德國百美思

有沒有聽過「百美思」這個化妝品牌子?

記得念小學時,電視經常播放「西德百美思」的廣告(那時還叫西德),現在沒有了,因為這個品牌已經被P&G收購了。

我一直記著這個牌子的原因,當然不是自己用過,也不是因為家人有用,而是:它。的。招。牌。很。恐。怖!

那招牌上面畫的,是一個異常尖削的女子面孔,眉毛、眼影、嘴唇等都塗得很濃。面下有一隻手托著腮,指甲又尖又長,當然是塗了指甲油。頭髮燙得捲曲,弄得很高,是八十年代流行的那種。整個構圖,就像一個上下倒轉的三角形。

那麼恐怖在哪裏呢?我也不知道,只是小時候總覺得那張面有一股說不出的詭異,尤其是那眼神,好像是想在背後下毒害死你的(毒蛇的頭也是三角形,不知道有沒有關係)。

總之,就因為這張塊招牌,那時不知發了多少惡夢。要命的是,我當時住土瓜灣,而偏偏該區便有三塊!一塊是在土瓜灣道偉恒昌附近的油站旁,一塊在投注站旁超市(當時是KK超級市場)的入口上面,第三塊在土瓜灣道三角公園旁(往紅磡方向)。此外在港島英皇道也見過,是在坐電車去太古城途中赫然望到的。

今天在網上嘗試尋回這位「故人」的面容,結果當然是找不到,只知道百美思這品牌的英文名原來是Ellen Betrix,那公司的名稱叫Betrix Cosmetics GmbH。

當然,小時候是沒來由的害怕,現在再看也許會覺得沒甚麼大不了。

只是到了今天,每當看見面容尖瘦、濃妝艷抹,頭髮很捲很捲的女子,心裏總有點不舒服的感覺。

Spaghetti Nepalese – 附答案

上海一間餐廳的菜單中,有一味:「Borrow Nepal Asia Meat Sauce Surface」,看倌不妨猜猜是甚麼,測試一下對Chinglish的掌握能力?

提示:本文標題其實便是提示。

答案稍後揭曉。

開估:

其實這道菜就是最常見的Spaghetti Bolognese,香港稱之為「肉醬意粉」。

何以Spaghetti Bolognese會變成「Borrow Nepal Asia Meat Sauce Surface」呢?原來是最先有人把Spaghetti Bolognese音譯為「博羅尼亞肉醬面」,再有人將之逆向翻譯(back translate)回英文:

「博羅」變borrow;

「尼」變Nepal(尼泊爾);

「亞」變Asia(亞洲);

「肉醬」變meat sauce;

「面」變surface!!!

這肯定是電腦翻譯了。

我在Yahoo! Babel Fish輸入「博羅尼亞肉醬面」試試,得出的竟然就是「Borrow Niya meat sauce surface」,非常接近!看來譯者是先用yahoo翻譯,再用不知甚麼軟件把「尼亞」譯成Nepal Asia。

Google Translate比較聰明,倒是懂得把「博羅尼亞」譯成「Bologna」。

Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon – duel scene

I watched the duel scene from Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon on Youtube:

The scene is very suspenseful and brilliantly shot. I like how the characters moved and spoke in a deliberately slow manner, which added to the tension of the whole scene. The effect is amplified by the background music, which “mimics” (and seemingly beats in synchrony with) the heartbeat of the audience. The slow pacing might have been for more than just artistic purpose. Stanley Kubrick tried to shoot the film “without recourse to electric light” as much as possible, to depict the look and feel of paintings in the 18th century when electric lighting didn’t exist. The actors were instructed to move as slowly as possible to avoid underexposure. This beautiful candlelit scene from the movie, shot without additional lighting, is a good example (and Lady Lyndon is stunning):

What I don’t understand is what slow movement has to do with the level of exposure. In photography you have to compensate for insufficient lighting by longer exposure, which however requires the subject being photographed to remain still or the image will appear blurry. Perhaps a similar relationship between movement and exposure exists in filming?

On a side note, I wonder if 18th century gentlemen actually duelled like that. It is true that smoothbore pistols at that time were wildly inaccurate and hitting a man ten paces away could be very difficult. Nevertheless standing still while someones fires a bullet at you is suicidal. The party who, by luck, gets to fire the first shot gains an unfair advantage. Of course it can also be argued this kind of duel is fair in the sense that both parties have the same chance of being the first to fire. That said, the whole idea of duelling itself is just as a mystery to modern people. We now have a hard time associating such savage acts with gentlemanship and honor.

Twinkle twinkle little fly

The building where I live is a magnet for all sorts of insects from the nearby hills, especially during Spring.

Last night, a firefly made its way into my bedroom. It was the first firefly I’d ever seen.

It was very bright. The glow was almost as strong as the LED on my cellphone. It seems the story about an ancient student making an improvised light bulb by bagging dozens of fireflies in thin fabric could be true.

