Archive for December, 2005

Date: December 31st, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Nuo2 – Exorcise

From the advertising for this one you’d think it would be a horror movie. A better title would have been The Trial About The Exorcism Of Emily Rose.

Date: December 30th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Ning2 – Tranquil

安寧 – An1 Ning2 – Peace Tranquil — Serenity

What are the chances that some obsessed fan has exhaustively cataloged every Chinese phrase used in every episode of Firefly, and the Serenity movie, and has listed how to write them (simplified AND traditional) with their pronounciations and definitions, as well as cross references to similar phrases and phrases in other episodes? On this internet, 100%.

Date: December 29th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Jin1 – Metal, Gold

金字塔 – Jin1 Zi4 Ta3 – Gold Word Tower — Pyramid

I’ve been told that the mip in Trilinear Mipmap Interpolation stands for “Multiple Image Pyramid”, which makes sense. However, the paper that popularized the word (according to Wikipedia) says “Mip” mapping is a particular format for two-dimensional parametric functions, which, along with its associated addressing scheme, has been used successfully to bandlimit texture mapping at New York Institute of Technology since 1979. The acronym “mip” is from the Latin phrase “multum in parvo,” meaning “many things in a small place.”

Date: December 28th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Jian4 – Key

鍵盤 – Jian4 Pan2 – Key Tray — Keyboard

I don’t remember if this one was the alpha or omega, but either way, I got it! Tomorrow: coolness points DOUBLED! Productivity, unfortunately, HALVED. I never look at the keyboard normally, but I’m sure with the letters missing I’ll be all psyched out.

Date: December 27th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Chai1 – Tear Open

拆禮物 – Chai1 Li3 Wu4 – Tear Open Gifts

Date: December 26th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Xiao4 – Filial

孝順 – Xiao4 Shun4 – Filial Obey — Filial Piety

This page has some stories of filial piety. Jenny knows the one with the mosquitoes and she also told me another one: A mother used to whip her son when he was bad. He would usually take the punishment quietly, but one day when she whipped him he began to cry. She asked him why, and he said “You aren’t whipping me as hard as usual. I think you are beginning to become old and weak!”

Date: December 25th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Zhu1 – Bead, Pearl

彈珠 – Dan4 Zhu1 – Bullet Pearl — Marble

大理石 – Da4 Li3 Shi2 – Big Texture Stone — Marble

Jenny would like to promulgate this new saying: “Don’t get your marbles confused!” It means not to mistake one thing for another.

Date: December 24th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
1 msg

– Shun4 – Arrange, Obey, Smooth, Flowing

Recently at work I’ve been trying to make a certain 300 millisecond long animation absolutely perfectly smooth, which means I get to use all sorts of really cool tricks.

Date: December 23rd, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Da4 – Big, Great

Can you believe it took me this long to realize what a fertile source of Word of the Day ideas the ENDLESS stream of mario sheet music queries is? Also, this is just kind of cute:

小提琴 – Xiao3 Ti2 Qin2 – Small Raise Instrument — Violin

中提琴 – Zhong1 Ti2 Qin2 – Middle Raise Instrument — Viola

大提琴 – Da4 Ti2 Qin2 – Big Raise Instrument — Cello

Date: December 22nd, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Jia2 – Pod

This means pod like a plant’s seed pod. I was hoping that this word would be part of some translation of iPod, but I can’t find any evidence for that. What I can find though is exactly one translation of “podcasting” as 莢鑄 – Jia2 Zhu4 – Pod Cast!

Date: December 21st, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Zhi4 – Arrive, Until, Extremely

至日 – Zhi4 Ri4 – Arrive Day — Solstice

夏至 – Xia4 Zhi4 – Summer Arrive — Summer Solstice

冬至 – Dong1 Zhi4 – Winter Arrive — Winter Solstice

Tune back in three months for “equinox”! I bet you can’t stand the suspense!

Date: December 20th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Ran2 – Burn

燃料 – Ran2 Liao4 – Burn Material — Fuel

Two other words that bean Burn: , .

Date: December 18th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Qu4 – Interesting

很有趣 – Hen3 You3 Qu4 – Very Has Interesting — Very Interesting

Date: December 18th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Wei2 – Encircle, Surround

圍巾 – Wei2 Jin1 – Circle Cloth — Scarf

Date: December 17th, 2005
Cate: Regular
2 msgs

Fascism and Totalitarianism

Update: ALL LIES!

This story is just too perfect to be true. A student at UMass Dartmouth was working on a research paper and did an interlibrary loan request for Mao’s Little Red Book. This triggered a red flag in some comptuer buried under Washington DC, and soon enough the student was visited by two agents from the Department of Homeland Security.

Once you pick your jaw up off the floor, get this: the class the student was taking was Fascism and Totalitarianism! I guess they learned a little more than they expected.

Date: December 17th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
1 msg

– Luo3 – Solitary Wasp

I was looking up how to say “Solitaire” but found this instead.

Date: December 16th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
2 msgs

– Ke2, Qiao4 – Shell

蛋殼 – Dan4 Ke2 – Egg Shell

地殼 Di4 Qiao4 – Earth Shell — Crust

I found out recently from a cow orker that in Danish, kneecaps are “Knee Shells” (knæskallen). I tried to dazzle him with my encylopediac knowledge by replying “Oh yeah? In Chinese, fingernails are FINGER ARMOR!” He was insufficiently impressed.

