Here's an example: I called up one time to simply ASK about some software they were offering, and got someone who was an outsourced robotic operator. She kept asking what my account number was, and I told her I didn't have one because I was a new customer, but she kept asking me as if she didn't understand what I was saying. It's as if they crammed some programmed information into her head, so all she could do was act like a parrot rather than answer my simple question.
Another example: they told me they would deliver an upgrade of some software that I ordered, and repeatedly asked me for documentation to prove that, even though I sent it a few times. Then they said that they were finally satisfied, and said they'd send me the upgrade.
That was five months ago. And now, they're acting like nothing ever happened.
If there is an option for Adobe products out there, feel free to compete because they have to be reminded that their customer service is awful, and they're bloated way beyond the size and capabilities they can handle.
Unfortunately, my French friend who's lived in Chicago for a decade has gone AWOL, so I can't talk to him about good places to go. But I can still read up on a lot of stuff, and I live within walking distance of Alliance Française, so I can find out more there.
I'm thinking of doing an intense language study, but maybe I should just take a trip there. But I'll figure it out when 2009 rolls around.
This year, instead of hanging out with the Chinese people on Christmas Eve or Christmas, we ended up getting together on Boxing Day, which really isn't celebrated in the US; I'm just linking the two events. Boxing Day, btw, is celebrated in England, Canada, and other parts of the Commonwealth, and while the exact origin isn't exactly known, the basic idea was that the day after Christmas, landowners and other highly-positioned people would give things to their workers and other people in the lower classes.
So since we got together today, I'm calling this Chinese Boxing Day. I'm full, but it was fun.
The book I've been putting together is done! There were several contributors, all of whom are talented writers and interesting people. They all wrote about life in cities throughout the world. See a preview here and purchase it in print or purchase cheap download here.
It will eventually be available at various online booksellers.
"The Pied Pipers of Rock ‘n’ Roll"
"Did You Whittinghill This Morning?"
"The Rush Limbaugh Story"
"Empire of the Air"
I haven't read any of them but I definitely want to check some out. I already read his book The Cash Cage, which I'm going to read again because now that I've been working in the biz, I'm sure I'll recognize familiar situations.
Here is his bio from his university page:
Elliot Judd's major area of research is in language policy, especially in the United States. More specifically, he is interested in the socio-political factors that have shaped American language policy, both past and present, in the areas of teaching English to immigrants, teaching foreign language to native-born Americans, dialect usage, and policies that promote the maintenance or loss of languages other than Engllish, including programs dealing with bilingual education. He has also studied language policies and practices for English teaching in other countries around the world. Another area that he has written on is TESOL methodology, and curriculum and materials development for both adults and children. He has helped design materials and teacher-training programs for use in adult, community-based education programs, content-based mathematics for ESL elementary students, and in academic programs for adult ESL/EFL learners. Judd served as President of the International TESOL Association from 2006-07.
I shouldn't fret because I can always take a phrase book with me, but still--I'd like to be able to speak to people around there. And it only emphasizes the fact that I really want to know the language of wherever I go, which is an impossible task, of course :D
Of course, some people might ask, "Why don't you just study on your own online or with a book?" I can do that, but having a class gives me structure and deadlines, and I can meet other people who like languages too.
The students have given the project a political purpose by saying that "language is a human right," which I guess is a result of the ideology they learn with increased education, but I just see it as a good way to learn English or Spanish, and the practicality is obvious without having to attach some political significance to it.
The book is actually for native Spanish speakers because it has English transliterations, but if you want to learn basic Spanish, it's definitely worth the download.
I'm taking an online course in addition to working weird hours and teaching, so my language study is not as intense as it once was. Anytime someone talks to me about language, I realize I miss it because I used to be very involved with it. So I really have to figure out a way to be more disciplined to improve my skills because I still love language!
Anyway, if you want to know a bit about Thanksgiving within a simple historical context, check out the Thanksgiving timeline.
But that's not what I noticed: it has the word "old fashioned" to describe what kind of root beer it is.
So now I'm wondering, what is "old fashioned"? It's 2008, so is that like 100 years ago, or 50, or more? And have they only been using such a phrase in the 20th and 21st centuries? I wonder if they used "old fashioned" in the 18th century, or earlier in England (since they've been around a lot longer than the US).
When I first saw the info about the exhibition, I thought it was no big deal, but when I walked into the gallery, I was really impressed because the tapestries are huge and beautiful. I seriously wanted to cheer and yell "All right!" because they were so striking. But I think people around me would've been weirded out, and security would've hauled me away :D
I'm definitely going back--they're there for just a couple of months, and I just have to see their magnificence again. They come from the 15th through 18th centuries, and you can see the detail and hard, meticulous work the weavers and dyers did to create such beauty. The Art Institute catalog calls them "masterpieces," and they really are.
