Tuesday, August 26, 2008

French Translation Mission

On my friend Caroline's English-French Exchange site, a French member has recently proposed a bit of a challenge to the English speakers. That challenge is helping to translate his up and coming company's blog for a North American release.

So far, we've began the efforts and have one post done. We've started up a google doc that I believe is open to anyone wanting to jump in. Sadly, I'm really only able to give time over the weekend to participate, but its better than nothing I'd suppose. Also, it gives me an excuse to come into contact with French more often - other than my French course that recently started.

There is one noticeable downside in translating - espcially thoughts that are not your own. It is that its hard to collect all of the ideas, feelings, and idioms in language and transplant them into another. It really just becomes awkward to read. For example, here is an original paragraph:

Je n’ai pas pris de bureaux, pour des raisons d’utilité et de coûts. La société est domiciliée chez moi. Lorsque je préfère travailler à l’extérieur ou que l’équipe a besoin de se réunir, cela se fait dans des cafés. Étant par ailleurs amateur de café, cela m’a inspiré une ou deux choses.

Now here is the translation I provided:

I didn’t take the office because of usefulness and cost. The company is based at my house. When I prefer to work outside or when the team needs to meet, we do so in cafes. Being furthermore amateurs of coffee, it has inspired me one or two things.

See what I mean by the awkwardness? It just doesn't flow in English. And thus, its that lack of flow that I really want of focus on in my upcoming work. Who wants to read a choppy copy of French text online, eh?

Anyways, anyone interested in practicing French with our band of misfits, feel free to head to the exchange site and introduce yourself (link provided above). It'll be nice to get as much people as possible doing whatever role they can. Plus doing stuff like this in a group makes it a whole lot more fun.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama's running mate revealed.

Obama's running mate was just released a little while ago. Its Senator Joseph R. Biden from Delaware. Hes been around for quite some time (over 30 years I hear) so does he fit well with Obama's theme of change in politics?

Or perhaps, a better question would be "Who on God's green earth is Senator Joseph R. Biden?" Just kidding.* Kind of.

*Looked him up on NY Times so I know more about him, but seriously though, who is he? o_O?
**Thanks to reginaavalos from Twitter. I thought I was the only one who didn't know. lol

Friday, August 22, 2008

Why You Should Never confuse an Irish man for a Brit...

I learned something very important yesterday at work. Actually, it was something I should have pieced together in my 10th grade history class when we were learning about Ireland’s history, but somehow I failed to piece it together. But before I tell the story of what happened I wish to explain myself.

Britain and that whole area of Europe has too many accents of the English language. Much like how a New Yorker will sound different from a Texan who would in turn sound different from a Cali Girl - this much is understandable. I really did try to understand the differences between the versions but since I’m not really there, I couldn’t get a real grasp of what I was reading on Wikipedia so I just began to label anything that sounded British to my ears British in my head. And its that logic that got me into trouble...

I was shadowing someone at work when he asked me about how my summer was going with the rest of the technicians. I said it was going fine and started to list the people I had grown particularly fond of. I got to a guy named Gary and had called him British where the person I was talking to stopped me and said that Gary was Irish. I, of course, flustered by my mistake was taken back and he continued to tell me that I should be careful since calling an Irish man British may open a can of worms I wouldn’t want to deal with. I agreed with him and left it alone, eager to change the topic.

A little later we had went upstairs to ask someone a question and just so happened to past by Gary’s sit. The person I was following went straight to Gary and started this:

Dude I was Shadowing: Hey Gary! This one here *points to me* said you were British.
Me: Ahhhh!
Everyone else: *heads turn in eager anticipation to see the impending reaction. Sort of like animals sensing incoming bloodshed.*
Gary: *blank stare* You called my British? (amazing how he never sounded so Irish to me before that moment.)
Shadow Dude: Yea, hes lucky he didn’t say it to you in a bar...
Me: *thinks to myself* But I never did SAY it to him. YOU did.
Gary: *to me* So what should I do with him now?
The one black bystander: You should take off your belt and beat him!
Me: Hey! You’re suppose to be on MY side aren’t you?!?!
Gary: Alright then, bend over to receive your punishment.
Me: I’m SO sorry. *voice cracking and high pitched. eyes widening in fear*
Everyone else: *laughs uncontrollably*

Afterwords when we were heading back down, my “shadowee” turns to me and says in these words “Sorry, but I needed a laugh.”

That ass.

That was just another case of intern abuse. It really does seem to be a serious epidemic in the American workforce. One that needs to be cured and my brothers - all who have suffered and tolled through it to come out the other side victorious, I am right there with you. Willing to fight the good fight if you are. Now whos with me? *insert overly enthusiastic battle cry*

By the way: A little later in the day I went back to Gary and started to tell my side of the story. He interrupts asking me: “Did you really think I was angry?”

I stopped, blinked a little and let out a relieve sigh. He laughed and we did a (terrorist) fist bump*. He then helped me change the top case on my Macbook, the first real repair I did all summer.

HA! Take that.

*Yes I did mange to put a political statement in all of this as well. Was it too soon? Or too late for that matter?

Romanticising the Future... Reminiscing the Past

I revisited Columbia University last Friday. Some may remember my last visit there - I was completely engrossed by its beauty and the sheer magnitude that I couldn’t help but get overwhelmed. I knew I had to go back at some time before the college selection process was over and so even though it took ten months, the proper circumstances finally came into being.

