sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
[personal profile] sorcyress
Some Thoughts on Some Things:

One of the things that really makes or breaks how much I respect a business is how easy to use their website is. In this day and age, in this country, if a store has a website, I should be able to go onto the website and easily find locations and hours for their stores. Chain stores seem to have a lot of trouble with this --is it that much bandwidth to give each store a little infopage if you don't have standardized hours? Wouldn't the goodwill of the shoppers be worth paying that extra bit per month?

Similarly, for the love of *god*, make your website easy to use. Five minute flash intros that I can't skip (and even, to a certain extent, ones I can) do not make me love you. Flashy menus that I can't figure out how to use do not make me a happyKat.

This is just another reason why I absolutely *adore* Good Vibrations (NSFW) I wanted to know what time they were open on Sundays, I went to the frontpage, selected "stores locations" from the store menu clearly located at the top of the page, and bam! There was the info I needed.

It turns out that there is a name for that particularly gorgeous example of femininity I was talking about the other week --Zerrai Ryouiki (TVtropes will ruin your life) which describes the ratio between length of skirt, amount of thigh shown, and height the stocking goes above the knee.

Okay, so it doesn't specifically mention the boots. But honestly, I'll trade boots for the stockings *any* day. Yum!

As you may or may not know, my New Years Resolution for this year is to stop saying 'less' when I mean 'fewer'. I'm really quite obnoxiously *terrible* about it, and I encourage you lot to call me out whenever you see me fuck up.

((For What It's Worth, fewer is things that are countable. "Less cat" means that the cat has become smaller somehow. "Less cats" is incorrect, unless, perhaps, you're trying to protest musical theatre. "Fewer cats" means that you at one point had a greater number of cats than you do now.))

In a discussion about this with Magus, he pulled a card on me that I'm not sure's ever been pulled before, when I was being irreverent towards my lack of grammar --"Aren't you a writer?"

It smacked me rather across the face at the time. Yes. Yes, goddamit, I *am* a writer. I have been a writer since I was seven years old, and I was a storyteller even before that.

I'm just a writer with terrible spelling and grammar skills. Which honestly, is no kind of writer at all. I'm not sure how immediately clear it was, but there is a huge jump in the way things are spelled in this journal, right when I got Vera. Because with her, I didn't bother figuring out how to turn the stupid little red squiggly "HEY YOU SPELLED THIS WRONG" lines off. So, while I still, as a rule, don't hit spellcheck before I hit post, at least I catch everything that Vera notices is wrong, and do my best to fix it.

Impressively enough, this actually has had some small effect on my real life. Embarrassing. --a-r-r, a-s-s. Two of everything in the middle there, and I couldn't spell it correctly until I had to see what the dictionary recommended for the upteenth time, and decided I was sick of having to right-click the word to fix it.

Do atheists have any right to use "goddamnit"?

(I'm not, and for many phrasings I substitute "gods" for "God", largely because I do that whole Eris-Athe-Mother-FSM polytheistic thing. Butyeah.)


on 2009-05-06 05:11 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
...if a store has a website, I should be able to go onto the website and easily find locations and hours for their stores.

yes Yes YES. W&I continually run into a severe lack of that for local stores! And as you said, how freaking hard is it to set that up?? Not Very!

Five minute flash intros that I can't skip (and even, to a certain extent, ones I can) do not make me love you. Flashy menus that I can't figure out how to use do not make me a happyKat.

Or me a HappyFerret. i hate hate hate flash thingys so much that i have a flash blocker on all three copies of FF i have running on each of my computers. And it's particularly annoying when they don't work properly either! Gah, i so agree with your rant but words fail me for the the rage it invokes! ;D

ACK, hit the Submit button prematurely! >.<

Which is also amusing because this is what i was trying to paste in when my finger slipped on the mouse thingy on Floyd:

Embarrassing. --a-r-r, a-s-s. Two of everything in the middle there, and I couldn't spell it correctly until I had to see what the dictionary recommended for the upteenth time, and decided I was sick of having to right-click the word to fix it.

i *STILL* can't spell that word! ;P

. o O (man, i hate premature postingnesses... soooo *looks up* embarrassing)
Edited on 2009-05-06 05:14 pm (UTC)

web sites

on 2009-05-06 05:16 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I think the main reason for the lack of useful localized information is largely social. For large chain web sites, they don't want the locals being able to do damage to their sacred corporate image, so those web sites tend to be very centralized. I'm guessing here, but from my experience with large corporations I'd guess you have to file some form or other to get your local store's info updated, or else call the right person on the phone at the right time (when they're in, and not distracted so they just write down the changes and forget to pass them on to the IT department).

For smaller companies (rather more forgivable), I'm guessing that it's because the person who creates and maintains the site is not someone who works for the business; they're either an employee of a web-hosting/design business, or possibly the owner's brother's cousin. Getting a change through is not, shall we say, a formalized process. (I'm currently the IT department for a small business, and I'm not even sure how to access their web site; the former IT department moved to California several years ago and hasn't exactly been flooding the marketplace with answers to our technical questions...)

