to you and yours, that is motherfucking hilarious.

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  21. NJ: Oddly enough, this weekend was filled with timeless one-liners.

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  22. Blog open to invited readers only. (?)

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  23. gap: she moves quickly, don't she?

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  24. Tnole. For friends and family only? Why don't I believe you?

    I'm not convinced of that. And since I'm not only not a friend, but very unpleasant most of the time, I won't bother to ask for an invitation.

    You should just make it public again. Who cares what people think. Take the crit like a big girl, learn, and move on, girl.

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  25. Hey, what the shit? Apparently, I got here to late.

    I hate when that happens.

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  26. Hey, she just took my advice. Close 'er up if you're not writing for us.

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  27. I'm not writing for anyone, mine is up--where it will stay until I've contacted the mothership.

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  28. What happened to the days when we took it like men and thanked the reviewer afterward.

    You have to give it up for Candice. She did just that.

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  29. He's pretty amazing. I love him. Even more amazing, he loves me back the same way.

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  30. Not saying that tnole didn't thank Cal, but that is NOT taking it like a man.

    I feel the need to pepper everything with ellipses today.

    Fuck.

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  31. Alright, fine shops open. Go ahead pour salt. (god I'm a push over)

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  32. To Tnole, I just have this to say:

    Quitter.

    Either way.

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  33. At least wait until we're done foaming at the mouth and going all Viking rampage, you know? Tit for tat.

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  34. I'm not going to be mean. I took a pill and it's making me nice.

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  35. Okay, now let's all make her shut it down again.

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  36. Ghost: Possibly.

    I'm just saying, if you close it down then you quit, then if you open it back up, you quit again.

    Quitter.

    Guess who needs to pick up her meds?

    Gap- you should share.

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  37. I guess there are worse things than a push-over over-ellipser. I, for one, abuse hyphens. I hyphen the fuck out of that shit.

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  38. I see you put on your funny pants today, Mrs. Booms.
    Requitter? Eh.

    Blue: more cow-bell. And more hyphen-age.

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  39. sorry, I HYPHENATE the fuck out of it. See, I like to demonstrate in practical examples what I dislike.

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  40. Blue: nobody likes to do that. Some of us are just doomed to fuck ourselves every chance we get.

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  41. Ghost: I have nothing but funny pants, it's what fat girls wear.

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  42. I hate NYC. If I had two choices, move to NYC or move to a dumpster filled with giant rats ... I'd ... move to NYC.

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  43. Tits: know what else fat girls wear? Cowprint Tshirts. Ask the Hooker about that.

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  44. Ghost: Only in Texas. For real.

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  45. gap I have to say, you made excellent use of ellipses there.

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  46. Gap, isn't that like six of one/half-dozen of the other?

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  47. Ghost: Oh and the town I live in, but only at the Wal-mart and DMV.

    Oh and to buy beer and cigarettes.

    But you can do that at Wal-mart.

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  48. I understand that Key is a colon-abuser.

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  49. LB: Why yes I am. I'm getting new business cards made as we speak.

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  50. LB - Really, you just did that. You did.

    Ew.

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  51. i so totally couldn't resist. See, I didn't get to channel my inner meanness/crassness yesterday because I was flat on my back in a darkened room all day with a wicked migraine. so, i had to unleash today.

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  52. Also, this blog was physically painful to read.

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  53. I'm pretty sure the migraine was just the meaness trying to get out.

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  54. And, I think I've broken my capitalization skills.

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  55. BB: you may be right. Or it may just be trying to open my mouth too wide for some stupid sexual reason.

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  56. Betsey? Seriously? The question mark? I think I used one in a comment on your blog today. Are you OK with that? Should I retract it? And now? I simply do not know...
    Maybe a pumpkin muffin?

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  57. LB: Cockjaw claims another victim.

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  58. Also? I would like to complain about all these people who have family members and bosses would would/do get all up in arms over their blog topics.
    Hellbilly is my only coworker and my family couldn't give a rat's ass what I have to say.
    Maybe that's just some kind of Mongoliangirl luxury problem.
    Maybe I'm not blogging about the right things.

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  59. Maybe these people should ease up on letting people in their real life read their fucking blogs. This ain't fucking rocket science.

    Also, cockjaw is no laughing matter for a girl with TMJ.

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  60. MG? I'm fine with that. I don't own the question mark. I just abuse it.

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  61. MG: if you're anything like me, and you are, Personal Dignity is a ship that left the coast for safer waters long ago.

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  62. Italics make me wet, and that's without the benefit of a clitoris.

    For serious... super serious.

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  63. I, however, do in fact, own colons.

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  64. Some colons, perhaps. My colon: not owned by keywork.

    Had to work that in there somewhere.

    Personally, I use parentheses way too much. And dashes, god I love dashes.

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  65. True story...I met my boyfriend online on match.com, where he advertised that he was "obsessed with parentheses."

