Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Do you have what it takes to be James Bond?

How to be James Bond

The latest release of Skyfall marked the 50th anniversary of the James Bond 007 film franchise.  Currently Daniel Craig is starring as the legendary 007 British Spy.  Adventure, intrigue, cars, women/men, futuristic gadgets, “saving the world” are all part of the James Bond "cloak and dagger lifestyle".
How to be a spy like Daniel Craig 007

This week I started to wonder what it takes to be a real spy.  So in the tradition of James Bond I based this Celebrity English feature on a mixture of MI5 and MI6 security services.   
Here are some of the highlights I found.

Need to be a British citizen of the home country; however there are some exceptions.
21 years old (+).
Able to pass a high Security Clearance.
Pass the medical test; physical and mental.

Personal Attributes
Personal Integrity
Working with Others / Teamwork
Planning and Organizing
Analysis and Problem Solving
Leading and Decision-Making
Strong Desire to make a difference in the world!

Recruiting Areas
“The roles for which we recruit fall into the following areas:
Degrees ranging from Architecture to Zoology from 36 different universities have joined us as Intelligence Officers over the last two years. We also have opportunities for people with a range of technical, vocational or professional qualifications, from IT or Electronics to Carpentry or Accountancy.”

Common Jobs in the Secret Service
Intelligence Delivery Officers - Collecting, analyzing and reporting global secret intelligence.

Administrators - Assisting with the essential daily running of the organization, through a broad range of administrative tasks.

Technology - ensuring we have secure, innovative IT systems to communicate internationally.

Corporate Services - Working with a range of departments such as HR and Finance.

Language Specialists - Translating raw intelligence in many different languages and dialects from both written and spoken sources.

Continued training in your field.
Salary similar to many other organizations. Depends on skill, experience, and performance. 
Pension scheme comparable with the Civil Service.
Maternity and paternity leave.
25 days’ annual leave rising to 30 days after five years service (even a spy needs a few days off!)

Current Employment Vacancies

    Business Analysts
    Business Relationship Managers
    Data and Information Professionals
    Forensic Speech & Language Specialist
    Internet Investigation, Exploitation and Cyber Security
    Portfolio Managers
    Speech Technician
    Strategy, Architecture, IT Security and Testing Specialists
    IT Technical Operations roles
    IT Service Management roles
    Intelligence Officer
    Project Managers
    Service Desk Analyst
    Information Specialist
    Application Support Analysts
    Network Systems Engineers
    Language Specialist
    Transport Supervisors
    Facilities Assistants

So now can you pass the test to become like James Bond?
Here are a few to try out:

(1)Try our Intelligence Officer challenge, which will test your ability to maintain a simple cover story.

(2)Investigative Challenge - Intelligence Officers and Intelligence Analysts

(3)Listening Challenge - English Language Analysts

(4)Digital Intelligence Challenge - Internet Investigation, Exploitation and Cyber Security Specialists

Language Learning Section
Here are some common words you will hear in Spy Movies. Test Yourself for Fun!  What do the following words mean?  Just put a few notes or ideas beside each word. 




A spy

A terrorist

To do/conduct surveillance

A bug

Cloak and dagger

Answers and More Espionage Vocabulary!

to be classified: something that is considered confidential or secret information; need a high level security clearance to view the information.

to do/conduct surveillance: the act of carefully watching someone or something especially in order to prevent or detect a crime.

to stake out: to do surveillance. 

to spy : to watch secretly usually for hostile purposes.

to have one's cover blown: you have been exposed as being a spy.

to keep/maintain a low profile:  to behave in a way that does not attract attention.

to sabotage: something: the act of destroying or damaging something deliberately so that it does.
to destroy something : to cause (something) to end or no longer exist : to cause the destruction of.

undercover: acting or executed in secret; specifically : employed or engaged in spying or secret investigation <an undercover agent/police officer>.

clandestine: done in a private place or way : done secretly. <clandestine activities/organization>.

