Category Archives: Reviews of products, places or services

This general area will be for films or posts where I review a product, service or establishment. there are various sub-divisions here for hotels, restaurants, books, electrical products, etc

Walking results


There are in fact still two days to go to  the end of September, but already it’s clear from the graph that with a result of 139 km for September so far I’ve beaten the January result of 135 km and won’t manage to beat the March record (the record month for this year – and of all time – although that only means since May 2011 when I got the pedometer) of 170 km.   I prefer to save attempting that one for October – we’ll see how that goes.  There were three better months in 2011 or between 150 and 165 km, so that makes this month the 5th best.

The graph comes from http://www.silvaconnect.se , which is the on-line tool for holding and displaying stats of the users of the Silvaconnect pedometers. The highest ones in their range have the possibility to synchronise via a computer to this website, and it’s a facility I greatly appreciate. One can also pit one’s performance against friends using the same pedometer.

The graph shows pretty clearly what happened to me in the summer – the months of July and August were my months of being ill. At the start, when I was already ill but maybe just bronchitis rather than full blown pneumonia, I was still walking, and so the first ten days of July had some walking, but much less than normal. The same for the last week of August.

As I was hoping, the level of health to which you get back after recovering from an illness is higher than the level achieved before, and so the result for September is higher than that for April or May or June. I’m hoping that I’ll beat all the records to date, in other words beat 170 and get past that white line you see on the graph which was supposed to be my target for average monthly performance this year, not record performance, but I’ll hold that target over for next year.

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.

 

Hotel Room & Lost Luggage Kit (South Africa series 1/10)


Playout date: 12 November 2006
Camera: Fuji Finepix
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location: Cape Town Arabella Sheraton, South Africa
Other people featured: None
Genre: Hotel Room Review
Music used: “This could be heaven for everyone” by Queen
Languages used: English
Animals featured: None

This is a video you might like to watch if you are interested in the sorts of things that might happen if they lose your luggage on an intercontinental flight.

We have a look at the room I got at the Arabella Sheraton in Capetown. They managed to lose my luggage (that was my first time so far for lost luggage, first of many) and so we have a look at KLM‘s so-called “care collection”. I had lost luggage with Lufthansa and with KLM and both of those companies behaved properly. I had lost luggage with SAS and they were hopeless and impossible. When the luggage finally appeared it had been plundered and no compensation was available as it was only one day before the 14 days they say.

The upshot is I never flew SAS again, but I still fly Lufthansa and KLM with confidence.

Spanish food


Playout date: 5 October 2006
Camera: Video by my friend Krzysztof
Post Production: None
Location: Seafood restaurant in Madrid
Other people featured: Adam Ciuhak, Ivan Mier Moran and his wife
Genre: Food film
Music used: None
Languages used: English
Animals featured: None

A nice memory of a happy evening. Ivan kindly took us out to one of his favorite restaurants in Madrid. We had lovely fish dishes and finally this meat sizzling away on hot volcanic rock plates.

The Spanish know how to have fun. If something is fun, then they do it, and if it stops being fun then they stop, and do something else.

I only regret that right now I cannot recall the restaurant. I could for a good while but 5 years have elapsed and it is gone.

Kafkaesque! (CUV)


Kafka, Franz: Der Prozeß. Roman. Berlin: Die S...

He liked hard-back notebooks too, did our Franz.

Here we have, in nice HD coding, a walk around in Prague, showing some of the flavour of the experience of being in the Czech Republic – including this very strange thing that happened to me last Spring.

Here, in the city of Kafka, I was seriously summoned to court without being informed why. Just like Joseph K in ‘Der Prozess‘ or ‘The Trial’ by Kafka. You really couldn’t make it up.

I don’t want to talk about the facts of what the case turned out to be, (especially as one party of it graces some films of mine on YT, which will also be shown here) but to my relief I only actually needed to be a witness. I have no wrongdoing as such on my conscience, but I have been known to sack people, and they get given more rights than I do when it comes to court, even if there’s no earthly justice in it. But this wasn’t even someone I had sacked. Because I didn’t know that, I had to go to the expense of a decent lawyer who naturally deserved to be paid for his appearance despite not in the end having a decisive role. But in the end I didn’t get annoyed about it, as it was something truly Kafkaesque in the city of Kafka which I’ll be able to remember and joke about for the rest of my life.

