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04 February 2009 @ 10:02 am
Last night I read a couple short stories out of Neil Gaiman's "Fragile Things" compilation.

Well, I say last night, but in truth it was a few minutes ago (half an hour, tops), because I'll probably post this tomorrow morning (that's today, for all you readers), even though I couldn't go to sleep without at least writing this post down. Good thing I keep a notebook at my bedside for times like this.

Like I said, I read a couple short stories out of "Fragile Things". I bought the book during my last trip to the States back in December, along with a few others (including another compilation of Gaiman's short stories). Of those, only the Gaiman books remain unread - and until today (sorry, last night), not even started. I'm not sure why, but I guess it's the literary equivalent of keeping a box of bombons and only allowing yourself one for special occasions: you know you're going to enjoy it, but unless you control yourself, you're likely to gorge on them and finish in a single sitting and the enjoyment wouldn't be quite the same.

What I like best of Gaiman's work (I'd noticed it with his others books, too, but it only just crystallized enough for me to be able to express it) is the it actually feels real. I know it's fantasy, but it's a fantasy that's just beyond the reach of my fingertips. If I squint, I can almost see Fat Charlie Nancy with his lime, or the marquis de Carabas standing in the shadow of a dark doorway. It's as if the world is divided between "Reality" and "Fiction", and the worlds Gaiman writes about are sort of in a grey area in the middle, where the old myths and fairytales live.

I could give a review of the stories I read (well, two stories and a poem), but I won't because I don't think I'd be able to make them justice. What I will say, however, is that I was affected enough by reading them that I couldn't sleep until I'd put these thoughts to paper. I'll let you draw your own conclusions from that.
03 January 2009 @ 07:33 pm
Well, I didn't want to start the year with Yet Another Annoyed Post (do I ever post anything else, I wonder?), but that's life for you. So, I rant, and you read. Or not, whatever you guys want to do. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

Due to things I'm not going to get into (for fear of rising my blood pressure even higher and bursting something) I had to repartition the computer's HDD, which lost me both my windows and linux installs on my desktop. Seeing as I needed a reinstall anyway, I thought to test out the new Kubuntu, which introduces KDE 4.whatever-version-it-is-this-week.

Now, I've been a fan of KDE for quite a few years, so I was looking forward to seeing what they'd done with the new version. I'd tested Plasma a bit before, installing it in Kubuntu 8.04, and my first impression was that it seemed interesting, if buggy. Very buggy. But, I told myself, that's because it's a trial, and they'll have ironed the most important kinks out of it by the time they put KDE4 in a final release.

I wish I could say it was true, but I can't. Mostly because the Kubuntu i386 CD refuses to install, hanging up in the middle of the boot process. I sigh, download and burn the alternate text-only install disk, and manage to get a somewhat working system. Only, it doesn't detect the graphics card (beyond pestering me to install the nvidia drivers) or monitor, and so it only goes up to 800x600 in resolution. Which looks HUGE in my screen, given that I usually work with a 1280x1024 resolution. And, wonder of wonders, the KDE config interface has been simplified to stupid levels, which means there is no way to solve this except by going into the config files.

I'm not too much of an expert in Xorg config files, but I'm pretty sure they are supposed to have some text in them. The one the current version of Kubuntu uses doesn't, for some reason. So I'm guessing it's reverting to default values and the only reason it somewhat works is because the KDE team did a good job with the default settings.

My annoyance goes up another level as I ask Xorg to generate a config file, and find that, somehow, the process that had always before worked seamlessly fails. Miserably. As in I-tried-to-generate-a-config-file-that-does-absolutely-nothing failure. Well, except creating about 30 different screens for my simple 1-graphics-card-1-monitor setup. I could probably fix it by building a config file using the Xorg.conf manual, but by this time I'm ticked off, so I refuse to do it.

I'm not really sure who fucked up. All I know is that Kubuntu 8.10 doesn't work properly in my computer, and that I'm going to have to spend time fixing it which I could have spent working. Colour me not happy. At all.

Oh, before I forget. Not everything's bad. It did detect and configure my wireless network card correctly, without needing any of the tricks I had to use even in the previous version. So that's a thumbs up for the network manager guys. That's about the only positive point I've been able to find so far, which makes sense considering I haven't spent any time at all trying to work with KDE4, but instead trying to make it work the way it should have worked right after a fresh install.
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
21 December 2008 @ 04:12 pm
Wow, twice in a day! I'm not sure if I'm ill or it's a sign of the apocalypse, but don't get used to it either way :D

Just had to post a link to this:

One Point English lessons for Japanese GIrls: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4RAXd7JgAM

It's way too funny, specially some of the examples :D
Current Mood: amusedamused
21 December 2008 @ 03:03 pm
So, I'm sitting at home, trying to fix a whole host of stupid problems in my computer (including a computer virus I got in a moment of laziness, but that's a whole other problem), the tv on in the background. They're showing a documentary about democracy in Pakistan, which I'm sort of listening to while I work my computer-fu.

Let us forget for a moment that the subject matter is interesting, and the documentary is at least passingly well done (I'd say more if I had a little bit more knowledge about Pakistan's history, which I don't). The documentary is (I think) a BBC production, so it was, logically, translated into Spanish before its showing. And that is where I get annoyed.

To the translators:

If you're going to translate something like this, you guys and gals should know about a little thing called "False Friends". It refers to terms that sound/are written similarly in different languages, but don't have the same meaning. Yes, that happens. Often. No, "contested" doesn't mean the same as "contestado" (which, for those of you who don't speak Spanish, means "answered"). Spanish, you're doing it wrong.

