February 28, 2005

Sonic Toothbrush...
I got one of those electric toothbrushes for Christmas (I know, that was two months ago), and I tried it out last night. All my teeth felt like they had just been hit, although they haven't felt that clean since the dentist visit. The dentist recommended the toothbrush because I've got almost no gums on my bottom teeth, and the toothbrush is supposed to help support the gums.

February 27, 2005

Il pleure dans mon coeur...
I have to memorize and recite a poem for my French phonetics midterm on Thursday, so I've chosen this poem. It's an interesting poem, and it's in our textbook, so I thought I'd choose it. Plus, it's not too long or complicated (the poem has to be at least 10 lines long), and it's one that my prof likes (as long as I don't butcher it while reciting...).

Il pleure dans mon coeur
Comme il pleut sur la ville ;
Quelle est cette langeure
Qui pénètre mon coeur?

Ô bruit doux de la pluie
Par terre et sur les toits !
Pour un coeur qui s'ennuie,
Ô le chant de la pluie !

Il pleure sans raison
Dans ce coeur qui s'écoeure.
Quoi ! nulle trahison ?
Ce deuil est sans raison.

C'est bien la pire peine
De ne savoir pourquoi
Sans amour et sans haine
Mon coeur a tant de peine !

English Translation:
It cries in my heart
Like it rains on the city;
What is this listlisness
That penetrates my heart?

Oh the sweet sound of the rain
On earth and on the roofs!
For a heart that's saddened,
Oh the song of the rain!

It cries without reason
In this heart that is depressed.
What! No treason?
This sorrow is without reason.

It's well the worst pain
To not know why
Without love and without hate
My heart has so much pain!

February 25, 2005

Security Clearance...
Now that I have the job on Parliament Hill, I need to get security clearance to work there (so they know I'm not a terrorist, and won't plant a bomb in the Prime Minister's Office). I'm not sure exactly what it all involves, but I'm sure it won't be nearly as in-depth as the security clearance that a friend went through before working for the Department of Foreign Affairs.
However, I did have to provide the government with a list of all my employers for the past 5 years, all the educational institutes I attended over the past 5 years, and all of the addresses where I've lived over the past 5 years (including France).
I'm not worried, just curious as to how much they'll dig around, and if they'll call any of my previous employers.

February 23, 2005

I've Got a Summer Job...
In Ottawa!!!

It was just confirmed this morning. I'm going to be working as a Parliamentary Guide in Ottawa over the summer (May through the first week of September). That's what the mystery interview in Vancouver two weeks ago was for.
I had a first round interview in December, which was basically just a 25 minute oral French exam. Then, two weeks ago, I had a 2 hours group interview at UBC. The group interview included a 35 minute written exam, a presentation, and a few group activities, as well as parts in French.
I must say that I'm still a bit shocked that I'm going to be working in the Parliament buildings. The government is even going to pay for my return flight from Vancouver to Ottawa.

February 21, 2005

Reading Break!!!
Today and tomorrow are my reading break. I know that most places get a full week off, but we only get two days. Still, I'm not complaining. It's a good chance to get caught up on essays, and presentations, and to (hopefully) do a bit of studying for all the midterms next week.
And of course, go out and enjoy the sun a bit.

February 20, 2005

Talking to Americans...
I don't know if you've heard of Talking to Americans (it's only on Canadian TV), but it's pretty funny.
Here's a short clip where the host is talking to Americans, and the governor of a state (I don't remember which). Basically, they're all congratulating (or encouraging) Canada to switch from the 20 hour French clock (which we currently use) to the 24 hour clock that's used in America.
No offense intended towards Americans. I know some that are quite smart.

February 19, 2005

The Sun!
The sun's back out! It's been a while since there has been this much sun. It's been sunny and clear, blue sky all week. Not only have we had sun, but it's been decently warm as well! I sat outside yesterday in the sun with a nice mug of black current tea, and did some reading for my French film class while basking in the sun.
I'm heading outside now!

