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2002
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July 31st; A no-nonsense, tropically-hued site about the languages of East Timor, which include Tetum and Portuguese, both preferred, as usual, to the language of the most recent imperial rulers, Indonesian - which usually means Javanese, right?
July 30th; Weather still very warm. Much respect going out to the beautifully tidy linguistics desk of Billy, the kind words of Brazilian interpreter and translator Enigmatic Mermaid, the thumbs up from Northern Lake (in het nederlands), and the +ve mention from fellow keenie the blog that keeps changing its name. Not forgetting the eerily stylish blackbeltjones (and let's be honest, slightly intimidating.... {Jones must think my layout is totally scruffy & intrusive, he's just too polite to tell me}). Just received a hello from a wonderfully clear and readable site about language policy, which may or may not be some Esperantists working deep undercover, but seems to have tons of handy links all well laid-out. Actually, I'd very much like a page (the usual 300 words) in an artificial language. If possible I would really like a page of Interlingua or Ido, if any enthusiasts feel translating the start of my rant is worth the effort.

July 29th; Does anybody know how to view Cyrillic lettering in Internet-Explorer-for-Mac on sites that are in Cyrillic? I say that because following Microsoft's instructions I can see sites in English, such as this one, in Cyrillic (that's right, substitution of Cyrillic letters for Latin letters on an English site), but Russian, Bulgarian, Serb, Ukrainian sites are all still a mass of question marks. Of course. I asked Uncle Microsoft very sweetly online, and they got someone from a country whose language doesn't use the Cyrillic alphabet to write to me and tell me they can't help me because their country's language doesn't use the Cyrillic alphabet.
July 28th; Very Annie Mary: another film I quite enjoyed because of being in a forgiving mood. Some of the cloying folksiness of Full Monty and lacking the polished whimsy of Wonderful Life of Amelie (the recent film it's most like), it was still good entertainment. How a Welsh village can be both stifling and supportive, told with rather better acting than either of the other two films {and thankfully VMA lacks the garden-gnome subplot that both Full Monty and Amelie have}. A stranger world than Kevin's planet K-Pax.

July 27th; Back from the L& L Baltics meet Miklos, who generously shares a fine lecso with me. Rathergood directs me to visit the slightly unsettling Weebl {perhaps check his animated story about the Cheese Family}. In a separate development, a blog whose name keeps changing shows me the austere gigablast, and then sends me to a translator called Enigmatic Mermaid, and from her lovely site I reach glosses.net, another good language diary.
July 26th; With Ryan and Rob to see K-Pax, a film which must have been pitched out in swimming-pool land as "Andy Andy Andy, listen to me, I mean this is going to be so ET meets One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, this is going to be trust me trust me so cool, we're going to have Kevin wearing these shades all the time because Earth has too much UV light for his eyes, like, do you see how totally intense this is going to be?".
I rather enjoyed it actually. Quite good acting, fun idea, very poor writing, badly directed. If you don't mind a plot riddled with inconsistencies and lazy narrative tricks, then you can settle into this warm pudding of New Age sentimentality. I'm going to start tilting my head up oddly while wearing my sunglasses, smiling in enigmatic bliss and murmuring to people in a soft American accent. Things like: "I'd forgotten how wonderful the fruit is on your planet, David?". Should go down a treat at the cafe.

July 25th; Bob bids farewell before returning to Philly, giving me an intriguing book which will reward careful study.
John is still kindly forwarding me this bearish markets newsletter, which chattily mixes thoughts on indebtedness, share pricing, & some moderate gold buggery, with vignettes from the finance analysts' personal lives in different countries. If I was paying attention, then the model on either June or July French Elle's cover is newsletter-editor Bill Bonner's daughter.
July 24th; Three cheers for Giannoulis, Szuni's friend, and John's dad! Now that I am in possession of a Greek page and a Russian page, what is stopping me from having the Eastern Roman Empire properly represented on this site, and actually putting them up? ....My own slackness, perhaps?

July 23rd; Thank goodness. I found my way back to rathergood.com and relocated their remarkable March experiment in building a "weaponised bunny". Joel's commentary uses a lot of special terms like "Woo", "Yay", and "explody things", so it will already be clear that this is a stopoff no discerning web traveller can miss.
July 22nd; Hooray! Finally, I put up my page of text in Basque, Europe's most distinctive and least-understood language. Or rather Euskara, to use its own speakers' name for it. Thank you Iban and Marta!

