Book Log – El Bulbo Clase Media

El Bulbo Clasemedia por Sebastian Carrillo “Bachan”

This is the first book compiling the spanish-language El Bulbo webcomics, which I’ve been reading for about a year. I am finally to a point where I can understand them fully, so I ordered the book as a sort-of reward. Also, I dearly love webcomics, and like to support them when possible.

El Bulbo is an animated-by-dark-magic Vacuum Tube superhero.

“A gigantic monster attacking the city!”
“After all this time! At last! A job! What happiness!”
“I will be able to pay the rent! The telephone! A chance to buy myself a new cape!”

The comic is silly, but entertaining, and Bachan is one of my favorite comics artists. He has another series called Vinny about an anthropomorphic dog detective, which is also good.

Shakespeare & Webcómics & Caterpillars

Have you checked out the 2009 Season Brochure from Georgia Shakes? You should. It’s big silly fun.

You should also buy tickets to their shows (and the other theaters around town, while you’re at it), but that goes without saying.

In the continuing effort to acquire fluency in Spanish, I’ve been searching for good spanish language webcomics as documented in my other LiveJournal, coheteelectrico.

SENI (or Sergio En Internet) has much the same feel as Questionable Content. Twenty-something angst and pop culture references in reasonably-decently drawn cartoon form.

El Maizo is a fairly young fantasy-style strip, which makes it a bit more complicated to read in a foreign language. I can spend 15 minutes trying to find what a word means, later realizing that it’s probably a made-up word specific to the universe of the comic. Like trying to find a definition of Ewok. I like the art of the strip and so I’ll keep reading.

My favorite thus far is El Bulbo, the adventures of a superhero lightbulb. His true calling is to fight monstruos gigantes, but he is often called upon to fight bad-guys who aren’t so bad, such as the Middle-Class Avenger (Clasemediero Vengador), who breaks into banks and forces the tellers at gunpoint to give good customer service.

As a result of attempting to read a superhero comic in Spanish, I’ve had to pick up a lot of action-hero related words:

dejar – to leave, as in ¡déjamelo a mí! or Leave it to me!
explotar – to explode
tirar – to throw, kick, knock over
vencer – to defeat, overcome, beat
soltar – to let go of, release
golpe – blow, kick, bump/collision
mentir – to lie
cumplir – to carry out, perform
sacar – to take out
enejo – anger
bala – bullet
bronca – trouble

That last one I tried to use in class, and my teacher admonished me not to use it. She couldn’t give me the specific connotations of what it means, but just that it was sort of like gang trouble, or a gang fight, or something like that.

I still haven’t found the Spanish equivalent of Scary Go Round or Girl Genius, arguably the best webcomics out there. I guess that’s asking too much.

When my son calls me up all excited that he has caught another caterpillar AND he got to pet a duck today, I remember that’s why I’m in this cube 8 hours a day and not bumming around living in a yurt on a beach somewhere, and all is right with the world.

Two random items of interest, and a bonus

I am in my cube listening to some coworkers singing Christmas carols in a nearby meeting room, accompanied by an acoustic guitar.

To own the truth, they are not bad.

I have found my new favorite spanish verb:

trasnochar – to stay up late

¡Trasnocharemos a las 31 de diciembre!

Estoy aprendiendo el tiempo futuro. Ahora puedo escribir sobre viaje de tiempo.

A bonus third random item:

Overheard in the hallway:

“If you think about the number of insect legs in your peanut butter, you’ll probably never eat a PB&J again.”

Ganar y Perder, and the Carol

Gané el premio en mi clase de español, un traductor electrónico.

Pero la noticia mala es que el traductor electrónico no es un equipo bueno. No puede hacer conjugación del verbos español, tiene muy pocas palabras en el diccionario, y más de los juegos aprendizajes es para estudiantes del ingles. ¡Ya se inglés1!

Ahora no se que decir a mi maestra. Ella estuvo muy entusiasmada sobre el premio; ¿Cómo se digo no lo me gusta?

Posiblemente voy a decir que voy a venderlo a eBay, y compro un nuevo traductor electrónico.

Last night, Scout and I were on our own. We left RocketBoy and steakums at Felinis (we were there for RocketBoy’s elementary school spirit night, where a portion of profits for the night are donated to his school) and headed home. The nice thing about Scout is she’s still young enough to view everything as an adventure or a game. We folded clothes and put them away, and she had a ball. Your major risk in such endeavors is that she won’t see the rules of the “game” the same way you will. For instance, she may feel that taking the folded clothes and flinging them is her job. Last night, she stuck with flinging them into drawers, so I’ll take that.

