Friday, September 21, 2012

Exploration of the Hamiltonian Système Naturel

The Gentleman's Magazine, Volume 265

In an effort to get back into reading classics and renew my Latin reading, I want to investigate the claims of Hamilton in his language learning method by trying them myself.

Here are various resources and commentaries I have found about this style of interlinear translation.

Zipf’s law

Hamilton Articles:

Haloinus Cominius

Jacopo Facciolati

Ahn and Ollendorff?

John Locke

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Starting Hippo Family Club's "Hippo Goes Overseas"

This is somewhat the typical "haven't posted for a while"

I've been listening to Chinese and Japanese on and off just changing my environment. Made some progress on Mandarin while I was in Taiwan for a month in Dec/Jan.

I have a TW friend who speaks about six languages with a high degree of fluency. That's German, French, Mandarin, Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean. He swears by the Hippo Family Club method which he picked up in Japan. I researched it a little online, but seems rather hype-ish. He lent me his English copy of their "Anyone Can Learn 7 Languages" and I read it, but it's still been difficult for me to figure out how this acquisition things works.

Today he gave me a copy of the recordings (7 cds worth) because he was under the same impression as me when he first heard of it. I started listening to the CDs and I have to say I am actually impressed.

Let me give a break down of how it works.  Each CD is the same story (Approximately 50 min) presented 7 different ways.

The first way is this:

K= Korean
G= German 
J= Japanese
C= Mandarin
S= Spanish
E= English
F= French

1K 0:23
2G 1:00
3J 1:58
4C 1:43
5S 1:17
6E 1:35
7K 0:42
8F 2:20
9S 2:48
10J 1:56
11E 1:22
12G 1:15
13C 1:05
14F 0:38
15K 1:56
16J 1:31
17G 1:21
18F 0:42
19S 0:31
20K 1:38
21E 1:03
22C 1:34
23F 1:31
24J 2:53
25G 1:09
26S 4:28
27C 1:41
28G 1:11
29K 0:43
30E 1:02
31F 1:06
32J 2:12

So the other 6 CDs have an equivalent structure, so you get every part of the story in each lesson, but they are all mixed up. I like this. The intent is just to have this going as your environment and attempting to mimic it over time. I will try this for a month and see how it goes. Hopefully this will act as a resource for the near lack of information about Hippo as well. I am impressed after finally seeing their materials, but wasn't until I actually heard the audio.   Full speed, native speakers, not foreign language material

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Project 52 - Week 1

I reaveal what lies below the surface.
This exercise challenged me.   I landed on and am going to stick with this vision statement for a while to see how it affects my shooting.    For the image assignment, I liked my idea, which was to show something inside a drop of water.  I decided on a heart, and made the heart cut out in black foam and mounted it to my flash with a red gel.   I put a water drop on a piece of foam and set it up to take the shot.

Ran into quite a few problems.   First, Sony NEX-5n is inferior to trigger a flash.   Second, the main macro lens I have is a Pentax lens that I can use with my NEX (would have been better off using the Pentax K100D).  This lens says "macro" on it, but I'm not sure how you can get close enough to anything to take a photo when the minimum focusing distance is too long.   I couldn't get close enough to the water droplet, and thus the heart looks much more like a fire than a heart.   Doesn't look bad, but the resolution is so low because I had to crop it significantly.

Lesson learned:   Buy a real macro prime lens for my Nikon, so I can use my Pocket Wizards.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Project 52 - Week 1 Preliminary

Saw an interesting project -- Project 52 - that seems a good exercise for me to work through for my photography. The assignment for the first week is about who I am by developing a vision statement and capturing a photo that matches that. This post is going to be a journal of miscellaneous thoughts working through that. It may be rough, but doing something is better than making excuses!

A collection of thoughts on vision statements:

  • "I want to travel around the world and make pictures of special features of places and people that I meet."
  • I capture something deeper than/below the surface.  To capture what lies beneath

Now onto the exercises taken from the blog:

- Pull the 5 images that you love the most. NOT the ones that got the most comments on Flickr or other Hipstamatic, the ones YOU love the most.
Wow.  This is a tough one.  I looked through quite a few of my images and I have chosen some that I love a lot.

