See through

and when the broken-hearted people living in the world agree
there will be an answer, let it be
for though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see
there will be an answer, let it be

Intermission

Every day since last weekend I’ve meant to blog, but it’s been kind of an intense couple of weeks. I had a great birthday weekend last weekend filled with family dinners and Renaissance Festival shenanigans (which included getting caught in a huge storm that required seeking shelter in the middle of a field in the Civic and reemerging donning galoshes smartly grabbed before leaving the house that morning), and this weekend has been pretty good, all things considered.

We had my birthday party at the Mellow Mushroom last night, and it was a really, really good time. Despite.

Despite the fact that my mom and youngest sister were supposed to be there.

This weekend my dad decided to stop respecting my boundaries (not that he ever really did) of not communicating with him after I decided seven months ago that I would no longer tolerate nor would I make peace with (or “just get over”) the years of abuse I experienced growing up—and the emotional abuse he kept going years after I’d moved out of the house.

I have been keeping secrets here. I have not been whole-truthful. I have been holding back, only speaking inside my comfort zone.

I want to tell you more. I want to tell the whole story. I am not afraid to use my voice. Growing up, I was never heard. I was ignored or talked over or screamed at or intimidated or hit. After I moved out of the house, he continued to try to silence me by rewriting history and inventing stories that painted me in various lights to different people.

But this weekend my safe space was threatened, and afterward, something occurred to me: I am a lot stronger than I gave myself credit for. I am not afraid to go to the mats. I am not afraid to call bluffs. I am not afraid to stand up for myself. And I have a strong network of people near me who are willing to stand up for me, too.

So things are about to get a lot more honest around here.

Dangling a foot over the grave of my youth

In five days, I’ll turn 30.

I’m not sure what to think about that. Every time I try to focus on how I’m feeling about it, I just end up freaking myself out. As long as I don’t specifically try to think about it (like I’m doing right now), I really don’t feel strange or scared or worried. Or like I’m leaving my youth behind in a cloud of dust. Old, crabby dust.

A couple people at work have told me that their early 30s were the best times of their lives. But then they don’t elaborate, and I’m left wondering why they feel that way. Does something really shitty happen when you turn 35, making the early 30s look awesome by comparison? Do they not remember their 20s at all? Do you just keep looking back thinking a certain set of years were your best? Or are your early 30s really a secret bastion of happiness, except that you can’t find out about it until you’re actually living those years?

Am I going to wake up Monday morning to find a magical gnome in my living room that has come to present me with a bounty of wisdom? Or maybe some alcohol? OMG, if a gnome shows up in my house with booze, I’ll rename this blog “Being 30 Fucking Rulez.”

But Ian already turned 30 and that didn’t happen. Unless he’s just not telling me about the magical booze-and-wisdom-bringing gnome that he encountered in our living room on his birthday.

So really: What am I in for? And don’t say “Oh your 30s are great because that’s when you have kids and join a sewing circle and start buying life insurance and playing sudoku” or some lame bullshit like that. I mean, kids are fine, but not exactly on our agenda right now, and lately any time someone equates me getting older with having kids I can feel my ovaries groaning and threatening to just give up under all the pressure. And I’m not joining any goddamn make-friends-with-people-your-own-age groups, or whatever it is that grownups do when all their friends have crapped out kids and can’t get drunk anymore.

Ugh. I’m just going to hope for the gnome.

The sun will come out… tomorrow?

My problem to solve doesn't really seem that bad anymoreWhat started off as a regular day quickly turned into an all-out shitfest. And as soon as things started going downhill, my emotional well-being decided to peace out, too, leaving me a sobbing mess for pretty much the entire first half of my day. Thanks to horrible allergies, non-functioning technology and a general lack of knowledge of how said technology is supposed to work, I don’t think I stopped shedding tears at my desk until after lunch. Which I didn’t use as time to eat anything because I was too busy being a sorry sack of crap.

But as I was packing up my stuff to leave the office (late, after an already long day), I caught a glimpse of this picture that I keep taped to my cabinet door. Suddenly, my lack of Movable Type and CSS knowledge coupled with a large pile of work requiring exactly those two skills didn’t seem so overwhelming anymore. I mean, they have books and entire websites devoted to helping me solve my problem. This guy, well. He’s all on his own.

Nevertheless, I’m still hoping tomorrow goes a lot better.

Recuperating

A couple of days ago, we noticed Gordo was limping and holding up his right paw when standing. And I noticed yesterday morning that when he did set it on the ground and put weight on it, he didn’t bend it at the “wrist” like he did with his other front paw.

I didn’t want to overreact and end up with a $500 vet bill for what might just have to heal on its own, so last night I Facebook-messaged one of Ian’s high school friends who’s now a vet. She suggested it might just be a sprain/strain (Ian and I are thinking from one of the times he was running away from Link, that little shit), and advised us to keep him isolated for a couple days someplace where he won’t keep re-injuring himself.

So he’s holed up in the office for the weekend with some food, water and a catbox. I think I might turn the TV on so he doesn’t get lonely.

Besides the tenderness he’s displaying with his front right foot, he seems normal, so we’re hoping he gets better soon. And doesn’t need any x-rays or casts!

