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Odd the missionary looking couple that just came through knocking on everyone's door only said they were looking for native French speakers, and moved on. I don't know of any native French speakers on the block though perhaps if they can find an African family or something. We've got a lot of immigrants on the block, probably well over half the residents, but not from French speaking countries.

Usually if they are looking for a particular language it's Spanish, which is far more common.
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If you hear random bursts of laughter from this direction...

I switched cell phone carriers about a month ago.

I got a email from the old one showing I had a negative balance of about my usual monthly charge from them. I remember being surprised that I would still have a balance when I paid last, but thought I did, I guess not.

So I call tonight and ask about them sending the extra payment back.

The first time I call I had entered my phone number when they asked and the voicemail system says it doesn't recognize it (well duh it's gone), then I got lost in the menus and gave up when I had an incoming call I wanted to take.

So I call back and wait out several rounds of it telling me to input my number or press # if I want to open a new account, and it routes me to a human.

Lady on the phone "Why would you want that?" when I ask about a refund. Why? Really? That is a really what she said. Although she did see and say that I had overpaid by $43 she seemed consistently confused that I would want it back. She put me on hold for a bit and eventually took my information which she says she'll submit. We'll see.

Then at the end of the call she says "Thank you for choosing Verizon Wireless"

um not any more.

I got some confused kitty stares at my laughter too.


Jul. 8th, 2011 11:19 am
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the life cycle of slime mold sort of borders between a unicellular/multicellular creature as well, with no centrifuge needed.
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I went to the district Archaeology museum in the morning. Although it was fairly small, there's always something that gets my attention. This one had more stone vessels than the others as Kalavassos-Tenta and Choirokitia the Aceramic neolithic sites I was describing are in the Larnaca district.
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haru ga kita. spring is coming.
haru ga kita. spring is coming.
doko ni kita? where does spring come?
yama ni kita. it comes to the mountains
sato ni kita. it comes to the fields
noni mo kita. spring comes everywhere

hana ga saku. flowers are blooming
hana ga saku. flowers are blooming
doko ni saku? where do flowers bloom?
yama ni saku. they bloom in the mountains
sata ni saku. they bloom in the fields
noni mo saku. they bloom everywhere

tori ga naku. birds are singing
tori ga naku. birds are singing
doko ni naku? where do birds sing?
yama ni naku. they sing in the mountains
sato ni naku. they sing in the fields
noni mo naku. they sing everywhere

This may be slightly inaccurate, it's as I learned it as a child, not quite as it is on the sheet music,
but I post it and am singing it with wishes that as Spring comes to Japan it brings a rebirth of joy, hope, and beauty for them.

ah YouTube link -- I'm pretty close, just ne in stead of ni for the plurals it sounds like.
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Is Fred Phelps just a total con-man?

Kind of explains some things.
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Until I'm ready to write more - a meme copied from [ profile] ravan

Your rainbow is strongly shaded green, white, and violet.


What is says about you: You are an intelligent person. You appreciate beauty and craftsmanship. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it. People depend on you to make them feel secure.

Find the colors of your rainbow at


Apr. 19th, 2010 09:43 pm
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KTEH is going to stop showing Eastenders next Tuesday!!

I've been watching it since 1986 (when they started showing it here, it started there (UK) in 1985). We've been falling farther behind, so it's mid-July 2003 in the epiodes we are seeing now. It's still going strong in England with 4 episodes a week.

I'm so feeling betrayed, like they are killing - cutting off - people I've known for 2 decades!

I've been searching and not finding, but if anyone has clues how to find episodes from 2003 on, please let me know :(
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The Runaways movie is out tomorrow.
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Ok didn't want to post this too soon. Wanted to give more people who were going to see it, the chance to do that first, but now --

Tim Burton is sooo not all that.

The movie has some pretty parts, but not enough. The 3-D seemed rather flat. The plot jars continually. The ending is deplorable.

The books were written for young children. The movie was made for people much much stupider than that. It was painful. There were 3 or 4 lines that were repeated to death through out. The sort of thing that turns up once in the book and then something more clever or interesting is said. Burton's March Hare does nothing but throw cups, again and again and again. WTF? The children of 140 years ago really were expected to be much more intelligent than the adults of today. It really makes me want to weep.

