Blog Archives

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!

Last minute post – and a picture challenge


Today has very nearly been the day I broke my postaday2011 challenge – after all, it’s coming up to the time when the VAT and the books for the year end have to be done and there are audits and accounts to be done left, right and centre, so this can’t be a long post. I have barely been able to follow the news, which is a good source normally for things to write about, and although I said I would soon write about these animal die-offs, this isn’t the time for that either as it needs a bit longer.

So what can I do with this post? Maybe a few photos just to check out the gallery possibilities on here…

Recognise it?

Now where do you think that is? Do you recognise it? Any guesses? Answers in the comments, please!

ICMTSU #3 Google Translate has put the fun back into Nigerian Scam Spam


The official poster of the movie I produced, &...

Co? Czy nie ładnie mówię po polsku?

For the last year or so the broken English of the scammers has now become so broken once it goes via Google translate into other languages, that sometimes the results are nothing short of hilarious.

Sometimes they send them with the untranslated parts still intact, as they have absolutely no idea of how useless a job the machine has made of translating their anyway often hopeless English into languages where the rigors of correspondence are more conservative and where the resulting mess is nothing short of alarmingly ludicrous.

Just to give you an example, I’ll take the one I received in Polish this evening :

Drogi Przyjacielu,
 
Jak sie dzisiaj i Twojej rodziny? Mam nadzieje, ze dobrze, jestem Mr.Christopher Johnson. Od Haledon, North West London, tutaj w Anglii. Ja pracuje dla NatWest Bank Corporation Londynie. Pisze ci z mojego biura, które beda z ogromna korzyscia dla nas obu. W moim departamencie, jako asystent menedzera (Greater London Regional Office, odkrylem opuszczonej sume 12,5 milionów dolarów USA dolary (dwanascie milionów piecset tysiecy nami dolarów) na koncie nalezacym do jednego z naszych zagranicznych klientów Late Pan Thompson Morrison amerykanskiego obywatela, który niestety stracil zycie w katastrofie samolotu Alaska Airlines Flight 261, który rozbil sie 31 stycznia 2000, w tym jego zona i córka tylko.
 
Wybór jest skontaktowac sie cieszyla z charakteru geograficznego, w którym mieszkasz, w szczególnosci ze wzgledu na starosc z transakcji i poufnosc w niniejszym dokumencie. Teraz nasz bank zostal czeka na którykolwiek z krewnymi, aby sie do roszczenia, ale nikt nie uczynil tego. Ja osobiscie zostal nieudanych odnalezienie krewnych na 2 lat, szukam Twojej zgody, aby zaprezentowac Panstwu jak najblizszych krewnych / Czy beneficjent do zmarlego tak, ze wplywy z tego konta wyceniono na 12,5 mln dolarów moze byc wyplacona do Ciebie.
 
To bedzie wyplacane lub udostepniane w tych procentów, 60% do 40% mnie i dla Ciebie. Mam zabezpieczone wszystkie niezbedne dokumenty, które moga zostac wykorzystane do wykonania kopii zapasowej tego twierdzenia jest uczynienie. Wszystkie w razie potrzeby jest wypelnic swoje nazwiska do dokumentów i zalegalizowac go w sadzie, aby udowodnic Ci za prawowitego beneficjenta. Wszystko, czego wymagaja teraz jest uczciwy wspólpracy, poufnosci i zaufania w celu umozliwienia nas widzi te transakcje. Gwarantuje, ze bedzie to wykonane zgodnie z prawem rozwiazanie, które bedzie chronic komputer z wszelkich przypadków naruszenia law.Please dostarczyc mi nastepujace: jak mamy 7 dni, aby go uruchomic poprzez. Jest to bardzo pilnie prosze.
 
1. Pelna Nazwa:
2. Twoje: Numer telefonu
3. Twój adres kontaktowy.
4. Wiek:
5.Core Praca / Zawód:
6.sex:
 
Po przejsciu przez metodyczna wyszukiwania, postanowilem skontaktowac sie z Toba nadzieje, ze znajdziecie interesujace tej propozycji. Prosze na potwierdzenie tej wiadomosci i wskazujac zainteresowanie, bede dostarczyc Panstwu wiecej informacji. Endeavor do let me know swojej decyzji zamiast trzymac mnie czeka.
 
Pozdrawiam,
Mr.Christopher Johnson
mr.christ_johnson@yahoo.co.uk

This is about as crap Polish as anyone could come up with and still have it recognisable as such. From the use of “Dear Friend” in the salutation, which no Pole is going to write to someone they haven’t spent a “szmat czasu” with all the way through to the use of “nazwa” – the name of a thing – to describe  a person’s full name, it is entirely hopeless. Probably written in poor English at the outset – nobody outside of subsaharan Africa introduces themselves as “Mr” – the style is just so out of synch with what the person claims to be and what they are talking about that only the lowliest naiveling could be led along by it for a second. And then on top of that a display of all the weak points of machine translation, uncritically cut and paste into an email.

