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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Strange Dreams

Very strange dreams of late.

Last night, for exmaple, I found myself at the theatre in Sheffield, or maybe it was a lecture hall. One of the staff from my department, Takeda Sensei, was there, speaking fluently in Greek. Her friend had just opened a Greek restaurant, and asked her to announce to us, in Japanese, that we would now be watching a short video about how to prepare a fish without turning it over more than once - preserves the flavour you see.

Earlier in the evening I'd been at a cafe with friends, when William, the old tramp who used to live in a ditch near our school (he really did, had a little tarpaulin home in this great culvert type thing. He was a bit scary to us children as he had a dog that liked to bark and look vicious. When I worked at Wormelow Stores my boss would sigh whenever he entered - as he never washed he stank the place out; I seem to recall he lived on Baked Beans which can't have helped much), er, anyway, he came in to this cafe and started to dip his filthy fingrs in my cup of tea. I was reluctant to scold him, scared that he might turn his dog on me. Eventually, when he'd had enough of his little game, I went and got another cuppa.

The other night I went away with all my classmates. I guess this was connected with the fact that we're all off to Japan over the next couple of weeks! In my dream, we all went together, and ended up in this chalet-type place. It was all a bit summer-camp-esque. I remember one (now ex-) classmate kept on prodding me with a Squirrel finger puppet. I always did think of them as a wee child!

Speaking of classmates, I note that we now number only 16 or 17, having started off with about 47 in September 2004. So that's, let me see, a 63% drop-out rate. Hmmm.

Phoned KLM yesterday to confirm a few bits and bobs. We DO get 30kg of checked-in luggage allowance for some reason, although the woman said she doesn't know why as most pasengers with our sort of ticket only get 20kg (could be thanks to Gendai Travel?). Regarding hand-luggage, a particularly sensitive issue following the revelations earlier this month that a group of terrorists were planning to bring down a load of planes by forcing the pilots to consume vast quantities of gone-off semi-skimmed milk, which would then give them the runs meaning that both pilots would have to spend hours on the loo thus resulting in planes falling out of the sky due to a lack of people at the controls, we are limited to 10kg. This is ok, except for the fact that the dimensions of said carry-on luggage must be no greater than those of a laptop carrying case. We're talking 16cm x 35cm x 45cm. How one is supposed to get 10kg in something that size I don't know, but boy will I try!

Rather bizarrely, apart from baby milk and window cleaner, the only other thing you aren't allowed to take on board is key fobs - the type you unlock your car with. Laptop computers are no problem. A little odd, me thinks. Still, this is a good thing of course, as it means I need not be parted from my baby during the flight.

If I can't fill that bag with items that have a combined weight of 10kg, I shall add a couple of lumps of lead.

Check-in for us begins in Orcop, via the old wind-up internet, at 5.15am on Sunday, the second that e-Checkin opens! Having consulted a diagram of the plane, we have chosen our seats (11D and 11E). Ideally we'd like to be in row 77, but those are First Class Executive with a complimentary masseur and a celebrity of your choice for company, so it's unlikely we'll be able to nab them with our economy status.

I've decided to take the precautionary step of upping my intake of Epilim over the next couple of weeks. Tiredness and stress are what trigger my epilepsy, and I want to make sure that I don't end up fitting all over the place. Wouldn't make a great impression upon *Twinkle's* family (whom I meet in, er, under 96 hours) if the first thing I did upon entering the house was to fall to the floor, flash around breaking various precious objects, then bite my tongue off, thus not have the abilty to apologise post-epi. The last time I had a major series of minor seizures was last summer, upon my return from Japan. It seems that my body is not too keen on crossing time zones.

It's very weird to think that by this time next week I will have already been back in Japan for 2 days. *Twinkle* and I have established an agreement that we will not use English to communicate with one another as of halfway across Siberia. It's going to be so tricky to break my habit of giving up on trying to use Japanese when it's so much easier to use a language that we are both essentially fluent in. I need to get over my fear of making mistakes and sounding stupid, the curse of millions of language-learners worldwide.

Am I allowed to talk about my Mac again? Well, considering this is MY Mumle I don't see why not. Well, just a shorty:
I can't quite get over how clever Mac's are. I am staggered by the gulf that seems to get wider every day between the dinosaur that is Windows XP, and this beautiful Mac operating system. Spotlight, the built-in search engine is amazing, and the way it integrates into the system (through things like smart folders) changes the whole way you work. I thought Google Desktop Search was good - until I bought my Mac. Automator also knocks my socks off, by allowing me to create my own workflows (like macros), I have been able to carry out tasks in seconds that on Windows XP would have literally taken hours. I love the way you can attach actions to folders - no more tedious resizing of images depending on their destination (TGW / Flickr / Photo library etc), it's all done automatically when the camera is plugged in. Of course, all these things are possible on Windows if you have the software and the patience (and at times, programming knowledge) to set up the systems, but with a Mac, it' so quick, and it's so easy that even I can do it!

It also has a very nice screensaver that makes you feel high and happy without the need for the intake of drugs.

Basically, if you need a new computer, buy a Mac!

Anyway, I'd best get on. A million and one things to do before I pop on down to Bristol this afternoon.

tarra!

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1 Comments:

Anonymous vedekandy said...

>>I need to get over my fear of making mistakes and sounding stupid, the curse of millions of language-learners worldwide.
<<

You're not kidding me. I vividly remember the only time I tried to use any Japanese at all in my time in Japan (other than Arigatou, of course - hell, even I can manage that!). I saw a display in a store and wanted to take a photo of it; so I asked my friend Emma how I would go about asking, to be oplite and everything. She wrote it down, and off I went. The phrase "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" meant nothing to me.

I politely asked, or tried to whilst mangling their language as a dog might maul a small child (and it got the same reaction, I assure you). They looked confused - I guess the woman I asked thought I was asking to take a photo of HER - and I then tried to show her the bit of paper that Emma had written. Not a fat lot of use when it was in Romaji - cue even MORE confused looks. I gave in and did the traditional English tourist thing - I pointed to the camera, pointed to the display, and waited for an answer.

I have NO idea why I just typed all that now - I guess anything's better than work :D

31/8/06 21:53  

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