If you got this far, you are curious enough about me to (perhaps) be wondering why I do things the way I do on this site, not to mention my daily life... So, here's a weak attempt at explaining (justifying?) it:

My style
Why do I write the way I do? I'm not even sure what I mean by that question, so perhaps an example is in order: You will have noticed (by now, I'm sure) that I have a (often awkward) tendency to parenthetically add comments in the middle of sentences. Often awkward because, in that particular example, I bumped up against the age-old dilemma of whether I should use "a" or "an" before the opening paren - i.o.w., do I respect the starting vowel in "often" or the starting consonant in "tendency?" I think the reason I like the parenthetical observations is because it's an efficient (lazy?) way of expressing a thought that I need to express, yet:
  • is at a lower (deeper?) level,
  • provides added explanation of a thought, or
  • might be just plain superfluous!
And what about those bullets? Well, that comes from years of technical writing. I like them (a lot!) because I believe they bring clarity and unambiguity to an idea. Sadly, though, I have noticed that they tend to be shunned in "normal" prose; I'm not sure why - perhaps it's felt that it makes the prose seem dry? I dunno. But I really do try to limit their use.

And what about that semicolon I just used? I make no apologies there; the semicolon is a perfectly proper piece of punctuation. But, like bullets, it is something that we rarely see in American writing. Pop across the pond, however, and you will notice that Europe is just plain littered with semicolons! Which reminds me - that exclamation mark* I just used. What's that about? Why do I use them so much? OK, you got me. I like 'em, OK? Reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld (I think) where Elaine (I think) is upset - it had something to do with a phone message that contained startling news, but no exclamation marks. Seems that, in her opinion, the news warranted quite a few of them, yet the message had nary a one!!! Anyhoo. If it wasn't Seinfeld it was something I saw on TV. Italics. Same problem - yes, I use 'em too much for no good reason.

* Did you know that another term for 'exclamation mark' is 'bang?' Ah yes, asterisks. Now they can be really useful in spots where parentheses just won't do - like now bang bang bang

Perhaps I need to join PA. My name is David and I'm a punctuation-olic.† There. I said it. Happy now?

† Or would that be punctuation-aholic? Puncuholic? Oooh, sounds dirty! But, I babble!!!!!

Then there's my (frequently incorrect) overuse of the ellipsis ... we won't even get into that ... at least, not now bang bang bang

My spelling
As many of you know, I am particularly sensitive about the "proper" way to spell things. As much as I love the Queen's English, with all of its delightful idiosyncrasies, I have slowly come to realize (realise!) that, having lived in the U.S. for almost 30 years now, it's time for me to assimilate a little more. I've resisted for a long time, but - yes! - it's futile.

Consequently, this site will use U.S. spelling conventions unless there is a specific reason not to. Reasons range from humor (humour!) to my stubbornness (there are some words I just will not spell the U.S. way, no matter how hard you make me try!). But see my confession about aluminum...

My format(t)ing
While I really like what Google has done with Blogspot, there are some inherent limitations when it comes to the layout of pages and posts. It would be nice to be able to use a full-featured word processor, and hence use all the effects that we've grown accustomed to. Examples include alternative typefaces (particularly Wingding-like ones), obscure special characters (like the en-dash and ellipsis), and more trivial things like super- and subscript text.

This really struck me when I wrote the post on May 26 2010 about marketers. There were a number of fancy-schmancy things I wanted to do, and couldn't. But sometimes it's possible, one just has to be creative - I'm especially proud of how I managed to get the double-dotted 'i' in 'naïvely' (see, I did it again!). Don't ask me how I did it, it's a loony workaround - and I notice that, on my iPhone, this workaround renders the text size incorrectly for the word in question, and I cannot figure out how to fix that, even after digging in the XML and HTML. Hopefully, Google will continue improving its text editor - you listening, guys? Actually, Google has done a good job with its WYSIWYG editor, considering the limitations of what can be done when it comes to providing 'intelligence' inside a browser, not to mention making it work across multiple platforms, operating systems and browser versions! Here is an interesting first-hand writeup about these difficulties.

[Yes, I know that there is always the option of editing the raw XML and HTML. While I'm an aficionado of markup languages, it feels too much like work. I want my website to be fun!]

1 comment:

dougdoma said...

"...a loony work(-)around"?

Get a Mac.

You can type naïve, crème fraîche, and even křišt'ál with abandon.

A dear friend's Polish. (That's a sentence, I'm not referring to her Poli— oh skip it.) This requires a lot of ę, ą, ł, ź, ż, &c. (Or itd, as the Poles say.)

With abandon, I tell you.

(Now I just have to wonder what these unusual (to English-speakers) letters, every one of which looks to me, as I write, completely realistic — as though written by a Real Live Foreigner — will look like when posted.)