I was wondering what, if anything, to post today. I woke up with a headache (okay, a hangover), and I find it hard to focus on writing when my head hurts. And today begins what is seeming more and more likely to be my last three weeks in a 33-year career. So I’m feeling a bit down, which also makes writing difficult.

I have been writing a lot lately. Some of that is catching up after nearly a year of writing very little here. I started strong a year ago July, kept it up for two months and then fell off the metaphorical horse. There was a personal and a work-related aspect to that. The latter involved beginning new tasks at work, so there were new systems to learn, and that took a lot of energy. The former is private; suffice to say it involved one of those life disappointments that takes some time to absorb and integrate.

The longer I didn’t write, the easier it was to not write. (Exercise is the same way for me.) I tried several times to get back into it, but never really got up a head of steam.

Then they gobsmacked me at work, and one effect of that has been to kick me into an almost manic phase of blogging. There is also that, suddenly, I’m getting a taste of what retirement might be like. People sometimes ask, “What will you do in retirement?” My standard answer has always been, “Anything I want to!” Like my father, I have more self projects than I can possibly do. I’ve had so much fun writing like a maniac that I’m tempted to not even try to find another position at work.

And to be honest, over the last few years, work has seemed more and more to be composed of dullards and idiots. The chance to put all that in the rear view mirror is extremely enticing.

And, yikes, here I am rambling on and on when I meant to post a short Brain Bubble. So without further ado (or adon’t):


I got a University Alumni email this morning that included this:

What makes this disappointing is lack of understanding of what “RSVP” means. It stands for répondez s’il vous plaît, which is French for please respond.  But what it means is that a response is requested, regardless of the answer.

It does not mean, as the email today meant, “We hope you’ll say yes.” Your host presumably does hope you will say yes, but RSVP means they want a response from you regardless. (The traditional ‘no’ response is to tender your regrets. Sometimes an invitation says, “RSVP, regrets only,” which means you respond only if you cannot attend. In that case, no response means you’ll be there.)

A small thing, but when it comes from a center of learning, it’s disappointing. I clicked the link, and it led me to a sign up page with no way to tender my regrets, so clearly they didn’t really mean RSVP.

I considered replying to their email, and maybe I still will, but I have so many bruises from trying to help others be less ignorant. I don’t know why people resist precision and correctness. I’ve always been grateful for anyone willing to help me be a better person.

Whatever. To end this on a lighter note…

Cowboys & Aliens

Finally got around to seeing this (as a life-long SF fan, I try to see most SF movies, even when I’m not expecting much). A few random observations [warning: spoilers]:

Olivia Wilde: good choice for an alien. She has an unusually shaped face and those penetrating eyes. I always thought she was well-cast for her role in House, M.D., and was a perfect choice here.

I do like Daniel Craig! He’s my second favorite James Bond (no one can ever top the man who defined the role, Sean Connery).  Anyone who’s seen What Lies Beneath knows Harrison Ford makes a pretty good villain, although here he’s more the tough guy with a hidden soft streak.

The aliens… really? Big slavering, slimy growing beasts with lots of big sharp teeth and spiky bits for stabbing (I thought they looked utterly ridiculous). And yet these aliens have conquered space flight. Really dragged the movie’s rating way down for me.

I have heard some comments about how the aliens coming here looking for gold is another flaw.

Maybe not. It requires a powerful supernova to make gold, so it is not common throughout the galaxy. That we have it here on Earth is due to having had just such a supernova in our region in the ancient pre-Earth past. And gold does have properties that make it desirable beyond its rarity and cosmetic appeal (it never tarnishes; carries electricity very well).

But, ultimately, it was really Cowboys & Monsters with a lot of old clichés and sentimentality thrown in (the hero actually rides off alone on his horse in the end).

On my scale (of “Wow!”, “Ah!”, “Eh!”, “Meh!”, “Nah!” & “Ugh!”) it gets a “Meh!” at best and maybe really deserves a “Nah!”

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

12 responses to “BB #8: RSVP

  • dianasschwenk

    Standing at a crossroad is a weird place to be. It’s all at once frightning and exciting – at least for me. I had a similar job situation a couple of years back. I resigned from a place I’d worked for 20 years. I know it was the right decision but it feels, even now sometimes, like I lost a loved one. I wish you peace and success.

  • 40 is the new 13

    This is one thing we have in common: “I don’t know why people resist precision and correctness. I’ve always been grateful for anyone willing to help me be a better person.” Lost my ego a long time ago… after many, many, many corrections and rejections. Now just happy for input that helps me grow. And the RSVP thing is interesting. Our museum president recently gave us (and the world in general) a verbal lashing for mixing up the uses of alumni, alumnus and alumna. Certainly a university affiliated nonprofit should always get this right!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Some people care deeply about preserving the meanings of things (such as your museum president… and me… you, too?). There is an argument to be made that meanings evolve and that RSVP now means “please say yes” or whatever casual meaning people mean.

      But then what do we do when we really do mean RSVP?

  • It's only P!

    Here, the women are cheering for you!

    I also would like to quote – and the same part to boot: ‘…but I have so many bruises from trying to help others be less ignorant.’

    Isn’t that a bit uppity? And were the others asking to be taught? Nah, because usually if people ask to be taught – anything – they will be interested in your priceless lessons.

    I did laugh my head off because I relate! Impulsively, instinctively, we want to help, right? But this is never, ever appreciated! So forget about it. I played Backgammon online. I’m pretty good at it – even got to #10 of a discerning Backgammon site. One day a woman player made an inconceivable move. Because you can comment with the moves, I pointed out that if she had played it differently (with example) then she could have won the point. “That’s because I’m STUPID!!! OK????”

    That was the last time ever that I tried to help someone beat me. And with that, she said it all. Don’t waste your time unless you get paid $$$ for it.

    There, I was willing to help you be a better, happier person, especially for your own sake. 😉

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Isn’t that a bit uppity?

      A very good (and far kinder than usual) description of yours truly! 😉

      You’re so right! I deleted that Alumni email, rather than writing back to them, for exactly the reason you state. I didn’t think they would thank me for it. It’s bad enough, the reaction one gets, trying to be helpful about “your” and “you’re” or “there,” “their” and “they’re.” [Grammar: the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you’re shit!]

      Thank you for helping me be a better person!!

      • It's only P!

        Hadn’t heard that one yet! Still laughing… Thing is, they don’t care shit. Since I hit Europe (Aug. 2010) I’ve also been hitting youtube because I did not watch TV for most of that time, plus I’d left all my music in Canada. For a logophile that place is sheer hell.

        What’s ironic is that Europeans, such as the Scandinavians and Dutch write a much better English. They also know their tenses and don’t say or write ‘the room’s been took; I wish I would have did that; or, I should have went.’

        After eight years in N. America I began to doubt myself when I said ‘should have gone.’

        There is nothing that can be done. Locally people also complain about the standard of Dutch. It’s just the way of the world.

        ‘What you resent, resists.’ So all those atrocities should just be ignored.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I’m afraid that’s true. They say English is a dynamic language that evolves over time, but these days it seems a better word would be “devolves.” As for Europeans, that makes sense. When you take the trouble to learn a foreign language, I expect you try harder to get it right!

And what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: