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:: My Urban Eyes ::

All that I see, and then some.
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:: Tuesday, February 27, 2007 ::

In Style


Not Oscar style, but word style, woo! -_^

I've been reading The Economist's website today--a lot of awesome stuff on there. They've even published part of their style guide, which informs staff writers that "In countries with a presidential system you may run for office. In those with a parliamentary one, stand" and the correct spellings of names such as Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, and Vladimir Zhirinovsky. My favorite section, though, has to do with "Americanisms".

You see, The Economist is a British magazine, so they stick with British spellings such as colour and flavour. In addition they caution against using American vocabularly and grammar. My favorite points:

- People rest from their labours at weekends, not on them and during the week their children are at school, not in it.

- A parking lot is a car park. Use senior rather than ranking, rumpus rather than ruckus,and rumbustious rather than rambunctious.

- In particular, do not fight shy—-as Americans often do-—of the perfect tense, especially where no date or time is given. Thus Mr Bush has woken up to the danger is preferable to Mr Bush woke up to the danger.

- And if you must use American expressions, use them correctly (a rain-check does not imply checking on the shower activity).


It's interesting on so many levels--first of all, the idea that the British are so throughly rejecting changes in the English language simply because they're "American" in origin. I also have to giggle because British English just sounds weird to the American ear sometimes ("he's been taken to hospital" ...the hospital?). But it's also interesting how many deep differences there are. I always knew that a lorry was a truck and a cheque was a check, but I had no idea that "ex-servicemen are not necessarily veterans". (Why not? Dishonor-, er, honourable discharge?)

Want to see how your English fares? Take this quiz based on their style guide to see.

(Note: you may have to watch an ad in order to access the site. It's totally worth it.)

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:: Kazen 8:49 PM [+] ::
:: ... 1 comments | backtrack ::



Comments:
Thanks for letting me know what a lorry was. I listen to Virgin radio from London everyday at work. They are always saying that the road is closed due to an over turned lorry. Now I know what it is. It is different and takes getting used to with their words and sayings. I think I have most of them down but somethings still trip me up. I just love the accent for some reason. I could listen to it all day. Love YA!!!!!!! Aimee
 
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:: Friday, February 23, 2007 ::

The Long and Short of It


I've been skimpy on the news lately... and a lot has happened lately. Well, one big thing.

Mark and I are breaking up. It isn't meant to be, it seems. And to fend off all sorts of questions--I'm fine. I feel like I'm taking this well. One step at a time, always. Thanks for your concern. ^_^

Of course, breaking up with your boyfriend of almost two years is a big thing, but a bigger thing for me is this: what am I going to do next?

Right now we're living together, but seeing as how the rent is twice my salary, I'll be the one moving out. But where to? And to what end? I've been doing a lot of hard thinking about where I would like my life to lead. Which coast do I want to live on? Where do I want to go to college, to study what, and when? What about employment?

My thinking changes every day, but currently I think I'll stay in San Francisco. Yes, I'm an East Coast girl at heart, but I feel like I'm finally learning my way around. And, at seven months, I've been here longer than anywhere else in a long while. (I did a count: I've had ten addresses in the past two years.) It's a lot of packing and unpacking. For once I'd like to make a home. Not a permanent home, but one that lasts longer than a season. Right now I see myself saving up for grad school here, going to grad school... somewhere, then moving to an East Coast city for my career. Maybe a side trip to Japan to gain more fluency, who knows.

While things are changing completely, it's not the end of the world. In fact, the entire world now stretches out before me. And I'm going to take and enjoy every chance I get. Ima senzaiichiguu na chansu ga aru, kamo.

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:: Kazen 8:18 PM [+] ::
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Gosh, I am SO sorry. I wish you the best of luck. You are a very strong individual, and I am sure you will find your way. East coast has some great grad schools too!
 
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:: Saturday, February 17, 2007 ::

Recorder Song




From when I visited an elementary school in Hirakatashi, Japan.

(full size at flickr)

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:: Thursday, February 08, 2007 ::

Water for Her Best Friend




At the Cable Car Bell Ringing Competition, Union Square, July 13, 2006.