I really couldn’t make this s**t up.

Walk from the River Vltava to my flat – CUV


Here we have number 41 in my series of Prague Vlogs uploaded here before the other 40 are here because I’m doing 2011 and later video uploads here as they happen and inbetween times the older stuff in chronological order.

This talks a bit about where the channel is going, and if you like you can watch it on a fuller screen and do pauses for some quite panoramic shots of Prague as I keep this one in HD.

At the point where I talk about the midgies on the bridge if you make it full screen and pause it there, you’ll see what I mean by the size of them!

Pytania i odpowiedzi lingwistyczne w języku polskim.


DVD

Jeden z najlepszych narzędzi dla poliglotyzmu dziecka

W dniu dzisiejszym odchylam się od zwyczaju pisania w języku angielskim, ze względu na otrzymanie dwóch pytań od widzów względnie czytelnikow moich klipów i postów. Najpierw na facebooku otrzymałem ten zestaw pytań od Pani Agnieszka F.

Jakiś czas temu w sieci trafiłąm na wywiad z Panem w TVN.

Przesyłam wyrazy uznania i podziwu dla Pańskiego talentu i pracy.

Z dużym zainteresowaniem obejrzałam Pańskie filmy w języku polskim na youtube. Od stycznia z dużą determinacją próbuję według Pana metody uczyć się języka hiszpańskiego. Poza tym, że przepisuję słówka to czas spędzany w komunikacji miejskiej spędzam na słuchaniu audiokursu. Chciałbym Pana prosić o odpowiedź na kilka pytań: 1. Czy jest limit słów, jaki danego dnia mogę przepisać? Jeśli mam czas to danego dnia przepisuję nawet po 300 słów. 25 na stronie krótka przerwa i znów 25 na stronie itd. Czy jest tu jakieś ograniczenie. W wakacje planuję wyjazd do Hiszpanii i zależy mi na czasie.

Oprócz trzymaniu się reżymu regularnych przerw, tak jak Pani robi, jedynym innym limitem jest granica wytrzymałości Pani zainteresowania. Jeżeli zaczyna to być już nudnoscią lub utrapeniem, trzeba to już odstawić na inny czas. Ja też nie przerabiam więcej niż 300 słów/linii dziennie.

2. Wstyd się przyznać, ale jesli chodzi o język angielski mam bardzo słabą i to bierną znajomość, tzn. potrafię coś zrozumieć, ale mam blokadę jeśli chodzi o mówienie. Teraz jeśli będę dalej chciała kontynuować naukę tak jak sobie wszystko zaplanowałam do września powinnam mieć angielski komunikatywny, a przez następny rok akademicki opanować go tak, by móc pozwolić sobie na czytanie książek biznesowych. Czy Pana zdaniem jest to w ogóle możliwe?

Pewnie. Jak by stosować goldlist w takim tempo jak 300 słów dziennie, 5 dni w tygodniu, to w ciągu jednego roku ma się pod pasem 300/3*5*50 czyli 25,000 słów. Tylko 15,000 słów jest potrzebnie, aby z pełnym komfortem podejść do czytania np kurs ACCA. 

3.Czy można się uczyć jednocześnie dwóch języków przy użyciu opracowanej przez Pana metody? Jesli tak to czy mogę jednego dnia uczyć się trochę angielskiego, trochę hiszpańskiego czy lepiej jednego dnia angielskeigo drugiego hiszpańskiego? A może jest to w ogóle niemożliwe? Będę Panu bardzo wdzięczna za ewentualne odpowiedzi, a tym samym ogromną pomoc. Jeśli prowadzi Pan jakieś statystyki mogę również poinformować o swoich postępach. Z wyrazami podziwu, Agnieszka F

Można, ale odradzę od robienia dwóch językow naraz tej samej rodziny. Na przykład angielski z niemieckim, duńskim bądz niderlandzkim. Uważam wręcz, że nawet pomaga bardzo kiedy się uczy drugiego języka obcego używając materiały przygotowane dla mówców pierwszego języka obcego. W ten sposób mogła by pani zakupić kurs zaawansowanej angielszczyzny z hiszpańskiej księgarni internetowej, na przykład.

Mam nadzieję ze to pomoże, no i naturalnie zawsze jestem ciekaw usłyszeć o wynikach i postępach ludzi, którzy stosowali moje metody i porady, więc bardzo proszę!

