Monthly Archives: October 2012

US/UK Adjectivenoun Revelations

I’ve always been bemused (is that the word?) by the difference in pronunciation between the US and UK of terms like “apple sauce” and “ice cream”. In the UK, they are pronounced with equal emphasis on the first and second words. “Apple Sauce”, “Ice Cream”. In the US, the emphasis is on the first word, “APPLE sauce”, “ICE cream”, implying that the first word defines the type of sauce or cream we are talking about. Which I suppose is true. “PEANUT butter”. In fact you could almost remove the space between the words.

“Applesauce” (I think it’s actually spelled like this here). “Icecream”. “Peanutbutter”.

I’ve just noticed a new one, but it’s slightly different. In the UK it is said that popular things “sell like hot cakes”, implying a load of cakes (of any type)  have just come out of the oven, and every buys one while they’re hot and delicious. That’s how I understand it, anyway. However, in the US it is pronounced and written “sell like hotcakes”, which implies that hotcakes are a specific type of cake. A quick google image search tells me that it is a another word for pancakes – and the American style of pancakes too, not the thin crepe-type UK ones.

Conclusions? I don’t know. I just noticed it, is all.

Videoing The Day-to-day

This article on Retro Thing makes a point about not documenting the mundane in our lives. I think we document more than ever, but not always the regular stuff – just crazy or unusual stuff, or images which don’t document rather than say, “ooh look how that ivy grows on that wall”, or “ooh, look at the mist“. The article goes on to link to this fascinating video by photographer Hans Sipma – a time-lapse tour of Vancouver in the mid-1970’s.

I’ve been playing around with our video camera and the camcorder on my new phone recently. For a lack of better ideas, I videoed some journeys. It was just a case of switching on the camera and seeing what came out of it. First was this bus journey from Regents Street to Camden Town in January 2012.

Wobbly, handheld, and through a scratched and steamy upstairs front window. Plus the route doesn’t have much in the way of sights or landmarks, especially at night. But again, this isn’t about tour videos – it’s about just recording a mundane journey.

This next one was less linear, based on a engineering boat tour around and under the Bay Bridge – both the old and the as yet-unfinished new.

Just the other day, I was playing with my new phone, and decided to capture my daily bus commute over the Bay Bridge (yes, the Bay Bridge is a bit of a feature around here) from the toll plaza to the Transbay terminal. This was taken by holding the phone up against the window, and letting it roll. This meant that it was looking out at 90° from the bus, so you don’t get to see what’s up ahead, only what is directly to the side. You don’t get to see the great views of San Francisco, or the height of the new bridge tower. However, it’s an interesting snapshot – I think the limitation of field of view makes a window through which you just see snippets.

Finally, here’s a video taken from a car driving through the town centre of my birthplace of Bedford, UK. I don’t think I’m in it – frankly I’d rather not know if I was. Some landmarks:

  • Green 172 bus?
  • BEEHIVE
  • C&A
  • Eastern Electricity
  • The H Samuel where my parents bought me the watch I have on at this moment.
  • The Woolworths where I worked on and off for many years.
  • Some dodgy moustaches
  • Beales
  • Folks hanging around opposite the library
  • Austin Princess with the boot open – aww yissssss
  • Round past the church to the High Street, then left along the river and into the leafy streets south of Goldington Road.
  • At 11:15, a couple of those Jaws/Hitchcock dolly zoom shots.
Also enjoy the improvised synth workout by the videographers themselves, recorded the same day when they got back from filming!

That last video is pretty powerful stuff actually. There’s a big separation between me and the place of my birth, and between 1985 and now. Luckily technology can allow our senses to reach across time and space and make connections – although I’m glad I can’t smell Bedford’s streets clogged with leaded-petrol cars and diesel buses. Or dodgy 80’s aftershave.