RocketBoy reportedly was on the edge of his seat throughout the Alliance’s Christmas Carol, starting from roughly the point when Marley (Daniel May) comes flying in. His main review on arriving home half asleep was that it was “funny and scary”. So, there you go. Something for everyone.

Since Scout is much easier to get to bed than RocketBoy, I was actually able, for the first time, to catch a portion of the NBC Thursday night lineup in realtime. I don’t think I’ve watched a show actually on television at the time it is presented in… I don’t know how many years, presidential debates and the like excepted.

Honestly, watching online is better. Easier to take potty breaks.

I’m sure those of you with your fancy Tivos and DVRs and whatnot laugh at my primitive television practices. That’s okay, I do, too.

1 Aunque algunas personas creen de otra manera.

La Prueba Que Fue

Terminó mi prueba de español. Creo que fui bien.

Si marqué 100 puntos, voy a tener un buen diccionario electrónico. Pero si perdí mas de 2 puntos, y los otros estundiantes no perdieron nada, yo no voy a ganar.

Mi amiga Carmen dijo que estuvo muy nerviosa. Creo que sólo es una prueba; No es vida o muerte.

Voy a saber quién gana cerca de seis de la noche del miércoles.

Aprendiendo Español

Ayer en mi clase de español, dijimos unas historias que usó el tenso pretérito. Entonces, creo que puedo escribir en mi diario en español porque más de mi escritura son sobre el pasado. Ya no puedo escribir sobre el futuro.

Por ejemplo, por la noche pasada mis hijos estuvieron muy enloquecido. Creo que estuvieron entusiasmado por las vacaciones con sus abuelos en Kentucky. Los dos cantaron y saltaron en la cama cuando necesitaron estar durmiendo.

Vamos a ir a Kentucky esta noche… con el perro. Nosotros nunca viajamos con un perro, y estoy un poco preocupado. Lo está bastante difícil viajar con dos niños. Y si se perdemos durante el viaje, ¿qué?

Creo que voy a comer ahora.

¿Eres tú mi madre?

I had my last Uncle Grampa’s Hoo-Dilly Storytime for the season, resuming next spring. There’s another one this Saturday, but I’ll be Giving Thanks elsewhere.

In case I haven’t described this show, it is essentially an improv show for kids. In the green room before the show, we make up four story titles and write them in dry erase marker on a wheel. A child from the audience comes up and spins the wheel, and whatever it lands on is the story we make up and act out.

The cast is two puppets (usually Phinneas J. Monkey and Lil’ Tamo the Robot), the host Larry Lederhosen (a grown man in lederhosen and a Robin Hood hat), myself (Fritz the evil Butler) and a guest character of the week.

The story this week was Tumbleweed Jones and the Cranberry Banditos. The Wheel of Stories actually landed on No More Candy!, which was a title that RocketBoy had suggested the week before. But the host, with a blantant disregard for protocol, spun the wheel back a space to land on Tumbleweed. (The other two titles were The Wizard, The Turkey and the Princess and Moonbase 7: Thanksmoongiving.)

Since my own child had suggested the rejected title (his plaintive cries that it would be a good story could be heard), I made an effort to incorporate it into the story (I played Tumbleweed Jones, traveling do-gooder whose rallying call was “No More Candy!”). Since we had two titles covered, we went all in and made the Cranberry Banditos hideout on the moon, and I summoned a Wizard, a Princess and a Turkey (audience volunteers) to vanquish the Cranberry gang in the end.

No idea why I’m relating this. Just a signoff for the season, I guess.

What I really meant to discuss was RocketBoy’s Mad Reading Skillz. He successfully read Are You My Mother? by Eastman a couple nights ago. I’m differentiating this actual reading from the other form, which is knowing the book and reciting it while looking at the pages. Armed with his recently acquired “sight words” and a fairly strong ability to sound out new words, he made it all the way through with minimal help from me.

I give some credit to my Sight Words Go Fish cards that I made. I ordered some blank Bicycle Poker cards and wrote pairs of sight words on them (an, are, the, see, and, me, he, she, etc). RocketBoy drew pictures in the middle, and we were off in a spirited game of Go Fish. He pretty much had all the words down after a few games.

Needless to say, I’m very excited. Reading is one of those milestones that loom large on my horizon of Significant Events, eclipsing such minor events such as first steps or feeding himself. But I am required to almost feign indifference during the process of getting there, since I don’t want to push him into literacy. The motivation and desire really have to come from him if it is to be a lifelong passion.

And I think he is proud of his accomplishment. But, to own the truth, this pride in reading pales in comparison to his pride in getting the lead in his acting class’ production of Are You My Mother?. The reading comes as a bonus side effect of his excitement of being in the production. He’s been inviting random strangers and family members alike to the show.