I thought that people are fired when the employer doesn't think they're doing a good job, but people are laid off when there's not enough money to pay them. I thought it was just another meaning for redundant. But someone told me that when people are laid off, it means that they might be hired back. So when there's no chance of being hired back, then they're fired.
Anyway, there have been reductions in staff everywhere, and that often happens in radio, in good and bad economic times, because it seems that media companies are always getting rid of people. Today I saw three people kicked out due to financial reasons, which is really sad, because the two I knew (I didn't really know the third) were really good at what they did.
So since they don't have a chance of being hired back, they've been fired, even though it was because of finances. Or maybe it wasn't, because one person was replaced with someone who was cheaper. So that position was necessary after all.
So I'm basically working a late British schedule: from 10 AM to 6 PM instead of weird Chicago hours. I haven't been there since the late 80's, but if I go again, I won't have to adjust to their time zone.
The singer is from Lebanon, and a Swede made up some Swedish lyrics to go along (he doesn't know what the guy is really singing about). The Swedish song is about drinking and hats. You can see the story and translation at the site (click on "Explanation in English").
The example I found was a "Premium Gourmet Syrup" which seems so unappetizing, they're probably using "premium gourmet" to convince us that it's palatable. It's pumpkin flavored, and what's pitiful is that it's been out on the counter for months--ie, it's not fresh for the current fall season.
There's also French on the label to assure us that it is truly "gourmet", but the company is located in Florida. And here are the "gourmet" ingredients: sugar, water, pumpkin flavor, spice flavors, and salt. When I see "flavor", I assume it's artificial, because if it were real, they'd make a point to state that.
Yet another desperate attempt at hypinng up quality.
I use PC's at work but have been using Macs at home since the early 80's, and I don't know why more folks don't use Macs. Oh yeah, they want to make life more difficult for themselves. I guess it's more cool to work at using a computer instead of just enjoying using one.
btw--I don't have an iPod--it's not worth the money for me. Which means I don't have an iPhone either, just am a loyal Mac user :D
So check it out if you want to learn new things while practicing your French at the same time: Netprof.fr
Right now, I'm interested in the history of Paris (and would love to go there someday), but I might do something crazy and watch the computer how-to videos, because they have stuff there that I want to learn. Of course, I can do that in English, but I really need to improve my French, and what better way than to do that through topics I'm interested in.
Bottom line: this is a great site!
My ISP said they'd never heard of such a thing: why wouldn't I be able to go to foreign and government sites? I still don't know what was happening, but at least I can now view Japanese news and practice reading it as well. So thanks for putting up with my whining and have a nice day :D
Sporks are mainly a tool for good, for the betterment of mankind, but apparently a bane to most females since sporks are the antithesis of the overwhelming need to have even the most utilitarian tools of living to convey one’s social status via being as expensive as possible. However, as noted below, sporks ARE a multi-purpose device, a must-have in every man’s cache of tools.
Someone out there is having a lot of fun online with their "Old Coot" alter.
I watched both seasons of that tackiness, but only watched a couple episodes of the crazy New York version because NYC is a great place to be rich, and I didn't want to see them enjoying something that most of us can't have in such a great city.
Now I've started to watch the Atlanta version, and it's just more trash with money. One of the women says, "I knew I was destined for greatness" or something like that, which is pitiful, because she didn't create any of her wealth, just married a basketball player who is gone six days a week. What a relationship. But at least she's rich, and that's all that seems to matter to them.
What I don't get is that not all the women are housewives on these shows, and some of them aren't even married, but maybe it's because these were the only people the producers could find who'd want to prance around on TV showing the world how rich and entitled they are.
You might be wondering why I watch such trash, but it's interesting and amusing: these people think that we want to be like them, and I'm not one of those wannabes, but I enjoy the entertaining stories and drama they bathe their heads in.
I wonder what's going to happen now that a lot of broke people throughout the world have watched them in their oblivious wealth. At least I think they're going to be hit up by their desperate relatives who want to sponge off what their spouses have accumulated.
Now I often hear people say, "I had went to his house" when they're telling a story. Why are they making the past tense more complicated than it is? Are they trying to sound fancy? What they're doing is combining the past perfect with the past tense, and if I were to point it out to them, they'd have no idea what I'm talking about.
And I just discovered that I can't load any Japanese sites, actually.
Yes, I'm annoyed, because when I call Comcast, they have no idea what I'm talking about, and for some reason, they won't try to get to the site on their own computers. In fact, yesterday someone told me that they don't have access to the internet, which doesn't make sense.
Comcast is over-rated: they advertise high speed internet, but sometimes I can't access even their own site, and sometimes I can't access the internet at all. Other times, sites load slowly, unlike their phony advertising says.
