Let's bon dancing!

I saw this sign this summer when I stumbled upon a Japanese festival at Mitsuwa, a large Japanese store in Arlington Heights. It's humorous and cute--they probably translated "mashou" (~ましょう) literally, because when you put that ending on a Japanese verb, it means "let's". So the Japanese is 踊りましょう (odorimashou), which literally translated is "let's dance". Then for some reason, they made "dance" a gerund, so it ended up as "dancing", and voila! You have some Japlish in Chicago!


He surpassed his goal

Professor Tim Brookes contacted me a while ago about his Endangered Alphabets Project, and I was planning on posting information about it here, but some serious offline stuff came up. Well apparently, his fundraising project was very successful: his goal was $6,000 and he raised over $17,000! It's incredible how much support he got.

He seems to be very productive. In addition to teaching, he writes a lot, including several books, and has even contributed essays to NPR.

The Endangered Alphabets project features "Inuktitut, Baybayin, Manchu, Bugis, Bassa Vah, Cherokee, Samaritan, Mandaic, Syriac, Khmer, Pahauh Hmong, Balinese, Tifinagh and Nom, carved and painted into a slab of Vermont curly maple." He says that:
at least a third of the world’s remaining alphabets are endangered–-no longer taught in schools, no longer used for commerce or government, understood only by a few elders, restricted to a few monasteries or used only in ceremonial documents, magic spells, or secret love letters
which is why he created the book and project that he plans to exhibit in various places.

It sounds like an interesting project, and I'm glad he succeeded in raising the funds to carve and take the show around.


Why are ebooks so expensive?

The other day, I wrote that I got a Nook. One of the perks I thought I'd get was access to cheaper books in e-form, but it doesn't look that way. For instance, the Nook book version of How Language Works is 17 dollars, and the print version is 18 dollars. If it costs so much to print books, then why is it only one dollar cheaper to get the electronic version? Some ebooks are cheaper, but some publishers are not being realistic when selling various versions of their books. Even with the occasional coupon I get from Barnes & Noble, it still doesn't bring the price down to an acceptable level. So I'm not going to buy it, and probably other readers see the illogical approach to such book pricing, too. Pricing e- and print books similarly isn't justifiable.


Mary ended up in a Japanese blog

Mary O'Regan, one of the writers featured in my anthology (read it for free: she's on page 13), has a really good fashion blog and ended up being photographed for a Japanese fashion blog. Her picture is below. That's really neat!


I got a Nook

I usually don't care about gadgets, but a teacher coworker of mine was showing me his Nook, and I was intrigued. I went to Barnes & Noble to check it out, and it seemed really cool and useful, especially since my Macbook seems to be breathing its last, and my netbook isn't that powerful. Well, I ended up getting one for my birthday, and it's a great tool.

There are some limitations, which is expected since it's really a small tablet. Typing isn't as easy as having a keyboard, and touchtyping is hard (I don't hunt and peck). In fact, I'm doing this post on my Nook right now because I wanted to see what it's like. Not so easy, actually. So I won't try it again.

But it makes reading easy, except for an ebook I bought on Scribd: the publisher doesn't allow downloads or mobile access, which is lame, though outside the scope of this post :)

Anyway, I'm now on my netbook typing on a proper keyboard because I couldn't finish the post on the Nook. For some reason, Blogger took me to another location, and when I tried to move the cursor down this text box, I couldn't access the end of the post, so I gave up. That's actually what's baffling about touchscreen tech: precise movement of the cursor and the proper rendering of websites.

One thing I discovered via the Nook was the mobile site of Project Gutenburg. I even found a Japanese audiobook which is difficult to understand because it was written in the 17th century. But I can still listen without having to break out my computer.

It's just a nifty thing to have and to use when I want to go online and read a variety of things via one tool. I still like paper books, though, and am reading a couple now when I'm not reading from the Nook. I just need to increase my non-English reading, and I'll be set :D


This guy was a genius

A lot of people throw the word "genius" around. I often hear that word overused in the radio biz, just because someone came up with silly jokes before anyone else, or can put together audio in an interesting way. That's not genius, it's talent. Talent is important and admirable, but genius is on a whole other level and requires extra-special brain power that seems to be exerted effortlessly.

The obituary of the creator of the e-book and founder of Project Gutenberg shows what a genius really is. Read it, and I think you'll agree.


Japanese signs

A guy who lives in Japan has taken hundreds of pictures of Japanese signs and even has a text file with the transcriptions of those signs (!), which you can copy and paste into an online dictionary to find out the meanings of words you don't know.

Before that extensive project, he even translated a bunch of signs from Japanese into English. Actually, on signs with a lot of text, he translated just the main headline words.

It's incredible that he's taken the time to do all that, in addition to maintaining his extensive Many Things site, which is more for ESL students. But he does have various Japanese-learning links on his Japanese page.


I figured out how to download my Facebook album

I've been posting pictures of signs on Facebook, but realized that I should also post them on Flickr because it will allow me to share them publicly. And there's also a way to synch up Flickr with Facebook, so maybe I'll just post to Flickr from now on. I'll figure out the best way.

Anyway, I was going to do another blog post topic tonight, but it took me so long to find a decent Facebook album downloader, I want to post the results of my search here: PhotoLive. I installed the plugin on Chrome, but it's available for various browsers. I have no idea how it works on the other browsers, but it worked for me on Chrome. So I'm going to post that album on Flickr, and post the link here.

Try it...you'll like it (hopefully).

UPDATE: Tech blogger JP (Jiangpeng) Zhang told me that PhotoLive has discontinued its service (even though the link I have above still works). He has written a blog post about Seven ways to download your Facebook albums and photos.


Seven years! and my Mac is still alive

I just realized that I've kept this blog going for SEVEN years! There was a period of time when I was posting a lot, then as I became more busy with work and my schedule wasn't consistent, my posting decreased. I pretty much gave up the fiction writing dream (which is ok) and started writing more non-fiction for pay (which is nice), so my "need" to express myself here via writing wasn't as great. I was also exerting lots of energy trying to accomplish things offline, so my involvement in this blog changed. But I never want to give it up! My love of language continues, and since I'm not surrounded by language fans offline, I still want to express my enthusiasm here.

Recently I haven't posted much, even though my work schedule is a lot more manageable than it's been all year. That's because some serious things have come up in my offline life. Plus, I thought my computer, which is a five year-old Macbook, was dying because the touchpad was acting strange, and my keyboard was acting up, too. I do most of my blog posts on this Mac, so it felt strange to write elsewhere, though I did.

But then I did some searching online, and found out that swollen batteries can cause touchpad havoc. And I just discovered tonight that's what has happened: my battery had expanded, causing the touchpad to act strangely, and after I removed it, I can type and move around easily.

So I'm very happy that I've kept this blog going for so long, and that my computer is *not* dying!