Saturday, November 7, 2009

Kafka feliz

In fact, I'll wager he's laughing his mid-European ass off somewhere. Herewith the necessary steps in order to reinstate the domain name for my other website (the cyberpage formerly known as gaelstat.com):

Now, to keep your domain name "gaelstat.com", you need to unlock your domain from Melbourne IT using the Domain Registration Key (DRK) of your domain and you need to pay the domain renewal amount to Melbourne IT. After unlocking and renewing your domain name "gaelstat.com" from Melbourne IT, you can re-delegate your domain back to your Microsoft Office Live account.

In order to redirect your domain name back to Microsoft Office Live, you need to create an account with Melbourne IT. After this, you need to unlock and manage your domain at their end.

To unlock and manage your domain from Melbourne IT, please follow the below mentioned steps:

1. Go to http://www.melbourneit.com.au/cc/godirect/.

2. Enter your domain name and registry key and click on continue.

3. Click on 'create a new account' below the text box where you are prompted for My account password.

3.1. Fill up all the information needed :

3.1.1. Contact Information

3.1.2. Login Information

3.2. Other Information:

3.21. The Country Code is "1" for United States (for UK it is 44)

3.2.2. The email address you enter must not be related to the domain you are attempting to transfer/manage.

4. After filling up all the information, check the box that says I have read and understood the Sign up Terms and Conditions. I agree to abide by the terms and conditions, as stated there in.

5. Click Create. Now your account is created.

6. On the My Account Console page, click Logout on the right side of the page.

7. Now you will be redirected to the Melbourne IT web site.

8. Click Manage Domain Name on the right side of the page.

9. Type your domain and registry key.

10. Click Enter Management.

11. Click Transfer management to Melbourne IT.

12. Sign in using the username and password for your Melbourne IT account using the username and password, which you created for your Melbourne IT account. .

13. Click Continue after you have verified all the information on the page.

14. Click on My Account console.

15. Click on the link "View/Manage domain name" under the Domain Names.

16. Click on your domain name (customer domain name) under the Domain Name section.

17. Click on the Unlock Domain Name.

18. To change name server, click on Change Delegation Details under Name Server Details on the right side of the page. Here, you can change the domain name server settings for your new service provider.

19. To obtain new authorization code in order to transfer your domain, click Retrieve Domain Name (authinfo) Password (on the same page on point 17).


If you have not received the DRK, please provide us with the information mentioned below to verify your account ownership. Once we will verify your account ownership, we will provide you with the DRK.

1. First and last name associated with your Microsoft Office Live account: (David Giltinan)

2. Billing address associated with your Microsoft Office Live account: (Required)

3. Telephone number associated with your Microsoft Office Live account: (Required)

4. Year of birth associated with your Microsoft Office Live account: (Required).

I'm not making this up. I truly wish I were. It's a wonder Bill Gates has not yet been assassinated. Please note, that last remark is not to be interpreted as an incitement to violence. I mean that. But it's hardly a wonder that Microsoft has, let's say, an image problem. To be fair, Sandeep at the support center couldn't be more helpful, even if he is not entirely idiomatic. Something that, given my current situation, I sympathize with entirely.

Website Snafu

There currently appears to be a snafu with reaching my main website, formerly known as gaelstat.com. At the moment, that domain name appears not to be working (for reasons I am trying to ascertain from the provider). However, its alias www.davidgiltinan.com still appears to be up and running.

I have changed the link on the front page of this blog to point to the working address, and am working on getting gaelstat.com reinitiated. But, for now, your best bet would seem to be

www.davidgiltinan.com

which at least has the virtue of being easy to remember.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My cup runneth over

Gentle readers:

Long-time followers of this blog will recall the slightly juvenile delight I took in the Spanish television series "El Internado (Laguna Negra)", the first season of which coincided with my first visit to Madrid, in the summer of 2007. Alas, circumstances dictated that I had to return home right after the cliffhanger ending of the first season, without ever finding out the full gory details of the mystery in the woods, not to mention the explanation for the assorted disembodied eyeballs that peppered the plot.

