Transliterating thoughts

When I was in high school, I used to write notes to myself (about heartbreak, hopes, wishes, etc) in Hebrew (I studied it when I was a kid), except I would transliterate English words using Hebrew characters. It was convenient because no one could read my inner teenage turmoil.

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


Jane Austen bio online

I just watched Miss Austen Regrets which was really good, and I was searching for more info for her online, I found A Memoir of the Life of Jane Austen, which you can read for free! So get it now before some jerk shuts it down. It's the first one, and was written by her nephew. It also gave her the fame that she wanted, though it was too late, because she'd already died quite young.


Making fun of BBC Brits

Someone sent me this spoof of the BBC--I obviously don't understand some of the phrases, which are probably made up for comedy's sake. And it also reminds me of British TV circa the 1960's. But it's still entertaining :D


Swag and signage

I've noticed that there are some words that people use in such a way to show that they're trying to be cool and/or important by using them.

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!


A dumb question

I watched the movie Pride & Prejudice, and after the lovey-dovey ending (which was not in the UK version), I said to my husband, "That's a woman's dream--I wonder what guys thought of this movie," and he said, "This isn't the type of movie guys see."

Obviously. It's definitely a romantic, relationship-oriented chick flick, so I don't know why I assumed guys would've seen it.


I got an out-of-office reply in DANISH!

I emailed Lilly, and got an out-of-office reply in DANISH!

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!


You'll never see this in an American email

I saw this beginning of a sentence in a Brit's email, which I have never seen in an American one, and which I probably never will see: "Whilst I think of it..."

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.


I'm addicted to this song

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.


Multilingual IM chat!

Someone sent me info about an IM program that is multilingual (!) which is very cool, especially if you want to communicate with people all over the world: Meglobe.

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.


This is KAZU?

This is how hard Japanese names are (as if Japanese isn't difficult enough): the character 一 means "one" and can be pronounced different ways. People usually think it's "ichi" or "hitotsu" because that's the most common reading, and if it's combined with other kanji, the pronunciation alters, though it's based on the basic reading of the character, so it's not such a big deal.

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


A quiz I don't understand

People often post little quizzes at their blogs, with questions that start with "What kind of .... are you?" And Lilly posted a surprise: a quiz in Danish (which makes sense, because she's from Denmark, though she writes in English). So I can't take it, thus it gives me a good excuse to avoid those things because some of them can be annoying.

Update: Lilly said it's Norwegian, not Danish. Which proves I truly didn't understand it :D


Rush's quote

I've been working crazy radio hours in addition to translating and reading stuff for the anthology, but I managed to find some downtime at work today to read an article about a radio person here in the USA who has absolutely profited from syndication and consolidation: Rush Limbaugh.

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.


He's made it big time

Here's everyone's dream (at least those who write as a hobby): you set up a blog, it gets passed around, and you end up getting millions of hits and a book deal good enough to let you quit your day job. And you didn't do any marketing to get to that point, didn't query anyone, just posted stuff that people liked, and the PIC (Publishing Industrial Complex) noticed.

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.