I passed my French translation exam! Back up–a French translation exam? See, in my program, we have to pass a major and minor translation exam, in two different languages of our choice, before we can get on with our lives. I passed the major exam in my second year, translating Spanish (relying on my last Spanish class, six years prior); this year, I decided on French. The thing is, I don’t know French. I’ve never taken a French class, and when I travelled around France on my own in college I couldn’t even avoid humiliation with a translation book. (For instance, I pronounced “where is”–où est–not “oo-way,” as is correct, but “ooh-est.”) But on the test I had four things going for me:
–I speak Spanish (sorta) and English (sorta-plus), which means I can puzzle out French words from their contexts a fair amount. I did this to impress Julie while we were in Paris together–translating ads in the Metro and that kind of thing.
–Dictionaries–both a French-English dictionary and a French verb dictionary–were allowed during the test.
–The text we were translating was from a French book on semiotic theory, which was loaded with cognates (structure linguistique, représentations sémantique, grammaire chomskyenne).
–The standard for the test was ridiculously easy.
This last one was the prime factor in my success, I think. The whole exercise can be summed up in the words the grader wrote in the margin next to my last paragraph: Close enough. Damn straight. That’s my new grad school motto. I’ll put it on a plaque on my wall, translated into Latin. Although I might translate the tense slightly incorrectly, for effect.
In other, “too small for its own entry” news, I just saw a Kaiser Permanente web ad that said, “Get health care for your family that’s anything but expected.” Am I the only one who thinks that’s somewhat ominous?
The inimitable Kindle said once that the recipe for cuteness is a big thing made small, or a small thing made big. This is true. It’s also true that a cute thing is made disturbingly funny when it does something awful or has something awful done to it. To whit:
First, this thing I should have told you all about long ago: a TV show on Channel 102 (like Channel 101, it’s a site where users create TV shows and the most popular ones get to put up more episodes). Created by my acquaintances at Waverly Films, it’s at least as good as anything else they’ve done. There are three compelling, hilarious episodes up right now; the reason I didn’t tell you about it before…well, would you understand if I told you that it’s called Puppet Rapist? I had to make sure it was safe for general consumption. Make sure to watch from the beginning; the first episode is like the best-made, funniest snuff film you ever saw.
Second, the inimitable Lore (who now has a new blog on Wired) linked to a website where cartoon bunnies re-enact famous movies in 30 seconds. They’re all great, but if you can only watch one this holiday season, watch Reservoir Dogs.
…I just got an e-mail from Amazon with the subject line, “Slim Jim Products Now Available at Amazon.com.”
Maybe it’s not what I think it is, I thought. Then I read the beginning:
Dear Amazon.com Customer,
Since you have purchased extreme sports gear or beef snacks in the past, we thought you might like to know that Slim Jim, Original, Case of 12 15-Ounce Canisters is now available for ordering.
First of all, I never ordered “extreme sports gear or beef snacks” (extreme sports gear or beef snacks??!) from Amazon. Second of all…well, Jesus. They’re trying to sell me eleven pounds of beef on the internet. (Also, note that the beef is listed under “Health and Personal Care.”)
They know I like Adult Swim cartoons, modern indie music, and the works of Beckett and Virginia Woolf…but when it comes to snacks, they know nothing about me.