(full size at flickr)

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:: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 ::

What I Saw - Movies


I'm looking to throw out extra papers I have on my desk... so where better to put them than my blog? -_^

Movies I Saw in 2006
(at least, the ones I can remember)


- Animation Festival 3
- Borat
- The Bridge
- Clerks II
- Le Petit Lieutenant
- Letters from Iwo Jima
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
- The Prestige
- A Prarie Home Companion
- The Pursuit of Happyness
- This Film is Not Yet Rated
- The Science of Sleep
- Short Bus


Favorites from the list:
Comedy - Clerks II
Drama - Letters from Iwo Jima
Documentary - This Film is Not Yet Rated

Now let's see how many I remember once I hit the post button. -_^

edit [12:25 am]: To clarify, these are new movies that I saw in the theatre. All of the movies I've seen on tv, not to mention the ones I saw in Japan, are not included.

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:: Kazen 10:12 PM [+] ::
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This Film is Not Yet Rated is awesome!
 
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:: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 ::

Websters Made My Night


Growing up in Upstate NY gave me a fairly "standard" American accent, but there are some irregularities. If you want to cringe ask me to say "banana", or worse yet, recite "Dan is a man who's fanning on the sand". My nasal a's will send you running to the beach, telling Dan to give up his sunning and head to higher ground.

The one word, though, that has gotten me into the most trouble is "room", as in, "Would you like some room in your coffee?". Room for cream--a vital question in any barista's repertoire. But when I say it, it sounds like, "Would you like some rum in your coffee?". I get double-takes, puzzled looks, and questions if I'm not careful. ("Room for cream?" and "Space in your coffee?" fare better, though the latter sounds woefully plebeian.)

Webster's online dictionary offers pronunciations of words as sound files on most entries. It's really helpful for tough words you've only ever seen written, or words with many prouncations, like banal. For fun, I looked up room, and lo and behold--a second pronunciation! (Click on the second red loudspeaker icon.) I am backed up by one of the great dictionaries of the English speaking world. No one may ever make fun of my "rums" again.

"Melk", however, is still fair game.

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:: Kazen 10:15 PM [+] ::
:: ... 5 comments | backtrack ::



Comments:
don't let starbucks hear about that. they'll start to require manditory standardized pronunciation. just like that "how to order your coffee" booklet they put out a few years ago ;-). Everyone will end up sounding like the phone-tree lady!!!
 
That's not as bad as my northern-southern accent. No one knows where I'm from. LOL
 
Sorry darlin I dont think there is a standard accent.
 
Standard as in the English you always hear national news anchors speak--it's actually based on the English of the midwest. All has to do when radio first went national waaay back in the day--that's when the powers that be decided Midwestern English was best middle ground.
 
Hence why the traditional phone tree voice is a woman from Ohio - or some other "accent neutral" mid-west zone. Ah well, I screw everyone up down here too, throwing in a few Y'alls and such with my Yankee-Speak.
 
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:: Monday, February 05, 2007 ::

I Love My City


California is pretty forward thinking with its laws, but San Francisco beats even that. With one of the highest minimum wages in the country at $9.14 an hour (totally needed--the cost of living here is insane), I thought I had it pretty good. Now, thanks to a ballot measure voted on last year, I have it even better--paid sick leave. Here are some highlights of the law, from sfgate.

-- All businesses must provide paid sick leave for their employees working in San Francisco. That includes full-time, part-time and temporary employees.

-- Paid sick leave begins to accrue on Feb. 5, 2007, or, for employees hired after that, 90 calendar days after their first day of work.

-- Employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work.

-- At businesses with fewer than 10 employees, there is a cap of 40 hours of accrued paid sick leave per employee. At businesses with 10 or more employees, the cap is 72 hours.

-- Employers with a paid-time-off program can count that as their sick leave program if it can be used for the same purposes and meets the accrual requirements.

-- Employees may use their paid sick leave not only for their own illnesses but to care for family members, including registered domestic partners.

-- If employees have no spouse or registered domestic partner, they may use their sick leave to care for an unrelated "designated person" such as a roommate or neighbor. Employees must be given an opportunity to designate this person once every year.

-- Employers may take "reasonable measures" to verify that employees are using their leave lawfully. It is not considered reasonable to require a doctor's note for all absences.


At the rate of one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, I ought to recieve five hours of leave each month. Not too shabby. In fact, it outpaces my vacation time--I currently earn one hour of vacation for every 50 hours worked. Woah, it more than doubles my vacation time! Yea for this fine fine city of mine.

image credit: Thomas Hawk

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