Wonderland(Underground) and Through the Looking Glass are two different places and they operate under different rules.

the two worlds as Carroll had them and Burton's mess )

Who is the Jabberwock? In the book when Alice first comes Through the Looking Glass there is a poem in a book. It is backwards and she has to hold it to the mirror to read it. It is entitled 'Jabberwocky'. In the movie, the Mad Hatter deliberately misquotes it to her (shudder, that's like nails on the chalkboard to someone who memorized the real thing decades ago) spoilers )

Speaking of grating Alice Kingsleigh? Really? Why? So they could make up any lame shit for the 'real world' part without being haunted by Alice Liddell's furious ghost? here be spoilerage of the 'real world' part )

I thought - well this movie is supposed to be about what happens when an older Alice returns - okay that does give him a fair license to tell a different story. Foolishly I was completely unprepared for how horribly the worlds were butchered even so. It seems like there are many possible stories that could have been told that would have carried the stories on and added intelligently to them. Even if they did insist on combining story elements. This is not that.

Did you like anything? This part's a spoiler ) The graphics early on when she's just gotten into the wilds of Wonderland and is walking among mushrooms and the bugs are flying around. The end credit graphics were very lovely.

yah, that's about it.

I hope the Runaways movie is more fun.
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Tis the voice of the lobster, I heard him declare,
You have baked me too brown! I must sugar my hair.

As a duck with it's eyelids, so he with his nose,
must trim his belt and his buttons and turn out his toes.

When the sanda are dry, he is gay as a lark,
and will talk in contemptuous tones of the shark.

But when the tide rises, and sharks are around,
his voice has a timid and tremulous sound.

Lewis Carroll
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Read the rest of the book at This is from near the end of the book after he describes how and why schools are like this.

Empty Children

Not far to go now. Here is my recipe for empty children. If you want to cook whole children, as I suspect we all do, just contradict these stages in the formula:

1. Remove children from the business of the world until time has passed for them to learn how to self-teach.

2. Age-grade them so that past and future both are muted and become irrelevant.

3. Take all religion out of their lives except the hidden civil religion of appetite, and positive/negative reinforcement schedules.

4. Remove all significant functions from home and family life except its role as dormitory and casual companionship. Make parents unpaid agents of the State; recruit them into partnerships to monitor the conformity of children to an official agenda.

5. Keep children under surveillance every minute from dawn to dusk. Give no private space or time. Fill time with collective activities. Record behavior quantitatively.

6. Addict the young to machinery and electronic displays. Teach that these are desirable to recreation and learning both.

7. Use designed games and commercial entertainment to teach preplanned habits, attitudes, and language usage.

8. Pair the selling of merchandise with attractive females in their prime childbearing years so that the valences of lovemaking and mothering can be transferred intact to the goods vended.

9. Remove as much private ritual as possible from young lives, such as the rituals of food preparation and family dining.

10. Keep both parents employed with the business of strangers. Discourage independent livelihoods with low start-up costs. Make labor for others and outside obligations first priority, self-development second.

11. Grade, evaluate, and assess children constantly and publicly. Begin early. Make sure everyone knows his or her rank.

12. Honor the highly graded. Keep grading and real world accomplishment as strictly separate as possible so that a false meritocracy, dependent on the support of authority to continue, is created. Push the most independent kids to the margin; do not tolerate real argument.

13. Forbid the efficient transmission of useful knowledge, such as how to build a house, repair a car, make a dress.

14. Reward dependency in many forms. Call it "teamwork."

15. Establish visually degraded group environments called "schools" and arrange mass movements through these environments at regular intervals. Encourage a level of fluctuating noise (aperiodic negative reinforcement) so that concentration, habits of civil discourse, and intellectual investigation are gradually extinguished from the behavioral repertoire.
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Sunny Day sweeping the clouds away,
Everybody come and play, everything's a-ok,
friendly neighbors there, that's where we meet.
Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?

I was home sick from school and stumbled by accident on the 2nd ever day of Sesame Street. Loved it right away. Grover's my favorite.

Too bad it's gotten so Elmo-fied and Cookie can't just be cookie any more.

Grover to Kermit after crashing into his rectangle
"It's still a rectangle. It's a wreck and a tangle!"
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at dinner last week... some random people

person from England (who has been here for many years) is saying that Thanksgiving is her favorite American holiday because it's just like Christmas dinner in England.

person sitting next to me is getting upset because she wants to assert the American-ness of Thanksgiving but doesn't know how.

