Monday, December 28, 2009

2nd French Mark Is In.

I wasn't sure what my mark was going to be after the exam. I figured I needed an A on the exam to pull my mark up to a B+ and I hoped that I could get a B final if I got a B on the exam. Of course there are so many other factors it's hard to know that kind of thing for certain. For example I don't know if the teach is going to give me full marks in homework, I did 90% of the homework, is she strict, did she accept my excuses, or maybe I actually submitted more homework than anyone else and she gives those marks away on a scale. Then there are other areas of the course that I can apply to the same questions to, lab work and class participation for example. So to cut to the chase I thought I might be in the B range on the exam which would put my mark up in the air. I checked yesterday and it was a B!

So now I have a B+ and a B, again since this is a language course the mean means 76-79 and the B+ means 8--84, or something similar. They bump the grade letter down since they consider language to be easier than other subjects I suppose. Having a degree in Philosophy and English and a couple technical certificates I do not agree. In any case I am very pleased with the B. I want a B or B+ average and it looks like I'm on my way to getting that.

I was going to write more on other subjects but of course money makes our most important decisions for us so I'll restict my comments to saying that I would like to congratulate Distributel for receiving an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Final Exam Course 2 Tomorrow

So I should be studying but I've 21 hours till the exam and figure I've got some time to waste.

I suppose the CRTC is a bit perturbed this morning. Tony Clement ruled against them, pushing the CRTC one step closer to non-existence. I know there's a clause in the Telecommunications Act for the veto but monkey see monkey do. How long till ABC owns our beloved CBC? I doubt that will happen but I do see the CRTC being eliminated. I've had a handful of people ask me to sign a petition to disband it, since the conservative government is backing the destruction of the CRTC I guess there's no point not signing it now. Such a disappointment, I really hope the changes proposed actually happen, based on my personal experience I suspect Canadians are not going to be as happy as they expect to be. Let me illustrate my point, let's say there are two major sellers of cola, Pepsi and Coke, one can of each costs one dollar. Let's say to create competition between the two we allow companies to make and sell other types of cola, now we have RC and PC, both of which are cheaper, both of which taste like shit BTW. Did Coke and Pepsi drop their price to .75 cents a can? I don't know because I stopped drinking coke when I found out the acid was burning my stomach. Anyway good luck to Canada, the future (as it always is) is filled with uncertainty, I hope we all get what we deserve.

Down to 20 hours 50 min till exam time. It is actually fun to learn French, almost everyone is positive about it. It's also frustrating and difficult sometimes but when you catch a phrase you've never understood before it's quite a nice feeling. Just yesterday Kate said 'Si comme tu veux' and I marvelled that I understood it. I remember hearing the phrase from her before but yesterday I was able to translate it. It's a simple phrase I know (it means 'if you want') but it's hard to hear the specific words. It may not be a difficult sentence with difficult words but when all you hear is simmmm naaaa wahhhhh it's hard to know what the hell is going on. So when I heard each word clear from Kate it made me realize that I am making progress. Sometimes it's not quite as uplifting, for months I thought people were saying 'Super grave' to each other and I'm thinking it can't be grave (like grave in English) it must be some other word so one day I asked Ludo, what the hell is super grave. He of course didn't know what I was talking about so I described the context to him from earlier in the day. It's 'Ce n'est pas grave' ('it's not grave' or basically 'everything is cool', 'don't worry about it') he said. People don't pronounce the ne! I remember from my first class in the summer my prof suggesting that the ne in negative sentences will eventually not exist as the language evolves so I know why people say it like that but again it's hard to hear it. It could just as easily been something completely different.

So hearing French is hard, I'm also a very slow speaker. I have to plan everything out before I say it which makes for some challenges. I've been told I have a pretty good accent, especially for someone know to the language. I'm sure it wouldn't take people long to decipher my true nature [insert evil laugh here] but when I do plan out the sentence I guess I don't sound too anglo. When I first arrived I would attempt French and people would tell me they speak English, often poorly but most anglos speak it poorly as well (myself included I'm sure). So we would communicate in broken English. Now I say things to people and respond is long French sentences and I have to interrupt them to tell them I don't understand. People get so apologetic it's funny but it's great! I want people to speak to me in French, not English although I know they want to practice English too. I like seeing how much I can understand and if it's not an important item I'll just nod whilst picking up one in three words.

Kate had one wisdom tooth out yesterday and it was a bit stressful. She was supposed to have two out but this one was near the nerve and ending up taking so much time and energy that they decide to leave the other one. It's in no immediate danger of causing damage to the rest of her teeth. Today she is in bed, working though and while she is swollen it's only one corner of her mouth so I think it's better than it could be. When I had all four out I couldn't eat anything for a week and even then it hurt like a sonofabitch. I would wake up with blood all over my pillow and the drugs made me unconscious for the first three whole days. Kate isn't bleeding I can understand most of what she's saying and she's up and working so I'm pleased with that.

