29 April 2008

Thank you for reading my public journal.

What keeps anyone blogging? Or writing at all? Or talking? Or expressing?

We could write for ourselves and never let anyone read it. We could listen to music only. We could also play it and no one could listen.

In this self-conscious world, it's a circular attempt at navigating audience-consciousness.

Do we look for a certain response? Maybe not, but we look for a response.

What is nice about being understood sometimes? What is nice about understanding something?

I think: connection.

Weird English and Weird Memories

I reread that weird email I posted about earlier, and it didn't make ANY sense. At all. How ridiculous. But it's still hilarious. It's even better that I commented that it sounded relatively legitimate, with a few exceptions.

I found a lot more exceptions.

On that note, I really like the movie Everything Is Illuminated. For one reason, it depicts rather accurately the incredibly strange kind of English that some people who don't ever have exposure to the way the language is actually spoken speak. (Particularly in Russia and Ukraine, although I imagine that it's the same elsewhere.)

The guy in it speaks understandably and doesn't make grammatical mistakes, but when it comes to his vocabulary, you just wonder, "Where in the freakin' crap that come from?"

It comes from the exposure they do get, which is this: English teachers at school (most of whom would not be able to communicate with a native English speaker--but I only say that based on my own experience), textbooks, dirty rap songs, and American B-movies that no one in the States has ever heard of.

One time I did try (I don't remember why now) to communicate with the English teacher at Sparta, the school we taught at in Moscow, and he did not understand me at all. Which is kind of ironic, considering his position.

And a lot of times, I was queried about the lyrics from those rap songs. And honestly, although I recognized the words, I often had no idea what they actually meant. When I did understand the lyrics, I wished that I hadn't. And I certainly didn't want to corrupt my students (further) by educating them in that regard.

What is it about little (or maybe just immature?) boys and wanting to learn bad words? I never had any desire to recognize those words in Russian, and let's keep it that way. I don't have any need to know. Never did, either, except when that guy almost hit me with his car when I was crossing the street and called me the equivalent of...well...yeah, I'd prefer not to know that word. Not then either. Ignorance is bliss, right? ("No thank you, Jimmy, I really don't want you to tell me the worst word there is in Russian. Knowing that word does not make you either cool or able to speak Russian. No, I really don't want to know. No. No. No. Ok, fine, tell me anyway.")

In that movie, my favorite part is when Alex (main dude) goes: "Okay, she's deranged. But very, very playful." Because every time I hear that, I think of Nastya. Her favorite phrases seemed to involve the words "very very." And sometimes, when I wash my hands with the Softsoap brand Shea Butter hand soap, it takes me back to somewhere in Russia.

I don't know what it is about that smell that is Russia for me.

But the more and more that I use it and smell it, the more and more it becomes nothing instead of something. The memories are slipping through my fingers, and all of my remembrances are becoming an entirely different thing themselves.

These days, drinking karkade and speaking/hearing Russian and listening to certain music and smelling cigarettes and wearing house slippers and riding the bus or other forms of public transportation and seeing garbage in the street and frigid temperatures and white snow in the winter . . . these days, these things are not Russia. They are my life. And really, there is nothing memorable about that, because it is

repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated repeated




25 April 2008

Ghetto speak? I don't know what.

(Warning: All quotes are not verbatim. My memory is somewhat shot and I am unfamiliar with this particular dialect of English, so it's hard to remember exactly. Anybody who is familiar with this dialect may be able to assist me, and I invite your comments if that is the case.)

Somebody who is definitely not from the ghetto came into the LRC the other day. At BYU. In the library. It's true. He wanted to put money on his card. After I completed the customary deposit transaction, he said something to the effect of, "That is totally legit."

And I was all: "What am I supposed to say to that . . . thank you?"

And he goes, "You can say, 'Any time, boo.'" At least, I think that's what he said.

So I said it. And if you, dear patron, are reading this blog post (which is incredibly unlikely), I would like to say something else.

"Boo, have a good day."

Expedite my inheritance, please.

I have a Yahoo e-mail account only because I have had it for several years. Nowadays, I get spam in the inbox, which is annoying. That could explain my extreme disappointment with the recent spam messages in my Gmail inbox (see last post). I feel like I'm running from an approaching tide, but it is encroaching at my toes and there's nothing I can do to stop it.


But there was one e-mail in particular that caught my eye as I was filtering through the unsolicited spam today. I have bolded the items that made me laugh in particular. Where, oh where did it come from? And how did it get to my inbox?

The mysterious author spelled "withdrawal" and "until" wrong, and there are a couple of capitalization errors, but you know, other than that, it seems kind of official.



Attn: Beneficiary

This is to draw your attention that your fund ($7.690million) lying in suspense account with the CENTRAL
BANK OF NIGERIA. The presidency Federal Government of Nigerian has authorized us to verify effect
every outstanding payment immediately based on the Government instruction by the President Alhaji Musa
Yar'Adua, the only problem now is that we dictated a lot of irregularities associated with your transfer and
we will appreciate it if you answer the following question.

(1) Did you at any time delegate any body not even from your family to claim your fund on your behalf?

(2) Were you involved in a motor accident?

