Nov 092015
 
3,656 views

The Knife

The knifeSixties… We live in Uzunköprü (LongBridge). It is a small town near Edirne (Adrianople).

I can’t remember the name of our street anymore after more than half a century. There are only some foggy images from there. But our house was very near to my school. And I remember its name: Shahsuvar Bey Elementary School.

My elder brother was 4.5 years older than me. Then, he must be in Middle School. Now, I can not ask him these foggy details. He passed away only two months ago.

We were living in a two stage wooden house. Our bedrooms were upstairs. Creaking stairs were following our steps while we were going to sleep at night.

There were a small garden at the back of our house. The garden was separated from the outside world with a tall fence. The fence was covered completely with old, rusty gasoline cans. Beside the fence there was a narrow flower bed in bright colors.

We were in the garden on that day. Me and my bro. I don’t remember whether there were any other person around.

My bro was playing with a big, rusty knife. Actually it was my knife. I had found it in the junkyard. But he had gotten my knife and he had no intention to give it me back.

I was crying none-stop…

– “It is my knife. Give it me back!..”

He liked to torment me. And my only defense was to wearisome him by crying until he gives up what he was doing. None-stop… Again… And again…

– “It is my knife. Give it me back!..”

– “Not yours. It’s mine!…”

– “You’re a liar. It’s my knife. I found it in the junkyard.”

Sometimes we forgot our fight, but then restarted again.

Generally it didn’t take too long to come to an end. However, then, it was not the case. Both of us resisted to stop the fight.

Then, suddenly the overall scene got frozen. It became a slowed down movie… Voices were coming from far:

– “Take it then!”

My bro threw the knife with an abrupt move. It was just a single moment. Without considering what would happen.

In such moments instincts are important. I felt the danger and bent down at the same time.

The big rusty knife glanced off my hair, and penetrated into the fence completely.

We were both in shock!

I was completely frozen. My brother was more aware of the problem, and run away in a moment.

Now, I am only smiling when I remember that day. We were children. And sometimes we live just by chance…

Ahmet Aksoy

Oct 272015
 
3,751 views

Show Don’t Tell Method While Writing

Show Don't Tell Method While Writing

If you are telling a story, maybe it is the best way to use “Show Don’t Tell” method.

In this method, you don’t tell the story directly. Instead, you give the visual, auditory and kinesthetic clues to the readers and let them imagine the scenes in their own minds. You describe the sensations which will trigger their emotions and memories. By doing so, each reader creates his/her own story in his/her mind.

He is an old man. He is used to go to the nearby park every day. First he feeds a couple of doves and then reads his daily newspaper.

The above sentences tell about an old man. The given messages are directly sent to the logical mind of the reader.

We can write the same story without telling anything, but paint a colorful, vivid image :

He sits down on his bank in the park taking care of the hurting stiffness in his right knee. It is his bank, because he is visiting it almost everyday. He shares his thoughts, even his secret feelings with it sometimes like an old friend. A couple of dove waits him on the branch of the pine tree leaning down. The doves know his exact arrival time and are always ready to share birdseed coming from his pocket. They are mute. They don’t make any sound. After eating their seeds, they silently fly away leaving a broad smile on his lips and the wrinkles at the sides of his eyes.

After the breakfast ceremony, he pulls out his daily newspaper from his left pocket of his worn up jacket. He squints his eyes, and tries to read the biggest titles first. Then wears his eyeglasses, and starts to read the news on the first page.”

If you tell a story, you only give some information to the reader. But, if you show the details triggering his/her senses, you create a vivid four-dimensional world. Yes, it is four-dimensional, because you also include time in the story.

As an ESL student, “Show, Don’t Tell” method gives you command over the language. Try it! I’m sure, you will love it.

Ahmet Aksoy

Oct 202015
 
4,104 views

Rewriting Exercises to Learn English Better

Rewriting Exercises to Learn English Better

One of the best method of learning English (or any other language) is using “Rewriting Exercises”.

When you learn something, you can make your own sentences with your own words in order to define it. By doing so, you learn English (or any other language) dynamically. You do not memorize the words and/or sentences and phrases. You can understand them thoroughly, and redesign the required definition with your own resources. You become more versatile.

For example:
I am an old man. (I am not a young man.)
It is cold. (It is not warm enough. / The temperature is low.)
I got a cold. (I am coughing and I have a high fever. / I am ill. / I am sick.)