Date: December 15th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
4 msgs

– A1 – Ah

In Chinese, Paul Shaffer says 啊啊啊啊啊啊!

Date: December 14th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Gong1 – Supply

– Xu1 – Need, Require

供需 – Gong1 Xu1 – Supply and Demand

Date: December 13th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Hua4 – Transform, Change

化學 – Hua4 Xue2 – Change Study — Chemistry

I think the generic commercials have now officially crossed over into the the twilight zone. Foods like Beef, Cheese, and Pork came first, then things got a little strange with commercials for Plastic and even Plywood. But now I’ve seen one that completely blows my mind: Chemistry! A commercial for CHEMISTRY!

My friends and I were trying to figure out where these commercials could go next. It was a tie between “The Weak Nuclear Force: it’s not just for W bosons anymore!” and “Enthalpy saved my dad.” I guess, though, truth being stranger than fiction, this has already been brought to its completely inescapable and absurdist conclusion with the VERB: it’s what you do campaign.

Date: December 12th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Dong1 – Winter

冬蔭功 – Dong1 Yin4 Gong1 – Tom Yum Goong


泰式酸辣湯 – Tai4 Shi4 Suan1 La4 Tang1 – Thai Style Sour Spicy Soup — Tom Yum Goong

Warning: Movie spoilers ahead!

In Tony Jaa’s first movie, Ong Bak, bad guys come to his simple country village and steal their small statue, causing Tony Jaa to have to leave the village and go out into the world to try to get it back. He meets some people from home who will help him, and eventually, through the use of an amazing amount of flying knee attacks, incredible stunts, and crushing elbows to heads, gets the statue back…. but then suffers a defeat! He is too late to save a larger statue! But, turning defeat into victory, he manages to use the statue as a weapon to finally destroy the bad guys altogether.

Now replace every instance of “statue” with “elephant”, and you have the description of his latest movie, Tom Yum Goong!

Date: December 11th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Min2 – People, Civilian

公民 – Gong1 Min2 – Public Person — Citizen

We’ve finally seen “The Best Movie Ever Made Ever In The History Of The Universe”, Citizen Kane. Meh.

Date: December 10th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Zhe2 – Fold, Loss, Discount

衣服 – Zhe2 Yi1 Fu5 – Fold Clothes

Date: December 9th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
2 msgs

– Xia4 – Scare

A common expression is 你嚇我一跳 – Ni3 Xia4 Wo3 Yi1 Tiao4! – You Scared Me One Jump! This leads to the obvious conclusion that the unit that fear is measured in is “the jump”.

Date: December 8th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Ci2 – Magnetic

磁鐵 – Ci2 Tie3 – Magnetic Iron – Magnet

Do you have a magnet with your phone number on it?

Date: December 7th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
1 msg

– Wei4 – Taste

Beware incorrect Chinese lessons on the backs of fortune cookie fortunes! I got one the other day that said “Flavor” is written 口味 and pronounced Wei Dao. But 味道 is actually Wei4 Dao5! 口味 is actually Kou3 Wei4. They’re both legit ways to say “flavor”, but they mixed up the pronounciations and the characters.

Instead you should CLEARLY get your Chinese lessons at sketchy websites by American guys who post boring anecdotes from their lives that are tenuously linked to random Chinese words late at night. That’s the ticket.

Date: December 6th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
1 msg

– Dao3 – Guide, Transmit

導彈 – Dao3 Dan4 – Guide Bullet — Missile

My favorite missle of all time is the HARM. You couldn’t come up with a better name.

Date: December 5th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Piao1 – Float

漂亮 – Piao4 Liang5 – Float Bright — Beautiful

Date: December 4th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
1 msg

– Liu2 – Flow

流感 – Liu2 Gan3 – Flow Feeling — Flu

I’m pretty sure Jenny and I both caught the flu. She’s now all better and I’m getting worse! If my sickness continues to follow the same track as hers I now have a Very Wonderful Week to look forward to. The Official Flu Homepage confirms what I already knew: there’s not really much you or a doctor can do, other than the normal rest and fluids and over-the-counter stuff for the symptoms.

Luckily, as weeks go, this will be a reasonable one to miss work, if needed. The funniest part of all this is about two weeks ago they came over the loudspeaker and said “Anybody who wants the flu shot, please come to conference room A. Thank you.” I thought to myself “Ha! Flu shot? Who gets that?”

Date: December 3rd, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Yu2 – At, In, To, Regarding

於是 – Yu2 Shi4 – At Is — Hence

Hence, Thence, Thereupon, Henceforth, Whence: How about Thenceforth? Hereupon?

At least I have Hither, Whither, and Thither.

Date: December 2nd, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Zheng4 – Disease

Jenny has been sick for almost a week with the most horrible cold ever: it started with a slight sore throat, then quickly exploded into full-on sickness including 24×7 coughing, so much coughing that it’s hard for her to sleep. She seems to now be slowly getting better, which is good, but just today I noticed that I have… a slight sore throat. VERY VERY BAD.

Date: December 1st, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Jian4 – Establish, Build, Construct

Working on a large software system with a high rate of change in the application software is hard. Working on a project with a high rate of change in the base APIs is even harder. Working on a project that has both of those things, AND a constant stream of changes to the BUILD SYSTEM… is almost impossible.