July 6, 2007.  This is an old Uyghur man demonstrating how to use a loom in at museum in Kashgar, China.  I like the warmth of the image and the action of using the loom.  The image reveals a glimpse of traditional culture.       
June 30, 2009.  Big Island of Hawaii, sunset from Saddle Rd.   While taken from a small point and shoot camera, seeing the sunset occurring below the cloud cover was breathtaking.  I love the cactus framed by the triangle of sunset.   
April 2, 2011.  Portrait of Yan.   This is one of my favorite portraits of my friend dressed in a qipao.   It is a very tender and sweet.  The composition is tight and her hands fit naturally in her pose.

To be continued.  This is a thoughtful exercise and will take me some time....
- What do they all have in common… write it down.
What is different about each of them… write it down.

- How would you describe those images to someone who couldn’t see them.

- Do the images that mean the most to you reflect something you are personally interested in? No right or wrong answer, just think about the relationship between you as a person, and you as an artist.

- If you had an opportunity to do any kind of photography, and be paid well for it, what would it be?
Traveling around the world taking pictures that reveal special facets of culture.
- What do you think about when you think about photography? (Gear? Shooting? Experience? The Image? Recognition?) – again, there is no right or wrong answer.

- When people describe your photography, what terms do they use? What terms would you want them to use to describe your work?

- List three photographers who you would love to shoot like. Not as a copy, but as an influence/mentor.
  • Erich Chen - I love the simplicity of Erich's images.  Even watching his youtube videos show the care he takes to make images that really hold the spirit of the people he is shooting.  His natural light photography and compositions are moving.
  • Ayie Permata Sari - This is a travel photographer I ran across on 500px who has some truly magnificent cultural images.   
  • Peter Hurley - Love that he shows amazing character in his headshots.  I would love to build rapport with my clients in the way that he does to bring out their personality in photographs.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Herbie ODD adventure

Herbie was going about his daily chores when his dad came to him. "Our last sheep is gone! Something has taken it. I want you to go take care of it and bring back the sheep if you can." Annoyed at another one of these "chores" his dad always seems to give him, he dons his platemail and helmet and heads off to the field where the sheep grazed. Looking around, he sees a set of small bipedal footprints leading off into the woods. Herbie, though quite unintelligent, puts one and one together, and wanders over into the woods following the trail of footprints. After a few minutes' walk into the woods, he hears the bleating of the sheep. He walks closer and sees a small cave with a goblin sitting in front digging through his posessions looking for something. The sheep is tied to a post next to the cave entrance. With the goblin distracted, Herbie managed to approach hiding behind the tree without the goblin noticing.

Herbie, fearing for the welfare of his family's beloved sheep, readies his hand axe and shield and charges at the goblin! He takes the goblin by surprise, runs up and swings his axe into the goblin's chest. The goblin's shriek, "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek" is heard as his limbs thrash around for a few seconds before coming to a lifeless rest. Herbie has never killed anything before and the rush of adreneline continues to pulse through his heart as he takes stock of what just happened. After a few moments, he looks around and his curiosity gets the better of him. Herbie decides to look inside the cave.

As he step through the cave arch, it takes a few seconds for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. He can hear some muffled voices coming from nearby, and can see a glow coming from a bend to the left up ahead. He quickly runs up fairly quietly despite his plate mail, and he can hear two goblins speaking. He tries to follow what they are saying, as much as one can understand what goblins say.

"'eeee losst eeeeet"

" 'eee's lying, eee wents ta keeep eeet fer eemself"

" et's git 'em, ain't no use ta uss now"

Herbie hears the voices coming closer as they appear to be 'getting' the goblin outside. Herbie adjusts his fingers on his hand axe and prepares to swing on the goblins when it comes around the bend.

The two goblins appear around the corner, and the one on the left exlaims, "wut!? 'huu arrr--" but is interrupted as Herbie's axe swings down on his left side, completely missing him. Herbie lets out a battle cry, but the axe swings to the right, missing again. Herbie can hardly believe he botched this up that bad. The goblin looks confused for a moment before regaining his composure. Both goblins pull out their knives and stab at him. The knives simply 'plink' against the plate mail. Herbie readjusts his aim, and sinks his axe into the goblin's stomach. The goblin falls to the ground coughing blood. Seeing what happened to his companion, the other goblin quickly tries to stab Herbie, but has no success. The injured goblin hobbles to his feet coughing. In a bout of overconfidence, Herbie tries to finish off the goblin, but swings to hard and loses his balance, falling to the ground in a clatter of plates.  The two goblins try to use this opportunity to stab him, but can't get through his armor.