(3) Are you aware or related to one Mr. Thomas Mick from your country?

Please reconfirm and answer the above questions because Mr. Thomas Mick came to our foreign payment
department and submitted an application that you authorized your fund to be paid into the account of Union
Bank of Switzerland (UBS) with Account number UBS-A943BDG99 with a report that you are now paralyzed
as a result of the ghastly motor accident you had some months back.

After processing the application of Mr Thomas Mick himself which he made known to us that he came from
you, he succeeded in getting some required documents as to make sure that we effect this transfer as
quickly as possible without any further delay.

The delay in transferring the funds is due to the request for a power of attorney authorizing him to pursue
this payment on your behalf. He asked for a week so as to submit the document, but up till now we have
not received any of the documents from any of you. Why? please forward us the power of attorney by a
return E-mail: so that we can ask Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) to effect your payment to his nominated
Bank account on your behalf without delay. Reply to my personal email address
chukwumacharless1@gmail.com otherwise let me have your number to call you and do not fail to reply to
the email address stated above or call me on my direct number +234-805-6064158.

Based on this issue the fund will be paid to you via swift transfer to your account or ATM DEBIT CARD
which will be sent to your home address and you will be instructed on your daily withdrawls of
$30,000.00usd per day untill the sum is completed.

Anticipating your prompt response.

Best Regards.
Prof. Charles C. Soludo.
Executive Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

21 April 2008

What's wrong with Gmail?

I have gotten 3, (count 'em, 3!) spam e-mail messages in my Gmail inbox today.

This is unprecedented. And I'm very saddened by the performance of Gmail's spam filter, if that is what is responsible for this catastrophe. Saddened and disappointed.

18 April 2008

Steph's Birthday

I thought it might be more exciting if my blog had more pictures. So this is what I've got to offer. Last night, Stephanie's grandparents treated everyone to dinner at Ottavio's, and then we went to her great aunt and uncle's house in Spanish Fork and played the night away (scum), eating strawberry shortcake and other such birthday festivities. Happy 21st, Steph.

I really wanted to show off my photography skills, too. Here, Kirsten appears to be choking, but I was trying to capture the way that she was captivated by her food and enjoying it so thoroughly. I think the shots really express something powerful.

Posted by Picasa

11 April 2008

Delightfully awkward.

Ok, so it's official. I'm...well, you know.

See here and here.

That coworker that they're talking about? Yeah. That's me. I'm not really sure how I feel about the description, but it's apparently quite fitting.

09 April 2008

This doesn't happen every day.

Yesterday on my way to school, I witnessed a singular event: a car crashed into another car. The front of the one car was totally crunched.

I just kept walking as if nothing had happened.

It is my constitutional right to stay asleep.

My roommate (who shall remain unnamed) likes me to wake her up in the mornings. This is uncomfortable for me (I don't really feel like I'm doing a service when I'm purposely being annoying), but I do so per her request. This morning was no exception.

And, like every other morning, she put up a fight.

"What does the fifth amendment say?" she asked.

"Freedom of speech?" Clearly she is not fully conscious, I thought.

I half expected her to be picketing with a sign that said, "America is about doing what you want. And that includes staying in bed! [So says...one of the amendments to the Constitution.]"

01 April 2008


(Tangentially speaking, I post a lot about library patrons, and that suddenly struck me as weird.)

I'm gullible. April Fool's is not a good holiday for gullible people. I have to give props to Google for pulling another number this year.

Last year, they had a link on the log-in page to some new feature of Gmail--you can print all of your e-mails for free! How? Well, it's paid for by the ads that are on the back of the paper.

It sounded totally legitimate to me and I was excited to utilize this service, until the next day there was some kind of retraction and I realized I'd had the wool pulled over my eyes. (Is that the right expression?)

Then this year, there's this thing called "Gmail Custom Time." Here's what it says on the sign-in page:

Pre-date your messages
You tell us what time you would have wanted your email sent, and we'll take care of the rest. Need an email to arrive 6 hours ago? No problem.

Mark as read or unread
Take sending emails to the past one step further. We let you make emails look like they've been read all along.

Make them count
Use your custom time stamped messages wisely -- each Gmail user gets ten per year.

Worry less
Forget your finance reports. Forget your anniversary. We'll make it look like you remembered.

I was almost fooled again, but looking into it a little more, I realized it was obviously a joke. Of course it's a joke. But really, they probably could've done the same thing they did last year and I would've believed it again. Or at least, almost believed it.

Epitome of discomfort.

Speaking Russian has become literally painful for me lately. I don't know if it's because I know the end is soon here--after I'm finished with 202 this semester I don't plan on doing anything else with Russian. Maybe I'm psychologically sensing the language death.

But it has becoming increasingly ridiculous to me to sit in a room with a bunch of other native English speakers and not be speaking English. Why are we making things more difficult than they have to be? Why are we speaking Russian?

To me, there seems to be no point. When it comes to understanding and listening (to competent speakers), that's something else. Reading and writing? Great! Or maybe even talking Russian with someone who will understand you LESS if you're speaking English--that seems useful.

Мне надоело (That's Russian for "I'm sick of") of sounding like a complete idiot for apparently no reason.

Blog Archive