the House Hunters show is looking for people moving abroad

I was very surprised when I was contacted by a producer from the HGTV show House Hunters International because I'm not living abroad, and I don't usually get emails from media outlets.

Anyway, the producer asked me if I know anyone who is moving internationally because they want participants for their show. She said that the show:
is looking for enthusiastic individuals, couples and families worldwide to share their story about moving abroad. Participating in the show is a lot of fun and a great way to document your exciting search for a home and new life abroad. For additional information, contact househunterscasting [AT] leopardfilms.com. Please include a short description of your story and an attached photo of your family.
So if you, or someone else you know, is moving internationally, contact the show--you might end up on TV!



This is incredible: GIFs that have been created from photographs instead of drawn images. I found some of the best at a design site and have posted a couple below. This is taking GIFs to a whole new level, very sophisticated creations!


Some Spanish errors that English speakers make

Because I teach many Spanish speakers English, I try to find examples of mistakes that native English speakers make in Spanish to show them that we all screw up when we learn languages. I found a list of 20 common errors, though I have a more extensive list that I pass out to the students. When I find it online, I'll post it here as well.

Here are a few from the list:

Using "más que before a number instead of "más de".

False cognates "soportar" and "realizar" which mean "tolerate" and "to carry out", respectively.

Using "más" to indicate superlatives such as "youngest" or "oldest" instead of "menor" or "mayor".


In honor of Father's Day: bad English in Canada

I don't get it: this Chinese restaurant is in Toronto, a place full of lots of correct English and native English speakers, yet they didn't bother to find out how to write Father's Day. They could've even gone online to find out the correct spelling. But they didn't, which resulted in a typo. Happy Father Day!

(photo by Rebelx)


French stereotypes in French and English

This is a very charming and well-made video about French stereotypes that I saw at Mad Minerva. Below is the English version

And here is the French version


I gave up the writing dream but it doesn't bother me

I was thinking about how there are some things I like to do, but can't do them due to the dwindling and dysfunctional radio business. It was really getting me down and disappointed. But then I remembered that I used to be obsessed with writing fiction and thought there was no way I was going to move on until I got published or achieved something.

I wrote a lot, finished a couple of novels, started on others. I took writing classes, created a writing group and website, met published authors, went to readings, read a lot, and asked lots of questions. It started before I created this blog and lasted for years, I think.

But after writing in this blog and other places online, I realized that I liked the immediacy of feedback and knowing that readers are there. And the fiction writing process isn't like that. Even if you're lucky to get an agent and a book deal, it's not released for months, and even then you don't know what the public thinks, or even if you'll have any readers at all.

And there are the months or years of writing and rewriting, and you might not ever finish the book anyway. Or you might put in so much effort to finish it, for it to amount to nothing. So you never find your audience, and the book sits in a drawer.

Well after I thought about all that, I moved on from that dream, and I was okay. I actually got some opportunities to help with non-fiction books and do online and other types of writing, for which I was paid. And I never missed not pursuing the fiction writing dream, and didn't regret my decision to give up.

So now I'm facing another dream that's not really becoming reality. And I'm wondering if I should move on, like I did with fiction writing. I might discover that there are other opportunities out there that I wouldn't have seen before because I've been focusing on one thing so intensely. Maybe I haven't seen the other opportunities around me. I'm not saying I'm going to quit, but I think I have to create emotional distance and lessen the intensity to see what else is out there.


What a screw up

I have fun doing this blog, especially because there isn't anything at stake. But a professional columnist lost her job for fabricating information:
A review in the June 5, 2011, Sunday Sun-Times of a Glee Live! performance included the mention of a song that was not performed and a description of another song that the critic did not witness.
Wow. I'm careful about what I write, and when I'm paid to write, I make doubly sure the information is accurate and I'm doing what I'm supposed to, because I'm receiving money for the work and am accountable to others. I'm very surprised that a professional who is making a good living writing for a newspaper would make up information, possibly not show up to their job. And what's so hard about watching a performance?

I'd love for someone to pay me to write a column--I wouldn't screw it up or be dishonest. But I guess those opportunities aren't really there anymore.


Korean guy with southern accent

A lot of Koreans live in Chicago, but I have never met a Korean with a southern accent. This guy has one. It's obvious he grew up in the south.


I cannot put this book down

A couple of weeks ago, I met Rick Tramanto, who's a big-time chef. He ended up giving me a copy of his book Scars of a Chef. I was going to wait to finish it to give a review, but it's so good, I can't put it down and need to talk about it now.

It's about his dysfunctional background and the crazy world of kitchens, which makes me wonder how he's been able to function at such a high intensity without having a heart attack. It's also well-written, which really must be the work of his co-author, because he repeatedly talks about his dyslexia and lack of education in the book. Because his reading ability wasn't good, he had to work extra hard to learn the ropes of the industry and have a great memory and observational skills to take in all the information. It's not like he never read any cookbooks, but it's pretty clear he struggled a lot, and dropped out of high school and avoided culinary schools.

I can't believe what he's done in his life and how much he's achieved. For everything he's done and the extreme success he's experienced, he seems like a very down-to-earth, friendly guy. He does say in the book, however, that he was brutal in the kitchen and treated underlings harshly, just like the chefs that he worked with.

Anyway, give it a read. I might write about it again after I finish it. Or I might attempt the impossible and try to score an interview with him. I'm not Oprah or the other media megastars he's dealt with, so who knows how he'll respond :D