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I’m still getting the hang of doing galleries…


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This doesn’t look like I thought it would, but what it is is actually four photos from the International Business Forum website – the Christmas party event at which I was asked to be the auctioneer for the evening’s charity auction, so you can see me here in the best bib and tucker. I just took the ones with me in but you can see more on the site http://www.ibforum.cz

What I found gratifying was that the shots of others taken while I was talking as auctioneer looked as if people were enjoying the humour. They had completely different faces to the ones during the serious bit before where the people running the Pink Crocodile charity talked about the difficult conditions of the kids they are helping. People looked a bit stressed by that, nobody likes suffering, much.

But people gave generously in the auction, we sold everything for good prices, and I hope my jokes didn’t upset too many people!

Some footage from my actual auctioning should be coming up in the not too distant future on video too!

Diary of a New Decade #3 – 10th January 2011 – Mummers and Pappers


Mummers in Exeter, Devon, UK, 1994.

Mummers in Exeter, Devon, UK, 1994. Image via Wikipedia

Well it’s been a week since I did a post in this particular series, the DND series. Not much has transpired in that time. I went to Tczew and came back again, and there was a holiday on Thursday 6th January for Epiphany. That may be the best thing to talk about. The other thing probably worth talking about is the controversy around the large scale die offs of blackbirds and drumfish and turtledoves, which I looked into a bit at the weekend.

Language-wise I did some Czech and some Japanese, and I finished the Michel Thomas Advanced Japanese course, which I can recommend well enough as a course, but I have to say that calling it advanced is nothing short of laughable. There are a heap of structures that still need to be learned. The neutral forms of the verb and the bases were not even touched upon and the past tense and negative pasts of -i adjectives were not used. Moreover, the difference between na adjectives and -i adjectives before a noun were not looked at at all. I can only hope that there will be a so-called vocabulary course – the way the new Michel Thomas language series describes the third lot of rather dear CDs.

I read some rather negative reviews of the Advanced Japanese course on the UK Amazon – more pleasant ones on the US Amazon including one by a friend of mine whom it was a pleasure to bump into by chance reading Amazon reviews. My own view is that I can see where some of the negative comments were coming from but they are exaggerated. It is very good material, and a lot is packed into the hours you can physically get onto 4 audio CDs, if that has to be the constraint. Only don’t go calling it Advanced Japanese, especially bearing in mind not one single kanji and not one single kana has been explained and not even the issues surrounding syllabification and also the series and how shi, chi, tsu and fu appear instead of what you might expect in the sounds tables.

These are really basic things needed if you want to get at real Japanese. The person finishing the Michel Thomas course will discover they will have to go right back to the start again if ever they want to be anything more than functionally illiterate in Japanese. I’ve started now the Michel Thomas Greek course and that is really making strides at a faster pace. Again, nothing really about the alphabet, so a person relying on that won’t be able to read anything, but maybe in Greek that is easier to overcome.

I also have major misgivings about a few things in the Michel Thomas method. I do think that it has advantages over a lot of other methods, even Pimsleur, as far as being an audio-only course goes. But I do feel as if it is building so much in a short time that it rely pushes the short term memory. I wonder whether the students who did those course on the recordings actually retained it all for more than two weeks afterwards. I should say not more than 30% of it. But you can get round that as a learner by doing the course and then coming back to it again after letting the knowledge lie fallow for more than 2 weeks, and reactivating it all again. Rinse and repeat a few more times.

I was going to talk about Epiphany or Twelfth Night as a holiday. I noticed that people were regarding it as a Church holiday even though the Bible does not say which day this ‘showing’ of Jesus Christ was, whether it was the eighth day (which was traditional for the circumcision) or the twelfth day, who can say? But what we can say is that in pre-Christian Europe there were two twelve day long festivals, one around the winter solstice and the other around the Summer solstice. In the older calendar the final or twelfth night in the winter one of these fell on New Years and was a general party and carousal, with people dressing up.  This was simply carried over into the Church by an act of syncretism.