I also talk a little bit about learning Japanese and the kitsch for sale to tourists in Prague.

I thought I’d spice things up with a poll! Remember this is not the number of cases you’ve seen – you may have been more than once. Count is as number of days you’ve ever had to turn up. Don’t count it if you went along just for entertainment.

Who is this mystery customer?


Countries where the Russian language is spoken.

The Russian Linguation

The following review can still be read for Derek Offord’s “Using Russian – A Guide to Contemporary Usage” on Amazon.co.uk (not the American Amazon and I really don’t understand why they don’t carry these reviews over, when I want to write for only the UK or only the US I shall forget about the internet altogether!) As it was way back in 2001 I seem to have lost the accreditation for the review along the way. At first it was under my name, but at some stage they must have had a technical blip and the older reviews became “A Customer”. but it’s mine, well enough. I don’t know if my style has changed much in ten years.

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars
This is essential reading for those doing a Russian degree.
28 Sep 2001
By A Customer

This review is from: Using Russian: A Guide to Contemporary Usage (Paperback)

I bought Using Russian when I was browsing in a bookshop for another language, as I already speak Russian, but when I looked at a few pages it immediately appealed as an excellent update to the way the language has developed since I did my degree. Sections in the book refer to different problems that face the English speaker in particular, such as faux amis. There are also sections on homonyms and other confusing aspects and they act rather like a checklist of what you need to have got right in your head in order not to make too many ‘howlers’ in translations or in conversation.

One particular plus in this book and as I found out in the whole series of ‘Using’ books that this is part of is the focus on register. If there is one thing that separates the wheat from the chaff among language students. it is the understanding and application of the idea of register, and this applies to Russian perhaps more than most European languages, as this is a language in which not only the vocabulary, but also the syntax, grammar and phonetics are all subject to complex nuances. This book was not available when I needed it. Now that it is I urge you to make use of it. It is the book about Russian that I would have liked to have written myself. If I thought there was demand for it, I’d offer to do a sister volume for Polish.

In any event it made me go out and by the sister volumes already in existence for French, German and Spanish. They are of a similar quality to this volume, the weakest is probably the German one, the Spanish one I would put as second favorite. It can be read cover to cover, or simply dipped into as a work of reference.

It is not material for learning the language from scratch, but would be a very useful second step after completing any of the standard self-instruction books such as the Colloquial series, the Teach yourself series or the Linguaphone course.

Either A-level or degree level students of the Language will profit from it and find it enjoyable because of its good presentation and readable style.

Review of Hotel Centralny, Kedzierzyn-Kozle, for Google.


Kedzierzyn-Kozle - aleje JPII

Kedzierzyn-Kozle on a good day.

(Published to Google Hotpot earlier this evening, and it also gives me my post for the day here. I think that’s fair.)

I’m sitting here writing this actually in the hotel room having found it on the road in Google on my Android phone when I discovered that the place I was really supposed to be going was unexpectedly booked up.

I had a bit of a nightmare getting here from where the GPS said it would be only 9 km. The main bridge in Kedzierzyn-Kozle was shut, the next bridge up on the Oder per the GPS turned out to be some seasonal ferry that wasn’t there, and when I finally found the new road that wasn’t on even google maps and still isn’t, it turned out that there had been a nasty accident so I got caught in the road over the middle of the Odra waiting for the emergency services to do their bit. Read the rest of this entry

This Evening’s Table


image

This evening I’m back in the Hotel Amber, in Olesnica, a place which has featured in videos in my Youtube channel for two years running. This would be the third year, but no film this time, as there is really nothing new to show, that can’t be shown by an atmospheric pic of the table with the pot of rooibos tea, the Polish barszcz with crocquet, one of the icons of Polish cuisine, the candle, the fabrics, the slightly incorrectly presented cutlery. . .

Tonight, my musician friend Krzysztof whom you may remember from videos of this place can’t meet me as he is preparing a group off musicians down in Walbrzych, which is a pity, but the food is still good, the atmosphere still great for what is essentially just a glorified roadside motel.

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