Imagine my joy, therefore, at reading in yesterday's "Ciberpais" that the series continues apace, having already reached its fifth season, and that all episodes to date are available on the website of Antena3.

Guess what I will be doing this weekend, in between studying that pesky subjunctive. There is the added pleasure of knowing that downloading and watching the various episodes from Season 2 and beyond has the virtue of being demonstrably good for my Thpanish comprehension. Not to mention the eye-candy provided by badboy Ivan and dreamboat Marcus.

Keep your eyeballs peeled for further updates. Right here at MOTP central.

Two-headed bunnies! Yeah!

César Lucas

Before I succumb entirely to the effects of exhaustion and Albariño, I should mention the fine photo exhibition that we went to see earlier tonight, as part of the culture class on Spanish photography. It was a collection of photos by photographer César Lucas, taken over his 50-year professional career. I enjoyed it thoroughly. The photo below, known as "El niño del puño en alto" (the boy with his fist raised), appeared in El País on June 23rd 1976, at the beginning of Spain's transition to democracy following the death of Franco, and is probably one of the best-known photos by Lucas.







A subsequent article (in 2006?) on the newspaper's website gives further information about the boy in the photograph and places the photo in context as an icon of the transition period. (Material in italics below is copied from the paper's website, at the following link):

http://www.elpais.com/especiales/2006/mirada/fotogaleria_7_1.html

El niño que levantaba el puño en una fotografía de César Lucas publicada en la última página de EL PAÍS el 23 de junio de 1976, al inicio de la transición, se llama Daniel Rivas Azcueta, tiene 34 años, es piloto y vive en Las Rozas (Madrid). Se siente muy orgulloso de ser "un icono" de aquel periodo de la historia de España. La foto fue tomada en la calle Preciados de Madrid, donde hoy está la FNAC. Sus padres, que le llevaron a la manifestación en la que fue fotografiado, eran militantes del Partido Comunista, miembros muy activos de Comisiones Obreras y de la Junta Democrática.
Hoy, Daniel dice que merece la pena manifestarse, por ejemplo, contra la guerra "o cualquier cosa que despierte el espíritu dormido de la gente", y, de hecho, a la manifestación que hubo contra la invasión de Irak él y su mujer llevaron a su hija Daniela, que tiene ahora cerca de cuatro años, los mismos que él tenía cuando se produjo la manifestación en la que le captó César Lucas.
La madre de Daniel, Sonia Azcueta, recordaba ayer que el niño "no sólo levantaba el puñito [como se ve en la foto], sino que nos animaba a todos los que estábamos alrededor".
Esa misma instantánea, símbolo de una época, ilustró la portada del tomo 7 de la colección La mirada del tiempo que EL PAÍS comenzó a publicar el pasado domingo.
Daniel Rivas tiene esa fotografía a la entrada de su casa, donde vive con su mujer, Marta Rodríguez Aznar, azafata; se la consiguió hace unos años su madre. Daniel es piloto de Air Nostrum; Marta trabaja en Iberia. Hace 15 días tuvieron otra niña, Martina.
Los padres de Daniel, Santiago Rivas y Sonia Azcueta, eran activistas políticos. Su casa, en La Guindalera, era "un hervidero sindical y político", y a Daniel esas idas y venidas le divertían y le estimulaban desde muy niño. Así que no pudo sorprenderse cuando sus padres le llevaron "a aquella manifestación a la que se iba para exigir mejor calidad de la enseñanza y a protestar contra la carestía de la vida". Él ya se sabía todas las consignas, las decía y levantaba el puño con la soltura que veía a su alrededor. Se puso a hombros de un amigo de la familia —Agustín Cerdán, que ahora trabaja en Vueling; su padre trabajaba en Aviaco, su madre sigue siendo secretaria en el hospital de La Princesa— y "disfruté de la fiesta, porque para mí aquello era una fiesta. Nadie me dijo 'levanta el puño', ni tenían que decírmelo. Yo levantaba el puño, y punto".
Como cuenta Juan Luis Cebrián, el primer director de EL PAÍS, en el prólogo que hace al citado tomo de La mirada del tiempo, esa fotografía armó un gran revuelo, y por su publicación protestó un ministro ("¿Es que EL PAÍS va a apostar por una España comunista?"). "Era un niño tan rubio, tan mono, tan angelical, tan simpático y bien trajeado, que su imagen resultaba demoledora", escribe Cebrián en el prólogo.
César Lucas, que era jefe de Fotografía de EL PAÍS entonces, recordaba ayer que los que pensaron, como aquel ministro, que la instantánea había sido preparada "pudieron haber tenido un argumento más, y también se hubieran equivocado. Unos días después de haberse publicado la fotografía", cuenta César, "me vino a ver un empleado del periódico, Edmundo Azcueta, que me espetó: ¡Vaya foto le has hecho a mi sobrino!".
"Por fortuna", dice el fotógrafo, "no sólo desconocía que Azcueta era tío del niño del puñito, sino que tenía un testigo de que la foto la hice sin preparación alguna, desconociendo absolutamente a quién estaba fotografiando. Ese testigo es el periodista Miguel Ángel Gozalo. Él me vio obtenerla, desde un ángulo inverosímil, sin poder mirar por el visor. Al llegar al periódico y revelarla me quedé encandilado".
Ahora lo dice: "Fotografié a un icono de la transición. Era un niño rubio, bien vestido, bien peinado, ¡era una España diferente, y estaba yendo a manifestarse!".

