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Pizza for Days: All You Can Eat Pizza at Rub Smokehouse

This week has been one of unending rain courtsey of the British summer and pathetic-ness on my behalf because a cold smacked me round the head on Monday and showed no sign of lifting. But there was a bright spot admist the torrential downpour – along with Bite Your Brum, Caramel Latte Kiss and Miss Pond, on Wednesday I headed to Rub Smokehouse on Broad Street for All You Can Eat Pizza.

I was picturing an old school Pizza Hut style buffet where you go and help yourself, but that’s mostly because that’s what I long for every time I go get pizza. At the Rub Smokehouse event, by booking in advance for £12.95 per person, you could have as many slices of pizza as you wanted in an hour and a half. Served one slice at a time, the record eaten is 20 slices. Beat it and you could win £100 in vouchers for Rub Smokehouse.

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The Mad Korean in all its glory

I’m sure you’re sad to hear I didn’t set the record, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t eat a lot of pizza. The Nacho Cheese Monster was my favourite. With salsa, mozzarella, smoked applewood cheddar, sour cream, fresh cheese, crushed cheese nachos and cheese sauce, it was weirdly delicious, despite of or possibly because of the sheeer amount of cheese and cheese related products on it. The Mad Korean was definitely a closer runner up though. Decked out with pulled BBQ pork, spring onions, sesame seeds, kimchi, chilli, mozzarella and prawn cracker dust, it tasted more like a traditional pizza than the Nacho Cheese Monster. Not sure I could have eaten more than two slices thought – some combination of the ingredients meant two was definitely enough.

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Idaho State Fair looking great

The Idaho State Fair tasted exactly like a hot dog, which was confusing for my tastebuds, but not really surprising when you consider the toppings were frankfurter, dill pickles, french mustard and keetchup base and buffalo sauce popcorn. Yes, it had popcorn on it too. Was really reminiscent of eating something from every food van at the fun fair, but I’m not sure the popcorn added anything.

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Katsu Curry on pizza. What will they think of next?

Katsu Chick Flick was my least favourite, though by the time it came to me, I was probably suffering from a case of over pizza-ing. With Japanese curry sauce, mini chicken nuggets, pickled ginger mozzarella and crushed spicy rice crackers, I felt like the curry sauce was over powering and too much for a pizza. I love katsu curry, but I don’t think it needs the addition of pizza dough.

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Delicious, delicious cheetos

However, Mac n Cheetos was an unexpected win. Combining mac n cheese on a pizza with cheetos and mozzarella sounded like it wass going to be awful, but turned out to be surprisingly good. I really enjoyed the addition of Cheetos to pizza, and strrongly recommend you try adding wotsits to your margherita.

Despite walking down Broad Street on my way home, I’d never noticed Rub Smokehouse before but now I know it’s there I’m anxious to go back. The portion sizes are huge, the staff were all super lovely and the interior design is very Americana. It’s definitely one for when you’re in need of something  unhealthy – they serve their ice cream in a sink guys, there’s so much of it – but we all need delicious, ridiculous food combinations sometimes. And also they have yorkshire pudding burritos. Roll on Sunday Lunch.

I was a guest at Rub Smokehouse, eating all the pizza I could manage in exchange for a blog post (which you’ve just read). My opinions are entirely my own, and honest as always. 

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Why I cared about Star Wars for an Hour

4th February 2015 marked the beginning of the popular culture lectures at the University of Nottingham and I went because what else am I gonna do with my spare time other than go to non-compulsory lectures?

