Sunday, November 21, 2010

In defence of grocers and their grammar.

I quite like writing, and I like getting it right. The rules for the English language aren't the hardest in the world to learn but there are a lot of inconsistencies. We're told in grade 4 "i" before "e" except after "c" and yet the most commonly used word that has an "i" and a "e" is "their". This makes for a confusing introduction.

Then of course you've got your plurals and possessives. It is a delight of pedants to get nice and angry over the local fruit shop owner and his delight in writing "Avocado's". Perhaps, I always think to myself, he's making some sort of existential comment about his produce.

"Tangerines" is short hand for "Tangerines are available". Perhaps "Tangerine's" is short hand for "Tangerine IS". A claim to you, the potential purchaser, that tangerines exist and an attempt to excite and enthuse you with the recollection of its existence. With this in mind the local junk mail takes on a very "People's Republic" feel.


Not a Nazi. Grammar nor otherwise.

There's one rule though, that always breaks me. I understand that "dogs" means multiple dogs, and that "dog's" can abbreviate "The dog is". ie. "The dog's surfing on the last segment on 'A Current Affair'". It can also mean it is possessive. ie. "the Dog's paws".

But use a possessive pronoun and it all falls apart. If "It is" then you can write "it's". That makes sense. But if "it" possesses something then you write "its". There's no frigging reason to not put an apostrophe! Why make such an arbitrary rule?

The dog's paws.
Its paws.

They both possess.

It doesn't make any sense. It is arbitrary and weird.

I mean wierd.

I mean...


Sunday, November 7, 2010

I can take it apart

There is nothing like a freshly serviced car with all its fluids topped up and everything in working order. And let me assure you that in my garage there is nothing like a freshly serviced car with all its fluids topped up and everything in working order.

This afternoon I removed a cornucopia of objects from my car. I've been driving around for months with what appeared to be a scale replica of the Jasmine Allen Estate covering the floor and seats of my vehicle. Papers, receipts and tissues I could ignore. It was the pair of metre long inflatable crocodiles that really inspired me to knuckle down and clean the damn thing out.

My back seat.

Everything in the back seat was supposed to be in the boot and everything in the boot was supposed to be in the bin. I pulled it all out, vacuumed an inordinate amount of soil out of the carpet and even replaced the light in the ceiling of the car. Now everything is in its place.

As I was finishing up I discovered that the rear right seat belt was busted. I'm sure we've all done the dance of gently teasing out the seat belt to ease it from its enclosure. Indeed I grew up around second hand Volvos so I've developed the delicacy and patience in my hands and fingertips that eventually lead me to be quite a successful lover.

Sadly, this seat belt was completely locked. It just wouldn't work. Now I've never been much of a car guy but I grew up with a lot of meccano and lego. If there's one thing that being a young boy has taught me it's that everything comes apart with screwdrivers and a set of wrenches.

But cars are tricky. Everything is layered upon everything else. The seat belt was under the speaker which was under the rear right panel, with was under both the rear panel and the right panel and the back seat. Simple, I thought...

  • Just undo the back seat
  • Remove the right panel
  • Remove the rear panel
  • Don't confuse the screws
  • Remove the rear right panel
  • Remove the speaker
  • Realise the speaker is plugged in
  • Unplug the speaker
  • Remove the speaker
  • Remove the belt mechanism
  • Discover that it's impossible to open the belt mechanism
  • Swear
  • Replace the speaker
  • Replace the rear right panel
  • Realise I've confused the screws
  • Swear
  • Replace the rear panel
  • Snap a plastic clip
  • More swearing
  • Replace the right panel
  • Do up the back seat

Easy. I may not have solved the problem but I do at least know that I can take that part of the car apart and put it back together with only two pieces left over. That's pretty darn good in my book.

And I can probably find where those pieces came from when I do it all again to reconnect the speaker that I forgot to hook up.

  • More swearing
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