Category Archives: Autobiographical

This relates to things which happened to me personally in the past, that might make up something of the story of who I am.

Airport shops – a Poll


I sometimes think that airport shops are simply there to prey on the captive audience which is standing around, bored, waiting for a plane. I always laugh when they ask me to show my boarding card – even if I tell them I’m not leaving the EU and therefore have to pay the VAT, not that it makes any difference most of the time if you are leaving the EU – it’s like you’re getting privileged treatment to be able to pay a few dozen percent more than you’d pay on the highstreet.

It works a bit like hotels. The posher they are, the more they rip you off with overpriced minibars, extra for internet, and nonsense like that. The same Cialdini-ism seems to be used in reverse by these airport shops, in that they think that if they treat you like rubbish and overcharge you, then you’ll feel like you are in a privileged setting and that it behoves you to shell out for things you probably didn’t even want or need in the first place.

Some places are worse than others, but the airports that will actually give you some kind of bargain seem to be in the minority, an increasing small minority.

One time in Prague airport I wanted to buy a deodorant as it was a hot day and I didn’t normally carry a toilet bag as I had a flat in Prague with that job. I was asked by the sullen saleswoman if Warsaw was my final destination. I quipped that I hoped not, as I hoped to go to heaven one day. At this her eyes clouded over, she just took the purchase out of the bag, placed it on a little shelf in her booth and refused to serve me.

Evidently I had offended against the culture of the Czech Republic. I knew they were the most atheistic country in the world, I just didn’t realise they were so religious about it.

What’s your experience with airport shops? Do you tend to use them or not?

St David’s Day


This is fresh off the press of my video camera, filmed less than one hour before publication, which is good for me as may play out backlog has been at times slightly over one year and right now is about 8 months long, but still I think (and in this I have been guided by some of the regular viewers on YT and some of my dear subbers on here who told me so in comments) that it’s good to let topical stuff jump to the front of the queue. I don’t say the best stuff – that would mean I would have a lot of less good stuff waiting to come and that would end up being a bit demotivating for me and you also, but thankfully there’s a lot of my best ever stuff in the backlog waiting its turn patiently, however topical stuff deserves to come to the front of the line regardless of quality.

In the past I have done St David’s Day videos and the best of them in the mind of the viewer, assuming that comments and ratings are an accurate reflection, is the first I did, which is:

A number of viewers stated that they were even in tears or a family member was in tears listening to it. I don’t know what better compliment can be paid to a rendition. Assuming they were the right kind of tears, of course…

The Myfanwy one was from 2007 and since then I had an almost unbroken track record of St David’s Day videos.

Here’s Huli again doing the 2008 one:

And as you can see, facial fungus appears on this one.

The beard, which for some years I wore from Christmas to Easter, also appears in the 2009 one:

being not the best ever rendition of Hopcyn’s “Bugeilio’r gwenith gwyn“.

The fungus is still in evidence in the 2010 video:

However in the 2011 video there is none. That is not only because I didn’t grow a beard in winter that year, but also because I didn’t do a St David’s day video – I was busy and forgot about it.

However, in 2012, last year (again no beard at all last winter) I made up for lost time by putting up a rendition of music that you won’t hear anywhere else on the internet, and which I may possess the last copy of in sheet music, namely Cartref. Like most of the St David’s Day videos, this is sung “a capulco” as Huli puts it.

Here it is:

Which brings us back to the current one, the sixth one, in the course seven years.

Why is it important to me to do a St David’s Day video? Do I believe in Saints in the Roman Catholic sense of the word? Absolutely not. Do I regard myself as linked in some way, being called David, with that David? Well in fact that is what I was told I was named for – the name had been in my family and various grandparents in the male line were Dafydd and you didn’t need to go far back before you got to people in that line who never knew a word of English. But I really know very little about him and much prefer to identify with the Old Testament David who wrote Psalms, played music, admired women, killed Philistines, put up with Saul’s persecution, built cities and was a man after God’s own heart. He doesn’t get aday in the calendar though, which smacks of anti-semitism to me.

