n i g h t i n g a l e s h i r a z / blog
flowers and powers.

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some kind of style.

a hopelessly distracted evening, tangent-traipsing around the Internet for client-worthy proof of the fact that it *is* actually okay not to put a semi-colon at the end of each three-word bullet-point (please sir, please don't make me do it).

some good stuff i found:

-- did *you* know the difference between an acronym and an abbreviation?

-- if i had to pick one online styleguide, this would be it -- succinct, simple and so unapologetically The Economist:
Avoid giving offence.  This should be your first concern.  But also avoid mealy-mouthed euphemisms and terms that have not generally caught on despite promotion by pressure-groups.  If and when it becomes plain that American blacks no longer wish to be called black, as some years ago it became plain that they no longer wished to be called coloured, then call them African-American (or whatever).  Till then they are blacks.

-- the ever-inimitable Strunk, as featured on Bartleby.

-- another of my favorite "go-to" resources -- clear, consistent, and (most importantly for us contradictory, curmudgeonly sorts), full of relevant rationale.
for fun, you can also check out the  the 1928 edition of the Style-book of the Manchester Guardian (booklovers be warned: you will want to touch the pages...).
and for the record:
bullet points
(also known as blobs) should normally appear in the paper like this:
* Initial cap at start and full point after each one.
* And each one full out (no indent).

-- the very self-explanatory "Common Errors in English Usage" from Paul Brians (with special thanks to Blork for this one).

-- more leap-frogging (this in turn, via the Paul Brians site above) -- Ronald B. Standler’s Technical Writing Guide.

-- blessing Bartleby, again -- The American Heritage® Book of English Usage.  (and by the way -- for when you're in a hurry for those dinky little ®s and ©s -- i like the Webmonkey Quick Reference.)

-- the Wikipedia: Manual of Style (caveat emptor, and all the usual Wikipedia warnings).  here again, some bullet points, about bullet points:
* Do not use bullets if the passage reads easily using plain paragraphs or indented paragraphs.  If every paragraph in a section is bulleted, it is likely that none should be bulleted.
* Do not mix grammatical styles in a list – either use all complete sentences or use all sentence fragments.  Begin each item with a capital letter, even if it is a sentence fragment.
* When using complete sentences, provide a period at the end of each.
* When using sentence fragments, do not provide a period at the end.

-- the American Anthropological Association Style Guide -- downloadable via pdf (for when the Apostrophe Argument happens offline).

-- the MLA Formatting and Style Guide -- from The OWL at Purdue (a veritable trove-in-itself, of juicy topics such as "Writing a White Paper", "The Rhetorical Situation" and "Sentence Variety").

-- the Chicago Manual of Style.  free trial if you tell them your second cousin's blood type.  thirty dollars a year for everyone else.  booooring!

-- for when you want to get really creative -- "Developing a Departmental Style Guide" by Jean Hollis Weber.

-- the BBC's Learning English / Grammar & Vocabulary section.  good for times when you need to prove that what and which are often (actually) interchangeable...


who says writers don't share?

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Avenue Girouard, Montréal]
[monday 16 april 2007 at 20:21:08] []

notes from over a month ago.

in the meantime, i cook.
in the meantime, i find i am still great at what i do for a living.  except now, i realize that it wouldn't be the end of the world, if i weren't.  i try and explain this to a friend, and fail miserably.  no job should make you cry too often.
in the meantime, i love working for me.
in the meantime i follow my instinct, and at the end of every day that i do, i am validated.
in the meantime i enjoy my apartment, and the way the two o'clock sun turns everything to caramel toffee at my feet.
in the meantime, i take Hemingway to lunch, and Calvino to bed, and i wonder if it's cheating, to love them both.
in the meantime, i am incredibly lucky to have so many people in my life, who understand how to help me be myself.
in the meantime Ciro and i are moving.  i can't tell if it's forward or backward, if it's in parallel or not.  but it's alright.
in the meantime it's still cold outside.  it's still minus-twenty, most days.  it's still pointless to me, to live in a place so barren.
but it's only the meantime.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Avenue Girouard, Montréal]
[saturday 14 april 2007 at 15:09:05] []

better than Dan Brown.

kudos to Marco's brother, sister and the whole team that put Universal Leonardo together.  the site reminds me so very much of the long-ago (and now seemingly nowhere-to-be-found) American Century groundbreaker that Razorfish did for the Whitney Museum -- and that's pretty much the highest compliment i can give to any site in the interactive museum / art-gallery genre.

things i especially loved:

- the parallel-track timeline navigation -- much like what RF did for the Whitney, but five-pronged for a man of many talents, and perfectly reworked for a Leonardo feel.  i like that they've embedded smaller "trails" within the larger navigation points, and provided "Life and Times" context links for whatever drawing, invention, manuscript or painting you might be looking at...

- the context-sensitive offerings at right -- solid content on topics ranging from the Renaissance-era debate on painting vs. sculpture; to an essay on Leonardo's fascination with the workings of the eye; to "Motions of the Mind" -- "Man must be portrayed as a dynamic, responsive and expressive being in what is an unprecedented vision of humanity for an artist."  and the "Make-and-Do" pdfs are good too.

- the "Play" section -- the "Make the Mona Lisa smile" gambit is perfect school-time fun (note however, that it's actually *more* amusing to watch her face when you get something wrong); and the "Did you know that Leonardo used to pull wings off insects?" line for the "Make a monster" game is *so* right for six-year-olds the world over...

- the "Discover" section -- because looking at a CAT scan of a Leonardo painting is cool at any age.



if you like it, vote for it.
Jasmine, Marco, Paola, Roby and i will send you a karma-point each.

and if you know where in heaven's name that fantastic American Century site went (and how to access it online, *without*  the Wayback Machine), tell me.
i will send you a Razorfish tee-shirt.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Avenue Girouard, Montréal]
[friday 13 april 2007 at 10:52:11] []