Tonight, after talking with one guy who couldn't help me, I was transferred to someone else, and I asked them if Comcast doesn't work because I live in a high rise downtown in a big city, but they hung up on me. I wasn't even yelling, just asking that question: "Is it because I live in a high rise in downtown Chicago that I can't even get online?" And they seriously hung up. So I called back, and after another person reset the modem so that I could connect, he had no clue why I can't access that Japanese site.
So if you have a choice, don't choose Comcast because they're all hype. I'm thinking of switching back to DSL (even though I know AT&T isn't the greatest), which Comcast says is slower, but Comcast is behaving like a DSL connection, and even like a company in the developing world.
Actually, I got better service and had better connections through a tiny local ISP run by a couple of Wicker Parksters back in the mid-90's before huge corporations took over and over-worked their staffs and built too much on too many promises.
I'd like to know of other options--I wonder if other people are also having trouble with Comcast.
What's funny is that I've never met him and don't write the same type of stuff as he does, and may never even be published in his literary journal again (I had one essay published in #11). I'm not even his type of reader and have different interests, but his writing affected me, as well as his projects (which inspired me to do my own). But despite all the differences, he deserves a mention here.
I've also downloaded Dealer Wins, which is about his trips to Las Vegas, so at least I'll be enjoying that while I look for other folks to read online.
Of course, Japanese is difficult to read, so a lot of Westerners spend their time trying to become fluent. But I think it's weird when I meet someone who's fluent who can barely read it beyond hiragana and katakana.
I wonder what Japanese people think--they talk with Westerners in Japanese, but when they go out to eat, for instance, and the Westerner can't read the menu so well (or at all), does their opinion of them change?
When I was living there, I met a lot of Japanese people who expected foreigners to not speak it, let alone read it, so maybe their expectations are already low.
Right now, I work mainly for one show, but I've also started working for another show on the side. And because I've been posting stuff here and doing other online nerdy stuff, a couple of other radio guys want me to do stuff for their sites. What's weird is that I started this blog because I love language--I had no idea that it might lead to some paid gigs.
I will still continue to teach ESL, which takes up an entire Saturday, so really, Sunday is the only day that will be work-free. Which means that I might have to soon make a decision to not translate, because I don't have much time left, and my days start at 4 AM.
I guess if I made better money doing it, I might think twice, but I'm not so sure at this point.
I'm not going to stop posting here because I love language and always will, but my profile might change, so stay tuned :D
I discovered Rumored when I was at a temp job with a lot of downtime. I was reading a lot of stuff online, and I did a search for a very specific phrase--I honestly don't remember what it was, but it had to do with how I was feeling at the time. Then I found his journal, and I spent like a few hours reading it. I loved the honest writing and the down-to-earth style. Even though there's a lot of writing online, it's hard to find good writing that's intelligent yet personal. It seems that the people who have been trained in writing are too formal or have some kind of agenda. Rumored didn't have that--it was expressive and communicative.
Unfortunately, he removed the archives too, but you can see some of his writing at his site. I've never met him, but I felt like I got to know him somewhat through his posts.
So now I'm wondering if semicolons are being used less, for stylistic reasons and because people don't know how they're supposed to be used.
For some reason, I guess such places think that putting the word "cuisine" after the food description will make potential customers think that they're going somewhere special, and I'd be surprised if they really thought that.
I know it's an idiom, but still--when people use that, it seems like they're just filling space.
For some reason, I haven't been able to access the site, but I'm going to try to make that a daily habit too (unless it ends up being too difficult).
He said he loved it. Which made me think of my Cadfael post, where I challenged myself to watch an entire episode. It actually wasn't bad once I was able to sit through the simplistic scenery and drab times.
The reason why I'm making a big deal out of the fact that he's not on Public Radio is because commercial radio stations usually don't cover such obscure topics as language. His show is on just once a week for an hour, but still--if I were to suggest a similar show where I work, they'd laugh and remind me that people aren't interested in such subjects.
I looked at the station's site, and I couldn't find his show, but there were some other things I noticed: the station is owned by a shockingly small company, not a huge media corporation (which is extremely rare in today's radio world), and the station has mostly syndicated programming, which isn't surprising, because most radio is syndicated now. So it makes the presence of a language show even more amazing!
I told him what I thought, and he ended his friendly email with these positive words:
Since retirement in 1994, I have had an unbelievable life. Way leads unto way, but this has been one heckuva ride.
UPDATE: There are now podcasts of the show available. Go to wtcmradio.com and click on the Ron Jolly Show. Scroll down for a list of podcasts, and look for "Words to the Wise with Professor Mike Sheehan," then click to listen.