The last end-of-semester show was three students including RocketBoy performing “Peter’s Pets”, a go-to piece for small classes. Basically, Peter interviews several pets to see which one he would like. RocketBoy played Peter, so he is 2 for 2 in terms of leads, which requires us to do some ego management and discussion of the no-small-parts truism.

On the me front, I brought my computer back up into a limping, zombie state. It had died a few weeks back, and I’ve been ordering various replacement parts in an attempt to diagnose the root failure. As it happens, it appears to have been the power supply, though it might have also been the processor. At any rate, I have an extra processor (a AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Socket AM2 CPU) in case anyone needs one, never been used, as my motherboard is a socket 939 and these processors are not returnable once opened.

Also, I have a big Spanish test coming up after Thanksgiving. For motivational purposes, our instructor has held a competition this semester, awarding points for homework. At the end, the student with the most points gets a $150 Ectaco C4Sp Spanish Electronic Translator/eBook reader:

Of the 60 or so students, four of us have left the rest of the pack behind. I’m currently in the lead, 101 points to 99 for the other three. But the final exam is 100 points, so my lead is in question unless I nail the exam. If I nail it, then all their efforts are in VAIN. VAIN, I tell you, IN VAIN! Bwahahahaha!

Voy a estudiar estas vacaciones.

This and That

I’ve signed up to take Spanish class here every Friday at 4pm.

I hated Spanish in high school. Not because of the language itself, but because my teacher was a very unpleasant woman in every sense of the word except hygiene. As far as I can remember, she did not smell bad.

But, I took it for four years, because some guidance counselor whose name I can not remember said I needed to, for some qualification of something or other… I wasn’t clear exactly what, but I had the impression I wasn’t going to get into college if I didn’t. In hindsight, I’m thinking it was to make the school itself look good. If that’s the case, I would like to remember that guidance counselor’s name, so I can sign her up for some SPAM.

At any rate, it was a miserable class that I dreaded every day. The end result was anguish and only a rudimentary understanding of the language. Now I find that I could really use more than a rudimentary understanding of the language, since I’m spending five or six weeks out of every year in Mexico. Some tenses other than present would be a good start.

Hopefully this class will be better.

RocketBoy started Kindergarten this week. He seems to be sliding right into the swing of things, and reports that his day was “awesome” and “perfect” when he gets home. But before bedtime, he complains that it’s no fun and there isn’t any playtime, which I find hard to believe given all the games, toys and play stations set up around the room.

You could tell the kids who had gone to Pre-K from the ones going to school from the first time. There was a little boy near RocketBoy who sat almost perfectly still with wide-eyed fear, his hands barely moving on the play-doh the teacher had provided them all while they waited for class to start. I encouraged RocketBoy to introduce himself, but the boy’s eyes just got wider when RocketBoy talked to him, and he didn’t respond. I went over and told him that Kindergarten was going to be fun, and he smiled a little bit, but not much. Pretty soon, I noticed that he was being joined at his table by several other petrified kids, and I figured they’d all break the ice sooner or later.

RocketBoy says he fell asleep in art class the first day. Not surprising since he woke up at 4am that day and couldn’t get back to sleep from the excitement of it all.

Every day, he gets a strip of construction paper sent home in his folder, green, yellow or red depending on his behavior. Collect 8 or 10 green strips, make them into a loop necklace, and he can turn it in for a visit to the Treasure Chest.

I wish I got strips at work.

RocketBoy has started playing chess. There was a booth for a KidChess program after school, and he spent a lot of time talking to the guy. When we got home, I got out a board and showed him how to set it up, and how the pieces moved.

He’s not the kid from Searching for Bobby Fischer, but he took to the game quickly, and beat me pretty handily.

He really wants to lobby the chess people to allow pawns to move diagonally, though.

It’s been an expensive month. What with getting steakums‘ car fixed (twice), getting the dog fixed, and back to school expenses, the credit card was fairly heavily weighed down. As nice as it is to have built up a savings for just these sorts of things, it’s still painful to watch most of it dissipate.1

And then last night the AC died.

But I’m sure those are cheap as can be to repair.

The rope swing is still not put up. I’m beginning to roll my eyes at myself when I announce it will be done soon.

I have successfully hooked steakums on Weeds, Season 1. I have not convinced her of the entertainment value of Twitter yet.

We have gotten a (cable-based) telephone in our house. We felt bad that the telemarketers didn’t have a way to contact us.

On a “well-whaddya-know” note, I recognized a name in the credits from Wall-E, which I didn’t expect. I shared a dorm suite with this guy in college. Turns out I’d failed to notice his name in the credits of all the Pixars since The Incredibles. Chalk another one up in the “famous” people I know list.

1 There’s a lesson there in misperception in that it seems more painful to spend savings than it does to take on debt.