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Aug 27

TV, Books and Writing

Posted on Thursday, August 27, 2015 in My life

The third season of The Bridge (Bron), will soon be on Swedish tv. This time I really should be smart enough not to watch it. I should have learned my lesson from watching the first two seasons. I watched the first season and disliked it, particularly the ending. Despite that I went on to watch season 2, out of boredom and because the first episode was actually very interesting and exciting. The rest weren’t, but I stupidly continued watching until the end, that again, I disliked more than the whole rest of the series. By now, I should really learn from my experience.

At least there are a few other series I can watch instead.

In other news:

Since I wrote the Vera fanfic, I have also written two short original stories. It’s amazing, and I wouldn’t have guessed I’d be able to, only a week or so ago, but unfortunately, I’m not at all sure I’ll be able to finish the three books I’m working on and definitely not get started on the fourth book and two collections of short stories. I’m not really that inspired. It’s just something to do.

Today, I also discovered that I actually can borrow the two Maria Lang/Dagmar Lange mysteries as e-books – as long as I get a library card in a small town not far from here. I could get one right away, the next time I go and I might, but since I also might move there or closer to there, I think I’ll wait until I actually do move (which will be very soon, hopefully) at least if we can find a reasonable good house. We’ve already looked at a few, but none of them were a good fit for us.

In that town there’s also a really great supermarket with lots of locally grown (organic) vegetables and fruit. It’s the best shop I’ve seen anywhere. Finally, there’s also a very nice, but a bit expensive cafe.

Feb 16

Then it hit him…

Posted on Monday, February 16, 2009 in Other

Found this on a news site:

With regard to gay sheikhs some years ago a young friend of mine went to work at his uncles company in one of the Emirates. He was introduced to the local sheikh, and carefully remembered the greeting the sheikh gave him in Arabic so he could use the form when meeting other dignataries. It was only after he had been using the phrase for a few days that somebody translated it for him, and he realized why everybody had looked at him so strangely when he repeated the sheikh’s greeting to them. The translation of the phrase was “Mm, you do have a lovely arse.”

Reminds me of another similar story. One of my mom’s colleagues was married to (still is, I presume) an engineer who worked a lot in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates etc. This guy was a real jerk, and I couldn’t stand him. Anyway, he told his wife the following story from his work. The guy in charge of the workers referred to their crew this way: “Those guys, all they do is f***.” And my mom’s colleague’s husband thought to himself. “Funny. I didn’t think there were any women on site.” Then it hit him… “Oh, right. Duh.” When I heard this, I couldn’t stop laughing.

Oct 15

Papers or trash?

Posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 in Other

My mom loves to read the morning papers. The paper editions, not the online versions. Since I’m frequently bored, I usually read them too, but I’m not nearly as enthusiastic. Why? There are several reasons, actually. One: it wastes enormous amounts of paper, kills trees and contributes to the destruction of our forests. Besides, in the morning it’s news, in the evening it’s trash. Another reason is that there are all these supplements. Some – like the one about culture – are fine, but the majority – about cars, buying homes, sports etc – are just trash, right away. Worthless spam that my mom has to pay for. That’s why I really like the online versions better. I get to read what I’m interested in and I can leave the rest. Except for the ads, that slow the site down until they drive me crazy, but that’s another story…

Feb 3

Studying Languages

Posted on Saturday, February 3, 2007 in Humanities

I love to learn new languages or work on the ones I already know a little. Unfortunately, apart from Swedish (naturally) and English, it’s quite hard to get practice. You really should go to the country where the language is spoken, and preferably for a long time – six months, a year, or more. If you can’t do that – and I can’t and I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to – there are some other things you can do.

Almost every day I read the news online. Not just ordinary daily news, but about all the other things I’m interested in. When it’s possible, I try to read the news in as many languages as possible. For instance, I get my daily news stories from a site called EuroNews. There I can read the same news story in French, Spanish, Italian and German. That helps a lot and if I need more help, I use an online service, like Altavista Babelfish.

Technology news and ecology news are trickier. Those are just two of the things I’m interested. Usually, I can only get those news stories in my two first languages. When I can, I try to get those stories in French and possibly Spanish – my two “second best” languages. That doesn’t mean I like some languages more than others. It’s just that these are the ones I’m a little better at, than German and Italian.

Another thing I do, is read books. So far, that’s only in French. I try to get a good book I’d like to read and then I buy it in French. In fact, I don’t think the series of mysteries I’m into now have even been translated into Swedish, and most likely not into English either.

Last year or the year before, I found out that a Chinese book I wanted to read was only available in one Western language. Fortunately for me, that language was French. That gave me the opportunity to read the book and practice one of my languages at the same time.

One of the best things you can do – other than staying in the country where the language is spoken or talking to a native speaker – is chatting or emailing with a native speaker, or posting at some online message board or forum or in an internet group. For a while, I had the opportunity to chat with a Frenchman. That was really useful. I could use expressions that were a little more difficult than I usually dared to, because I got instant feedback. If I was searching for a word, I could ask him. Of course, emailing is good too. You’ll need to use a dictionary, but it’s probably best if you can express yourself at least on a basic level without help. It’s more difficult if you need to use the dictionary all the time.

Of course, you might ask yourself what possible use I could have for my studies. In strictly utilitarian/economical terms probably not. I’m not planning on moving to another country, though I used to think about that a lot, some years ago. It’s possible that I might get a job here in Sweden, where I’d get to use some of my languages. Of course, I’d need to be completely fluent. I’m only fluent in English (and Swedish), not any of the other languages. Not yet anyway.

What I’d really like is to become a translator, but that’s not going to happen. I write books in Swedish and English, but I doubt if I’ll ever be able to write that well in any of the other languages.

Despite that, I think my language studies are ‘useful’. At least it keeps my brain active. Besides, it’s a lot of fun. Nowadays, there isn’t much I find ‘fun’, but reading, writing and using languages in some way, really are.

Reading about history is another thing I enjoy. Reading – not studying. Music is another of my interests, but the only reason I mention that here, is that listening to music can actually help you with your language studies.

When you listen to a song, you can try to translate the lyrics inside your head. Music is an aspect of a country’s culture, so by listening, you might learn something about the country where the language is spoken.

These are just a few things you can do to practice your languages. None of this is very expensive. If you can’t afford to or don’t have the time to travel, you can try doing what I do. Of course, that only works when you’re not a complete beginner. On the other hand, there are supposed to be excellent online courses or courses on CD:s and DVD:s, but that will be a lot more expensive.


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