Random Friday

Last weekend I decompressed with another pencil drawing and it’s Arjun Rampal. You can see him in my DeviantART gallery. This is Hritik’s week, though (I have 4 movies to watch…) so here are the 2 I’ve watched so far (Not every night – gotta read and write too, you know? ;)).

Mission Kashmir went on my list because on some DVD I saw this song.

I didn’t really read the pitch (well, I probably did when I put it on the list, but that was months ago, so I didn’t remember much of what the story is about – that’s how I like it), but when the movie started and I saw Sanjay Dutt and then saw him kill Hritik’s father I went “Uhm… Agneepath!” Not that I had seen the latest, but I know it’s about a guy trying to avenge his father’s death.

Anyway, this is more about religious struggles in Kashmir – again, Muslim vs Hindu – much like Dil Se with a less tragic end. And it has Preity Zinta as love interest instead of Priyanka Chopra (but that’s very Koi Mil Gaya, LOL! Especially the wet puppy look “please forgive me”!). Also, being set in Kashmir, the clothes are slightly different (you can tell from the above video, right?) – no sari, but I think they look wonderful anyway. I loved the soundtrack as well! Here’s to peace in Kashmir (my mom and sis went through it last June on their way to Ladakh, it’s still war zone – quit killing in the name of God!).

Only negative thing – the Hinglish subtitles. I really need to go and get some Hindi lessons and avoid those darn things altogether. Here’s what I can say at the moment (and I’m “making this up” after listening to so many movies): namaste, mere Hindustani doste! Jayne kyu I’m doing this – crazy kya re! Or kuch kuch hota hai so I must keep trying – and that’s my song-lyrics Hindi for you! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope I’m not destroying your language! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then I watched Agneepath (I put them in order of length, from the shortest to the longest). Haven’t seen the original with Big B and heard mixed reviews about this remake, but I picked it because I loved the dance videos. So, great soundtrack. The story… well, there’s a negative hero and a bad guy, so if that’s your thing… lots of guns and blood as well, so be warned. I liked it, but I didn’t fall in love with it – the stubble probably got in the way along with too many muscles (less gym and more dance, Hritik, please! ;)). And if Mr Wonder Man stopped dodging bullets to get killed by blades it would make a lot more sense as well! ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  Talk about unreaslitic injuries in movies, sigh.

Finally, I managed to slip a short read in the busy week (I’m also beta-reading, so no time for new long fiction – and I keep adding titles to my Smashwords library, sigh) – fellow Chicon panelist Thomas has one short story out in English (he’s Dutch and his novels aren’t translated yet…) and you can find it here. The boy who casts no shadow is a wonderful story, so give it a try. Then we can all write to Thomas and ask him to have more things translated, LOL!


Love-story with… England

It all started with… a royal wedding! The Royal Wedding Of Last Century, though. Yeah, Wills’s parents. First time I went to England was for three weeks in June 1981 with EF. I spoke mostly Italian (even if we had young people from Sweden and Norway in the small town of Folkestone, all brought by EF to study English – and my fellow males took advantage of it, mangling with those northern girls, haha! Teen Latin lovers in action… imagine that!) and basically hated it. I was so sick of Charles & Diana’s faces everywhere, I refused to watch their wedding the following July. Which is something I stuck to even this year, by the way… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then I went back to the Eurocentres (the Lee Green one, in case you’re wondering, as there’s more than one in London) to improve my English in 1986, 1989, 1990 and 1993 (+ some spurious visits to London as a tourist, or better, shopper) when I met my British teacher and started one-on-one lessons, novel and screenplay revisions, etc. The first times I booked my two weeks with him, he enrolled the help of his friend Ken (he was still teaching full time back then), the sweetest British gentleman I ever met, who, when he discovered I loved the middle ages, took me to visit castles (Bodiam is still my favorite – they even shot Robin of Sherwood series 3 there! ;-))ย  instead of a normal lesson (I guess my level of English was quite good at that point, I didn’t really need boring grammar lessons anymore! ;-)). Sadly he passed away last year, but I always got a Christmas card from him, and even took him around Rome once, when he visited in the late 1990s. Ken, I miss you when I go to London now, sigh.

I’ve been going to London almost every year since I started Day Job, mostly for shopping, but also to explore more. A day trip to Warwick Castle, my adventure with my groupie friends, the workshop in Wales, a tour of Scotland in 2008, and then we’ll see. I still have to schedule a castle tour with my teacher reaching even Bamburg Castle (another set of Robin of Sherwood, it’s Castle Belleme in the TV series…)ย  and then Scotland, but I don’t know when that will happen! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have now 2 screenwriters, 1 poet, 1 artist and my teacher to visit anytime I go to London. I love England, I love British humor and that’s where I started learning the language. As a tribute to it (and to the setting) I’m writing the historical novel with British spelling. Ain’t it cool? Yeah, the blog and Silvery Earth sound very American to my poor teacher! ๐Ÿ˜‰ At least he won’t grumble “It’s so American” when he edits it – which, by the way, he said also of the lyrics of a Def Leppard song I had inserted in a fantasy book (that was 15 years ago, my English wasn’t so good, and I used mostly song lyrics to write…): those were the guys who, when Steve Clarke died, wanted a guitarist with a British passport as a substitute to fit in with the rest… I guess rock music, no matter where the musician comes from, sounds American anyway! (Is this why I prefer pop? Because it’s more British? Mmm…)