This may not be a big deal to a lot of people, but to me it is because I still study and translate Japanese, but I think I've been away from Japan for too long and there aren't enough Japanese people around to get enough listening practice. Maybe those guys were using idioms or more polite language than I was used to--I don't know. But I hope to keep running into Japanese people to be able to improve my eavesdropping skills :D
My friend who knows a lot of German took this photo, and I wanted to post it here because it's so cool. Not only do I know the photographer, but I know the model--we used to work together, though I haven't seen her in a while.
I haven't read it yet, but I'm mentioning it here because I saw Mary Beard's 10 things you need to know about Pompeii, which is myth-busting and interesting.
She's also a very smart, interesting, nice person, so her book deserves a mention here. She's achieved more than most people, including publishing many books, getting published and interviewed for top publications and other media, being an editor for the Times Literary Supplement, and teaching at Cambridge. I'd say that's the cream of the crop in the intellectual world.
Considering everything she's accomplished, she is not snobby at all, appreciates online writing by non-media folks and academic types, and is friendly--she sent me an email complimenting my blog, and told me about hers (which has thousands of readers). She even met with me when she came to Chicago to lecture at a university.
Believe me, I've met some folks who haven't accomplished as much as her, but because they perceived me as a peon, they barely wanted to talk to me. So when she took the time out of her busy schedule to hang out with me, it meant a lot.
She's also a good writer, so I'm sure her book is good.
I'm still perplexed why Brits would want to watch it, and why the producers thought that it would be worth the money: there's nothing fancy about it, and there's a constant grayish-brownishness about it. Usually the British mystery shows transport us to rich people's homes and fancy parties filled with intrigue, but Cadfael is like porridge.
I seriously doubt that such a show would be produced in the US--people wouldn't have the patience for the drab aesthetics or bland personalities. I can imagine a Hollywood mogul screaming, "A middle ages mystery? Are you crazy?"
But such a show makes us focus on the words and the mystery instead of being distracted by pretty hairstyles and temperamental personalities. The show is still in progress, and it seems pretty good, and it's actually refreshing to not have a bunch of flash and egos thrown at me.
There seems to be much use of the phrase "Get your game on," but is that the original phrase? If not, what is? How did this whole thing start? I'm guessing it started in a more obscure subculture and has spread uncontrollably to the mainstream, to the point where even advertising is saying "Get your chocolate on" or whatever.
So if anyone out there knows the answer, please let me know so I can post it here.
So far, I've been using the third level of English in Action, which is perfect for the weekly class I've been teaching. It has different kinds of activities, a practical workbook, and helpful information that's not overwhelming.
I'm just mentioning it here because starting in January, we'll no longer use English in Action, and I want people to know that it's a great book that has made teaching a lot easier and more enjoyable. Even though I've used the same book for over a year, it seems like I'm teaching a different class each term.
So thank you English in Action, and Heinle, its publisher!
I know it's fiction, but I can't believe what Doctor House gets away with: he's often a jerk and breaks the rules, and he's not really suspended and certainly not fired. And if he's dragged to court, the hospital will pay his legal fees (his boss said they budgeted like 50k per year to defend him). He's only a doctor, not management, yet they're often willing to take care of him no matter what.
I think the real departure from reality was when a rich administrator wanted to give the hospital over 100 million dollars, but he wanted the House out of there as a condition, and he expected the Board to vote for his dismissal. But they eventually decided to keep the House instead of the 110 million dollars!
Seriously--what business or organization would give up over 100 million dollars for ONE person, especially a jerk who often gets in trouble, and is a legal risk?
Maybe that's why the show is popular--in real life, we'd be fired, and seeing him get rewarded for his intelligence and talent is escapism for us. Though of course, there are plenty of jerky people in workplaces everywhere who get special treatment because they know how to play the game or know how to bring in the bucks. But Doctor House gets rewarded for just being himself.
The show was called "Mach Go Go Go" in Japan, but was called Speed Racer in the US. I didn't check the translation, so let's hope it's correct :D
Below is the introduction and close of the American Speed Racer show that I used to watch (the Japanese close is the same, except with no titles and they sing "Mach Go" instead of "Speed Racer").
The two women were talking about areas of Chicago, and I was psyched! There weren't many people around, so I could try to figure out what they were saying. The problem was that I looked like a creep because I slowed my usual fast pace to hover within close proximity to their voices. At times I couldn't hear them, so I slowed down even more to the point where someone might think we were part of the same group. I wonder if they noticed that I was eavesdropping. Eventually they drifted away, and I couldn't hear everything they were saying due to wind and traffic. But at least I heard something.
What I could figure out was that the younger woman was either born in the US or had spent quite a bit of time here, because she would occasionally throw in teeny English phrases, but very briefly, as if it was natural for her to switch between the two languages. Plus, even though her accent was good, it wasn't as "native" as the older woman. Bottom line: that younger woman is lucky to be fluent in both (which I'm assuming she is).
