Thursday, May 28, 2009
I know a few scales, a Blues scale, major, and minor scales and I've picked a couple songs to practice. Instead of just knowing bits of a bunch of songs I'm going to learn 3 very well and I've picked songs with cords I'm not overly familiar with so that I get used to them. One song has a bar cord in it too which is very tough, for me anyway. I've also been taught a couple ways of playing the scales I know so it's not super boring for Kate and of course it will improve my hand dexterity. Hopefully by the fall I'll have made some real improvement, if I don't play I'll lose much of the improvements I have made. I do think the summer off will be good, to really get down the stuff I've learned without adding too much new stuff. It's easy to learn a scale or a practice technique but hard to master it in a week so I'll almost be playing catch up this summer.
The songs I've chosen are Knocking on Heaven's Door (it's easy and everyone knows it and it's even easy enough that I can play it on the piano), I Walk the Line (this song has a specific cord structure that will help with some odd 7 cords and with my general musical knowledge, plus it's Cash so it's awesome) and Brian Wilson (it's got an F, the bar cord, and it's very diverse with lots of changes and different cords). So I'll practice those and my scales and hopefully there will be a dramatic improvement over the summer, hopefully I won't have any bad habits. Without a weekly lesson to correct small technical errors it may be tough but I know what I'm doing now so we'll see what happens.
Kate and I missed our first softball game due to us being away Monday but we got an email saying we won 11-6 and our defense was stellar. That bodes very well for us since my defense is pretty good and Kate can handle herself too. Last year I remember a few occasions where I didn't have a problem throwing guys out while I was playing third and Kate first. It's pretty tough to throw a guy out playing third, you really have to whip the ball over to first and Kate caught everyone I threw to her. Except the one that was 5 feet over her head, but I only threw it so poorly because the ball smashed off my index finger. That finger hurt for a couple months after that play. Anyway I'm sure we'll improve the team when we play in our first game next Monday. I do have one concern about the team though, for some reason our team name is "Two Strikes, Yer Out". I'm not really sure what that means, there are three strikes in baseball and this is softball where we get 4 pitches, there are no strikes. I have to suppose that the name is supposed to be witty somehow but I can't quite figure out how. We were the individual team number 2 so maybe they were trying to incorporate the number 2 into our name? But why? Who cares if the number 2 is in our name, unless maybe we had to put 2 in our name, which seems odd to me. Even if we did have to put 2 in our name why not call the team, 'Felt Up on 2nd' (Felts for short) or the 'Two-Two Gang' or even just 'Two Strikes'? 'Two Strikes, Yer Out' makes us sound like we're noobs and don't even know the rules of the game. I'll just go with the flow though, after all what's in a name, would softball smell as sweet or be any less fun were it to go by any other name?
Exercise has also been chopped for the past couple weeks, too cold, too much Calgary, I'm lazy and love Xbox, but we'll get back on it. I'll make myself go for a horrible despicable run this weekend, if it's not too cold.
I guess this time it's the crap I'm gonna do.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
From my sister's I went to John's where we read a million comic books, ok I read 8 only but a couple of them were big ones. On Saturday we both went to visit my friend Craig where we got a tour of his awesome house and they played Rock Band for about 6 hours, breaking for steak dinners cooked on his Big Green Egg. I took more pictures of the barbecue than anything else the whole trip I think, it's that cool. I also took pictures of his flame thrower lighter. I guess it doesn't so much throw the flame as it does provide a small blue flame for lighting charcoal but it's more fun to call it a flame thrower and he's got one of those high school science class spark lighter thingys so to me it's a flame thrower.
Sunday I took to train out to Burlington to meet Jessica, she is very tiny. I noticed her look around a couple times and I heard her grunt quite a bit and I think I heard her cry for a few minutes while we were in the car but it's hard to tell, she's a pretty quite baby so good for Chris and Jaclyn on that one! She also sleeps a lot. I mean a lot. Kate would be jealous. When she is sleeping she sleeps through loud noises too. We put this to the test by playing Rock Band, yes that's right Rock Band again. I love it. Since mine was stolen I haven't played it at all and oh how I have missed it, my beloved Rock Band. So here's Chris banging away on the drums and the clickety clack of the guitar is going at a steady pace to Down With The Sickness and Jessica doesn't even flinch, perfect. We played well into the night on Saturday, it was my civic duty to stay up as Chris was staying up to prepare for a night shift Monday night, I made it to 3:45 or so and figured I had done my good deed for the week.
