My Roommate’s New Digs Saturday, Jul 28 2007 

My roommate Christie is moving to New York City with her fiance. She’s leaving in a few weeks.

She told us about her new neighborhood, and it’s too funny not to post.

Her fiance works for campus housing, so they live in campus housing. She told me that she was going to be living in Chelsea. Not bad at all! She’s living in the Meatpacking District, to be exact. Very trendy, indeed!

And, yeah….she is living across the street from a leather bar called Rawhide. It’s the oldest gay bar in Chelsea. Right on her street is one of the flashier gay porn stores out there.

In the window, it reads, “I can’t believe it’s boy butter!”

She is going to be Samantha Jones.

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Small Roles, Big Impact Wednesday, Jul 25 2007 

It has been so crazy with the grammar blog taking off that I haven’t had time for anything (besides grammar blogging and reading Harry Potter). Check out The Grammar Vandal if you have a chance.

I was reading EW.com and I came across an interesting feature: 12 Small Roles with a Big Impact. The magazine listed twelve film performances that have minimal screen time but are unforgettable, either for the acting, the hilarity, or the sheer impact of the performance.

Here are the ones that EW picked:

1) Drew Barrymore in Scream
2) Christopher Meloni in Wet Hot American Summer
3) Ned Beatty in various films of the 1970s
4) Leslie Mann in The 40-Year-Old Virgin
5) Adam Brody in Thank You For Smoking
6) Patricia Clarkson in High Art
7) Neil Patrick Harris in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (YES! YES! YES!)
8) Wilford Brimley in Absence of Malice
9) Sam Kinison in Back to School
10) Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross
11) Brian Cox, Adaptation
12) Brooke Smith, The Silence of the Lambs

I agree with the ones I’ve seen (especially #7 — HILARIOUS!!). I started thinking about it, and there are so many other ones that come to mind. Here are a few of my favorite small roles with big impact:

–Emma Thompson in Love Actually. I love that movie, and every time that I think about it, Emma Thompson’s performance stands out from the rest for how real it is. How can you forget the moment when she’s in the room alone, realizing that her husband is cheating on her, wide-eyed, her hand covering her mouth, tears falling down her cheeks?

–William Hurt in A History of Violence. I saw this movie recently for the first time, and when he was nominated for an Oscar, people were shocked — he hadn’t even been in the running! He’s only on screen for 15 minutes or so near the end of the film, but he is astoundingly charming, witty, cunning and sinister.

–Robin Williams in Nine Months. As an OB-GYN just over the boat from Eastern Europe, who always seems to say the wrong thing (“You have a small pussy?” when asking if they have a cat), he is the funniest thing in the movie.

–Christopher Meloni in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. He played Freakshow, and it’s not even worth describing the character, because you have to see the movie to get how wonderfully deranged he is. “Hey Randy! What? The devil! Wha? The devil is everywhere!”)

–Matt Damon in Eurotrip. So unexpected and so hilarious. Rumor has it that he stumbled upon the set and offered to play the band’s lead singer. He’s nearly unrecognizable with a shaved head, tattoos and piercings.

–Steve Carell in Bruce Almighty. This guy came out of nowhere — nobody knew who he was — and stole every scene. That goes for Anchorman, too! “There were horses and a man on fire and I stabbed a man in the heart!”

–Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise. Oh my God….if you’ve seen this movie and like men, you know there are NO WORDS. Nothing like that before or since….

–Will Ferrell in Austin Powers, in Wedding Crashers, and probably in so many other movies in which he didn’t star.

Any other suggestions, Facebookers?

CRUISAZY!!!! Thursday, Jul 19 2007 

Finally, it’s gotten to the point where I need to use my favorite word as the title for this blog entry.

I’m going to be on NPR on Monday at 3:30!! Holy fucking crap!! That’s HUGE!!

It has been a CRUISAZY FUCKING RIDE in terms of life post-Globe article. Oh my God.

I’m feeling so much pressure to succeed, to be the best, and to post more often than I possibly can. I work full-time! I’m not sure if I’m up to the task! Am I supposed to sacrifice my social life in order to have the best blog?

Many people are saying mean things about me. That hurts.

But so many people are emailing me to thank me and call me their hero. That’s fantastic.

I love all of it.

Still, it’s stressing me out and making me worry like crazy!

There is one thing that I want more than anything else from this….hopefully, post-NPR, it could happen. I want it to happen so badly.

I’m nearly falling apart. It’s so exciting, but so stressful and exhausting at the same time!

The Boston Globe’s feature on me has been posted! Sunday, Jul 15 2007 

The story is FANTASTIC, and the writer, Danielle Dreilinger, did such a great job.

