I got a French spam email

Sometimes I get requests to mention someone's article or site, which usually end up being sales pitches or full of copied content from elsewhere. Or if I ask the sender a question, they don't respond, which tells me they're like robots.

Well today I got some spam in French. It looked like a real letter and was addressed to me, and it mentioned my site, but it was from someone with a seemingly shady site. I couldn't tell what the site was about because there was not much focus, just a bunch of worthless links, including gambling. Plus, the person's name was questionably phony.

But at least it wasn't in English, and I got a chance to enjoy another language naturally (instead of through textbooks or whatever).


My student is an influential

A while ago, I read the book The Influentials, which described people who are hubs in our society through which information and recommendations flow, thus helping to accelerate word of mouth which leads to increased sales. It's a marketing book, but I also saw it as an interesting study of societal patterns.

Well the other day I was talking to a student in my ESL class, and realized that she's an Influential: she's active in her community, knows a lot of people, volunteers through her church, owns a business which is next door to her husband's business, and is high energy, so she does lots of activities. And she wants to go into politics. I really believe that one day I will see that happen.

If you want to find out about the latest trends in marketing, I highly recommend this book. After reading it, I realized I'm not an Influential, but I don't aspire to be one anyway.


Turkish Star Wars with English subtitles!

This video is really trippy: it's a Turkish space adventure called "Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam" which includes scenes from "Star Wars" and soundtracks from various American movies (the explanation is at the video link). Feel free to watch it because the entire thing has been translated--thanks to the translator and the person who posted it!


Eccentric isn't negative

I thought that the Summit ESL book was great, until I saw that they define the word "eccentric" as a negative personality trait. They had a list of traits to demonstrate different kinds of adjectives, and they separated them into two lists. Eccentric went into the negative category. That is absurd. According to the dictionary, it means deviating from a norm, convention, pattern. So I guess we can conclude that the writers of that book are bland conformists. Or people who are unable to distinguish between disturbing difference and noticeable individuality.


For book lovers

If you are really into books, then you'll probably like Once Again to Zelda, which explains "the stories behind literature's most intriguing dedications." It hits several major books and gives sufficient explanations of the various backstories. It's also well written. It's clear that the writer loves books and knows that her audience does too.


An incredibly popular Japanese writer

We've been reading Banana Yoshimoto in Japanese class (her real name is Mahoko Yoshimoto, and I found out that she is insanely popular in Japan. Some of her work has been translated into several languages. She's living the dream, that's for sure.

What I like about her work is that it's very simple, but it has layers of meaning. So she's been able to attract a huge audience while also satisfying the more literary types who want to look at the symbolism, messages, themes, etc.

She's really been able to bring together commercial success and artistic integrity. It's great to create, but it's even better to be able to make a sweet living from it. Or any decent living at all, actually.


The Multilingual Teen is living his dream!

A few years ago, I met the Multilingual Teen, and now he's no longer a teen, but he's still multilingual. When I met him, he said that he really wanted to be an air traffic controller, and that is what he is now doing. Here's his latest news:
I'm done with the academy and passed all exams, so now I'm working in Hannover Tower! And besides that I'm writing poems because I love languages just as you do and I think that poems are the highest level of linguistic usage. Most poems are in German of course, but meanwhile I also dare to write in English^^ Though I'm never really sure whether my grammar is 100% correct.
I'm sure his grammar his great, because he is, after all, the Multilingual [former] Teen (I wonder if he should have a new name, even though I *did* meet him as a teen). He invited me to visit him in Germany, but my German is so bad at this point. Before he sent me an update in English, he sent out a group email in German, and I'm still deciphering it. I swear, there was a time when my German reading and speaking were pretty good.


My resolution is withering!

For the first time this year since I made a New Year's resolution to read/study Japanese daily, I have neglected to do it consistently! I've been teaching ESL a lot this summer, and I'm completely wiped out. Today I got home at a decent time, so I should've at least read a page of the Japanese book I'm reading, but I couldn't even read any English. And apparently, I've been so drained I forgot to post something here and haven't posted much elsewhere either.

So I'm saying this here because it's public, and because I love language, that I *must* resume regularly reading Japanese and doing the other writing I've been neglecting. How many people have made public promises like that? But seriously--I'm not happy about my lack of Japanese and Writing Perseverance, so that is going to change.


This seems like an interesting book

Tonight I heard a very interesting interview on the excellent show Sound Opinions with the author of a seemingly interesting book about the vocoder called How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop, The Machine Speaks.

I'm interested in the vocoder not just because it's been used in a lot of music, but I also like the band Kraftwerk, which started using it several years ago. By the way, towards the beginning of the existence of this blog, I mentioned that I transcribed an interview they did, and I even translated a history that someone wrote in Portuguese, which I also mentioned here. Unfortunately, even though I spent a lot of time translating it (it was around 6000 words), they edited and altered it to the point that it barely resembled the original text. And they removed the Portuguese version from the site, too.

Anyway, they're going to post the audio interview on Monday, but meanwhile, there are a lot of interviews online (he obviously has good pr support), including this one.


I can't believe this is a real movie

Right now, a very odd, campy movie is on TV: Night of the Comet.

"A comet wipes out most of life on Earth, leaving two Valley Girls to fight the evil types who survive."

It sounds like a fake movie, but it's true! How did they get funding for such a movie? Why did they make it? Seriously, it's very puzzling.

You can watch it in parts online. Below is the trailer. I doubt a lot of people saw it when it came out in the 80's. I certainly didn't, and never heard of it either.