Sunday, December 20, 2009

On Asparagus Porridge


Or something like that... I’m not sure, but who really knows. During an amazing meal of a pineapple and chicken dish my mom occasionally makes, I was chewing perhaps a little too enthusiastically (although it really wasn’t necessary – the chicken was soft and tender), and I bit my tongue. I do it often (maybe I should review my eating habits), so I’m used to it by now. The taste of blood in my mouth and the sharp pain are tolerable, and it’s easy enough to just get on with the meal, especially if it's a good one.

The problem was that, this time, it would not heal. Every time I ate, there was a sharp pain from the side of my tongue. It called for a rinsing of anti-something-or-other mouthwash, which is all very well. The stuff definitely works, but along with the something-or-other bacteria or whatever that it destroys, it also destroys any taste buds in your mouth.

That was 18 hours ago, and you’d think any numbness caused would have worn off by now, but it hasn’t. I just ate a sandwich, and I’m sure it had beef on it. At least, that’s what it looked like, but it really tasted exactly how I’d imagine asparagus flavoured porridge to taste. I really hope new taste buds grow, because I rather enjoy my food. It would be terrible if everything tasted like this forever...
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Sunday, December 13, 2009

On "Walkies"


There is a woman who lives down the road from me. She is about fortyish with long blond hair, and a pointy nose, and a dress sense that immediately places her in the stereotype that screams out that, twenty years ago, this woman was an activist for any cause there was. It also hints that the woman believes in “new age” something or other, and reads a lot about “spiritual” whatevers. (On a side note: stereotypes are usually right.) She also believes that animals should not be confined. This makes life interesting when she takes her dogs (of which she has five) for their daily walk.

Actually, the word “takes her dogs for” is a little inaccurate here. A far more accurate way of putting it would possibly be “lets her dogs have”. Or maybe, “frees some untrained animals for”. The gate to her property opens, at some point in the afternoon each day, and three of the dogs begin causing chaos in the neighbourhood (I have seen the other two leave the property only once). She walks around the block three times, before returning to her house, waiting for all of the animals to return, and then shuts the gate. In the time she spends walking, the only time a dog will come within two hundred metres of her is when one comes tearing past, chasing a car, butterfly or imaginary scent. In the mean time, the dogs dig up pavements, start fights through fences, and make futile attempts at mating with everything in sight, be it dog, cat, peacock or bicycle.

This is not the strangest dog walker in our neighbourhood though. There is another woman who is too lazy to go walking. Instead, she leans out the window of her BMW, holding the leashes for her two dogs as she drives around the block. I used to think this was rather special, until a couple of days ago. Driving past a park, I saw a red 4x4 driving off-road through the park, with a dog on a leash held by an arm out the window. I wonder where laziness will have taken us in a hundred years time...

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

On Fruit Arithmatic


Don’t worry, no advanced mathematics here. It always used to annoy me (actually, it still does) how teachers say “You can’t add apples and oranges” to children to make sure they have consistent units. I understand what they want to say (that you can’t add one minute to one hour and get two of anything), but I disagree with the way they say it.

The problem is, if I have two apples and three oranges, I wouldn’t hesitate to add them together, and say I had five pieces of fruit. This was drilled into me by my parents, who would often say to me when I was a child, “No more, you’ve already had five sweets.” Even though I’d actually only had one fizzer, two toffees and two sparkles, and of course, those can’t be added together.

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On Alphabet Confusion


Letter confusion, actually. Greek letters being used for artistic effect instead of the conventional Roman letters. Too look different, I guess. I’m guilty of it too, sometimes. I’ve used a ‘γ’ to replace a ‘y’ even though it’s pronounced like a ‘g’. I’ve also used an ‘η’ instead of an ‘n’, even though it should be pronounced ‘ee’. I do it, but it’s still funny when I see it done elsewhere.

In the title of a DVD recently, I saw a ‘Π’ used instead on ‘N’, and it lead me to wonder. Are the people who did that aware that ‘Π’ is pronounced the same as a roman ‘P’, and that the Greek ‘ρ’, which I’ve seen used in place of a Roman ‘p’ (which would have been fine if it was a capital) is actually pronounced as the Roman ‘r’. And then there’s ‘χ’ to replace ‘X’, as in ‘LaTeχ’, where ‘χ’ is pronounced as a good phlegmy ‘ch’.

If that wasn’t confusing enough, using ‘β’ instead of ‘b’ is all very well, since it is pronounced the same in the Greek and Roman systems, but if a German were to pick it up, he’d be seriously confused, since to him, ‘β’ is pronounced as a solid ‘ss’.

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