Here is the story, taken directly from boston.com:

Stop sign travesties!
Self-proclaimed “grammar vandal” goes after public mistakes that grate
By Danielle Dreilinger, Globe Correspondent July 15, 2007

The ads said “run easy,” but they made Kate McCulley’s teeth clench.

The 22-year-old grammarian stared at Reebok’s Marathon-themed posters on her commute from Somerville to Fort Point this spring, on her way to her job as a research assistant at a concierge services company. “RUN EASY BOSTON,” the ads announced, inviting locals to . . . do what?

The question began to haunt her.

“Should I run an easy Boston? Should I run, and is Boston a promiscuous city?” she riffed on her travel blog, katesadventures.com. Her conclusion: “Without punctuation, we have nothing.”
It didn’t help her mood that she was reading “Eats, Shoots & Leaves,” the best-selling book about grammar that tickles readers with its gentle wit but hits hard about the sorry state of language usage. Her copy included a packet of punctuation stickers as a do-it-yourself correction kit.

The Reebok sign should have read “run easily,” McCulley observed, and it should have had a comma after “easily,” before “Boston.”

(Grammar note: “Easy” is an adjective, which must never be used to describe a verb, such as “run”; that task calls for the adverb “easily.” A sentence addressing someone directly, such as “Run easily,” must separate that address from the party being addressed — in this case, Boston — with a comma.)

On May 29, a memorable date for its linguistic personal import, McCulley cracked. The mild-mannered blogger ducked inside (well, next to) a bus shelter on Summer Street by South Station, pulled out her handy sheet of comma stickers, and made one small correction:
“RUN EASY, BOSTON.”

She had become the Grammar Vandal.

McCulley’s credentials? She’s an aspiring writer who majored in English in college and grew up loving to read and spell. Her reference book? “Most of what I go by is instinct,” she said, though she holds the “Associated Press Stylebook” close to her heart.

In the week after McCulley’s small act of rebellion, Buzzfeed.com, a blog that tracks hot Web topics, chose her as a top “grammar Nazi” blogger. People reposted the item on the popular Newsvine blog.

McCulley realized some people did care about language — enough for her to start a new blog, www.thegrammarvandal.com.

The Reebok ad has since disappeared, but the comma remains on the bus shelter, a vestige of the beginnings of McCulley’s crusade around Boston for truth, usage, and the grammatical way.
McCulley has always noticed grammar errors, she said. The only difference is that now when she sees one, “I take a picture and post it on my blog,” she said.

It’s a question of standards. “It’s as if we’ve resigned ourselves” to errors, she said. “Are we giving up everything to LOL and BRB?” (That’s “laugh out loud” and “be right back,” for those who are completely out of it.) She does use “LOL” in text messages but takes the extra time to tap correct grammar into that tiny keypad. “Twice as long, twice as right!” she chirps.

McCulley seems completely unfazed by the responsibility she’s taken upon herself. She’ll debate finer points: Should Boston RealtyNet hyphenate “full service”? And she admits even she can’t be perfect. Several responses to her original vandalism blog post ing criticized its grammar. She considered the points “debatable.”

Nothing is immune to the Grammar Vandal’s keen eye, not even the blue T-shirt she wore on a recent walk to point out grammar errors along Newbury Street. McCulley couldn’t possibly walk around wearing a shirt saying “Without Me Its Just Aweso.” So she took a Sharpie to the shirt, adding a comma after “me” and an apostrophe to “it’s.”

“Of course , I’m obsessive,” she said.

On her walk around Back Bay, the grammar vigilante’s judgments were sure and steady. Though Newbury Street is considered among the classiest of thoroughfares in an educated city, its signs are riddled with errors.

Newbury Visions riled McCulley with its sign for “eye exams contact lenses.” As with the Reebok ad, the she felt the sign cried out for separation between its elements.

Another peeve surfaced several blocks down, at the Boloco restaurant. ” ‘Everyday’ can be one word, but only as an adjective meaning ‘usual’ or ‘typical,’ ” McCulley explained, not “each day.” Boloco’s sign almost certainly didn’t mean to say its “breakfast burritos” are ordinary, but that they are on the menu daily.

Still, why worry when people probably understand from the sign that they can get a daily fix of tasty burritos at Boloco, or recognize the phrases “eye exams” and “contact lenses?”

McCulley bristled at the question. “Getting the idea across is the very basic, the minimum,” she said.

Continuing down Newbury, McCulley pointed out a discrepancy between “Alexanders” and “Alexander’s” on a beauty parlor (the possessive apostrophe is needed, unless the shop is for more than one Alexander). Questioned later, store manager Lourdes Lopez said the proper spelling of the salon is actually “Alexander’s,” after the original owner.