Drugie pytanie jest od markam91 na forumie www.how-to-learn-any-language.com

— Previous Private Message —
[B]Sent by :[/B] markam91
[B]Sent :[/B] 14 January 2011 at 11:12pm

Witam,
Czy mógłbym się dowiedzieć w jaki sposób nauczyłeś swoją córkę trzech języków? Jedyne, co przychodzi mi do głowy, to sposób mojego polonisty, który postanowił sobie, że żona będzie odzywała się do nowo narodzonego dziecka wyłącznie po polsku, a wspomniany polonista tylko po angielsku.

Pozdrawiam

Jeden rodzic mówi w swoim języku, drugi w swoim języku, a środowisko ma jeszcze trzeci język.

Na przykład, w naszej rodzinie ja z córką mowiłem głownie po angielsku, żona po rosyjsku, a środowisko (czyli szkola, telewizja, przyjaciolki na osiedlu) jest polskojęzyczne. Od tego, że ja mowię do żony głównie po rosyjsku, i tez pracuję, więc często nie ma mnie w domu, trzeba bylo uzupełnić angielskie wpływy poprzez kupienie DVD ulubionych filmów dziecięcych z Anglii bez języka polskiego, i wiecej książek po angielsku, plus wakacji u moich rodziców, którzy tylko mówia po angielsku.

A certain uncertainty


Grand Union Canal aqueduct near Bradwell, Milt...

Grand Union Canal aqueduct near Milton Keynes

A certain uncertainty

(My entry for the March 2008 My Telegraph Creative Writing Competition)

A certain uncertainty once crept into my head,
Because of what Patrycja said when we were both in bed.
She woke up in the night and placed a hand upon her womb,
Then gently sighed “Oh, Ronnie!” and got up and left the room.

She came back some time later and went back to sleep again,
But, the words she’d spoken, they remained inside my brain.
I could not sleep for worrying what this thing could portend;
“Who is this Ronnie?” was my thought “has Pat found some new friend?”

I never guessed that my dear wife and of our kids the mother
Could want to turn her back on me and go and love another.
I got so worried over it I could not go to sleep.
Well, maybe I got half an hour, but that not very deep.

At breakfast I was calm, as in “the calm before the storm”.
I went to my form-filling job, but I was not on form.
The other workers in the bank, they noticed something wrong,
And one of them, to cheer me up, sang out a merry song.

But this impromptu singing only made me more morose,
For was one of “our songs” that the silly banker chose!
And thus it only caused the queue of customers to lengthen,
While my certain uncertainty it only served to strengthen.

“Who is this Ronnie? Who is he?” to know was now my mission:
I had to know if I was right or wrong in my suspicion.
In all my life I’d never known uncertainty before:
It wasn’t something I’d developed mechanisms for.

And so it was, that sitting there, a-counting clients’ money
That I worked out a cunning plan, a trap to catch my honey:
I’d catch her “in flagrante” with this Ronnie character.
All in love and war and marriage you could say is fair.

So I told Patrycja’s voicemail that I’d spend the night away;
I was going to Milwaukee, is what she heard me say.
I’d never lied to her, for lies and tricks are not my scenes,
And so to keep it true I went and walked to Milton Keynes.

Now, walking up the towpath to Milton Keynes from Tring
By the Grand Union Canal is not a lightsome thing.
So by the time I dragged myself inside of Bletchley Station
My legs were tired, my feet were sore, my back and head were aching.

I went to Tring by train then took a taxi to Ivinghoe
And tiptoed into our dear home via the French window.
But she was sitting there alone, no Ronnie was in sight
“Hello, dear.” were her greeting words, “Vot happen to your flight?”

Now, I had practiced what to say, but all was now forgot
And so I stood there looking dumb and all I said was “What?”
“I fought you vere in States?” she said, in her broad Polish accent.
Well, I was in a state, all right, but not the one that Pat meant.

So I just blurted out “Who’s Ronnie?” and broke down in tears,
Explaining all the reasoning behind my doubts and fears.
But she just laughed her Slavic laugh, she thought it all so funny
“I never said ‘Oh Ronnie’, dear, vot I said vos ‘o rany!’!”

I scanned the bookshelves and took out a volume of my wife’s
And turned to ‘R’ and found the entry there, as large as life:
For “rany!”, terms like “golly!”, “gosh!” and “goodness!” were translations:
All mild expressions of surprise or sudden exclamations.

“But why, then, did you wake at night with your hand on your womb
Then leave our bed and spend some time alone in the bathroom?
What reason for this sudden act, which left me broken-hearted?”
“I voke up in a mess, because my ‘okres’ had just started!”