Herbie rolls on the ground, frustrated but manages to clamber back onto his feet, and drives his axe into the coughing goblin's shoulder who tumbles to the ground and lays unmoving. The remaining goblin shrieks and fails to penetrate the plate mail again. The two swing at one another again, but the goblins failed attempt convinces him he isn't gonna make it, so he darts for the door whalooping, "Wa waaa wa waaa." Herbie chases after him yelling "You'll never go near my sheep again!" swinging wildly, but the the creature manages to make it out of the cave and yells, "'eeeep! take yer sheeeep! me don't wants eeet!" and makes a line for the trees. Herbie, overcome with exhaustion from bustling about in heavy plate mail, gives up on chasing the goblin and placing his hand on the cave wall, takes a minute to rest. He walks outside the cave to check on Dolly, his sheep. As he gets near, Dolly lets out a relieved bleat. Herbie can hear the goblin's wailing for a minute before it fades further west into the woods.

Remembering his father's chore, Herbie decides to escort Dolly back to their home, fully intending to return here to further explore the cave. He's curious about the light at the end of the cave but doesn't want to risk another unfavorable encounter without returning his family's sheep.

Herbie makes it back home and explains where he found the sheep and talks about fighting the goblins. His dad never liked Herbie's stories about adventure and fighting, and responded, "Stop yer storytellin'. Probably just found Dolly walking in the woods, eh? We'll, thanks fer bringin' her back. Time to get working on building a fence so this won't happen again."


Herbie's dad says, "Aw, come off it. I'm sure you'll be back later today." He picks up his saw and hammer and nails, and heads towards the door. "If you feel like helping, I'll be at the field buildin' that fence!" He harumpfs out the door without another word.

"Stupid old man," thinks Herbie. "A fence isn't going to stop goblins from stealing the sheep." And with that, Herbie heads back to the cave.

When he arrives at the cave, he doesn't hear any noise, and he sees the bag that the dead goblin had been rustling through laying next to the goblin's body. He walks over and picks up the bag and looks through its contents. He finds a book, a torch, some trail rations, and a key. He thinks this is a pretty good find, and puts the backpack on his back and proceeds into the cave. When he enters the cave, he pulls out the torch, but realizes he has no way to light it, so he puts it back, and wanders further to the back of the cave where it bends.

As he turns around the corner he sees a circular-ish room. There is a fire in the middle that has mostly died out since the goblins haven't been around to continue feeding it. Along one of the walls is a large moss-covered rectangular stone. Now being entirely unfilled with adrenaline, Herbie realizes how much goblins stink. Yucky-buckets. The Goblins seem to have been living here collecting various crap, but there doesn't seem to be much else useful around the fire. Herbie can tell that the Goblins were not the original owner of the bag he is now carrying. They must have gotten it from someone.

Herbie pulls out the torch once again, and lights it in the remaining embers of the fire. The room grows brighter, but doesn't appear anymore interesting. Herbie approaches the rectangular stone, examining it.

"Wow, that sure is big!" Herbie exclaims, noting how the stone stands twice as high as himself. The stone glares coldly back at him as he prods it with his axe, not much seems to happen except axe on stone soundage.

Herbie does think that it could be a door shape, if it weren't a giant rock in the wall of a otherwise dirt cave. Doors just don't appear in these sorts of places.

Herbie tries to push the stone with all his might, but the rock fails to budge a bit. Sweat pours down his cheeks with his shear effort. He finally decides to give up and lets his head thump against the stone in frustration. Something gives way and he hears a rumbling sound. He jumps back and the stone seems to go back into the wall and after it stops moving, he can see a mortared-stone hole in the ground that appears to have a ladder hanging from it. There are some cobwebs that would indicate that this passage has long been forgotten

Herbie decides to drop his torch down the hole to try to get a better idea of where it might lead. He sees the torch fall at a fairly regular speed, and remarks, "I'm glad I'm not falling that fast" The torch's short fall is rudely interupted by a clattering sound as it hits a floor. Herbie doesn't think it's that far, maybe about 20 cloobers down.

He puts himself together and then makes his way down the ladder. He finds himself standing in a hallway. It is quite dark aside from the torch laying on the ground, still burning. The hallway stretches on into darkness on either side. A sinking feeling comes over him, as he feels that there is something very bad in this place.