McCulley judged Avante Gard Medical Spa’s name plain “wrong.” (Should be “Avant-Garde.”) She allowed the period at the end of “Betsey Johnson.” to stand, though, citing “artistic license.”
A very few stores earned gold stars. BeBe Nail & Skin Salon hyphenated “walk-ins.” Co So Artists’ Gallery formed the plural possessive correctly. “That is all too rare these days,” McCulley said. “It’s perfect!”

What really got McCulley’s goat wasn’t an error here or there by a single person but mistakes made by businesses. Shouldn’t they have editors to check ads and signs? She paused in front of the Madura linens store at the corner of Dartmouth and Newbury streets and pointed out a shiny, printed sign advertising a sale “On marked items only, while supplies last curent prices.” (Proper spelling: current; comma needed after “last.”)

Store manager Victoria Whitney sighed when asked about the sign. Madura is a French company, she said, and the sign was custom-made in France. By the time it arrived here, it was too late to fix the error.

The worst offender in all of Boston, according to the Vandal: Lush, a purveyor of earthy-yet-expensive soaps and cosmetics. McCulley directed a reporter to peek through the window at a blackboard inside. It read:

‘HAVE FUN THIS IS AN ADULT CANDY STORE.’

McCulley could hardly contain her disdain. “Have fun, exclamation point; this is an adult candy store, period,” she said.

All along the walk, the Vandal watched for opportunities to use her trusty comma stickers (which conveniently double as apostrophes). She couldn’t reach the Alexanders sign unless she hung off a stairway. The Madura sign was behind glass. McCulley knelt and drew a connecting bracket on a CVS placard announcing openings for “over night” staff, making it into a single word.

Finally she zeroed in the European Watch Co. The sign was accessible. The store was closed. And the sign read “New Pre-Owned Vintage.” It was her pet bugaboo: the missing comma.
McCulley climbed up on the stone ledge and quietly adjusted the phrase as oblivious shoppers walked by. She stood back and admired the sign, which now said “New, Pre-Owned, Vintage.”

“There you go,” she said. “That is beautiful.”

That beauty might be fleeting. When alerted to the fix, manager Albert Ganjei noticed the black stickers didn’t match the white text. He might order some white commas, he said.
But the life of a Grammar Vandal can be lonely. Some friends “have stopped sending me e-mails for fear I will correct them,” she said. One acquaintance followed an e-mail to her calling Mitt Romney’s sons “hott” with a second message explaining she was purposely adding the second “t” to emphasize the hotness of the young men. The postscript made McCulley feel “like a monster!” she said.

Hence the blog, where she hopes to find like-minded souls.

If one passer by learns how to use a comma from her edits, McCulley said, “then I think my job is” — she paused and corrected herself — “well, not done.”

PHOTO GALLERY: The ‘grammar vandal’

Karma comes full circle! Wednesday, Jul 11 2007 

A few months ago, I was given a very obvious lesson in karma. I was making fun of Andy for wearing crocs. Personally, I think that crocs are the ugliest shoes ever made, and I HATE when ugly things become trends!! Andy kept going on about how comfortable they were, and I kept rolling my eyes.

Then I got up, took a step, and the heel of one of my my beloved, beloved black Bandolino boots snapped off.

Karma, karma, karma.

I loved those boots. They had been with me for so long — from high school Dramafests through so many nights of clubbing in bella Firenze. Those boots were a part of me. They were fantastic — they had a perfect 3″ heel and felt like wearing nothing. They were sleek, slender and black as night. Perfect.

It’s been tough being without them.

Anyways, that was five months ago. Times have changed. I’ve tried being a little nicer, and I can DEFINITELY say that I’ve been being nicer to Andy lately. 🙂

On Saturday night, after dinner out at Martsa on Elm with Beth, Amy and Janelle, we went to Davis Square’s nicest consignment shop, Poor Little Rich Girl. We tried on some goofy dresses and ogled purses and accessories.

And then I saw them.

Black Bandolino boots.

Barely worn.

3″ heels.

SIZE 7.5.

I tried them on, and they fit like a dream. I was elevated to my perfect height, and my feet felt fantastic. Best of all, they look hardly worn and were only $34.00. I’m no fool (despite what Sars may say), so I bought them right away.

I love them.

They’re not perfect. They’re not smooth like the others — they have a slight, almost reptilian texture to them. The toes aren’t squared off, and the heel is more narrow.

But these are my beloved, beloved black Bandolino boots, and I love them.

