Thursday, June 29, 2006

Deutsch Lernen, Teil 1 / Learning German, Part 1

Für meinen ersten Artikel möchte ich über Deutsch lernen schreiben. Mein Deutsch ist nicht sehr gut, aber ich kann genug verstehen, um einfache Gespräche zu führen und ein Bisschen reisen. Ich weiß, dass Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) schon einen sehr interessanten (und lustigen) Vortrag über die deutsche Sprache hielt, aber ich muss auch meine Gedanken und Gefühle ausdrücken.

Als ich anfing Deutsch zu lernen, hatte ich schon Jiddisch gelernt, und es war nicht einfach, um Deutsch zu lernen, sondern war es ein Bisschen leichter für mich. Aber das ist der einzige Vorteil; es gibt mehr Unterschiede als Ähnlichkeiten.

Zum Beispiel: auf Jiddisch sagt man etwas wie "ich habe nicht keine Zeit" (איך האב נישט קיין צײט), aber auf Deutsch ist es natürlich "ich habe keine Zeit". Ob man "nicht keine" sagt, muss er wirklich ein Bisschen seltsam sein. Meine Deutsche Lehrer haben mir gesagt, dass ich nicht das sagen muss.

Leider habe ich jetzt keine andere Ideen darüber zu schreiben, also ich werde das später weitermachen. Ich bin zu müde auf Deutsch zu denken... Entschuldigen Sie mir bitte für das furchtbares halb-Artikel... Ich werde das nennen "Deutsch Lernen, Teil 1."

For my first Article, I'd like to write about learning German. My German is not very good, but I can understand enough to hold simple conversations and to do a bit of travelling. I know that Mark Twain already delivered a very interesting (and funny) speech on the German language, but I also have to express my thoughts and feelings.

When I started learning German, I had already learned Yiddish, and learning German wasn't simple, but it was a little easier for me. However, that was the only advantage; there are more differences than similarities.

For example: in Yiddish one says something like (loosely translated as) "I don't have no time", whereas in German it's of course (yet another loose translation) "I have no time". If one says "don't [have] no ...", he must really be a little strange. My German teachers told me that I must never say that.

Unfortunately, I have no more ideas to write about, so I will continue this later. I'm too tired to think in German... I'm sorry about this sad excuse for a half-post... I'll call this "Learning German, Part 1."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Germany (In Denglish)

So, now that I've graduated I decided to do something to (a) use some of the money I've been saving forever, (b) finally stop saying I've never been beyond the borders of Canada and the US.

Since I've been taking German for the last zwei semesters, ich figured ich would brush up on the ol' Deutsch, and gehe nach Deutschland. Ich depart am 11. August, und ich komme back am 27. August. Ich even prepared ein Bisschen by reading "Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen". Now I've gotta arbeit on the grammar. Und comprehension. Comprehension ist key. Ob ich can speak it, I'll still have to understand what the locals sagen to me. Mein Plan, by the way, ist zu get around sprechen as little Englisch as possible. I don't want all those German lessons to go to waste. Going alone will also contribute to the development of mein Deutsch-skills as ich will habe less incentive zu speak Englisch.

I haven't worked out a complete itinerary yet, aber I know that ich will land in Paris, take einen train to Köln, und dann ich have some plans for the city, though I go back to Paris via Köln so I'm sure ich could cut down the Zeit spent there the first time if ich kann make up for it in the end.

I'd love zu go to Bad Homburg, too—just outside of Frankfurt am Main—it's where Linotype ist located (the company ist eine major designer and distributor of fonts.) Ich e-mailed them asking if sie offer tours mit any historische merit or something similar, though ich have nicht heard back from them yet.

I'll post meine Pläne as they come up and if ich habe any spare Zeit while I'm there (doubtful) ich kann possibly blog ein Bisschen.

