kaigou: so when do we destroy the world already? (3 destroy the world)
Two stories now that I really would've liked to like, but the more I read of each, the harder a time I had with them. Here's the relevant parts from each teaser. From The Lascar's Dagger:
Saker appears to be a simple priest, but in truth he's a spy for the head of his faith. Wounded in the line of duty by a Lascar sailor's blade, the weapon seems to follow him home. Unable to discard it, nor the sense of responsibility it brings, Saker can only follow its lead.

And from The Alchemist of Souls:
When Tudor explorers returned from the New World, they brought back a name out of half-forgotten Viking legend: skraylings. Red-sailed ships followed in the explorers’ wake, bringing Native American goods--and a skrayling ambassador--to London. But what do these seemingly magical beings really want in Elizabeth I’s capital?

The problem is that in both cases, these seemingly magical beings are real people.

I've run across lascars a few times in my own research, but they're not a well-known culture in the west. Wikipedia has a halfway decent entry on them, which summarizes things well enough:
A lascar (Lashkar, Laskar) ... was a sailor or militiaman from the Indian Subcontinent or other countries east of the Cape of Good Hope, employed on European ships from the 16th century until the beginning of the 20th century. The word comes from the Persian Lashkar, meaning military camp or army, and al-askar, the Arabic word for a guard or soldier. The Portuguese adapted this term to lascarim, meaning an Asian militiaman or seaman, especially those from the Indian Subcontinent. Lascars served on British ships under 'lascar' agreements. ... The name lascar was also used to refer to Indian servants, typically engaged by British military officers.

Despite much digging on my part, there isn't a lot of Western/English study on the lascars. )
kaigou: this is the captain. we may experience turbulence and then explode. (3 experience turbulence)
Okay, this is for [personal profile] brainwane. The idea is to take some facets of the AAS conference and apply them to tech, as a way to incorporate people who might not normally present on their own.

The first thing to note is that each panel is run by a moderator, and other notes about how the panels were set up at AAS. )

If I think of anything else, I'll add it. Let me know where/when/how to send you the full post, B, although I reserve the right to cut a lot of this wordiness the hell out! I also expect [personal profile] starlady and [personal profile] branchandroot will probably be able to weigh in, too, being academics.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (2 candy mountain)
Sidenote: I think I got a stress fracture in my foot last monday. Foot's definitely reacting like it. I've been getting these off/on (in either foot) since 4th grade, so I'm pretty blase about it. It was a little more complicated by the fact that on Tues/Wed, my team at work had a major offsite team-building/innovation thing that I absolutely could not miss -- followed by four days in Philly for the Association of Asian Studies (AAS) conference that I absolutely refused to miss. I tried to minimize the walking on Tues/Wed, with minimal success, but there was no minimizing any walking between airports, hotel, going from panel to panel, and then going out to find things to eat. Only got to go to Chinatown once. If I hadn't been limping so much by that point, probably would've spent a lot more time in Philly's more-than-a-block Chinatown.

On the plus side, coming back, I somehow lucked out and got on TSA's pre-boarding. No more shoe removal! Which was both good and bad. Bad, because I really really wanted to take the boots off (I wore hiking boots in the possibly-false hope that some compression would help) and good -- because if I had taken the boots off, there was a good chance I'd simply not put them back on. My hiking boots have the least flex in the sole, which in this case is a good thing.

But enough about me. Some random observations about AAS. )
kaigou: Happy typing on mac. (1 Hyperbole and a half)
Times like this, I'm reminded of one of the earliest non-fiction books my parents gave me. The Weaker Vessel was authored by Antonia Fraser, better known (at the time, at least, from what I gathered) as a romance writer. One with intense research skills, though, who in the course of doing some historical digging on a new novel, ended up with enough data to write a serious doorstop tome about women's roles before, during, and after the English Civil War.

Sometimes I feel like I'm on a similar track, myself. Except my instinct is: I should take all this info and put it into a searchable database.

Saving notes here, collected from various academic articles/essays. This will probably interest exactly zero people, other than me. )
kaigou: this is the captain. we may experience turbulence and then explode. (3 experience turbulence)
These thoughts have resurfaced after the most recent atrocity, but I'm mostly thinking out loud about something tangential. If you've got a bone to pick about gun control or gun rights, I'll be blunt: not interested. Leave the bone-picking for your own journal. Second to that, if you're not American and want to tell me all about how other countries (including your own) do it, then maybe you should leave that to your own journal, too. America has its own culture and that culture, it seems to me, is a big part of the complexity of the issue.


