Archive for the ‘rant’ Category

Local Businesses Don’t Really Want My Patronage.

October 17, 2014

This is one of those things that has irked me long enough that I’m writing it down.  Over a year ago I had to send a UPS shipment with third party billing.  I had no idea how to do this at the time, so I packed up my parcel and went to my local UPS Store ™.  When I got inside, I was simply told I had to do it online.  I would have thought that they might have told me what I had to do to do it online, or had helpful literature instead of just dismissing me, and then hoping I would be back later to drop off my prepaid package for them to process.  Well, I went home, did my research, stumbled through the UPS website to create my account, set up billing, figure out why my printer was trying to print the label for the box about 10x times too big.  Then, instead of going all the way back to that UPS Store ™ I dropped it off at the print shop I used to work at because tey are closer and deal with UPS.  Failing that I’d just take it to my local STAPLES store which is only 1 mile away. (Failing that I’d arrange to have it picked up at my doorstep!)

Then, they revamped my local grocery store which still sold the old Track II razor blades.  They were the cheapest blades around and I keep my handle as a precious relic.  When the store got re-done they stopped stocking my blades. I wasn’t about to graduate to a razor that uses blades about 3x the price of my cheap blades.  Even Walmart didn’t sell them anymore. So I looked online and I now get my cheap razor blades on eBay at a great price.  Might be my imagination, but they also last longer than the store bought ones.

When my wife’s homemade Mountain Dulcimer needed a new tuning head, I drove all the way down to a music shop to buy a new Guitar tuning head.  I was told that they don’t sell them, but they’d be more than happy to repair my musical instrument.  So of course I found someone on eBay who sold them to me at a great price and it was delivered to my door.

As you see  I tried to shop local and was forced to go the internet route.

Asking vs Thinking when Translating

October 2, 2014

I’ve been putting up past projects and labeled tool diagrams on my Esperanto woodworking blog, Ligneroj. As I translate some of the woodworking terms, sometimes I get stuck.  What’s more is that sometimes none of my dictionaries are of any help, I have at least half a dozen, plus a few online sources. When this happens I have the choice of thinking harder, or of asking around of other Esperantists.

The problem is that the other Esperantists don’t tend to be of a technical or hands on mindset so I usually either get something that doesn’t fit the purpose, or a back wash from the way-too-jargon-ish Esperanto picture dictionary. I’m trying to do the write ups for my old woodworking projects in such a way that non-woodworkers have a chance of knowing what I’m saying.  I don’t want to call the threads on a rod ‘helicaj kaneletoj‘ (helical little channels) I want to call them ‘ŝraŭbaĵoj‘ (threads of a screw).

It reminds me of when I took a course in AutoCAD. The text book gave a very techy explanation of what a circle was like ‘a line inscribed a certain distance from a fixed point.’  Most of the time I just needed an answer like ‘a circle is round.’

So today I realized that I needed an Esperanto name for a Thumb Piano.  It’s also called a kalimba.  I had two choices, bring ‘Kalimba’ into Esperanto via the 15th rule of grammar, making it ‘Kalimbo’ or thinking harder for something more descriptive.

Doing some research, I found that the thumb piano came exclusively from the continent of Africa.  More research showed me that a similar instrument, a jaw harp is already named in Esperanto (buŝharpo), thus reinforcing my idea that a ‘Harpo‘ in Esperanto isn’t absolutely restricted to large triangular objects with plucked strings. I always say that Esperanto is a poetic language mistakenly labeled as logical. Calling it ‘Logical’ brings to mind emotionless Mr. Spock. It’s truer to say the language is regular in its grammar.

So I decided the Thumb piano would best be named an African Harp, ‘Afrika Harpo‘.  At least it’s better than the total head scratching that would be brought on by calling it a ‘Kalimbo’ out of the blue with no further description. If  I’d asked others, I’m sure eventually the answers would devolve into how that musical instrument actually has about 15 names depending on where in Africa you were.

A Thumb Piano, or Kalimba which I made for my wife. In Esperanto it is called a 'Afrika Harpo'.

A Thumb Piano, or Kalimba which I made for my wife. In Esperanto it is called an ‘Afrika Harpo‘.

The Koplushia Wiki is Gone :-(

April 23, 2014

A few months ago I checked in on the Wiki that held quite a lot of work about the fictional world known as the Koplushian Alliance.  I was probably tweaking something in the Breehah language because that was a pet project of mine.  A little more recently, I went to look up something and I was greeted with a big ‘NOT FOUND’ The wiki has not been back since.

