French lessons

That’s me back from an early summer holiday – with a little bigmouth on the way, a late summer holiday ain’t happening – and it’ll take me a few days to get back to normal. So here’s a few quick thoughts:

* One week away, 897 spams to wade through on my return. Arse.

* After a week driving on (uniformly excellent) French roads, coming back to the UK is an eye-opener. The combination of congestion, bad road surfaces, traffic cameras and aggressive driving – in the south of England in particular – manages to suck every iota of fun from driving. For all my moans, Scotland is a million times better. But every time I go anywhere in Europe, I still feel our roads are about 300 years behind.

* Ferries: rubbish. The occasional clean would improve the interiors no end.

* Anti-smokers: bastards. The fast ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg is non-smoking throughout, which is fair enough. But there’s a little, exposed shelf of a viewing deck that’s in the open air. You can’t smoke there either, presumably because bloody non-smokers have whinged about having three square feet of boat that isn’t their exclusive domain. Gaaah.

* Sat-nav: brilliant.

* Opera Mini: brilliant. Particularly its RSS support. Mobile internet access really comes into its own when you’ve no idea of where you are and you need to find something specific.

* I’m really embarrassed by my lack of languages. Need to do something about that.

* The new .net is out (spotted it in a service station somewhere). I don’t think it’s online yet but my column in the current issue (black cover) is that rare thing: something I’m really proud of writing.

* Saab seats are superb, but they’re not superb enough to fix a really duff back. I can still barely walk. It’s pretty obvious that long-haul flights don’t agree with me, ’cause I’m still sore from Vegas and back.

* Factory outlets in the UK are amazing. So many unfit-looking people in sportswear. The sportier the kit, the fatter the kid.

* Catching up on UK news via RSS feeds is a superbly surreal experience, because you end up thinking that the country’s gone mad. And then you come home, and you realise it has.

14 thoughts on “French lessons

  1. Alex says:

    “One week away, 897 spams to wade through on my return. Arse.”

    And 1&1’s webmail is down AGAIN.

    “Opera Mini: brilliant.”

    Haven’t tried it out but I just blogged about the desktop version and how great it is and how Opera pwnz0rz Firefox :)

    “The new .net is out”

    Must get that. Missed the Google one (!)

  2. Alex G says:

    Quote:
    ““The new .net is out”

    Must get that. Missed the Google one (!)”

    OMG! That was probably the best .net mag in a while. Sorry if I’m rubbing salt in the wounds but it was pretty darn good.

  3. Armin says:

    “I’m really embarrassed by my lack of languages. Need to do something about that.”

    Na dann fang mal mit diesem Absatz an. Ich werde dann morgen eine Pruefung vornehmen, ob Du auch was gelernt hast. 897 Spams? Kinderkram, ich hatte weit ueber 2000 nach einer Woche Urlaub im April. Und fahr’ mal in Deutschland auf der Autobahn, dann weisst Du was aggressives Fahren ist. Dagegen ist das sogar hier in Suedengland zivilisiert.

    Right, that’s enough for the first lesson. Not in French, but we’ll make you trilingual in no time at all ;-)

  4. mupwangle says:

    Would it not have made more sense putting the numbers into german as well? Translating written arabic numbers is a tad easy.

    I love the way that when Germans need a new word for something, they just describe it and concatenate all the words to make the new one. The internet could’ve been called the Losenetzeschlossenzusammenanumpornographiezugangschnellerzubilden had Germany come up with it first. ;-)

  5. Armin says:

    mupwangle, don’t worry, Germans love their Denglish ;-)

    Every time I visit my parents or sister in Germany I find a new strange word or term which is some weird German-English concoction:

    A very old (and famous) one is the “Handy”, which is the German word for mobile phone. Most Germans have learned it now, but quite a few were surprised about the puzzled look on the face of their British or American business partners when they told them “call me on my handy”.

    A few years ago Deutsche Telekom had a “Moonshine Tarif”. It had nothing to with making cheaper calls while illegally distilling whisk(e)y, but was the tariff for evening calls. In German Mondschein ist just that, the light of the moon.

    And until fairly recently some German upmarket chemist used the slogan “Come in and find out”. Which most Germans not fluent in English interpreted as “Walk in and find your way out again” not “Come in and find out what fantastic perfumes, lotions etc we have to offer you”.

    But as you were asking for a very long German word, have two:

    Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz
    (no, I have no idea what this is. Some kind of law)

    Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmützennahtfadenfarbe
    (I’ll let you figure out what that is ;-))

  6. Squander Two says:

    > Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmützennahtfadenfarbe
    (I’ll let you figure out what that is ;-))

    Hmm. Something about the colour of the hat of the captain of the Danube Steamer Travel Association.

  7. Squander Two says:

    Both of those words are attempts at the longest German word ever. It keeps getting revised as clever Germans think of even longer ones. I see that it is possible to combine the best bits of both to get “Vierwaldstätterseedampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmützennahtfadenfarbe”. Which is really quite long.

  8. Tony Kiernan says:

    I’m trying to learn another language for the first time since school (never took it to even O Grade). It’s pretty terrifying. It’s also not German.

  9. Squander Two says:

    If I may offer you some advice: learn as much of the grammar as you can. Contrary to popular rumour, it makes things much easier.

    But maybe you already knew this.

  10. mupwangle says:

    Personally I find the hardest bit getting over the crushing feeling of embarrassment I get when attempting to speak another language. I’ve always had it.

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