Monday, April 14, 2008

Book Tour by the Numbers

4: number of cities officially part of the tour (San Fran, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles)

34: number of heel-to-toe steps it took in my size 8 shoes to traverse the dining room and adjoining living room of our "fireplace suite" at the Alexis hotel in Seattle (that's not counting the adjacent bedroom)

0: number of times we used the fireplace

0: number of times in our lives when we've stayed in a hotel room that big and that nice (thanks, Penguin!)

35: number of minutes I had to make it from my 7:55 a.m. Portland airport arrival to the KATU-TV studio where I would be on live local TV

4.25: hours of sleep I got before said live TV appearance

2: number of times interviewers asked me about the overuse of "literally"

3: number of times people asked me about "Bob and me" used as a subject (as opposed to "Bob and I")

4: number of times people asked me whether text messaging, e-mail, and the dang kids who used them are messing up this here English language

2: number of times people asked me about the "at" at the end of "where are you at?"

38: low temperature Tuesday night in Seattle

85: high temperature in Pasadena the day I got home two days later

91: high temperature in Pasadena the day after that

0: number of flights that were delayed (big difference from my wedding/honeymoon trip a few weeks before)

50ish: the number of times I told my husband how much better a book tour was with him along for the ride

3: number of consecutive days I wore the same black slacks without washing them

4: approximate number of hours Ted or I spent trying to get our "kitty cam"* to work

3: number of friends who said they or a loved one heard me on NPR

6: approximate number of ounces of water I dumped on the studio floor when I spilled my cup during a brief break between live radio broadcasts at KUOW-FM in Seattle

1: number of items I took out of hotel honor bars on Penguin's dime (but that was one damn good Canada Dry ginger ale)

* Re the kitty cam: Some time ago, I bought a PC card and some cameras that allow me to remotely monitor our home -- both in real-time and via motion-detect recording. That's right, I can log in remotely on a Tuesday, punch up a timetable of stuff that was recorded on motion-detect on Sunday and watch recorded action such as Tibor licking himself or Maddie licking herself or Smudge engaging in her daily exercise which consists exclusively of changing sleeping positions. There's just one problem: In the last month in which we were on the road for three whole weeks, we were only able to connect to the server on one day. We think the problem is that our dynamic IP address is just too damn dynamic. It keeps changing on us. It sure would have been nice if we could have confirmed that our house had not burned down and our cats were alive and not trapped in a closet or a box or something. (A couple of them really are that dumb. Tibor recently managed to trap himself in a pet carrier that had been perched precariously on some folded comforters. It tipped over in such a way that the door was lodged against the wall of our closet and his body weight held it firmly shut. The door to the carrier has since been removed.)


Joel said...

The NPR story was wonderful and the final seal of approval on my perception of your genius. I've been sharing the link to the archived audio along with the more stale and merchanty Amazon and Audible urls with my word nerdy friends. No commission required. Though I wouldn't mind your perspective on the facile adjectification of nouns by the ostentatious appending of "y". I think it's a good thing--fun, at least. Oh, and your blog title suggests a sort of synctacticians' dating service, so if you know any women who share some of your qualities (wit, affection for language, appreciation of the Simpsons, etc.) . . .

Speaking of Audible, their version of "Grammar Snobs," which was included in a special sale February 29, is what introduced me to your work. Shelley Frasier does an excellent job, but, having heard you on air, I'm wondering if you've considered doing your own reading of "Mortal Syntax." For whatever it might be worth, I'm in favor.

June Casagrande said...

Hi, Joel!

Shelley Frasier is good, huh? The whole audiobook thing happened shortly after I had recorded just a few chapters for a marketing thing for the publisher. That's when I discovered that voice acting sounds easy but it is (for me at least) really hard. They offered me the chance but, luckily I had had that one experience that taught me I should leave it to a pro.

Re nouns made into adjectives with y -- I'm having trouble thinking of an example. Everyone I come up with already has an adjective form -- like catty. Hmmmm .... seems I should have some opinion on that. I'll work on it.

Thanks for the nice comment.

- J

Joel said...

I was just being goofy about my sloppy use of "merchanty" and "word nerdy"--which are surely wrong for so many different reasons, but I like them anyway. Technically, I guess, "word nerdy" is probably covered under "nerdy" (but maybe it should include a hyphen; I'm sorry about not being more diligent, though, as they say, obviously not sorry enough). I like "merchanty" specifically because it sounds awkward, as if it just can't be right, but for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. Um, just looking around my desk, I come up with "headphoney," "backpacky," "t-shirty," "monitory," etc. Again, all of which seem somehow wrong and, therefore, compelling. Curiously, one of my favorites (with one additional letter) is "lawyerly," which is recognized as an adverb but is more fun as an adjective ("lawyerly evasions"). "Adjectification" itself is a beautiful word. I may have once held the opinion that one should use the proper, recognized form and, though I still think one should know that form, there's often more joy--and even more efficiency and/or effectiveness--in using a handy bastardization.

June Casagrande said...

I like "headphoney," especially how it instantly distinguishes itself from "headphony." Totally different.


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