Espionage: ,or spying, involves a government or individual obtaining information that is
considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information.

a spy:  (1)one who keeps secret watch on a person or thing to obtain information (2) a person employed by one nation to secretly convey classified information of strategic importance to another nation; also : a person who conveys the trade secrets of one company to another.

an operative: a secret agent; a person who works toward achieving the objectives of a larger interest <political operatives>.

a bug: a small hidden microphone (listening device) that is used to secretly listen to and record people.

a conspiracy: an agreement by 2 or more people to commit a crime.

a covert operation : a plan made in a way that is not easily seen or noticed : secret or hidden.

a threat: an expression of intention to inflict evil, injury, or damage.

a bomb: a device that is designed to explode in order to injure or kill people or to damage or something.

terrorism: the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.

a terrorist: a person who uses or supports the use of terrorism <terrorist activities/attacks/bombings/threats> <a terrorist organization/group/network>.

a sleeper (agent): A sleeper agent is a person who is recruited to an intelligence service to wake up and perform a specific set of tasks or functions while living under cover in an area of interest.

a double agent: a spy pretending to serve one government while actually serving another.

MI5: Military Intelligence, Section 5 - the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence.

MI6: Military Intelligence, Section 6 - the agency which supplies Her Majesty's Government with foreign intelligence.

FBI: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a governmental agency belonging to the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency (counterintelligence).

CIA: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an independent civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence.

Military: of or relating to soldiers or the armed forces (such as the army, navy, marines, and air force) 

behind closed doors:   in private; only the people in the meeting know the information.

cloak and dagger: dealing in or suggestive of melodramatic intrigue and action usually involving secret agents and espionage <a cloak–and–dagger novel>.

Until next week!  Enjoy the Skyfall trailer and the original Dr No.

More James Bond!

Skyfall a Big Hit at the Oscars!

Connect with ALEX here or at
 Celebrity English -  Alex Blogspot

Monday, 19 November 2012

Get Your Shop On! Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Paris Hilton shopping
Paris Hilton
Black Friday is coming this week on Friday Nov. 23!

Black Friday Shopping!
What is it?
-Prices will be slashed and bargain shoppers will be lining up early at their favorite stores.  Even celebrities like to shop for a deal!

When is it?
Black Friday Calender
 -This American shopping tradition occurs the Day After Thanksgiving (4th Thursday of November).  Not an official holiday but treated like one unless you work in retail.
-Generally 5am start time is pretty standard but some stores will open earlier or even be open all night from Thanks Giving Eve. Check the company's website for times. 

Where is it?
-Everywhere in America and catching on in other countries.
-At your favorite shopping store and at their website.

Who will be there?
-Friends, Family, Everyone!  One of the busiest shopping days of the year in the United States. Expect long line-ups and chaos as people rush to get the best deals!

Why is it called Black Friday?
Black Friday – 2 ideas:
(1)Originally a slang idea/expression coming out of Philadelphia, USA:  Black Friday was used to describe the idea of huge numbers of people and vehicles jammed packed on the streets the day after Thanks Giving. Everything seems black, not moving, and people’s tempers rise bringing out the worst in them. There doesn’t seem to be any light or space.  The term had negative connotations.
(2)Currently, Black Friday, simply invokes an idea of bargain shopping.  It is considered the first day of the Christmas shopping season.  Retailers also claim that this is the first day of the year that their companies make a profit or are ‘in the black’.   So, for retail companies from January 1 to Nov. 22 the stores are considered ‘in the red’ or not making a profit.  These two expressions stem from older accounting practices where black pen ink was used for profit and red pen ink was used to show financial losses.  Thus we have the term Black Friday or the day of the year when retail stores feel they are profitable.

How to get ready for Black Friday!
-Check out your favorite Retail Store for Black Friday Advertisements online and in the local newspapers and flyers.  Moreover, social media like Face book, Twitter, Pinterest, You Tube, etc. is filled with Black Friday fun!  There are also tons of apps out there!  Just select a site you trust!

