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Slang, yo.

It is interesting how powerful slang can be. Just walking around, we hear slang words and phrases everywhere. It is quite common. However, we generally only hear it. When we read it in a newspaper or somewhere, it looks out-of-place.

When slang starts to appear in places and gets treated like a normal word, both written and spoken, then I may worry. Why is slang so powerful and influential to the spoken and written word?

But the more important question: Do we want to be known by our slang, by words that are only understood by other people within our country, or do we want to sound more professional and intelligent?

I do use slang, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of the slang I don’t use, because it just sounds… ugly. Why change something beautiful like language? Why butcher it to something that is unrecognizable? I have heard slang in my different countries and even in different languages. Here is an example:

When I first started learning Spanish, I wanted to learn because I thought it one of the most beautiful languages spoken. I still believe that. It has a magic about it that makes the tongue move like a dance. Exquisite. When I started meeting people from Spanish-speaking countries and travelling to those countries, I found that I got lost in a lot of the language. I was hearing a completely different language. That was because I had never learned the slang. But this Spanish was not beautiful to my ear. It was messy and rough, not the poetry that I dreamed of. It disappointed me greatly.

My point is this: Why do we let slang rule our language? Why does it make us so comfortable? Since when does using beautiful words together in a sentence make you sound “old-fashioned” or a “know-it-al”? Since when did we compromise our knowledge?

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Puffing Billy

A railway track from 1900, a steam engine from 1954, an adventure in modern-day times.

The Puffing Billy gives you the experience of not only riding an old train, but of living in history. It is a traveling museum with authentic stations and volunteers who enjoy what they do. Riding the Puffing Billy is exhilarating for any train ride, because it gives you the chance to let your arms and legs hang over the side. So when the steam engine goes over a bridge that is only wide enough for the train itself, your heart beats faster and your mind wonders if there have been any casualties from falling off the train.

This is a ride for the young and old. It is worth the money and if you want something romantic and historic, try first class traveling, where you can dine as you take in the prehistoric views, which reminded me of Jurassic Park. It would also liven up the imagination if you ride the train while wearing 1900 clothing and pretend you are going to visit a great big new place and the normal mode of traveling is by steam engine and horse and carriage.

The Puffing Billy impresses, regardless of age, and I highly recommend it for fun, for the family, or for a date. So throw your scarf over your shoulder, hang your legs over the ledge, and enjoy the ride on the Puffing Billy!

The Official Puffing Bill Website

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Australia, Travel

 

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Crusty Magnificence

My Japanese friend, Tomo (which means ‘friend’ in Japanese), visited me this week! We had a fantastic week where we didn’t sleep a lot but saw many beautiful things. We went to an island called Phillip Island. It can get quite crowded in the summer months with tourism, because the island is famous for wild penguins, but we went on a day that still had a chill in the air.

The island was charming, but the most magnificent part was a view that not many people visited. The Pinnacles. Ancient rock that crashed through the Earth’s crust millions of years ago stood against the brilliant cerulean sea> Even the grass on the hill we sat looked like we had stepped into a photoshopped picture. The colors could not have been more vivid.

I have not felt that at peace with nature and that inspired for a long time. Generally I get my inspiration from the forest or ocean, but this view took my breath away, quite literally. I don’t think I could have been any happier in that moment.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Australia, Travel

 

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Dreams coming True

I was surprised yesterday with the most wonderful gift: the ocean. After telling me to meet him at a certain place at a particular time, I made my way by train to the unknown destination. While reading a good book, I noticed out of the corner of my eye the thing that I had been longing for all these months. The calm ocean pulled the train, teasing me to touch its frigid waters. When the train got to its last stop, I got off to feel the warm embrace of the man I love while the wind whipped around us. He smiled, his eyes full of surprises, and led me to the place I was hoping: the beach. We walked on the coarse sand and talked for hours, wanting only to be in that place, and I realized in that moment, that it is possible to have everything you always wanted.

