Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Want to Smell You Like Teen Spirit

So maybe I'll start off with the obligatory exclamations as to how long it's been since I last posted. Oh your god! It's been, like, ages! There you go.

I can now say that I think I now know how Trent Reznor and Kurt Cobain must have felt.

Yeah, you better believe I'm putting myself in the same category of my teen years heroes. The thing is, both of these artists gained some popularity during the 90s, breaking through the underground barrier to expose the mainstream to grunge and industrial music. With both good and bad outcomes. But that's not what this is about. And no, it's not that I am a young, successful musician. Nor have I had some sort of destructive relationship with Courtney Love. Thankfully.

These artists had a song each that, while great songs, are certainly not their best but at the same time is what got them their notoriety. That's right, I'm talking about 'Closer' and 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. I'm sure when Trent and Kurt were writing their respective songs they finished them, recorded them and thought "Not bad. Bit of fun. Might make a good single." Little did they know that these songs would end up being their "cross-over" songs in to the mainstream and end up being played relentlessly on quasi-alternative radio stations and music video shows as well as put on to every mix tape made by scraggly-haired, flanno-wearing teens in the mid 90s. Eventually these songs permeated the pop-culture landscape and ended up defining these bands and the 90s. The downside of this is that Trent and Kurt no doubt grew to hate these songs as they would have been expected to play them over and over at live concerts no matter how much new and better material they had.

How does this relate to me? Well, you'll notice a little widget I have on the side of my blog called "Feedjit". A handy little thing that tells you when people visit your blog, where they came from, where they left to and so on. Ever since my entry on grammar, I have been getting a fair bit of traffic. However, I feel as though my gramamr post is my Closer or Smells Like Teen Spirit. Yes, my most popular blog entry was the one where I went in search of humourous pictures of poor grammar in public and posted them on my blog. Among other things, this may have contributed to my dry spell blog-wise. Or it may not.

So what does this mean? Absolutely nothing, actually. I really don't care how people come across my blog, or whether or not they come across it at all. I have worked in community radio, I know all about the expectations of no-one listening/reading. I just needed an impetus to write a new blog. Sure, I could have written about my big interstate move from NSW to Tasmania. But maybe I'll leave that for another time. Maybe.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's "Pillock", you berk!

I don't want to come across all "90s" but it's interesting how much the internet has changed the way we interact with information. Just today I called my flatmate a "pillock" on his Facebook status. To make sure I had spelled "pillock" correctly, I Googled it. Finding the Wikipedia article on it made me realise that I hadn't really given much thought to the etymology of it.

It turns out that pillock dates back to the 16th century meaning "penis" from the Norwegian "pillicock". It was likely used much the same way as someone would use to call someone a "dick", "dickhead" or "cock" today:

This kind of insult reminded me of something Maurice Moss from The I.T. Crowd would use. As does the pejorative "berk". So I decided to look up that word too. This term originated in the 1930s. A very similar meaning to "pillock" with Wikipedia listing it meaning "A fool, prat, twit". However its etymology shows that it was a shortening of "Berkeley Hunt" - a hunt based at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire. And so some how the proletariat of Berkeley saw "Berk-hunt" as rhyming slang for "cunt". However, the "softer" meaning of "berk" has prevailed and is even used today as an "affectionate insult". However for my visual example I'm going for "fool, prat, twit":

As an interesting sidenote ('cause I can tell you guys can't get enough of this!): I came across another out-dated insult in my travels. That of "wiseacre" and one I will try to bring in to my every day vocabulary. It basically is another word for "smart-arse" or such similar things. Wikipedia's definition is "one who feigns knowledge or cleverness" or an "insolent upstart":

I find etymology quite interesting and would like to think this could become a "segment" I do on my blog. If so, it may be like all my others with just an inaugural entry for each.

Aside from the last part of this sentence, I have made a vow to not use the words "university" and "procrastination" together in my blog. That being said: I may be updating more often now that uni has gone back.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Gratuitous Displays of Poor Grammar

So to continue with my prolific blogging I shall today be posting pictures of examples of public displays of poor grammar. I'm not sure if terrible grammar was as ubiquitous 10 years ago or if it's just that these days any moron with a computer and the Internet can write any thing they want any way they want.

To kick it off is an example that was actually discovered in person when Ank and I were in Tasmania. We stayed at a caravan park in Port Arthur and were shocked to see this abomination of grammatical evil:

Yes, I have joined countless Facebook groups about how I think less of you if you have poor grammar and that correct grammar is sexy but it just doesn't seem to convey my Grammar Rage at seeing simple things written so wrong. None more so than on signs. It's almost as if there should be a social responsibility for anyone requiring a sign to make sure everything is spelled correctly and that the grammar is correct. There should be fines or something.

In my research I have found that the apostrophe is the bane of many a sign writer. So many just don't seem to know how to use them. As The Oatmeal suggests in "How To Use An Apostrophe": When in doubt don't use an apostrophe. And I agree. So many examples I found were people just going crazy with them. It is better to see a word without one when needed than just put in willy nilly

I really hope this place is going out of business due to a lack of grammatically outraged patrons boycotting the place:

Both Ank and I actually do consciously avoid businesses that have misspelled signs or poor grammar. I for one would not go to this place to get a sign done:

Here we have an example of two outrageous things in one: Poor public grammar AND religion! I don't want to suggest too much by the next few examples but seriously: religion probably means you're stupid:

^ Nothing except maybe spelling

^ Seriously: these guys are trying to tell you that creationism is how we got here. Maybe if they were actually educated they would get it.

If there's one thing that turns me off going to a particular business it would be the incorrect use of the letter 'Z'. There is nothing 'cute' or 'cool' about misspelling things. It's just irritating. This business below goes the extra mile by adding in the infamous unnecessary apostrophe:

One of the most infuriating errors is the constant mix up with 'they', 'their' and 'they're'. The apostrophe errors can usually be excused. Sure, they can be tricky sometimes, but this is not rocket surgery.

I would never try those cookies or rice crispy treats on principle:

Worse yet is the your/you're problem. Once again, see above-mentioned rocket surgery comment.

This bus is just a grammatical train wreck - or bus wreck as the case may be. It has the correct intention of "you're" but the apostrophe has (yet again) let it down. I'm not sure if my boycott would extend to not getting on a bus with an advertisement with poor grammar. It certainly wouldn't bode well for the impending trip. I guess it would depend on if I was running late or not and if there was a later bus I could catch to get to my destination on time.

Now, if I had a child at Highland Park Junior High I would pull them out as soon as I saw this one. They claim "Knowledge is Power" on their crest, obviously this school wouldn't be much of a match for Gandalf

Speaking of schools: I would not be too sure about enrolling in these night classes:

There are actually many more but I am starting to think this might be something for a part II some other time. I may even take some pictures (now that Ank and I actually own a camera!) and show you some local examples.

I shall leave you with an example of grammatical justice. I would love to carry around a red marker so I can act on my Grammar Rage like this person has: