Category Archives: Geeky Stuff

Firefly: The best show in the ‘verse

I have no idea why the wonderful, fantastic, AWESOME tv-show called Firefly was cancelled, but it was obviously a mistake on the part of the universe. Firefly is a western set in space; it is a fantastic, funny, heart-warming, intriguing story with a great array of characters and I Really Wanted To Know Where It Was Going. But… It. Was not. To be.

What there is of it, though, is definitely worth it. Oh, and check out the movie, Serenity, too! Joss Whedon is the creator of wonderful things. But I gush.

In the Firefly “verse”, future humans are fluent in both English and Chinese. Although, I am sure that Chinese people would tell you that the characters in Firefly are fluent in English and some other language they’ve never heard before. But that is besides the point.

This website provides a translation of the Chinese used in the various episodes, movie and comics. Usually, the Chinese speech was just a way to make it obvious they were swearing, without worrying about being censored. Surprisingly enough though, most of it does not even technically count as swearing in English. They came up with some very interesting insults, then had them translated into Chinese for the actors to say. So you never know that  they are actually telling a person to “engage in a feces hurling contest with a monkey” (Real example!). In fact, it seems they use ‘monkey’ a lot. That’s just part of what makes them so loveable.

So, with this handy website, you too can insult your friends in badly-pronounced Chinese, Firefly style!

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Geek Attack: Latin on the Internet!

Have you ever wished you knew Latin?  That perhaps your education could have done with a very dull and stern man pacing up and down through a class of utterly bored students glaring down at and pretending to concentrate on an equally boring textbook? With dull repetitions of Latin verb conjugations? No? Well, you are probably right, I don’t think I would have enjoyed that either. But there’s just SOMETHING about the idea of studying Latin… I don’t know, maybe it’s the geek in me speaking.

And I can. If I want to. There is a website dedicated to providing old (and out of copyright) books for learning Latin and Ancient Greek. You can download them in PDF format. This delightfully geeky resource is www.textkit.com.

With books like “Latin for Beginners”, “Greek Grammar” and generally a great variety of resources for various levels of competency, this site is just fantastic. And the most fantastic part about this site? It has a forum, and one of the sections of the forum is dedicated to communicating in these ancient languages. Yes, this is definitely the place for me. Using the most modern technology to communicate in languages that are no longer used to communicate? Oh yes. Oh hell yes.

Okay, let’s be reasonable here for a moment. Quite frankly, these books, as I said, are old. And probably intended for the scene I described above. It’s about learning, not fun. But if you are okay with that, then Textkit is the place for you.

Now all that’s left is to begin! I have downloaded some resources from them already, and had a brief look through a beginners’ Latin book. Unfortunately, I must confine myself a bit. One cannot learn too many languages at once! Or else it simply will not get done.  But some fine day, I will get there. In the mean time, I must amuse myself in other ways:

Romani eunt dommus!