Now I have to get in the habit of eavesdropping on my ESL students because they often speak Spanish and my Spanish at this point is quite lame, and I have plenty of chances to at least get my ear used to it and even practice once in a while.
Thus concludes my Labor Day Japanese Translating Report.
I think it's because they assume that if Americans don't speak like a textbook, then they're not speaking English "correctly". If they'd bother to spend a decent amount of time here, they'd notice the varieties of English and not hold people to their high, unrealistic standard. Most people don't speak like textbooks, no matter what language they speak.
I'd like to see that person interact with a wide variety of Americans, and see how the Americans would react. I doubt the Americans would walk away thinking, "That person speaks correct English."
I found this when for some reason I wanted to know more about John McEnroe: a collection of his hissy fits with French subtitles and French explanations. I didn't know they cared about him so much :D
So thanks for reading and there's more language fun to come! And nerdiness too!
Yes, I'm bummed, even though I think I missed some along the way. But the bottom line is we won't see any more Inspector Lynley episodes! (Unless we want to watch reruns--but there will be nothing new!)
Lighten up, dude. I can understand if someone writes comments about such grammar use, but to get uptight in a casual conversation? That's almost psychotic!
Then yesterday, I received a book that was about the topic they were going to discuss, and basically they said thanks for applying, here's a book, feel free to review it on Amazon. So I started reading it and it's not bad, but I think I'm going to review it elsewhere online because it's easier to do that.
That was the first time that happened: getting rejected from something but getting a freebie for at least trying. So now I'm thinking that maybe life isn't so unfair after all :D
Yesterday I was watching something about Southeast Alaska, and I thought we were going to get different information and insight into the isolated life there. But we ended up getting images of the host introducing himself to the people, and in other scenes, he was struggling to drill holes and attempt difficult tasks. I'd much rather see information and images of the people in Alaska doing things, not the host bumbling through, giving us running commentary of his struggle.
Other shows will show the host swimming or taking crazy rides, exclaiming "I'm so scared!" or eating food, saying "This is delicious!" Well duh, it's supposed to be--I don't have to watch you eating it to understand that concept.
The "host having a good time in front of your eyes" structure must work, otherwise they wouldn't use such a gimmick in so many shows, on various stations. But it still doesn't make me want to watch.
Well today I wanted to remind myself to write about certain stuff in a short fiction piece I'm throwing together, but I didn't want anyone to understand (in case they took a peek), so I used Romanji (English letters) to write sloppy Japanese. Even if a Japanese speaker read it, they'd probably think, "Her Japanese grammar is awful". But it came in quite handy :D
Two words that people seem to try to elevate their status with are "swag" and "signage."
In some places, I've either seen people post the word "swag" online or use it in conversation, as in "Get your swag here" or "Be sure to check out the [insert group] swag". They give a kind of emphasis to that word because it seems like they want to appear as "clever". Because the words "t-shirts" or "hats" are just too ordinary for them.
About signage: I have seen people who want to be more important than they are say, "We need to put the signage there" or "What about the signage?" As if it's too much for them to just say "signs"! Are signs so significant that they can't use such a common word, but have to complicate it by saying what they perceive as a fancy version of "signs"? Is "signage" really that special?
There are other words I've noticed, but I have to start writing down my observations on a pad or something because I can't remember them right now. But they're out there!
Obviously. It's definitely a romantic, relationship-oriented chick flick, so I don't know why I assumed guys would've seen it.
Some of you out there might not think it's a big deal, but it is to me because I don't live in a country that speaks Danish (or "where Danish is spoken"), so I often see such replies in English. But to see it Danish? It makes the whole message special!
Here's a part of it (I took out the names and dates, hopefully correctly), titled "Ferie":
Jeg holder ferie i ugerne...
Såfremt din mail angår Sprogligt...er du velkommen til at kontakte...i uge...Centret holder ferielukket i uge...
BEMÆRK VENLIGST: din e-mail vil ikke blive automatisk videresendt.
Med venlig hilsen
To Danes it might be mundane, but not to me!
Americans NEVER use "whilst". That sounds like a very old word, and I seriously wonder when the last time that word was used in the good ol' US of A. Maybe it's never been used. It's just so different from what we say (we say "while").
Whilst sounds so fancy and formal, but it's used in everyday British English, I think, which makes it very interesting to see in an email.
White and Nerdy: I discovered it a while ago, but YouTube won't let you embed it (which is probably why it's gotten over 30 million views there), so I didn't post it here before. Plus, I figured since everyone's seen it, I shouldn't bother posting it anyway, but I think it's so good, I just couldn't resist. And maybe there are some nerds out there who haven't seen it yet.