How to study:

  • You can find some “Rewriting Exercises” on the internet. Check and study them.
  • Get some short news or stories. Rewrite them without changing the original text. Use different words and phrases as much as possible.
  • Write a few paragraphs about a simple subject. Then rewrite it changing some words and phrases, but preserve the meaning of your original text.
  • Write a few paragraphs about a complex subject. Then rewrite it changing some words and phrases, but preserve the meaning of your original text.
  • Translate some original English text to your own language. Then, after a few days translate your translated text to English again. Do not refer to the original English text without completing your work. Then compare it with the original text.
  • Repeat these exercises at least once in a week.
  • In order to learn English better, there would be no hesitation during your rewriting and translations. You must complete them without extra thinking. They would become automatic events.

    In the references below, there are a few links to some Rewriting Exercises.

    I hope they will be useful for you.

    Ahmet Aksoy

    References:

    Oct 032015
     
    4,617 views

    How to find food in the wild

    How to find food in the wild

    Image credits: www.gallowaywildfoods.com

    In case of a survival situation it is important where to find edible foods. Maybe you think hunting to be the easiest method. However, hunting needs a lot of energy and some tools. So, it is easiest to try to collect some plants and/or insects.

    Edible plants
    There is a risque of eating poisonous plants. So, you must test it first. Eat just a small amount of the plant and wait for a few hours. If you watch any unpleasant reaction on your body, then do not consume that plant. (If it is very poisonous, maybe there will be nothing to do. However, in order to survive in the wild you should take some risque. It is inevitable.)

    Bird eggs
    If you can find bird eggs, that means you found a nutritional and safe food source.

    Trapping
    Instead of hunting, use your intelligence and imagination to prepare some traps. The most important tool you have is your brain. Use it!

    Fishing
    If you are around a river or a lake you can try to catch some fishes. Fishing is not easy. You need patience and practice. If you have a hook and line, you can use them. If you have not such a tool, then you can use an appropriate piece of branch as a spear.

    It might be better to make a simple net to catch fish. You can use your clothes, or some branches or plant stems to obtain a simple net.

    Hunting
    If you can build a set of bow and arrows, then you can try to hunt birds or some bigger animals like deer, or goats. But you need a lot of practice to be successful.

    If I summarize the situation, to survive in the wild is not very easy. But if you keep calm, evaluate your actual advantages and disadvantages, and use your knowledge you can find practical solutions to your situation.

    Our “In the wild” articles do not try to solve a realistic problem for such a situation actually. Our aim is to use English in different scenarios. By doing so, we obtain better and simpler stories to remember.

    In order to get the most out of these articles, reading once is not enough. You should study them also. Find the words and phrases that you didn’t know. Read and write them on paper. Then try to rewrite the same sentences using your own words. Ask yourself some questions and answer them. Read aloud and write all of them many times.

    In order to improve your English, you must use it as much as possible. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. The biggest mistake is to avoid mistakes by avoiding action.

    Ahmet Aksoy

    References:

    Sep 232015
     
    4,375 views

    13 Best Sci-Fi Movies to Watch

    Do you like sci-fi movies? If you do, probably you will like the following list. The list is sorted by the production dates of movies from new to old.

    13 Best Sci-Fi Movies to Watch

    (2013) Her
    Director: Spike Jonze
    Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson
    Imdb rating: 8.0

    (2010) Inception
    Director: Christopher Nolan
    Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Lewit, Ellen Page
    Imdb rating: 8.8

    (2009) Star Trek
    Director: J.J. Abrams
    Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg
    Imdb rating: 8.0

    (1999) Matrix
    Director: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
    Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne
    Imdb rating: 8.7

    (1998) The Truman Show
    Director: Peter Weir
    Starring: Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney
    Imdb rating: 8.1

    (1995) Twelve Monkeys
    Director: Terry Gilliam
    Starring: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt
    Imdb rating: 8.1

    (1991) Terminator 2: Judgement Day
    Director: James Cameron
    Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
    Imdb rating: 8.5

    (1986) Aliens
    Director: James Cameron
    Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn
    Imdb rating: 8.4

    (1985-1990) Back to the Future Series
    Director: Robert Zemeckis
    Imdb rating: 8.5

    (1984) The Terminator
    Director: James Cameron
    Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
    Imdb rating: 8.1

    (1977 – 2017) Star Wars Series
    Imdb rating: 8.7

    (1979) Alien
    Director: Ridley Scott
    Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt
    Imdb rating: 8.5

    (1968) 2001: A Space Odyssey
    Director: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke
    Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester
    Imdb rating: 8.3

    If you watch the original movies without any subtitles, it will improve your listening and understanding capabilities. Watch them more than once. Of course, subject is not limited to sci-fi movies; you can watch any movies you like. Movies reach your brain thru both visual and auditory perception.

