Thursday, 17 January 2013

Bards and poets and wizards

I am having a student friend for dinner. I am not sure what to have for dessert.

She's coming to sing for her supper - or rather, speak. I think stories are a great way of using tenses with advanced students, because when constructing stories we have things in the past, the past perfect, the imperfect as well as wishes, desires, hopes, dreams, ambitions and so on and so on. That's why a good storyteller is a wizard, and to be a wizard you have to be able to tell convincing stories - after all, what's a spell but a story that starts with a desire and ends in fulfillment?

And everyone has stories to tell, whether they're autobiographical (auto, Greek, meaning self- or one's own, hence automobile - self-moving and autograph, something you wrote yourself) or famous tales from one's homeland. Strange and marvelous things happen to us all the time, and they happen by chance.

Take the story of the crane operator who was an hour late to work on Wednesday and, hustling up his ladder, saw a helicopter smash into the structure above him. Two people died in this awful accident. They died because that day they got up on time, and he survived because he happened not to. That's it. The universe is random and without purpose.

Returning to stories, then, and my autobiography - my story written by me, although since it's typed - but I digress.

I have finally concluded the translation project that I thought I'd finished way back in December, so I'm going to add that to all of the important documents that make up my application for a job when I (finally) graduate. My colleague was so pleased with it that he insisted I put my name on it, and so I am now immortal - or will be, for as long as this unit is taught with this translation. Still, it's something. I've also been finalising a video - for some reason a perfectly gorgeous video in iMovie became absolute, pixelated crap when converted to .avi, but a little research and a solution was found. The internet is brilliant.

I've also taught myself the basics of plan drawing, and using Sketchup - and playing around with a lot, there's a strange sort of childish glee with grabbing a cube and deforming it like putty - I've knocked together something at which I daresay my brother would cringe. On the other hand, he's in Dubai, but because he's a really good guy the minute I mentioned I'd done it, he facebooked me and asked why I hadn't asked him. He's in Dubai and he's still willing to help me out at a moment's notice. My brother is awesome.

In any case, it's been a really interesting day, despite my first French lesson being cancelled. Next one's on Tuesday and I'm actually a little bit nervous.

So here's something fun I've found, because laughter is a natural cure for nervousness: NFL players overdubbed with very bad lip-reading. Hilarious.