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PeterSJC

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    Male
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    Lakeview, Oregon
  • Interests
    Wikipedia, Wikilengua, Quora (English/Spanish), and just about everything else that doesn't involve sports or celebrities

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  1. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/schoolboys-detention-wearing-dresses-year-11-ysgol-gyfun-gymunedol-penweddig-aberystwyth-a8341171.html?amp=&utm_source=quora&utm_medium=referral "Teenage schoolboys who wore mini-dresses on their last day of school were put in detention all day after a teacher took offence. "The Year 11 pupils, aged 15 and 16, squeezed into bodycon dresses which they wore with trainers and sports socks, and posed for a Kim Kardashian-style group picture. "But their antics were met with disapproval from the school, Ysgol Gyfun Gymunedol Penweddig, in Aberystwyth, North Wales, and the 13 boys were put in detention for the day. "The school says pupils were warned their fancy dress party should 'specifically avoid offending other pupils or be seen to offend the wider community'.­"
  2. PeterSJC

    Thirty-two Faces by Kevinchn

    Kevinchn, I understand that you probably won't see this—because you don't seem to have visited these fora since 2014—but I would like to add my voice to the chorus of thanks and kudos. I am in awe of realism and sensitivity with which you captured Keith's character. If you ever decide to write another story, about autism or any other subject, I hope you will consider submitting it here. At any rate, I consider this story one of the best ones here. peter
  3. PeterSJC

    Can you help me find this story?

    Ooooohhhh, so much nicer. Thank you, William! p
  4. PeterSJC

    Can you help me find this story?

    Oh, Cool! Thanks! I really appreciate your patient help. I sense and share your frustration. As writers, editors, and user-interface geeks, we are in the business of communication. It's hard for me to tell that the thing that vaguely looks like a squiggle next to the X is a subscript 3. None of those icons, with their elegantly subtle grey scales, is actually legible, IMO. OK, so here is a possible solution: Someone could configure away all of the horrible buttons ...and add a whole bunch of new, cooler buttons! Just a bit of visual artistry plus a SMOP, and it's done! :) [JK. Beating a hasty retreat.] p
  5. PeterSJC

    Can you help me find this story?

    Nah, that's how I've been doing it (in Chrome under Windows). But I did find a way that works for me. Right after I paste a link, a message—which I had not previously noticed—pops up, telling me that it is about to embed but giving me a chance to display just the url. p
  6. PeterSJC

    Clouds of Glory by Mihangel

    ... and with a somewhat insincere pre-apology, I'm gonna lay down another link. I find the Only Boys Aloud rendition more moving than the one by Katherine Jenkins, because of the multitude of voices, but all of BGT drama and accolades just distract from the performance, IMO. So, here is a less decorated version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAQzsT_wXVc I've never been to Wales but feel a bit of Cymruphilia, inspired by songs like this and by Brother Hwntw's stories. Huw Jones, whom I haven't gotten to yet, is also on my list. p
  7. PeterSJC

    The em dash

    Yeah, I shouldn't have used that as an example. I had used Wikipedia as a quick'n'dirty way to infer a usage rule where one might not really exist. It seems to me that the trend in English is for things that were once capitalized to be put in lower case. In the case of the screw head, it was once a trade name of the Phillips Screw Company, which held the patent until it expired in 1966. And as we all know, the current version of any Wikipedia article should not be used as an authority for anything. p
  8. PeterSJC

    Can you help me find this story?

    Cole Whoops, my bad. I should have tested the link in non-signed-in mode. I completely respect your decision not to have a FB account. FB works for me, except when I allow the addiction to take over my life, but I have railed—usually on FB itself—against the facebookization of America. The evils are too many to even begin to list here. This link should work for you: Oh, wow... the forum software just embedded my FB posting, instead of just displaying the link. I'm not sure The Dude will appreciate that as much as Zuckerberg probably does. :( For now, I'll leave this up. p
  9. PeterSJC

    The em dash

    "Ink in the streets"? I like your turn of phrase! As an internet fiction writer, you—not the editor—are the final reviewer. Editing software allows proposed changes to be committed or rejected. Newspapers, magazines, and academic publishers have house style guides, e.g., The Chicago Manual of Style. Their editors should make sure your work conforms. As an editor, I get most of my guidance from Wikipedia, not just from their Manual of Style (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style) but from actual articles. For instance, in a previous posting here, I wasn't sure whether to write "phillips-head" or "Phillips-head," so looked up their Screwdriver article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screwdriver. p
  10. PeterSJC

    The em dash

    My (American) father said it, long before I had any idea what a hobgoblin was. But Ralph Waldo Emerson (also American) said it first. The entire paragraph is worth reading: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/353571-a-foolish-consistency-is-the-hobgoblin-of-little-minds-adored It's important to note that Emerson was referring to consistency of ideas, of the fear of looking stupid because something you say today contradicts what you said yesterday. Standards, on the other hand, are about making it easy for the user of a product (the reader of a story, in our context). My Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was made in 1992, a year when GM's transition from SAE to metric bolts was incomplete. I would have no objection to that, if they had used one standard in that model and another in a different one, but they mixed them in mine, which is a minor inconvenience. Similarly, when I'm putting something back together, if I can't find one of the Phillips-head screws, I might use a slotted-head one, but it's unprofessional. My rule about spelling/punctuation consistency is this: try to spell "OK" the same way, and to use the same dash conventions—em vs en, single vs double, spaced vs non-spaced—within the same story or chapter. If I'm editing someone else's story, I go with the author's preference, sometimes determined by counting how many times she does it one way vs the other. When I edit my synagogue's monthly newsletter, I strive for a consistent look across all articles. p
  11. PeterSJC

    Can you help me find this story?