Which is why I think I should be able to do quite well selling wiki-controlled business web sites, if I ever have the time to get our commercial services web site into shape.


Re "goddamnit": it depends on what you mean by "right".

on 2009-05-06 06:39 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Man, I had NO idea how bad I was with grammar until I joined the Sigils. (This, by the way, is my roleplaying guild on everquest, stuffed to the brim with serious writers and english professors and the like.)

My big issue was 'then'. Then and than. I never used them correctly. I think, simply out of embarrassment of being in the company of such phenomenal writers, I have broken myself of this habit.

But yeah, I probably misuse 'less' too. I'm going to have to look at that.

on 2009-05-06 06:45 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Boy, you sound just like me the first time I tried to use Chipotle's website to find out store hours before I drove out to one late on a Sunday evening... They've improved some over time, but there's still far too much Flash/design getting in the way.

I have spelling and grammar skillz, but am mad at myself for not writing. Am I a writer? Can we just send our Inner Critics off together already? As for spelling -- I still have trouble with 'restaurant'. I always want to move the 'u' to after the second 'a' because of the way I pronounce it.

on 2009-05-06 07:23 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
"Less cats" and "fewer cats" both mean "a smaller quantity of cats" if that's what the speaker intends it to mean.


And atheists can totally use "goddamnit." Swearing has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with kneejerk. I mean, if something huge and heavy falls on your foot and it hurts like a mother are you going to yell "FUCK SHIT GODDAMN" or are you going to go "GODDA -- wait, no, don't believe in him, I mean BY THE EMPTINESS OF SPACE MY FOOT SURE DOES HURT A LOT!"

on 2009-05-06 11:32 pm (UTC)
ext_3749: (Default)
Posted by [identity profile]
"Less cats" and "fewer cats" both mean "a smaller quantity of cats" if that's what the speaker intends it to mean.


I heartily endorse this comment. Language belongs to the speakers, not to some higher authority. As a writer you should probably learn ways to express yourself that aren't going to muddle up what you're trying to write (and that's a different story all together), but "proper grammar"? The only "proper grammar" is the grammar that lets you communicate with others.


on 2009-05-06 07:50 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Complete agreement on store websites. Speaking professionally, even.

I do think there are a lot of cases where the distinction between mass and count nouns has become unclear, and others where it's just shifted from one to the other. Take 'data': by old standards, it was a plural count noun: 'fewer data'. That actually registers as ungrammatical for me, though, because it's almost exclusively a mass noun in my lexicon: 'less data'. (And the singular, 'datum', doesn't even exist in my productive lexicon.)

But aside from that, I do think there's been a shift in usage of 'less', such that for many native English speakers it has become grammatical to use it with count nouns. (The reverse has not happened with 'fewer': I don't know anyone who would ever say 'fewer water'.) If I had to guess, I'd say that this is due to speakers generalizing from 'more', which is used for both count and mass nouns.

on 2009-05-06 09:04 pm (UTC)
mneme: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] mneme
Re "aren't you a writer?" I'm reminded of Rob Heinsoo (I think this was one of his) recollection that his wife, after kicking his 200+ card magic deck to the curb One More Time, said "aren't you an editor? So why can't you edit your deck?" (and he was enlightened--for writing/editing, not just deckbuilding)

on 2009-05-06 11:55 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
It may also be worth noting that "x items or less" is perfectly correct while "x items or fewer" is an overpedantic hypercorrection, as it refers to a set of x items rather than to x individual items.

on 2009-05-07 12:41 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Do atheists have any right to use "goddamnit"?

Before I was an atheist (that is, before I had thought about G-d), I was a goody-two shoes in middle school, and therefore didn't swear, and therefore didn't get in the habit of saying it (because, as was mentioned above, swearwords are largely knee-jerk reactions).

When I was an atheist (in high school, and was therefore around more people who swore, so the habit of swearing as knee-jerk unconsciously seeped in), I thought about the question. It seemed... unnecessary, when just plain 'damnit' works just fine, and I didn't believe in Him.

Now, as an Orthodox Jew, I don't say it, because I don't take His name in vain*. I even (as you probably noticed above) write G-d, instead of with the 'o'. Granted, in English, and particularly online, this is more of a widely-accepted custom, and not a biblical prohibition. The biblical prohibition is actually against erasing G-d's name. However, since not everything that a person writes down is kept forever, we are careful not to write G-d's name where it might be erased. This applies to G-d's names as they are written in Hebrew. In English, we have the custom to substitute the '-' for the 'o' as sort of a reminder. On a computer, since it wasn't ever permanent in the first place, it isn't a prohibition even in Hebrew, but many still use the -'s (or ` in Hebrew) for substitution in order to remind ourselves to be careful.

*This, of course, aside from the fact that even when I was in High School I didn't swear very often, and I swear even less now.

on 2009-05-07 01:09 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
That said, I do know atheists who have used the phrase, often out of spite or irony. Thing is, though, because they don't believe in Him*... [ok, caveat, this is my own personal view and may not reflect the opinion of Rabbis...] because they don't believe in Him, their saying G-ddamnit has no intent to back up the G-d part of it. It's... impotent, if you will. Or at least, to the amount as if the person had merely said 'damnit' (unless of course G-d decides to be ironic right back and take them at their word - which, well, being G-d, He reserves the right to do). That isn't to say that it's Right. In essence, it isn't. But it doesn't bother me as much as other things.

