Friday, August 20, 2010

Born Round: A Story of Family, Food, and a Ferocious Appetite by Frank Bruni

I picked up this memoir of a former restaurant critic on a whim at the library. Much of it is detailed, self-centered reminiscences about the author's relationship with food and his weight throughout his life, probably only interesting as far as you can relate directly to his struggles (many of which I could not). Probably good that it's out there for some readers. There is great stuff about his mother's cooking habits that I related to: if there are four baked potatoes left after a huge meal for extended family, does that mean some people didn't take one because they thought there weren't enough to go around? Must make more next time!

My favorite part of the book is the last part, after Bruni has settled at a good weight (through plenty of exercise and portion control). He becomes the restaurant critic for the New York Times, and his account of what that job entails is fascinating.

The Invention of Lying (2009)

Ivy told me this was not a good movie, but we watched it anyway. There are some very funny parts. Very funny. The idea of a world where nobody lies is interesting and provides some great humor. But that kind of world would look so much different than the one we know, and how it might be different isn't well-explored. There are a couple of stabs at it, but they don't make any sense to me. (Why would total honesty produce a bunch of people who value genetically ideal mates? Or is it supposed to be our society if suddenly everyone told nothing but the truth? No, that's not it, either.) Anyway, definitely some hilarity, but I'm not sure it's worth the time.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Inception (2010)

It's well worth seeing Inception in a theater, and if there were any IMAX theaters 'round these parts, I'd go see it again in one of those. (Is it worth a trip to Salt Lake, do you think? Hmmm... something to think about.) The cinematography and special effects are gorgeous, and there's a little Fun with M.C. Escher that was delightful. As far as I know, nobody's messed with M.C. Escher in a movie before, but that's only as far as I know, which isn't very far. Also, it's nice to see a movie that makes you think a little.

Monday, August 16, 2010

1991 Soviet словарь used Microsoft Word

My dad gave me a great gift a few days ago. At the Deseret Industries second-hand store he found this English-Russian and Russian-English dictionary (словарь = something like "wordery") published 1991 in Moscow, just before the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and he picked it up for me:

(Click on the photos to see a larger version.)

I have a few books in Russian but don't have an English/Russian dictionary, so just on that account it's nice to have. But there are a few other interesting features to note:

Above you can see that it has an ISBN (5-200-01121-3), something I don't remember seeing often in east-bloc publications. Maybe dictionaries like this were more likely since they may've been sold internationally more often than other books.

It's also funny to see that the library cataloging information abbreviates Moscow as merely "M."

But here was the biggest surprise for me:

Halfway down the right-hand page, see:

оригинал-макет изготовлен ... использованием программы WORD® Microsoft.

That is roughly: "Original model by [3 names] and made using the program WORD® Microsoft." Wow! I guess Microsoft Word was being used in the Soviet Union in 1991. That's a surprise. It seems most likely that would've been the MS-DOS version, before Windows 3.0. Perhaps Word had better support for mixing Russian and English than other word processors of the time? Anyway, that was a fun surprise.

Thanks, Dad!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Startalk 2010

So, my mom wanted me to write about this on here. Yeah. Anyways, I went to a camp at BYU called Startalk that was really awesome. It was a 3-week long Arabic language camp equivalent to a year of high school Arabic or a semester of college Arabic. It was really cool. There were about 27 students, I think, and they had us stay at the Heritage Halls dorms there. So our days went like this usually: wake up at 8 or so, get dressed and stuff. then we had class from 8:30 to 11:30. After that we had lunch at the Canon Center. At 1:00 we had class again until 3:00. Then it was Language Lab until 4:00, in which we did homework and DVD stuff. After that, we had Language Recreation for another hour. That was playing games with Arabic words and stuff. Then we had dinner, which was made by our counselors. Then Fun With Arabic, which was like soccer and stuff until 7:30. After that we had Study Hall (oh joy!) for TWO WHOLE HOURS until bed. We had a TON of homework. But I'm not complaining! We learned a freaking ton in just three weeks. Anyways, on Thursdays, we had field trips to a restaurant. Then on Saturdays we had no class and a field trip all day to either a lake or river and we had dinner there. On Sunday we pretty much could do whatever after church. There were a lot of non-LDS people there. I thought that was kinda funny, since it was BYU. The first three days we learned the alphabet and greetings and stuff like that. After that it was new verbs, nouns, and grammar stuff. It's all really cool! Anyway, here's some Arabic for you. اهلا ازايك انا كؤايس جدنز انا اسكؤن في المدينة درجز That says, roughly: Hi!, How are you? I'm very good. I live in the city of Driggs. I can say a lot more than that, but I don't know how to spell most of it, and I probably spelled most of that wrong anyways. I'm gonna go now. My mom will probably make me write more later, but Im' done for now. It was awesome!