I had VIA1, first class for trains, on the way home but the train left at 7 am so I only had once glass of wine. If it was an evening trip I would have cost VIA money with all the booze and food I would have consumed. You win this time VIA but next time I'll have my way with you. The food was pretty good too, breakfast food only and there was a shockingly small amount of cheese available to me (only an ounce or two melted all over my Monte Cristo).
I got my quiz back in class last night, I only got 38/50. Barely even a B. I have a much longer test tomorrow so I'm going to study for that one and bring that mark up. 76% is not what I was hoping for but in my defense I thought the quiz was Thursday not Tuesday and I was rather sick on Tuesday, enough to feel light headed and slow. The test results confirmed my illness and lack of proper brain function as I spelled s'il vous plait, syl vous plait. Who the hell is Syl? I also totally misread another two questions so on a good day I'm sure I would have got over 80% on that test and I'll do just that tomorrow. Stupid brain not working on test days. It reminds me of the time I got a concussion and ended up having headaches for 6 months and trouble concentrating. When do you think the worst time for that to happen would be? Maybe the first 6 months of your first year of University? That's when it happened to me, perfect. No wonder I also flunked politics, oh wait that was because politics was boring and the TA was unreasonable. Well then that's probably why I almost flunked Psych, oh wait that's because Psych was 6 to 9 and I had nothing to do from 3-6 except hang out in the pub where the pitchers were 8 bucks. In any case my first French mark was low because my brain was malfunctioning that day I'm sure of it.
So I have a test tomorrow and I have a bunch of computer lab homework to do before class as well. I'll have to leave early tomorrow for that, I hope my boss doesn't read this. I was going to do my lab work yesterday but the Xbox won that battle instead. I'm sure I can ask for an extension on that homework if need be, after all I have a full time job and the lab isn't open all the time.
I'm also home alone till Sunday. I'm busy today with guitar and a friend from Ottawa in town, then tomorrow is National French Day in Quebec for me but the weekend will probably be lonely. At least I have Xbox to keep my company. I also have to finish planting all our flowers and I'll probably have to buy a new basil plant to replace the one that seems to be dying, probably a lack of water while I was away. So that's an hour on Saturday. And I have no food and forget to eat when I'm alone so now I'm all hungry and I have no clean underwear. Kate's going to come home on Sunday and I'll be passed out in the back yard naked and dirty with a sun burn and two cats sleeping beside me murmuring french phrases that are poorly constructed with a horrible Anglo accent. So she's got that to look forward to, welcome home! At least I'll probably have lost a couple pounds.
So that's most of the crap I did these past few days.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
We have planted many flowers and herbs in our backyard garden and have more to plant. I'll probably do it with all my free time next week, who am I kidding the xbox is going to consume most of my time.
The new cat is much better, although it's not wise to go over her when she is randomly in the middle of the hall staring eerily at you. It's much safer to go around her or to just stand still till she's done staring at you and wanders off to stare at someone else. Brewski has graduated to advanced hissing and now does it in long spurts, often after noticing Jedi staring at someone. He'll still roll around on the ground looking for attention but now he has added that wonderful hissing sound. The worst part is he's going to make me completely numb to the sound so the next time I go to pet some strange cat it will probably hiss at me and I'll just keep moving my hand towards it's face until it bites a finger off. Thanks Brewski. Today he also started taking swipes at his food bowl as he was eating. As you may expect bits of food bounced out of the dish and nailed the cat in the head. Food-1 Brewski-0.
Had my first test on Tuesday. Was not prepared, thought it was Thursday. I think I did pretty well, I'll find out tonight and add a note if I remember. I know I spelled s'il vous plais syl vous plais, and I didn't know the definition of some word like oeuille and when I was asked if he is in my room I replied with I am not in my room. So hopefully I got 97% except that each of those mistakes probably cost me about 3-4% each so it's unlikely that I got 97%.