Generally speaking Roman Catholicism is happy to soak up and “christianise” just about anything the Pagans threw at them. It was so with turning men into saints, it was so with the goddess worship with Mary being placed into the role of Gaia/Isis/Diana, it was the same with the placing of the date of Christmas (at least there was more guidance over the celebration of His death and resurrection because the Jews still celebrate Peshach, but why did they give this time the entirely Pagan name of Easter?) So this is just another example of the way Polish Roman Catholics are ready to place religious holidays at every single one of the Pagan dates that have been syncretised into the so-called church calendar (including the non-biblical Assumption of Mary on 15th August – the date which coincides with many Pagan devil-worshipping dates worldwide such as O-Bon, the time when the Japanese believe that for 33 years (notice the significance?) after a person’s death, they come and spend three days (August 13th to August 16th) with their old families. This strange reversal of some of the beliefs about Jesus Christ’s life and death almost appears to be diabolical mockery. Doesn’t stop Roman Catholics from revelling in it, though, and choosing it as their time of year to go on Hajj to their various mariolatric meccas, trudging sometimes hundreds of miles in the searing heat to please God doing something He never once commands in scripture, whilst many of the explicit commands are overlooked, like not having graven images, like calling no man father, like not forbidding to marry, and many more.

And how the Devil, who manipulates people to do these things, laughs.

There’s nothing intrinsically Christian about 6th January. There is something intrinsically pagan about twelfth night, and there is some astrological thing that goes on that I don’t even want to remember or understand, but which you can look up if you like. The carry over of the baccanalia from that time into the mumming of the Christian era is clear even from the traditional costumes worn by the mummers, which follow those used in the pre-Christian era.

Anyway, we’ve all been forced by the Catholic Church to participate in this pagan holiday.

I used quite a bit of it having a walk with my son, and I also gave him a walk on Saturday and a really big one on Sunday, when we took a taxi to the old town and walked back. Those three times in total gave us about 14 km over those three days worth of walking, and I do feel that it’s done me some good. The good thing about my son is that he walks about the same pace and just enjoys the walk, he doesn’t run off. And then he is well behaved after as he has been able to use his energy up, although generally speaking he is not as tired as me.

As there is not that much conversation going on I can also listen a bit to the Michel Thomas courses during the walk. All in all a good way to spend time, but it was cold on Thursday and only gradually got a bit warmer over the weekend. At about 5-6 degrees Celsius most of the snow started to melt, but there are large puddles everywhere and of course the contributions to society made by the communion of dog-owners comes much to the fore, all melting in the water and mixing in with the sand that is laid down so that you can tell sometimes where the sand starts and the canine detritus finishes.

I was also going to talk about these big die-offs reported in the Internet and a bit in mainstream media. But perhaps it can wait for a later post. I will come to that, though.

Currently uploaded video (CUV) – Tczew station


This is the next in the series of posts of video posted here within a week of it going onto YT. Such being the aim for all video uploaded to YT in 2011, but this particular piece is not several months behind like most of what I’m currently uploading – it was uploaded as it happened, just about.

For the first time ever with this piece, I’ve taken it with a telephone and uploaded it from a telephone. Some times before now I’ve made video with a phone if my other cameras were not around, and later put that raw vid onto a computer, processed it and uploaded it the usual way. There’s a nice video up of the Lazar Equestrian Centre in Hungary which I did that way, and a few others.

So what I tried here was the youtube thing on the Android phone, enabling immediate capture and transfer. As the camera has quite a high definition the raw footage came to 8.5 MB, even for such a short clip about a slob lounging about on a station power transformer box. And what the phone did was to offer to save the upload until I got into a WiFi net. That’s pretty good, it seems to me that most of what this new phone does is to cost me additional money, and I’m dreading the first phone bill I get from it. Especially as I sent about 500 Christmas and New Year SMS greetings off it to all continents on this here planet.

So I thing it’s a pretty good thing to be able to grab footage and have it online literally within minutes. It feels like a powerful tool, one that could be very advantageous in the right circumstances!

I can see it now. “You’re not allowed to film me”. “Well I already did”. “Hmmn, OK, but you can’t put it on the internet”. “Well, I’m afraid it’s already on there”. How cool is that?

Diary of a New Decade #2 – 3rd January 2011


The Treaty of Rome signing ceremony, at the Pa...

The signing of the treaty of Rome on the Capitoline hill, Rome. The reincarnation of the Roman Empire under the selfsame people who signed in Philadelphia.