    Angels sang in that moment.

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  66. 'Had to work that in there somewhere.'

    That's what I said.

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  67. Yeah, I just don't get the thrill of going there. Seems like a lot of effort for a very unpredictable outcome.

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  68. Yeah, GoD doesn't own my colon either. Apparently peanuts do though. Just thinking back to that damn crap alien baby I gave birth to a few months back.

    Betsey? I loved your post about opening day today. Seriously? Fun!

    Me? Not so fun. Or funny. I have a slightly injured shoulder and just got over a nicotine fit. Wish I had me a case o' the cockjaw instead.

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  69. As long as they're used correctly and with restraint -- or at the very least with diversity -- parenthetical punctuation is so very satisfying.

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  70. It's only unpredictable if you're on the business end. Or don't know me very well.

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  71. Possibly not as satisfying as cockjaw, but still. Must take my pleasures where I can get them.

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  72. As I sit here proofing a document that I really have no business proofing, but my boss says I do...

    I hate the dashes sometimes. I really do. This company uses them to the point of replacing real punctuation with them.

    I leave out commas all the time. I expect others to use them, but they seem cumbersome to my rambling.

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  73. GoD. How, exactly, do you have the idea that I have no self dignity?

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  74. Parenthesis.
    Some days it feels as if I'm living between a pair.
    Then I realize that only happens on the days when I'm hanging out with my FIL and BIL on the same day.
    Now? I'm realizing that could sound kind of sexual. But it's not.
    I'm not THAT into cockjaw. Sheesh.

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  75. What if I told you GoD instead of GoK is just my own personal typing snafu?
    It's not. But what if...
    Oh, and I didn't learn the proper use of a semi-colon until about 4 months ago. Now? Cannot stop using it.

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  76. Perfect use of the ?, MG. I'm so proud.

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  77. MG: it took me YEARS before I learned how to properly use a colon.

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  78. Thank you Betsey. It does me proud to do you proud.
    See? That sounds sexual too.
    WTF?
    Speaking of WTF?, I love typing WTF?.
    Also? Did I remember to tell you guys someone commented on my blog that he is writing an online novel about a Mongolian Girl. I mean, the novel is awful, but seriously. You'd think he could write about THE Mongoliangirl instead of some Mongolian girl who lives in, you know, Mongolia.

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  79. GoD - I can give you the EXACT diet that will completely fuck up a colon without ever having to whip your junk pile outta your pants.
    I mean, I know you like to whip your junk pile out and all, but it might be nice when you're at work or something.
    Also? Pumpkin muffin? Anyone?

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  80. This is where I tell you that every time I read Mongoliangirl, I see Mongoloidgirl.

    I don't think that is at all PC.

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  81. Bestey, that's what I do all day long -- proofread shit I have no business proofreading (that is, hyphenate shit I have no business hyphenating). I'm obviously not qualified to do this job as I had to look up the word 'proofread' because I thought it should be hyphenated.

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  82. I don't mind Betsey. Especially because I often type it as 'Mongoliangrill'. Like I'm some kind of fucking interesting place to eat or something.
    See? Sexual!

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  83. BS - it's okay, I just looked up transferable. Really? Ridiculous. It just seems like it should have a third 'r'.

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  84. OK. Blue? That is fucking hilarious. I thought it was two words. Proof read. Proofread? That just doesn't look right to me.
    Neither does out-weigh. Or is it outweigh? Out weigh?

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  85. I have to look up misspelling every single time.

    I are a writer, not an editor.

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  86. For the record: My colon violently rejects being colonized.

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  87. LB - Might I reccomend simply saying - That ain't right. That ain't right at fuckin' all. - instead of notifying someone of a misspelling?

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  88. You know what just pissed me off?

    Sash.

    Sashes.

    Screw that.

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  89. We are he biggest bunch of nerd ass, writing douches ever.

    Wait! Nerd-ass, right?

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  90. Bestey - You should just sashay right over and tell them about their stupid sashes!

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  91. Hell, I'm an editor and I have to look up exercise every time. I just spelled it wrong before I spelled it right. At least I hope I spelled it right. It seems to want another C.

    This might have more to do with my aversion to the subject than it does to my spelling skills, though. Maybe.

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  92. There are people who can paint a picture with words and people who can't. Words are just information if they don't conjure up images. I'm guessing half the writers we've fucking loved could paint a better picture of NYC even having never been there.

    The writing isn't awful so I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and hope that she's too busy having fun to care if what she writes reaches people. Don't shut it down just don't expect people to care until you do. I think there are very few of us who write really well without some effort.

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  93. Honestly? I decided I liked to write when my 6th grade teacher once gave me high praise in front of the entire class for having perfectly punctuated a little story.
    I haven't perfectly punctuated anything since, but what a deal, eh?

