Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Work Work Work: The Grind of Heavy Editing

Like the Orcish peons of Warcraft II, after effectively deciding that the collegiate (or at least the standard collegiate) life wasn’t for me, I knew that I would have to find myself a full-time job. The very first thing I did, aside from freelancing as a magazine writer, was work for this rockstar SEO dude from Manila who pretty much got me into the whole biz of article marketing and copywriting.

Four years later, and I’m pretty much still in the same path, albeit with a few skills and a lot of experience under my ever-widening belt.

Note: A warning for those with no interest in writing. The next few paragraphs will be heavily devoted to the art and craft of the written—emphasis on written—word. Read on at your own peril after the jump.

But this post isn’t about work itself. It’s about the type of work I’m currently doing for one of my clients, and that’s proofreading. Back when I was an editor for SMSI, I just made sure that the articles were made of pure win and awesome, but I never bothered to check for the textual nuances of each selection I plowed through. Come 2009, I find myself working as a proofreader part-time, toting the rather brutish Chicago Manual of Style for reference all throughout the hours I spend working for that particular client.

The funny thing about proofing copious amounts of text is finding out that various aspects of the written English language that you thought was just typographical whimsy was actually official script. I speak of the wonders that are the em-dash and the en-dash. These babies have there use in written communication, and while most people may find it a bit unnerving to know this, this rather bizarre eccentricity of the written language has admittedly piqued my interest.

Not because of its implications on the readability of a text for those fully in the know, of course. I would hardly use that as a reason to intrigue me, since I believe that the written word, as an art form, is a language consistently in flux—get the message across, and we’ll be friends. Get the message across AND give the reader a hard-on / wetlip, and I don’t even know what I’ll do to you.

Rather, I find this interesting because as of this year, the word googled is now an official verb—with the small letter “g” intact. Yep, Google as a proper noun refers to the company, while google with the small initial letter is a verb (this discovery is credited to Rocky Teodoro of the Haneps). Upon discovering this fact, the beauty of the em-dash and the shortcut key for the letter “ñ” (that’s ctrl + ~ + n) vanished from my mind. Not completely, as you can probably see from this paragraph, but enough to make it a marked transition.

In closing, I’d like to propose this theory: in the next 2–3 years, we will see a marked shift in typography and vocabulary. We started out with the slow and ambivalent acceptance of foul language into the list of grammatically correct terms. Then there was the resurgence of using dashes and textual demarcations correctly. And now we have google. If the trend continues, then I guess we can properly surmise that sooner or later, the smiley icons, :-) and :-( being the most recognizable, will become common slang text. Expect novels where non-dialogue conversations will flow in this manner:

“:-(,” said **** as he shut off his mobile phone to ward off unwelcome SMS messages.

as opposed to this:

**** frowned as he shut off his mobile phone to ward off unwelcome SMS messages.

Sounds far-fetched? So did google becoming a verb. The written language is evolving so fast that sooner or later, English will have no choice but to give way to established languages like Spanish or French, or simplified tongues like Esperanto, because it became too damn complicated to learn.

Oh, and if that does happen anytime soon, don’t forget. You heard it here first.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Harry Patch

I have no idea who Harry Patch was, and I’m really not the kind of person to care about first-person shooters. But my friend John Pimentel (aka Bossman, also GayPimps) wrote a poignant—albeit geekery-induced—piece about Harry Patch here, and I felt that it was worth mentioning.

Because the world is slowly going to the dogs, and we need more thinkers like GayPimps and Harry Patch. Godspeed, Mr. Patch, and may the wings of war not reach you wherever you are.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Alcohol Loves Me, and Ol’ Betsy’s Slow Decline into Old Age

Unfortunately, my love for alcohol has, shall we say, diminished somewhat the past few months. I went weeks without even a sip of beer, and the scant times that I did get to drink with my peers, I had this nagging worry about work in the back of my mind.

The other night, however, saw a blissful reunion between me and the nektar of the gods. Unfortunately, this reunion was cut short—once again, I needed to work, and there were drunks to take care of. Plus, I didn’t really feel too good about getting hammered again. Or ever.

Did I just say that? Did hell just freeze over? Jeez.