For those of you who really can't understand this post (even though you should–I decided to be fair in what words I substituted), consult LEO, or take a German class. My German is better than the Germlish in which I posted... I should do some German blogging, though. It'd be fun. With translations, of course.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Well, the other night Skrud and I were eager to go to Osaka for dinner, though it was closed, much to our dismay. After a brief internet search, I came across Wakamono (1251 Mont-Royal E, Montréal, Québec, T: (514) 527-2747), which claimed to be "modelled on the ramen shops that have been popular in Japan for over two hundred years." I checked out the rather fairly-priced menu and made a reservation.

We get there at around 7:30 and it's not very busy, maybe around 60% full. After being greeted by the (gorgeous) hostess, we were seated at our window-side table, getting a great view of the passers-by.

We ordered a half-bottle of saké, we each got an order of Tori Kara Age (fried spicy chicken marinated in saké, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and chilli pepper) and Wakamono ramen (braised pork, grilled chicken, shrimp, seasonal vegetables, naruto and wakame in a dashi broth).

The saké was quite tasty, and I'm convinced it was not Hakutsuru. It had a nice toasted rice flavour and went down very smoothly. It would have been better had we been provided with a small towel so we could handle the saké, as the little bottle got quite hot and napkins are not too thick.

The Tori Kara Age was a real disappointment. While the chicken WAS tender, and it came with a nice creamy sauce, the combination of ingredients was rather weak in terms of how strong the taste was. Nothing had enough presence, but they were too strong to be written off as "subtle." Furthermore, for a breaded chicken item, there was definitely not enough breading, leaving us with a rather unsatisfactory lump of mostly-moist chicken.

Now, we came to Wakamono primarily for the ramen. Osaka's specialty is apparently ramen, so we needed an alternate source for our noodly needs. We felt rather cheerful, having these large, pretty bowls of ramen placed in front of us:

I figured I would first try the broth, as a good broth is the key to a good ramen. Well, the broth was not only slightly disappointing, it was also extremely revolting. A miso broth that doesn't taste like miso is one thing. A miso broth that tastes like salty sesame oil is a whole other ballgame. The shrimp and chicken just tasted bland, while the BBQ pork (char siu / chashu)retained its flavour. A huge letdown.

Finally, we decided to have dessert. Skrud went for the green tea ice cream, which had what looked like some sort of fruit coulis on it, though dorayaki and mandarin oranges (à la Sakura) seem to be the best accompaniments to green tea ice cream. I, on the other hand, decided to try the ginger crème brûlée; I love crème brûlée, but this was under-charred on top, so it didn't have the right crackle, instead crumbling at the touch. Furthermore, since it was inadequately torched, the cream inside was too cold. It gets points for being tasty, but it was still lacking in the quality department.

Overall, it was just alright, and I'd have to give it maybe a 2/5. Pros: Inexpensive, attractive hostess, everything but the ramen was okay. Cons: The ramen sucked, and nothing stood out.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Wow, it seems I am only posting anything when MacZOT! has some sort of contest or promotion... I'm sure I'll get back into the blogging thing when I go to Germany. Oh yeah, might as well have an update... I'm going to Germany from Aug 11-27, so that'll be lots of fun. More info to come. :D
So, without any further ado...
My review of HoudahSpot as seen on

-- I always had a bit of a problem with the graphical Spotlight interface, finding it kind of awkward and unintuitive in some cases. It didn't fit in with the search style found in iTunes, with AND and OR queries graphically accessible, rather than a single line of text to type in. The command line utility mdfind is a little better, but sometimes I just like a pretty interface for dealing with things like this. HoudahSpot responds to this problem beautifully, creating a nice graphical search utility that is exactly what Spotlight should be. I'm glad to try it and hope the BlogZOT works out well so I can have a copy for free, though it's not so expensive that I would not just buy it myself. --

NOTE: If you’re seeing this on June 16, 2006 head over to MacZOT, you might be able to get a Free copy of HoudahSpot

Search easily in Tiger, Mac OS X, with HoudahSpot