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  94. For me, it was when my eighth grade teacher entered me in a state competition for a piece I wrote making fun of my family.

    So go egg her house.

    Also? My college speech teacher told me I should be a public speaker and gave me the comedy award for the semester.

    I'm pretty sure he was senile though.

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  95. Christ, I can't even string a sentence together without triple-checking it against my thesaurus to make sure I haven't missed the perfect, arcane, multisyllabic word that propels the common, everyday thought into a majestic tour de force that makes even the criminally insane weep at all the untapped beauty of this glorious, shiny-as-a-freshly-minted-penny existence.

    Effortless? That took me three years to write; I've just been sitting on it and waiting for the right opportunity to use it.

    I have a problem, and it's spelled F, U, N! Yay fun!

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  96. If I did that, NJ, I would never comment. Once I have a doubt, I just go ahead and hit 'publish'.

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  97. Ghost is right. Checking your work is for losers.

    And the losers that have to check your work as their job.

    Like me.

    Just as I went to hit publish I realized I had typed "Ghost is write."

    You can't write shit that stupid, but I do.

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  98. Ah, nards.

    Such a universal word.

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  99. Checking your work is like kicking the seat of the guy in front of you at the movie-theatre even though he's asked you, like, 45-times to knock it off, and he's just about to spill his raisinettes all over your little assface until he realizes he's a glutton and needs to get every tiny bit of chocolate into his disgusting fucking maw, so he relents and promises to kick your ass after the previews but before the movie starts, which means he's either really, really overvaluing his ability to kick ass, or you're a terrible, despicable loser.

    I'm going to make pizza.

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  100. Are the raisinettes the commas? Or the periods? Or, wait, the apostrophes?

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  101. I just wrote the most feminist comment of the world on Mongo's blog, and I'm doing an arm-twisty Cirque de Soliel pat-myself-on-the-back-for-a-job-well-done-although-without-grace-and-talent-but-a-multiplex-of-hypheny-goodness-for-Blues.

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  102. Rassles - You're getting pizza and a burger with my hubz. Alone. While I rearrange the house. Like, now. Be prepared.
    OK. Blues-can-come-with-you-guys-because-she-rocks.

    Regarding punctuation: I think our friend Frank Zappa best summed up the counfusion of it all when he said, "What is the crux of the biscuit? The apostrophe!"

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  103. Whereas the crux of the biscotti is the exclamation mark.

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  104. Damn. Letters to home. That's me. Damn.

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  105. Wow. I would change your blog's name to avoid any confusion when your day comes.

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  106. The crust of my pizza was an ampersand with crumbled asterisks sprinkled for flavour.

    What, we're not talking about that anymore?

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  107. Wait, you already had your day, didn't you? Eh.

    NJ: No, apparently we're not talking about anything right now.

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  108. The exclamation mark is blogging bane.

    Everyone is allowed one a day, and that's being liberal.

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  109. Yeah, but it has been a great help in the sales of semen-infused biscotti.

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  110. Mongo, if Hellbilly leaves you for me, I can't be blamed.

    Now trust me, I'm not gonna be mackin' on your man, but let's face it: I might blind him with Awesome.

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  111. Scandal! Paternal Inquiries! Horse People!

    Stay tuned.

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  112. Slow down there, Death Trap, that's two (!) too many.

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  113. Hey, you didn't say anything about comments, Rass.

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  114. Good point. Nickname redacted.

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  115. The hyphen-usage around this place is making me all teary eyed. Ah, the beauty of the nard-masses.

    I'm considering the name 'Hyphen' as my new avatar. It kinda reminds me of hymen though. Fuck it, can't I just stay Blue? Damn real-life lurkers looking at my blog-n-shit. I wish it was just the awesome among ye eyeballin' ma business. LB, why didn't I get your advice when i started my blog?

    At first I thought that's what this person needed to do; become anonymous and edit herself. But seriously, I think only her loved ones would put up with her grammatical train-wreckage. And if you don't know the rules of how to formulate a sentence to begin with or know the difference between 'new' and 'knew', it doesn't matter much if you edit. Unless, of course, you're blinding me with awesome like Rassles does, in which case, all rules are null and void.

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  116. I'm told missing a period is bad news.

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  117. Thanatos: Not if you're on welfare, my friend.

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  118. So that's how octomom did it. Hopefully she doesn't blog.

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  119. I bet she will. For money.

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  120. @ LB - been meaning to ask. You into Judas Priest?

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  121. Thanny: Nah, not so much. This is more of a reference to my real life lovelife.

    Keywork: Or, Victoria's Secret lingerie. For the babies, of course.

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  122. Well, Baby Hooker is the look these days, isn't it?

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  123. self-involved pompous jerks

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  124. Your mom is a pompous self invoved jerk.

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  125. Got here way too late. Tina Nole should take "writer" off her resume. Stop insulting real writers.

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Grow a pair.