In the meantime, my old, trustworthy laptop suffered a rather critical hit no more than half a day ago. Following are pictures for proof:

laptop hinge 1

The somewhat front view. You can see the bend in the top casing there, but it still looks pretty normal from this view.

laptop hinge 2

Now you can see just how bad the damage is. You can bet your britches that it hurt when the damn thing finally cracked open. I could have lost a limb, and I wouldn't have known the difference.

laptop hinge 3

Side view. You can see the innards of the LCD panel of the laptop. I want to cry.

To be fair to ol' Betsy (as I now call my two and a half year-old laptop), she has served me rather well. I believe that she has begun falling apart after hearing me talk about getting a replacement laptop or two within the next year or so. I love this ol’ gal, though, and it is because of this laptop that my faith in Acer computers is what it is now.

Since I promised myself that I wouldn’t get a new laptop in at least a year, though, I am now open to suggestions as to how I can get this little problem fixed. As you can well imagine, I rather dislike the idea of closing my laptop as every creak gives me reason to hit an aneurysm, so the sooner I get this problem addressed, the better I’ll feel.

I mean, just look at my face when I discovered the full extent of the damage:


This is an attempt to simulate my original reaction. What I really did was bawl like a little girl.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

So I’m Feeling Under the Weather

Technically, you can’t ever feel over the weather. Because y’know. The weather’s pretty much on top of you. So the phrase “under the weather” is literally, logically incorrect.

Anywaay, that ends my inane ranting for the day / week / whenever I post. I just celebrated an awesome birthday week, so this is probably lagnat laki (hopefully it ain’t aH1N1, or else dayum, I pretty much infected a whole baranggay of people.

Since Nina’s feeling rather under the weather (again with the phrase) as well, I decided to find some things that could probably cheer her up. There’s a possibility she won’t be seeing this today, but at least this has been posted.

Firstly, I have for her (and the lot of you) a piece of depressing, yet subliminal, artistry. Replay is a very good animated short that makes one wonder just how valid life can be if it serves to keep us hemmed in:

Secondly - to balance out the mood that was probably generated by Replay both in tone and in medium - I have here another short film, this time of the classic animated variety (it is actually reminiscent of mid-1900's Disney shorts), about a woman and her (rather sudden) desire for companionship - ANY kind of companionship. A lot of people could probably relate with this film:

And that's about it. I've tons of work and I badly need bedrest as well, so I'll leave you folks with the short films. Hope you guys like it.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Vive le France; Vive le Libertie

I take the title from the post-war conversation between Mel Gibson and Tcheky Karyo in The Patriot, the film that introduced me to the brilliance that is Jason Isaacs. Now, the question here is why I’m quoting a line about France. The answer, as is usual, lies in something that I just recently read from CNN.

Let me indulge my conspiracy theorist urges by saying that if this escalates into an all-out fight between Al-Quaeda and France, this will be a historical first, specifically, the first war caused by fashionable dispute. Vidal Sassoon will have a heyday.

Seriously, though. I find this entire brouhaha silly. Al-Quaeda’s being rather silly, declaring  fatwah on a country that won’t allow a piece of clothing. No matter how ceremonial or cultural clothing is, when in Rome, you do as the Romans do. If the country doesn’t want you wearing clothes that you deem to be important, it’s either you suck it up and conform, or you get out of the country, stat. I understand that sometimes, the pull of personal tradition can be pretty heavy – I’m a Filipino, and if there’s anything Pinoys are cursed with, it’s a heavy history of familial tradition. But to the point of declaring a war? A Filipino kid was nearly expelled in Canada for using a spoon to eat something that wasn’t soup, but that didn’t provoke relationships between the RP and the state of British Columbia.

I mean, Al-Quaeda. Terrorism or not, you have to stop taking these things to the extreme.

But I think the French are equally in the wrong this time around. Being the country that helped the USA win their freedom from the Brits, you’d think that they’d have a good grasp of what “freedom” really entails. In my humble opinion, “freedom” means being able to practice your beliefs without persecution in a given society. The Islamic religion may have practices that seem questionable to western societies, but then again, just how much more absurd IS Islam when compared to more orthodox belief systems such as the Church of Scientology, the Roman Catholic church, or even the protestant conservatives? You’re considering a piece of clothing as restrictive of a woman’s actions, but how can you dictate what that person considers as ideal? French women might find the burqa an impediment in society, but how about the Islamic women who have become culturally acclimatized to the burqa?

As far as liberal thinking is concerned, by suppressing the religious beliefs of people within their borders, I’d like to end this post with four words:


Note to the French though: please don’t ban me from your country, I love your food and your culture way too much.