About Time Too

Jamie Palmer, director of the recently-televised documentary We Who Wait: The Adverts & TV Smith, London Film School alumnus and friend of my wife Cassie (who was a camera op on the above film), has finally got himself a blog. I say finally because whenever we see him on visits back to London, it’s always good to hear what opinions he has about what is around at the moment. Cassie says when they went to see movies together, he was able to cite a complete, intelligent, fully-thought-through movie review even as they walked out of the cinema.

If his first post, an excellent review of a recent live debate between David Aaronovitch and Mehdi Hasan at the LSE, is anything to go by, we can expect some thoroughly chewy and enjoyable writing from him.

And of course, these rich and smart posts by Jamie, Middleclasstool and others just go to prove that my witterings about shoes and old club classics is the froth on the pint of the blogosphere, while these guys are the meat. Wait, what?

UPDATE: The full TV Smith documentary is viewable here!

LA Film Shoot, NAS FTP

Cassie is away in Los Angeles this weekend, filming for her new documentary project. She’s the creative one in this case, but I have a big role to play in making sure all the tech stuff is ready. The camera uses big CompactFlash cards, which fill up quickly with HD footage. So that she can reuse the cards while away, I bought a Network Attached Storage device, or NAS, which sits on the network at home. This has 2TB of storage, and I’ve set it up as an FTP server. This means that Cassie can upload footage while she’s away, and then re-use the cards. Then we can make that footage available to her editor, who is conveniently located in London.

It’s all worked out well so far, although if the router or NAS are power-cycled, their IP addresses change, and I have to jump through some hoops to make the FTP work again. I’m told there’s a way to fix them, but no luck yet.

In addition, I used NO-IP’s web service to give a nice domain name to the external IP address of the NAS. This is a freebie, and needs to be renewed every 30 days. I might just give that up and set Cassie’s FTP software to use the IP address directly.

Anyway, while the cat’s away, the mouse has loads to do include edit the new episode of his podcast, and is on call in case the cat has a problem.

Back To The Cheese Slicer

Looks like I have to go back to the place with the gas and knives…

Last December I had an operation to excise a lesion from the roof of my mouth. It had been spotted by my dentist during a regular checkup and cleaning, she had sent me to the surgeon, they’d done a biopsy, and decided to operate. Xmas was pretty mellow as a result. The tissue removed had shown “mild to moderate dysplasia”, which is just cells misbehaving. It’s on the far end of the “cells misbehaving” spectrum, so nothing to worry about really (apart from them taking a cheese slicer to the roof of my mouth).

I went back for checkups after four months, and after eight months. At the second visit the doc said it looked a bit red, so we waited a month and checked again. It was back. Despite the previous operation being a success, with the tissue removed containing all the problem bits, it looks like the tissue in my palate just won’t behave.

The doc I went to before is a maxillofacial surgeon – he mainly does wisdom teeth and the like. He’s also out of my insurance network, and if that wasn’t enough he’s across town in the Richmond area of San Francisco. Last time it took me 45 minutes to get a cab from outside the hotel opposite my office. Seriously.

So, he referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat guy in the fantastic neo-Mayan 450 Sutter, which is just a bit of a walk from my office. This guy is also in my network, which is good, because if this thing came back once, there’s a possibility it will just keep on coming. I might have to keep doing this.

I went along there today, and came away with a checklist of things to do before my surgery. The surgery isn’t scheduled yet, but they will call me in the next couple of days, and it won’t be very long before I’m back on the bye-bye juice.

What’s causing this? They can’t say. The ENT and my PCP don’t think it’s the asthma medication I suck down morning and night. Smoking isn’t an issue. But one thing he did say was that alcohol has been known to cause tissue damage in the mouth. I really don’t drink much – sometimes weeks will go by without me touching a drop. When I do let go, I usually manage about 5 beers before falling asleep. I’m not slamming hard liquor every day. Despite this light usage of the bottle, the doctor said I should quit all alcohol, including mouthwash, moonshine and mead, for now – at least until after the surgery.

I’ll keep you posted when the surgery date is decided. Maybe I’ll get Cassie to bring the Zoom so I can record my post-op anaesthetized pronouncements about the … woah … size of my hands.