Do Something Different

Someone I work with was telling me that he was thinking about buying some red contacts. When I asked why she said it was because she wanted to do something that she Read more

Popular Trends

There are so many websites out there, and it seems like many of them try to follow the same basic ideas as the well-known ones.  This is usually the way things go, Read more

Some Things I Need To Do

Maybe I should start cleaning my place a bit more often.  That’s actually what I was thinking about.  I have a tendency to not really clean or pick stuff up because I Read more

Concerts And Shows

My girlfriend says she wants us to be more “cultured” and wants us to go out more and do things. She wants to go see Wicked which I am actually ok with Read more

Man Cave

I have quite a collection of things in my “man cave” aka basement with a garage door. My wife gave me one area to call my own, where her decorating expertise and Read more

 

Differences in Language

For the last year I have been working as a professional copy-editor. Specifically I have been working closely with a major university, and one of the foreign language departments there, where most of the professors are not native speakers of English.

My job has been to review prospectuses, research proposals, emails, literary reviews, and presently the doctoral thesis of a foreign politician living abroad, to edit these documents and correct them for anything from basic spelling and grammatical issues, to adapting them to a particular publishing style (for instance the Chicago Manual of Style, or The American Psychiatric Association Style Book‘s standard.

From these experiences I have noticed certain reoccurring attributes of intellectuals from abroad, which is a tendency toward what we American wordsmiths would call wordiness and excessive verbosity. In the case of Turkish writers, for example, copyists often intentionally belabor their arguments with complicated sentence structures, and difficult vocabulary where much less difficult explanations or arguments could easily suffice. In American writing this kind of purposeful verbosity is rare except in the cases of highly technical fields where such jargon is almost unavoidable. To these Turkish writers being difficult to understand is a hallmark of intellectual achievement. Such a thing would never be accepted in American intellectual circles, where it is generally believed that the most knowledgeable people are able to say things in such a way that anyone can derive the essential meaning.

Of course, coming up in the American school of thought, I have always felt that the goal of writers of technical prose or of essayists, is to communicate the message in the most efficient method possible while retaining maximum clarity, and maximum transparency. Excessive verbosity seems to work against all of those goals.

But reconsidering, I have began to entertain the possibility that the American love of literary minimalism is merely a byproduct of our general tendency toward anti-intellectualism. The typical American cannot fully utilize simple elements of our language, including understanding basic punctuation, including the distinction between the colon and the semi-colon, and being able to apply those devices in their prose. Most of us would be hard pressed to understand what makes a sentence passive, what a prepositional phrase is, what part of the sentence is the preposition and what part is the subject, or many other fundamental elements of our language. It is no wonder that we get nervous in the face of a forty word sentence, or that we prefer our words under three syllables if at all possible.

But, the Minimalist in me of course rejects that idea. After all, as members of an internet forum where frequent debate occurs, we are no strangers to those who, failing to find solid footing with a valid argumentative stance, frequently fling themselves into further and further esoterica, in the obvious hope that nobody will be able to follow them into the opaque depths of increasingly obscure images. If you want to be verbose you can write poems or fiction that nobody will bother to read, not attempt to make a political argument or some kind of appeal meant for the greater population! That kind of willful ostentation is just a form of self aggrandizement, which works against the objective of creating an effective and persuasive argument!

Nevertheless, my editorial spirit is torn. What do you think? Do we practice stylistic minimalism in the name of clarity, or is it just that we think and write for an audience of perpetual eight graders? Are these foreigners indeed verbose literary masters, or are they puffed-up pompous pee-cocks hoping nobody will be able to penetrate the layers of muddy metaphor in order to propose a possible counter argument – in short, cowards slinking around in the vestments of poets – and knock them off of their intellectual high-horses?

Food Snobs

I dunno, throwing in a package of pre-made pre-frozen raviolis that were already prepped at some factory assembly line and slopping some cream sauce from a huge vat of ready-made factory sauce dispenser or hydrated from constituted flour packets then sprinkling on a pinch of fresh basil to make it look more authentic is a far cry from: fresh veggies bought from where ever the heck they’re bought (who cares what kind of truck they’re brought in on) and fresh marinara sauces are made with said veggies and wine and fresh grated cheese, and pasta is made from scratch in-house. With Bread that’s baked in-house. Each cut of meat looks different and varies in size as opposed to the cookie cutter “meats” of lesser quality restaurants who have processed portions arrive pre-frozen. There IS a difference. And you CAN have the latter experience at reasonably priced non-chain Italian restaurants. And at home. But that experience is NOT Olive Garden.

While it can be just as tasty to the untrained palette or any ol palette its not the same.

All food snobbery aside, its the nature of the restaurant that makes it laughable to propose there. You have bratty kids running around unattended, cookie cutter meals, an environment that lacks ambiance, but that’s just it, standards are subjective. What one considers fine dining another considers sloppy low class kind of experience.

Did you know there are places that post/advertise that all they use is fresh locally grown stuff? i used to work at one and do all the shopping at the local farmer’s market.

but now i’m starting to feel bad for the people who live in places that have off seasons. around here we always got something fresh growing just right over there a few miles away. it makes no sense for places not to take advantage of it, because not only is it a great hook and the food is better, it’s cheaper too. it’s super common around here.

Having worked in the restaurant industry, that’s not really my experience. There are awful standards in chains & mom & pops, it really has to do with who’s running the show, and if they care.

For every place that shows up on Ramsey’s kitchen nightmares show, there are thousands that are doing a good job and are quite fastidious. The mantra I always heard was “if there’s nothing to do, you can be cleaning something.”

Slow days & times were time to move large equipment, scrub walls & the backsides of machines, and generally keep things spotless. Yes you’ll end up with dirty floors in the course of working a night, but most good places keep after that, and the working surfaces are always spotless & sterilized.

I wouldn’t eat at a restaurant that doesn’t do that, and the funny thing is you can tell by the attitude and the cleanliness of the front of house, in 90% of cases.

A Quick DeStress

Well certainly more work for same pay can lead to additional stress.

I would recommend taking outdoor walks every night or whenever you feel anxious. Get that fresh air into you, it will really work to calm you down. Outdoor walks are a way easier routine to get into than going to the gym. Plus you can take your dog with you if you have one, or walk the neighbors dog for them to be friendly.

I like to go for a 2 hour walk every night that is nice out. Any rainy day is a sort of recovery day.

It gives you time to let your mind unravel too. It’s a lot harder to think about things inside being all cooped up.

Ultimately since it’s exercise it will lead to a way healthier hormonal profile. This will cut back on the stress hormones a lot and lead to natural release of stress fighting hormones.

Breathe deeply on your walks and get that air running through you. Make sure you’re getting enough water throughout the day.

Air and water go a long way. Your body is constantly trying to remove toxins and so on but if there is no new water in the system it cannot work.

It is easy to understand why you are stressed, between that sort of job and the drinking, you are now having to develop your own capacity to deal with the stress. You will have to develop a variety of healthy methods but going for walks will help a lot.

As for the rest…

Develop a positive attitude.

It is a shield against negativity like anxiety. Once you open the doors to a negative emotion, they are like floodgates, you really get stressed out. It’s good to stop it early on, to get up and go do something to relax, to take a nice hot bath and just put your mind on other things. Some people naturally have an anxious temperament and you just have to work around it at times.