Me sorprendió ayer con el regalo más maravilloso: el océano. Después de decirme que lo encontrara en un lugar determinado en un momento determinado, me dirigía en tren hacia el destino desconocido. Durante estoy leyendo un buen libro, me di cuenta por el rabillo del ojo lo que yo había estado esperando durante todos estos meses. El mar en calma sacó el tren, burlándose de mí para tocar sus aguas frígidas. Cuando el tren llegó a su última parada, me bajé a sentir el cálido abrazo del hombre que amo, mientras el viento azotaba a nuestro alrededor. Él sonrió, sus ojos llenos de sorpresas, y me llevó al lugar que estaba esperando: la playa. Caminamos a la arena gruesa y hablamos durante horas, esperando sólo para estar en ese lugar, y me di cuenta en ese momento, de que es posible tener todo lo que siempre quiso.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Australia, Love, Travel, Writing

 

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¿Cachaco o Rolo?

Here are some random expressions and slang words used by Colombians, more specifically from Bogotá:

qué chanda – how awful!

me están robandoen mi cara – (They are) cheating me to my face.

aye Dios mío – My God! (bad)

juemadre vida – crap! I can’t believe it!

juemadre – crap!

qué increíble – incredible! (good or bad)

¿En serio? En serio. – Really? Really. (“He took my car without my permission!” “Really?” “Really.”)

severo – cool

chévere – really cool

chimba – really really cool (but not used by older generations. This is kind of a derogatory word to describe something you really like, so be careful how you use it. Not usually used by women either, unless they are ‘rough’.)

gringo – foreigner, more specifically from the United States [“¿Tu eres una gringa?”] (“Are you a foreiner?”)

¿Qué más? – what’s up? [“¿Qué más, parce?”] (What’s up, buddy?)

Usted está igualito. – “You haven’t changed.”

thinner/aquadiente – strong, clear ligueur that smells and tastes like black licorice. sold in cartons or bottle

flaca – thin [“Ella es flaca.”] (“She is thin.”)

charlar – to chat [“Charlamos.”] (“Let’s chat.”)

chino – quite literally means ‘chinese’ but is used more commonly to refer to a small child

marica – means faggot, but is used among friends

nonas/nonos – no

sisas – yes (kind of street slang)

parce/parcero – friend

al pelo – cool, okay, perfect, very good (This is a confusing expression, because it doesn’t have an English translation and can change meaning depending on context.) [“¿Va a venir esta noche?” “Si.” “Al pelo.”] (“Are you coming over tonight?” “Yes.” “Perfect.”)

qué video – lie, overreaction, problem (again, depending on context)

borracho – drunk [“¿Estás barracho?” “Sisas.”]

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Colombia, Español

 

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Imaginary Make-Believe

I often find myself caught up in a good book or movie and, when finished, desperately wish I could be a part of that world. I am sure most of us have felt that way at one moment, especially after a damn good book or movie, but I find myself drawn in, not just by the graphics or words (although words are my cocaine), but by the music sometimes. I have just watched the newest trailer for the movie The Hobbit, and find myself wanting to be on an adventure much like the dwarves, instead of stuck behind a desk everyday, taking public transportation to go home.

Why do we crave everything adventurous and whimsical? Because we do. Why else would circuses and Sci-Fi, comic books and video games be so popular? Just book and movie sales are astronomical. So, I ask again: why do we crave the fantastic? Why are our mundane lives not enough?

I often ponder this, because I feel that ‘pull’ so often after a great story, but then I ask myself: would I really enjoy being put into a situation of life or death? Most of these stories contain that aspect. Almost all good stories have the main character(s) struggling or presented with a great challenge that can and will change who they are. Do I want that?

Perhaps it is not the adventure we crave, but the opportunity to prove that we have ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ is. We have what it takes to walk through a dark cave with only a torch. We have what it takes to pursue a land far away on foot. We have what it takes to be tested and triumph over evil. But do we? Do we have the strength to not know when our next meal will be or how to get it? Do we have the knowledge to guide us in the right direction? Do we have the natural ability to ‘go with your gut’ in order to survive? Do we have the courage to face the unknown? Or would we just be happier living our predictable lives…

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in Imagination, Stream of Consciousness

 

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