February 18, 2005

About a week ago, the King Gyanendra of Nepal took full control over the country, dismissing the parliament, and replacing it with his own advisors. He shut down all media relating to his coup d'état (they're reduced to writing about street dogs and such).
I just found this site called Radio Free Nepal, which has got some fascinating info about the current state of things in Nepal, published anonymously for fear of punishment/imprisonment.

February 15, 2005

Famous Bushman is Getting Married...
A few years back, a crazy guy escaped from jail in the interior, and lived in the forest for two years before the police caught him (disguised as a television crew). He stole from the cabins, and created a series of lookout posts, and underground bunkers.
Well, he's fallen in love, and yesterday (Valentine's Day) he asked the judge to change his house arrest sentence terms to allow him to move with his fiancee. How romantic. He still has to wear his electronic monitoring bracelet though, and allow police to check up on him in his new home.

February 13, 2005

Yesterday I translated a website from French to English for some friends in the south of France (the ones I spent last Christmas with). They've started renting out apartments in Cannes. You can check out their website (and my translation by clicking on the British flag on the top left).

February 11, 2005

A Day in Vancouver...
Yesterday, I left from my place, for Vancouver, at 7:15 in the morning. I got to UBC (The University of British Columbia) around 9:15 (there was horrendous traffic on the #1 before I even got into Vancouver. I parked on campus (yes, it's expensive -$1.50/30 minutes), then found the room where my interview was to be held.
It was a group interview (me plus 3 other candidates), with two people doing the interviewing. The interview went pretty well, and finished after only 2 hours (it was supposed to be longer).
Then I met up with Kevin, a friend from elementary school, who moved to Victoria quite a few years ago. It's always nice to catch up with old friends.
Then it was off to the Vancouver Aquarium, where I met up with my Evolution class (they took a bus in, with the Invertebrates class) for a field trip. The last time I went to the aquarium for a field trip was in elementary school -now I'm going for a fourth year uni course! I got to touch a sea slug, sea star, and some other sea animal (a pointy thing that looks like a pin cushion). Then, we wandered around for a bit, looking at how the animals have adapted to their niches (we have to write an essay/food web for two different organisms). When everyone else left, I hoped into my car, and headed back out to UBC.
I picked up Mai (she went to my high school), and we went out for dinner at a cool restaurant on Granville Island (which I don't think is really an island). It was great to see Mai again, especially since she's graduating this year, and will probably go back to Japan next year. I probably should have driven in a long time ago.
After dropping her off at UBC, it was time for the long drive back home.

February 09, 2005

Happy New Year!!!
Happy New Year -it's the start of the year of the rooster today (the lunar New Year). In Chinese tradition, you should give lucky money in red envelopes to children and unmarried people. I'm collecting donations, and can provide and address if you feel like sending me some lucky money :)

February 08, 2005

Some Advice Please...
Yesterday I was asked by the head of the Modern Languages Student Association at my uni to give a bit of a presentation at a forum that they're going to be holding in mid-March for anyone who's interested in the French program, and things that you can do with French. They'll be having people from the UBC and SFU teacher training programs, a lady from EduFrance (more on that later), and some other speakers too.
I've been asked to talk about my experience working in France as an English assistant last year.
I said yes, then started thinking.
If I get up there, and say how wonderful it was, and what a great time I had, all the travelling I did, and how much I think everyone should do the same thing, I'd be in part lying. And, if I get up there and say how much I hated it, and how the French government and the Academie de Lille screwed me over (i.e. getting paid), and how the French police harassed me, not to mention all the hassle getting paperwork, I know that's not what they want me to say.
It seems to that it's not a win-win situation, because I won't feel good either way.
Then there's the EduFrance lady who's coming. I'm curious to meet her, because I was in email contact with her when looking for a uni course in Lille. Turns out that I paid about $1000 Canadian for the course, and didn't end up getting anything out of it, because the course was for people beginning to learn French. The rub is that I can't really say anything to her about it (I paid her 100Euro or $150 Canadian for her to "find the course"), because she's a good friend of the head of the French department at my uni. And of course, I still have to take courses from the her.
What to do, what to do...
Any advice?