Also, lets extend that to phrases. In general, two languages with different origins will not have phrases with the same structure (for example, French does have quite a few phrases in common with Spanish, because they both come from Latin), though there might be a few exceptions. Please, please, please, for the love of all that's good, don't translate phrases word by word, ok? If I can recognize which English expression was in the original because you only translated the words and forgot about the meaning behind them, I'm going to have to find you and beat you to death with a foam bat (which takes way too long for my tastes. Besides, foam bats can give you foam rabies).

And people wonder why I always try to read books in the original language (at least for those languages I've got a chance of understanding).

ETA: For those of you curious about false friends between English and Spanish, I found this (probably incomplete) list: http://www.saberingles.com.ar/curious/falsefriends.html

Take into account that it's a page from Argentina, where the Spanish they speak is different, so it might not be completely applicable to Castillan Spanish.

30 July 2008 @ 09:53 pm
Alright, so those of you who already know me (that's you, xvmorganalefayv :P), know that I'm going on vacation. I'm going to be haunting NYC for the best part of August, so if you think I'm going to be coming to LJ to post, you're a very confused person and need medical help. Seriously. Not that I do much posting when I'm not on vacation, but you guys know what I mean.

So, see you in September :)
Current Mood: excitedexcited
18 July 2008 @ 10:09 am
Alright, two things that made my blood boil lately:

1.- Reading the paper the other day, I came across an article about some female disease that makes having kids impossible (not sure about the name in English, and it's not that important which disease it is, anyway). So far so good. The fun comes when I read one of the side panels, where they had interviewed one of the women who suffered from this disease. Paraphrasing, it came down to how she "felt humiliated as a woman" because she couldn't have kids.

Oh, no. She didn't just say that, did she? A check of the paper says that yep, she did. Now, I can understand feeling bad because you always wanted to have kids and now you can't. I can also understand feeling bad because your body is not working properly, independently of if you do want kids or not. However, giving birth is a) not the only way to have kids (adoption is not a dirty word, people) and b) not the only reason for there to exist women. 'k?

2.- I was listening to the news a couple days ago, where they talked about The Dark Knight (you know which movie I'm talking about. If you don't, get off my livejournal, please :D ). The commentary talks about all the expected things: Batman, Heath Ledger and his death, etc. Then, in a display of absolute "I don't know what the hell I'm talking about", she closes with "In this movie, Batman faces the Dark Knight". Picture me hitting my head on the desk. Is it too much to expect that whoever writes the commentary does at least a little research? Pretty please? It's not as if the whole f'ing world doesn't know that Batman *is* the Dark Knight.

Yes, I'm probably overreacting, I know. After all, it's only Batman (heresy!). However, if they make these stupid mistakes in a non-critical news piece, who's to say they'll be more strict in the ones which are more critical and where I don't know enough about the topic to actually notice that they're talking out of their asses?

Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
01 July 2008 @ 10:33 am
Heh, you'll have noticed I wasn't kidding when I mentioned my posts being sporadic, by now. >_>

Well, had a bout of insomnia yesterday (well, all of last week, actually), so I took advantage of that to go ahead and do some reading. So many books, so little time...

Anyway, what I've been reading lately is the Trilogie des Fourmis, by Bernard Weber. Last night I finished the second book, Le Jour des Fourmis, and started on the third one, La Revolution des Fourmis. I find them very interesting, in line with his other series I've (partially) read, the one that commences from Les Thanatonautes and goes all the way to Le Mystére des Dieux (sorry, don't think I know the name of the series, or even if it has one).

In the Fourmis series, Weber takes a look at the world and human society through the eyes of an ant, which in Le Jour des Fourmis has been tasked with a crusade for the eradication of humankind due to events in the precedent book, Les Fourmis. However, a group of ants has taken the defense, and even worship, of humans, which causes trouble in the home anthill. Meanwhile, some murders happen in the nearby city, in which the victims seem to have died of terror. These parallel stories manage to keep the story interesting, and lighten what would otherwise be too heavy in spirituality and morality. Weber tends to do that, from what I've seen of his others books. Actually, the only one I have read (well, haven't finished it yet) that doesn't have some sort of murder mystery as the guiding plot is Les Thanatonautes. Though I'd hazard that Le Empire des Anges doesn't, either (I have this one, just never got around to read it. However, I'd have to finish Les Thanatonautes first, and that seems to be taking longer than I thought it would).

All in all, a very good read for anyone who like deep, food-for-thought literature, ala the first books in the Dune series. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone who's looking for good readings in French (I'm not sure if they have even been translated into English, though it wouldn't surprise me, seeing their success in France).

Hopefully, I'll find something to write about without having to wait for another 9 weeks and insomnia >_>
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
28 April 2008 @ 08:19 pm
Well, after a while lurking in certain comms, and aided by the insistence of a certain someone (you know who you are), I finally made a Live Journal account.

I will allow you some time to celebrate.


Okay, that's enough celebration, we don't want to go overboard. Let's see... I'm not a very prolific writer, so expect posts to be sporadic, if anything. Anyone interested in high-volume posters might want to search some other place. Other than that, there might be some posts about things that interest me (books, things to do with computers, music, or whatever else strikes my fancy). People looking for emo whining please seek elsewhere, no drama to be had here, thank you very much (at least, I hope so).
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: okayokay