Tuesday, 31 December 2013

It's Been A Funny Old Year

This time last year I was sitting writing my end-of-year post and said "In 2013 I hope to get a "proper job", move out of my parent's house and into a space of my own and get my life safely back on the road to adulthood. I want to get back on stage and sing and do all the things I love again. Maybe even find a new boyfriend but for once it's not something I'm giving a high priority to. I'm going to have a kick ass awesome birthday to make up for this year's massive flop." and yet here I am, a year later, still sitting in my childhood bedroom and as unemployed as ever. In many ways, I feel like my life has been on hold this year because I've not really done anything with it-I've barely been on stage, I've not worked, I've spent a lot of money but don't have a whole heap to show for it!

[Source-Open Clip Art Library]
At times it's felt like someone's placed me on pause, in a timelock, and that my life only exists when I leave the house and go and do something, and this is something I'm going to work hard on changing next year.

2013 was the year of travelling around the country to visit various friends in their various houses, it was the year of me going on the dole, spending a few months feeling humiliated and worthless and then coming off it again, it was the year I got more into blogging than I ever have been before-across two entirely different blogs, no less, and I have enjoyed making many a new virtual friend. I found myself some penpals when I had nothing to do with my time and have loved sending letters across the world to some virtual strangers, as well as exchanging lots of postcards with lots of others. I've seen lots of good theatre, even if I haven't been in much, and I've laughed a lot. I did have a kick ass awesome birthday-in fact, I had two, and Christmas this year was also really brilliant. I've visited Sheffield hundreds of times and often felt home sick when I had to leave. I've also spent a lot of time not doing anything  at all but sitting at home in my pyjamas and I am more than a little sick of it. I've been to visit lots of potential houses/rooms in my beloved Sheffield and got turned down time and again-until I found somewhere that was perfect in late November. I was looking forward to moving back and kick starting my life again until I found out that that particular door had been cruelly slammed in my face too. I am now more determined than ever that in 2014 I will get back up there, and things are going to get better than they are now.

2013 was also the year that I, quite unexpectedly, fell in love all over again. I was never really looking for romance but it came along anyway and has taken me by surprise-it's reminded me how fun falling in love is, how awesome it is to have someone wonderful who cares about you and just wants to spend their time with you. I honestly can say I feel like a teenager again-it's been all fireworks and butterflies and blushing cheeks and stolen kisses. I found someone who thinks I am wonderful just as I am, who doesn't want to change me into someone else, and who isn't afraid of holding my hand in public, and for me at least, that's pretty incredible. Relationship-wise, I'm the happiest I have been in some years and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things stay this good for a while. I realise this is turning into a bit of a soppy blog, and I apologise for that, but I'm just happy and contented, so please don't hold it against me too much.

So I can't really completely write 2013 off as a reject year. I've had my low moments, and have done nothing to progress my life further in any way but I've made some good memories too-with my friends, with my boyfriend, I've seen bits of the country I've not seen before and done some things I probably won't do again, and I think I've finally worked out what I want to do with my life...eventually. I've read lots of books, and have started a reading challenge, meaning I've got many more to read in the future-always a good thing. I'll be spending New Year's Eve surrounded by Light Entertainers (the very best of people) once again, and for the first time ever I have someone to kiss at midnight, which I intend to take full advantage of.

So long 2013. Hoping 2014 is full of more opportunities and things finally going my way so I can start living again.

See you next year!


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A Minor Win For The Grammar Bandit

My friend turned me into a Meme because she's
basically awesome.

I'm always amazed when walking down any street with shops on to see how many grammatical errors I encounter-and the number is always remarkably high.What I don't understand is this-how on earth can so many people get so many things wrong? It's not like we haven't been taught it-we were! At primary school at the very least, and they were probably reiterated to us many times throughout our lives, so how difficult can it be? If you have a spelling or grammar error in a sign in the window of your shop-or worse, in the shop sign itself-it speaks to me of laziness and lack of respect for your business. It just doesn't feel very professional to me, is all. I mean these days it's not even really that hard to check with spell checkers and wiggly green lines and ALL OF THE INTERNET at your disposal, so it just comes across as laziness or stupidity on the part of the sign writer. I know I'm probably opening myself up as an easy target here, because I'm sure my blogs are full of sloppy grammar, and I know I have a bad habit of over using exclamation marks, but I'm really talking about the simple things that everyone should know, not just those who studied English at higher levels.
The worst offenders by far are apostrophes-people just don't seem to know what to do with them at all! I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen shops offering "tea's and coffee's" or "CD's", and there's even a tattoo parlour near me that proudly declares that they do "Tattoo's"-above the entrance to the shop no less.

This was stolen from Google Earth so it's a bit smushed
together but you can still see the offending apostrophe!

Would you trust someone to ink something permanently into your skin when they can't even get the sign for their own shop correct? No thank you!

Another one I see knocking around a lot is 'smile, your on CCTV' types-and that makes me twitch just to even type it. I'm not really sure where the confusion lies between 'you're' being short for 'you are' and 'your' meaning belonging to you but apparently it's there. Or possibly their, to some people. (Twitch.)

I used to be quite the stickler for it-was constantly correcting people's grammar on Facebook or Bebo (ha!) and the like-and it's something that makes people really mad! There have been numerous times when I've felt bad for correcting someone when they reply with "DYSLEXIC!" shouted back at me, or just had someone get angry with me for correcting them on their own status etc.. (Not, as it happens, ect, which means something rather different!). I've since relented a little-on your Facebook, in text messages etc. you can use whatever grammar you like and for the most part I won't call you up on it, unless you're someone who I know won't mind or should know better. In conversation too-I don't think you should pick on that because everyone has their own way of speaking full of their own colloquialisms and idioms and you shouldn't interfere with that unless you have been explicitly paid to do so. But if you use terrible grammar or make spelling mistakes on your company's website, in a sign on or around your shop, in formal correspondence or any other setting where you're supposed to be showing a professional front-I will judge you. My big mental red pen will come out and I'll start correcting things, if only in my head. Although I did once point out a spelling error in a presentation given to me at a job interview! I will also try to avoid using your business where I can, because I feel like if you can't take the time to get that basic thing correct, what other, more important things are you getting wrong or not noticing?

There is a happy ending to my tale, however, albeit only a small one. The other day I was walking through a shopping centre that had otherwise blank walls decorated with artwork by local children/artists and a short description beside them. As we walked past one of these, my speed reading eyes processed the fact that there was a horrible mashing together of sentences that weren't properly punctuated, and I exclaimed as much to my friend. What I hadn't realised though is that the sign painters were still nearby, and overheard me. One of them asked me to point out the mistake to him so that he could correct it for me. I think what I actually said was
"It needs a comma or something. I mean ideally it needs a full stop but you don't have a capital letter so you can't do that. A semi-colon would be best actually, but if nothing else, it needs a comma!"
He told me he didn't think there would be room for a semi-colon but he'd make sure something got sorted out for me and I went on my merry way.
To my surprise, when I walked past the other day and look there was a semi-colon. My semi-colon! I mean it's still a horrible sentence and would be better off being re-written entirely, but it's much better than it was!

I'm taking that one as one small victory for the Grammar Bandit, though there's still quite a way to go!

*hoists big red pen onto shoulder and walks off into sunset, cape flapping majestically in the breeze*