Oct. 21st, 2010

zeborah: Zebra against a barcode background, walking on the word READ (read)
Digital TV is awesome. So is being on holiday. Unfortunately Chinese TV (WTV, channel 28) doesn't have any readily discoverable programme, but I talked to a colleague at work and she's told me all the timeslots she knows of that have Korean sageuk. <bounce>

The channel also has a learn-Chinese segment at 2:40pm which is... actually way too advanced for me: I've never been at a stage where the words for "pumice" and "sinkable wood" and various east Asian trees are the most important gaps in my knowledge and I couldn't follow the conversations at all. The 这是不是。。。呢 and 这会不会是。。。呢 structures they briefly touched on were more my level. OTOH it does bring back a few of the words I learned at uni, so. I'll probably keep watching for the rest of my holiday, but don't think I'll bother recording it after that.

After that segment is over, I change the channel to Māori TV for their 3pm learn-Te Reo segment, which is just about perfect for my level. At one point they mentioned homework and going to the website; I went to the website and couldn't find the homework, but I did find the video summaries of the previous 200+ episodes of the series, and I'm now downloading them to my iPod for revision (one by one; there doesn't seem to be an rss feed; oh well). Yesterday I also watched Te Kaea (news) which is in Te Reo with English subtitles. (Oh, and a bit about the building of the marae at Waiariki Polytech, which ditto. And sidebar: I'm now trying to work out what the excuse of the opposition was for resisting the addition of a kitchen. I'm not surprised that there was Pākehā resistance in the slightest, but what excuse could they possibly come up with? A marae without a kitchen seems to me like a building without a doorway. When you welcome people onto the marae, you have the pōwhiri and then you eat. If the marae didn't have a kitchen, how would the tangata whenua feed the manuhiri? Does not compute!) This is also about right for my level: it keeps me following along enough to familiarise me with the words I just recognise, and confirm/correct my understanding of their meanings, whereas without subtitles I wouldn't know what was happening so would get bored and tune out.


In other learning-something-new-everyday news, I've taken up scambaiting again. (It's a lot more convenient now that Google lets you be logged into three accounts at once. Also I'm on holiday, so I don't know how long I'll keep it up once I'm back to work, we'll see; though I hope I can, because the first week of a scam hardly wastes any of their time since they're just running off a script still anyway.)

Anyway this morning I got an email stating that:
my sister [...] will be coming with me to your country because i am her father and the only family she has now
which, once I switched out of the "mock the mugu" headspace that makes fighting crime so much more efficient, I decided must mean something like "male head of household / legal guardian" or somesuch.


The only problem with the Freeview digital decoder is that when it's on standby it makes a quiet whirring noise which sometimes you don't notice and sometimes you can't not notice it and it drives you up the wall.
zeborah: Zebra against a barcode background, walking on the word READ (read)
Song For Night by Chris Abani
About a boy soldier (trained to defuse mines) separated from his platoon after an explosion. A short and easy read (in style if not in content matter. Trigger warnings re the content: skip) the book includes graphic descriptions of violence and of the protagonist being forced to rape a woman.) told in a beautiful prose style. It explores the sign language his platoon uses, his memories of the war, boot camp, the outbreak of violence between Igbo and Fulani, and his childhood.

Huia Short Stories 6
Huia Publishers put out an anthology each year of contemporary Māori fiction. I'm... ultimately not a fan of contemporary fiction, I think. Melanie Drewery's "Weight of the World" stood out for me among the rest, being more humorous in tone. In the author bios at the end, Eru J. Hart, said he "asks that other Māori writers think beyond stories of 'Nanny in the kūmara patch'" -- his own was really interesting stylistically/structurally but in content it wasn't so very distant from what I'm tempted to call 'Sister in the big city' which many stories in this volume shared (and which I recall studying in high school in the form of Witi Ihimaera's "Big Brother Little Sister" (1974)). This isn't a criticism really; it's just that it's not my kind of story so while reading one is fine, reading a dozen in a row is a bit much for me. :-) But if it's the kind of thing you like, then you'll like it.

(The other cool thing about this collection is it includes four stories written in Te Reo, one of which is written in the Kai Tahu dialect. Far beyond my current ability to read, alas, especially as I think I'd have liked to read "Ko Māui me ngā Kūmara a Wiwīwawā".)

Ruahine: mythic women by Ngahuia Te Awekotuku
This anthology, on the other hand, I really enjoyed. For each story, the author gives a brief summary of the original folktale/history, then tells her own interpretation of it. All the stories are about strong women; several include female/female relationships and one a male/male relationship. And of course the reason [livejournal.com profile] kitsuchi recommended it to me in the first place was because one of the stories was science fiction and full of awesomeness.

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