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Learning Hebrew Apr. 12th, 2031 @ 02:07 pm
So, in preparation for an upcoming trip to Israel, I'm trying to learn enough Hebrew to read street signs and not get ripped off by cab drivers*.

I've studied Japanese, so I'm very familiar with "you should just know to do this" type rules (counting objects in Japanese is an exercise for the brave). That said, Hebrew assumes you know the vocabulary before you know the letters. Sure, they technically have glyphs for vowels and diacritics to identify hard/soft consonants... but no one uses them in real life. You are expected to know. So, basically, if I don't recognize a word (which is true for approximately 100% of words), I'm going to have to go through every permutation of vowels and consonant types I can remember until the person I'm talking to figures it out. If I was learning to write as well, I would have to handle the fact that there are consonants pronounced *identically* to each other (as in, they are indistinguishable to native speakers) but encoded with different letters in different words.

This puts the Italians' lack of being able to understand me until I improved my accenting to shame. On the positive side, there are only 27 characters and many of them resemble capital Greek letters enough that they're free to learn :) I still can't do the 'kh' with any consistency, but it's coming along.

This is day 1. I'll likely feel better about the whole escapade on day two. :)

* Also, my advisor, who is fluent in Hebrew, offered to write me signs to take with me... which made me think of WWII orphans waiting at underground platforms with names and directions pinned to their jackets. So, basically, I'm learning beginner's Hebrew to avoid being eaten at a railway station.

Anime Recommendation Apr. 8th, 2031 @ 03:00 pm
Apparently I do still find the occasional anime series interesting past half an episode*. Death Note is the first series I've seen in some time that has caught my attention and leaves me waiting for the next disk from Netflix. There are fantastical elements, but they are kept bound and the focus of the story is squarely on character development and psychoanalysis. It's a fairly dark series: the per-episode body count is generally in the scores, but isn't unnecessarily graphic or violent. There are (so far) no mecha, obnoxious women, gratuitous anthropomorphized sidekicks, or romantic plots. People are killed whom you don't expect to die, and the two main characters are both very smart, which leads to plot twists that are very entertaining to try and predict. As a bonus, the writer of the series works under a pen name and his true identity is unknown.

Apart from the lack of mind-grabbing soundtrack, this reminds me of Noir, another series with a high body count, few annoying characters, and (generally) well written plot.

* While I did make it through an entire episode of Rin, I think that had much less to do with the story quality and more to do with being immobilized by plaster.

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[Local] de Young Post-Impressionist Exhibition Sep. 23rd, 2030 @ 02:33 pm
inferno0069 and I are planning to check out the Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsa exhibition at the de Young on Saturday. The exhibit also has works by Monet and Renoir, if you're into that sort of thing :P. We have tickets for 3pm. Anyone who wants to join us should buy your tickets early: the morning is already sold out!


Friday the 13th! Aug. 8th, 2030 @ 11:24 pm
avani: Damn we've got a lot of booze.
pabw: Didn't we tell people we were thinking of throwing a party next weekend?
avani: When did next weekend become next weekend? Wasn't it just 2 months ago?
inferno0069 What do you think we could do to celebrate Friday the 13th?
avani A party!!!!

Everyone: Party!!!!

Haphazard, sudden, and always unpredictable, the residents of the Stupidly Tall House Cordially invite you to our first Friday the 13th party.

But wait!

  • Who's going to come?:
  • Why should they come?:
    • inferno0069: Board games! Mint! Drinking! Mint! Rock Band! Mint! Piano! Mint! Food! Mint!!
    • avani: Let's make a Google Sky Map planetarium! Blank White cards! Talk to interesting people late into the evening!
    • pabw: Board games, Board Games, BOARD GAMES!

  • How will they look?
    • avani: People should dress unlucky!
    • inferno0069: Lucky cats are cute... but they might have to sit in the corner (the corner with all the booze!)
    • pabw People should wear clothes. Or not, but it's cold here.

  • Where? When? How?: Friday the 13th (This Friday), 703 Solano Ave, Albany, 94706. 7pm to Late. There is a fair amount of street parking, and we can also pick you up from El Cerrito Plaza BART. Plenty of crash space available.


Little Tokyo Food Tour Part 1 Jul. 5th, 2030 @ 10:37 pm
Yesterday, we took a SixTaste guided eating tour through Little Tokyo. Little Tokyo, for those unfamiliar, is the largest and likely soon to be last "J-Town" left in the United States. The tour was very informal (no uniforms, signs, flags, or any nonsense like that) and the group was mostly composed of hungry engineers.

When I signed us up for a three and a half hour walking tour, I assumed there would be a little more walking and a lot less eating. Instead, we probably walked a total of .5 miles and ate 4 full meals along with 3 desserts.

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Other entries
» [Meme] Movies
From frankwu , mostly because I want to be able to refer to this list, as the movies I *have* seen off it have been fun to excellent.

Leonard Maltin has a new book out about the 151 best movies you've never seen.

How many have you actually seen?Collapse )


» [Local] Red Elvises
I have 2 tickets for Red Elvises at Red Devil Lounge in SF on Saturday night. Assuming I'm over the plague by then, anyone want to go with me? Also, the tickets were only $1 each, so if you like Red Elvises you should go!

Edit: To get them for $1, use promo code 'siberia'


» FYI: Contacting me
I still don't have internet at home (the man who built our house somehow managed to sneak past the inspector without installing a phone line, so we have to sue him to get the money to dig up a bunch of street to get one put in. Good times.) and T-Mobile doesn't work reliably inside at all (I'm very much looking forward to the CDMA Nexus One), so I've been having some serious contact issues.

We're still moving in. We built and filled another bookshelf yesterday, and we have 4 boxes of desks upstairs waiting to be put together. We're getting some thicker, derrière-friendly carpet installed next week along with a new cork kitchen floor, since I've decided that tile combines poorly with a propensity to put dishes near the edge of tables. I feel like the place is really coming together.

Back to work!


» (No Subject)
Who wants a Christmas card? Comments screened :-)
» [Lazyweb][Local] Accountants
Do any of you have a Bay Area CPA you really like? My accountant is in PA and retired to new clients a few years ago, and I need to find someone local he can talk to before he leaves the business altogether.

I need someone who:

  • Can handle complex files: my tax return is over an inch thick.
  • Has experience with k-1s
  • Is strongly anti-tax, ideally moreso than me :-)

If you know anyone, I'd love to hear about them. Thanks in advance for any recommendations!


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