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Look how pretty the poster is

Open to the public, the physics lecture hall was full, even with some people sitting on the stairs. I’m gonna hazard a guess that the vast majority of people there were students at the university, but one should never underestimate the pull of Star Wars. I feel like I should take a moment to explain that, personally, I am ambivalent towards Star Wars. I’ve seen Episodes I-IV (feel free to rage about how I’ve missed out the best two in the comments) and of course it’s a part of popular culture, so I know a fair bit. Let’s be honest, to not know anything about Star Wars would be impressive. So why did I go? Well, the lecture was entitled “It’s a trope!”: ‘Star Wars’ and/in translation and I’m a sucker for translation, especially when applied to fiction. If anyone wants to link me to articles about how Dothraki and Elvish are constructed, I’d be a very happy Kat. So yes. There I was, in a lecture theatre about to be lectured on the importance of translation in a fictional world I don’t care that much about.

Thankfully, Dr Pierre-Alexis Mével is very engaging and knows his stuff. With an introduction video that was an homage to the opening of A New Hope, the lecture started well and when it became a more standard lecture it was still interesting. Leastways I thought it was. But as previously stated, I am a translation nerd.

Starting with the translation of the films into foreign languages, the problems of translating anything into a foreign language were quickly raised, with Han Solo becoming Yan Solo in French so that it wasn’t pronounced ‘An and thus a girl’s name. Chinese bootleg subtitles were covered, where it was well and truly proven that machines shouldn’t be completely trusted with translation. Then there was a brief discussion on how alien languages are tackled in TV and films, which boils down to either 1) everyone speaks the same language (usually English), 2) there are different languages and it’s subtitled, or 3) there are different language and there is no translation. Fairly standard stuff. Still interesting.

Moving on from general issues of translation, we turned to the topic of translation within the Star Wars films and looked at the various languages spoken within the films, like Galatic Basic, Huttese and Shyriiwook. Which human languages these were based on was covered, including the fact that Shyriiwook is a combination of various animal noises. Then there was discussion on C-3PO’s role as a translator, and whether he is a machine performing what he’s coded for or if he is a self-aware translator. Spoilers: he’s at least semi aware.

All in all it was a good lecture on translation applied to fiction, and I really enjoyed it. Still not racing home to watch Episodes V & VI though. If lectures on popular culture sound like something you’d be interested in and you’re in Notts, the schedule can be found here. There’s vegan ethics in Doctor Who, zombie genomics and even more Star Wars. Happy geeking.

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Laughter is the best Medicine

A ton of exams (A-levels, GCSEs, Uni exams) have started and my newsfeed on Facebook is full of people taking photos of their finished dissertations. So I figured I’d share some of my favourite language related comedies. I’m not going to lie to you – the vast majority are Eddie Izzard clips. (Also, there may be swearing.)
Jack Whitehall on French and learning directions – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tU2DIRxL_jc
Eddie Izzard on French and the uselessness of the first things you ever learn. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FYenHfNTxA
Eddie Izzard on Latin and the sheer ridiculousness of it. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI8UZubOJlo
Eddie Izzard on Latin and why learning it is not helpful – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JbOa1ssGX8
Eddie Izzard on language labs – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnJxafaOGbQ
Eddie Izzard on language change in English and how we got rid of gendering EVERYTHING – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rjor6IFyCAk
Kumail Nanjiani on Call Of Duty using the wrong language –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX5OyGlLS-g
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Grundschule Vocab List

Here is a list of words and phrases you’ll need to know working in a German primary school aka the vocab list I wish I’d had back in September. It is by no means comprehensive and spelling may be dodgy as I’ve only ever heard some of them, but it is alphabetical, so that’s something.

Du brauchst mich nicht
Means ‘you don’t need me’. For when the kids keep calling you over despite being perfectly capable of doing the work themselves.