    Do you want to add any movies to the list?
    Then comment below.

    Ahmet Aksoy

    New words to learn: sci-fi, auditory, perception

    Sep 222015
     
    5,338 views

    I’ve got a cold

    I've got cold

    Image: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/

    On yesterday evening I’ve got a cold. It happened in blink of time without an obvious reason.

    The weather was not cold. There were no big temperature changes. I hadn’t met a foreigner. There were no ill person in my near circle.

    It started with a high pitch sneeze. A few more sneezes followed it. Then a pain started in my throat that hurts me more and more as time passes. Gulping accompanied by a sharp pain. And my nose started to run.

    I had a terrible night.

    It was even worse in the following morning. I also had a headache. It was especially concentrated deep in the roots of my eyes.

    EFT is a very effective method over pains. SO, after a few rounds, I could control my headache.

    I don’t like to take pills. However my sore throat really affected me badly.

    By EFT and acupuncture, I could only decrease my pain in the throat, but could not remove it completely.

    On the afternoon I’ve given in and I’ve taken two pills.

    Now I feel better.

    My nose is still running. But the pain in my throat does not disturb me anymore.

    Getting cold is a viral illness. So, there is no pills to recover from cold. In order to cure it, it is best to rest.

    In my country there is a quote about cold:

    “You will recover from cold in a week if you rest properly. Otherwise it takes seven days.”

    So, take care of yourself!

    Be far from all illnesses.

    Ahmet Aksoy

    Sep 202015
     
    4,499 views

    How to build a shelter in the wild?

    How to build a shelter in the wild?Shelter

    Image: wikihow.com

    Without a knife or similar tool, it is very difficult bu build a shelter. If you have no such a tool then you should find some hard stones which have sharp edges. You can attach it to a wooden stick and tie it in place with some wood fibers. You have to make some trials to find a useful solution. (However, if you have bootlaces, you can use them either.)

    Our ancestors in Stone Age, had been using such devices for hunting, building shelters and protecting their families. If we try, we can find much better solutions to invent some useful tools necessary to survive.

    If we can find an empty cave which is large enough for us, it might be a wonderful solution. However we should check for predator droppings or similar traces around to be sure. Otherwise, we might be in danger. If possible we must close the entrance of the cave when we are inside. Some logs and large stones will be help us to do it.

    Be sure that your shelter is not in a dry river bed. In case of a flood, you might be in a great risk.

    If you couldn’t find a cave that can protect you, then you can build your own cave. For example you can dig a hole big enough, and cover on top of it with branches, leaves and earth. But, always let fresh air could be circulated in it.

    If there are no predators around, you can create your shelter on the ground by branches and green leaves also.

    Follow me.

    Ahmet Aksoy

    New words: shelter, Stone Age, predator, droppings, flood

    P.S. The above series about wild life do not contain survival recipes. I only want to create an imaginary scene for you in order to remember the unknown words more easily.

    References:

    Sep 192015
     
    4,672 views

    How to find drinking water in the wild?

    How to find drinking water in the wild?

    Image Credits: bushcraftspirits.com

    Investigate

    • Search around for a stream or a river. Flowing water generally is more clear. If possible, find traces of birds or animals. If they drink that water, you may drink also.
    • If you could not find a flowing water source, but find a water pool, then check if there exists any water insects in it. If there are, then you can drink it. However if you have a metal container, it is better to boil it first.
    • Rain is a very good water source. It is tasteless. But, it is clean, potable and easily collectible for later consumption if you have a container.
    • You can lick dew on green leaves early in the morning.
    • If it is very cold and you can find some snow or ice then you can eat them in order to fulfill your thirst. Of course, if you have a pot and fire, it is better to melt and boil it before drinking.
    • Never drink sea water, urine or any salty water. If you do so, you will increase dehydration of your body. So, never do it.
    • Follow the traces of animals. All animals know water resources in order to survive. They can lead you to that water source if you follow them.
    • Some plants contain water in their stems or roots. Check them.
    • Dig a hole on the ground if you are in a forest. Check if water seeps from the walls of the hole. Try it at different places.