If all goes well, this will be another technological first for me – this time the first post written on and posted from a train.

Anyone who has spent any time on my You Tube channel will know that I have made a number of films on trains before. In point of fact, I have made films on this very route before, on more than one occasion.
But right now, as my Creative Vado got wrecked by my son before Christmas while my wife was in hospital getting her mitoxantrone, I don’t even carry a camera, although this phone also has one and produced the shots of our New Years Day meal that you can see a couple of posts ago on this very blog.

But that is not the same as a dedicated HD video camera. So I did order another Vado, especially as I had just bought a lens kit for it and a couple of other accessories. The problem is that Amazon won’t ship electric goods to Poland. As a US company, they couldn’t care less about the free movement of goods in the EU enshrined in the Treaty of Rome. They probably respect all their own constitutional stuff very well, but have no idea how insulting it is to Europeans to have our highest laws entirely disregarded by US corporations doing business here. So I would have had to buy the replacement camera from the online creative.pl store, where it costs more than twice as much as in the UK Amazon.

So I bought it from Amazon, and asked my parents to send it on. Hence the shipment time has been doubled. It should arrive any day now, though.

Back to this train journey – I am in one of those good trains, an Atrocity, or whatever it is they call them, but this one seems to be stopping in fields every ten minutes.this may have something too do with the snow, but this train came to Warsaw from Krakow and arrived right on time.

I am supposed to be going to Tczew for a stocktake. This is the sixth year I have done this stocktake at this place at this time. In the first four years I drove up by car and that would take a big effort. One of those years I found myself driving through the thickest blizzard I have been in outside Russia. And then finally I started to use the train and things got a lot safer. You can complain about delays, but at least you don’t usually end up dead as often as you do in a car when conditions are treacherous.

And one thing’s for certain: there’s no way I could have written this post while behind the wheel of a moving car!

New Year’s Day Meal


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Tanya wasn’t joining in, but here Sophie and George are enjoying our traditional New Year curry with us.

Reunchaining the melody


   
 
 
 

Playout date:    11 September 2006
Location:    Home, Ochota
Other people featured: None
Music used:    Karaoke track of Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers
Languages used:    English
Animals featured:    None

 

This is probably the most disliked-to-liked video in my whole history of fillummakering, and it is not hard to see why. The rendition is dire. There’s no other word for it. But this stays in as proof of my dogged determination not to flinch at criticism, but to let it happen!

This melody became famous because of the film “Ghost” but this version is much more eery and spooky than the one that Demi Moore is listening to when she makes her pot!

Let’s kiss the face of God today


In Jesus Christ, we are invited to embrace Jehovah the Creator as a perfect human person and find forgiveness in Him.

Mary, did you know, that your baby boy would some day walk on water?
Mary, did you know, that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know, your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know, that your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you’ve kissed your little baby, then you’ve kissed the face of God.

Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know?
The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak the praises of the Lamb.

Mary, did you know, that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know, that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy was heaven’s perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great “I AM”.

 

 

ICMTSU #2 Grim multilingual Christmas corporate cards


I really can’t MTSU, this time. I’ve seen some dire ones over the years, but this one is downright scary. I’ve changed the logo of the Firm who sent it as it is a legal firm and so I might get sued, and I did make a very slight adjustment to the lead partner’s face, just to emphasise a certain aspect I noticed about it.

A very scary Christmas to you, und Du, et vous...

Not only can nearly none of them (with the worthy exception of the one speaking Italian) manage to crack their faces into a smile or any appearance of happiness while launching into their multilingual greetings in Polish, English, Italian, German, Russian, French, and, for some inexplicable reason, Taiwanese Chinese, but also the greyscale photos seem to lend a depressed air to the whole effort.

With regard to the Chinese one containing half characters that most Chinese people outside Taiwan wouldn’t recognise any more, I assume they went into the Google translate thing and saw that they could have “simplified” or “traditional” and they probably thought that “traditional” would be better for a Christmas card.

I’m also far from sure some of these people speak the languages that are bubbling out of their mouths. I did check their website, and it says what languages they actually claim to speak. Hanyu is not included among them, as you may guess, but the guy speaking German here is in fact a real German.

As a marketing effort this is such an epic fail I can only put it here under the ICMTSU section. If you know any worse ones, please include them in the comments!

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