semperfiona: Conversation hearts on the keys of a piano (piano hearts)
I hate CDs that don't display the name of the artist and the album. How hard is it to print the names *somewhere*, even on that clear plastic margin around the spindle hole?

I'm sorry, but every half-dressed longhaired girl singer in the world looks alike to me. Those of us who keep our CDs in a big ol' CD wallet rather than in the original case can only listen to the darn thing to figure out what it is. And when I'm in a mood for Alanis Morrisette, getting Fiona Apple is just not quite the thing.

Well, me and my Sharpie marker have Taken Care Of That.
semperfiona: (Default)
Dear Microsoft Word:

When I tell you to stop using smart quotes, don't you think I also mean
I don't want curly apostrophes in my autocorrections!

Love,
An annoyed user who just spent half an hour correcting the
autocorrections table
semperfiona: (Default)
"Catbert"
Bug reports that leave out essential information
Coarse black hairs on my chin
Being overdrawn
Doing one-offs
Self-righteousness
Wet clammy swimsuits
Having projects canceled after I've spent a lot of time and effort on
them
Doing data fixes for bugs that have been fixed for months but never
gotten released
Misplaced apostrophes
The present US administration
Bras
Peanut butter
Styrofoam
Auto-flush toilets
The towel dispenser in the bathroom
The basement
Being paged in supermarkets
Public humiliation
People clipping their nails at their desks
Blood and gore in movies
Insults to my competence
semperfiona: (Default)
Gotta love getting voicemail messages containing a mumbled phone number and no identification of the caller.
semperfiona: (Default)
From:        someone@somewhere   
To:          one of my semi-anonymous email addresses   
Subject:     Hello 
Date:        Mon, 01 Apr 2002 18:25:47 -0000  

Hi, just wanted to say hi and I would love to get 2 know u better.

Reply if you want to talk :)
I almost deleted this unread on the grounds that it was probably spam. It appears not to be, but isn't going to get answered, either. Why? Because the person didn't tell me who they are. The email address was not a real name and they didn't tell me anything about themselves. They didn't tell me where they got my address or why they might want to "get 2 know u". They didn't even give me any conversational opening so if I wanted to answer I have no idea what sort of thing to say to them. And on top of all that, they tripped my annoying spelling peeve. I try to overlook such abbreviations from people I know and care about, but from strangers it immediately makes me twitch.
semperfiona: (Default)
I'm still shuddering in pain. All it takes is the sound of two pieces of styrofoam rubbing together. All the hairs on my arms stand up and my nerves jangle. Unpacking breakable objects is an exercise in masochism for me. I have to grit my teeth and just get it over with. Rosa opened a box that was laying on the shelf in my bedroom and threw the styrofoam packing on the floor. Then she kept grabbing them away from me and playing with them. I wanted to scream. I've still got goosebumps.

Spelling

Mar. 7th, 2002 12:08 pm
semperfiona: (Default)
I just edited last night's post because I happened to notice I'd left the first P off of "people". Anal-retentive? Moi? Only about spelling. My own, or in published documents.

Spelling is another of my pet peeves. I don't mind typos and spelling errors in email, IM, letters, or casual writing like LJ (lest anyone get paranoid and stop writing to me!), and in fact while I usually correct my own typos if I notice them, I sometimes let them slide or don't notice them in those contexts. (I feel the need to reiterate this several more times. It's my spelling that I'm anal about. Not yours. Any of you.)

I do have a strong dislike for intentional misspelling of the 3l33t d00d warez ilk. Certain words, such as "boi" and "grrl", which use a changed spelling to connote a distinctly different meaning than the original word, are fine with me. But please, if you're writing to me, take the millisecond of extra time and write 'you' instead of 'u' and 'are' instead of 'r'. I can wait that long. It takes me far longer to read intentionally misspelled words--or to type them: I have to think out each letter instead of following the normal pattern. Spelling is one of my semi-useless talents: I recognize words by their pattern, and misspelled words stand out because the pattern is wrong. I think that might be why I can read so quickly: it's almost as if English were a ideographic language like Chinese, and each word's meaning is encompassed within its shape.

I was the district spelling champion three years running, and the Wisconsin state spelling champion in the eighth grade, though to get to that point required a lot of nightly spelling drills learning more and more esoteric words.

For the record I earned twelfth place in the national competition. I was eliminated on the word "frigorimeter", which dictionary.com doesn't even have an entry for. It means a thermometer for very cold temperatures, and I spelled it "frigarimeter". Funny the things that stick in one's head: this happened in the summer of 1982! I also remember the very last word of the state bee: emu, and the very last word of the national bee: beriberi.

