Trivia! Not Spandex!
A couple of little things before I get on with THE BIG PROJECT, whatever that is. I have some thoughts. It's Monday, always a good day to start. And I just finished writing a column, and that seems like it should be enough publishing for one day.
But whom are we kidding.
Look at this, though.
I installed this Grammarly app out of curiosity. I've used the site before, but I feel pretty comfortable with grammar, using it and ignoring it when I feel like tossing prepositions about.
It's nearly useless, by the way, and completely distracting and annoying. It's someone looking over my shoulder, murmuring, "Is that really what you want to say?" over and over again. Gonna dump it soon.
But I got the above graphics in an email today, and it made me smile. Nearly 5000 words a day? I guess I did have quite a week. Unique words? Well. I don't say I'm a writer; I am a writer, for better or worse. I should probably know lots of words. A carpenter knows about lots of tools, etc. I do not, etc.
As far as the mistakes, it's a strange thing, commas. Missing periods are probably the result of social media posts, when periods can convey the wrong effect (it's weird and hard to understand, but I get it, really).
But commas aren't, you know, grammar. They're style. There are few rules, and they're not really rules. Commas have a similar effect as hearing a favorite word pronounced with a regional accent that's different; we know it's wrong. It's not, and we know that, too. But it's still wrong.
I just thought it was funny. Keep your comma thoughts to yourself, ya filthy animal.
Secondly, I made some lemon cookies yesterday. I've been on this recipe kick lately, saving attractive ones in case I get an urge to bake. I really don't have much of a sweet tooth, even though I had a great time, me and cookies, over the holidays. Just a little burnt out from sugar.
But these cookies looked great, I love lemon, and I thought I could bring them to church or a dinner party or something, like a surprise. A nice, tart, lemony surprise from a guy who tends to focus on chocolate.
I made about two-dozen of these, and didn't care much for them at all, too cakey and not enough lemon, even though I followed the recipe exactly. It did seem a little too simple, though. Probably for the non-bakers with less discerning palates, you think?
The point is--and some of you should look away now--I threw them away. All two dozen, except for the ones I sampled, which amounted to maybe three or segments of three. My son had one bite. My wife about the same. Nobody was impressed. They were fine, just not special, so into the trash can.
I was just impressed. That's all. It was about three bucks' worth of ingredients, virtually no time involved, and essentially tasteless food. It needed to be tossed.
But I threw away cookies. I think we should all be impressed.
There was a funny line (actually two) on last night's Silicon Valley. A disgruntled potential employee told the young CEO of this start-up, "And Richard? You're 10 to 20 pounds underweight. It's gross."
(The second line was another character, trying to make him feel better. "Richard, I'm at least 45 pounds underweight.")
It's a very clever show, and that's clever writing. Also a little intriguing.
I've decided to give this weight-loss book thing a shot. If I can make it funny, if I can somehow persuade myself that I'm not preying on the desperation of people who are stuck in a place they really don't want to be, if I can keep it short and coherent, just show my work, the steps I took, the adjustments I made...see? I'm already deciding against it. But I decided.
The point here, and what's tricky, is that it's not a free ride. There's a price for everything. I hated being heavy, but eventually I learned to be OK with myself and my body. I started at the perfect moment, in other words; I just thought I should make a change in something, and that one seemed obvious. At least when I saw a mirror.
But it messed with me, and food. And the scale. So now I find myself in the bizarre situation of having to be careful that I don't lose more weight.
The last year or so, I've hung right around 168 pounds, consistently. Rarely changing. These days, it's around 165. A rounding error, a trivial drop, and if I didn't pay close attention I might not notice it at all.
If you're a guy, though, around average height to slightly higher (I'm currently around 5'11-1/2, which seems to be heading south), you know that 165 is pretty light. Pretty lean. It's healthy, it's close to statistically ideal, in fact. It just doesn't have much room for, say, a two-week bout of the flu, not to mention a serious illness. My friend Janet, who passed away nine years ago from colon cancer, mentioned this in some of her much-loved blog posts toward the end of her life, how her consistent pattern of skipping dessert and exercising routinely left her with no runway once she started chemotherapy. She had no fat to give up, to speak of, and while I doubt that hastened her death, it didn't sound helpful at all.
And the older I get, the frailer I'll look if I slim any more. I don't care for that look, not now, not yet, probably not ever.
So right off the bat, that's on my mind. There are all sorts of pitfalls in the field of self-improvement, and the idea of contributing...wait. I said I'd decided. We'll see how it goes.
But at least I know I have the vocabulary for it. And I'll put commas wherever I want.