Monthly Archives: September 2010

Bleak Midwinter in Finland (with apologies to Christina Rossetti)


First published as part of the Daily Telegraph‘s February 2008 Creative Writing Competition. It was one of the six shortlisted out of about 40 entries. As ever I did not get the first prize, but it attracted a lot of positive responses. The reason for the “lizard and gizzard”  was down to the set words you had to include in the piece for the month, which was a continual feature of the contest. This time “lizard” was one of the words. Or possibly “blizzard”. I can’t even remember which ones the other set words were!

The picture which accompanied it is one of my stills from the visit with the image of Christina Rossetti, the authoress of the original Bleak Midwinter Poem, superimposed.

With Apologies to Christina Rosetti

"With apologies to Christina Rosetti..."

1.
In this bleak midwinter,
Frosty winds beat time;
Mirth stands hard as irony,
Slaughter-like the rime.
Crow is eaten, crow on crow
Crow on corpse of crow,
In this bleak midwinter verse,
Made not long ago. Read the rest of this entry

Do elephants need the Goldlist method?


The eye of an asian elephant at Elephant Natur...

The eye of one who doesn't forget in a hurry...

I’ve put down a goldlist for years and picked it back up and continued. The long term memory is the long term memory. Humans and elephants have it in spades. The difference is that we can turn ours off by switching on the short-term memory in the process of conscious cramming or deliberate rote learning. Elephants probably cannot do that – an elephant never forgets. Their sample rate is higher as their brain is 7% Hippocampus and not just 5% like ours. They have a language which we have a lot of difficulty in understanding as it is in infrasound, travels 10 km and they use they feet and trunks as well as their huge ears to pick up the auditory signals. We need machines to hear any of this, and then we don’t really experience it but see it as vibrations on a screen. They on the other hand can eavesdrop on human speech and they take a particular interest when their keepers describe what plans they have to do with them.

If elephants were formal linguists and polyglots then they probably wouldn’t need something like an SRS or a goldlist method, as they are very natural in their use of their facilities. But since we humans do very silly things with our minds in aid of learning, under the influence of schoolteachers utterly uneducated in how the brain actually works and using a “one size fits all” method for learning, we do need something that can get our minds working more optimally again while approaching the learning of other languages. And that’s what this method and some other methods try to offer.

Psalm of Davey #6 – For Me To Live Is Christ


This is the sixth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org

6. “FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST”

Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, 10th October 1985. Music Robert Jackson (1842-1914) Tune name “Trentham”. The tune appears to be named after the village of Trentham near Stoke-on-Trent, England, which has a pleasant lake backed by hills and the river Trent and the canal nearby. It is my favourite of the four famous tunes we have from this composer. It is of course a Short Meter tune, and ideal for meditative hymns. Most commonly it is sung to “Breathe on me breath of God”.

First published on the net on 24th April 2004

(NB. The picture to the right was taken in 1985, this is how I looked when I wrote this hymn.)

1.
For me to live is Christ,
For me to die is gain
Lord, may this blessed truth me guide,
In comfort and in pain.

2.
Not I it is who live
But Christ doth dwell within.
My former, carnal self hath died
And I am dead to sin.

3.
The life which now I live
I live by faith alone,
In Christ who loved me and gave
Himself, me to atone.

4.
So may the Lord restrain
Me from all other plea
And may the cross of Christ my God
My only glory be.


“”For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”(Philippians 1 v 21) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2 v 20) “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6 v 14)


Convicts in Love


  
 

Video number in my collection 69
Production date:    24 July 2006
Playout date:    24 July 2006
Camera:    Fuji Finepix
Post Production:    Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location:    Home, George’s Room
Genre: Fishkeeping
Soundtrack info:    “Here, there and everywhere” by Paul McCartney – karaoke version.
Languages used:    Russian
Animals featured:    Convict cichlids, Archocentrus nigrofasciatus
Date added here: 26 September 2010
Number of days this video was up at time of posting: 1 525
Number of views at time of posting: 4 990
Number of views per day: 3,3
Number of comments at time of posting (don’t forget to click through to read the comments!): 22
Comments per thousand views: 4,4
Likes at time of posting: 6
Dislikes at time of posting: 2
Likes to dislikes ratio: 3,0
Votes per thousand views: 1,6
Ratio of comments to votes: 275%

 

I can’t watch this and other films of fishes who have since passed on – which in the main they do eventually, without a mixed set of feelings. On the one hand I’m sad that they are no longer here, but on the other the video means that in a sense they live forever.
 
 This was a rogue couple of convicts in the end. Despite the usual claims of good brood care, this pair got to a small clutch of fry about 5 times and on each occasion shortly afterwards ate the lot.
 
