Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why I couldn't work behind a computer all day

Sudoku addicts halt drug trial:

Sydney District Court Judge Peter Zahra cancelled the trial of two men on drugs conspiracy charges after the jury foreperson admitted that four to five jurors had been playing the addictive number sequence game, local media reported. The judge was alerted after some of the jurors were observed writing their notes vertically, rather than horizontally.

The jury members claimed that it helped them pay attention. Sure it did.

I remember constantly doodling when I was in school. But I didn't draw cartoon characters or scenes. Instead I drew tight spirals, zooming closer and farther away. I drew 3d boxes and lines converging and diverging. Doodling didn't help me pay attention to the teacher, but it sure did help keep me from falling asleep!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

First person singular, first person plural, or third person singular?

If we listened better to our past selves, our current selves might have an easier time of things. I don't mean "past selves" in the I-was-a-seventeenth-century-slave-girl-Shirley-McClain sense; I mean, THAT GIRL we were yesterday, THAT GIRL ten years ago, or THAT GIRL in 1988. THAT GIRL had life experiences that should inform her current decision-making process.

We picked up cicadas, we swam in oceans without fearing sharks , and we dared to think we might become an architect, a paleontologist, or an inventor when we grew up. We fell, and we got back up; we tried things, we failed, and we tried more things. But we forget about our former selves. We let her ideas and dreams become pieces of nostalgia, and her lessons become quaint. Oh look, remember when... But that girl was brave, more than she realized then and more than we realize now.

Two years ago at this time, I was figuring out how to quit my job. Depressed, unsure of myself and any of the decisions I'd made (after all, my decisions had led me there), it was only after I gave myself permission to fail - to have failed - that I finally found some peace. Leaving that job was one of the hardest and best things I'd ever had to do. It's a lesson that I have to remind myself to carry with me: next time, I'll remember, the world doesn't end, and life won't crash to a halt.

We owe that girl to talk to her every once in a while. See what she has to say about our current state of affairs.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Restrictive clauses vs. Nonrestrictive clauses

I am a person who chooses her words carefully to avoid difficult conversations.

I, who choose my words carefully, avoid difficult conversations.

Even better, I could use an "-ing modifier":

Choosing my words carefully, I avoid difficult conversations.