Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tuesday Tutorial: Punctuation. Colon vs Semicolon

Did you know that in medieval times the semicolon was used to indicate abbreviations and a termination in a psalm, and that the Greeks still use them today to indicate a question?
A friend was at a critiquing session a while ago and there was comment made on her use of semicolons in her work. So this tutorial will try to unravel the correct placement of both.

A colon tells the reader that what follows is significant to the preceding clause. It adds the pay- off line, in other words the answer to the clause before it.
e.g. The machine was always breaking down: it was old.
The colon means/or acts as a substitute for as follows when introducing a long list.
e.g.There were six people at the meeting: Mary Knots, Joan Long, Lucy Browne, Anne Gordon, Penelope Court, and Harriet Puller.
The colon can be used to add a single word to a phrase to add dramatic significance
e.g. She only ate one thing: chocolate.
The colon can be used to add a word, clause, or phrase to act as a substitute for as a result.
e.g. The house burned down:the vagrants left.
Can be used after a salutation at the beginning of a letter
e.g. To Whom It May Concern:
To divide time
e.g. 1:45
Bible references
e.g. Matthew 12:3
To separate a title from a subtitle.
e.g. The Classic Guide to Better Writing: Step-by-Step Techniques and Exercises to Write, Simply, Clearly, and Correctly
According to Lynne Truss (Eats Shoots and Leaves): "The colon propels the reader forward along lines already subtly laid out. It usually follows a complete sentence and indicates what is to come. "
She elaborates on this more:
"Colons introduce the part of the sentence that exemplifies, restates, elaborates, undermines, explains or balances the preceding part. They also form an introductory role. They start lists (especially those containing semicolons). They set off book and film sub-titles from the main title. They separate dramatic characters from their dialogue. And, start off long quotations and introduce examples."

A semicolon ties ideas together. It is the dividing point in a compound sentence.
If used properly it helps the reader 'read' between the lines and adds more significance to the preceding clause than a comma. It adds a longer pause than a comma, yet a shorter pause than a full stop. It points out the connection between two ideas without using another word.
e.g. I like Mary; she loves cats.
(If you were to use a full stop, the reader is left draw their own conclusion. Using the semicolon leaves the reader wondering if you like Mary because she likes cats, or in spite of her loving cats. ) As Lynne Truss says: " ...the semicolon propels you in any direction related to the foregoing."
A semicolon should be used when joining two or more grammatically complete clauses without a conjunction to form a compound sentence. (you can make two sentences of it)
e.g. The meeting was well underway; it should finish on time.
If the second part of a clause begins with an adverb such as accordingly, then, besides, therefore, or thus and not by a conjunction a semicolon is required.
e.g. I have never gone near there before; besides, the rain made the ground muddy.
NB: An exception here is that when the phrases are short, a comma will suit it better.
e.g. Man proposes, God disposes.
A semicolon should be used in place of the connecting word 'while', which is often substituted for and, but and although.
e.g. The office staff work on the first floor; the mechanics use the ground floor.
NB. while - should really only be used to indicate it's literal sense of 'during that time'.
A semicolon can be used to separate a long list started by a colon.
e.g. The editor wanted to cover a range of lifestyle subjects: personality profiles, not necessarily of famous people; triumph over tragedy pieces, base on real life experience; review columns of books, films, music and theater; 'how I changed my life' stories.
( Note the omission of 'and' in the last itemized subject.)
Using the colon, then the semicolons allows you to add punctuation to the list of items.

Some people use a dash to replace a semicolon. This is not incorrect though use of the dash is better employed when the connection to the preceding words is less direct. The dash then acts as a bridged between fractured comments.
e.g. I love Fruit Acids -why did they call them Sour Drops? - reminds me I didn't get my allowance-Mom!"

Now I must get on with my day: I'm off to make a coffee; have a massage, for my neck strain; run some errands; start packing my suitcase for my trip tomorrow.
Happy writing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Answer to Question.

Who lives at #10 Downing Street, London, England?

If you answered Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, you are wrong. He lives nextdoor.
It is the Chancellor of the Exchequer - Gordon Brown who lives at #10.

The reason is this, Mr. Brown has no children, Mr. Blair has 5 and #10 is too small for Tony Blair and his family so he and Gordon Brown swapped residences. Mr. Blair still comes out of #10 every morning but does not live there.

A question.