While I do have much of the core materials fro the Koplushia wiki, even that material is what could be called fist draft.  My friend  and collaborator had made many additions and refinements to the material.  That’s why it was a wiki after all.  Also, my friend had contributed quite a lot to the wiki.  His work is gone.  I’m sure I’m the only one anal enough to save the work in Word documents before putting it on the wiki.

I’m pretty sure the Koplushia wiki disappeared because its server either got erased or taken out of service.  I’ve only managed to find a few other wikis using the URL.

Farewell info on the Vritian Empire, the secrets of the Eruithairkans,  The planet of Arshkerl!  I’ll have remorse for every lost byte of data, every paragraph, picture and word.

Esperantists: Humorless or Just Don’t Get It?

April 27, 2012

OK, this is a bit of a rant.  Months and months ago someone on a forum I frequent put up a pretty fun game called The Universal Vending Machine. The principle is that you put a coin, or any other unit of exchange (including miscellaneous objects and impossibilities) into a totally black vending machine I.E. you can’t see what’s in there, nor what you are choosing, and the poster to the forum after you tells you what food, object, whatever you get from the vending machine. This game has been going on a very long time.  Apparently no one has wearied from thinking up imaginative objects to put in the machine nor of funny or related things to come out.

So I decided  to spread the fun around and put an Esperantized version of it over on, about the happeningest place for Esperantists on the internet.

(sound of virtual crickets chirping…)

OK, I did put it in the humor section, months passed and I thought maybe it would do better in the etc.  section. After all folks seem to be having fun there too.

One guy responded appropriately and then…

(sound of virtual crickets chirping…)

Still wanting to spread the fun around, I gave up and put the English version over on the forums of Where’s George.  It’s been a smash hit since day one.

So, are Esperantists just bereft of a sense of humor, lack imagination sufficient to play the game, or do they just not get it?

The Unlikeliest Esperantist

November 9, 2011

Among the Esperantists who I’ve met/corresponded with/heard tell of I think I’m the least likely candidate to be an Esperantist. I don’t travel, in fact I seriously doubt I will ever travel out of the U.S., except perhaps a short foray into Canada.  I don’t really want to read literature from other lands, unless the Bible counts as foreign literature. I’m not even a talker. I don’t have the urge to talk to people about things.  I like listening.

What I like to do with Esperanto is to try living in it everyday. I like figuring out (or trying to figure out) how to refer to typical homey things in the language. I’m not saying I want to introduce new roots into the language. I’m simply saying that somehow it’s gotta be possible to express everything in American life without making up words like ‘la Valmarto’ (it’s a ĉiovendejo, vendejego, or some such in any case.) If people have to know exactly which store you’re going to just say Walmart as it is pronounced in English and be done with it. If you’re writing in Esperanto at the time, just put it in italics like we do with non-English words in novels.

I’ve gotten myself involved in several projects lately.  I’m involved in the Aŭdebla Biblio project where a bunch of us (I think it’s like 13 now) from all over the globe are recording La Sankta Biblio being read aloud. Eventually these sound files we be collected into an Audible version of the Bible in Esperanto.

I’m also on the team that get’s to translate the scripts of Christpher Mihm, so that he can add an Esperanto sound dub to his classic style films.  We just finished the last one, The House of Ghosts,  and I get the distinct feeling that this time he may have the actual cast voice their characters in Esperanto instead of having us do it.  This would be good as Mr. Mihm has much better sound recording equipment.

Now it looks as though I volunteered to help proofread a revision of Peter Benson’s Comprehensive English-Esperanto Dictionary. This is going to be a cool project as I love reading a dictionary, be it in English or Esperanto (yea, I know–Weird! tell me something I don’t know.)


Definitely Better on Paper!

August 10, 2011

A place I frequent purchased several of those satellite controlled atomic clocks with the idea that they would keep better time and not require the arduous re-setting twice a year at the time change.  Well, it doesn’t quite work that way. The clocks are evidently stuck in some temporal rift which doesn’t correspond to our reality, they are almost always an hour off even though they are set to our time zone.  When the secretary sets it to the correct time, it re-sets itself over night to be an hour off again.  Seems to me it would have been simpler to just buy a normal battery operated clock and re-set it twice yearly.