    Signs of wildlife that shows the existence of a nearby water source

    • Tracks
    • Feces
    • Mosquitos
    • Bees
    • Flies

    Desalination
    If you have only sea water or similar salty water, you should desalinate it before using.

    The simplest method of desalination is to vaporizing and then condensing water. If you have a metallic container, you can boil salty water in it. While boiling, put a towel or similar cloth on top of the container and let it absorb vapor. Then you can squeeze the towel to obtain water drops, or you can suck it.

    I will continue to write similar notes in my coming articles.

    Follow me.

    Ahmet Aksoy

    New words: desalination, collectible

    References:

    Sep 142015
     
    3,278 views

    How can you survive without technology

    How can you survive without technology

    Photo: playbuzz.com

    Modern human has forgotten basic vital details required in the natural environment. Especially people who live in mega-cities, know almost nothing about actual wild life.

    Imagine that you are left alone on a deserted island after a ship accident. There is no wreckage on the shore. There are no human beings around. You have no technological devices. Nothing to eat. Nothing to drink…

    How can you survive?

    First, let us make a small list of minimal requirements:

    • A shelter to protect yourself against extreme atmospheric conditions and possible wild animal attacks
    • Drinkable water
    • Food
    • Fire
    • Collecting vegetables and fruits
    • Hunting
    • Something to wear when required
    • Hope to return back to your social and technological life

    You can live maximum 3 days without drinking potable water. Otherwise dehydration will kill you. So, you must find drinkable water as soon as possible.

    You might be hungry too. But you can resist hunger about three weeks. So it can wait. But thirst will not wait for a long time.

    To find drinkable water you must search around. Here are some possible water resources:

    Rain water might be collected in some small pools. That water might be tasteless, but it is clean. You can consume it.

    If it is raining, you can collect raindrops using some large leaves. If you have a container, you can use leaves like a funnel to catch the water drops and direct them into the container.

    I will continue to give you some more details in my coming posts.

    In any case, take care of yourself. Human body is very sensitive, but it can also resist unbelievable extreme conditions. Be calm, and believe in yourself!

    Follow my new posts.

    Ahmet Aksoy

    New words: vital, deserted, potable, funnel, dehydration

    References:
    http://www.survivenature.com/island.php
    http://www.wikihow.com/Live-on-a-Deserted-Island
    http://www.wikihow.com/Survive-on-a-Deserted-Island-With-Nothing

    Sep 112015
     
    2,575 views

    Poetry is the heartbeat of a language

    Poetry is the heartbeat of a language

    Photo: pentagist.com

    If you want to feel the inner rhymes of a language, you should listen to and read poems and poetical writings.

    If you are an ESL student, and if you have not a language mentor then it might be best for you to listen to some poetry audio. https://archive.org/details/audio_poetry is a good and free audio source. You can download poetry files, and listen to them offline whenever you wanted.

    http://www.audiobooktreasury.com/poetry-collection/ is also another free mp3 poetry source.

    If you like visual poetry resources, youtube.com is in your service.

    5 Poems by Robert Frost

    “Alone” by Edgar Allan Poe

    “Alone”
    BY EDGAR ALLAN POE
    From childhood’s hour I have not been
    As others were—I have not seen
    As others saw—I could not bring
    My passions from a common spring—
    From the same source I have not taken
    My sorrow—I could not awaken
    My heart to joy at the same tone—
    And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
    Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
    Of a most stormy life—was drawn
    From ev’ry depth of good and ill
    The mystery which binds me still—
    From the torrent, or the fountain—
    From the red cliff of the mountain—
    From the sun that ’round me roll’d
    In its autumn tint of gold—
    From the lightning in the sky
    As it pass’d me flying by—
    From the thunder, and the storm—
    And the cloud that took the form
    (When the rest of Heaven was blue)
    Of a demon in my view—
    Source: American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century (1993)

    In order to improve your English, you must read poems regularly. Then you will fill the gaps between meanings of the words with feelings.

    Ahmet Aksoy