Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Observations on the South and Southerhoodness (Part 2)

Dear Georgia (and residents),

I'm sorry if I'm sounding a bit uppity regarding my feelings towards you. I may be displacing all my negative emotions about my current lifestyle on you and your inhabitants. For where I have done this in error, please forgive me. For where you are at fault, I shall try to overlook your extreme humidity, swarms of gnats and seemingly creepy men constantly pacing the sidewalks in front of my house and keep my complaints to a minimum.

Lyndsey Brown

Georgia has surprised me with its abundance of natural beauty. The state is full of deep green foliage and brightly colored trees. And while I imagine there are worse places to live and I enjoy most of the scenery around here, I have two main problems with the wildlife here in Georgia:

Problem #1
The things I like, I don't recognize.

Now, I understand this is my own fault for not being more educated on the trees and birds of the world, but at this point, I don't even know how to go about learning these things.

For example, every time I walk along the river, I see these beautiful bright red birds. While Karyn was here, I pointed one out to her and said, "I think that's a robin."

georgia bird

My reasoning? It looked like red robin symbol from Red Robin the restaurant.

red robin

Karyn looked at it and said, "I think it's a cardinal."

Her reasoning? It looked like the cardinal symbol from the  St. Louis baseball team.


The culprit up close:

real cardinal

I think Karyn wins but I can't be sure. Looks about right to me...


I'm still trying to figure out if a real red robin even exists or if it's just the Santa Clause of birds who brings you balloons and steak fries.

Problem #2 
What I don't like, I recognize all too well.

Namely, these demons.

This one I found dead on my front porch. I seriously can't look at this picture. If you don't know what that is, that's a beeping cockroach. And these things are everywhere here in Georgia: in the streets, on the sidewalks and unfortunately, constantly trying to get into my house. 

I swore I would officially freak out if I ever saw a cockroach in our apartment (traumatic childhood experience -- one crawled into my hand while I was sleeping). And lo and behold, God was finally punishing me for the time in high school when I shared a tent with 4 other girls in Mexico and I saw a cockroach scurry across the floor and I didn't kill it because I was too scared of it. Then when my friend Amanda went to put on her jeans later in the morning, and well, the cockroach was hiding in her pants and nobody knew it...and she pulled them over her legs and...then she started screaming and fell on the floor and couldn't get the cockroach pants off...and we all laughed about it a lot...later...but it was my fault...and now I know your sin will find you out.

So last week while I was putting the dishes away, a stowaway cockroach had evidently made a home in my cupcake tray. When I took the tray off the counter (it was upside down) the cockroach fell out of one of the cupcake cubbies and landed on the back of my hand and then fell on the floor. I promptly let out a set of broken high pitched noises and there was a lot of screaming and jumping and pawing at the air. Andrew just kept shouting "what! What?!" until I whimpered the word "cockroach" in which case he was mildly (extremely) annoyed that I scared him into thinking something "serious" had actually taken place. At which point I broke into tears because I can't think of anything more serious than a cockroach trying to hold my hand. Worse still, it ran into our bedroom and took up "homeage" somewhere undetected for the next 24 hours. And although I didn't sleep a bit that night for fear that the hard-shelled monster would once again end up in my bed, he got his comeuppance in good time.

Since then, I have been in the presence of two more. Just the other day I opened the door and one ran between my legs and I screamed but I didn't step on it because I thought my sandals were too thin and that I would feel its body crack under my weight and that sound and feeling would be permanently embedded in my psyche and I would have a mental breakdown. Soooo I let it dart behind me, where thankfully, Android was waiting wearing manly tennis shoes and he took the sucker out.

Then this morning I came out into the living room to find yet another cockroach dead on the floor. And I don't care how it died. Maybe there's a gas leak in our house. Doesn't matter to me. At least it wasn't moving.

God only knows how many more I will see in my house before we move.

Have I mentioned we're moving to Savannah? In August? But more on that later.

In the meantime, if anyone knows of some natural insecticide recipes I can lace my house with, or a good southern bird watching book, I'm all ears. Apparently I have a lot of learning about birds to do and a lot of "boss showing" to give some cockroaches.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Conan the Grammarian: Including Letters to Philosophy and How to Properly Use a Semicolon.

This is my Philosophy face wash:


I am frustrated with my face wash. Specifically, I'm frustrated about an inexcusable grammar error committed by my face wash.

Here is what my face wash says to me every single day:
To begin feeling young again, we must begin with the most basic step of all; the daily ritual of cleansing.

When I'm angry about grammar, I remember my friend, Conan the Grammarian. Conan is a fictional character Karyn made up (who apparently already existed...) while we were in college to combat poor peasant-like speech patterns.


If you haven't already discovered the grounds for my all-consuming righteous anger, Philosophy incorrectly uses a semicolon in place of a colon. As a tribute to Conan, I would like to talk about how to properly use a semicolon. Because some people think learning proper grammar is boring and/or too difficult, I have included modern pop culture references and allusions to aid in remembrance. I have also written a letter to Philosophy and have included my blog address as a helpful reference point.

Let us begin....