“I did not fink it vos to happen for anozzer day,
And so I got zis bad surprise, and had to do zat vay.”
“I see it all now, sorry, dear.” I said with great relief
“Zis time I vill forgiff. Next time you doubt, I kick you teef.”

The images of my dear wife with Corbett, Biggs or Barker
Were thus dispersed, and nowadays, they are but cause for laughter
And so it just remains for me to draw the moral warning –
What you can deal with in the night, don’t put it off till morning!

12/3/2008

I quite liked this but I don’t think it was one of the times I got into the top six.

It isn’t autobiographical, the narrator and all the characters in it are just fictitious.

A radical, “gen(i)us” new idea for learning Chinese characters


Chimpanzee head sketch

Monkey with character?

My idea stems from the fact that I always had a facility for learning the Linnean binomials of animals and plants which as you probably know are made up of a genus name, bearing a capital initial letter and then a species name. Sometimes you get a third part, which is subspecies.

For example, chimpanzees and bonobos share the genus Pan, bonobos being Pan paniscus and there are no subspecies, whereas common chimps are Pan troglodytes and there are four subspecies, P.t.troglogytes, P.t.schweinfurthii (North Zaire) and two others.

So my idea was to give each Chinese character a linnaean binomial as a way to drive it home. It might be a way to help people latch mentally onto some of the harder characters. I don’t have ZH font installed on the machine I’m writing on now, so I will just describe it in terms of the “rules” for doing it.

The “genus” name would show the radical of the character, but in Latin. So if you have the hand radical in a character, it would be in the genus “Manus“.  “拍” to beat or clap has the hand radical and the white component, so its Linnean binomial would be Manus albus, the common beat or clap.

You could consider the link ups of two characters in one word as like symbiotic relationships of two living things, its frequency in linguistic use could be acquainted with its rarity or endangeredness, whether it’s in the list also for Korean and Japanese could be the zoogeography, and even the stress could determine what kind of an organism it is. The first tone could be for herbivores, the second for carnivores, as they have to jump up and pounce on often larger prey, the fourth for insectivores, pouncing on the lower prey, and third tone for omnivores.

It just may be a way to learn some of them. I don’t think it’s any crazier than Drs Goodman, Heisig or Hoenig, all of whom are pretty much in the mainstream, so please don’t unfollow or call for the white van just yet!

Swimming by Night (CUV)


Here we have the fourth in our French Holiday series from July 2010, near Tours. Here we see Sophie having a swim as it gets dark and she also gives voice to a couple of her favorite pieces.

One of the aspects here that didn’t show up too clearly were these huge stag beetles which were flying around. They only really put in a big appearance at dusk for about 15 minutes and then they were not in evidence – too dark for them to fly or at least be seen. But they make a racket also so we would have known if they were flying.

Chicken Ciabatta


image

One ciabatta. Butter. A little camembert. Chunks of smoked chicken thigh. A coating of mayo and sweet Thai chilli sauce.

Terrific.

Pushkin on Pushkin


http://lh4.ggpht.com/_u4eOuNN7twk/SbmOeytfmZI/AAAAAAAAACA/1oRVdlK5YUo/s1024/P1030384.JPG

Pushkin sitting on a copy of his complete works.

Case Race in Budapest (CUV)


Here we have the next currently uploaded video, the last in the Budapest series, and a rather long one which I probably should have broken up into shorter ones, but the first parts show a huge fishtank at a place we were dining one evening and also a spot of Vaci utca and Belgrad rakpart, before the main event, which is me walking with two heavy cases about 5 km to the railway station.

I wasn’t planning to walk with them all that way, but I was open to the possibility, and that’s what ended up happening, but it became a pretty hefty bit of exercise.

The train journey itself turned out to be awful. The train was supposed to arrive in Prague in the middle of the night at about 2 or 3 o clock, and then in the end didn’t get in until 6 in the morning. It stood still in the Czech Republic for hours with no-one giving explanations, and the Spanish guys in the next carriage were going nuts as nothing like that had ever happened to them before.

I grabbed a couple of short naps but not enough, and then finally for the last few hours in Brno after someone else got in the carriage while I was having a nap and laid completely down over the other side, with his shoes off making a bad smell with his feet, and that was the end of my comfort. In Pardubice a third entrant came to the carriage. It had been a bit more bearable up to the point where I had had privacy, but the last hours really started dragging.

Generally I quite like trains, but I really wasn’t keen on that one. And apart from anything else it was old and shabby and not like most Czech trains I’ve been on at all.

If you want to see the four earlier parts of the 2010 Hungary series, or indeed the Hungary series from three years back, for now they are on my YT channel http://www.youtube.com/usenetposts and they’ll all be added here when I get to them.

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?

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