A month or so ago at an acquaintance's house, on the wall was a large shadow box that held what looked like two matchlock short rifles. They looked a bit early for Rev War, since I'm pretty sure the serpentine had been surpassed by the flintlock by then, but whatever. I didn't see any other hunting or historical memorabilia, so I figured it was handed down through the family. It's the usual reason for the occasional "gun over the fireplace" I sometimes see -- it was someone's grandfather-so-many-times and used during whatever war. (Ignoring the fact that the absolute worst, worst place to store a gun, or anything of wood/metal combination that you want kept in good shape, is over a freaking fireplace but whatev.)

But that reminded me of a Persian rifle, I think it was, that CP got a number of years ago. It's a piece of art. Really. It has intricate chased silver up and down the barrel and all over the place, every little detail is beautifully done, and the wood is a gorgeous gleaming deep red. It's absolutely a testament to craftsmanship, just on looks alone, and it deserves to be seen and enjoyed. Not as a "this could kill someone" but simply as a thing of beauty, the same way that if someone did that to, say, a circular saw (now there's a scary thought), I'd be wondering why it should stay in the garage. I'd want to find a way to display it in the house, too. Some craftsman put a lot of effort into beautifying what was really just an everyday tool at the time, and I respect that.

Guns, history, Americana, anti-gun and pro-gun perspectives, guilt, the Veteran's Administration, and various other contemplations. In short, the usual. )

At some point I'll come up with a witty tag to note when something is book-length. Wait, do I have one of those already? I can't recall.
kaigou: Happy typing on mac. (1 Hyperbole and a half)
I'm not dead, just been focused on a major project (went live yesterday, whee), and in the meantime, realized that I couldn't exactly frame an argument between characters over the best (oceanic) route to take if I didn't actually know the timeframes it'd take to get from one place to another. And then I realized that I didn't even know if the between-island route I'd drawn was even possible. I mean, there's the straits of Bosporus (the inspiration for the route) but it's also an insane strait with a 90' turn in the middle, and I'm writing the age of sail.

I ended up calling my best friend's husband, who's been sailing since he was only yay-tall, did time in the navy, and went on to do lots with tall-masted ships. I'd been trying to research ships, but most of the stuff out there seems to assume you already have a clue. (Shrouds? stays? sheeves? euphroes? what the hell?) That was an hour's chat on Sunday and my head is still reeling.

Not the least of which is getting over the not-so-mild terror at the sheer thought of ever being on a freaking flight control of an aircraft carrier -- not exactly at water-line, here -- and having waves so big they're crashing INTO the flight control windows. HELLO.

As if that wasn't enough, he then described going through Hell Gate (a stretch before Long Island Sound where two rivers and the ocean and a few other rivers all meet in one place and you end up with eddies, whirlpools, horrible mixed-up currents and let's not forget the submerged rocks). I had unintentionally mapped out basically a mix pretty much identical to Hell Gate's setup, but I've also been through a similar one, too, in Sydney. The conflux of ocean tides and the multiple river-mouths in Sydney harbor create a wacky spot in the middle where all the currents meet, and even the massive Staten-Island-sized ferry we were on got tossed about like a cork. The ship had several minutes of serious rapid tilt (about 45' in one direction, and then 45' in the opposite direction and then back again in a heartbeat). K commented that if you're ever going to get seasick, you'll definitely do it going through Hell Gate or similar. Since I didn't even feel queasy on that ferry, I felt a little better about it, but I won't lie and say I wasn't absolutely petrified all the same.

I don't know why I keep ending up writing about sailors, when the very notion of being over water where I can't see the bottom puts a fear greater into me than just about anything else I can name.
kaigou: (1 Izumi)
[Site-name redacted since that's not the issue.]

I think I'm getting what they're saying, and I'm not sure I'm liking it, so maybe I'm missing something. What does the following mean, in real-world non-fancy terms? Or at least, what's your impression of what it (might) mean?