Like women, and people in general, there are two types of sentences:
independent clauses (all the single ladies!)

and dependent clauses (please love me?).

An independent clause (now put cha hands up!) is essentially that -- a clause that can stand alone.
hermione fight

A dependent clause (why don't you ever call me?) NEEDS someone to help it be a complete sentence and not a fragment.
bella dying

Por ejemplo, in the following example:
If you do the Single Ladies dance and post it on YouTube, I think people will watch it.

The first half of that sentence is a dependent clause. Why? Because it cannot stand alone:
If you do the Single Ladies dance and post it on YouTube.
Negatory. You are not independent!

However, the second half of the sentence is an independent clause. Why? Because it can stand alone:
I think people will watch it.

Now that we understand independent and dependent clauses, let's talk about how to use a semicolon. Here is the rule:
A semicolon joins together 2 independent clauses.

So in our example, we could have written:
Do the Single Ladies dance and post it on YouTube; I think people will watch it.

or even further...
Do the Single Ladies dance and post it on YouTube; I think people will watch it; people will watch anything.

You shouldn't use a semicolon in any case where a period wouldn't also work. I like to think of it like this: a period is a full stop -- a wall if you will. A semicolon is a more like half a wall...like a wall with a hole through it in which you're trying to say, "I sort of want these two sentences to hold hands and be related."

All that is to say, I love my Philosophy products. They do cute and special things like write recipes on their body wash bottles and include uplifting information about how I'm innately beautiful on their lotions; however, semicolon abuse is inexcusable...sort of like confusing Gandalf and Dumbledore.

So to recap, the sentence should correctly read:
To begin feeling young again, we must begin with the most basic step of all: the daily ritual of cleansing.

A colon always follows a complete sentence and is used to introduce either a list, or something relevant to the previous sentence. Doesn't that make so much more sense?

Don't worry. I'm always looking out for ways to make The Grammar World a safer place. The universe in general is a much better place without having to worry about Conan the Grammarian beating us down for using the eyes of a netspeak smiley-winkey face incorrectly. Phew.

And Philosophy? You are welcome. You are free to send me hundreds of samples expressing your eternal gratitude.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My Observations on The South and Southerhoodness (Part 1)

NOTE: I have been keeping an ongoing record of things I've noticed about "The South" and/or don't understand about the "The South". This may include how "The South" is different and/or similar to Oregon and the northwest, or simply provide a platform in which I share all kinds of incoherent thoughts and ramblings which may or may not be the result of not having a job, a car or any type of normal human interaction.

Observation #1:
They think Oregon is Antarctica:

In the rare case where I actually talk to another human person from Georgia, they quickly discern I'm not from around these parts. When I announce that I'm from Oregon, the following conversation inevitably ensues:*

Georgianer: What part of Oregon are you from?
Me: Umm, I guess Salem. I'm originally from southern Oregon though.

Georgianese: Ok. So what do you think of Georgia?
Me: I don't know. It's pretty nice. It's different...(not sure what else to say...talk about scary crime rate? The cockroach that was in my kitchen? Decide instead to make a random comment about the weather). It's hot right now.

The statement that inevitably occurs next I have now heard many, many times.*
At this point, the Georgia person takes on this weird sense of pride and smirks at me like the Eskimo they think I am and begin to look around admiringly at their environment:

Georgiatonian: Oh you ain't seen nothing yet! It's not even July yet.
Me: yeah...I mean, I was just saying in general it's hot. Ya know, it gets really hot in Oregon too. I mean, I know we don't have humidity like this, but in southern Oregon we have weeks of over 100* weather.

Georgianiard: (no longer listening to me) Oh you just wait...

I get it. It's hot in Georgia. There is humidity. But Oregon isn't Antarctica. Sometimes I feel like Sarah Palin (which must be a desperate situation) and I want to say, "You know, [Oregon] isn't a foreign (tundra) country."

And here is why I don't feel the least bit sorry for anyone in Georgia about their heat: everywhere, and I mean everywhere, has air-conditioning. Every apartment we looked at, from the ghetto ones to the golf course ones where Tiger plays, comes standard with air-conditioning.

Eventually in one of these conversations I'm going to snap and say, "Really Georgia people! You think this is hot? Why don't you come live with me at my apartment in Saddle Club last summer when it was 108* for a week straight and we lived on the top floor of the apartment with NO AIR-CONDITIONING and I had to keep spray bottles in the fridge and repeatedly spray myself every 30 seconds until I was soaked with water/sweat. And at night time? It would drop to about 90*? And I would have to sleep with my spray bottles and spray water in the air long enough that I could eventually fall asleep only to be woken up 2 minutes later from overheating deathness and I would have to spray more water until my bed sheets would be soaked through and I would feel vile and disgusting. How about that Georgia!? Would you treat me like an Eskimo then? You people have air-conditioning everywhere. Everywhere!"

In conclusion, more "state" points are being awarded to Oregon for being super tough and making people deal with inclement weather changes without the help of advanced technology.

*This has been proven using the scientific method: question, hypothesis, experiment, results and conclusion.

UP NEXT: Wildlife