Yes, Minister on democracy (Chinese subtitles)

Didn’t expect the Chinese subtitles there. I guess it really is a small world after all nowadays. Anyhow, I took it as a sign to share it. Didn’t have time to do a transcription of the Chinese characters unfortunately. Maybe at some point.

I really have to look for more stuff like that, but unfortunately when the subtitles are part of the video that can be difficult to search for.

Pining for Pinyin

An Ol

When I started out learning Mandarin I was always annoyed by pinyin, but it turns out the real problem is that it so poorly supported. Sure, there are some issues with it, Bopomofo certainly looks more elegant, but pinyin is the standard and if just learning the (relatively) few rules and irregularities by rote is too much for you–frankly, maybe Mandarin isn’t for you.

Okay, this is a bit of a case of do as I say, not as I do, but it’s still true. Continue reading

The German Language (Märchen und Erzählungen für Anfänger

Point: The Awful German Language by Mark Twain

Counterpoint: Why we should learn German by John le Carré

Synthesis: Märchen und Erzählungen für Anfänger. Erster Teil by H. A. Guerber / Zweiter Teil

UPDATE: “Jakobs Haus”

Those last links go to one of those interesting finds I’ve been meaning to talk about for forever and a day. The title is German and means “Fairy Tales and Stories for Beginners”;”First Part”/”Second Part”. The introduction is in English though, and there’s a German/English vocabulary! Continue reading

Links: Sexy Mandarin [links to nsfw sites]

I haven’t taken a closer look at this yet, but it’s an interesting approach. Seems a bit sleazy perhaps to show women in lingerie to teach Chinese, but I’m not one to judge. ;)



Anthony Burgess’s lost dictionary of slang

Accidental(ly) on purpose – Deliberately, but with the appearance of accident: ‘So I put me hand on her knee, see, sort of accidental on purpose.’ (Literary locus classicus: Elmer Rice’s The Adding Machine, 1923.)

–from Anthony Burgess’s lost dictionary of slang discovered The Guardian article by Dalya Alberge


Secret Origins: Skedio / The Choir

I’ve decided to make a couple of posts about how this blog got started, and various milestones and memorable moments. This time I want to talk about Skedio, which had a fairly significant role with regard to my interest in digital art. What is Skedio? Well, this description from their page is fairly accurate, I think:

Skedio bridges the gap between classic sketching applications with limited editing tools and complex design software that targets computer graphics professionals.”

Details are fairly easy to find out for anyone who cares, so I’ll just mention what was important to me. It’s fun, pleasant to use and pretty intuitive. It has enough features so it doesn’t feel like your’re just basically drawing stuff as usual, except with more strain on the eyes, but not so many that it feels like work getting to know them. (Also, fonts are limited, but it does Chinese characters, which turned out to be relevant)

For sketching and line drawings I think it might be pretty useful even beyond a semi-professional level, though that’s a bit of a guess. Otherwise, you’ll probably run up against the limitations at some point, even as a hobbyist. That’s how it went for me at least. But it was really, really great for getting started at the very least, and I seriously consider getting back to it and just accept the limits or add gradients and whatnot via something else just because it’s fun to use.

I think the very first thing I drew with it might have been the rain character picture. I’m not quite sure. But the goofy (yet charming) choir above was… perhaps not literally the last, but the one where I concluded I’d have to try something else with more options. Please note with the appropriate amount of awe* that I drew this entirely without using layers (Now available with Skedio by paying a bit extra, but that wasn’t the case then) and it was pretty darn fiddly!

There’s a bit to of a story to the picture, mainly that it’s for an as-yet unrealized project, but I’m not going into that now. I just want to say that I really like how this one turned out. Bit of a candid quality to it, I think.

*I’m thinking something in the area of slightly raised eyebrows and a somewhat more than polite appreciative nod or two, but use our own judgement. I’m not saying no to a full-on Not Bad.


A Wild Hanzi Appears! [some adult language, links to nsfw site]

I took kind of a me-day yesterday and was planning on another one today, just relax catch up on some of the webcomics I read. But in one of them a Chinese character turned up and got me curious, plus It was relevant in other ways so I thought, why not make a blog post about it? Still sort of against my no-work-at-all-today rule, but no need to be too rigid there either. Besides, who am I to say no when the universe drops me a “subtle” hint? (I’m not really superstitious in that way, but sometimes I wonder…)

This is the character:

Easy enough to look up if you know your stroke orders. I like it. Good choice for a tattoo.

实 [實] /  shí / real, true, honest, really, solid, fruit, seed, definitely

xiaoma /⇒  mdbg

Continue reading