Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Word for Wednesday

Well, I took a longer break from this blogging thing than I meant to. Such is life, I suppose.

We are closing out 2015 rapidly and that means New Year resolutions. I, myself, make a couple of resolutions every year and usually do a dismal job of keeping them throughout the entire year. However, as I've said before, it's all about progress and not perfection. So as long as you make a genuine effort, then even if you failed, at least you tried.

One of my resolutions will be to update this blog on a more regular basis. I think Word for Wednesday will (hopefully) become a weekly thing since I am a word nerd. And I will try to update with other relevant and fun posts as well.

So now with that out of the way, here is the word for this Wednesday:

PROBITY

Definition: noun. Integrity and uprightness; honesty.

According to Dictionary.com: Probity came to English in the 1500s and finds its roots in the Latin probus meaning "upright." 

So in this new year make sure you make your resolutions with probity. 

Happy New Year to everyone!

--AP

Thursday, October 29, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month


Well it's that time of year again. That time of year where people who are of a certain level of insanity are gearing up to spend the month of November doing an insane and, to some, impossible thing: NaNoWriMo.

Now, for those of you who may not be familiar with that acronym it stands for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place every November. Their It is a nonprofit organization that is aimed at letting people get their stories out in the world. It aims at building a community that supports one another and that allows people from all over the world to connect over this insanely beautiful thing. Their mascot is a viking and their people are called Wrimos. The objective: to write 50,000 words between November 1-30. You read that right, FIFTY THOUSAND! There are some fabulous prizes from the sponsors of NaNo and a sense of accomplishment when you cross that 50,000 word finish line (in case you're wondering, that's an average of 1,667 words per day to win).

But the prizes are not why people do NaNoWriMo. There is no guarantee of publication or that the story that is written will ever make it past the NaNo stage. But that isn't the point of doing it. The point is bang out 50,000 words in 30 days and to not worry about the quality of words that you're writing, but the quantity. After all, every writer's first draft is a shitty one (even J.K. Rowling and Steven King...it's a fact).

I've participated in NaNo since 2011 and I have won the last three years. I have learned a lot about myself as a writer in participating in NaNo and I have learned a lot about the process of writing. The website has a lot of helpful tips and tricks and forums that will answer any and all questions you may have.

We Wrimos are a crazy bunch. We may spend the month of November tapping furiously away at the keys of our computers. We may keep ourselves cracked out on caffeine in the hopes that it will substitute for the sleep we lose. And we may let our personal hygiene slip for the weeks of November because showering can take away from valuable writing time. And we don't do it because we want the glory or because we think that we will become insta-authors overnight because we wrote a novel in a month. We do it because we love to write and we love to share our love of writing with other lovers of writing. The month of November is emotional: we laugh, we cry, we scream. But at the end of it all, it's worth it because we are putting stories out in the world. And the world could always use more stories.

For more information about this event: nanowrimo.org

--TAP

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Progress Not Perfection

#preach


This is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. Sometimes it is easy to get out of sync with yourself and your life. Shit happens, right? I feel like I have been in a funk for almost a year. I had a bad job that was stressful and full of drama and it sucked up all my time and energy and will to deal with anything else. Once I quit it was so liberating that I just wanted to revel in my newfound freedom and (sort of) drama-free life. But I also lost track of the things that I should have been doing or that I had been wanting to do. And I haven't been able to find my way back to the right track ever since.

For me there is a disconnect between where I'm at and where I was and where I want to be. Sometimes where I want to be is close to where I was, however I can't find a bridge and I haven't got the materials or know how to build one. Sometimes where I want to be is far off in the distance that just thinking about the journey there is exhausting. I know once I start going I will get stronger and it will get easier and I know that once I get to where I want to be I will admit that it was not as hard as I thought it would be.

It's the actual starting of the journey where I get stuck. I know I need to move forward, know I will feel better once I do, but with such daunting and unknown obstacles ahead I can't seem to make my feet take those first few tentative steps. Whether it's trying to get back into a routine or become healthier or write more consistently, it seems that there is a wall blocking my way. And this wall is of my own making, I know I can knock it down if I wanted to. But that's the dirty little secret: I don't know if I want to. I don't know if  I want to start this daunting and exhausting journey forward to the next part of my life. The evil I know might just be better than the evil waiting for me.

But that's life, right?

I hate when I try to explain this, in any way, to other people because I know a lot of them don't get it. A lot of times I hear "suck it up" or "just do it". A lot of times people try to tell me how or why or what I should be doing. But that's not what I need. I already know all those things. I already know what I need to do to fix my problem. Perhaps what I am looking for is someone in the same situation. Or perhaps the person I really need to talk to is myself. (Side note: I am probably guilty of giving this very advice that I hate to hear. It's not that it's bad advice, it's that it isn't always the solution that is needed.)