Curious, I googled why fireflies glow. Wikipedia says they use bioluminescence to attract mates or prey. That intrigued me as I was the only other visible living organism in the room. If what Wikipedia says is correct, the bug must be either extremely undersexed or underfed.

Nevertheless, it was beautiful. I can imagine hundreds of them dancing must be a mesmerizing sight.

However, as much as I liked it, I couldn’t go to bed with the knowledge that it was still in the room and might crawl onto my face (or worse, into my mouth) in my sleep.

So I picked it up gently and left it on the balcony.

Scenery of Hangzhou

Selected pictures from my recent Hangzhou trip:

假作僧時僧亦假

十里洋場,日新月異。上海這幾年不知何故,流行念佛經做法事,超度先人。這次回去掃墓,「有緣」參觀了一場此等法事,深感不枉此行。

清早到達市郊的一座廟宇。「工作人員」先問我們準備了檀香木沒有(要燒檀香木幹啥?)。沒有的話可以買,一包約10 x 10厘米大小的,索價人民幣14元。一聞,有香味,但不似檀香,原來只是塗了香粉的普通木條。

看看那班和尚。咦?怎麼全部skin cut?不是要剃度的嗎?額頭上的燙點到哪裏去了?再仔細看,嘩!套一句上海話:「要死哩!」五官氣質,全部俗不可耐,一派卡拉OK夜總會骨場常客的賣相,哪有半點出家人的慈悲為懷、六根清靜?其中一個更獐頭鼠目,兩眼兇光乍現,不停對我們上下打量,活脫是謀財害命的土匪樣子!現在想起還有點心寒。

開始念經。呆了!一個個全部心不在焉,像部份立法會議員一樣,打呵欠瞌睡有之、挖耳孔鼻孔有之、搓玩手指拳頭有之。個個四處張望,甚少看著前面的經書。每當門外有年輕女善信經過,視線便自動跟踪,比美軍的導彈還要靈敏。至於念甚麼呢?佛經我聽不懂,但聽來不似文字,倒像喉際擠出的依依哦哦聲。有一個索性停了不念,直至發現我盯著他才繼續。望望那些經書,十個和尚一起念,但經書揭開的一頁,竟然是不同的!!!

到了中場休息時間,為首的和尚已經急不及待叫家屬快點付錢,還要給「紅包」,十個和尚,每人20元,一共是人民幣200元。和尚收錢後離去,好奇的我靜靜跟著。嘿!哪裏是去休息,都到第二座大廳念另一場「經」了!有這麼多「水魚」排隊待宰,還休息來幹嗎?

據說這種法事,正式來說是要念一整天經的。這次家屬因為時間關係要求減半,提前在中午完結。豈料不到10:30,和尚便宣佈法事結束了。這超度儀式不是應該隆重莊嚴的嗎?居然也有「可加可減機制」?而且原本要念一天的經,現在居然半天也不到便完成,那麼到底是念少了,還是濃縮了,抑或是馬虎了事?如此「全餐變半餐,半餐變快餐」,真是兒戲之極!

那麼這頓「快餐」要多少錢呢?嘿,人民幣1,980元!!!

好賺吧!看來我是入錯行了。

先人如果泉下有知,看見子孫甘心遭此等神棍戲弄,如何能夠安息?超度一百次也是枉然!

其實這次法事是老人家堅持要做(而且不是第一次),兒女只是順其心意。但老人家年紀雖大,心裏還是清楚的,無理由看不出其中真偽。真的很想知道她心裏到底在想甚麼。

西湖邊的老先生

這次到杭州,正值春暖花開之時,而到埗那天,又剛好遇上牡丹盛放。

西湖十景之一的「花港觀魚」有一牡丹亭,亭下有一老伯,架著三腳架,全神貫注捕捉牡丹美態。

老伯見我盯著他那具Canon的LCD,便解釋道:「你看這朵花,這個時候太陽正好是側光,這側光照上去,每片花瓣都看得很清楚,層次感豐富,而且還有陰影,拍出來最美。」

我舉起相機欲試,他說:「你這樣不行,一定要用三腳架,來,我借給你。」裝好腳架後,卻發現焦距不夠長。一看,原來老伯用的是300mm長鏡,我那支135mm自然力有不逮了。

拍了一張給老伯看,他問:「你用多大的光圈?」

「5.6。」

「那太大了,起碼要用11,這樣景深才會遠,花和葉都拍得清楚呀。」

「可是拍花,不是要前景清、後景矇,才能突出花朵的主體嗎?」我想起張東老師喜歡的拍法。

「中國人有句話,叫『牡丹雖美,還需綠葉扶持』嘛,拍牡丹,怎能沒有葉。攝影,要會變通,不能只求美感,好看但沒有文化內涵的,不是好照片。」

我恍然大悟。

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