February 07, 2005

French Film Weekend...
I watched a total of five French films over the weekend, as part of my French Film class homework (I have to write the essay up this upcoming weekend).
It started on Friday morning with class, where we watched "A bout de souffle" (Breathless), by Godard. It was a revolutionary film in 1960, and still jars the senses. There are a lot of coupe sèche (jump cuts), where the editing doesn't match up (on purposed), and the music has no relation to the film. As well, topics in the film that would normally be considered important are given almost no attention, while the banal details of daily life are brought to the forefront. It was really interesting, but not a movie that I'd watch just for the craic of it.
Then I watched "La Haine" (Hate), a black-and-white film from 1995. It was basically 24 hours in the life of three "mecs de la cité" (guys from the inner-city), and their daily struggles. It focused on the aftermath of a riot in their neighbourhood, and how the react when one of their friends gets murdered by the police. I'll leave the ending a surprise. I'm going to have to watch the film at least once more.
Then on Saturday I watched "Cléo de 5 à 7" (Cleo from 5 to 7), a 1961 early feminist film. It follows Cléo, the main character from 17h to 19h, from a tarot card reader, to the hospital where she goes to find out the results of her medical tests (to see if she has cancer or not). Along the way, you see her meet with friends, her musicians (she's a singer), her lover, and a man she meets along the way in a park.
Then was "Diagonale du Fou" (Dangerous Moves), a film set in Geneva, Switzerland during the Cold War. It takes place around a chess championship -East vs. West, Communist vs. Capitalist, Young vs. Old, etc. It was a bit slow, but intellectually sort of interesting. I wouldn't recommend it.
Last night I watched "" (No), a Québécois film from 1998. It takes place during La Révolution Tranquille (The Quiet Revolution) in Québec in 1970, as well as at Expo '70 in Japan, and the FLQ kidnappings. The "Nô" refers to a Japanese dance, as well as to the "Non" vote during the first Québec independance referendum. It was a bit of a weird film, but strangely interesting at the same time. Another one I wouldn't recommend, but found interesting.

February 06, 2005

Last night I went to the late show of In Good Company with some friends (it was an OK movie, better than I had expected). The cinema was almost totally empty, but it turned out to be a bit of a high school reunion.
One of the friends I went with, Marlin, went to high school with me. We first ran into two girls that graduated with us. One, Amanda, I haven't seen since high school, and probably wouldn't have recognised (she's dyed her hair, and put on a few pounds). I must admit that I had totally forgotten her name. The other, Erika, I haven't seen since we were both in Switzerland, near Lausanne, almost 2 years ago now. Then, after taking our seats, a guy walked in that I haven't seen since grad either.
The other thing I noticed is how young everyone working at the cinema is! I remember when I was (a lot) younger and everyone working there seemed so old. Now they all seem so young, pimply, and greasy haired, lol.
It's Slushing...
I was a bit surprised this morning when I looked out the window, and it was snowing! The snow has turned more into slush now, but white stuff is still coming down, and sticking to the grass. I hope that it turns to rain, as predicted.

February 05, 2005

The French Strike...
Well, that's not much of a surprise, is it. This time, they're striking because the government is thinking about raising the amount of time that someone can legally work from 35 hours a week, to 48 hours. There were protests all over the country, of course. The police estimate 30,000 people protested in Paris, while the unions estimate 90,000.
Hmmmmm, sounds to me like another excuse not to go to work...

February 03, 2005

Too Funny...
I was reading natalie, sans h., and came across some really funny French TV ads and clips that she had posted.
The first is for high speed internet, and doesn't really require any translation, other than that. The first one is probably the funnies, but the third one is good too.
The second set of clips are pretty funny too, but require some knowledge of French, or else the jokes won't be funny. If you don't know any French, or it's a bit rusty, check out the site, and click on the "antivol" clip. It's probably one of the funnies clips, and doesn't require any French to get what's going on.
It's best if you check out the clips with high speed internet, because they may take a while to download.

February 02, 2005

I should move back to Richmond, from whence I came. A report was released from Stats Canada not too long ago, saying that Richmond BC has the highest life expectancy rate in Canada, at 83.4 years. That even beats Japan, which is 81.4 years!
They think it's due mainly to the mild climate, relatively high income level, and lack of smoking.