The exhibition was located at the cultural centre of the Palacio Conde Duque (the name of which translates, slightly redundantly, to the "Palace of the Count Duke"), which is this phenomenal building just around the corner from the don Quijote school. Should anyone reading this be in Madrid, I highly recommend the exhibition, which is free to the general public, and open until 9:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday (closed on Mondays, restricted hours on Sundays).

Hecho polvo

Survived another, fairly brutal (but always fun!), week of classes. Including today's simulation of the full exam, which I passed by a respectable margin. But the consequence is that I am so exhausted that I am slumped, almost catatonic, on the sofa, blogging from a most un-ergonomic posture. I had notions of going to see the Julie & Julia movie with Meryl Streep in it at 10:30, but what between my general state of decrepitude and the fact that I've been liberally sampling the fine bottle of Albariño that's in the fridge for the past hour, this possibility is starting to seem ever more remote. But let me just say that the combination of Albariño with goat's cheese and cream crackers is as good as it gets.

The picturesque Spanish phrase to describe my current state is "hecho polvo", literally "made of dust" (what the French refer to as "crevé", I believe). This should not be confused with the similar-sounding expression, "echar un polvo", which means "to engage in a one-night stand". A simple usage example should make the distinction clear:

"Juan estaba hecho polvo por la mañana, porque echó un polvo la noche anterior"
(Juan was dead beat in the morning, because of his one-night stand the night before)

That concludes our lesson for this evening. (Heads fridge-ward, to top up glass of wine...)
Hasta mañana!

How the panda came to be



I love this image! It is taken from the link below (for some reason, I was unable to include the picture directly from the link, and had to save it to my hard drive first).

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_WIme2IZPEnY/SrGqsWHGcFI/AAAAAAAAAz8/moRP7xzFkxU/s1600-h/bears.jpg

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hay madroños!

madroños

Today, after this evening's excellent culture class (on Spanish photography), I stopped off at the supermarket in the basement of the Corte Ingles. Where I succumbed to the temptation of buying some juicy madroños, pictured above. After all, one feels a responsibility to one's readers to convey just what it is that the bear in that "oso y madroño" statue is so worked up about.

The madroño experience was a bit like the partridge experience earlier in the week. Now that I've done it, there is no urgent reason to repeat it. For the record, they have a taste and consistency that is quite reminiscent of the kiwi fruit. But kiwi fruit are more delicious.