New to the United States? Here are some common 'Big Store Names' that everyone knows.

Also online you will find some Dedicated Black Friday Websites like:

Language Learning Section
Some Common Casual Language for talking about what you are buying or looking for on Black Friday.

For the Shopper that knows what she or he wants on Black Friday.
I am going to buy an Ipod.
I am gonna buy a flat Screen TV.
I want to get a new laptop.
I wanna buy a pair of sneakers.
I’m buying a new set of sunglasses.
I’m looking for a bargain on watches.
I’m looking for a deal on coffee makers.

For the shopper with an idea of what he or she wants on Black Friday.
I’m gonna look for a Christmas present for my husband.
I am looking for something new in the way of winter coats.
I am going to take a look at the appliances.
I am going to take a look at what they have in the way of golf clubs.
I might pick up an espresso machine if they have any good deals on.
I think I might buy some new blouses if I see any at a good price.

Didn’t find what you where looking for on Black Friday? No problem!  There is also Cyber Monday!
Cyber Monday  
‘Back in the day’ a lot of people weren’t very keen to shop online or use company websites.  So to fix this problem and capture email addresses, the retail community invented Cyber Monday in 2005.  Cyber Monday occurs every year on the Monday following Thanks Giving Day.  If you don’t believe me check out Amazon’s Cyber Monday Deals.

Well that is all for this week!  Enjoy the shopping experience of Black Friday and Cyber Monday! Oh yeah and of course Thanks Giving with family and Friends!

Happy Turkey Day to you! Gobble Gobble!
Celebrity English Thanks Givning Message
 Connect with Alex at Celebrity English or

Thursday, 8 November 2012

K’Sandra Skyrocketing to the Top!

K’Sandra's Album Cover Light and Dark
K'Sandra Light 'n' Dark Album by Andrei Photography
K’Sandra, the highly acclaimed Dance/Electronica music dynamo is skyrocketing up the charts!! 

  • Dance Artist of the Year with the album “Light 'n' Dark”!
  • The song ‘Push the Girl’ on MTV!
  • A gig at the upcoming Sundance Festival!
  • A hot new double-CD on the way - "Even Lighter - Even Darker"!

K’Sandra is Sensational, Hot, Sizzling, Electrifying, Dance Making & Boundary Shaking!  With an energetic sound synced with a primal baseline, K’Sandra is a DJ favorite. K’Sandra is PUSHING to the TOP!  This Talented Musician & Passionate Lady will not be stopped!

Let’s get an insider’s look at the Lady behind the music!

Alex: How long have you been in the music business and what got you started?

K’Sandra: Been doing music since first grade and it has been always part of my life, no matter in which stage of life I was it is a part of me. Actively being in the music business I would say I started the real business side of it just maybe 7 years ago with every step of the way being a learning journey. I started singing at a classical conservatory and later on trained with professional vocal coaches around the world, and trained dance professionally and have been always aiming towards making my passion my profession. What got me just simply started was my love for singing and expressing my emotions and feelings and pain that I sometimes carried inside of me thru singing and not thru talking.

Alex: Do you have a creative process you go through when creating a song or album? If so, would you mind sharing it?

K’Sandra: The creative process I go thru when working on a song can be just a tiny inspiration like a hummingbird flying up to me, or a very deep and dark experience that has caused that my life path or current action step needed to be changed.  Or I just simply listen to any song of Michael Jackson still to day and I hear a new song in his song. Or sometimes I am at a great rave and I hear this dominant bass line that is just filling every cell of my body with a great vibration and I feel I get an idea for a song that could be written around that bass line. That is what creation is to me, it's a never ending process of someone or something inspiring you new. When working on an album I tend to set a topic, just like movie people do when they decide to work on a movie, I see the whole concept, the whole packaging, design, story of the album and then pick which songs would be best suiting to the album. It is super important to me that an album tells a whole story and is not just like major labels love to do the best selling singles (3 or 4 of them and the rest crappy filler material). I really hate filler material. I have gotten feedback to my album Light 'n' Dark that each song is a great song and that people feel not cheated when buying my record.