 In the first case, I had bought the convict thinking it was a female as my female sajica had died and I couldn’t find a female sajica, but the male sajica will mate with a female nigrofasciatus as they are both Archocentrus. However, despite what the fish-shop owner said (sometimes the bigger expert they seem the more they are making it up as they go along) the convict turned out to be male. He ended up being punished badly by the sajica, so I put him half-dead into another tank with goldfish in. He recovered and killed most of the goldfish before we were even aware of it. So I had to put him back with the sajica. This time, after having had the practice, he killed the sajica. After that I needed to find him a female, which took a long time to do. Here you see the introduction. The pair lived together for a year happily, but George started to get into the tank. It was summer, so we put their tank outside. They were happy in the sunshine too, but one day got too hot for them – which I never expected to happen. They are, after all, from Costa Rica. A sad end, but at least I’ll know to do things differently next time.

Rollerblade Lesson


 
 
 

Video number in my collection 68
Production date:    23 July 2006
Playout date:    23 July 2006
Camera:    Logitech Webcam
Post Production:    Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location:    Home on the terrace
Genre: Family
Soundtrack info:    None, just ambient noises
Languages used:    Russian
Animals featured:    None
Date added here: 26 September 2010
Number of days this video was up at time of posting: 1 526
Number of views at time of posting: 2 638
Number of views per day: 1,7
Number of comments at time of posting (don’t forget to click through to read the comments!): 3
Comments per thousand views: 1,1
Likes at time of posting: 2
Dislikes at time of posting: 2
Likes to dislikes ratio: 1,0
Votes per thousand views: 1,5
Ratio of comments to votes: 75%

 

 Just a nice simple video of a sunny morning and Sophie’s time in 2006 with her cousin Vika from Belarus. She was staying with Sophie over the Summer. Irina is teaching the girls to rollerblade, but they are falling about all over the place.

RL 101-2 The Six Letters That Are The Same


 

Production date:    20 July 2006
Playout date:    21 July 2006
Camera:    Logitech Webcam
Post Production:    Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location:    Home on the terrace
Genre: Lesson
Soundtrack info:    Oy, Moroz, Moroz! Russian folksong – a capello
Languages used:    Russian
Animals featured:    None
Date added here: 25 September 2010
Number of days this video was up at time of posting: 1527
Number of views at time of posting: 28822
Number of views per day: 18,9
Number of comments at time of posting (don’t forget to click through to read the comments!): 120
Comments per thousand views: 4,2
Likes at time of posting: 198
Dislikes at time of posting: 3
Likes to dislikes ratio: 66
Votes per thousand views: 7,0
Ratio of comments to votes: 59,7%

As you can see I’ve extended as it were the table of stats that there is at the start of each of these vlog reposts. The stats aren’t dynamic – to get the up-to-date ones or to read the comments, don’t hesitate to click through to the YouTube version, just by double clicking on the film. You can do that to any film on this vlog.

Please give me feedback on whether you like the tabular approach to analysing the videos or prefer the way I did it on the earlier ones.
 
This is the second ever of Huliganov’s Russian lessons – intended originally only to teach the alphabet. Here we look at the first six letters – not in alphabetical order but in thematic order. They spell the word KOMETA, a comet. But even on these six letters there are minor differences to look out for so listen carefully to the explanations!
 
 The song is “Oy moroz, moroz” a well known Russian work. Look out for the jokey switch in the last verse! A few commentators appear to have got the joke. The joke in this part is one of my favorites about the way the youth of today all look like the same gender…

They don’t make ‘em like that any more!


 

 

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the tr...

Image via Wikipedia

Production date:    20 July 2006
Playout date:    20 July 2006
Camera:    Logitech Webcam
Post Production:    Windows Movie Maker – heavy use
Location:    Home on the terrace
Genre Intro’d song
Soundtrack info:    Somewhere over the Rainbow – karaoke version
Languages used:    Northern English
Animals featured:    None
 
 This is actually a one off so far – the only film with Arthur Pettycommon in. I have had requests to develop this character and I’m sure that will happen in due course.
 
 The song “Somewhere over the rainbow” of course comes from the Wizard of Oz film – or at least that’s what made it famous. The film is also famous for transitioning between a black and white opening and colour, and that’s also being spoofed with the colour changes here in this film. Had I had the technology then that I do not, I could have even superimposed a whirlwind onto it!

Donner und Blitzen!!!!


 

 
Production date:     17 July 2006
Playout date:      17 July 2006
Camera:        Logitech Webcam
Post Production:       Windows Movie Maker – heavy use
Location:        Home at desk
Soundtrack info:      Nicole – “Ein Bisschen Frieden
Languages used:     English, German
Animals featured:     None
 
 Sproey von Weytzentrenner returns putting the world to rights, slating the advertising going on in YouTube while plugging Lomza beer, expaining why Schroeder belongs in prison and that governments should construct huge batteries to store the power from lightning.
 
 Afterwards, von Weytzentrenner has a treat in store – the German Eurovision winner (the only one until Lena came along in 2010) with “Ein Bisschen Frieden” – but this is the yodelled version!
 

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