"By displaying or publishing ("posting") any Content, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, profiles, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, "Content") on or through the Services, you hereby grant to [site], a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services. This license will terminate at the time you remove such Content from the Services. You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the Services or otherwise have the right to grant the license set forth in this section, and (ii) the posting of your Content on or through the Services does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights or any other rights of any person. You agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owing any person by reason of any Content posted by you to or through the Services."
kaigou: And now I, chaos butterfly, shall flap my wings and destroy the world! (2 chaos butterfly)
[Note: get a drink and have a seat. This is almost up to my usual levels of longwindedness, but this time, I do have a point! Other than the one on the top of my head.]

I came across an insightful comment the other day while researching, and the comment resonated with me strongly in light of the requirements compiling I was tackling at the same time.

"If you're not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold." -- blue_beetle

Think about that for a bit, but first I want to run past everyone some of the thoughts bouncing in my head as a result of researching Delicious, Diigo, Pinboard, and various other (past and present) bookmarking applications. One particular journal entry (from 2008) compares Delicious and Diigo, though I'll rephrase some of the author's conclusions, since I think he got his main summary backwards. Here's the basis of his argument, thought:
Delicious, an original web 2.0 company, still has “user-generated” as its core raison d’être. Diigo has the later-stage web 2.0 philosophy of being a “social network”.

In essence (and to undo the backwards of his summary): Delicious is grounded in using content to find users, while Diigo emphasizes using users to find content. Somehow, I'm not surprised that so far, of the folks replying to my informal poll, that most of you have indicated that you follow the content and then, as a secondary step, discover like-minded users -- seeing how many of you have said you preferred old!delicious and don't like or care for the diigo approach.

Granted, these two things (users, content) are intertwined: you find a tag you want to follow, you start seeing the same names pop up, you realize the same people are marking things you're also liking, and you may switch your focus from the tag to the user, in hopes they'll lead you to even better stuff.

Here's the crux, though: what is the actual product?

This shit ain't free, y'know. Servers and storage and developers and designers don't just grow on trees. It's got to be paid for, either in cash or in kind or in stock or in some way, but usually cash since most landlords & mortgage companies don't accept vegetables, these days. If you see a product that you can consume, and it's free, someone paid for it. Maybe not you, but someone: NSTaaFL, after all.

Let me step back here, to the days when I first found an investor, wrote a business plan, and opened a bookstore... and other commentary about the dot-com and post-dot-com business models. )

More thoughts later. For now, it's your turn.
kaigou: (2 start drinking heavily)
1. We went back again last night, and I finally had bibimbap. Omg, so gooooooood. I think this is what they meant in high school when they said IT ONLY TAKES ONCE AND YOU'RE AN ADDICT.

2. Book-searches last night, taking the recs from all ya'll, and [personal profile] firecat's suggestion to read up on [community profile] 50books_poc and then went browsing through Amazon on top of that. Apparently, if you're going to set a book in Asia, especially the Far East, then you have to have "dragon" in the title. It's like naming a Chinese restaurant: two from column A, one from column B: lion, golden, palace, peking, etc. Except in this case it's dragon + generic verb or noun that'd be used in any other thriller/suspense. Add a "The" and you're set. Strangely, this also appears to apply to espionage/thriller works set in Indonesia, Indochina, Malaysia, and Singapore, but not works set in Japan (which get "sword" and "chrysanthemum" and "samurai" instead). I haven't found any Western-written espionage/thriller works set in Korea, though, so no idea whether the pattern, or what pattern, holds there. Still, it got pretty annoying after the twelfth title. Sheesh.

3. Now reading The Skull Mantra, which is well-written but so freaking bleak. (Not to mention awfully, ahem, pointed -- not critical per se, just plain pointed -- about China's role in Tibet and PRC politics in general, enough that I started to feel a little uncomfortable. Yes, I know it's a totalitarian system, but it just feels... something feels off to know such criticism is coming from an outsider, if that makes sense.) I figured get the depressing one out of the way, and then start on the rest. Maybe I should go ahead & reserve the next batch now, so it'll be ready by the time I finish this batch in the next day or so.

4. Local friend, invaluable resource for finding good spoons. Yay.
kaigou: (1 buddha ipod)
my local librarians are either going to hate me, or just stare at me with blank expressions. also, this numbering is in order of addition to the wish list, not in order of preference. ETA: bold = interlibrary/local; italic = not available; # = local library; underline = author avail but not that title; neither = read/reading.