But now we know what the fruit of the arbutus tree tastes like. Nothing like strawberries, so there appears to be no good reason for the common mixup between both plants. Anyway, everyone knows that strawberries don't grow on trees.

It's raining spam!!


I don't know what it is about this particular IP address, but the quantity of spam that I receive just about quadruples - currently it runs at about 60 messages a day. For the first week, the spam filter could barely cope - it's been better this week. But it's disconcerting just how much garbage is piling up in my spam folder - we won't even go in to the types of message titles, though I am happy to say that the springtime emphasis on carnal relationships between busty sluts and barnyard animals seems to have abated.


Thanks God for small mercies.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Traduttore, traditore

Scum and pinions

Gulas of the North

more than creepy

El museo de brujería


The plain people of Ireland: Here, this is old news - all these photos were taken in 2007!
MOTP: And what if they were? What rule says they can't be included? They are, after all, oldies but goodies.
The plain people of Ireland: Fair enough, so. But don't you have any fresh photos to show us?
MOTP: After the exam, I promise. There will be a plethora of photographic gems, each one lovelier than the next.

We search the web so you don't have to

Tonight's find - the ancient Welsh art of "baragami", or toast-arranging:

http://www.messybeast.com/baragami/baragami.htm


No need to thank us. It's all part of MOTP's long-standing tradition of public service.




MATABURROS!!!

Sometimes I look around the apartment back on 19th Street, piles of books strewn everywhere, and wonder how things got to such a pass. Of course, there's no mystery about it really. For instance, late Sunday evening I was wandering through VIPS in search of a decent corkscrew, when the following item caught my eye:

mataburros!!!

The Argentine word for "dictionary" is "mataburros", or "donkey-killer". I daresay that one could kill an entire family of donkeys with this particular tome. Certainly, more than a fair share of trees are killed annually to produce books this fat.

november2009 106

But who could resist a book that contains so much raw information, not to mention sample business letters (as mentioned previously, business letters in Thpanish are much on my mind these days)? Not me, obviously.

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Then, to make matters worse, there was the fine volume of Thpanish proverbs on sale at the Casa del Libro last night. The selection of proverbs is a fine one, but many of the english translations do leave something to be desired. For instance:

Give a thing and take a thing, to wear the devil's gold ring
An old dog bites sore
Good ware makes quick market
Pleasing ware is half sold
Old thanks pay not for a new debt
A black sheep often has a white lamb
Like will to like
A bleating sheep loses her bit
Goose, gander and gosling are three sounds, but one thing
The master's eye makes the horse fat
Death's day is doom's day
Great strokes make not sweet music
Long ways, long lies
Ne'er cast a clout till may is out
Desperate cuts must have desperate cures
Nothing crave, nothing have
Where we least think, there goes the hare away
Man is to man a wolf
Nothing is a man's truly but what he came by duly
Money makes the mare to go
My word is my bone
He that comes of a hen, must scrape
Good cheap is dear
All that is sharp is short
If the cup fits you, wear it
The cat purrs, for his own good
Let no one say I will not drink water

Even allowing for obvious typos ("if the cap fits", "my word is my bond"), some of these are pretty baffling.

Photographic kittie update

courtesy of Jay's iPhone:






Diary of a Geek

Brad took the AVE to Seville early yesterday morning (he was as excited as a schoolkid) and will return tomorrow evening. Although I am insanely jealous, as Seville is my favorite city in all of Spain, I have been having my own geekish fun here on the home front. Earlier in the day I went to the Corte Ingles and picked up a 5CD set of 'classical music from the movies'. It turns out that the theme from 'Elvira Madigan' is ideal background music for studying one's prepositional verbs. And I just finished churning out two business letters to the tunes of 'Cavalleria Rusticana' and 'Carmina Burana', respectively.

I have never denied being a geek.

I heard back from the statistics folks at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, and have tentatively agreed to give a talk there when I visit during the second half of the month. Am still waiting to hear from the department at Universidad Carlos III.