Thanks to modern drugs and lots of TLC from hubby I'm on my feet again. Tomorrow I go for a massage and I'm told that should finish me off - mmm is that good or bad?
I have over committed myself - nothing new about that, but usually I can scramble to get things done... it ain't gonna happen this time. So I have decided to plod along and do as much as I can and not stress out about it. Must be the drugs.... I feel kinda spacey.
I have a question for you.
Who lives at #10 Downing Street, London, England? (Not my husband in pic)
I'll post the answer tonight.
Cheers Robyn

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Snapshot Sunday

Tuggerah Lake, New South Wales, Australia.

Tuggerah Lake is about an hour an half drive north of Sydney. There is a wonderful walk along the lakeshore with lake views, picnic areas, and playgrounds. The lake is large and is ideal for all water sports, windsurfing, kayaking, fishing, bird watching.

Thanks for all the messages of support - yesterday came and went for me in a haze of drugs - truly I slept the whole day and night away - I reckon I must have the most susceptible system to pain relief as it knocked me flat, for which my back is grateful as TG today I can move, and feel halfway human again.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Getting fit is a pain the ***!

Today I am sitting drugged and dopey as I type this., vowing never to do burpees with ten pound weights and chin ups again. Last night at torture gym I put out two cervical discs in my neck and strained all the muscles across one shoulder..... Oddly enough I felt it go but it didn't hurt until an hour later. I have scorched and ruined two towels in the microwave heating them up, and have enough pills sitting on my counter to make a pharmacist in a third world country cry. But it's not all bad... I can't feel anything at the moment... back, neck, fingers toes, - I wonder if I'll dribble when I eat.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #9 - Rue's Metaphsyical Powers

Yep, here you have it a TT about the common old Garden rue Rutaceae - Ruta graveolens. Bet you didn't know these thirteen things about it:
  1. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo both claimed rue's metaphysical powers improved their eyesight and creative inner vision. (An infusion of leaves is still used to bathe tired eyes)
  2. Branches of rue were used to sprinkle holy water before high mass - hence it became known as the Herb of Grace.
  3. It was an important strewing herb and anti-plague plant
  4. Robbers who stripped plague victims protected themselves with 'Vinegar of the four thieves' of which rue was a key ingredient
  5. It was the main component of mithridate - a greek all-purpose poison antidote.
  6. Rue is shown on the heraldic Order of the Thistle. - when Ophelia, in Shakespeare's Hamlet, IV,v (1600) is distributing flowers says: 'O! you must wear your rue with a difference,' she is referring to rue in the heraldic sense.
  7. It inspired the suit of clubs in playing cards.
  8. It's seeds were first used in Roman cooking in 1 AD
  9. If you crush and sprinkle it's dried leaves they are a powerful insect repellent.
  10. By drinking an infusion of its leaves is said to induce perspiration, bring on menstruation, and stimulate bile secretion.
  11. Herbalists use it to treat hysteria, epilepsy, and abnormal blood pressure.
  12. Next time you have partridge for dinner, use the seeds in a marinade with lovage and mint.

(Main Source: The Complete Book of Herbs : A practical guide to growing and using herbs by Lesley Bremness (1988)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

I know it's supposed to be wordless - but....I thought you would like to see my cupboard AFTER the electrician's visit.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tutorial Tuesday - Grammar : -izing words

Okay, I'm sorry I'm late posting today but here it is. The grammar Tut for Tuesday.
I was going to do something on when to use quotes over italics when I came across something interesting and will share it with you (whether you find it interesting or not- haha)

I was doing some research and came across this oxymoron in Strunk and White's Elements of Style (4th ed).
How often do you use the words 'prioritize, finalize, containerize' maybe not the last so much but the other two I know I use a lot... according to S & W they should not exist. By adding -ize to the nouns such as final, priority, and container you are trying to convert them to a verb and this is not correct. Words such as utilize ( a verb of noun utility) is according to S&W a 'pretentious abomination' when 'use' is more efficient and straightforward.