1. The Hell Screens — Alvin Lu
2. Death of a Red Heroine — Xiaolong Qiu
3. The Eye of Jade: A Mei Wang Mystery — Diane Wei Liang #
4. The Midnight Palace — Carlos Ruiz Zafón
5. The Age of Dreaming — Nina Revoyr
6. Southland — Nina Revoyr
7. Feng Shui Detective — Nury Vittachi
8. Moonrise, Sunset — Gopal Baratham
9. Shadow Theatre — Fiona Cheong
10. White Teeth: A Novel — Zadie Smith
11. Life and Death are Wearing Me Out: A Novel — Yen Mo
12. Nervous Conditions — Tsitsi Dangarembga
13. Wizard of the Crow — Ngugi wa Thiongo
14. The Heart of Redness: A Novel — Zakes Mda
15. Running in the Family — Michael Ondaatje
16. My Name Is Red — Orhan Pamuk
17. Salt and Saffron — Kamila Shamsie
18. Burnt Shadows: A Novel — Kamila Shamsie
19. The Skull Mantra — Eliot Pattison
20. The Calcutta Chromosome: A Novel of Fevers, Delirium & Discovery — Amitav Ghosh
21. Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was — Angélica Gorodischer
22. The Dervish House — Ian McDonald
23. The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad — Minister Faust
24. The Alchemists of Kush — Minister Faust
25. The Devil's Whisper — Miyuki Miyabe
26. Chinatown Beat — Henry Chang
27. Babel-17/Empire Star — Samuel R. Delany
28. The Day Lasts More than a Hundred Years — Chingiz Aitmatov
29. The Mistress of Spices: A Novel — Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
30. My Soul to Keep — Tananarive Due
31. Brown Girl in the Ring — Nalo Hopkinson
32. Cast in Shadow — Michelle Sagara
33. Racing the Dark — Alaya Dawn Johnson
34. Salt Fish Girl — Larissa Lai
35. Fatal Remains — Eleanor Taylor Bland #
36. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress: A Novel — Sijie Dai
37. Mama Rocks the Empty Cradle — Nora DeLoach
38. The Walking Boy: A Novel — Lydia Kwa
39. When Fox is a Thousand — Larissa Lai
49. Warchild — Karin Lowachee
50. The Hero's Walk — Anita Rau Badami #
51. Miss Chopsticks — Xinran
52. The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories: China from the Bottom Up — Yiwu Liao

I have no idea whether 'Minister Faust' is a real name or pen name, but it's a freaking brilliant name any way you look at it. It's a name that demands you do great, if kinda crazy, things.

If you can think of any other SF/F works, or any of these titles make you do the "if you like that [story description] you may also like" routine, please feel free to rattle off the "also likes" you've got.
kaigou: the kraken stirs, and ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. (3 the kraken stirs)
(No, this has nothing to do with any plans for world domination. JUST ASKIN', really.)

What happens if more than 50% of your country's tangible property -- land -- is purchased/owned/occupied by nationals of another country? I mean, is there any scenario in which you could visualize or rationalize or imagine buying out a country? Or maybe just causing significant political shifts (assuming it's a multi-party and/or non-authoritarian regime)? Or... what happens when refugees from another country completely overwhelm the existing population (numbers-wise)? Could you end up with such chaos that the country ends up in a state of quasi-claimant by the nationals of a second country?

Feel free to reference books, movies, other fiction that's addressed such ideas, or your own experience and/or theories, academic or just fantastical, or real-world political, economic, financial, etc.

[Consider it purely curiosity on my part, but probably a curiosity that's buttressed by my own culture's assumptions that a nation is made up of its people & its land, which is where the foregone conclusion resides that a massive paradigm shift of people & ownership would have to, therefore, affect the nation as a whole.]
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
Still waiting to hear from my dad about his mother's chocolate cake recipe (and his rhubarb pie recipe, just because it sounds bizarre but it's best evidence to cite of making pie from anything) -- but here's my Mom's (and now also my) favorite bread recipe for when guests come to visit. I could've sworn I'd posted this before, but apparently not. Bread recipe behind the cut... )

This is not a bread that's ever kept well when I've made it, simply because there are always two-legged rats willing and able to devour the bread as soon as it slides out of the baking pans. This is also why I always make a double-batch, which gets me three large loaves, two medium loaves, and two small loaves: that's the only way to make sure there'll be some bread leftover for me.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (5 bookstack)
Watching Jin and there's talk of a cholera epidemic four years before the show (a time-travelling history work) takes place -- that would be the massive cholera outbreak of 1858, apparently. In the show, there's word that cholera has returned and naturally the population of Edo (and the few doctors, especially those trained in Western/Dutch medicine) are panicked about it.