It's brand new, and I tried it, and it's easy to use. I also like the design--tastefully simple. All you do is type in your own language, and it will translate whatever you say into the other person's language. So for instance, if I choose English (which is easiest for me to communicate in) and the person I'm chatting with chooses Spanish, then what I type will be translated into Spanish, and visa-versa. It shows both languages at the same time, so you can try to learn some new words as well. You can choose from like 15 languages, and they might add more.
I tried using Japanese, and the translations of what I was saying were sort of odd, but you can add to the translations, which are kept in a database.
So it's nerdy fun that is educational and handy, and it's free--I even asked someone from the company if they're planning to keep it free, and they said yes.
But I had to look up this name: 一哉 which is probably very common in Japanese, but I had no idea how it was supposed to be transliterated. After much searching, I found out it is Kazuya. 一哉 is KAZUYA? I know the second character can be pronounced "ya", but 一 is KAZU? What? How the heck are we supposed to learn this language?
Do you see how crazy Japanese can make people, and what headaches it can cause?
This is why my brain goes on over-drive when I try to translate it or make sense of it. This is why French and Portuguese and Spanish seem relatively easy :D
Update: Lilly said it's Norwegian, not Danish. Which proves I truly didn't understand it :D
People seem to either love him or hate him. On the air, he sounds arrogant and often twists information to fit his world view (as any idealogue does), but he's a talented radio pro, and he's raked in hundreds of millions of dollars because of it.
You should definitely read the article because it demonstrates what radio has become, and how the average shmoe has been squeezed out of it. Syndication and consolidation have put his show in hundreds of stations throughout the country (and Canada, I think), and if he weren't so entertaining, it wouldn't have happened. But the relaxed American laws (thanks to successful corporate radio lobbying) in the mid-90's helped extend his exposure, and people in every market reacted positively.
There are various parts of the article that are revealing and interesting, including the description of his early failures and his extreme current wealth. But this is perhaps the most interesting quote:
“I thank God for my addiction,” he told me. “It made me understand my shortcomings.”
Being Limbaugh, he said he believes that most of these shortcomings stemmed from his inability to love himself sufficiently. “I felt everyone who criticized me was right and I was wrong,” he confided. But, he says, he left his insecurities behind in Arizona. “It’s not possible to offend me now,” he said. “I won’t give people the power to do it anymore. My problem was born of immaturity and my childhood desire for acceptance. I learned in drug rehab that this was stunting and unrealistic. I was seeking acceptance from the wrong people.”
I never thought we'd read such words from him because his persona is so egotistical (though a lot of on-air talent is off the air as well as on), so it made the article even more worthwhile.
That's what happened with the guy who created Stuff White People Like. He has really made it, and he did it with a unique idea that has entertained a lot of people.
Even though I live a couple hours away (a direct shot south, actually), I had no idea how nice that city is. We walked around the historic Third Ward, which is full of rehabbed warehouses and factories. There are art galleries and good restaurants and interesting views there, since it's on the river and near the lake. It is also really clean. When we went to Summerfest, we walked along the lake and saw the art museum from a distance and downtown, which isn't packed with a lot of skyscrapers.
I really think Milwaukee is overlooked and a lot of people don't know how nice it is because it used to be gritty, and I actually expected it to be run down and provincial. But I was impressed with the general design, even the public signs, which were very tastefully done.
Since Milwaukee is in the midwest, it doesn't seem snobby and the people seem friendly, but there's also a sophistication there that is accessible for anyone to enjoy. I am definitely going back for a day trip and hope other people do the same thing because we should celebrate beautiful, manageable cities in the US.
I know Milwaukee has problem areas, but it doesn't depress the whole city. I am definitely guilty for assuming it was going to be just another failed midwest town (like Waukegan in Illinois). But it's definitely worth the trip.
And today, after waking up in the middle of the night and working all day, I am doing something crazy and driving to Milwaukee for a concert. Which means decreased sleep time.
So it doesn't mean that my non-English language abilities are becoming non-existent, but they're challenged. If language were a commodity, I'd take up a collection :D
They said a geek is someone who is intense about a subject, but other definitions I've read say the same thing. And the other day, a couple of nerdy types told me that a geek is a practical nerd, but a nerd is intellectual: ie, a nerd might know the layout of a starship, but a geek would know how to build one.
I like that definition, but I prefer the sound of the word "nerd" better, so that's what I use. What's funny is when I'm discussing Japanese or ideas or language or audio with someone who's also into such stuff, and I'll stop and say, "This is so nerdy," and then they'll give me an example of something else they're doing that's nerdy as well.
