Oh what a tangoed web...

At my first session of psychoanalysis I said “I have this image of myself as being stuck in a well.” Because of my accent, my analyst thought I had a Jonah complex. Yesterday a friend sent me a link to a George Orwell essay called Inside the Whale. Very interesting. Written in 1940; and therewithin I find “cold snap”.

I am used to brief bouts of intensely cold weather which I had alway referred to as cold spells, and I had the impression that I had only come across the expression “cold snap” recently. I decided it was somehow “wrong” and not to be adopted, or at the very least suspect because recent. Interesting to see the brain at work, rejecting the unknown, even in someone who rationally and consciously embraces it.

I was thinking about Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea as a metaphor for desire, which, according to BM, is either prohibited or impossible. When part of you goes all out to get what you want, natural forces are unleashed against you. The old man caught the huge fish, but the sharks ripped it apart before he could get it home.

Prendre une décision in French, but in English, do we take them or make them?

Google is beginning to annoy me. I started to find strange cases of synchronicity; I searched for an article to buy online and the next day I was working away and saw adverts for that article on my screen… What a coincidence, I thought, until I realised that my browser was constantly spangled with articles I had looked at in online stores.

To make matters worse, be it Google or Firefox, someone has “enhanced” the search function. Used to be when I searched for a word or expression, the search box offered me up my previous similar searches which served as a useful aide-memoire. Now the search box offers me other people’s searches, or searches that it deems useful, which are of no use to me at all and further pollute my working environment. Because I am fascinated by the written word, I see combinations of words in their proposed search phrases and think really? Does that exist? Or what does that mean? And off I go on somebody else’s search, neglecting my own and wasting time...

... which, as we all know, is of the essence… As a translator, my main, bread & butter bulk per word rate has dropped 30% since the euro was introduced. Which means that to maintain a similar standard of living I should be working 30% faster… But I grow old. I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers, etc. The competition seems somehow unfair.

Phrasing, Prosaic (the antonyms include pedestrian (belisha beacon) and I want to include poetic).

Typo of the day: pubic relations

Unfortunately, I learnt the meaning of a new French word:

détonner = chanter faux
Now, chanter faux = to sing out of tune, or off-key, but I can’t actually find that as a straight definition for détonner, and instead I find "to jar, to be out of place… " Oops! Some of my notes were slightly out of place. There are no grey areas in singing – it is either in tune or it isn’t. Our choir mistress made me laugh after a particularly laborious passage of a rehearsal when she said “c’est presque ça”. Which means we were rubbish.

I’ve always been proud of my heritage and the pivotal role Scots affirm they have played in everything, but even I found this amusing:

“In another attempt to circumvent its dependence on Chinese tea, the East India Company sent Scottish botanist Robert Fortune to China to steal and smuggle out of China tea plants, which were then taken to India, where by the end of the 19th century they matured and produced Indian tea.”

I watched Merrill Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. Sad to say I worked for and with a woman like that in Paris once. I admired her energy and precision until one day I heard her demolishing someone on the phone to save her skin.

"la raison d’état de soi-même"

“The national interest, often referred to by the French term raison d'État, is a country's goals and ambitions whether economic, military, or cultural.”