Monthly Archives: November 2011

I Shouldn’t Dislike Change This Much

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So, we got new bills. Canada has brought out these new “polymer” bills (bottom) to replace the old ones (top). This is the third generation of bills I’ve been alive for! The third! And the poor Queen gets slightly older on each new version of the $20 bill. We got one from 1970 at work, and she was sporting a young, brown hair-do. Splendid.

These things are made of some weird plastic, have a see-through window, and feel very fake when you’re used to paper notes. Contrary to what everyone is telling everyone else, they do not just “bounce back” when crumpled up, they actually are little bitches and don’t flatten out properly to go in the cash drawer.

Now I have to think of new sneaky ways to check the bills without offending the customer (and avoiding the “I just printed it this morning” joke. Shudder). Thanks, Canada!

(In all seriousness, they are pretty neat. Who else has money you can see through?!?)

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Concerts and Disappointment

Last night, I attended a concert I’ve been looking forward to for a while. I got the tickets for my boyfriend’s birthday in September, and I’ve had the days booked off work for a few weeks.

This was my first standing-room-only concert at a small downtown bar in ages, and my very first 19+ one. In high school, you couldn’t keep me away from these places, but somehow, for some reason, I just stopped going. The only concerts I’ve attended in the last few years have been in seated, big, corporate venues that sell $20 beers. It was supposed to be kind of a “yeah I’m still awesome and I go out and stuff” kind of thing.

I was super-excited to post an awesome post about the band and include pictures and whatnot…

Things never go as planned, do they? First of all, for some reason, I didn’t take many pictures. I think I took two…on my iPhone.

I began the night thinking everything was going swimmingly. Instead of doing the whole high school thing where you line up at noon so you can stand at the front (and get your ribs crushed) just so you can be slightly closer to the lead singer, we left late. We got there as soon as the opening band started. Pretty good timing. I bought us both beers (this being an extension of the aforementioned birthday present, of course!) and we found a spot pretty close to the front.

As the night went on, we successfully fought back against the rage-inducing idiot girls with no spatial awareness, drunk middle-aged women who were too short to actually see (and insisted on bouncing around, trying to find a good spot), and the people who insist on getting pushing their way through the packed crowd to get them and their 9 friends beers every 20 minutes.

When the main band hit the stage, I had kind of started to go downhill. It was hot, stuffy, and those dumbass girls were beginning to get to me. Come to think of it, the last thing I’d eaten was hours ago…I hadn’t had anything to drink except for the beer…
And then I had to get out. That telltale ringing in my ears was starting. I pushed my way through disgruntled concert-watchers during a lull in the playing, and managed to make it to the washroom. I don’t know why I always run to the washroom, but aside from the concrete stoop outside and the floor, there was no where else to sit. I barely made it, thank god there wasn’t a line. It was one of those old-fashioned washrooms with lids on the toilet seat, thank god, so voila, instant fainting chair.

It was my blood sugar, again. I know these symptoms so well. Unfortunately, this happened in one of the worst locations. I was alone…in a disgusting stall in a dirty, stuffy club, trying not to pass out. I couldn’t get any water or anything to eat, nor could I lay on the cool floor. The last two times this happened when I wasn’t at home, I fainted. Both times were in labs in high school and university, the second time was thankfully on a hospital bed in the nursing lab. (I really couldn’t have chosen a better major for being prone to this).

I heard my favourite song of the band muffled through the walls while I was trying to stay conscious in the bathroom. After a few minutes, the question was: could I I get up or not? How horrible would it be to faint in the bathroom at a concert? Would people steal my stuff? How long would I be out before someone would get security? How would they find my boyfriend? Oh god, what if I land in a puddle of this unknown liquid on the ground?

I managed to get it together, get my coat on, and walk up the street to the pizza place.

The best part of the night was definitely getting in a fight afterwards about why I left the concert entirely. I don’t know, see above?

I have learned a few things: Never overestimate your seemingly young and healthy body. It will screw you over at the worst of times.
Never assume your loving friends and family will understand what it feels like to have a low blood sugar attack in a place like this. Clearly, that’s an overestimation.
Always sneak in lifesavers in your purse.
You are old now, don’t try anymore.

Disappointment is something I’m getting used to.

Anyway, here’s that picture:

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Definition of Insanity

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. (I tried to look it up to get it right, but it looks like there’s no “correct” quote, and I’d rather not read the whole thing.)

I’ve set up my online account for applying to universities (in Ontario, we have one system that coordinates all of the universities, and you apply through them), and I’m so close to getting it all done.
The road block? I log in, go to “order choices,” and see the total I’m going to have to pay: $498.

Four hundred and ninety eight dollars.

So I log out, leave it for a bit. The next day, I think “wow this has to get done,” log back in and see the numbers again. I then proceed to freak out about it, and leave it for the next day.

Do I think it will magically change overnight? That the universities will have a sale on their applications? Or maybe they’ll realise how ridiculous those supplementary fees are and drop them?

Either way, I’ve just got the bite the bullet. I’m sorry, VISA card, this has to be done.

*silent weeping*

 

I’m Really Not Superstitious, Most of the Time…

Usually reserved for your crazy grandmas or the families of your Chinese* friends, superstitions are just something that not many people admit to nowadays.

*I’m not stereotyping, read more about Chinese culture. And get off my case!

I don’t partake in any of the classic ones about not opening umbrellas indoors, breaking mirrors, or avoiding passing under ladders. Plus, those black cats are usually friendly.

No, my superstitions lie in “jynxing” things.

Pokemon has permanently damaged my brain.

Ahem…”jinxing” things. It seems that every time I got excited about something as a kid, it wouldn’t happen. That summer we were finally going back to Vancouver to visit for the first time in years? Fell through after I told all the kids at school. That time I started picking out what I would buy with my employee discount at The Shoe Company after my awesome interview? I didn’t get the job.