I found a test which I took, and I'm mostly nerdy, with some dorkiness and geekiness mixed in. I think at this point, my work life is definitely nerdy, and my non-work life is mostly that as well. Which means I'm quite different than what I used to be.
When I saw the word "organise" in the description, I knew the creator was British because he used "s" instead of "z" (we Americans write "organize"). So I asked him, and he said he is from England, so I was right about that, and I thought that was the end of my questions.
But then he said he'd been to the U.S. where he "had a top time", and signed his email "Have a top one". So I just had to ask where such a use of "top" came from, because I'd never heard it before. This is his explanation:
Top is more of a Manchester word originally, but it was adopted by a lot of people in about 1990 at the height of the 'Madchester' movement. Most of my mates have been saying it ever since.
"My mates"--another British term. Which means his email exemplifies British English, which is interesting to me :D
Unfortunately, many people don't care about such refined quality, so these types of shows aren't plentiful and we have to sift through the junk to find gems. But I still wouldn't mind learning how to write like that, or at least spend the time trying to develop such a skill. Or have the patience to work on it.
Enough of being the Know-It-All, Straight A student and basically carried the full weight of the team by doing all the work.
I have become the typical white Americans who abused their poor asian classmates that eager to show off their better than average number crunching ability to solve difficult problems.
It’s actually pretty easy and I’m amazed why I didn’t pick this role sooner. It’d have saved me so much time.
So this morning, I came to a group meeting, not ready, half asleep, and have no idea whatsoever for whatever we had to do.
Of course, then my one Asian classmate who obviously has studied diligently in the past week, has come and prepared all the answers and I happily accepted his explanation.
That's just a part of the story. I wonder if anyone else read this and thought about the stereotypes in it.
I think it's because I've never seen the PD James series, but have seen most of the other shows from Mystery, but since the quality of the programs is often consistently good, then I should've given it a chance.
I talked to a guy from an indie press who was cleaning off the rain from his table, and there seemed to be a number of interesting titles there, but there were too many to all sell decently, and he told me that they just throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. One place was even giving away books. But the bottom line is that there were too many there and there are too many everywhere, and the buyers are scarce.
One guy who really took the time to talk to me and answer my numerous questions was David Gecic from Puddin'head Press. He was friendly and told me what it's like to have an independent press (he publishes mostly poetry). He's been at it for like 20 years, and he's managed to break even and do even better, while connecting with cool people around the city. At least he's accomplishing something.
I guess it's because I'm one of those people who's been affected by "its frequent appearance in the jargon-riddled remarks of politicians, military officials, and financial analysts." I had a loathsome job where a boss kept using that word, and I thought they were trying to sound "modern" and "slick" because they were about appearance, but apparently they used the word correctly.
Check out the usage notes for contact: it was originally a noun, and "was initially frowned upon" when used as a verb. Which means that "impact" is legit, while "contact" is newly legit.
I've been lucky to meet some well-known people, and I currently work with someone who was quite popular on Chicago radio for years. In fact, when I mention his name (not to be a name-dropper but just because I work with him and see him every day), people smile and some are "impressed" though that's not what I'm going for.
One time I met someone whose stuff I'd read for a while, and it was the kind of content that made me laugh out loud and lifted my spirits, especially when I was doing tedious work. They're too well known for me to mention them here by name, but their success has gone to their head for sure. I sensed they could care less about me, so I didn't say much and was very polite, but that didn't matter--I was a nobody and didn't have hot looks to make up for it, so they were quite snobby and distant, and I don't read their stuff anymore. And there are other people I've met who are either successful and don't want to interact with non-successful people, or there are non-successful people who only want to meet people who "matter" to boost their image or whatever.
Anyway, Mary Beard is not like that at all, even though she's achieved a lot more than most people, and she also has a comfortable career that doesn't "require" her to be friendly or curious about anything outside her elite world.
I work with some folks who watch "The Office" (the American version), but I don't usually watch it because it doesn't seem that funny. This clip is funny, though, not only because they're speaking Japanese with odd accents while maintaining their Americanisms, but because it pokes fun at British humor as well (what Ricky Gervais says at the end). It's also funny to see how Westerners portray Japan (though I bet a well-informed person wrote the sketch, because it has some good Japanese details).
They're playing with words, but it still sounds negative: "gruntled" still has the sound of dissatisfaction about it, so I don't think that ad campaign is going to work.
I didn't watch the whole interview, just the part where he talks about writing ("chapter 5"), and he said what a lot of people say: make an outline. But for some reason, even though I've heard that advice many times before (usually from blockbuster authors who create thrillers, mysteries, etc.), his emphasis was pretty convincing.
I think I haven't followed that advice because I'm not writing a thriller or anything like that, though I'm definitely not writing "literary" fiction, but I will probably create an outline because it makes sense.