This has been a valuable lesson. I’m now trying to think before saying something that could be hurtful — not just because I’m looking out for myself, but because I don’t want to hurt anyone. These boots are a second chance.

Some Thoughtful Quotes Tuesday, Jul 10 2007 

I recently finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. What a wonderful book! I usually like to shy away from books that are being read by the masses, but I’m crazy about memoirs — travel memoirs in particular. As a memoir, it’s almost perfect.

I’m not going to go into too much detail, only to tell you to READ IT. It was so inspirational — the most inspirational book I’ve read since Rita Golden Gelman’s Tales of a Female Nomad (which my mom is reading and loving right now).

There are two quotes in this book that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since.

The first:

“I am so surprised sometimes to notice that my sister is a wife and a mother, and I am not. Somehow I always thought it would be the opposite. I thought it would be me who would end up with a houseful of muddy boots and hollering kids, while Catherine would be living by herself, a solo act, reading alone at night in her bed….Against all predictions, we’ve created lives that tally with us. Her solitary nature means she needs a family to keep her from loneliness; my gregarious nature means I will never have to worry about being alone, even when I’m single.”
–Chapter 30

The second:

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it.”
–Chapter 48

Should I switch rooms? Monday, Jul 9 2007 

As you may recall, my roommate Christie will be moving out in mid-August. She is the one who has lived here the longest, so, predictably, she has the largest room. Surina, who has lived here the second-longest, has decided to take Christie’s huge room when she moves out. Since Omni has elected to stay where she is, I have the option of moving into Surina’s room.

I said no at first, just thinking about the effort it would take, but now, I’m starting to think about it. Here are my main considerations:

#1: Quality of Room

Current room: This room is the smallest bedroom in the house (about 10″ by 10.5″). It’s not the nicest room in terms of quality. The closet, however, goes on for DAYS.

Surina’s room: This room is approximately 16″ long, with a slanted wall that goes from 8′ wide to 15′ wide. The room is much nicer than mine in terms of quality. The closet isn’t nearly as big.

Overall: Surina’s room is the much better choice. It’s a great room. I can live with a smaller closet, since we have a crazy amount of storage space here.

#2: The Act of Moving

Current room: I wouldn’t have to move anything. It’s clearly the option for the lazy.

Surina’s room: I would have to move everything, which would be a hassle. Getting my bed upstairs was HORRIBLE the first time around, and I really don’t want to ask my family to help me with that again. I would need to get help moving the bed, the desk, the dresser and the TV. That may require asking my nearest and dearest male friends, or paying some friends of friends. However, I think moving it would be easier this time around, since the ceiling is higher and there isn’t an S-curve like at the front entrance.

Overall: Keeping my current room would be the easiest option, but then again, everything will be over once I move in.

#3: Room Location Issues

Current room: I live right above the landlords’ bedroom, and because of that, I’m held to strict noise rules that I won’t discuss here. I live right outside the kitchen, which I love because it’s so convenient.

Surina’s room: I would be next to Omni’s bedroom. The noise rules wouldn’t be as strict, but I would feel bad about keeping her awake with TV or waking her up with my alarm. I would be further away from the kitchen.

Overall: It’s a mixed bag. I’m not quite sure which would be the better option.

I think that the biggest problem would be moving my bed upstairs, as well as getting people to help me with that. Moving it before was pure HELL and, six months later, I still have a scar on my knuckle from that day.

I need some advice on this one.

Help me out!

The Interview! Monday, Jul 2 2007 

I had my interview for the feature about my being a grammar vandal for the Boston Globe yesterday — and it was AWESOME.

The writer and the photographer were great — loved them — and we walked up and down Newbury Street as I pointed out several grammar errors and discussed the best ways to fix them, in between discussing how the English language is going down the tubes in America.

The best part of all?

Whenever we stopped at an error, the photographer would take several pictures of me talking and discussing the errors. At one point, a CROWD FORMED and watched!! I felt like a celebrity!! I could imagine all those people thinking to themselves, “I wonder if she’s famous.” SO cool. SO cool. I could do that all day, every day and not get tired of it.

I’m very excited for this article. I’m crossing my fingers that it will turn out as described, but in the volatile world of journalism, there are no guarantees.

At this point in time, the article is slated to appear in the City Weekly section on Sunday, July 15 (yep, that would be the BOSTON SUNDAY GLOBE!). Try to get your hands on a copy. Note that they only sell that section in papers sold in Boston, Cambridge and Brookline. (I’ll have to make the 244-foot trek over to Cambridge to buy my copy!)

I’m very happy and excited about this, as if you hadn’t noticed. I had such a great time with the writer and photographer. I can’t wait to see the finished product!