Tag: raccoon

Travellings: Deutschland #20 – The Jabberwocky and Das Nonnenturnier

Apologies for the lack of posts as of late, but things got rather hectic and then came along Christmas and New Year, which were naturally spent in land of tea and crumpets. I then got back to the Bavarian Beer Monster on Monday night and then spent the next day sorting my things out before returning to work for 2 days – today in Bavaria is a Bank Holiday, so I get to finally update this blog before returning to knitting and writing more of the Book of Roo (previously named the Wuzel and the Butterfly).

Shortly before Christmas, I discovered a German translation of the Jabberwocky. Actually, there are several translations, but the one by Christian Enzensberger is my favourite. For those of you who are unacquainted with one of the most frightening monsters of my childhood, the two versions are as follows:

The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogroves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood a while in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
He chortled in his joy.

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogroves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

——–

Der Zipferlake von Christian Enzensberger

Verdaustig war’s und glaßen Wieben
rotterten gorkicht im Gemank.
Gar elump war der Pluckerwank,
und die gabben Schweisel frieben.

“Hab acht vorm Zipferlak, mein Kind!
Sein Maul ist beiß, sein Griff ist bohr.
Vorm Fliegelflagel sieh dich vor,
dem mampfen Schnatterrind.”

Er zückt sein scharfgebifftes Schwert,
den Feind zu futzen ohne Saum
und lehnt’ sich an den Dudelbaum
und stand da lang in sich gekehrt.

In sich gekeimt so stand er hier,
da kam verschnoff der Zipferlak
mit Flammenlefze angewackt
und gurgt’ in seiner Gier.

Mit Eins! und Zwei! und bis auf’s Bein!
Die biffe Klinge ritscheropf!
Trennt’ er vom Hals den toten Kopf,
und wichernd sprengt’ er heim.

“Vom Zipferlak hast du uns befreit?
Komm an mein Herz, aromer Sohn!
Oh, blumer Tag! Oh, schlusse From!”
So kröpfte er vor Freud’.

Verdaustig war’s und glaßen Wieben
rotterten gorkicht im Gemank.
Gar elump war der Pluckerwank,
und die gabben Schweisel frieben.

——–

I then found an entire website dedicated to the various translations of the Jabberwocky. So far, I have found the following Polish and French versions – there were several versions for the French, but Frank L. Warrin’sLe Jaseroque” I think is by far the best.

The website is unable to show all of the Polish accents, so I decided to put them in myself for those of you interested:

Dżabbersmok
Maciej Słomczyński

Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne
Świdrokrę tnie na zegwniku wężały,
Peliczaple stały smutcholijne
I zbłąkinie rykoświstąkały.

“Ach, Dżabbersmoka strzeż się, strzeż!
Szponów jak kły i tnących szczęk!
Drżyj, gdy nadpełga Banderzwież
Lub Dżubdżub ptakojęk”

W dłoń ujął migbłystalny miecz,
Za swym pogromnym wrogiem mknie…
Stłumiwszy gniew, wśród Tumtum drzew
W zadumie ukrył się.

Gdy w czarsmutśleniu cichym stał,
Płomiennooki Dżabbersmok
Zagrzmudnił pośród srożnych skał,
Sapgulcząc poprzez mrok!

Raźdwa! Raźdwa! I ciach! I ciach!
Miecz migbłystalny świstotnie!
Leb uciął mu, wziął i co tchu
Galumfująco mknie.

“Cudobry mój, uścisńij mnie,
Gdy Dżabbersmoka ściął twój cios!
O wielny dniu! Kalej! Kalu!”
śmieselił się rad w głos.

Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne
Świdrokrętnie na zegwniku wężały,
Peliczaple stały smutcholijne
I zbłąkinie rykoświstąkały.

If you’re a technical kind of person, I’m sure you’d find the parodies section highly amusing, particularly this version:

Browser Mocky, by “Abacus”

‘Twas busy, and the server tones,
Did beep and buzz all day,
All satisfied were the Netscape users,
And JAVA was okay.

Beware the Browser Mock, my client,
The contracts bind, the pages crash,
Beware Bill Gates, the software giant,
And all his monopoly trash.

They took their presentation boards in hand,
Long time they battled in court,
So struggled on the lawyer band,
Whining as their last resort.

Computer buyers stood aghast,
The Browser Mock, with exploiting ad,
Said that Netscape could not last,
And that made the clients mad!