When Grisham was working on his first book with an editor, he had to get rid of hundreds of pages and change the rest (which made me wonder how he got a publisher in the first place, and how it's "unfair" that he didn't write stellar stuff and still got into the Publishing Industrial Complex), which convinced him that an outline would reduce the amount of throw-away material.
So I've been reading about how three-act stories break down, and I feel more sane. I've written complete drafts, but I always have to go back and fix a lot of it or get rid of it altogether. I'm still tempted to write whatever and meander down a path, but I think structure will help keep me on track and finish something that might see the light of day one century.
They also have a list of other annoying words, including the "Most cheapened cherished word: Awesome; a C+ on an algebra test is mediocre, not awesome. Dude."
I remember when "awesome" became popular in the 80's, especially with the whole Valley Girl thing (there are still valley girls because the San Fernando Valley around L.A. still exists). I agree it's been cheapened: the Grand Canyon used to be awesome, and other stuff was "cool" or whatever, but now everything is "awesome." And I'm guilty of using that word too, though I sort of joke around with it, or I use it in a light way.
UPDATE: I can't take it anymore--her writing has a lot of subject-verb constructions, and seems like TV. And her voice is so arrogant and smug--too annoying to continue on. So I've stopped reading it. I don't care about her, and now I don't care about her writing about her.
(Side note: when I was reading the article, the woman seemed American, due to her drive, straightforward manner, and the fact that her wedding planning business was successful, and I was right--sort of: she spent many years in the U.S. when she was growing up, so no wonder I sensed the American "vibe". I'd love to hear her accent :D)
"Finding your voice" is an overused and vague phrase, and I used to not think it was as important as plot or other stuff, but now I've realized it is. I think I had that attitude because it sounded so fake: "find your voice." And it seemed impossible, and part of some requirement for writing like 100 years ago, when fiction didn't have to be so hyper-commercial to succeed.
But I've noticed in different creative mediums that people hit their stride when they find their voice, whether they're singers, painters, writers, musicians, radio talent, or anything that requires a person to dig deep within themselves to share their craft with the world. I've been able to spot and develop a voice in non-fiction writing, but for some reason, I didn't want to accept that I needed to hone it in fiction until I started feeling fake about what I was writing.
So today I worked on the story, and anytime I felt like I was being fake, I got to the "truth" by getting to my "voice". But the problem is, I still haven't settled on a voice, so I have to keep working at it.
I looked it up at Merriam-Webster and expected them to have just "my" pronunciation, but they have both! Check it out--they have audio samples of each.
So the question is: is there a "correct" way to pronounce it, and if not, then why are there two ways?
Some of the American actors faked British accents, and while they weren't perfect (as is usually the case, though I don't know personally because I'm not British, but can recognize a bad British accent when I hear it), I was glad to see that Ted Danson (who did a great job) did not try to speak with one. I was surprised, since actors always seem to attempt it, but I accepted he was British because that was his character. Which just goes to show that you don't need to speak with a certain type of accent (especially if you're going to butcher it) when you're playing a character from another culture. Well, it'd be good to have an accent, but only if it's convincing. Otherwise, a bad accent is distracting.
I'm still taking Japanese once a week (went there tonight), and I'll keep going as long as the class exists, but sometimes we have to do homework, and I barely have enough time for that. Plus, I'm still translating French and Japanese, and I'm sort of behind. In addition to teaching ESL. So German will have to wait unless my schedule becomes more consistent.
In my dreams, I'm a world-renown taste-maker, sought after for public appearances and too busy with my successful blog to take on any new clients.
He's very enthusiastic about his new blog, so I wanted to mention it here.
A lot of writers would love to make a fraction of the money she has, and many creative people are toiling in obscurity, and probably will continue that way until they die. So while her copyright is being threatened because she wants to protect her unique, hard work, this is an inevitable problem to have. Imagine being in such a position that all you care about is your copyright, and the money doesn't matter. She is worried about principles, and a lot of us out here are worried about getting our work noticed or even out of our drawers.
Life is pretty good when what you've strived for has been not only achieved but surpassed in a big way, and what you end up caring about are concepts of what creativity is, and what you are about. She's living in the abstract at this point because she can pay her bills many times over.
Well tonight I started watching Sense and Sensibility, and at first I found it annoying, so I started doing other stuff when it was on, but actually, it's quite good, so I've dropped the other stuff and am enjoying watching it :D
So maybe Jane Austen isn't so annoying after all.
The movie was made in Austria, so it's in German (here's the German site) and I'm sure if my German wasn't so awful, I would've been able to figure out some of what they were saying. Which means I really need to resume studying German.
Last year's Oscar winner was also German: The Lives of Others, which I also saw. And I think I was thinking the same thing about learning German again. Obviously there's some good culture coming out of that area.