Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Grammar Does Matter

I'm constantly amazed by the sloppy way people use email in the business world. I'm not sure why such little effort goes into basic emails. Could be because it is just too easy, and has become so routine, that no extra thought goes into it. While I admit I may be a bit too tough when it comes to expectations as far as grammar and phrasing are concerned, I still think there should be some minimum standards for anyone sending business email.

Everyone that uses email on a regular basis in their career should realize that sending out an email with blatant grammar errors truly does reflect on their professionalism. Email has become a crucial part of building a business relationship, and it helps you form your opinions about people. Not too long ago I received an email from someone who used "hear" when they should have used "here". It was one of my first contacts with the person, and it leapt off the screen at me. I have to admit, it did factor into my overall opinion of the person's business savvy, attention to detail, and their intelligence.

I do admire people who can write effectively, yet also casually enough that it seems as though they were just speaking the words. I struggle with this a bit; maybe I'm focused too much on getting the wording exactly right. However, I do see some people take this "style" to the extreme. Run-on sentences...half-finished thoughts trailing into each other...excessive use of aposiopesis ...casual to the point of being unreadable...

I'm not sure that correct grammar is always a black and white issue, since in many instances there can be more than one way to correctly write the same thing. Although I'm not sure I agree with everything on these pages, here are a few interesting places to brush up on your grammar:

10 flagrant grammar mistakes that make you look stupid

Dodge the grammar traps

Most Annoying Grammar Mistakes in English

Five Grammatical Errors That Make You Look Dumb

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We Love Wii

There's a reason Wii is the hot gift for the second Christmas in a row. It is awesome.

We're Nintendo fans from way back. I have no interest in any of those blood & gore, super-realistic games about war or stealing cars. Give me Mario busting blocks with his head, going down pipes, and hurling things at Bowser any day. Or MarioKart--one of the most fun games ever.

We moved up from our Game Cube to the Wii last year as soon as it came out. After a couple of weeks of obsessing with the sports game that comes with the system, we moved on to other titles. I said I don't like war/shooting games, but I have to admit I really enjoyed Rayman and shooting plungers at deranged rabbits. Probably the first game I ever totally completed, I'm proud to say.

My current obsession is the long-awaited Mario game: Super Mario Galaxy. I have read that real "gamers" find it a bit too easy, and that unlike past Mario games it doesn't necessarily get harder and harder as you go on. There are difficult levels to be sure, but mixed in are some really easy galaxies. Which is exactly why I am enjoying it so much: I can actually do it! And I'm progressing at a pretty good clip. I did actually sit down to play a couple of weeks ago on a Friday night and the next time I looked at the clock it was 3 hours later. And my left thumb was numb.

It's snowing here, the roads are icing up, and all I can think is that it would be a perfect day to be in front of the TV going after more stars. Hopefully by the time I get home tonight the Wii won't be taken over by someone trying (as he has been for the past YEAR) to finish Zelda...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Puppy + Christmas Tree = Bad

Don't let this innocent face fool you.

As soon as she was alone with the Christmas tree, Luna went nuts. We just picked it up yesterday, and all we got to do to it was put it in the stand and string a few lights. I decided we didn't have enough lights, so we stopped there, planning on picking up more today and finishing the rest of the decorating tonight. When I went home for lunch this is what I found:

The photo doesn't really capture the true damage. She chewed apart all of the lights, ripped the cords off, yanked the bulbs out the sockets, and tracked stuff through the house. I found a plug and some wire upstairs, another cord and plug on a chair, and pieces of green plastic in other random spots. And since it's only our second day of having a tree, we actually remembered to water it, so the water was completely full when it fell too.

Luna was scheduled to be spayed tomorrow, but now we've had to push that until January. The vet didn't want to take a chance; she tends to be very delicate (hard to believe after looking at this picture, I know) and if she were to get sick after the operation we wouldn't be sure if the surgery caused it, or some random tree light did.