Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Housekeeping

13 Comments

Updates on stuff I’ve written and your comments.

Simply the best (game).

→ I stopped playing Candy Crush. I got to level 169 without paying for any upgrades and, after a couple days stuck there, I decided I was out. Additional proof that I’ll never be a bona fide nerd: I don’t really get into video games. (N64 GoldenEye and Tetris excepted.)

→ Benedict Cumberbatch offers the famous person’s version of “Leave Me Alone” face:

“If you pick a point far behind [people on the sidewalk] they perceive you as not seeing them, and you’re the obstacle they have to get around. The greatest disguise is learning how to be invisible in plain sight.”

→ This year when I finally found a copy of the Oscars online to watch, I already knew all the good and bad moments, significantly lessening my enjoyment. Maybe next year I’ll try to play The Knowledge and just wait till I can see the whole thing for myself.

An episode of RADIOLAB made me “Rabies!” at my iPod since they mentioned that “right” also means “correct.” Another way that “left” is demonized.

→ Google Translate continues to be the worst and to do more harm than good. To wit, when it’s used to translate menus.

→ Complaining about lack of editing on the Internet is a bit like being angry at the sun for emiting light. That I’m not the only person to poke fun at those who don’t right the write word makes me feel better.

I will always love you.

→ An interesting take on why some of my favorite retailers went out of business from THE NEW YORKER. It wasn’t my fault and is instead due to Americans wanting to buy high-end goods in a luxury environment and low-end goods in a warehouse. Huh.

→ On a related note, I realized why I liked those stores so much: there were no salespeople. I hate being asked if I need help, if I’m finding what I want, if I’d like to see another size. This is another way in which I’m well suited to life in France.

→ More ways to clear out your life. I especially agree about the microwave. “Science ovens” aren’t worth the counter space they take up and make your food taste worse.

→ Elizabeth recommended I read the comments on that NYT article about tortilla and I did. Many were very angry, which amused me, but I’d like to think that part of the ire came from a translation misunderstanding. Spanish doesn’t allow for the distinction between must / should / have to. In English we know that these are degrees on the same spectrum, but Spaniards have a hard time with them, thus, when they give instructions in English, they often sound like commands. More on modal verb forms here.

Topics -> Hot Topic -> Hot Probs -> poor little Heather (McNamara).

→ But the person who was railing against “TOPICS!!” regarding Spanish people and their cooking was digging their own grave. They meant “clichés” which are “tópicos” in Spanish. Sigh.

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Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

13 thoughts on “Housekeeping

  1. We have have a lot in common (or at least two things). I loved playing Goldeneye as a kid AND I hate when salespeople ask me if I need help.

  2. Interesting about Spanish (and looking beyond people on the footpath – I’ll have to try that one, you know, when I’m about to be mobbed by my fans). But back to Spanish – I’m going off to read the comments now, and I’ll have to keep that in mind when I’m next talking to a Spanish speaker!

    • Equivalency in language translation is something that I think about a lot. Most people don’t even realize that there could be differences in degrees of meaning, and the people who might know there are don’t often act on that knowledge. (Since you’re an English speaker, you probably intrinsically understood the nuance between “could” and “might” in the previous sentence, but a Spanish person wouldn’t.)

      And I’m all for giving Spanish people a hard time, but there are some times where it’s genuinely not their fault that they don’t communicate well. I would never comment on a Spanish newspaper site, but these people felt passionately enough about something that they went out of their way to do so. Points must be awarded for effort, even if the execution failed.

      (And you don’t have to be famous to want to avoid people on the street. You just have to want to be left alone.)

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