No, the reason why I think is this – partly to take the opportunity to celebrate Welshness and being part Welsh, and the other part is that it’s a bit like an anniversary. I joined YT and started to put up my first faltering videos in February 2006 but the beginning was so faltering you could say it was a couple of months before it got off the ground and so treating the end rather than the middle of February as the Anniversary of being on YT seems fairer. It’s now 1st March 2013, that’s 7 years of me being active on YT, and active I am as I have over 1500 videos, on average 200 a year although one year I went over 300 in that year.

I have found that doing video and sharing experiences with a kindly (and sometimes unkindly, but never mind) audience adds an extra dimension to the experience of anything. On the one hand I take the video to have a memory of my own, but the impetus to keep going and keep it organised is better when it is going to be published and others enjoy it.

Before video, I used to travel like I do now but when I think back and see the difference between the things I did before YT and after YT – I simply remember the post YT stuff better, much better, and the experiences don’t all blur into one in my mind. Also it makes me want to get out there and make the film, rather than do the airport-taxi-hotel-office-hotel-taxi-airport cycle of work without seeing anything. There are so many well-travelled businessmen who have nothing to show for all the places they have been. They have been to major capitals of the world but they haven’t even walked around on the streets and heard the language or tasted the local food or seen the individual sights. Just international looking hotels, airports and offices. I was one such person and decided it was a waste, I wasn’t gonna do it anymore, and that even if my own descendants don’t watch to find out what great grandaddy’s life was like (I don’t see why they should) at least I have the record for my own satisfaction. The surprise was, however, that so many more people liked it and were ready to subscribe and follow the travels time after time, such that I now feel that I know so many of these online friends and carry them with me, in a sense, on journeys, feeling them there (albeit with a time delay) when I walk with the camera switched on.

And that’s something which is definitely worth celebrating to me. So hopefully you’ve enjoyed the above mini-Eisteddfod and HSDD!

Enjoy!

Intro to a mobile phone GPS-based game voiced over by me


Some friends of mine, very clever folk, have made a smart phone app which is a territory game – based on the Voynich Manuscript which I’ve blogged about on here before. The game is called Modern Wizards and the idea is self-explanatory if you watch the film above. They’ve made it in Polish and now they are making the English version so they asked me to be the “voice” for this in English. I was very flattered.

Here’s my narration and critiques from professional voice actors are much appreciated.

Plans for 2013


Please link to me

This channel on YT

I thought I would just round off the year’s blogging personally, rather than just with the machine generated summary in the previous post which is very interesting, maybe more so for me than for the readers, just to give you all my warmest wishes for 2013 and to hope that I may continue to be part of what you look at online in the coming year. Your ratings and comments and hits, both here and on Quoracy.com blog and also on the YouTube channel, on Linked-In and Facebook and several other places are all very highly appreciated and at times of crisis I do derive a certain strength from knowing that I’ve still got my readers,  at least I got my friends:

In the deliciously ironic video to this interesting recent hit, the girl’s friend is a robot, but in my case behind the robot face of the internet and it’s various interfaces are real people who have been willing to share a bit in my life by watching the videos, listening to the voice droning on, reading the posts and the comments. That means a lot to me, and some of you I’ve got to know as well as people I’ve spent time with in the same room, or better.

I didn’t manage to do as much as I wanted to in 2012, partly because I always set my plans too high anyway, but also because I had a bad round of pneumonia in the summer which wiped out July and August. Read the rest of this entry

Goldlisting may or may not be from the very beginning of learning a language, but it’ll take you on as far as you like!


1st edition (publ. Hodder & Stoughton)

1st edition (publ. Hodder & Stoughton) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) –  But will Hodder and Stoughton manage to make Michel Thomas’ method everlasting?