Halt deine/eure Klappe
Means ‘shut your mouth’, though is slightly more acceptable to say to kids in German. Use sparingly and only when at the end of your tether.
Hör zu
Means ‘listen’. Will be said several times over the course of one lesson, most oftentimes with little to no avail.
Ich glaube
Meaning ‘I believe’, it is an excellent addition to any sentence where you’re not entirely sure what you’re talking about.
In die Reihe
Means ‘in the line’, as in ‘walking in a line’. A state of affairs which never happens as the kids aren’t too bothered about the fact that the road is for cars.
Keine Ahnung
Meaning ‘no idea’, it will be used liberally by kids and by you when faced with German vocab that however many years of study didn’t cover.
Leise
Means ‘quiet’ or ‘quietly’. Is often said, but cannot often be used to describe the children.
Leute
Must be said with great exasperation. Literally means ‘people’ but can be more accurately be translated as ‘children, c’mon. Pay attention, be quiet and give me a break.’
Mensch!
An exclamation of exasperation.
Mund zu
Means ‘mouths closed’. Often combined with ‘Hör zu’, and if ignored, may later by followed by ‘Halt euere Klappe’
Setzt dich/euch
Means ‘sit down’. Will need to be said at least three times for anything to happen
Stickies
The trend which has all the kids enthralled at the minute. Tiny plastic figures with big eyes that stick to things. Makes one long for pogs or pokemon cards.
Was denkst du?
Means ‘what do you think?’ Gives you time to work out the answer to the maths problem a child has presented you with.

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Cockadoodledoo vs Üüürüü

At tutoring we’ve been doing about languages and countries, and today we coloured in maps to represent which countries we’ve been to and where we’d like to go. Because I was well aware this was going to result in questions along the lines of “where’s this country?” and because my geography is appalling, I raided the library for atlases. One book I borrowed is called ‘Ich lebe in Europa’ (I live in Europe) which I thought would be perfect seeing as the kids I tutor have never left the continent. What I didn’t bank on was the fact that the book was published in 1998, and a lot has changed since then. For one thing Yugoslavia doesn’t exist anymore.

But non-existent countries aside, it’s a pretty awesome book. It tells you how big the countries are in km2, the main language of each country, the currency, the main religion, the population and the capital city. There’s also other information but I’m not gonna go into that right now. What this book does tell you though, is what a cockerel says in each language. As in cockadoodledoo in different languages*. Which, personally, I am very excited about. So behold, a list for you to peruse, arranged by language groups, because I am a huge geek.

Germanic Languages

English – Cockadoodledoo

Flemish – Cocoricoo

German  – Kikeriki

Danish –  Kykeliky

Swedish – Kykeliky

Norwegian – Kykeliky

Dutch – Kukeluku

Icelandic – Gagaglagu

Romance Languages

Moldavian (Romanian) – Kukareku

Romanian – Kakareku

French – Cocorico

Spanish – Cocoroco

Portuguese – Cocorocâ

Italian – Chicchirichi

Slavic Languages

Slovakian – Kikiriki

Slovenian – Kikiriki

Serbian – Kukuriku

Croatian – Kukuriku

Polish – Kukuriku

Bulgarian – Kukurigu

Russian – Kukareku

Czech – Kykyryky

Finnic Languages

Finnish – Kukkokiekuu

Estonian – Kukeleegu

Baltic Languages

Latvian – Kikeregu

Lithuaian – Kakarieku

Ugric Languages

Hungarian – Kukuriku

Hellenic Languages

Greek – Kikiriku

Albanian Languages

Albanian – Kikikiii

Turkic Languages

Turkish – Üüürüü

Arabic Languages

Maltese – Iquaqui

 

* These are taken from a German book (‘Ich lebe in Europa’ by H. Brosche, A. Rösel and C. Ruoß [1998: Ravensburger Verlag, Germany]) so all spellings are German phonetics.

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Accent-ally sounding Thüringenese

I have a lot of feelings about my accent, especially since someone in my home town laughed at it. (A jerk genuinely called across a pub to ask a friend what my accent was and then laughed. Ruined the end of the story I was telling.) Essentially, my accent is a huge mash up, featuring Geordie, Yam-yam and the southern influences of my university friends. This mean I get the mick taken by my home friends and university friends. Phrases like “you sounded so southern then!” and “I’m sorry, try that word again?” regularly make an appearance in my life.