After a minute, he hears a clacking sound coming from the south, it seems to be getting louder. He leaves his torch and moves into the darkness to the north. He assumes that he is out of sight but his armor does tend to reflect the torchlight, unbeknowst to him. He waits to see what is coming. As the noise grows closer, he thinks it sounds like the rhythm of footsteps, but not the sound of feet. "Boy! those must be some funny shoes," he thinks to himself. A short time later, three skeletons step into the light and pause at the torch before coming towards the reflection they can see in the shadows.

Herbie, feeling quite terrified by the site of walking skeletons, clutches his hand axe but continues to wait to see what they are going to do. The skeletons steadily walk toward him he notices that they have daggers in their hands and don't seem particularly friendly. He feels like this is the point to do something, or run the heck away!

Herbie considers running, then remembers his plate mail, and then remembers his father back home who would surely laugh at him if he returned. Herbie charges at the nearest skeleton! He swings a few times before making contact with one of the skeleton's ribs. sending bone fragments scattering on the stone. They exchange a few more whiffs before Herbie knocks some more rib pieces to the ground. One of the skeletons gets his dagger under one of the plates and Herbie starts bleeding on his side.

The other skeleton sinks his dagger into Herbie's armpit, leaving him slightly more bloody, and taking a third of his life essence. SMACK! POW, dear reader! Will herbie make it? Is this is final breath?

Herbie is hurting. He thinks his best shot is to make a break for the ladder to get out of here. Unfortunately the ladder is on the other side of the skeletons. He decides to dive through the skeletons and make a break for it. He
manages to make it through but one of the skeletons' daggers finds its mark in his back.

Herbie falls to the floor, writhing in agony and coughing up blood. Then, he falls unconscious....

Small Scale Miniatures

Small scale Army pieces

6mm Science Fiction
Bases, Terrain, Etc

6mm Fantasy 
15mm Fantasy

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Favorite blogs, websites, and youtube

Youtube Channels:

(food) Cooking with Dog - Francis (the dog) is the narrator for this Japanese cooking show.  It is in English and teaches a wide variety of Japanese dishes.   While I haven't ever used the recipes, everything seems clear and the instructions are clear.

(food) Vah chef - The Vah chef shows you how to make all sorts of Indian dishes, desserts, breads.  His commentary and facial expressions are quite ridiculous at times,  I followed his recipe for Butter Chicken and it was quite delicious

(music) Jack Conte Music - He is one of the more innovative musicians I've seen on Youtube.  He seems to be the originator of the 'video song' concept--every instrument on the recording is shown in the video.  He even has an anti-videosong that is entertaining.

(language) Alexander Arguelles, Ph.D. - This is someone I've followed for a few years, starting on forums.   He is a self-studied polyglot and offers advice to those attempting the same things.   He has videos on methodology for language learning, reviews of the major language resource publishers, and has completed a video series on languages in the Germanic language tree.   I own one of the English-French-Spanish-German dictionaries he published in Lebannon.   If you are interested in langauge learning, I definitely recomment checking him out.


(language) All Japanese All the Time - Khatzumoto has become one of the bigger language learning bloggers that I've seen in the last 3-4 years.  He claims to have learned Japanese to a highly competent level (enough to get a Japanese only speaking job with a tech company in Japan) in 18 months while going to school in America.   He has good advice and I agree with his language learning ideas.   Input before output.  Ridiculous amounts of input naturally grow language in our minds.

(cartoon) XKCD - one of my favorite nerdy comics.   Enjoy!

(faith) Don Miller's Blog - Author of Blue Like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What writes about various projects, including writing, ministries and his mentoring project.

(international) Coming Anarchy - An interesting collection of articles from a few different writers.  In the past it seemed more focused on China, but at least one of the writers is now in Dubai.

(China) Beijing Sounds — 北京的声儿 - I believe this guy is married to a Chinese women and generally posts about thoughtful reflections on the language of his wife, daughter and mother-in-law especially with regard to the Beijing accent.  

(Uyghur) This is Xinjiang. - Usually posts pictures from the area, with some personal anecdotes of a foreigner living in Xinjiang.

(Uyghur) Xinjiang: Far West China - Since the author The Opposite End of China had left Xinjiang, there weren't any very good blogs on people living there.  This excellent blog has come up recently and provides some cool and thoughtful posts.  Sad that the internet is off in Xinjiang so posts are far between.

(food) FX Cuisine - This Dutch blog is by far the best I've ever seen on cooking and food.  He explores various farms and shows how to make some great delicious foods.   These aren't usually fast recipes, but slow and careful.

I may update this from time to time.