    OK, this is an experiment. I don't have a huge FB "following," and most people aren't going to click the link, but I would be delighted if even one person discovered your work and started following it. My real reason for doing this is that I use FB to share a lot the little things I experience in life with my friends. Secondarily, when people hear that I read gay literature on the web, they sometimes jump to unwarranted—OK, sometimes they might be warranted—conclusions about what that is, and providing a few examples could save me a lot of explanation. https://www.facebook.com/peter.r.chastain/posts/10215531051406429 Please let me know if the link doesn't work. I might have to adjust my FB privacy settings. Thanks! peter
  12. PeterSJC

    Can you help me find this story?

    Cole, it is one of my favorite stories, precisely because the characters are older—except, of course, for Tom, whom I imagine as a very hot-looking man in his twenties. As I prepare to enter my eighth decade, I am comforted by idea of second chances and mature romance. Obviously, you are right about Carl—after all, he's your character—and others keeping their self-esteem. After a lifetime of saving up hurts, I am becoming a little bit better at brushing them off. But I still think that being exposed to insults takes a toll, and that makes Tom's kindness even more important. *** Changing the subject here, I started this thread by saying that I would like link to your story from my facebook page. I was assuming that would be OK, but it occurs to me that I should ask. May I do that? Thanks, peter
  13. PeterSJC

    The em dash

    Well, you might be right. I will keep my eyes and mind open. This is an issue that I have never seen addressed in a style guide. I would happily follow whatever convention a guide or the author prefers. But as I have implied, in my reference to "jumping out of the page," the purpose of punctuation is to eliminate ambiguity and facilitate a reader's parsing of the material. When I encounter an em-dash, it could be one that sets off parenthetical material at the end of a sentence. Or it could be the first of a pair of em-dashes. So, I would need to scan ahead to see whether the the text following the terminator is really another sentence, or part of the same one, and whether the em-dash in that "sentence" is a single or the first of a pair. That's a lot of parsing. I will grant that it looks weird not to capitalize the first word after a question mark or exclamation point, but the convention is adopted, it will begin to look normal. As for having complete sentences within a pair of em-dashes, I would much prefer to reorder things within the paragraph, or just use parentheses or brackets instead. The rule is clear: a parenthesis that is opened inside a sentence must have a closing parenthesis inside the same sentence. Writing should not always be easy to understand, but it should be easy to parse. p
  14. PeterSJC

    Can you help me find this story?

    Yes! Thanks so much. Aside from the general feel-good ending of the story, there are two things I really appreciate about it. As I have previously stated in these forums, most stories that I enjoy involve redemption often triggered by the intervention of another person. Tom redeems himself from his error in not firing André sooner. That's an example of redemption as we usually consider it. But as someone—Cole?—has pointed out in a different forum, my definition of redemption extends into a broader area that someone might simply call "personal growth." But in my view, Tom was the agent of redeeming both Carl and Albert from their lonely old age. Neither had done anything morally wrong, but their transformation was a redemption, nonetheless. My second point about this story is minor, but the kind of detail that makes Cole's story so enjoyable: With his eyes still sparkling with his laughter, Tom asked, “Have you decided on a wine, Carl?” “I was thinking of champagne. Do you have a suggestion?” “Yes, I do. Can you tell me what price range you’re thinking of?” Carl started smiling, and then couldn’t help himself. He began laughing again. Tom stood watching, and his infectious grin broke out. When he regained his equanimity, Carl apologized. “I’m sorry, Tom, but that just struck me as funny. Your maitre d’ made much the same comment, except his was meant to be rude and to sting. Yours was meant to make me comfortable. Such a contrast, and he’s the one who should show more maturity and professionalism. I much approve of your method.” Tom bowed his head briefly, and said, “Thank you, Carl. That’s very kind of you.” What a great illustration of the difference that kindness can make when one asks a question. Well done, Cole!
  15. PeterSJC

    The em dash

    Yes, great article, indeed. I want my eulogy—if I am lucky enough to have one—to include the fact that I knew when to use the hyphen, the minus-sign, the en-dash, and the em-dash; that I insisted on using them correctly in my facebook postings, SMS text messages, and things that I edit for other people; and that today—February 5, 2018—while exploring the wonderfulness of using Android voice recognition for text messages, I had a bit of a tantrum when I discovered that I could not insert an em-dash simply by saying "em-dash," similar to how I can insert a period or comma simply by saying the name of that punctuation. I tend to use the em-dash in pairs, to set off parenthetical material. I consider it the outermost "parenthesis" in a group that also includes actual perentheses and commas, all properly nested, of course. I probably over-use em-dashes, but I do like them. It seems to me that they make the parenthetical material "jump out of the page," more than parentheses and commas do. I judge writing by how easy it is to parse. I am not much in the habit of using a single em-dash to set off something at the end of a sentence or clause. For me, the a colon or even a semicolon or comma usually works as well. But I was delighted to see a nice counterexample in the last em-dash of the excerpt from Emily Dickinson. One final point: I am very glad that wvl linked to that article, because it answers a question that has always puzzled me: What should I do when the parenthetical material within the em-dashes contains a terminator, such as an exclamation point or question mark. Donald Antrium and Noreen Malone give us perfect examples: Ever since his wife had left him—but she wasn’t his wife, was she? he’d only thought of her that way, since her abrupt departure, the year before, with Richard Bishop—Jonathan... and... The problem with the dash—as you may have noticed!—is that it discourages truly efficient writing. In other words, include the "terminator" but do not capitalize the next word. I'm not sure that works in every case, but it does here. peter
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