Vladimir Antropov

Power Plant at Darling Harbour

Posted in Observations by Vladimir Antropov on January 23, 2011

Recently we visited Power Plant at Darling Harbour, an exhibition presented by Sydney Festival and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority in Chinese Garden of Friendship. I didn’t have any expectations – it was my wife’s idea and I simply tagged along. What I found there was one of the most dazzling experiences in my life. Below is my account of the visit – spilled dragées of impressions coated in words. (more…)

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Seasonal Love-Hate

Posted in Thoughts by Vladimir Antropov on January 22, 2011

During a Table Topics session at a Toastmasters meeting one guy, Chris, was asked what he liked more – summer or winter. Trivial question, and he didn’t hesitate to give a simple answer – winter. “Ha!” thought I, “you wouldn’t say that if you saw Russian winter. It was one good reason for me to move to Sydney.”
In Table Topics a speaker can’t get away with a one-word answer – he should speak for a minute, so Chris continued, “If it is cold, you can put more clothes on. If it is hot, you can take your clothes off, but if it is even hotter, you have nothing left to take off – only your skin.”

“True,” agreed I, “but still, as a saying goes, heat doesn’t freeze your bones.”

Chris kept speaking. “Originally, I am from Malaysia. On an average summer day there you get 35°C, or, if you are lucky, just 32. It was one good reason for me to move to Sydney – the climate is so much better here.”

Okay, I’ve got his point. My idea of summer was a season where 35 degrees was an extreme, not an everyday experience. Similarly, his notion of winter had nothing to do with Russian under-zero reality. Nevertheless, coming from opposite temperature extremes, we both found Sydney’s climate beautiful.

Ironically, Chris the Winter Lover was, in fact, looking for a cooler summer, while I, a self-confessed summer addict, was pursuing a milder winter.  What is your favourite season?

A Text Generation’s Dictionary

Posted in Thoughts by Vladimir Antropov on January 14, 2011
Artemus Ward, from book Wit and Humor of the A...
Image via Wikipedia

If in a fiction book I saw words “be4” and “there4” I would have thought that the book was a recent creation and an author was quoting an SMS message. Imagine my surprise when I found those words in Artemus Ward‘s Interview with President Lincoln written in XIX century. Ward was using them to imitate writing of an uneducated person.  What once was a sign of illiteracy, in our days became a smart space-saving trick in electronic communications.

This thing repeats over and over again. What used to be a jailbird’s pride has become a fashionable skin adornment. Onetime shameful secrets are now worn on a sleeve. Ward’s story nicely puts the linguistic changes, that we observe now, in the same context. I won’t be in the least surprised if “be4”, or even “b4”, in 20 years time makes it in a dictionary, and in 50 years time the word “before” gets “archaic” tag. Moreover, I can easily imagine it will happen even earlier.

Anyone wants to know future trends? Don’t go to a fortune-teller – just check modern taboos.

The Harbour City

Posted in Observations by Vladimir Antropov on January 13, 2011
The Sydney Opera House on Bennelong Point.
Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I talked to my colleague about Brisbane flood alert:

He: Oh my God, in Brisbane they have a river flowing through the city.
I: Yes, just like in Sydney.
He: We don’t have a river in Sydney.
I: We do – it’s Parramatta River.
Puzzled look, then: Oh, right!

This just shows how much Sydney is the Harbour City in Sydneysiders’ psyche. Interestingly, the first settlers chose this location for Sydney not because of beautiful harbour views and not because it would be a nice place to build an opera house and a bridge. Their immediate concern was a source of fresh water, and it was humble Tank Stream that they built their settlement around.

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