Saturday, September 30, 2006

In which I get repeatedly distracted

It's amazing the number of exceptionally urgent tasks you can find to do if you really want to. Yesterday at 9 am. sharp you would have found me sitting in front of the computer, I had a paper to rewrite and submit. Ten minutes later I was in the kitchen making a second cup of expresso, just to get those sluggish brain cells going. You may have spotted me somewhere in your logs shortly after that because a quick crawl through the blog roll seemed like a good idea.
At some point, an irresistible red leather jacket popped up on the screen and had to be bought. Now it really was time to get back down to work, but not before I had poured half a bottle of déboucheur down a blocked drain, stood around waiting for the deadly chemicals to take effect and rinsed, rinsed, rinsed. Oh, was that the mail I heard dropping through the letterbox ? Look, a special offer : 26 issues of Elle for 20€, I just had to get my cheque book.
My goodness was it that late — time then for a bite to eat. So at midday I was to be found with a plate on my knee and — please don’t ever tell anyone this — daytime BBC Prime on the TV.
I did get back to the grindstone and spent what seemed like a long time finding out whether one should write oriented or orientated (doesn’t matter), how to format the bibliography for this journal, then while checking one of the references I came across the directory of open access journals and spent a while browsing those. Until that is, an e-mail popped into my inbox with an offer for a case of Spanish wine that seemed just too good to miss. By then I had realised that I was having a bad writing day so didn’t feel too guilty about taking this BBC quiz and discovering that I have a male brain (why do I feel quite pleased about this ?) Then there was the video my brother sent me. And oh, surprise, surprise it was time to go and pick the children up from school.
Tomorrow, I’m having that tattoo changed from Peregrinations to Procrastination.

(Photo courtesy of Deborah and Lucy productions. Could it be a sloth?)

10 comments:

Ms Mac said...

Oh my God! Did you watch Doctors with Emma Samms? You did, didn't you?

I'm going to have re-evaluate our relationship.

BeefKing said...

I would have to say that, although all the sources seem to agree on the "oriented" v "orientated" issue (as you said, according to them it doesn't matter), that it does matter. Here's my reasoning:

Both come from the same French root, and they seem to be used interchangeably in the UK. But "oriented" appeared in English usage more than a century earlier, and that's perhaps why in the US, "orientated" is a far less common word. The languages had already split when the newer form entered the scene in 1849.

So although both are technically acceptable, I wouldn't say they're equivalent, since "oriented" would read more comfortably to a much wider audience. And if the purpose of the sentence in which the word occurs is to communicate fluidly and transparently to as wide a readership as possible, the less potentially objectionable of the two words would be the better.

I could be because I'm a Yank. But I think there's logic here too, even if it is American logic.

And it's interesting to note as well that the original meaning of both verbs was "to cause to face or point toward the east". "Occident", on the other hand, does not ever occur as a verb.

Sarah Mackenzie said...

Beefking you are without a doubt a supreme comment killer! I positively pale in comparison. I have managed to kill people's enthusiasm on many, many occasions (I pride myself on it sometimes hee hee) but I have to bow to your mastery and I am merely leaving a comment here and now to have the final word and to say that Lesley's level of procratination is in equal measure to your pedantisism (is that a word?).

BeefKing said...

Look, I didn't bring up the topic, I simply put in my two cents' worth. And if my opinion turned out to become the definitive, the unassailable, the gospel, with such prejudice that no one else felt the need to sully the comment box with superfluities, then that's fine. Aparently, Sarah (if indeed that is your real name), you don't show the taste which the rest of Lesley's reading community has chosen to demonstrate.

Comment-killer indeed.

Now, onward to a discussion of the word "pedantism"....

Lesley said...

Ms Mac: No, no, no. I would never stoop that low. It was "Cash in the Attic" if I remember rightly.

Beefking: Right. Oriented sounds better to my ear too, but it's a British journal I'm writing for so maybe I'll stick with orientated which is what I had originally written. I certainly hadn't thought about the Orient/east etymology.
Hey, it sounds as if that Sarah chick has a bit of a thing for you, maybe I could introduce you....

BeefKing said...

Thanks for the offer, but I'm already seeing someone.

And I wouldn't want to add to the list of your distractions.

deborah said...

I clicked on your 'Elle' link saying to myself, now why is Lesley reading Elle and hey presto found interesting article on Shanghai where I am planning to go in March.

Depuis que la cité chinoise s’est réveillée, le buzz ne faiblit pas : tout le monde veut aller à Shanghai !

That is what it says, shows how original I am. However, I'm going for the journey not for Shanghai really (excuse). What's that quote from RLS?
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
Robert Louis Stevenson (easy to find thanks to google)

Will read the article in full and see if they mention the Underground. My son says no-one waits for the people getting off the train so there is a gigantic struggle everytime the train stops!

Lesley said...

A trip to Shanghai. Now that would make a great subject to kick off a new blog! I'll bet RLS would have had a blog.

deborah said...

Ok, I'll call it The great affair is to move, watch this space!

Lesley said...

or "Coming Down off the Feather Bed of Civilisation"!