Alex: How many languages do you speak and how many languages do you like to sing in?

K’Sandra: I speak 3 1/2 languages but I sing only in English (for now but I can not wait to record a Spanish single).

Alex: For people trying to find their voice in English, do you have any tips or breathing techniques that might help with talking and pronunciation?

K’Sandra: Intonation is a big thing, it is honestly not an easy thing for a foreigner to sing in English and to sound American or British. Language has been something that fascinated me my whole life and listening to the intonation and where to set the breath/pauses when singing can help a lot and to know which emotion to put into specific words. There are of course many other things relating to breathing techniques but listing those would result in me writing a book here ha-ha.

Alex: Who would you most like to open for or who do like out there in the music world these days?

K’Sandra: I used to always say Madonna when asked that question, but I have to change my mind when seeing on her last tour that she used guns on stage (for sure not real ones but still...), that is something I just don't find cool. I love guns and they are great on the shooting range if used with a smart brain and to train targeting or in a movie on set, but in front of fans???... to show creative expression, I feel that's not cool. Why not use water guns...  Of course I can not say Michael Jackson since he is resting in peace....hm..maybe opening for Sting, or maybe for Bruno Mars. I like a lot of music out there though, it can change every month.

Alex: Now on to your newest video Push the Girl is being played on MTV. What was the inspiration behind the song?

K’Sandra: The song is about pushing thru boundaries and not taking no for an answer (which I have done too often before I realized it's gotten me nowhere but made me unhappy). It is about encouraging to take any action, no matter if your boyfriend or anybody is making you feel bad. Be a tough girl and don't take any shit and let others know not to mess with you even if people think it makes you arrogant or a bitch, it does not hurt to have both sides, a soft one and a rough one.

Alex: If you could open for any musician or music group, who would it be and why?

K’Sandra: As above mentioned, maybe for Sting or Bruno Mars, or maybe for Beyonce, she is a great performer and got a great stage energy.

Alex: What can we look forward to in the future from K'SANDRA?

K’Sandra: I will be releasing a double-CD called "Even Lighter - Even Darker" with some hot, nasty,nice, trancy, dubsteppy, rocky, house, techno, and remixes in 2013 were I will be working with DJs worldwide that submit their best remix of a song of "Light 'n' Dark" and the best ones picked by fans will make it onto the album.
I am also going to work on more songs and will be collaborating with some new people for my 2nd album and I do plan to release some cool merchandise and a new line of essences and maybe even my own brand of water.

Alex: K'SANDRA - you are a strong, passionate, and highly successful musician in a tough industry, what is your motto or mantra?

K’Sandra: If you are ready to go thru death to be re-born, or if you are ready to live the most horrible life to find your truth only then you are ready for success, unless you are Justin Bieber and some major label drops by and gives you a good contract or if you are Rihanna and somebody has a crush on you while vacationing and brings you to the US.... If you really want to pursuit something, no matter what profession it is and you do it for fame or just for money it's the wrong mantra, but if you do anything in your life with the outcome that it can benefit the greater good then you are on the right way.

Alex: What is the best way for people connect with you and your music?

K’Sandra Performing on Live!
K'Sandra on Stage-photo by Hayley Sargant
My whole album "Light 'n' Dark" is on iTunes and also on Pandora and of course on www.CDBaby.com/KSandra  
or you can go directly 
thru my own store at  

Alex:  Thank you K'Sandra for taking the time to do this interview! And we will be looking forward to the release of your new "Even Lighter - Even Darker"

K’Sandra: My pleasure Alex!

Until Next Week Enjoy K'Sandra's Push the Girl 
(live at Avec)!

Connect with ALEX here at Celebrity English!
Celebrity English