I point out that it's New World foods being cited - turkey, pumpkins, potatoes.

English person - but aren't potatoes from Ireland?


I attempted to explain and was backed up by the rest of folks around, but she really hadn't known. (people involved range in age from about 35-55).
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Scratch a free programming language from MIT.  Made for kids from about 8 years and up.

You can import your own pictures and sounds to it
The programming is all drag and drop.  I think ultimately people should be able to write code from a keyboard, but I see value and FUN in this as a gentle introductory way to get people used to some of the programming concepts before they have to worry about syntax and in just a few minutes you can make things move around, interact, talk.

You can share it with others by posting it to the mit website and sending a link to it. Then most people will be able to play it in their browsers.

download it here
intro page:
examples posted (made by presenter at code camp who teaches this to kids)

I haven't made anything yet, but in the presentation he was making a bee fly around and say 'hooray' (in a talk ballon) when it encountered some pollen (bee was clipart, pollen he drew as 3 dots together in the program) and then he added a recording of a kid from the class buzzing.

It's sort of fun to see how the blocks of code snap together and you can't make syntax errors :) with it.

He also showed us Alice... cool name, and 3-d graphics, but Scratch excites me more and is more easily shared. To share Alice the person you're sharing with has to have it also.

I really think anyone with kids who can read well enough to figure out what the actions say should introduce them to this.
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This video shows some nice images of cave art, mostly Spanish, but some French.
The narration is in Spanish. Very clearly pronounced, but even if you can't follow that the pics are great.

this one was just altamira
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Code Camp is happening a month earlier this year. Eek that means it's this coming weekend.

It's held all weekend (Sat and Sun) at Foothill College.

It's free, but you need to pre-register online so they'll get enough lunches (yep free lunch, usually pizza or sandwiches). Sponsors also pay your parking for this event too.

Registration link -

Program information -
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Which description of landmarks to walk past on the way to the site is more useful if you aren't Basque? Sorry I'm not trying to type the correct accents and ~ in spanish tonight. From the brochure telling you how to walk to Ekainberri from town.

[So does the Basque seem the least bit Celtic? I don't think so.]

Euskara (Basque)

Zubi Zaharra: Erdi Aroko zubi honek (XVI mendea) lotzen zuen garai batean Zestoa Gipuzkoako beste herrietara zihoazen errepideekin.

Lauiturri: iturri honek (XVIII mendea) urete luzetan ase izan du auzoen egarria

Castillian (Spanish)

Zubi Zaharra: Este puente medieval, del s.XVI, es parte de las antiguas vias de communicacion que connectaban Zestoa con el Resto del la provincia.

Lauiturri: La fuente contruida en el s.XVIII, ha atastecido de agua a los vecinos durante anos.

(my attempt at English if your Spanish is worse than mine... other wise ignore -- from the Basque my comprehension was just ??? ???? )

Zubi Zaharra: This medieval bridge from the 16th century is part of the ancient ways(roads) that connected Zestoa with the rest of the province (Gipuzkoa)

Lauiturri: The fountain built in the 18th century has (supplied?) water to the locals for many years.
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Yes indeed in Basque country nearly everyone who said anything to me spoke Spanish. There are a couple of old ladies in Zestoa I'm not sure about. I thought it sounded like Spanish, but was completely incomprehensible. The other old lady I talked to there was definitely speaking Spanish, but very oddly... at least 1/2 of each word seemed to be silent... and she was impatient that I had such a hard time understanding her. Eventually she gave up and started saying "A..." (the "dios" was mostly silent) and waving at me.

At the Ekainberri ticket office the woman spoke to me in Spanish but gave me the Euskara (Basque) version of the flyer with the map to the site. The tour of the site was in Spanish (with all syllables pronounced) and after that we joined a demonstration of prehistoric technology mostly for kids also in Spanish.

The toll takers on the highway said the price of the toll in Spanish. "Cinco cuarente nueve". The products in the supermarket and the pharmacy were labeled in Spanish.

I think I might have heard bits of people speaking Basque to each other, but as expected they basically all can speak Spanish and assume they'll need to with random strangers.

All the subway announcements and official signs are in both.

The Basque ethnology museum had an Orson Welles film from 1955 in English with Spanish (not Basque) subtitles. (Exhibits there and other museums are labelled in Euskara and Spanish).
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