Saturday, February 20, 2010

Du llu espic ingliss?

From an email someone forward to me. Good to know when I can be lazy and substitute an English word while sounding sophisticated at the same time. ("lifting" is cosmetic surgery, not lifting weights, right?)

Desde que las insignias se llaman pins, los maricones gays, las comidas frías lunchs, y los repartos de cine castings, este país no es el mismo: ahora es mucho, muchísimo más moderno.

Antaño los niños leían tebeos en vez de comics, los estudiantes pegaban posters creyendo que eran carteles, los empresarios hacían negocios en vez de business, y los obreros, tan ordinarios ellos, sacaban la fiambrera al mediodía en vez del tupper-ware.

Yo, en el colegio, hice aerobic muchas veces, pero, tonta de mi-, creía que hacía gimnasia. Nadie es realmente moderno si no dice cada día cien palabras en inglés. Las cosas, en otro idioma, nos suenan mucho mejor. Evidentemente, no es lo mismo decir bacon que panceta, aunque tengan la misma grasa, ni vestíbulo que hall, ni inconveniente que handicap…

Desde ese punto de vista, los españoles somos modernísimos. Ya no decimos bizcocho, sino plum-cake, ni tenemos sentimientos, sino fellings.

Sacamos tickets, compramos compacs, comemos sandwiches, vamos al pub, practicamos el rappel y el raffting , en lugar de acampar hacemos camping y, cuando vienen los fríos, nos limpiamos los mocos con kleenex.

Esos cambios de lenguaje han influido en nuestras costumbres y han mejorado mucho nuestro aspecto. Las mujeres no usan medias, sino panties y los hombres no utilizan calzoncillos, sino slips, y después de afeitarse se echan after shave, que deja la cara mucho más fresca que el tónico.

El español moderno ya no corre, porque correr es de cobardes, pero hace footing; no estudia, pero hace masters y nunca consigue aparcar pero siempre encuentra un parking.

El mercado ahora es el marketing; el autoservicio, el self-service; el escalafón, el ranking y el representante, el manager. Los importantes son vips, los auriculares walkman, los puestos de venta stands, los ejecutivos yuppies; las niñeras baby-sitters, y hasta nannies, cuando el hablante moderno es, además, un pijo irredento.

En la oficina, el jefe esta siempre en meetings o brain storms, casi siempre con la public-relations, mientras la assistant envía mailings y organiza trainings; luego se irá al gimnasio a hacer gim-jazz, y se encontrará con todas las de la jet, que vienen de hacerse liftings, y con alguna top-model amante del yoghurt light y el body-fitness.

El arcaico aperitivo ha dado paso a los cocktails, donde se jartan a bitter y a roast-beef que, aunque parezca lo mismo, engorda mucho menos que la carne.

Ustedes, sin ir más lejos trabajan en un magazine, no en un programa. En la tele, cuando el presentador dice varias veces la palabra O.K. y baila como un trompo por el escenario la cosa se llama show, bien distinto, como saben ustedes, del anticuado espectáculo; si el show es heavy es que contiene carnaza y si es reality parece el difunto diario El Caso, pero en moderno.

Entre medias, por supuesto, ya no ponen anuncios, sino spots que, aparte de ser mejores, te permiten hacer zapping.

Estas cosas enriquecen mucho. Para ser ricos del todo, y quitarnos el complejo tercermundista que tuvimos en otros tiempos, solo nos queda decir con acento americano la única palabra que el español ha exportado al mundo: la palabra “SIESTA.”

Feeling old today

Question from my six year old: "Daddy, were you born in the time of the Greeks or in the time of the Romans?"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Don't make me fix those blinds!

I've been fighting with our landlord about fixing the electric rolling blinds that keep detaching themselves and getting stuck.

After "fixing" it for the third time, the latest excuse is that the blinds breaking are normal wear and tear and not something he is responsible for fixing.

"So are you giving me permission to get them fixed then?"

"Of course"

Muhahaha...

So now, thanks to two tubes of epoxy, some wire and a couple old shoelaces, those blinds are never going to get stuck again.

Ha! That'll teach 'em.

(Still waiting for a response about the beetle problem. Luckily they don't seem to like IKEA furniture particle-board.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Five years in prison for noise pollution

One of these news of the absurd type of stories, where a former Barcelona bar owner is convicted of noise pollution and sentenced to five years in jail.

Holy crap. Noise pollution? In Spain!? What's next, jail time for bears shitting in the woods?

The hilarious (well maybe not for the owner) part was that the noise levels were measured to be a whole 43.7 decibels. Enough to cause severe psychological problems (as claimed by the neighbors)?

Here's a table to help you out:

50 dBA Refrigerator at 1 m distance, bird twitter outside at 15 m distance
45 dBA Noise of normal living; talking, or radio in the background
43.7 dBA Go to jail for five years
40 dBA Distraction when learning or concentration is possible
35 dBA Very quiet room fan at low speed at 1 m distance
25 dBA Sound of breathing at 1 m distance
0 dBA Auditory threshold

Does this mean five years in the big house for my neighbors with the annoying yapping dog?

I wish.

Attack of the beetles

While walking down the stairs at night, I had a rather unpleasant surprise when I felt something moving on the railing. I turned on the lights and saw a nice little hole bored into the railing, with two long antennae sticking out.

In the morning, there were several more holes, each with a confused looking beetle sticking his head out.

The railing itself is painted solid white and has been undisturbed for at least three years.

Weird.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pouring milk from UHT containers

Even after two years of practice, I still seem to be incapable of pouring a cup of milk without having to clean up that one little drop of milk that went flying out of the glass.

Is there some kind of trick I'm missing? Or does Scotch-Brite have some kind of deal with the dairy industry?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Myths and misconceptions about learning a second language

An interesting paper about best practices when teaching a second language to children.

One point that struck me regarding English speaking kids who are put into French immersion in Quebec:
English-speaking children in late immersion programs (in which the second language is introduced in grades seven or eight) have been found to perform just as well or better on tests of French language proficiency as children who began their immersion experience in kindergarten or grade one.
Combined with this report, it makes you wonder about the wisdom of forcing immigrant children into immediate Catalan-only immersion:
The first predictor of long-term school success is cognitively complex on-grade-level academic instruction through students’ first language for as long as possible (at least through Grade 5 or 6) and cognitively complex on-grade-level academic instruction through the second language for part of the school day, in each succeeding grade throughout students’ schooling. Here, we define students’ first language as the language in which the child was nursed as an infant.
I'm happy to know that my children will be able to blame our move for any upcoming academic failures.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Back in Spain

It seemed like Barcelona was the destination of half the people on my flight out from San Francisco yesterday. The World Mobile Congress is a big deal and it's great to see our city in the world spotlight. Don't forget to see Stephen Fry and Duran Duran.

I was shocked that there were no landing announcements in Catalan. Kind of funny since Spanair is now 80% owned by a Catalan group of investors.