*I should also note that use of the male pronoun for G-d in Judaism is largely arbitrary and a matter of convenience - not to denote gender. 'He' isn't a 'he'. G-d, as a completely non-corporeal being, is beyond the concept of gender.

on 2009-05-07 01:03 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
A god that damns things isn't a part of my theology, but I consider "goddammit" a perfectly expressive expletive. Likewise, when I say "ohmygod", I very explicity don't mean _my_ G-d, I mean a generic, "Jesus H. Christ on a bicycle" sort of entity which has more to do with how English language cussing has developed historically than with invocation of the divine. I've been known to say, "oh my gods", too, despite only having one deity I consider _mine_. (When I say "oh gods", I am likely invoking a literary reference.)

on 2009-05-07 05:24 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
D'you use Firefox? 'Cause if you do, you can install NoScript as an addon. It blocks scripts of all kinds on websites you haven't explicitly allowed. It takes a while to get up and running, while you go to various websites and tell it "this one's okay," but it's fantastic otherwise. Great security, and it blocks irritating Flash. Most websites that use Flash menus, if they can't load them (say, they're blocked), instead present you with a simple and ugly plain HTML menu. Some do this weird thing where everything contained in a menu is visually stacked right on top of one another instead, in which case you have to tell Noscript the site is allowed (temporarily, meaning just while this particular instance of FF is open) in order to even see what's going on on the page.

I don't know, believe, or much care in/about god/gods/etc., but I still say and write "oh my god" and "god dammit" and things like that. It's a word, everyone "has a right" to use it. (Whether or not it's socially acceptable in a given set of circumstances to use it is another question entirely.)

Also, even though I'll never remember the name, thank you for that TVtropes link. Exactly that was way early on in Dollhouse, and, uh....mmmm.

Also also, I hate you for including a TVtropes link. I've wasted an hour and I've still got about 15 TVtropes tabs open. Gah.
Edited on 2009-05-07 06:15 am (UTC)

on 2009-05-07 05:35 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
A lot of Jews swear saying "Jesus Christ." I've heard this used by even mildly religious Jews. It isn't that they see him as a deity at all. It is just a cultural habit picked up. Atheists are presumably ok in the same regard for saying "goddamnit" or some variant thereof. Indeed it makes more sense because in the Jews case it actually raises halachic problems to swear by the name of a deity other than G-d (the prohibition is much stricter. Angie can probably explain this in more detail). The atheist in contrast is just using it as a convenient exclamation. It has as much meaning to the atheist as screaming "Maggot infested leprechauns!" or "By the Hooves of the Invisible Pink Unicorn!" I'd be inclined to argue that "goddammit" is more of a problem for a religious individual who doesn't believe in a G-d that is willing to send people to eternal hell. In most forms of Judaism for example, no one ever gets eternal punishment (and there's actually a claim by one part of the Talmud that punishment in the afterlife never lasts more than a year). So in that context a religious Jew should be more uncomfortable saying that sort of thing than an atheist.

(Also note that Josh Zed finally has an livejournal account. But right now I'm just intending to use it to make commenting on livejournals easier. So it will keep all of the standard awkwardness of not having an account. Yay!)

on 2009-05-08 06:38 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I hadn't thought about it before, but you're right about it being more halachically problematic to swear by the name of a deity other than G-d. In brief, when a Jew does that, (I'm assuming) it's tantamount to idolatry (or at least might be perceived as such). In Torah, there are 613 Commandments. All but 3 of them can be transgressed in order to save a life. One of those three that you're supposed to die rather than do is worship idols (the other two are murder and forbidden relationships). Uttering empty oaths to idols/other deities seems... well, yeah, problematic is a good word for it. I'm not a Rav (someone who interprets Jewish Law when a question is raised), but I'd guess that it's a dangerous sort of grey area.

Some who are particularly strict about this won't even mention the name of various figures in other religions - e.g. "the central figure of christianity", or even, I've heard colloquially "that other guy" (when the context is clear). A smaller subset will even substitute "S. Barbara" for "Santa Barbara" (I've also heard "Simcha Barbara", where 'simcha' is the Hebrew word for joy/a joyous occasion), because to say it is to give a measure of credence to it.`

(As a side note, it feels weird for another Jew to be calling me Angie, even online... I may have to get a username change. My Jewish name is Miriam.)

Also, I checked out your blog... it is unexpectedly awesome. The problem of 4's, the phylacteries/horcruxes... quite interesting stuff. I'm a Math major, graduating this semester (in... er, a week, actually?), and my Chassan and I met in Calc II (and our first conversation was when he commented on my Star Trek shirt). He's graduating with a Masters in Materials Science Engineering this semester, too. The wedding is in 4 weeks! So yeah. Yay more Mathy/SF Jews!

I actually have a more Jewish-themed blog over at I haven't updated it much recently, though I have a couple different posts rumbling around in my head.


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