Saturday, November 26

Salem, part three

Yesterday was the long-anticipated Salem trip. Three or four people couldn't go, so it was just Dan and I, and Mike. We didn't leave RI until slightly past 11, but we still had plenty of time in Salem to do everything we wanted. Mapquest failed us utterly, but thanks to my Dad's prior corrections to the Mapquest directions and generously placed, tourist-luring Salem signs in Peabody, we got there alright. I'm proud to say that I didn't freak out, even when for a few minutes we had little idea of where we were.

We went to the same places we end up at every year: Front Street Coffee, the comic shop, the army barracks, Lotus Gifts, the cheap book store, and the varied witch shops. As I expected, Salem's atmosphere improves greatly without the Halloween chaos. The old New England architecture, the cobblestones, and all the lovely little spots thrown about everywhere-- it's all much more suited to an austere November day than to garish festivities. It was nice to just enjoy the town without witches, witch trials, roasted nuts, and Nathanial Hawthorne thrown in our faces.

The more witch/ pagan shops I see, the more boring they get. Some are better than others, but in general they all sell they same stuff, and they all have the same vibe. Gee, here's another store with the same frequently circulated pentacles, fantasy role-playing weaponry, and new age crystal-astrology-numerology-pseudo-spiritual hoodoo. I did actually mean to buy incense, but instead all I bought was a rather shoddily painted bell, blue with gold moons and stars. Likely the owner painted it themself. Of course I could have pulled off the same shoddy craftsmanship, but doing it myself would only have filtered various self-esteem issues into it, whereas having someone else paint it turns it to a totally different creature. Cute, even.

I also bought The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide, all the Hitchhiker novels in one volume. I didn't want to buy it before because of the price, but at the used book place it was only $16. At a gift shop, I got Jeffrey a stuffed Edgar Allen Poe with detachable raven for Christmas (he's been getting into Poe lately). Later on at the army barracks store I bought myself a plain black ammo bag, which I'll be decorating, and then a pony/ Christmas ornament with lucky coin at the Asian gift store.

On the ride home, after dropping Mike off, Dan and I saw a shooting star. It was right over Petersen farms on route 44. This was the first one Dan's ever seen, but I actually saw another one just about a month ago, on Halloween. It didn't give me the same magical, thoroughly awed feeling as the first one, yet I think it's a good sign.

"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -Douglas Adams

Friday, November 11

we're singing for England. En-ga-land.

This is to everyone (mainly people who probably don't even know my blog exists) who argues that British English is more correct than American English.

In elementary school, I asked a teacher why a certain book spelled "color" and "favorite" as "colour" and "favorite." I was a good speller, top in my class, and I knew the words ended -or. Something was amiss. My teacher told me that in America we spell those words -or, while in Canada and England, they are spelled -our. This is accepted by most Americans, or at least those who aren't overly, annoyingly Anglophilic.

"But English belongs to the British! It was their language first."

Four hundred years of evolution on both sides of the Atlantic make that a stupid claim. Saying that American english isn't the original english is true but of little consequence, because the current British english is also not the original english. And what? It's not your language? You haven't spoken it most of your life? A language belongs to the people who use it. No one has copyrights, not even the most rigid sticklers.

Plus, the "I think it's cooler/ more elite/ British-y-er" American users of it (at least the ones I've seen) apparently don't know the difference between Canadian and British. If you're going to do Brit english, do it right. Simply using -our and -er only makes it a bastardized Canadian english. In some cases, Brits have different puncuation. Comma outside the end quote. Tyre, not tire. Manoeuvres, not maneuvers. Spell your words in whatever way is aesthetically or sensibly pleasing to you, but don't say you're doing it because it's British if you're not going all the way. I spell colour with a U because it's British. Ah, then why doesn't "frolick" have a k? Ummm, I spell frolic without a K because it's American or I forgot because that's what I'm used to or I just totally had no freakin' idea. While there shouldn't be enough people doing this to warrant a rant, there somehow are.

Myself, I am a fan of the Canadian English, but apparently Canada isn't hip enough for some people. Eh.

Wednesday, November 2

Hernando DeSoto...

Now there was a guy who knew how to discover a river.