So on days where I make it to the gym for a swim or that I hit up the library and work on something that I actually want to be working on, I count those days as successes. And I know, eventually, the successful days will outnumber the unsuccessful days. I know that I will make it to where I want to be or at least to the general area.

But for now, my mantra is: Progress, not Perfection.

--AP

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Awkward Life Moment #27: Cuddling

This is a true story. I tried online dating for the briefest of times. Now, because I am broke I couldn't afford one of those fancy sites, like Match or eHarmony. Nope, definitely not. But I had heard of a few free sites and I settled on Plenty of Fish. To anyone reading this who is thinking of online dating: Plenty of Fish is NOT the site for you. Sure, you might luck out and find someone who is normal and a good match for you, etc. However, I feel like that will make you the exception to the rule. And the rule is this: You get what you pay for.

One of the guys I met ended up being fairly normal, if extremely shy and socially awkward. I can work with that as I, too, am an awkward individual. So we went out on a couple of dates and hung out. It lasted for about a month. After a week I already had second thoughts--I know myself and I know what it feels like when it isn't right. But, I told myself that I should give it a few weeks just to make sure.

After a few weeks I was freaking out. It was clear that this guy liked me, but that I did not like him in the same way. Nice guy, but I didn't want to date him. I also didn't want to string him along. So I was trying to figure out how to tell him that without being a complete jackass.

The last time we hung out we watched Netflix, on his twin size bed, awkwardly. As we waited for the next episode to roll over, he turned to me and said, "You may have noticed that I'm kind of shy."

I made some kind of noncommittal noise in agreement.

"But do you, I don't know, do you maybe want to cuddle?"

Um....no. Even in my limited experience with dating and things like cuddling, I knew that it was something you asked to do. It was supposed to just happen. Maybe he was just trying to be nice. Maybe he just wanted to make sure that it was something I would be comfortable with. And I appreciate that, I do. However, I did not want to cuddle with him in any regard.

Thankfully, however, that was my opening to tell him that I did not see anything more than friendship happening between us.

All's well that ends well, right?

--AP

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

If You Can't Beat 'Em...

(via: http://christianreasons.com/2014/05/)


Am I the only who's noticed that we are all hypocrites?

I have been thinking a lot lately about how we are perceived by other versus how we perceive ourselves. Everyday I face the people around me--family, friends, coworkers, strangers--and they look at me and my clothes and my attitude and judge me. And I judge them. That is how we decide who to be friends with and who to stay away from. If anyone ever tells you they do not judge people or you, they are lying. Everyone is judgmental, but that isn't a bad thing. It is when people allow their judgments of others create prejudices that the problems arise, but I digress.

Think of your family. You don't get to choose your family. Sometimes you don't even like your family. But these are people who share memories and experiences with you. Hopefully, your family contains people who are also your friends. People who you think highly of most of the time and who think highly of you. People who you can count on to be there for you.

Think of your friends, the people you choose to spend your time with. Think of why you like them. What brought you together as friends? What has kept you together as friends? These are people you share memories and experiences with. People who are there for you through the good and bad times. People you speak highly of most of the time and sometimes who you vent about if you are not getting along.

Think of the people you dislike. People who rub you the wrong way, who just get under your skin and piss you off. These are the people you would never spend your time with if you didn't have to. These people may be coworkers, friends of friends, in laws, family, or even people who used to be close friends. These are the people who just don't get it, who's flaw outweigh their virtues.

Now think of this: you are a family, friend, and foe to someone. Some people think highly of you and choose to spend their time with you. And some people cannot stand you.

That is a hard concept for me to wrap my mind around because of my people-pleasing nature. But I know I have parts of my personality that annoy others. It's only logical. But here's the thing: when we dislike someone all we see are their flaws. That person is not real to us. They don't have a family that loves them, they don't have friends who like to hang out with them. The people we dislike are terrible without redeeming qualities. They are the worst. These things aren't entirely true, but that's all we can see.

It's the same with the people we like. Their virtues far outweigh their flaws. We are willing to forgive or overlook their faults and shortcomings because we like who they are as person overall. We like who we are with them and we like them as people. And this is why we are willing to forgive them their grievances--as long as those grievances do not become too grievous.

It seems ridiculous that we are willing to forgive the flaws of one person, but not another. It's a double standard, but everyone does it. That doesn't make it wrong or right and it doesn't make us terrible people for being like this. I think it just makes it part of life that we deal with the best we can.