Parents came to visit, our second repeat visitor after Nikki so that bodes well for the future. With them came a set of chairs for the back yard, a book shelf that will only fit in the backyard, a tonne of Christmas stuff and an entire box of comic books, another pass time for me next week. These comics are my uncle's (Ce sont comics ont mon oncle) (did I just say my uncle is a pile of comics? I'll find out tonight in French class) and my dad claims that many of them are Wonder Woman comics so hopefully I'll find out if she can see the instruments in her invisible jet or if she had to memorize were all the buttons and knobs are.
Further updates will be posted after I've done some more crap, specifically the crap I'm going to be doing in Ontario. Is that a wicked cliff hanger or what!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The ordeal has seemed to have only one lasting effect, Brewski has learned how to hiss. I know kids copy people and each other but cats? I think I've heard my cat hiss once or twice and that was when someone accidentally stepped on his tail or something. Now he does it all the time. I'm not convinced he really knows what it means though. It's like a 5 year old swearing. They see that a reaction takes place but they don't really know why but of course the reaction is fun so they continually do it. At first he would hiss when I was holding him and he caught sight of the other cat, jealously or something I'm sure. But then last weekend he was in my lap and I adjusted him so I could get both my hands on my laptop and he hissed at me. WTF, I think, but he settles into his new position, I scratch him behind his ears and soon after he's purring away. Why did he hiss? Then just a couple days ago I picked him up and he hissed at me and batted at my head so I put him down. I'm thinking that maybe he's in pain or something but probably not as when I put him on the ground he rolled onto his back for a belly rub. What kind of a cat hisses and then purrs and wants a belly rub? He must not understand what hissing means. Further testament of this is when he begins playing with Jedi, he'll pounce around her wanting her to chase him, she'll hiss at him eventually but he pays it no mind, hoping around here and there all around her to get her attention. But then he hisses at her when I pick him up near her. We live with crazy cats, luckily no one has been hurt so far, except Kate, but I'm ok.
So now I'm sick, and I have class tonight. I don't really mind, I don't feel too bad, just a head cold or something. Plus when you're sick you get special treatment so sometimes it's better to be sick than healthy. Class is going fairly well, I suppose I'm learning. No tests yet and the stupid lab work is not very convenient for those of us with jobs. The only time I can do my weekly labs are Monday or Wednesday night, I work all day and have class Tuesday and Thursday and the place is closed Friday to Sunday. Stupid.
Exercise has ceased for the short term, cold weather really turns me off running. We've biked when we can but not enough and now that I'm sick swimming isn't much of an option, along with biking and running. We'll get back on track when Kate gets back from Calgary at the end of the month, she leaves this Friday. I also will be leaving for the short term, trip to Toronto and Burlington for funs. I have missed the Jays once again though.
My friend Scott was out last Wednesday and it turns out he's into farming as well. He's got some land in Kingston and has a put it together yourself greenhouse. We're planning a trip out there next month to help put it up, such fun. I could never imagine as a teen that the idea of putting out a green house would be fun. Things really do change when you get older, somethings anyway.
My last guitar lesson for the season is next week. Over the summer I'll have some homework though. I've selected a couple songs that I'm going to learn well, rather than no bits of a billion songs, which is the case now, I'm going to get really good at just a couple, to start. Kate will have to endure quite a bit of nonsense music play as I practice changing chords and by the time I've mastered the songs I've picked she'll probably be sick to death of them. All in all the lessons have been a great help to learning the basics that I can expand upon either with an instructor or on my own.
So I better go eat, what do they say, feed a cold starve a fever? In my world it's always feed whatever I have and starve whatever I don't have, so I'm off to eat leftover chicken.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Usually the Jays are a good team but since the Yanks and BoSox are both in our division we've been stuck in third and out of the playoffs every year. Then Tampa Bay decided to be good last year the jerks, so we have them to contend with too. Maybe this year is our year to be the jerks!
I had to buy the right to listen to the games on the radio. That's right, listen to baseball on the radio costs money, if you want to do it over the Internet anyway. Talk about jerks. I wrote a scathing letter to mlb describing in great detail the magnitude of their jerkness. The letter back said thank you for your interest or something, then I paid the jerks their 15 bucks. If you go to the fan during a game it says they can't play it because mlb prohibits them from playing it. Every radio station playing mlb games says that. It's a cash grab! I shouldn't have pay them but I don't have cable and I wanted to listen to the games, pick your battles I guess. At least I got three months worth of Sports Illustrated.