Internet Exploiter! We hate you!
The browser market was taken back!
A cream pie flew; Bill Gates will sue,
But it made a triumphant whack!

And hast thou deleted the Browser Mock?
Come to my webpage Netscape friend,
And all the JAVA script will rock!
The joyful E-mail will even send!

‘Twas busy, and the server tones,
Did beep and buzz all day,
All satisfied were the Netscape users,
And JAVA was okay.

——–

Anyway, the reason for me mentioning the fact that I had found a German translation of perhaps my favourite poem is the conversation I then had with a friend of mine who told me not to confuse it with the Bavarian word “Zipfel”. “Zipfel” is the Bavarian slang equivalent to “knob” in English. So potentially to a Bavarian, one of the most fearful creatures of my childhood could theoretically be reduced to “knobhead”. He then went on to explain the etymology of the word “Zipfel” and its Mittelalt Deutsch roots. At which point I asked him how it was that he came to know the etymology of such a word – to me, it simply said that 1) he’s a bit weird, and 2) he simply has far too much time on his hands.

The explanation, however, was far more reassuring. He had to translate a medieval German text into Modern German whilst doing his degree. The text, I subsequently discovered, is one of the most bizarre, mind-boggling pieces of literature I think I have ever come across.

The text in question is “Das Nonnenturnier”, which translates roughly as “Nun tournament”. If you think the title’s weird, you wait until I tell you about the plot. I swear you cannot make this stuff up.

Maybe I ought to switch my area of interest from linguistics to literature?

So, the plot goes like this:

There once was a knight who was very popular with women because he was so well endowed. But because this was the only reason why he was popular, he became very depressed.

Now, at this point, I turned to my friend and pointed out that I know several gents who would be more than happy to be in that situation, and I am pretty sure that depressed is the last thing that they would become. But it now starts to get really strange.

In fact, he was so depressed about the whole thing and no longer wanted to be seen as a sexual object, OH THE IRONY. Us women are such users. he decided to lop the bloody thing off.

At which point I simply looked at my friend completely dumbfounded and uttered one word: WHY?

Now, although said appendage was no longer attached, women still wanted it and pursued the knight across the country.

Because, you know, as a woman, controlling my libido is quite frankly beyond me and it’s the only thing on my mind.

He then decided to hide it. In a nunnery. Up a nun’s skirt.

Now, I’m no expert, but I would assume that as a nun, hiding something of that nature up your skirt has several implications. Forget the hygiene issues of hiding amputated male genitalia underneath your skirt, think about the practical implications – mostly how you hide it up your skirt. Somehow I doubt you’d still qualify as a nun. Just putting that thought out there.

So now that the presumed “ex-nun” had decided to almost certainly break a few fundamental convent rules, the knight left his “Zipfel” under her skirt and went off to do heroic deeds and thereby become recognised for the heroic and exemplary individual that he obviously was.

Except the “Zipfel” didn’t like being under her skirt (funnily enough). So it told her and then ran off (Oh, did I forget to mention that this thing could talk and move independently?) – the resulting chaos being a battle-royale of sorts amongst the nuns when it came to light exactly what had been hidden.

At least, I think that’s a plotted synopsis. I stopped listening part-way through because I was laughing too much and my brain was in melt-down while it tried to comprehend the obviously drug-induced plot.

So, with that lovely mental image, I shall leave you all to enjoy your Friday evenings and hope you all have a relaxing weekend.

Preferably without nuns.

Oh, and for those of you who come across my site whilst searching for pictures of raccoons, here’s one for you crazies:

Sleepy raccoon
Sleepeh.

Hubble bubble, toil and trouble..

fire burn and cauldron bubble.

So, I returned from a whirlwind trip to Munich on Friday and with a clump of exams coming up, the natural thing to do was to spend today lounging about relaxing and avoiding work of any shape or form. Besides, what better a way to work through any pre-exam nerves and stress than to spend a couple of hours wrestling with unwieldy bread dough?

So I decided to try something interesting. I didn’t want to go along the boring “I’ve never baked bread in my life, so I’ll stick to something simple”. Bugger that for a laugh.

I decided to make a plait – far more interesting. Fortunately, I found a book on baking bread that we had lying around the kitchen (as you do), so I had some vague guidance – ish.