With temperatures continuing in the 70's, all in all it is shaping up to be a fine week. Even if I did experience some gastrointestinal woes that caused me to miss classes this morning.

The plain people of Ireland: Whoa! Way too much information!
MOTP: You are quite right. Please accept my sincere apologies.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Asian Bird Flu Found in Turkey

Some more perennial favorite headlines:

McDonald's fries the holy grail for potato farmers
Shark attacks puzzle experts
British left waffles on Falklands
Frozen embryos ruled children
Yellow perch decline to be studied
Drunk gets nine months in violin case
Satellite tracks cows from outer space
British urologist censured by his peers
Big busts indicate drug war working
Severed head offers few answers
Court escapee still on the lamb
Nicaragua sets goal to wipe out literacy
Voodoo dogs flying doctor's planes
Plane too close to ground, crash probe told
Cold wave linked to temperatures
Stolen painting found by tree
Is there a ring around Uranus?
Queen Mary having bottom scraped
Blind woman gets kidney from Dad she hasn't seen in years
Infertility unlikely to be passed on
War dims hope for peace
Milk drinkers are turning to powder

etc, etc, etc.



Progress Report

After a rocky start, things on the exam preparation front improved as the week progressed, so I am finally allowing myself to be cautiously optimistic. One of the features of the DELE is that it is not enough to achieve the required overall 70% score on average - one is required to attain it in each of the three (somewhat arbitrarily defined) sections of the exam. There are some advantages to this, given the way the material is grouped. For instance, although the auditory comprehension part, which requires one to answer a series of questions after listening to 4 separate interviews/excerpts from radio programs/newscasts and the like (with accents ranging from the peninsula to Chile, Mexico, Argentina, or anywhere in Latin America), is notoriously difficult, it is grouped together with the oral part of the exam, allowing a blabbermouth like myself to regain any lost ground. Though I shouldn't be too confident - apparently the oral part proved to be the nemesis of a number of my classmates from last April. (I am trying, not entirely successfully, to take the high road and not to view this as cosmic justice for the unwarranted hostility that the two people in question displayed towards me back in April - what comes around goes around.)

The slipperiest part of the exam is undoubtedly the section known as "grammar and idioms", which is a sequence of sixty test items that grills one on really fine points of grammar, knowledge of often completely obscure idioms, and - true horror - asks one to identify mistakes in a couple of paragraphs of text. If I fail, it will undoubtedly be this part that does me in.

However, there are still two weeks to go, and I have my list of 500 idioms to study, so I keep on plugging. We did a practice run of the full exam on Friday, which went off OK, as far as I can judge.

The plain people of Ireland: Yawn.
MOTP: Yes, yes, I know. Nobody but me could possibly care about this. But it's my top priority for the next two weeks, so get over it already. I promise a nice fun trip to Gibraltar once this is all over and done with.
The plain people of Ireland: Gibraltar, begob! Great stuff. Will there be apes?
MOTP: Why, yes, I believe there will.

I'll have the delicious partridge casserole, please

november2009 097

Today we went on a little excursion to Toledo. We had lunch in a restaurant that specialized in game and venison. So, because there's a first time for everything, I had the delicious partridge for lunch. It was ... interesting. Perhaps a few more little bones than made for uncomplicated eating.

Back home safe after a nice day out. I still think Toledo is a bit of a tourist trap, but I certainly enjoyed it more than the last time I was there. We visited the cathedral, which was a definite high point, and a clear illustration of just how much moolah, in the form of art treasures, the Catholic church has accumulated over the centuries.

There was also a quirky, but fun, exhibition of costumes by Picasso and Dali in the Museo de Santa Cruz, right in the center of town, by Zocodover square. Where they had some nifty park benches:

november2009 056

november2009 080

The station was also pretty nifty:

november2009 102

All in all, another excellent day here on the Spanish plain. Brad gets to go to Seville Tuesday through Thursday (lucky SOB), while I will be devoting myself to the niceties of how to write a formal business letter en castellano. I know, I know, everyone should have such problems....