Naturally this prompted another foray into wiki and beyond, into pdfs and google-books history analyses and texts, because hell if I know jack about cholera. It's just not an illness I've run into, or that has ever been a threat, in the part of the world where I live (though it does continue to be a threat in many other parts of the world). I had thought it was a virus, but it's not; it's a bacterium.

Doesn't that mean that if you were exposed to cholera and managed to be one of the one-in-two to one-in-twenty who survived (honestly, a 50% death rate is just unfathomable)... that your body would have developed the antibodies? Wouldn't that mean that epidemics would be separated by generations, because it'd take time before a large enough percentage of the population existed that had not been exposed? So you might have an outbreak four years later, but wouldn't it be substantially smaller due to a large part of the (surviving) population having developed antibodies -- in other words, city-newcomers and young children would be struck, but anyone who'd been around four years earlier might not be affected?

Or do bacteria mutate, such that a return of cholera could actually be a different strain? I know viruses mutate (and that's why they're so difficult to treat and/or inoculate, something to do with having to inoculate against the specific virus and if you're exposed to a different strain, the inoculation does little to nothing)... but I thought the life-cycle of bacteria changes was much slower, comparatively. At least, that's my uneducated reasoning, given how long it's taken bacteria to develop antibiotic-resistance. (I thought viruses develop a resistance much faster, because they change/mutate faster.)

Just curious; hoping someone might know because I'm failing at the google to find any article that answers that specific question.

Incidentally, wiki also notes that in terms of treatment: "Rice-based solutions are preferred to glucose-based ones due to greater efficiency." I wonder who first realized that, and was able to compare the two. I presume someone in Asia, since I doubt a rice-based anything would've been first on the list in Europe, rice not being a major staple of diet for most of European history. At least, that's my guess. Hell if I know, really.

Man, watching historical dramas (from any country) always ends up with me running to wiki to look stuff up, even moreso when it's not my own country's history. Get into time-travel stories and it's even worse, because characters will know or reference something and I'm lost. Although this time, at least, I got that one reference -- when the from-the-now doctor asks a young woman of Edo, "what year is it?" She replies, "the second year of Buncho" (something like that). He draws a complete blank -- he's a doctor, after all, not a historian. He waffles about, trying to figure it out, then lands on a definitive historical landmark: "have the black ships arrived?" Ah, she answers, that was ten years ago. Ahaha, do the math, it's 1862.

The show's full of nice little touches like that, like when the young lady offers to run back and get the medicines she'd missed. The doctor -- with patient at hand, needing attention -- asks how long that'll take. She replies, "a moment." How long, he asks, is a moment? She says, indignant, "a moment is a moment." Frustrated, he finally asks, "how much of the day will pass?" We take "hours" and "minutes" for granted now. It's almost incomprehensible to think of a time in which there's no knowledge of the passage of time, even when we don't have a clock right there on our wrist.

Well, incomprehensible... but not nearly as much as trying to fathom a disease that took out one person in every twenty.

(Incidentally, some of the epidemiology articles I've found suggest that Japan's deathrate was lower due to the Japanese habit of boiling water prior to drinking.)
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (5 bookstack)
A bit ago I posted a link to an author's advice on Trying to Write the Southern Accent, and one of the comments reminded me of one of my favorite childhood stories... and its problematic representation of Southern Black American (and former-slave) speech. I quote, from the original:
"Didn't the fox never catch the rabbit, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy the next evening.