In which I try to be helpful

So Scott at WGNS (that’s @wgnsradio for those of you playing along on Twitter) finds it insulting that I pointed out his site has grammatical errors.

WGNS DMHe also keeps DMing me, but since he’s not following me I can’t DM him back. Which doesn’t really bother me, since I have no trouble discussing in public the importance of a news organization practicing good grammar and spelling.

Anyway, in his last DM, Scott (I’m going to call him Scott now since he helpfully left his name in the comment on the below post) asked me for some ideas. I’m going to assume he’s asking for ideas specific to the grammar/spelling issues on his site, and instead of picking apart each story on the front page (which I actually would be happy to do if he would find it helpful—I learn very well from my own mistakes and have benefited greatly from seeing the results of someone else proofing my articles), I’m going to list five general rules/examples that are good practice to follow (and that I have seen broken on WGNS.com).

  1. 1. Age is written like this: “A 27-year-old man” or “A 14-month-old baby,” not “A 21-year old woman.”
  2. 2. A dash is not always necessary when following a number. For example, “3 Arrested on Drug Charges” instead of “3-Arrested on Drug Charges.” Now, I would even suggest spelling out “three,” as in AP style all numbers below 10 are written out, but Scott has said they don’t wish to use AP style.
  3. 3. It is not necessary to write someone’s name (or any word, really) in all caps. Writing in all caps online signifies screaming, and is considered bad form.
  4. 4. It is not necessary to report the race of an individual in the story unless it is absolutely necessary, for example, if the police are describing someone who has allegedly committed a crime but has not been caught yet.
  5. 5. When listing someone’s title after his or her name, it’s generally not capitalized. Unless of course that’s your specific style that you’ve adopted. (Again, I favor AP style.)

Scott, maybe we got off on the wrong foot. As a writer/editor, I can’t help but proofread everything I read. It’s ingrained in me, I guess, and it especially rubs me the wrong way when I see news outlets disregarding simple grammar rules.

So if there’s any way I can help—anything I can point out that you would find helpful and learn from and not take it as rude or condescending—I would welcome the opportunity.

Conversational media FAIL (or, a letter to WGNS Radio)

Dear WGNS Radio,

I think it’s great that you’re on Twitter. A lot of old media (newspapers, AM radio, etc.) seem to be resistant to the idea that Twitter is important, but I can assure you that nerds early adopters like myself get a lot of their news—especially breaking news—from the platform. So I’d like to commend you for not turning your nose up at it, as many have been wont to do, and instead embracing it and using it to drive people to your website.

However, the point of Twitter is to have a conversation with your audience. (FYI, this includes me). So when I tweeted yesterday about finding funny your tweet about boys buying girls’ jeans and commented that your website has grammar issues, you had several options of how to respond.

You could have taken the opportunity to let me know why you don’t feel it necessary to ensure your website, a news outlet, is grammatically correct. You could have told me that you don’t have a copy editor, or maybe that the guy who posts to your site never went to J-school and doesn’t understand AP style, or maybe even basic syntax and grammar rules. You could have called me out and asked me to point out some places where I found errors.

WGNSBut you chose to respond with snark via direct message, letting me know that you’re radio people and you can’t spell. (I get that you were joking with “right,” but do you also realize that “thanks” isn’t spelled “thank’s”?)

And when I tweeted about your reply to me, you sent me another direct message telling me that your reply “wasn’t that crazy” (I never said it was), and that AP style is “for the papers” (technically it’s used by many more news outlets than just newspapers). So I guess you’re saying that crappy grammar is the official style you’ve adopted then?

WGNSOh, and telling me “Bye-bye,” and removing me from your followers?

Way to add to the conversation.

But see, you’re not just radio people. You have a website, so you’re web people now. You have a Twitter account, so you’re social media people now. People don’t just listen to your radio station for the news—they come to your website to seek out stories and information. And I would think, seeing as how you are in the news-gathering and news-disseminating business, you would understand the importance of spelling and grammar.

Just like it’s important to pronounce words correctly on air, it’s important to relay your online news with grammatical correctness as well. Because if you don’t, you lose credibility. And if you lose credibility, people won’t take you seriously. And then they’ll stop visiting your site. And fewer visitors to your site means fewer advertisers, and we all know what that means.

WGNS has been on the air since Dec. 31, 1946. You’ve made it through the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm and whatever this bullshit we’re doing in Iraq is being called lately. You’ve been around longer than Barbie dolls, the Frisbee and birth control pills. You’ve outlasted 11 presidents, the Studebaker and telegrams from Western Union. Hell, is there even anything older than you in Murfreesboro? (Oh, right: Bell Jewelers.)

Look, WGNS, I like you. I visit your site to get a hyperlocal take on the news that often I can’t get from the DNJ or the Murfreesboro Post (I don’t even bother with The Tennessean for Murfreesboro news anymore). I try to look past much of your poor style, which includes your penchant for reporting the race of (non-white) individuals involved in accidents and crimes and your inexplicable need to affix a dash after almost every number (“3-Arrested on Drug Charges Near MTSU“).

But I implore you, WGNS: You’ve been through so much in your 61 years. Is it really too much to ask that you report the news on your website with grammatical correctness?