So I went hunting for the obnoxious - prioritize....
  • Oxford English Dictionary - no prioritize
  • Oxford Dic. of Current English - not only has prioritize but prioritise, prioritized, prioritizes, prioritizing - treat as important, arrange in order of importance
  • Oxford Colour Dic. & Thesaurus - prioritize - treat as a priority
  • Collins Australian Dictionary - no prioritize (or -ise)
  • Websters New World Thesaurus - no prioritize (or -ise)
  • The New International Websters Dictionary & Thesaurus of the English Language - prioritize v.t. (-tized,-tizing) - to arrange in order of priority: to prioritize one's goals
  • - prioritize - to list, arrange, or perform tasks in order of importance or priority
So there you have it even the experts disagree - ain't grammar wonderful

Now it is up to you to figure out how to utilize this list I finalized of the word prioritize!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Today's Insanity

Today I am a day older but no wiser! (Actually that is not true as I can actually understand hand signals of #2 below this. - who are currently outside in the snow, and it's snowing, replacing outdoor lights)
Today I am committed to write 20 pages of a new novel in Michelle's Write-on
Today I have two electricians in my house who don't speak a lot of English
Today I hope to find out what all the wires hanging out of a wall in a cupboard do... they have tags on them like 'not sure'; LHSOS; APDHU; and this one which cacks me up 'don't know!'
Today I have to finish reviewing chapters five- ten in WIP
Today I have to grocery shop or drink decaf tea instead of coffee
Today I have to finish the washing, beds etc etc
Today I have to go to bank and send money to son --- again!!! What does he spend it on? Food... books.... yeah yeah yeah.... maybe I don't want to know!
Today I must remember to ring daughter in Oz to wish her Happy 9th Wedding Anniversary (It's actually tomorrow but that will today here this afternoon... figure that out then put in daylight saving and winter time! My brain hurts!)
Today I have torture gym. (my body still hurts from the last time)
Today I lost another .6 of a pound..... 10.6lbs so far.

So what am I doing now... procrastinating!!!!!

Well done girls for CBC Test the Nation - Next time I hope to be able to join you.
OMG Elvis is on the radio.... day is looking up! (Do you really think he is dead?)
Sun is shining through the falling snow...
Hope your day is a good one.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Time Out

Good Luck to the girls from Toronto RWA in the CBC Canada's Test The Nation.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Toronto Islands

I was wondering what I would blog about today and decided, since the fickle weather has turned cold again, to focus on summer in the city. I live not far from Toronto and this cluster of islands, which include Ward, Centre and Hanlan's Point are just a short ferry trip from the bottom of Bay St. What a treat. There are no cars, everyone rides bikes or quaint four-wheelers, okay some walk, but all shamelessly peer over fences into the charming homes of the remaining residences, as they navigate the pathways that wind through the parkland and residential areas. There are lovely swimming beaches (one a nudist beach a fav haunt of gay men), a restaurant or two and a few snack bars, boats to be rented, amusement park and play areas. While city-siders swelter in TO's summer sticky humidity, you get to enjoy the lovely cool breezes coming off the lake as you meander down the lakeside boardwalk. A side benefit is that the ferry trip affords you great city views. (Round Trip cost around $5 adults and $3 for children and seniors.)
Note: The ferries operate year round but in winter the service is limited and most restaurants,snackbars and amusements are shut. The picture looks back to Toronto from the Centre Island wharf, over one of the licensed restaurants.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thirteen Things I bet you didn't know about Sicily

Apart from being the home of the Mafia, Sicily is a culture rich and diverse island.
1. It was the birth place of Archimedes ( Syracuse, 287BC) - his ingenious war machines helped Syracuse resist a Roman siege for 3 years.
2. Was ruled by Greeks,Romans, Byantines, Arabs, NOrmans, Hohenstaufen monarchs, Angevin and Aragonese dynasties, Spanish and before unification of Italy the Bourbons.
3. Mt. Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, was seen as the home of Hephataestus, the God of Fire, Roman God Vulcan, and Mt. Etna and other islands around Sicily feature in Homer's Odyssey.
4. The train ride around the bottom of Mt. Etna takes five hours.
5. It is one of the few countries in Europe were all of its occupiers have left their mark in architecture that is still visible to this day e.g. Grecian, Roman, Moorish, Norman, Baroque .
6. For the dangerous trip to Sicily, the Greeks used ships called triremes - a galley 35m(115ft) long, faster and more agile than the Phoenician vessels. They traveled about 100 km (60miles) per day, and had 200 crew. They had three ranks of oars, and all 170 oars were synchronized.
7. Home to a diverse cultural society, it was the home to writer Giovanni Verga (1840 -1922) Painter Pietro Novelli (1603-47) and composer Vincenzo Bellini (1801-35)
8. Palermo's Teatro Massimo is one of the largest opera houses in Europe.
9. The Altar of HieronII was a sacrificial monument to Zeus, and as many as 400 bulls were put to death at the same time.
10. The Temple of Concord (5C BC)is one of the best preserved Doric temples in the world. (As are many temples in the Valley of the Temples built by the Carthaginians)
11. Sicily is famous for icecream - cassata
12. The city of Caltagirone is a UNESCO World Heritage site. - famous for its potters and production of ceramics from Bronze Age pots, Greek Hellenistic and roman kraters and figurines, Middle Age vases, and more recent jars and glazed vases, the 142 step of the Santa Maria del Monte Stairway built in 1608 is made entirely of majolica tiles.
13. The Sicilian Hound (Cirneco) is a breed of dog native to the Etna area, was used as a hunting dog in ancient times.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Thursday, March 8, 2007