"He come mighty nigh it, honey, sho's you born--Brer Fox did. One day atter Brer Rabbit fool 'im wid dat calamus root, Brer Fox went ter wuk en got 'im some tar, en mix it wid some turkentime, en fix up a contrapshun wat he call a Tar-baby, en he tuck dish yer Tar-Baby and he sot 'er in de big road, en den he lay off in de bushes fer to see what de news wuz gwineter be. En he didn't hatter wait long, nudder, kaze bimeby here come Brer Rabbit pacin' down de road--lippity-clippity, clippity-lippity--dez ez sassy ez a jay-bird. Brer Fox, he lay low. Brer Rabbit come prancin' 'long twel he spy de Tar-Baby, en den he fotch up on his behime legs like he wus 'stonished. De Tar-Baby, she sot dar, she did, en Brer Fox, he lay low.

"Mawin'!" sez Brer Rabbit, sezee--"nice wedder dis mawnin'," sezee.

Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nothing', en Brer Fox, he lay low.

"How duz yo' sym'tums seem ter segashuate?" sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.

Brer Fox, he wink his eye slow, en lay low, en de Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' nothin'.

It's much easier to find revisions of this text than the original. One of those revisions posted online has a forward that says, "Harris retold the fables in the dialect used by the African slaves. Later retellings, such as the version of the story given here, have been in standard English, which makes the tales easier to read but takes away the charm of the original."

If you read the revised versions (behind the cut), you'll see what I mean: I don't think they realize where the so-called charm comes from. I do think it's true that the original exoticizes the slave dialect a great deal. It's so extreme, it alienates the reader, like it's letting you in on mysterious (getting near on Magical Negro territory, here) Other-stories, and your ticket to play is paid by the time you spend parsing out this unfamiliar not-English... but the exotic is not the source of the story's charm.

[That said, I should also note that while Harris may've propagated the image of the former slave as somewhere between lyrical and illiterate, he did also do a great service for later linguists, in putting so much effort into authentically and faithfully recording the actual speech. Even if he did do it via phonetic spellings, some of which are just plain baffling (I never have figured out what 'segashuate' means, but I think it might be 'suggest') -- he still managed to notate historical and actual speech patterns. Before him, most had discounted slave-speech as just Bad English, instead of understanding it as a communicative and evocative language in its own right. Some of the linguists even imply that had Harris not set the precedent, it might not've been until the WPA Historical Records Survey that anyone would've captured a contemporary speech record. In that sense, as difficult as the text is to read, to linguists and historians looking for long-standing patterns in the African-American creole, it does have value as a kind of historical record.]

Two edited versions, a few explanations of some of the phrases/words, and childhood memories of a Georgia storyteller. )
kaigou: pino does not approve of where the script is going. (2 pino does not approve)
It's crazy, the things you never realize about language, when it comes to translations. How do brains work on two tracks at once? What lies in the heads of all those people at the UN who can listen, real-time, to one language and simultaneously speak the same meaning in a different language?

Hell, I can barely manage it for a word, maybe a single phrase, and then my brain breaks. But more than that, slowly working my way through corrections is really making me think (which, okay, is a something I like) about what words and phrases mean.

For instance, the phrase: I feel bad when... In French, this has been translated as je compatis -- which really means, "I sympathize."

Immediately, I recall the phrase a lawyer/linguist friend used to tell me: "I empathize but I do not sympathize." In other words: I feel your pain, but I don't feel sorry on your behalf. What does it mean to say, "I feel bad"? Does it mean sympathy -- as in, a feeling of shared pain/upset? Or does it include an element of regret, as though one is responsible for it: I'm sorry this happened to you.

You feel bad on someone's behalf without actually feeling responsible for the situation, which is what I'd consider empathy -- but the distinction between the two words (sympathy and empathy) is one that's frequently lost on many readers. Both are mentally translated (it seems to me) as "I feel bad", hence the ambiguity.

Talking it over with CP, and I suggested "I'm bothered when..." but as he pointed out, "bother" has a connotation of annoyance. In other words, "I'm inconvenienced when..." and that's not the same at all. Then we thought of "I take it personally", but that implies that the situation is causing one to be on the defensive. Just what are you taking personally? If it's "I take it personally when a friend is upset," does this mean you're feeling yourself guilty for their upset, or are your personal feelings because you're upset on your friend's behalf?

So perhaps simply, "I get upset when my friend is upset." I suppose most people would say that's sympathy (it's actually empathy), and then we're back to the beginning. Though CP suggested taking it down to the actual meaning: do you share the upset, or are you upset only by extension?