Tonight it's our Ace, Roy Halladay, goes against our number two guy from last night, Burnett, who foolishly defected to New York for more money. Seems you can't walk two steps without running into some jerk.
Also I finished The Catcher in the Rye, an odd book to say the least. I'm sure it would have been different if I had read it in the 50s but reading it now, it's quite odd. There was one particular line that I thought summed the book up quite well and had I read it when I was younger I can imagine it making an impact, now not so much but I still like the line: "An immature man wants to die for a cause, a mature man wants to live humbly for one." Just a great line and I believe it. I'm glad I finally read the damn book too, seems everyone had but me. It read a lot like Kerouac but it was much more entertaining I found.
It's a fairly far trek but it counts as our long bike ride so we get the day's exercise in easily. Saturday was cold and rainy, that's like green and red kryptonite combined for me, but we made it out with little difficulty. The train ride in the middle provided sufficient drying time between bike rides. My bus pass as it turns out gets me all the way out there for free. Kate had to pay 5.50 per trip.
So we got out there and had a tour of the place first. It's large. They have a few fields all separated by tree lines. It's pretty cool that instead of just some giant field. We learned all about the soil and what they do to put nitrogen back into the soil. What they need to do to be considered organic. Then we re-potted a bunch of plans. Very time consuming, I can understand why they need volunteers. Most of it was pretty straight forward although the parsley was a bit tough. I hope we didn't keep them all but we were assured that they can take quite a beating. I still think Kate shouldn't have punched each one before we planted them but when someone is on a punching bender it's best to keep your mouth shut about such things.
We got some tips for our home garden although I think we're lacking sun to grow too much. Our compost may be fruitful though. The compost at this place was a giant pile and at the top it was hot to touch! It wouldn't burn you but it was shocking at how hot it gets. And of course after assaulting the parsley Kate couldn't help getting a shot in at the pile of recyclable material too by calling it 'a steaming pile of compost'. In all seriousness it was quite amazing how hot this pile got and it was just regular compost stuff, although a lot of it. I guess the chemical reactions that happen within the pile cause the intense heat, which kills the bad bacteria too. Cool stuff.
I think the best part of the day was when we came across the partner farm owner putting these 2 x 2 concrete slabs on a tractor. The slabs could be useful for all sorts of things and Rob, the intern giving us the tour, asked if the slabs were for drainage. The farmer responded by saying they were 10 bucks so he bought them cause they were a good deal and he'd sure to find something useful for them to do. He's probably never even heard of a PO.
Of course there are drawbacks too. He can't build a house on the land because the government doesn't want people living on farms and not farming them. They can't come out and take a look and see that this guy is farming the land so they just by default reject his request. Jerks. We won't have a number of the problems these people have but then that's because we're not going to make a living off a farm, not just a farm anyway.
While doing all the crap on the farm I almost stepped in crap a few times but I didn't. The Gods were with me that day.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Anyway the class is small and crowded but a bunch of people left at half time because they thought the class was so beginner for them. The prof mentioned a number of times that if it was too easy to bump up to the next level. This class was easy for me but I still made a couple minor mistakes and I figure the 2nd or 3rd week won't be as easy and I want straight As so I'll stick around.
We learned simple things like Comment tu t'appelles? and Ca va? and A Demain. Greetings and some general rules, a few of which I didn't know. I'm going to need to figure out how to make my keyboard french soon. I've got to practice as much as I can, Madeame Plain even compared learning a language to learning an instrument. I thought that was quite an apt comparison for me since I'm taking guitar lessons too. Guitar is all about practice and the example my guitar teacher gave me was when you're practicing sports, just keep doing the same thing till it's second nature. So when I'm watching baseball really I'm practicing guitar and learning french! Go Jays!
While we were going through the syllabus we came to a section called the Moodle. The prof skimmed it and asked is it was up and a student said no. I'm thinking, moodle? So I asked, uh what's a moodle? I guess it's a pretty common term for the kids these days cause the room erupted in laughter. It turns out it's some kind of online learning tool. I'm not sure how much we'll use it because we have these labs where we have to record ourselves speaking in french but we do have homework on it of some kind. We looked it up when I got home, seems a number of schools are using it, go figure. Now I'm hip with the lingo and can converse with the local youth population.