So I've got a lot of crappy studying to do and I better make Kate some soup, down 20 hours 35 min but I've got a system and I know a couple of the things on the test. Like congegate some verb in every tense. We've learned 7 and some verbs like avoir and etre do not like to follow the general rules I like to call them the rebel verbs, faire is in there too but aller is a bit of a poser and tends to hang out by itself. And then there are a few other odd balls like pouvoir and savoir, or some have tiny little rules like appeler, sometimes there are two ls sometimes one, or sometimes the accents change. Il faut que j'etudie maintenent, a bientot.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Going Ons

Not too much new too write about. I've found new gym locations downtown and now that my cough is better I'm going back to the gym after a couple weeks off. The new gym, right on St. Catherine, is small but it was empty in the morning last week so that works for me. I also went to a gym near Kate's work, which was bigger but further away, and it's right beside a food court full of suits so I'll probably stick to the St. Catherine's gym.

I'm actually the same weight now as when I started but I like to think I'm adding muscle while I lose fat, and I've never been concerned with my weight anyway. Kate has also started driving us down a food path that avoid meat. We still eat meat of course but we try to restrict the frequency of our meat ingestion. It's mainly for health reasons, I know we don't need to eat meat every day if we replace the protein and as long as we're not cutting it out completely we shouldn't need to worry to much about things like iron intake although we still do to a small degree. It also gives Kate an opportunity to try out difficult dishes, it's hard to make something taste good without that delicious substance call animal fat but of course Kate is very successful.

As much as the decision to cut back on our meat intake is for health reasons I must admit that I often feel bad about the treatment of animals in the food production sector. I think some of the things that people say are exaggerated. It's a proven tactic to convince people of things; exaggerate the hell out of it. Still there is some truth in it as well. Some of the points made I think either don't really matter or are just untrue but there is no denying that there are a lot of people on the planet to feed, a lot of money to make doing it and as always the lowest end of the totem pole gets the worst of it, in this case the animals. It's also expensive to buy humanly treated meat, many places don't even sell it too, but if you're not eating it every day the price is moot. I don't mean to preach either and when I go down to Texas this month I intend to consume large amounts of meat. It's just surprisingly easy to cut meat back in your diet. We eat it maybe 2-3 times a week from 7 times a week and I barely noticed. Of course it helps to have a young Julia Childs cooking for you. I think Kate is like the MacGyver of cooking, if MacGyver had a sidekick that ran out and got all the missing parts of whatever it is that he was making out of a paper clip and cigarette butt that week, that of course is my job.

I'm reading a great book, it combines my two favorite genre's of book: 18th century fiction, although I'm more partial to Poe, Hawthorne, Irving rather than Jane Austen, and zombies. The book is called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It's basically Pride and Prejudice but with the added factor of zombies, quite funny, quite entertaining. I hear there is also Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters which I will look for. The book is written in the style I enjoy reading but instead of boring topics, like marriage and gentlemanly conduct, this book covers such topics as marriage to zombies, and gentlemanly conduct in regards to the dispatching of zombies. I love that everyone else loves zombies now as much as I always have. The early Romero movies are one among those memories that I cannot remember not having, like I don't remember the first time I ate chocolate, I also don't remember the first time I watched Night of the Living Dead. I guess that's some insight into the reasons behind my constant desire to protect my brain from the teeth of those around me.

I joined a flag football team. My shoulder seems to be completely healed after a suspected rotator cuff injury. I'm not the Quarterback so I shouldn't be aggravating it if it isn't completely healed. The season starts in January. I went to a practice last week to sort of try out for the team. They want to make sure you don't suck and that you're not a jerk so I guess I was a shoe in but of course I was still a bit nervous. The only other guy I know on the team, the guy who hooked me up with the team, Mitch, wasn't at the practice so it was me and a bunch of people I don't know. At the end while I was considering the QB said he'd like it if I played so it was an easy decision. I don't know what position I'll play, probably a receiver but maybe defense, I'm fine with any position of course, and from what I hear there may be a couple games we have to play ironman, both sides of the ball. It should be good exercise and maybe I can score a couple touchdowns this season. I played 3years of football and 4 years of rugby in high school. I never started in football and I started maybe half the games in rugby. I never had the joy of scoring a touchdown playing football, once I was talked inside the 5 on a 40 yard deep pass, but never in the endzone. I have no idea how many trys I scored in Rugby over the years, somewhere between 15-20 I suspect including 3 in one game once and twice in a 7 aside game. Anyway I'm hoping to make up for some lost scoring in this league. People take it pretty seriously so it should be good. I'm pretty excited to play actually, I never though I would be memorizing plays again.

Well I best get to my French, I have an oral on Tuesday and my final on Saturday.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Habitat For Humanity

So I've been twice so far. They have a couple PCs which I've worked on a bit and I'll do more on when I get a blank CD. The rest of the time I'm testing electronic devices, finding out what's broken, labeling it all or pricing things. There are pickups on Tuesday which I'll be able to help out with when this semestre is over. Eventually I hope to try and fix things too, I have no doubt that I'll be able to do pretty much what I want when I'm there.

It's a bit strange, I guess with all volunteer outfits there is a great mix of people. At Habitat there are quite an assortment of characters. I think a few of them, at least one, are there for community service. Not because they did serious things I suspect, the one guy I talked to said it was for traffic tickets. It's really laid back and I come and go as I please so it's pretty good. The time goes by pretty quickly. Some of the guys don't do much and want to talk, which is fine, I don't mind meeting new people. The rest of the time I just find something to do, there's always something.

I got my oral mid-term result finally and despite some negativity about what I had written for it I managed to get an 85%. Now I have another oral on Tuesday and the final exam the Saturday after that. They're really cramming it in there to end the semestre.