I'll do the stupid thing first and then you shy people follow...

Archive for the category “Literacy”

Attention To Detail

While filling in my postal vote last night, I noticed this on the paperwork…


The red dot is added by me, just to highlight the error.

But really, how can I be assured that my local authority is capable of anything efficient when they can’t even get things right on a bloody envelope?

Kindle Replacement

I’ve waffed on before about having bought a Kindle e-book – nearly two and a half years ago – and also about when the one-before-this-one broke, which is when I had to buy a replacement.

Much as I like using the Kindle in general, the display in particular seems to be pretty fragile. I suspect it’s because it’s a glorified LCD display, and they’ve always been a bit flaky on that score.  I don’t know why they’re so breakable, but they are. I’m not at all heavy-handed with mine, but I’m on my fourth. (with, as below, a fifth soon to arrive)  And that’s with having a decent protective case as well. I suspect there must be some kind of twist/flex that just does for them.

Anyway, over the weekend, the latest one – bought in June – broke. I don’t know what had happened to it, I took it out of my bag/backpack, opened the case, and the screen crystal was cracked. (i.e. the screen itself isn’t cracked, but the [whatever] film inside it is, so when I turn it on, half works, and half doesn’t)

Fortunately, Amazon’s customer services are excellent when it comes to the Kindle. (I can’t comment on any other eventualities, I’ve only ever used Amazon customer service when it comes to the bloody Kindle)  I filled in the ‘Contact us’ form on the site, clicked “Call me now”, and they did. Straight through, spoke to someone, explained the problem. No quibbles, no hassles, they’re sending out a new one (due to arrive today) and I can then use the packaging from that to return my existing device – postage paid!

Of course, re-downloading all the content is still likely to be a pain in the tits (if the last time is anything to go by) but I can at least get on with doing that when I’ve some spare time.

In the meantime, I’m back to the printed word instead of the displayed. I’ve got to be honest, it feels a little bit odd.

Neil Gaiman, “Fortunately, The Milk”

Cover for Fortunately, The MilkLast night I was in London to see Neil Gaiman‘s one-off reading of his new children’s book, “Fortunately, The Milk” at the Methodist Central Hall in London, (also known as Central Hall Westminster) which was also fortuitously a friend‘s birthday (I won’t say which one)  As it turned out, we also bumped into Clair

It was excellent. I’d been lucky enough to get tickets when they went on sale, but I know it sold out pretty quickly. The tickets also included a special signed copy of the book as well, so definitely value for money.

It’d been billed as “with special guests”, but with no real clues as to who might turn up – and it turned out that (among others) Neil’s wife, Amanda Palmer came along as a surprise – even to Neil -  and Lenny Henry was also there, along with Mitch Benn, and live drawings from the book by Chris Riddell. (who is just ridiculously talented) There were several others who I didn’t immediately recognise, although some research has helped on that score.

The book itself is brilliant – if you’ve got spawn, add it to the Christmas list – and the performance of it was great, with lots of humour, and a brilliant atmosphere all the way through.

As for the venue, well, I want to visit that again and look at it properly – it’s quite amazing in and of itself, and even more so when you look at the history of the place. It’s spectacular inside, and totally not what I’d have expected from the name. It’s about as restrained and subtle as Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

A brilliant evening, even with a jam-packed train ride home. (Apparently there was some sporting event on at Wembley as well, which meant lots of happy football fans)


I have too many web domain names – although I’ve been divesting myself of some of them over the last year, acknowledging projects and ideas that will never happen (and some that I can’t even remember having) as well as some where their lifetime has expired and I’ve no intention of renewing them.

However, domain renewal has a lot of automated processes, and one part of that is automatic reminders that get sent out about each domain.

And each email looks like this…

Your domain, [x] is due to expire on [date].
It is manadatory, that you receive this email for each domain you own, 28 and 7 days prior to your domains expiration date.

Yes, a spelling error and a punctuation one. I didn’t notice it for a while, because I usually ignore those mails just from the subject line. But now I’ve noticed it, that “manadatory,” drives me crackers.

I’ve written to the company involved, asking them to change it, but nothing’s happened. It’s nothing major in the grand scheme of things, just something that annoys me on a regular basis.

Not Quite An Apology

One of the phrases that keeps on annoying me at the moment is the current ‘approved’ terminology for an apology

We’d like to apologise for [x]

Why does it annoy me? Because if you look at it, it’s not actually an apology. It’s a mealy-mouthed excuse. “We’d like to apologise for [x]” isn’t the same as “We are really sorry about [x]”

I know it’s probably only me that even notices this kind of thing, but regardless, it’s an annoyance.

If you’re sorry for something, say you’re sorry. Apologise. Don’t tell me that you’d like to apologise – because that’s not actually apologising. It might as well say “We’d like to apologise, but won’t, because well, fuck you”

Just say “Sorry”. Don’t wank around the bushes with it. Say you screwed up, apologise, move on.


One of the better explanations I’ve seen for using apostrophes and abbreviations. (And I didn’t write this originally, honest)

How to use apostrophes

Maybe if it were taught like this in schools, people would remember it better.

Critical Reading

As has been observed many times over the years, I can be a really picky/pedantic bastard – particularly when it comes to spelling, punctuation, and literacy in general. And it’s true, I am all of those things.

Today I’ve been proof-reading a menu for the work Christmas Do  (of which more at some other point) – and with some of the errors, had to check the original menu.

So – would you still go to a place whose menu has spelling errors?  I realise that the typing and publication of the menu won’t have come direct from the chef, and will have been farmed out to someone on reception (or similar) – but really, if chefs / owners are so obsessed about control, wouldn’t that also extend to the menu, and how it represents the establishment ?

In this case, some of the spelling errors are pretty basic – Mascarpone , for example, is mis-spelled. In others, it’s the actual cooking techniques themselves, such as “Ballantine” instead of “Ballotine”. And I just find that a bit worrying – for if there’s that lack of attention to details in the menu, I can’t help but think there might be the same lack of attention when it comes to the food.

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