So, after a tentative hour or two of mixing, kneading, proving, deflating, reshaping, proving again, deflating and reshaping, I managed to plait my dough so that I ended up with these 2 baby-sized creations:

Loaves before baking
Before

So that you have an idea of proportions, I managed to make about 1.6kg of dough.. so each loaf is about 800g.

After finding a bread-baking setting on the oven and leaving my small children in there for ten minutes, they’d transmogrified into this:

Loaves 10 minutes into baking
10 minutes later..

This resulted in much squawking and yelling, “IT LIVES” at my father (and everyone else I came across, but particularly at him), all the while making what can only be described as ecstatic chimpanzee-like noises and running around the house.

This was duly repeated, when, after another half an hour, my beautiful creations were complete. I then felt the urge to take some supposedly “arty” photos of the finished product. That way I can kid myself that this entry can sort of look like it ought to belong in some kind of cookery book-thing.. somewhere.

Arty photo 1

Arty photo 2

Ooh, and whilst I was making a complete and utter mess of the kitchen (flour just seems to get absolutely EVERYWHERE) mum made brownies :D There won’t be many of these left by tomorrow, rest assured:

Chocolate brownies
BROWNIES :D

So, 3 guesses what my back-up career’s going to be..
Yup, you got it – raccoon tamer.

Raccoon
...Rawr.

Inane Whittering #6

IT LIVES!

First version of my home page for the project
IT LIVES

FINALLY, after weeks of muttering offensive remarks at my poor computer, sulking, comfort eating and generally bemoaning my inability to sort out my layout with regards to the navigation bar and text boxes, I’VE DONE IT.

I’ve even managed to get it to change to pink when you hover over it. Check me and my skillz out.

Yes, there was a need for capitals. You’ve no idea how happy I am. I’m almost as happy as that time when I discovered a new gateway to Narnia.

Gateway to Narnia
You'll never guess what's in here.

Chrono-Syntactic Infandibulum Link #4

So I came home from class today feeling rather overwhelmed after it dawned on me that the amount of work that I have left to do just isn’t funny. I’ve started re-writing the content of one of the first pages and decided to try and use HotPotatoes to create a little interactive exercise. I then discover that this creates a separate page – which isn’t what I wanted – and there are a few other little gripey things about it too, which mean that I can’t do what I want with the silly program. So, I moved on to looking at EXE, an equivalent, but has the same issue of creating an entirely seperate page.

Raccoon sticking his tongue out.
Take that, you stupid programs.

Being unable to get my head around this I turned to another problem: the layout of my pages.

Now, I originally intended to use the one CSS sheet for all my pages – that way I make one change and it’s applied everywhere. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Except the way that I want things to appear on my page is in boxes (because of the way I wrote my navbar – bear in mind I’ve written this all from scratch in Notepad without any web editors at all) and because of the way in which you style and position those boxes, it suddenly occurred to me that every darn page is going to look exactly the same. I don’t know about you, but I get bored real quick when everything looks the same.

So whilst I was stroking something furry in an attempt to calm down and wondering how I was going to find a way round this lovely mess, I thought about what the technical guys at work do for the website there – they have a masterpage. This should mean that I can have the same navbar, header and styling etc, but I pick and choose the content in the middle and somehow telepathically tell the computer to suck on that and bung it all together.

I then realise that the site for work is written in ASPX. So I’m now sitting in front of my laptop trying to wrap my head around ASP.NET frameworks and Visual Basic to somehow translate (oh, how ironic) what I already have into what I want it to be.

On the bright side, I’ve found this tutorial which is really helpful for those who know sod all (just like yours truly) about it.

I think I’ll tackle the other problem later. :|

Oooh, random fact:

Did you know that if you look at the printed Hebrew script, each character can be derived from the Magen David (Star of David)? Now there’s something I bet you didn’t know.

Part one of how the Hebrew Alefbet can be derived from the Star of David
(Reads right to left)

Part 2 of how the Hebrew Alefbet can be derived from the Star of David
Part 3 of how the Hebrew Alefbet can be derived from the Star of David

I bet that’s made your day, too.

Musings #3

Today I realised that we’re all caterpillars. Now, before you jump to the conclusion that 1) I’ve been taking those funky tablets that call out to you or 2) this is a rather poor attempt to emulate my success with rabbits and horses, hear me out.

