random thoughts to oil the mind

Category: Real Life™ Page 2 of 6

[:en]Posts with a passing semblance to actual events.[:de]Einträge, die zufällige Ähnlichkeiten mit der Realität erweisen

Airport Syndrome

Gathered in the departure lounge, with the noise of the bustling airport drowning out the sound of their jitters, the passengers wait. Each of them attempts to show their strength of character, but underneath that calm veneer, the majority of them are unmistakably nervous. Unable to find anywhere comfortable to keep them, a woman at the front leafs through the documents in her hands. Passports, check. Boarding cards, check. Departure gate and boarding time, all as they should be. She fidgets in her seat, making sure her children are still fully dressed and haven’t in the meantime wandered off to see if there’s another plane they can board. Over by the windows, a man looks at his watch for the third time in as many minutes; he’s confused by the fact that the plane seems to be ready to board, but there’s no sign of activity around the gate.

The clocks tick down.

The most apprehensive members gathered are also the most perseverant. Some have been waiting (im)patiently at the gate for several days, planning their travel itineraries to ensure that even a two-week rail strike won’t prevent them arriving at the airport in time for their bargain-basement flight. Now here they sit, studying flight and gate numbers, checking the departure time just one more time, waiting like sprinters on the line for the starter bullet to signal the moment to board.

The clocks tick down.

Suddenly there’s some movement. Are they here? Is it time? From somewhere near the back, a business traveller saunters nonchalantly to the desks, dragging his small case behind him. The light crunching sound of the case’s wheels over the dusty concourse floor sends ripples through the seated masses. In the wake of this blasé stroll to the front, the man has drawn a mighty queue of nervous waiters, and within seconds there are two dozen people standing in line to board the plane.

The clocks tick down.

This flurry of motion causes great disquiet among the remaining sitters. Solo travellers check their itineraries again, comparing watches, screens and mobiles. Protective males stand up and take a few steps from their partners and offspring, trying to see the source of the commotion. Are they boarding? Have they opened the gate? Satisfied the line isn’t moving, content that it isn’t yet too long, they give their loved ones a reassuring pat on the knee and retake their seats. But deep down they are as nervously unsure of themselves as the other passengers, who are now swivelling around in their seats, craning their necks at awkward angles to catch a glimpse of what’s happening at the front.

The clocks tick down.

Gradually the queue is starting to build, latecomers automatically adding themselves to it, more skittish sitters abandoning their places to go and join the masses of the standing. Even the more experienced fliers – recognisable from their fancy travelling cases and swish solutions to the passport/boarding pass problem – are starting to become a little twitchy. Is it… are they?

Some of the people waiting in this hall are the same ones who casually hop aboard their commuter trains in the mornings only thirty seconds before they depart. Now here they are trying to outwit their fellow man and strategically place themselves in the queue to board a plane before the horde, on a flight where every last one of them has a reserved seat.

The clocks tick down.

Then someone in uniform appears. Like the red rag to the colour-blind bull, there’s a stampede as the remaining passengers rush to claim their place at the rear of the ever lengthening queue.1In flights to and from the UK, this queue will have taken on the form of a serpent, twisting and winding around the available space in the waiting area, incorporating furniture and stationary objects, splitting to allow others to pass, occasionally overlapping itself like some kind of time-lapse choreographic display. In other countries, the same queue resembles more of a ball. Then that tentative voice over the tannoy. All passengers on flight FL29486… The incongruous series of letters and numbers that form the flight number everyone’s being trying so desperately to memorise. Is that my flight? Flying to London Stansted… Thank goodness, that’s the one! …has been delayed by approximately 40 minutes.

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1. In flights to and from the UK, this queue will have taken on the form of a serpent, twisting and winding around the available space in the waiting area, incorporating furniture and stationary objects, splitting to allow others to pass, occasionally overlapping itself like some kind of time-lapse choreographic display. In other countries, the same queue resembles more of a ball.
Phantom

RIP Phantom

Yet another victim, killed on the roads yesterday.

On Self-Reflection

I am a child, and the world is my crib,
and everything within it is a toy,
to be twisted and pulled,
played with and tasted,
and bitten,
before finally being thrown out of the cot.

Protected: Ein Urlaub in der Eifel: A Maarvellous Break

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CAT Calls: Searching for Translation Software

I’ve been translating on the side for some time, but have only recently decided to make this a steadier form of income. As part of that, I wanted to investigate some of the CAT tools currently on the market. Aside from tinkering with the open source offering OmegaT some years ago, until now I hadn’t tried any of the tools listed.

As with many software niches there are a lot of options in this market, and not many straightforward answers. It sometimes seems that the smaller the niche, the more choices there are. On my list to try out were SDL Trados Studio 2011, memoQ 2013, Wordfast Anywhere, OmegaT, Déjà Vu X2 Professional and Across Personal Edition 1I didn’t actually get to try out Across’ free software option, as it immediately complained that it couldn’t open my documents as I don’t own Microsoft Word, but rather use OpenOffice. Nevertheless most reviews suggest it is software to be avoided.. In this post I look at the market leader’s offering SDL Trados Studio 2011.

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1. I didn’t actually get to try out Across’ free software option, as it immediately complained that it couldn’t open my documents as I don’t own Microsoft Word, but rather use OpenOffice. Nevertheless most reviews suggest it is software to be avoided.

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