Spelling bees always contain a large element of luck as well as skill and practice. The order of the word list is determined before the event, the turn order of the contestants is drawn from a hat, and depending on when your turn comes up you might get something very easy or something extremely difficult. I knew every single word that the national champion happened to get, but didn't know one of mine. C'est la guerre.

But returning to my spelling peeve, what really gets to me are published books containing spelling errors or words which are clearly Just Wrong, and appear to have been selected from the spellchecker correction list by mistake. There's a place in Laurell K. Hamilton's book Bloody Bones where the word catamount appears in place of the correct word catamite. I'm quite sure Laurell knows the difference, and the error crept in somewhere along the line. Modern books are getting worse and worse in this regard. The recently published Great Book of Amber, by Roger Zelazny, contains numerous word-choice errors and even a missing paragraph (one of the preceding paragraphs is duplicated in its stead).

Bring back human proofreaders!
semperfiona: (Default)
People (customer service reps, cashiers, and the like) who blame the computer when they can't do whatever it is that I need them to do for me. "I can't change your address record from here, the computer won't let me. You'll have to call our other department." Codswallop. Give me a couple hours with the system and I could make it do it. No, it's one of several other possibilities, none of which have anything at all to do with the computer. The management intentionally chose not to provide that functionality. They overlooked it. You don't have the kind of security access that would let you do it (again a management decision). The programmers at your company are incompetent. You're simply not allowed to. Or you're being recalcitrant or lazy.

Voice mail customer service systems that ask me to enter my account number on the telephone keypad and then don't do anything with it: the minute the csr gets on the phone they ask me for it again! And then they find I'm not in their service area, and transfer me somewhere else, so that I have to go through the whole rigmarole again.

These are really the same thing: inefficient system design, bad business rules, or bad programming. In a world where it is possible for me to send a message instantly to .jp or .uk or .timbuktu, why can't one branch of the cable company send a message to the other one?

It's a business rule or a failure of design, not the fault of the computer. Computers do exactly what they're instructed, which is both their greatest strength and their most irksome characteristic. As a programmer, there have been many many times I've grumbled "Do what I meant, not what I said!"
semperfiona: (Default)
Why is it, when the cable company tells you "between 1 and 5", if you stay home all day they arrive at 4:50, and if you dash out at any time during that period, you get home to find a note saying "sorry we missed you, please call to reschedule"?
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The phone rang this morning, just as I was about to leave for work. Thinking it might be the painters I had left a message for, I answered it.

Caller> ...mumblemumble in rapid Spanish...Está <my full name>?
Me> Habla <my full name>. Habla usted inglés?
Caller> No, gracias. ::click::

This annoys me. Yes, my surname is Hispanic. No, I am not Hispanic. And even though Ray was Hispanic, he was a third-generation US citizen, and less fluent in Spanish than I am. I happen to be quite fluent, but I refuse to speak Spanish just so someone can try to sell me long-distance service (which is what the calls are invariably about).
semperfiona: (Default)
It's really difficult to find Valentine's Day cards that I can feel comfortable giving to people. As a poly person, I don't feel right about sending a card that says "You're the only one I'll ever love", or "I didn't know what love was until I met you," or other such monogamous sentiments. And Hallmark isn't particularly helpful for non-heterosexuals, either. Almost all the cards were either addressed specifically to a man from a woman, or to a woman from a man. Many of the ones that had text that felt okay had pictures of a male-female couple. I don't want to send that to my girlfriend!

I know there are online card stores that have e-cards for alternative relationships, but I want to send a physical object that someone can keep on their desk and smile at!

I did eventually find some things that will work. They're not entirely ideal, but I think the point will get across.
semperfiona: (Default)
First of December. Not the usual date for starting a journal, but maybe for that reason I'll actually stick to it. I usually peter out on traditional journals around the 15th of February after starting on New Year's.

Today I'm going car shopping, after the calamity of Thursday night/Friday morning (which maybe I'll repost here, but all my friends have already gotten in their email anyway).

Yesterday I woke up at 11:30 and spent the day at home, trying to work but not really getting anything significant done. Most of the useful things I actually did were talk to the insurance company and arrange for a rental car.

After I picked up the rental I went to the mall, was supposed to meet Christine and see Mullholland Drive again, but she decided she had to get up too early in the morning to go to a late-ish movie, and I went to see Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone again instead.

Gods I hate people who talk during movies. There was a group right behind me who had comments on almost every scene's fidelity (or lack thereof) to the book. "That wasn't supposed to happen until the third book," regarding Harry's glasses repair on the train. "It was supposed to be silver," regarding the invisibility cloak. I turned around and glared at them but they didn't seem to notice.

As for the invisibility cloak...I noted in this watching that it looked, when not in use, like the thing it had been used near. Looked like a tapestry in the Gryffindor common room, looked like a bookcase in the library, a window in the Mirror room.

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