Friday, July 18, 2008

Adverbs and Spray on Hair

See, I told you it wouldn't be long.

I picked up Fahrenheit 451 last night for the dozenth time. I read it when I was eleven or so and then snippets throughout my adulthood. Since it's one of those books people refer to, like Brave New World or 1984 I thought it would be good to bone up on it again, espeically since it's cropping up on T's reading lists.

A few pages in I read this:

He hung up his black beetle-colored helmet and shined it; he hung his flameproof jacket neatly; he showered luxuriously, and then, whistling, hands in pockets, walked across the upper floor of the fire station and fell down the hole.

Then I threw the book across the room. Seriously. I did it forcefully and angrily. Have I mentioned I really hate overuse of adverbs?

We are having our yard landscaped and we're at the gilding the lily stage. Anyone who is reading this probably knows we've had one calamity after another when it comes to this poorly graded yard and precipitation (BTW, that adverb was well-used.)

Yesterday the hydro seed dude came and did something to our hillside that was all too reminiscent of those late night commercials for spray on hair. Gallons of gushing green stuff topped our sad, bald slope with a thick coating of fake grass. While I appreciate that it should sprout into something noteworthy (or so says the Rogaine commercials) right now it looks a little ridiculous. I'll take pictures as soon as I am on the same floor as my camera - stairs still hurt like the dickens.

EDIT: Camera procured, I managed to snap a few shots of my poor embarrassed yard hiding it's head under a flaxen shawl. I'm assuming the miracle of life will cause grass to sprout up through the little gaps and turn our sledding run into a grassy knoll.



Perpetual Beginner said...

Huh - I've never had the kind of hatred for adverbs that you and several others at RYW profess. They can be overused - but so can practically any other portion of the language (including verbs! "He ejaculated" in place of "He said" for instance).

The main criterion I use is lack of redundancy. Is the adverb adding something necessary to the sentence, or is it merely taking the place of a more descriptive verb?

Thanks for the invite!

Sonda T said...

hey just me. ;)

Perky Nihilist said...

Hi Cindy:

Thanks for popping over. How are you feeling? Has everything worked out?

You're absolutely right - adverbs are not the problem, it's when they are overused. I just see them as a little red flag that asks the question, could I use a stronger verb?

Exciting news about Damn Interesting! Are any of your articles in the book?

So glad to reconnect with you :-)

Perky Nihilist said...

Hi Sonda!


I added your awesome blog to my sidebar this AM - hope you don't mind.

MaryC said...

Hey! Here I am! I am putting you on my feed list...Happy you are blogging.

Perky Nihilist said...

Hi Mary:

So glad to see you. How are you mending? Well I hope.

When I was in the hospital and all the IV stuff (and the very real prospect of emergency surgery) was going down while Chris was driving the kids home I thought of you and your rough go at the start of your hospital stay. It helped me feel less alone.

Been praying for you daily :-)

Pandababy said...

Hi Nicole,

How nice to hear from you but sorry you had another trip to the hospital. There was a time in my life that I knew the drill so well that the ER nurse asked if I was a nurse (I'm not). So about those adverbs - my recent blog is a rant about abusing them. How about that "wonderingly" then?

I haven't been up to writing for two years but getting back to it now (in between packing boxes). It is nice that internet addresses don't change when we move. Stay in touch!

Perky Nihilist said...

Hi Pandababy:

I'm guessing it's April, right?

Nice to get back in touch with you. Sorry to hear you aren't writing - it seems to ebb and flow sometimes. But your blog is very active and that certainly counts.

You're moving? How's that going? Are you leaving PDX or relocating locally?

Perpetual Beginner said...

I'm doing good! I had a consult with a pituitary specialist about a month ago. I really liked her (She spent 90 minutes talking to me!). Her verdict? NO BRAIN SURGERY!!!! WOOOT!!

Excuse the punctuation blat, but I think the occassion merits! Symptoms are well controlled with medication and the tumor is ideally located and not growing. So it can just sit there being its merry self, and other than an MRI every other year in case it gets uppity, I'm good.

And yes, I have at least two, and possibly as many as six articles in the Damn Interesting book. Including, ironically enough, the one on pituitary glands.

Perky Nihilist said...


I really liked your DI article about the pituitary gland. It was very informative and interesting too.

The situation certainly warrants lots of punctuation - not needing brain surgery is an extremely awesome thing. I'm glad the tumor is well located and not growing. You must be terribly relieved. Are your fingers and toes still growing or has the meds taken care of all your symptoms.

Not that I was any help at all but I have been really scared for you. I'm so glad it's working out all right.