It kind of falls into the “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” saying, but it’s different. I feel as though I must worry appropriately about it before something good will happen.

All I want to do is post about how awesome my first-choice school is. I want to tell everyone that I’m going to apply and I really want to go, but I shouldn’t. I have been letting some things slip, which I hope haven’t ruined it.
It’s kind of about saving face, so that if I don’t get in I won’t have to tell everyone when they ask, but it’s more about the superstition behind it.

I have to sit here and worry about it, no matter how reassured I am that I will make it in. I have to.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, right? Right, guys?!

French…With Ease? My Thoughts on The Assimil Method

Here, in North America, we have Rosetta Stone. It sounds pretty awesome and all, until you see the price.

Is that a typo?

Of course, this includes one-on-one time with professional language teachers via a video program like Skype or something. Sounds awesome, but seeing as I’m just trying to warm up before hopefully pursuing French in university, it’s a little excessive.

I can’t even remember where I found out about Assimil. It’s not a household name on this side of the pond, so I was skeptical. Although, the American Amazon site had the French kit up for a total of $40 with shipping, and I was sold.

Just 8 days later and it was on my doorstep when I arrived home from a particularly horrible shift at work. Once I got all the tree sap off my hands (don’t ask, but if you’re ever in the situation, margarine works like a dream), I opened it up. You get a small, but surprisingly heavy, book with over 500 pages of lessons. There are also 4 CDs included, which just have people reading/acting out the exercises so you can work on your accent and word recognition.

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I only use the finest of bookmarks

Here is a look at a lesson:

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Trust me, it makes more sense when you're actually doing it.

I’ve only done the first six lessons, but I feel like this is perfect. It picks up almost right where high school French left off. Instead of memorizing grammar over and over and over again by just filling in the blanks, this system uses it practically. You go over common phrases and how to use them, as well as small grammar things I missed in high school. (ex. make sure you use “de” when asking someone about an object. Vous voulez de la tartine?…oh god that’s probably wrong.)
These were just things that would be crossed off in your essays in high school and you’d have no clue why, you’d just accept it because you were so sick of grammar.

My one gripe: The audio recordings are spoken at a snail’s pace. I want to listen to how a French person would converse with another French person, not how they would converse if they were speaking to an invalid. There should be a fast and slow version of each sentence spoken, but I guess that would have doubled their costs (?)
Oh well, I’ll stick to French TV with the captioning on for that part.

Perhaps I will one day achieve my goal of being able to order what I actually want when driving through rural Quebec. One day, Michelle, one day.

The book also likes to remind you regularly to not try too hard or study too much. I’m already in love. 

Why A Single Mac Program Will Save Me

We all do it. How many countless hours have you spent studying, only to be prolonged by interludes of mindlessly refreshing Facebook or Twitter?

It’s like a comfort blanket that we can’t let go of. Those physiology terms are messing with your brain? Stop the osteocyte talk for a minute and see what your friends are up to online. That’s much better, isn’t it?

But, for many of us, it has almost ruined us. It’s like a drug. You can’t get away. It takes an enormous amount of willpower to just…stop. The biggest mistake I made in first year was taking my laptop to class. The notes I did take on powerpoint slides got lost forever in a sea of poorly-organized and over-saturated files on my desktop. I should have just brought a notebook. Good ol’ pen and paper. Nothing beats that. (Vague Simpsons reference alert!)

Last week I discovered this program for Macs, called Self Control. I only bold it because it’s just so funny and sad that a computer program has to be in charge of something we should all be able to do by now. Oh well, that’s 2011 for you.

You don't mess with it.

It’s very simple. You add some websites to your “blacklist” and the program will not allow you to access them for whatever amount of time you choose. You cannot get around it. Closing the program doesn’t work, neither does restarting you computer. It’s like a built-in preschool teacher, yelling at you to stop screwing around.

I turned it on today while working on an admissions letter, and got an entire rough draft done. The amount of times you have an urge to check Facebook will astound and probably sadden you, so get used to asking yourself “what is wrong with me?”

Too bad I’ve still got my smartphone. I guess I’ll have to take some responsibility for myself, right?

You can download it here

Perfectionism at its Finest

A short post. No time for screwing around trying to write jokes!

It’s that time. It’s time to get all of my school things sorted out and to choose which programs to apply to. Applying as a transfer student is infinitely more labour-intensive than a high school student…and way more expensive. All you do when you’re in high school is sign onto OUAC with the code your school gives you, click on some programs to apply to, and pay the $175. All of the transcripts are sent for you, no supplementary info is required. Smooth sailing.

As a transfer student, I was looking at $600 bucks to apply to 5 programs at 5 different schools. Six. Hundred. Dollars.
I guess I’ve got to kick some schools off my list. There are these horrible things called “supplementary fees” which every school tacks on. I don’t understand why it has to cost so much, but I suppose I have no choice.

My top choice school is requesting for me to send them a letter and/or résumé “outlining your activities since completing your studies.”

I’ve been scribbling stuff down, crossing them out, and re-writing them for a few days now.

How do I do this? Do I go for the modest approach? Do I relate my year-off activities to why the school would be a great fit? (Like keeping up with my French via Assimil and the school being a bilingual school…) I mean, there are so many rules and guides for cover letters….but I haven’t found any for this.

I guess I’ll just have to write what I feel is best. Oh god. It’s probably not even that big of a deal…but…what if it is.

I’m just freaking my self out. This whole process is do-or-die. Don’t get in? What the hell do I do next? Take another year off? Settle for college? Find some rich guy to marry?

Has anyone been through this or had to write a similar letter? I would appreciate some guidance…and perhaps some sleeping pills and/or booze. This is getting too stressful.