July 21st; Isaac the Kabbalist came looking for me a couple of days last week, so he's probably on another continent by now. Ryan suggests I revive my Sunday afternoon tea parties of a couple of years back. Excellent idea.
July 20th; Rather alcoholic day. Two shots of Romanian spirits while watching Rob show me how to make lunch (penne arabiata), then translating practice with Terri in a park followed by a white beer, and then to Jake's home, where I arrive an hour late and he is masterfully unruffled about this. We buy a bottle of red wine and drink this with the vegetarian curry he has cooked, sitting out on his patio. As Jake muses about the personal-immortality business plan he has written for the Moravec-like idea of being wired for remotely-accessed experience through multiple bodies, and then tells me of another business plan he has written for a restaurant which would legally serve dinners cooked from human body parts, darkness falls and the moon comes out from behind one of Jake's landlord's trees. I suggest to Jake that perhaps he is a writer whose true literary medium is the business plan. We briefly mention the peace hike in September he will lead up a mountain in Morocco. Round the corner Jake takes me to visit Aziz (appropriately enough from Morocco), though, unsure of which doorbell to press we only gain entry because one of Aziz's stylish young lady friends arrives also and has enough credit on her mobile phone to call Aziz to come down and let us all in. We enter at 11.30pm and our generous host introduces us to some lovely Persians and some quiet Americans. We drink more wine. About 2.30am Aziz, Jake and I are alone watching a TV documentary in French about Moroccan handicrafts and it occurs to us that Aziz might like to get some rest finally. Strolling back through fragrant, leafy streets, Jake shares his thoughts with me on children, women, spirituality. We split. I go home for an excellent sleep.

July 19th; Caroline at prolific just sent me to pseudodictionary. Mumpo than grad, my friends.
July 18th; Heavy summer rain. Talking of minimalist elegance... never mind my clutter, just look at lowercase sound's site. Soothing, or what?

July 17th; My first proper lesson in consecutive interpreting from Terri, with Ryan witnessing. Not easy, ladies and gentlemen.
This handsomely austere page lists otherlanguages as a minimalist site. Maybe Mies was right. Maybe less is more - up to a point, anyway.
July 16th; Time to sandpaper my mortice key? After a few evenings dipping the bow and shank in white paint, it's nice and chubby to hold, so now some smoothing. Too much time on my hands? Me?

July 15th; Quiet day indoors. The forthright Jult recommends Maddox, an attack comedian to remember. Bracing stuff. Look for his "living my childhood dream of becoming a database programmer for a telemarketing company" pic. The more low-key snarkout has links to other intriguing sites all over his olive/beige essays about con-men, geometry, probability and Houdini. Heard about snarkout via Milov.
Did I do anything real today? Oh yes. Ate a very nice cheesecake.
July 14th; Gosh. Not only does Sargasso change colour while on your monitor, the lads also read China Daily; where it says Beijing archeologists are off north to look for traces of ancient aliens visiting earth. And Milov finds an article about how Yahoo alters words inside your html e-mails. So that's where "medireview" comes from?

July 13th; All are urged to seek out music by soul/funk singer Abdullah S, something like Prince-improves-Lennie-Kravitz in style, perhaps c/o his Danish record company Offbeat, where he alphabetically tops their scroll column of bands.
Yesterday, couldn't help noticing that Ziauddin's book about science and culture also spells physicist John D. Barrow as John D. Borrow in the text, chapter notes, and index. Perhaps a comeback for Ibn Rushd being rendered as Averroes by mediaeval Europeans.... Nice slip, though, if your basic case is that European science has borrowed lots of science from Chinese, Indian, and Arabic thought without giving credit. Neat mistake, eh? Poor old Pluto.
July 12th; For 3rd time, feasted on fowl procured from poultry girl. Applying flame to pan on stove until goodly warm, I placed therein divers parts of Turkey's Breast heating together with Pepper, Garlick and some of Butter until All was Fine to Eat.
That's cooking, isn't it? Like when they cook on television?

July 11th; Meet Terri for breakfast coffee, sunlight dappled through trees etc, and the darling says my weblog [that's right, this one] is readable & fun! Oddly, she has not clicked on any links. I suspect she rather disapproves of links. Tried to persuade her weblinks are like the little cardboard windows in advent calendars, but I think this tack failed. In fact she is so struck by the wondrousness of this diary - especially if minus the Internet - she recommends I quickly make it a book manuscript and sell it to a London publisher as {blush} a "male version of Bridget Jones"? Gordon Bennett. Mind you, "quickly" turns out in Terri's tough-minded, no-nonsense worldview to mean around a year of unpaid work by me on a book-length MS. Shall ponder.
July 10th; No news of Robin since he disappeared months ago to "deal with" his house in London. The South-East England property market is a dark and terrible place. I fear he may not return from there soon.
The cicadas or crickets or whatever they are get pretty loud at night outside the kitchen. When even melatonin was no help with a bit of insomnia, I turned to a trusty old 'Que-sais-je?'. Each year I inflict one of these on myself for the token bit of French reading, and each one gets duller. This year (beating even the 'Geopolitics of telecommunications' one only redeemed by a nifty map of sub-Pacific telephone cables) it's a history of weights and measures by Jean-Claude Hocquet. I like to imagine he's pronounced 'OK', but he may well be too much of an anorak even for my taste. Jean-Claude has for example written four books and several articles on the history of salt ..., so measurement history must be his populist stuff. And indeed, a few minutes of Monsieur OK on the Piedmont acre and the Flemish rod and I was happily off into the fluffy land of dreams.

