Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 19:50 on 26-05-2012, Ibmiller
Thanks, Jamie! Good to finally have some kind of review :-)

Wait, West was supposed to be doing Baltimore? It...didn't sound like any of the people from Baltimore I know (nor does it sound like this general area). More generic American (Midwest).
at 17:56 on 26-05-2012, Jamie Johnston
Hello! Catching up.

@Sunnyskywalker: Awesome, thanks! Shall pass that on.

@Ibmiller: You asked about James Marsters' accent in Buffy. It's horrific. Especially in his early appearances, when he seems to be doing some kind of pan-Commonwealth accent with particular South African highlights. It does get better but it never gets good.

@Guy: I have no idea how good Dominic West's Baltimore accent was (nor, for that matter, how good Idris Elba's was), but can we just take a moment to revisit the gloriously dreadful fake English accent he did in season two?

@Arthur: Ferretbrain may not have much of a collective manifesto, but don't forget about the wishy-washy Liberal doctrine about which we are famously fundamentalist.
at 13:53 on 26-05-2012, Arthur B
The bizarre thing about Vampire's Kiss is that it seems to have been written initially as a serious drama about Cage's descent into madness, isolation, and traumatising rape. Then Cage was cast and the writer tried to redo the script as a comedy, but only got the job half done by the time they had to shoot the film. There we were, laughing it up for most of the film, then the rape happens and we're like "what's going on, this isn't funny, this is the opposite of funny".
at 13:31 on 26-05-2012, Wardog
I love it. We recently watched Vampire's Kiss.

"To be clear, Vampire’s Kiss is a film that features Nicolas Cage literally chasing a poor South American woman around a nondescript office building not once, but twice. It is a film that features Nicolas Cage, shirt untucked and drenched in human blood, moaning like a shelling victim in some obscure war-torn country as he glides through the streets of NYC, carrying a wooden stake like it was his cross to bear."
at 04:46 on 26-05-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
There seem to be an increasing number of bloggers that are making it a project to watch their ways through Nicolas Cage's filmography. For my money, I like this one the best.
at 15:22 on 25-05-2012, James D
Honestly I'm not really sure if that actually is a guy who should know better. Going by the article and its author's estimation of Mathias's novel, Mathias has built his reputation (and apparently genuinely good sales) entirely on these incredible feats of egotism.
at 14:38 on 25-05-2012, Adrienne
Speaking of angry letters, got this via valse's blog:

Kind of entertaining and scary to watch people who should know better melt down in public.
at 14:38 on 25-05-2012, Adrienne
Shimmin & Jill -- having known native speakers of all three, and being able to speak good French and a VERY LITTLE BIT of both Russian and Hebrew, i can say that the latter two do have fairly close phonemic inventories. Phonological rules for them aren't that similar, but closer than Russian and French by a long shot.
at 14:13 on 25-05-2012, Fin
23 job applications in this economy and still unemployed? gosh.

though he's got a point. the crisis facing men is almost as bad as the crisis facing music.
at 10:26 on 25-05-2012, Arthur B
Angry letters people send to feminist bloggers are usually too depressing and sordid to read. Not this guy.

his plan to overthrow the feminist establishment is to start a hard rock band which will rock so hard it'll shake society to its foundations.
at 09:24 on 25-05-2012, Shim
@Jill: Pure speculation, but I suspect it has something to do with how much overlap there is in phoneme inventories and phonological rules for both parties. Languages with more similar sets of sounds and rules for using them ought to come out more clearly for L2 speakers, and you'll be better able to identify the sounds if there's a good match between the L2 and your L1. I don't know enough about either Russian or Hebrew to say though.
at 08:14 on 25-05-2012, Arthur B
I honestly think so, at least in the absence of any other animosity towards the speakers in question.
at 04:13 on 25-05-2012, Ibmiller
Arthur - so basically, prolonged positive exposure leads to happy associations with different accents?
at 01:42 on 25-05-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
The entirety of Radiohead's OK Computer and Kid A rendered as 8-bit chiptunes, because why not?
at 20:50 on 24-05-2012, Sunnyskywalker
Jumping back a ways... Jamie Bamber did a pretty good job faking American in BSG, but especially in the pilot you can tell when he slips up a tiny bit every so often. This had the dubious benefit of suggesting an elaborate fanwank to answer the question, why does everyone believe Baltar is native Caprican when he seems to be the only one on the planet with that accent? Maybe it's an old, traditional Caprican accent, mostly fallen out of use decades ago due to accent leveling between the colonies, and Baltar (poser that he is) is overcompensating by adopting that one. (See, I'm more Caprican than you, so there!) And Lee picked a bit of it up hanging out with some friends from old families at school, or something.

I didn't say it was a very good fanwank, mind. But it doesn't have any more holes than your average BSG plot.
at 14:40 on 24-05-2012, Jill Heather
What I find interesting is trying to understand second language speakers in your second language(s). I always found Russian speakers nearly unintelligible in French, but clear in Hebrew. And people who have an unusual combination of accents in English -- someone with some British accent combined with a heavy joual (Quebecois French) one is really, really hard to understand in English because of the cognitive dissonance.
at 13:26 on 24-05-2012, Janne Kirjasniemi
Before I lived in London I always had a vague idea that there actually was a real accent to england and though I had been in the UK before, I still kinda thought that in the UK people will be talking proper english, like in the school audia lessons. Instead it seems everybody sounds different and the only one I couldn't understand was some guy from Newcastle, which I resolved bye just nodding to everything.

Weird, you could always guess what the randome French or Italian person is saying, since they will just gesticulate wildly and keep talking until understanding somehow happens.
at 12:28 on 24-05-2012, Adrienne
Arthur -- That's definitely true, and insightful. :)
at 12:03 on 24-05-2012, Arthur B
I think familiarity, comprehensibility and pleasantness are all kind of intertwined; the more you train your ear to process a particular accent the more you'll understand it, and the more you understand it the less frustrated you'll be by the process of trying to listen to it (because even if you're self-aware enough to realise you're irritated with your own failure to understand rather than the other person's failure to talk proper, it's still annoying to not be able to follow what someone is saying), and the less frustration you associate with listening to people talking in that accent the more pleasant it'll seem.
at 03:52 on 24-05-2012, Adrienne
(Also, valse de la lune -- doesn't surprise me, about the accents thing. What's comfortable and pleasant has a lot to do with what's familiar. And a lot of American accents ARE incomprehensible, even in English, frankly.)
at 03:50 on 24-05-2012, Adrienne
On a completely different note, i was badly triggered by a Charles Stross short story the other day and i don't even have any triggers. And i really, really want to bitch about it, but i'm still sort of traumatized into incoherence.

Story can be found here, but SERIOUSLY be warned that the story starts out sort of lighthearted and aimlessly cyberpunk, and then degenerates into RAPETASTIC NIGHTMARE.
at 22:20 on 23-05-2012, Fin
i've always been fond of this warham
at 22:05 on 23-05-2012, Arthur B permalink