I imagine that when the average person is faced with insomnia, she gets out of bed and watches a bit of television or maybe surfs the web for a while.
When I'm faced with insomnia, I get out of bed and go to the library. I run my finger along the spines of my books, stopping at each title that sounds interesting. I pull two or three (or four) books from the shelf and then sit with them on the couch.
For example, tonight, because I could not sleep, I grabbed the following from my Books Recommended To Me or Given To Me By Other People That I Have Not Yet Read stack:
- Your Money or Your Life, a personal finance book which Michael gave me for Christmas; I must have a psychological block which prevents me from reading it
- John Milton's Paradise Lost, which I'd like to read before book group. (I understand that Phillip Pullman's trilogy draws heavily from Milton.)
- A few novels recommended by Jim Osmer: American Gods, Perdido Street Station, and The Anubis Gates, all of which seem to be the sort of urban fantasy of which Jim is fond.
- And, as an afterthought, The HarperCollins Concise Handbook for Writers (the Instructor's Annotated Edition, no less!).
Which book did I opt to read?
You guessed it: the grammar book.
As if that weren't geeky enough, I grabbed the number two pencil from the coffee table and jotted notes as I read. Worse — and I'm almost afraid to admit this because it will truly reveal how geeky I am — I underlined passages I liked.
I was underlining my favorite passages in a grammar book!
Somebody shoot me.
Still, the geekiness was not over.
Once I became aware of what I was doing, I walked to my computer and I wrote a weblog entry about the event. And do you know what's worse? I'm now going to quote my two favorite passages from the grammar book. Let us weep.
In the section entitled "Distinguishing between generalizations and evidence", I found the following quite amusing:
At one time or another, you've probably heard someone say, "Never generalize." Perhaps someone has even said it to you. Actually, this piece of homespun philosophy is wrong. We all generalize all the time.Yes, this passage actually cause me to laugh out loud. "We all generalize all the time." Get it? It's a broad generalization.
This bit from "Using semicolons to join independent clauses" tickled me for similar reasons:
Whenever you use a semicolon to join independent clauses, you could use a period and a capital letter instead. Many writers use a semicolon when they want to signal that the next independent clause will be closely related to the first one. Of course, every independent clause is somewhat related to the one that comes before it; if it weren't, the passage would not make sense. However, a semicolon indicates that the independent clauses are more closely related than most. Sometimes the second clause explains the first one; sometimes it gives an example to support it.Clearly, the author is a humorist as well as a grammarian.
The final sign of my geekiness tonight was this: I actually searched the grammar book's index in hope that there might be a section on diagramming sentences. And when there wasn't, I googled for this wonderful web site on the subject instead.
I am a geek.
On this day at foldedspace.org
2005 — Something Like Myself For the first time in months (or years), I feel whole. Complete. Correct. I am myself.
2004 — Spiderhaven We're looking for a name for our house. Maybe Spiderhaven. Or The Spider's Web. Or Spider Land. Rosemont? The Orchards? The Farmhouse?