Let me start by saying that the basis of the trip came up fairly randomly. I was talking about the school with Ted, a friend of mine from MOUSE and he very graciously offered to accompany me there. I, of course, simply couldn’t refuse and so we set a date.

Finally, a few weeks later, we headed to the university. Along the way we ended up running into a friend of mine from class and his little group which included his mom and some guests.

While I was there, actually exploring the area surrounding Columbia with my friend, we both stood in a very interesting position - we could see the past, as clear as day and at the same time, we were trying to construct a vision of the future. As we walked, we remember all the little events from our 7 years at our current school - trips, awkward moments, random conversations at lunch ~ just all the good times in general. And then, we realized (though I think it was already understood in a way) that we’re about to start the conclusion to our 7 years. The end of all of our journeys together. All in preparation for the next stage of life.

That seems to be a major theme behind all of my meetings with friends this whole summer. There is this aura of remembrance and nostalgia that we can’t seem to wash away. And the interesting thing is that I don’t believe we actually do wish to get rid of it - it very well may be one of the strongest bonds we have to one another so we’re just simply better off allowing it to persist.

In two week's time I will find myself back in the halls of my school, back among everyone. I'm not too sure if what I described in previous paragraph will last, but if not it was still nice while it lasted.

Here's to Senior Year!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Upcoming Library Forum + Language Group Update

I got out of work and dropped by the library today to help them with their preparations. Next week they're holding a forum for one of their volunteer groups that is specifically geared towards technology. Something of which is right up my alley - so much so, that I decided to spread the word about the XOs via a presentation.

One of the planed key points that I wish to emphasize is the ever growing importance of the open-source community. The XOs are a great testament to its power and I feel that it would be a wise way of keeping in check with the theme of the forum - showing the kids there how much opportunities they have in the world of technology.

As I was running through a very bare draft of the powerpont document I was creating to help aid me during ten minutes of attempting to woo the audience - whom are in the same age demographic as I am - to the manager of the volunteer office that I worked with, the conversation found itself upon ways to expand on the topics I was going to speak about, outside of the just the presentation. The idea that came up was possibly holding round table discussions about current issues in the field of computers and such. I would personally enjoy leading this. For one it would be great content to podcast, which is something I would like to get into and second it would be good practice in leading any type of group in an activity, since I'm about to lead language oriented talks. Right now all of this is just thought, but one I'm planning to chase after so check back for more details later.

With that said lets segway into the language groups. It was decided today to move forward with the Japanese group rather than the French. While I would have prefered to focus on French since my school courses in start next week, there is already a pack in the library that deals with it. Also I may be able to draw in more people with Japanese - I think it has more of an alure to most people my age than French. Anime would play a large part in explaining why - most teenagers have come into contact with more Japanese than they have French.

As for the format, while I'm planning to see what I get and go from there I'm definitely going to teach hiragana and katakana, two of the three writing scripts used in the language. I don't care to make much of anything set in stone just yet - merely the basics.

The folks at the library want to see how fast we can have things set up - the goal is to hold the first meeting sometime in October, mainly to give myself enough time to gear up for this. Heres to everything going well. I'm interested in seeing just what I can pull off.*

*Hopefully it will be more successful than may ill-fated blog carnival....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Will you be joining Blog Action Day 2008?

This sounds interesting.

On October 15th, there is a big network blogging event going down and it would appear that everyone is invited. To quote the website:

"Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world's bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion. "

I'm really intrigued by all of this - a well thought out and designed "blog carnival" like gathering to take part in, especially after my failed attempt to organize my own. According to the site's archives they started this event last year with the topic being on the environment. This year's theme is poverty.

So, I now bring to you, my fellow bloggers and alike, this following question: Will you participate? Its for a good cause and will definitely be a great chance to make connections with other bloggers. For those two reasons I'm more than likely going to join. Plus, October 15th is long enough away to start familiarizing yourself with the issue at hand and to begin drafting out ideas.

Now the only problem I can foresee is how am I going to post good material if I'm school? (October 15th is a Wednesday, if I'm not mistaken.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Issac Hayes dies at 65

This weekend is seriously becoming worst than it already was.

Word has come out that Issac Hayes has just past. According to a New York Times article:

"A family member found him unresponsive near a treadmill and he was pronounced dead an hour later at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis, according to the sheriff's office. The cause of death was not immediately known."

A friend of mine had just showed me a picture featuring Mac, Hayes, and Samuel L. Jackson posing together and called it "foreboding". I really do hope that the last surviving member does not follow suit.

And as always, my apologies goes out to family and friends. This indeed has been a very bad weekend - thank goodness its just about over.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bernie Mac is dead at 50

Holy hell. I can't believe what I just read. I was just checking my email when I saw a little alert from The New York Times explaining what happened. To quote that article:

"Publicist Danica Smith says Bernie Mac died early Saturday at a hospital in the Chicago area of complications due to pneumonia.

The comedian suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body's organs, but he had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently had been hospitalized and treated for pneumonia."

I'm so shocked right now its not even funny. My deepest apologies to his family, and to the rest of the American comedy presence. This is yet another serious blow to everyone who loves and enjoys comedy everywhere.