So, there you have it, my ongoing love-story with the land of the queen… the island who, when there’s fog on the sea, says the continent is isolated… you gotta love them! ๐Ÿ˜€

Love-story with… English

drawing dated 1985

This one started in the 1980s, with British pop music such as Duran Duran, Wham! et all. Whenever I could find the lyrics, I was very happy, although I cannot say I understood them fully (especially Simon LeBon’s hermetic lyrics). But every now and then something clicked, and I saw the light. Which means I could speak fluently using song lyrics – I must have sounded very poetic! ๐Ÿ˜€

My first trip to England was in 1981, I was 15 and traveled with other Italians – which means I didn’t learn a word! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Second trip in 1986, then when I started Day Job, I planned two-week courses as vacation time in London (1989, 1990, 1993), until I met my British teacher (1996), who has taken care of me ever since (cringing as soon as I switched to American spelling in my writing… Hello, Les, you know you’re still my favorite, don’t you? ;-)).

Then the DVDs came, and the possibility of hearing original versions with English subtitles. The ones for the hearing impaired are the best, as they have also other words that are not spoken, but describe sounds. The funny thing was watching “Bend it like Beckham” and realizing after 10minutes in that the subtitles were in American! ๐Ÿ˜‰

My English improved exponentially in the past 10 years, allowing me to discern the British from the Americans, the blacks from the whites, and so on and so forth. And to write screenplays with credible slang dialogs, and then go back to prose, and write my stories in a more wide-spread language – although I have problems in dialog as apparently I use too modern a slang for a fantasy world, but I’ll work on that and fix it, don’t worry! ๐Ÿ˜‰

my new best friends

Personally, being the fast and efficient writer that I am, I prefer English: sentences and words are shorter than in Italian, and I find it more musical than Italian and French. I now think mostly in English, dream in English if dealing with English-speaking people (ex. my Muse or any English-speaking friend I meet in my dreams) and just love it every day a little more.

Like with writing, I never stop learning. And I’m enjoying it, which is the best thing of it all! ๐Ÿ˜€

p.s. Happy Birthday to my first VIP Muse, Matt Dillon, who today turns 47! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I wish I had drawn him more often, but I actually started my portraits and illustration school a little too late to use him as a model…

Babysitting & languages

Tuesday I picked up my almost-6-year-old nephew from school. At first he didn’t want to come with me because he saw granny )I told mum maybe it was better if he didn’t see her, but well… apparently he was upset anyway), but eventually I convinced him by telling him we could play on the computer (granny doesn’t have games on her laptop, nor has she internet access, haha!).

We spent over an hour on PBS Kids, adding tracks to a train route (which was supposed to teachย  him to add numbers, but I guess it’s early. He can count, but can’t add) and looking for hidden treasures with Clifford and his friends. That game had a talking voice giving instructions – in English of course (which was a good exercise also for me, haha). So he learned a few new words (he has done some English at school before) and enjoyed watching the dogs dig for treasures. I had to use the mouse for him, but I’m sure he’ll soon be savvier than me (his dad is a computer geek, after all! ;-)).

Then he wanted to play with The Box (where I keep all the surprises of the Kinder eggs I eat – I so love that chocolate, I don’t care if they say it’s not real chocolate, it is for me, yum! :-D) and as I switched off the PC he said:

“Were they talking in French?”

Me: “No, that was English. English is spoken in America, England and Australia, French is spoken in France, where your daddy was born.”

Him (puzzled): “No, no…”

Me: “Yes, your daddy was born in France.”

Him: “But now he speaks Italian.”

Me: “Of course, but if he goes back to France, he still understands French.”

He didn’t look convinced, sigh. I sure hope I can soon take him to Paris with his daddy and show him the Eiffel Tower that saw my borther’s birth (we lived by the Champs de Mars). How he confused French with English I have no idea, though… ๐Ÿ˜ฎ


I did study Latin in high school, and wasn’t very good at it. BUT it’s the base of my mother tongue and some idioms and expressions are still used today

Verba volant, scripta manent (words fly, written words stay)

Do ut des (I give so you give back)

Mea culpa (my fault)

etc. including the following:

from Merriam-Webster:

quid pro quo

Main Entry: quid pro quo Pronunciation: \หŒkwid-หŒprล-หˆkwล\ Function: noun Etymology: New Latin, something for something Date: 1582

: something given or received for something else; also : a deal arranging a quid pro quo

I found this used in a Creative Screenwriting interview and it didn’t ring right. In Italian we still use it (as one word “quiproquo”) and it means “this for that” or – from my English/Italian vocabulary – “misunderstanding”.

So I guess the English usage of this Latin sentence is a little twisted from its original meaning… which doesn’t really help foreign speakers (it actually confuses some of them!) nor translations/adaptations.

When the world will have only one language… (wishful thinking!)! ๐Ÿ˜€

This post was prompted by this Language Mashup post (and the reading of Creative Screenwriting) and is a special addition to WoW Saturday – sort of.

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