Sadly this heightened awareness of my accent only happens in English. I have no idea how I sound when I speak German. Actually, that’s not true. I made the mistake of asking a German if I sounded English when I spoke German. Yes. Yes I do, is the answer. So rather than get bogged down in how my accent is, I’d like to point out three Thuringien dialect features. Or possibly just three Ilmenauese features. (Either way, the title of this blog is misleading because I’m gonna look at dialect. But I couldn’t pass up the terrible terrible pun.)

1. ‘Ge?’

Ge or geh or however it’s spelt is the Ilmenau equivalent of ‘oder?’, which when added at the end of a sentence with a questioning tone is the German version of ‘right?’. Can be used for seeking clarification or affirmation.

Personally, I can’t stop saying it. I keep nearly saying it in English. I say it more than native Ilmenauers. It’s a compulsion, like talking about the weather with the only other person at the bus top at 7.20 and telling the kids to sit properly on their chairs otherwise they’ll crack their heads open.

2. Drei viertel…

Bear with me, because I can’t quite get my head round this one without serious thought. Drei viertel zehn (three quarter ten) means quarter to ten. Not quarter to eleven. It’s like an extension of the whole German ‘yes, when we mean 8.30 we’ll say half 9’. Whatever the reasoning or twisted logic behind it, it’s one feature I am not going to use. I’m paranoid enough about messing up times in German thanks to the aforementioned cack-handed way of dealing with 30 minutes past the hour – there’s no way I’m going to attempt drei viertel…

3. Pfannkuchen

As anyone who was my friend on Facebook during second year of uni will know, I am insanely proud of being able to order pancakes in Arabic. Seriously, that was the highlight of learning Arabic for me. Managed to get it into every oral exam. So my claim was that I could order pancakes in three languages – Arabic, English and German. Yeah, about that…

So here in Ilmenau, Pfannkuchen does not mean pancakes. It means doughnuts. Everywhere else in Germany* Pfannkuchen means pancakes and Berliner means doughnut. Berliner was one of the first pieces of German I learnt outside of class, thanks to this video. (Yes, it’s more Eddie Izzard, yes, there’s some swearing.) And this crucial piece of vocab is now redundant. I think I might have to go eat a Pfannkuchen or three to cheer myself up.

* possibly a slight exaggeration. Or just plain wrong. I did not fact check.

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Levelling Up.

On Tuesday I was asked how I thought my German was going, so I figured now would be a decent time to reevaluate my language skills. That and the fact that I have an hour and a half free at school with nowt to do. [Edit: This was written at school on Friday in my huge break. However, the computers at school have a vendetta against WordPress, hence the delayed blogggeration.]

Overall, I think it’s going well. My German’s definitely improved and I’m way more confident in it. Having eight year olds correcting you makes you want to improve quickly. I’m not sure how useful most of my new found vocabulary will be in an oral exam, but, despite that being the only way uni tests my speaking skills, learning a language isn’t about oral exams. It’s about being able to communicate with other people. And that I can now definitely do. It also helps that Kim insists I can speak fluent German and Jana thinks I speak good German. Nothing boosts your confidence like native speakers thinking you can effectively use their language.
 
People say that you know you’re on your year abroad when you start dreaming in your foreign language. I have to report I haven’t experienced that head spin yet. However, I have started saying things in German when I intended to say them in English. Also vice versa. This is very confusing, especially when I’m in class. I’ve also come away from conversations not being able to remember if they were conducted in German or English. This is a massive head spin. 
 
I think what I’m trying to say is I’m getting there. My grasp of the passive tense may not have improved, but my word order has. I can use prepositions without hesitating for half an hour in the middle of the sentence, because the Germans don’t know what prepositions you’re meant to be using either. Essentially the year abroad is improving my language because in real life people don’t sit there picking out your every mistake. There’s no mark in real life either. Isn’t that glorious?