Perhaps "I share my friend's reaction..." is less ambiguous. Hm. I wonder what that is in Spanish.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (1 iguana)
If the police/authorities bring someone in for questioning, but have not charge the person with a crime, can they take fingerprints? Or is that considered invasive or violating rights or potential self-incrimination if they do so before formally charging the person?

...Not just the US, that is, if you're not US and you have any vague idea of the procedure where you live, then I'd be curious to hear that, too. Mostly because I like police procedural dramas, in any language, and the "we think he's this guy (or he looks just like this other guy)" mistaken identity (or non-mistaken undercover schtick) is a common plot-step the world over, it seems. And since that would so easily be cleared up by a set of freaking fingerprints, I'm wondering when I should see the non-fingerprinting as accurate for a culture, versus a plot-hole.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (4 pretentious with style)
This is being passed along/asked on behalf of [personal profile] taithe -- you can read what prompted these question in this thread (from the previous post). Slightly modified to be more universal for Southerners in general:
Who is defined as a Southerner? When not in the South, can you spot a Southerner right away or is it less obvious? If you live outside the South, do you feel like you don't/can't belong because of your Southern background? How closely do you think you match the stereotype of Southerner, and do you think this impacts how well you fit in -- or don't fit in -- when living outside the South? Alternate for those who've always lived/stayed in the South: can you identify when someone's a returning Southerner versus a newcomer picking up Southern habits? If so, what's the tip-off?

Formally speaking, "being Southern" has two-parts, or so I was always taught: born, and bred. Technically, I'm not a born-Southerner (thanks, DAD, the military guy!) because I was born in North Dakota. I'm completely bred-Southern, though, since we returned to the Deep South when I was six months old, and I lived in various places in the South until I was in mid-twenties. Beyond that, I have multiple generations in all directions who are born-and-bred Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, so generally... yeah, I'm pretty Southern.

Rest of my answers behind the cut. )

If you don't mind [personal profile] taithe using your comments as possible jumping-off or consideration points for grad study, and want to contribute with your own stories/input for her questions, please feel free. If you'd prefer anonymity, you can go with anonymous here (I'm hoping that's okay, for taithe's purposes), or just PM [personal profile] taithe directly.

If your experience has differed from mine, especially do speak up. The South is hardly monolithic and I'm nowhere near an expert on All Things Southern, so do feel free to help me make sure no one gets that impression. Let's freely contradict each other, if that's what it be.

[see comments for additional response/questions from [personal profile] taithe]
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
Saving this for later use, rather than keep the tabs open for any longer:

Knowledge is the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity and is often gained through experience or association. In other words, it's what you already know.

Intelligence is the ability to learn or understand or deal with new or trying situations. In other words, it's the ability to successfully apply your knowledge.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (2 heero solider)
Came across this paper: Gender Differences In The Chinese Language: A Preliminary Report by Marjorie K.M. Chan, Ohio State University

Summary: "Research on language and gender interaction is well into its third decade and yet there have been surprisingly few contributions from the Chinese language to the explosion of cross-linguistic literature on the topic. This paper brings together both scattered observations and detailed published works on Chinese to provide a preliminary report on gender differences in the Chinese language."

I recently finished watching Sweet Relationship [美味關係 / Mei Wei Guan Xi ], which I'll review/comment on later, but just wanted to mention in light of the linked paper: the lead actress, Patty Hou, was criticized in an online review for having 'odd pronunciation' that the reviewer found annoying -- for being too precise. Perhaps, the reviewer said, this was because Hou was previously a newscaster (that is, had wrong/different training than an actress). Me, I found Hou's accent to be very familiar -- she reminded me strongly of the coworker who used to tutor me in Mandarin. (X. had a bachelor's in radio communications from a PRC university.) Hou's tonal inflections, like my friend's, are softer, yet she enunciates clearly. As my mother might say, Hou 'moves her mouth' -- something I can't say of many other Taiwanese actors and actresses (especially when you contrast male Taiwanese actors' near-constant slurring dropped-tones versus the extreme pitch-inflection of male PRC actors).