-TAP

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Word for Wednesday: Octothorpe

(via http://memegenerator.net/instance/56399514)


So today (Wednesday) I stumbled upon the word of the day, which is: Octothorpe. Definition: the symbol # (as defined by Merriam-Webster). Octothorpe, known in these times more popularly as the hashtag, has a murky and vague history of it's etymology. There seems to be no clear record of when or how exactly the word Octothorpe came to be. However, one of the more interesting explanations I found of it is from a fun website called Shady Characters -- The Secrect Life of Punctuation


The Roman term for a pound in weight was libra pondo, where libra means scales or balances (from which the constellation takes its name)[2] and where pondo comes from the verb pendere, to weigh.[3]...Some time in the late 14th century the abbreviation ‘lb’ for libra entered English,[*] and according to common scribal practice it was accessorised with a line drawn across the letters to highlight the use of a contraction.[6] Jotted down in haste, as can be seen in Isaac Newton’s elegant scrawl below, ‘℔’ was transformed into ‘#’ by the carelessly rushing pens of successive scribes.[7] Originally so common that some early typecutters provided a dedicated letter punch for it, but now considerably outshone by both predecessor and descendant, ‘℔’ has become a typographic missing link.[†]

Parallel to all this, libra’s estranged partner pondo was also changing. Where libra had become ‘lb’ and subsequently ‘#’ through the urgency of the scribe’s pen, pondo was instead subjected to the vagaries of the spoken tongue. The Latin pondo became first the Old English pund, (sharing a common Germanic root with the German Pfund) and subsequently the modern word ‘pound’.[9] Libra and pondo were reunited, and ‘#’, the ‘pound sign’, was born.
 (via: http://www.shadycharacters.co.uk/2011/05/the-octothorpe-part-1-of-2/)


The "#" symbol is a perplexing study of many different meanings. Some of them are well known (denoting numbers or the weight of something or to tell everyone what's trending). But some of less well known ones are its use to express checkmate in chess, proofreaders utilize it to note the insertion of a space, and it is the way musicians denote when a note should be sharp. 

It doesn't only have many different meanings, but also a plethora of monikers by which it is called:

 The ‘#’ has names almost as varied as its uses, and aside from the prosaic ‘number’, ‘pound’ or ‘hash’ sign, it is or has been variously known as the ‘crunch’, ‘hex’, ‘flash’, ‘grid’, ‘tic-tac-toe’, ‘pig-pen’ or ‘square’.[21],[22] In most cases, a name can be trivially linked to the character’s shape or to its function in a particular context, but its most elliptical alias does not give up its secrets so easily. The story of how the ‘#’ symbol came to be known as the ‘octothorpe’ is entirely more tortuous. (via: http://www.shadycharacters.co.uk/2011/05/the-octothorpe-part-1-of-2/)


So there you have it, folks. Octothorpe, one of the many mysterious meanings of the # 
symbol.

#octothorpe--see what I did there?

If you are interested in checking out the full story behind this baffling punctuation, it can be found in 2 parts here:

And I will leave you with one more meme:

(via: http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3vu7td)


 ^Seriously, how great is that?!?!

That's all for now grammar nerds and grammar plebians.

Till next time!
--TAP

Friday, July 17, 2015

And So It Begins

But where does it begin? I have tried this whole blog thing before and it didn't go so well. But I think the reason it didn't work was because I was trying to make it be something that perhaps it didn't want to be. Or rather it wasn't fitting into the image I had of it in my head.

This time around I'm just going to try to let it be whatever it wants to be. Let it breathe. Let it live.

What you need to know about me: I'm writer (unpublished), I try to adult and succeed only about half the time, and I sarcastic wit and no filter--yes this gets me into trouble.

Recently I came to the conclusion that perhaps blogging under a name that wasn't mine might help me post what I want to post without worrying so much of what people who know me will think. Because it isn't the strangers of the world, of the internet, who scare me. No, strangers reading this and thinking what they want to think is one thing. But it's so different when people you know criticize the thing you're doing. It's different when Aunt Sally tells you she read your blog and was disappointed in how you portrayed XYZ issue.

So to help myself be braver--or dumber, depending on how you look at it--this blog will be from The Awkward Pterodactyl. Why an Awkward Pterodactyl, you might ask? Well, because I'm awkward as fuck and the Pterodactyl is my spirit animal.

Now this blog will deal with my awkward life musings and observations. I'll have some fun links and there will be some serious stuff too. A hodge-podge, mish-mash if you will. I will try to watch my profane and obscene profanities and obscenities, but I make no promises.


That is not me... that is the motherfucking pterodactyl. He's legit.
So, buckle up kids, it's gonna be a (probably) awkward and (hopefully) entertaining ride.

--TAP

PS--here is The MotherFucking Pterodactyl if you have never heard of him:
The Motherfucking Pterodactyl--WARNING: This content may not be suitable for younger viewers...you have been WARNED!!!