July 9th; Sargasso & mijnkopthee uncover Clippy for Presidents. Handy.
July 8th; I wonder how the nice man in L.A. is getting on with that cutting-edge screenplay I wrote last summer about radical Islam, computer encryption, and prime numbers; rather ahead of September 11th? Perhaps the wave of films like mine about mathematical weirdos is ebbing now, or is it just getting started? Apart from doing laps of his negative-edge swimming-pool like any normal person, he must have a lot of scripts to get excited about, of course.

July 7th; Wander around on island in thick heat, dazed, with Tanya and a weary Ukrainian. I'm defeated by his Russian, Hungarian, and English. We... no, I, totally fluff meeting Terri for tango. Meanwhile the inspired Anja says she does something "utterly pointless"? "Terrified mind"? Confusing.
July 6th; Out on razzle until 4am with Henry, Neil, Taz, and Friendly Owl. Our journeying takes in a visit to Justin's party at around 1am, where the lift takes us to the 15th floor, announcing in a soft, metallic, space-station voice that we are on the 15th floor, and we find Justin alone with 2 Bulgarian girls who are painting henna on their toes and fingers. "Everyone's leaving?" we ask weakly, but Justin gallantly motions us into his flat, ambiguously murmuring "But now you're arriving." On Justin's balcony, Friendly Owl tells me she is 1/16th Cherokee and she likes me saying indigenous peoples will get more respect once it's known how difficult their languages are. I find out that Taz works on electronic share-trading systems in Frankfurt, and I start to babble about price-endings and quote-chunking. Taz humours me.
Earlier in the afternoon, at the poolside, a man lying on the next towel dictates a voicemail essay into a mobile phone about 12" from my head. His message to his friend includes the line "...and like he says, man, just keep on fucking until you fall in love. Best advice I ever had, man." Gut reactions, anyone?

July 5th; Back at the pool on the island in the river to work on the tan and the breaststroke. Meet Istvan again, this time with Zsuzsi. We arrange when I can give him back the Apple Mac he kindly lent me. I learned a new English term recently: 'infinity-edge' swimming-pools are apparently p o o l s where the water seems to go right up to an overhanging edge, as if it was a sheet of glass. Unless you call them 'vanishing - edge' or, perhaps most intriguing, 'negative - edge' pools. Goodness.
July 4th; Helicopters circle over the city all day in a melodramatic fashion. Perhaps security for the US holiday, perhaps watching the opposition street demonstration calling for a recount of ballots from the recent election before they are finally destroyed. US holidaymaker Esther invites me along to the launch of two new furniture magazines, where we meet Edit looking elegant, and where Esther sweetly arranges for me to win by raffle [without me even entering] a small ad in one of the two handsome reception-area glossy journals.
Separately, Bob Kent puts me in touch with a Rutgers researcher into price endings. You probably think you already know why so many things in shops cost 5.99 something or 17.95 something, don't you? Ha, not so simple!

July 3rd; Is e-mailing textbook-publishers really the best way to get some mechanical-engineering translation work? Um.
July 2nd; Breakfast of chilled cherries again. Not too cheap at seven or eight shillings a pound (tuppence or 3d a lb would be a little more like it), but good. A morning e-mailing, an afternoon doing lengths at the swimming-pool on the island in the river, sunbathing on the concrete terrace under those trees - maybe laburnums? Where I bump into Istvan and his mother and go for an iced coffee with them on our way back.

July 1st; Am forming plan to Start Cooking For Self. Tomorrow Will Go To F o o d Market To Obtain F o o d. Could this be leap into adulthood? Watch this space.

June 30th; So Brazil's stylish footballers won the World Cup this time? Perhaps some consolation for them after being covertly dosed with radiation in Paris 4 years ago -- Oops, indiscreet of me.

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Mark Griffith, site administrator / contact@otherlanguages.org

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