Wednesday, September 29, 2004

How Very Unfortunate for the Goldfinches

Today I intend to inflict a highly instructive experience with the gerund, that part of speech that sounds like a lot of fun if only one knew what it was. Here's what it is:

gerund, noun a part of speech in English that looks like an adverb but cannot function as an adverb, though it can function as very nearly everything else including a heat source, adhesive, and pliers; in an isolated instance it was even alleged to have been used as a blunt object in the 1859 murder of one Wm. Lamont Lamont, Esq., but this has seemed to most linguists a stretch, as the claim could only be corroborated by said Wm. Lamont Lamont, Esq., who, after his demise proved an uncooperative witness

The gerund, as you can see, is a very useful part of speech in that it affords a prime opportunity for diverting anecdotes. It can also be put to use in the example paragraph below, which, as an extra bonus, includes the gerund phrase as well. The gerund phrase has a close relationship with the gerund, but they have never married and continue to be “just friends.” They have a starring role in the following example paragraph:

Simon awoke on Tuesday with fanciful aspirations of running that morning. Simon thought of running in the early morning as a stress-relieving inauguration to the day. However, on Tuesday, the pouring rain put a stop to Simon’s foolish notions of maintaining a healthy habit of exercising daily. Simon found this disappointing, but not that disappointing because it meant an extra half hour of sleep. But the rain did not stop by the time Simon had to go to class, and Simon discovered that the pathway between the house and the parking lot seemed very like a swiftly flowing river. It turned out that sleeping in had not saved Simon the experience of running in the rain. Rather, Simon quickly became expert at jumping across, streams, puddles, lakes, and small oceans—and this was just to get to the path to campus. The path itself was also a river, which in some places turned into a waterfall. Looking for dry patches is a slow-going and tedious method of keeping dry, and Simon feared being late for class. The situation had become drastic. It seemed likely that a removal of footwear would behoove Simon, so this is what Simon did. With the umbrella in one hand, and sneakers in the other, Simon happily swished downriver, enjoyed the waterfall-steps immensely, daintily crossed the street, and skipped onto campus through puddles, wet grass, and mud. Unfortunately, having been slightly distracted by the joyful feeling of cold water on bare feet, Simon was late for class anyway. This is how Simon, who had previously given the impression of being a very ordinary, punctual person with shod feet, came to enter Latin 105 on a Tuesday morning looking befuddled, bearing a dripping umbrella and a tangle of socks and shoes, and track wet leaves across the carpet to the single left-handed desk, where, upon carefully bestowing the umbrella and shoes on the ground, sat down, our subject extended those bare and leafy feet, and proceeded to give no indication that this was not exactly the way everyone else had come in, too.

To challenge the grammatically adept, the gerunds may have been intermingled in the above fictional account of a certain fictional Simon and Simon’s fictional campus and the fictional downpour that caused Simon to miss five vital fictional minutes of Latin class with present participles and present participle phrases, the definitions of which involve a very long discussion of the activities of Mrs. Henry Middlesmith of Norfolk, Virginia, whose cat, Tilda, ate several under the impression that they were goldfinches—a mistake not uncommon in late nineteenth century Virginia--and which will be dispensed with at this time for the sake of brevity.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

the LA metro is probably just a movie prop...

last night, in a fit of stupidity, i managed to lock my keys inside our neighborhood cafe. this would not have been a problem except for the fact that park la brea is a gated community and los angeles is a city of disgustingly lazy people who would rather chew their own legs off than walk anywhere making it almost impossible to cross the sprawl without some sort of gas powered vehicle. i had no idea what would i do without my gate key, my top door key, my lower door key, my parking garage key, my mailbox key and my car key. well, i decided if i couldn't find my keys by 8am i would take the metro. there are theories that the los angeles metro was actually constructed as a movie prop. most native angelinos don't even believe it exists. i figured it was worth investigating as it is only a two mile hike to the nearest stop and by rollerblading, i would not be afforded the opportunity to scratch, dent or otherwise maim the rental car (not that i've done that). but yes, thankfuly i found my keys. jessica, the owner of the cafe, saved them out for me. what good peoples. i will save the subway for another day.

Distinguished Portrait Posted by Hello

Monday, September 27, 2004

Narrator: The book never got off the ground, the movie deal fell through, the morning talk show got cancelled, and the cooking show was never picked up. Even those with scandalously bad taste and no sense of distinction failed to encourage the production of an opera. Thus Simon and Ivan, or Ivan and Simon as the case may be, have been forced to enter the seedy world of do-it-yourself stardom and its modern incarnation: the Internet. Oh so much seedier than an independent press and oh so much easier. It is through this strange, intangible medium that they shall relate their adventures. By "adventures" I mean "inconveniences," which is, it must be pointed out, more or less synonymous with "daily life." For documentation, please see the works of the revered Douglas Adams, or just think back to how your morning went. However, in other contexts, "adventures" may also be defined as, "a good day," "a day that was actually interesting," "a day Vikings overran the east coast and taught one or the other of our subjects how to hypothetically braid a beard," OR "a day that is so dull that our subjects must invent hyperbolous not to mention wildly inaccurate stories about Vikings overrunning the east coast and teaching them to braid beards--everyone knows that Vikings are unlikely to stop mid-pillage to lead an educational session on personal style, though goodness knows that if they did, it would be an unmitigated success." Incidentally, Vikings could have made great back-up dancers in the aforementioned opera.

None of the above explains why the title of this blog is in possibly incorrect French and involves two hedgehogs. So as not to leave loose ends I would like to state unconditionally that none of the below will provide any illumination on this matter whatsoever, either.

I may make further clarifying appearances later on, but in the meantime I hereby turn operational control back to Ivan and Simon--or Simon and Ivan, as the case may be.