Nice work if you can get it

March 30, 2010

It’s raining here in New Jersey again. This always brings to mind the brilliance necesary to design almost every parking lot so that water collects in a gigantic puddle right in front of the doors to any store. Hasn’t anyone ever considered a drain would go well in these spots, or perhaps sloping the parking lot away from the door, so that only the cars have to drive through it?

While I’m on that subject, why do they always make the lane right in front of the store a main thoroughfare for the speedsters to fly through? It’s where pedestrians are most likely to be after all! Well distributed speed bumps near the entrance to stores would be a great help.

Our Lowes has an oddity as well. As you walk in the door, there is an inner door to enter the store, and another to enter specifically for returns. No matter how you walk, the ‘Returns’ door opens as you walk towards the inner door. What’s with that?  They’re both on separate sensors.

I feel better now.


February 19, 2010

An LBP is anything which in reality isn’t very efficient, useful, or sensible, but which probably looked like a great idea on the drawing board, I.E. on paper. LBP is my abbreviation for ‘Looked Better on Paper’ and I attribute it to anything which just doesn’t work like someone might have expected.

The one that occurred to me this morning is the new, modernized Monopoly game where all the prices and money are corrected for inflation. All the properties are changed too, being the result of polling the public. The part about it that just doesn’t work for me is all the added zeroes to the money.  Just try doing subtraction in the millions of dollars to make change on the fly!

I like Monopoly, even the special ones that my daughter has, such as My Little Pet Shops, but the new modernized one is a big LBP.

Fortunate Me

January 19, 2010

When I was going to grade school, I never realized how lucky I was. Having seen the two schools my wife has taught at and my daughter’s school, I now realize I really had it good (as far as school buildings go.)

My grade school was built the same year I was born, so it was a mere 5 years old when I was enrolled in Kindergarten. We had 2 kindergarten class rooms and they were each self contained with a walk-through coat closet and boy and girl bathrooms. Even our paved play yard was separated from that of the ‘big’ kids. There was a center island in front of the coat room with a big basin sink and a water fountain.  All this was in our room.

From first through fourth grade we used classrooms on the first floor. Each room had a basin sink with a water fountain. We had a coat closet and a rolling tool card called ‘T4C’ (Technology for Children) Memories of this cart are why I’ll be teaching my daughter a bit about tools and woodworking this spring..) Our bathrooms were located in the center of the wing and the boys room sported automatically flushing urinals. They worked on a counting button on the door.  I know this because I once saw one of my classmates climb up and press the button continually to make them flush.

The grades 5&6 were on the second floor, along with a special room for what we used to call ‘retarded’ kids.  Except for bathroom calls, they stayed in their room which was even equipped with a kitchenette. I presume they ventured out to go to the gymnasium.

The ‘Specials’ wing had an all purpose room which served both as the gymnasium, auditorium and lunchroom.  The tables and benches folded up into niches in the walls.  It was neat to see it done. The janitor had a special key that unlocked them from the wall. This room also had a stage at one end.

We also had a dedicated chorus/general music room and a band room.

An addition was put on this building some years ago, so I can’t vouch for its continued efficiency.  One can hope.

Anyway, I think about these things because my daughter’s and my wife’s schools both have bathrooms that look like they just happened, not planned in their current spaces. I’ve always heard how this or that closet was converted to a classroom. I was truly lucky in my childhood to have a nice new efficiently designed school. About the only thing I could say bad about my school was that the flat roof leaked in hard rain.  Who convinced them that a flat roof was a good idea in New Jersey I shall never know.

Betwixt and Between

January 19, 2010

Sometimes I feel that I choose my hobbies poorly. They seem to contradict each other. I like to register my paper money on, but I also strive not to have singles (Georges) because I try to use dollar coins wherever possible. Also, I occasionally stamp an ‘ad’ for dollar coins on the reverse of my singles in the hope it will spur someone on to asking their bank for dollar coins (and then hoping they will use them, thus getting them into circulation a bit more.)

I’m also an Esperantist and a Lutheran (Missouri Synod). Esperantists tend to be left leaning folks. Lutherans (Missouri Synod) tend to be right of center on many things. This puts me at odds (in my mind) with those who speak Esperanto. (One of my fellow Esperantists was ranting away one on politics and indirectly called me a fascist.  (He didn’t know my political leanings at the time.))

This of course puts me about where I’ve always been, on the outside of the group. I’m even on the fringe of my railroad buddies because I specialize in the railroad stations, not on the locomotives.  Ah well, Jen la vivo.