About sporks

I clicked on a commenter's link, and saw their oddly interesting blog, which included a a post about sporks:

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.


How to tie a tie in French

This is something ordinary that's been made more interesting because it's not in English :D Sounds like the guy enjoys his cigarettes--he has such a voice.


More trash with money

A couple of years ago, I watched the Real Housewives of Orange County, which was interesting in a disturbing kind of way, because it was basically about well-off women who conspicuously consumed and passed their materialistic values to their spoiled children.

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.


Had went

I've noticed a development in English (at least in the American version), and it's that people will combine the simple past tense of "go" (went) with "had". I have no idea why this has happened because I remember people just saying "went", as in "I went to his house."

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.


Comcast can't load Japanese sites

For some reason that Comcast can't explain, I can't access news24.jp at home. I can access it anywhere else, even if I use my own computer elsewhere, but I can't get it at home.

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.


Interview with Jon Konrath

I said before that Jon Konrath's journal is gone, which I'm still bummed about, but I've found a good interview with him.

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.


What does "good" at Japanese mean?

I've noticed that there are Westerners who will say that they're good at Japanese, but they can't really read it. Which makes me wonder if being "good" at Japanese means that you have to be able to read *and* speak it.

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.


I might not be able to translate anymore

I'm not sure yet, but I think my radio life is becoming so productive that I might not be able to translate anymore.

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


It's gone!

My favorite "blog" (I put it in quotes because it's really a journal, and he doesn't call it a "blog") has been discontinued! Jon Konrath's Rumored journal is gone! All that's left is an explanation of why he decided to pull it, and even that is a good read.

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.


Dashes instead

I used to be very conscientious in my use of semicolons--I knew the rules and applied them correctly. But then I took a creative writing class, where the teacher said that he didn't like using them so much, and I started using dashes instead, first in my creative writing (which hasn't been published, btw), and then in emails and here in this blog. At this point, I'm so used to using dashes instead of semicolons, my use of them has been limited to formal writing, which I really don't do that much, since a lot of my writing is via online communication and quick notes.

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.



I'm sure I'm not the first to say this, but there are a lot of dumpy places that call themselves "Cuisine" (ie, a dinky restaurant that is "Thai Cuisine" which has just a few tables and chairs surrounded by peeling paint and cracked floors). For once, I saw a true hole in the wall that said "Food": it's on the corner of Chicago and Orleans in Chicago, and I actually ate there once, and I'm surprised it hasn't been condemned--it looks as if it never left a South Asian busy street. It said "Indian and Pakistani FOOD", not "cuisine".

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.


It's 7:00 and time for bed

I got home less than an hour ago, and I have to go to bed now because I now have to be at work every day at 4 AM. So I will respond to comments and post something tomorrow.


First and foremost is redundant

I heard someone use the phrase "first and foremost", which it reminded me that it's redundant. Sure, they have different meanings, because "foremost" suggests strong emphasis while "first" is at the front of the list, but putting those two words together isn't necessary.

I know it's an idiom, but still--when people use that, it seems like they're just filling space.


Japanese news site

A really smart guy I know who speaks both Japanese and Chinese fluently (and Spanish too, I think) told me about a Japanese news site news24.jp that has both video and text. He said that he spends 30 minutes a day listening and reading, and his Japanese is awesome. It's not great just because of that site, but I'm sure it helps him maintain his aptitude.

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).