It struck me that the world is a strange place and is rather scary at times. (Well done, Sherlock. You better watch this one, she’s quick..) Okay, it’s scary a lot of the time and every now and then, it’s all rather overwhelming – what with all the goodbyes and strange new places and people we meet. I certainly have been feeling the overwhelming thing a lot recently, particularly when it comes to the year abroad. Quite frankly, the idea of spending a whole year in Munich, like some kind of responsible adult (pffffffffftt!), staying out of trouble and learning an entirely different language and culture seems rather… well, daunting. And that’s not including the days where I’m incapable of getting out of bed:

Zonked raccoon
Not gonna happen.

But then I suppose there will always be things like that, no matter your age or experience. Before, I’ve thought of life as a game, full of challenges horses that life sets you – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Sometimes it’s a draw. But it’s down to you as to what you take from it – which is royal pain in the arse if you’re that scared that you’ve regressed to the age of 3, quite frankly just want Mama and for it all to just go away.

So, going back to my realisation that we’re all caterpillars: if life is game whereby you’ve got to give each challenge your all, the challenges will result you transmogrifying into something new. Except the catch is that you don’t know what it is you’ll turn into, and because you don’t know, it’s scary. Anyway, I think it’s safe to say that we start off as caterpillars; they’re fairly harmless little creatures.

The first challenge, I would say, for most caterpillars is university. Now, this first stage I have to admit is something my father said to me, (in one of his more… coherent moments) when I was trying to explain why a part of me didn’t want to go to university: if I’m honest, I was scared and didn’t know how I was going to manage. He said to me that at that moment, I was a caterpillar, and when I went to university, I would go into my cocoon. Yet by graduation, I would have fully become the butterfly that I’m meant to be. But I don’t think that it applies to just me, it applies to everybody.

We’re not all the same, however; we’re all individuals. Some become the rabbits or horses in life – or worse, squirrels. Some become the bravest of lions; others the meekest of mice; some become the most loyal companions you’ll ever know; some incredibly vain and pampered; and then there are those who don’t know how to deal with the weird and wonderful things in front of them and become ostriches, burying their heads in the sand – able to run from their problems, but never free to fly away.

I suppose we all have potential, it just depends on whether we choose to tap into it or not. Or rather, it’s not what life gives us, but what we make from it. I know, I know, this whole post is turning into one humungous cliché.

But if you do anything, make sure 1) you sure as hell enjoy it and make the most of it, and 2) you don’t end up drawing the short straw and become one of life’s spiders. The poor buggers get such bad press.

Lovable spider
Image found on the hilarious "Hyperbole and a half" (click image for link)

Chrono-Syntactic Infandibulum Link #3

I was reading through various articles on The Register this afternoon, and I found an article in which Google stands accused of copying up to 43 files of Oracle Java code for its Android OS. Given the recent headlines of plagarism concerning Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg’s resignation following Bayreuth University’s decision to strip him of his PhD, and then the revelation that the LSE are investigating allegations that Saif Gaddafi plagarised his PhD thesis, I thought this was highly ironic. It would seem to be that the latest ‘thing to do’ would be to copy someone else’s work.

Which kind of takes the fun out of it. (Define ‘fun’ as you wish.)

In other news, Firefox’s lead developer has announced that he’s jumping ship to Dug Software once the latest version of Firefox (v4.0) is released later this year. Time to watch share prices, perhaps?

Oh, and I’ve noticed that the searches for raccoons are still popular, so here’s another raccoon fix for all you crazies:

Smiling raccoon
Smile for the camera!

Inane Whittering #4

This morning I found a rather amusing link regarding Google’s latest Trojan App for Microsoft Office and how the German Foreign Office is killing Linux in favour of Windows. The latter story doesn’t make much sense to me, I mean, why get rid of Freeware that works and replace it with a so-called premium product that ends up freezing and then apparently “apologises for the inconvenience.” Microsoft, sweetheart, you have no idea of the inconvenience that you have just caused me. You’ve just lost me several hours of work, you useless pile of wombat dung. Don’t apologise for something if it’s not sincere.

I’ve also found a really good article (well, for me anyway) on sleep patterns. It turns out that we’re supposed to be biphasic sleepers, i.e. we sleep in two blocks separated by a period of consciousness, rather than creatures who hibernate for one massive chunk. See, now I have an excuse explanation for being awake at all kinds of quirky hours.

Oh, and for all you raccoon lovers out there (yes, I’ve noticed the searches), here’s something that I think you might appreciate:

Hip raccoon
Damn, that is one cool cat.