Swimming tonight may be lost to the ether. Kate woke up with a sore neck. I could go by myself but, well, let's just be blunt, I'm not going to swimming.
We signed up to work on a farm for a few hours on Saturday, pending the condition of Kate's neck. That should be good for us. We'll get to learn some of the things we'll need to know for when we have our own farm. I will keep you posted on that front for sure.
That's the Crap I Did yesterday.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
My legs aren't the only thing that's sore today, actually I guess they are the only sore thing today but not just from muscle ache. My bike seat was recently broken, though no fault of my own, or Kate's. The tip actually broke off. The material is keeping it all together but there's this broken sharp piece of plastic an inch from the tip. I'm not in a rush to go buy a new seat so I've just been riding on it. Last night on my way to old Montreal so see a friend of a friend sing, who was quite good, I pinched the skin of my groin on the seat somehow. I had leaned one way and my skin was under the sharp piece of plastic and as I leaned the other way all my weight came pushing down on this chunk of skin. I almost bailed but I managed to lean back again and free the skin. I did the same thing to a lesser degree 2 min later. So now I have this bloody looking spot in my groin. It didn't bleed but the blood vessels were crushed or something so it looks pretty narly. The run today stung a fair amount and now I'm worried about other things getting caught under my seat. A small piece of skin is one thing but I think if one of my balls had been pinched I not only would have bailed I would have tossed my bike into the river, the seat at least. For now, as long as I remember to not lean left I should be fine.
The real testing begins today, first the run, then work, then my first class of the summer. I'm pretty excited, I remember liking school although it could be one of those things you have fond memories of but wouldn't want to go back to, like Diet Pepsi in the 80s. Flock of Seagulls!
Monday, May 4, 2009
She gave me the run down on the program and what I need to do to earn it, other than pass classes. Then as she was going to print out the syllabus for me she almost opened the final exam. She said oops I don't want to show you that one, we laughed about that for an uncomfortable amount of time. Then then printed off the syllabus and once we went over that she opened up the exam for me to see. Now I'm even more confused about what we were laughing at moments before.
The exam looked difficult but not so difficult that I'm worried. I think I could probably get an F on the exam right now without any studying at all and that's only 5 letters away from an A!
I biked to and from the meeting, there is a large hill on Rue Berri. I almost gave up and walked the second half but there was already someone doing that and Kate manages the same hill everyday so I plowed through it. Then the guy who was walking his bike up the hill made a joke in french, I laughed and answered in English that at least we made it up the hill. As he was staring at the ground with a confused look upon his face the light changed so I said voila to really confuse him.
Over the weekend we stuck to our exercise plan, we biked up the mountain on Friday. It was much more relaxing coming down the mountain but Kate doesn't think it's as beneficial. I know my heart was racing as my bike made strange noises every time I hit a bump in the road or a tree root going 30kmph. Saturday we went for a swim, I ploughed through 25 min in the medium speed lanes, did 40 laps at 22m each for a total of 880m. The entire swim section of the triathlon is 1500m so I'm looking half decent in swimming out of the gate. Sunday we went for a morning run, I didn't hit my limit although Kate did but we rested often and did as much as we could.
At one point during our Sunday run we met a little cat who came running over to us from under a front porch. We were on one of our walking rests so I pet the cat and said something like "you're a cat" to the cat. Then we walked away and the cat followed and started rolling around on it's back so how am I supposed not pet his belly for a bit? So I give him the old rub down and then we decide to move along. We head off and sure enough the cat starts running beside us keeping pace for almost 100m, I was about to get worried that the cat would follow us all the way home but the natural cat laziness sunk in. For some reason most animals love me, this is the second cat to follow me around in Montreal and in France a dog followed us for a couple hours during a walk. Maybe it's only french animals cause there was a Cuban goat that did not enjoy my company at all. Goats may not be big but when they snort and put their head down and make little runs at you it can be intimidating. The last thing I need is a goat headbutting me in the groin. This particular goat didn't stay interested in me for too long, probably because he figured he couldn't run as fast as me.
So tomorrow is my first class FRAN 211, the book cost 160 bucks but it's for two classes. I guess I know which class I'm going to take next, FRAN212 it's required but at least my book for that class is paid for, unless a new edition comes out. It wouldn't surprise me if a new edition came out every year.
That's the weekend/Monday update on the crap I do.