Neworldgirl78 wrote on my Goldlist lecture in Moscow film the following question:

I am learning Russian and have been using a variety of means such as Pimsleur, various apps, and your you tube videos of course. Should I narrow my studying to this method or add it to my current methods? Thanks, and love your videos :)

Many thanks!

I started to answer this in the comments section but I thought that it needs more space than the comments section there allows.

Here’s the full answer:

I use Michel Thomas and Pimsleur myself, audio only as they are, at the beginning of learning a new language, but they eventually come to an end. You might for example work through MT first and even a very long course with all the available levels in still is only less than 20 hours of material, add on a full Pimsleur course with another 30 hours of material (much of it overlapping with the MT) that gives you 50 hours.

This 50 hours – the maximum currently available of quality audio-only beginners courses – when listened to a few times gives you 150 hours of audio time at the max, and if you use the pause button properly you could stretch that to 250. It’s great to do this at the beginning – use MT first as that method gives you the deep structures of the language and doesn’t shy away from grammatical explanations (which Pimsleur does to the point that it becomes misleading at times) and it gives you a good accent, but that 250 hours of work will only take you so far.

And let’s be clear that for many of the less popular languages there’s still no MT course – Hodder and Stoughton didn’t make much on the ones available so far as the activities of internauts were too impactful on the sales of the material, and so it may well be down to hobbyists rather than businesspeople to take Michel Thomas’ legacy to its full conclusion. So it the best case, something like Russian, you might be lucky and find 250 hours of useful work to do on audio only. If you were looking at Bulgarian you’d be hard pressed to find any – I found some in bookshops in Sofia, from an unknown method and author which I didn’t even start yet, but nothing on Amazon or the net.

So once you have finished with the audio only, or earlier if you are not an auditory learner and feel that you aren’t progressing so well with the audio only methods, you need to progress onto reading and writing. Read the rest of this entry

Huliganov.TV goes over 100,000 views!


Many thanks to those of you who have subscribed and who come again and again to my humble abode. This milestone is hopefully only the beginning, although in fact I have now been doing this since November 2009, that is three years, and a few days on top. In three years’ time where I’d really like to be is over a million views – that’ll need a lot of work to do pulling over from other places all the resources and creativity that I’ve been doing in different parts of the web and making this the unified place where it’s all easy to find in one place with the various categories and subcategories, and the ability to search by words within this space, as well as the ability to have discussions not hampered by word limits, in which you can thread them properly and include links and media to your hearts’ content – unlike in YT where most of my material currently is and where most of my hits currently occur – in total well over 4 million there so hopefully a million here by the end of a similar six years (the time I’ve been on YT is now closer seven than six) is not too much to hope for.

In the end it depends on you, the viewer. Every bit of interactivity that you do here, discussing with me or with other commentors if you feel the urge, every subscription, every use of the share buttons I’ve put under the articles, it all helps me along, it all encourages me to produce more in the future.

Not everyone will like the blog, or the films and other internet “assets” (sometimes “internet contingent liabilities” might be a better phrase), but for some of you I know it has been and will be a source of interesting ideas and an experience of language learning, travel and other subjects such as faith, politics and others from time to time, and I hope that it will continue to be a place that you subscribe to, that you like to come to from time to time, and that you recommend to like-minded people. Read the rest of this entry

Snippets from various performers (South Africa Series 5/10)


Playout date: 19 November 2006
Camera: Fuji Finepix
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location: Cape Town conference centre near the Arabella
Other people featured: Conference goers, performers
Genre: Conference
Music used: Several performances by Cape Town groups
Languages used: English
Animals featured: None

If there’s one thing I miss about the old firm’s conferences it is the amount of music and entertainment they laid on. The ones done by my current group are a bit more low key in that regard. Here’s an example of what the opening ceremony of the Cape Town conference looked like.

 

Zachód słońca z okna mojego biura.


image

Tak właśnie wyglądało w czwartek.

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