And here's a bit from the first section of the paper, about just that. For info on the meaning of [v], see the wiki page on labiodental consonants. In this case, the [v] means the labiodental is a 'veh' sound, where you make the sound by putting your lower lip against your upper teeth to make the start of the sound. There are a number of labiodental consonants, but you can check the page to see the rest of them.
Interestingly, in Taiwan as well, one frequently hears news broadcasters using [v] in their speech, and this is typically (though not exclusively) produced by females. Such production is not accidental, as one trainee for television news broadcasting in Taiwan recalls. In her news broadcasting class at TTV in 1989, trainees were separated by sex, with female trainees taught by female instructors (and presumably male trainees taught by male instructors). In her all-female class, the trainees were asked to repeat and imitate their instructor, who used [v] in such words as yi wan ... Those who pronounced such words using the plain labial approximant, [w], were corrected by her. ... In Taiwan and mainland China, news broadcasters are often females. Shih (1984:224) attributes the greater use of female announcers to their more standard pronunciation and clearer enunciation. [Female newscasters also speak with] with steadier pitch (less pitch flunctuations) and in a lower and deeper voice... (Shih 1984:225).

And then, for those of you familiar with aegyo (see previous post with link spammage, for a link to a series of blog posts that went into depth on aegyo)... I came across behavior/speech in another drama that was almost identical to what I'd seen in kdramas. Honestly, for the first few minutes of the actress speaking, I couldn't even register her words as Mandarin, because she sounded like she was speaking Korean -- all nasalized vowels, drawn-out with complete exaggeration, and rising/falling tones where I least expected them.*

Check this out:
Gender differences in pronunciation may also be studied in association with a particular communication style, such as sajiao (撒嬌), analyzed by Farris (1995) in present-day Taiwan's setting. The sajiao style, which she describes as the adorable petulance of a spoiled child or young woman who seeks material or immaterial benefit from an unwilling listener, is analyzed as being marked for the feminine gender. Farris (p.16) reports on a friend's observation of a very nasal style in young unmarried women's use of sajiao with their boyfriends. Farris argues that the sajiao style indicates women's indirect and informal power in Chinese society; at the same time, it serves as a means to create and maintain that form of power.

...Zhang (1995) prefers the definition in the Modern Chinese Dictionary (Beijing: Commercial Press, 1979), namely, to deliberately act like a spoiled child in front of someone because of the awareness of the other person's affection. Zhang observes that in both mainland China and Taiwan, sajiao is a communication style that is typically used by children to their parents (to refuse things demanded of them or to get permission to do things prohibited by them), and by adults to their lovers or spouses (as a kind of romantic play)...

If I ever ruled the world and could change linguistic deliveries with one sweep of my hand, it would be to outlaw this style of petulant ultra-feminized delivery. I hear it, I want to KILL it. DED.

* by the 5th or 6th appearance from her, I started muting my speakers rather than listen to her. Thank the heavens for subtitles, because it was that or reach into the screen and seriously bitch-slap her for talking through her nose. Of a choice between listening to someone whine versus listening to nails on a blackboard, I'll take the freaking nails, any day.
kaigou: (1 buddha ipod)
Women in Movies and TV: Why Does Hollywood Always Portray Women as Weak and Helpless?
So brainwashed is the public that women should always be portrayed as weak, hapless and defenseless, that a most-brilliant Nike commercial was pulled shortly after it was aired on TV: Woman is sleeping. Man with chainsaw breaks through front door. Woman bolts awake and escapes through window into the dark. The chainsaw man storms through house and out same window. Woman is running through woods. Viewer hears chainsaw man in pursuit.

But something is peculiar here. The woman is running with beautiful strides, easily clearing forest-floor obstacles, and doesn't stumble! The scene switches back and forth between the agile woman and the increasingly out-of-breath man. Woman continues to run effortlessly, while man eventually slows, panting heavily, stops completely and can barely catch his breath.

Next scene against a black screen are the words: Why sport? It just might save your life. Nike. Just do it.

This brilliant ad was pulled because of complaints it was "offensive." Shame on anyone who complained. These overly sensitive viewers just couldn't grasp the concept of a woman outrunning a man. Yet I wonder how many of these feeble-brained viewers have enjoyed movies and TV shows showing women clumsily running from men, then tripping and falling, then being captured by the men.

A solid rant, with several good points to keep in mind when it comes to those damned drama wrist-grabs. Sheesh....and more. )


kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

October 2016

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