TT#7 - Slang and modern idiom

Ever used the words 'vice versa' , or 'varsity' - did you know their roots stem from words meaning behind, buttocks, and were once considered vulgar slang..... In researching a novel for appropriate language of the time (1700's), I stumbled over some marvelous words that we often throw all, or portions of, into our language today without thinking of their origins.... here are thirteen unusual but commonly used words and those to which they are related.
  • frig -(expletive meaning Gosh, God!) - was also once as unprintable as the F-word used to be. In Victorian times frig came into usage to make the F-word more genteel and fit for use in mixed company.
  • arse(E), ass (US), arsey-varsey,arsie-versie,arsey-warsey, vice versa, topsy-turvy, versey, varsey, - mean behind, buttocks, now more commonly used to mean upside down FYI varsity stems from here.
  • razzle-dazzle, razzmatazz, hoop-la - showiness, jazzy, extravagant display of fuss, garishness, commotion. (c.1889)
  • thingamajig, figmagig, - a toy, trifle, anything that moves or works about
  • frigabob, frigmajig, fashizzle my nizzle (love that one)- to dance, jerk up and down, anything which dances, jerks up and down and sideways....
  • shagrag, shagmarelle, rabble, riffraff, tagrag, shag-me-rag - idle good for nothings, unkempt person, a mean person (I wonder if the verb (?) to shag - comes from jiggy-jiggy with a shagrag fligary?)
  • jig - (slang for copulation, became a common verb meaning to jerk up and down (go figure) led to jiggy-jiggy, jig-a-jig, fligmejig,frigmajig - all mean to copulate
  • fligmagary, fligary, frigary, flig-me-jig (c.1860) - a tawdrily dressed woman, a girl of doubtful character.
  • hoddy-mandoddy, haddy-daddy, hadmandad, odd-me-dod, horny-dorny - a snail, or to move at a snails pace. (As a romance writer it makes one wonder at the last one - a long lazy afternoon of horny-dorny mmmm?)
  • marly-scarly - a caterpillar
  • tittle-tattle, clish-clash, clish-ma-clash, - gossip, idle chatter, scandal
  • hoity-toity, la-di-da, lardy-dardy, hanky-spanky - a swell, posh person, putting on airs and graces, upper class, dashing.
So with that I leave you with this sentence - The shagrag, moved at a hoddy-mandoddy pace, entranced by the razzle-dazzle of the thingamagig as it frigabobbed in the hands of the fligmagary.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Compounds Grammatical

No, this is not something the army marches around of some scientific formula but what is meant by compounds in grammar.
Compound Adjective:
This is an adjective made up of two or more words e.g. downcast, over-the-hill.
Compound Noun:
Is a noun the consists of more than one word, used as a unit e.g. mother-in-law, redhead, passersby, boobytrap.
Compound Predicate:
These are two or more verbs that have equal importance in a sentence e.g. She washed and ironed today.
Compound Sentence:
A sentence that contains to main independents clauses e.g. I love popular music, but my interests have recently turned to opera and classics.
Compound Subject:
This is a sentence in which two or more subjects function with equal importance. e.g. Lucy and Mary loved shopping together.

When you think of it the word compound makes sense of the above, it is linking two or more things together and flows into other things... like compound fracture of the arm, chemical compound, events compounded together having an effect....

Today I have started revision number three on Twisted Vines. Hope your day is productive.