November 29, 2005

It Snows...
It actually snowed last night -I was surprised, despite the cold weather we've had for the last few days. Not that there's a lot of snow, just enough to cover the grass, but it's still nice to see some white all the same. And it sounds cool when crunching underfoot. Hopefully it'll snow soooo much that tomorrow my Plants & Animals lab final is cancelled (that's one horrible course), and I don't have my Verts quiz (which I won't get to study for anyway, since I have to memorize Latin plant names, and families, and floral diagrams and stuff for the other course).
On a different note, the election date has been set for January 23, which is nice that it's not right after New Year's, but annoying because it'll make it harder to recruit university students.

November 28, 2005

Election Time, once again...
Well, the minority government lost a motion of non-confidence today, the first time ever in Canadian history if I'm not mistaken (a motion being different from a vote, which has happened in the past). Tomorrow the PM will be heading to Rideau Hall to ask the GG to dissolve Parliament and call an election. It'll be interesting to see when the election date actually is.
That means that I'm back to work at Elections Canada for the election -technically starting as soon as the writ comes down from the GG. I'll be the "Recruitment Officer" again, which should be better now that I've done it once before. I'll be hiring about 350 people again to work on polling day, and in revision (updating the voter's list) before the election. It looks like I get to play Santa and hand out a few hundred jobs :)
According to a recent CBC poll, Canadian want a majority government (surprise!) but expect a minority government (surprise!). Canadian politics can be interesting, and so predictable at the same time.

November 24, 2005

The Interview...
I had a short phone interview this morning for an article that my uni's alumni paper is doing about me (odd considering that I don't graduate until April, but cool all the same). Basically it was about my job over the summer as a Parliamentary tour guide in Ottawa, but she was also interested in how I learned French, considering that in West of Canada so few people speak it!
I'll try to post a copy of it when it gets printed in a few weeks.

November 21, 2005

Zhongwen de Gongke...
I've got to do a short presentation in Mandarin tomorrow night for my class, so this is the text I'm trying to memorise. It's in simplified characters, so I don't know if you'll be able to read it on your computer if you don't have them installed.
昨天晚上,王朋和李友去小高家完. 在小高家,他们认识了小高姐姐. 他叫高小白,在学校的图书馆工作. 小高请王朋喝啤酒,王朋喝了两瓶. 李友不喝酒,只喝了一杯水. 他们一起聊天,看电视. 王朋和李友晚上十二点才回家.
Yah, so that's what I'm doing this evening.
再见 (zaijian, goodbye)

November 17, 2005

Getting sick...
Actually I think that I'm already sick. Stuffy nose (check), aching bones (check), dead tired and lethargic even after 10 hours of sleep (check), splitting headache (check), and the chills (check). Yup, I'm sick. And at the best time of year too, when all the term projects are due, and when finals are only a few weeks away.

November 15, 2005

I'm Alive...
In Verts lab not too long ago we did a lab measuring our brain's electrical activity (EEG) in both the frontal and occipital lobes. The graph is from my frontal lobe at rest with eyes open.
Finally proof that my brain does work!

November 11, 2005

Remembrance Day...
Lest we forget, especially this year. The year of the Veteran.

November 10, 2005

French Party!!!
Last night I hosted the French party at my uni. I was worried that there wouldn't be a lot of people there (as my uni has a pathetic student participation record), but there were about 35 people who showed up (which is a lot, considering that last years Student Union AGM had about 45)!
We had the requisite French music, as well as baguettes with three kinds of cheese, and grapes for starters. There was a French lentil stew and tarte flambée for the main meal, with crêpes and a galette des rois for dessert. I even put a fève in the galette, so that the "winner" had to wear a crown, just as they do in France. I think the food was a hit, considering the number of people who asked for recipes. I had some great help in the kitchen, which reduced my stress considerably, although I didn't get much time to enjoy the party myself. But it seemed like everyone else did!

November 09, 2005

This is an interesting cartoon I found on It's about racism in France, and the curfew that has recently been put in place to help reduce the amount of rioting. It reads, "I cannot hire you because you have to follow the curfew... it's a night job".

November 06, 2005

Banlieue - Part II...
(VF en bas)
It's now been 11 nights of unrest in France. It has now spread from the banlieues (suburbs which are more like inner cities or ghettos) of Paris to larger cities throughout France. Between Saturday and Sunday almost 1,300 vehicules were lit on fire, as well as other public buildings like Post Offices, schools, and pharmacies. The fires have now moved into the centre of Paris, and into other cities such as Lille (where I lived, and am not suprised to hear was targeted), Marseille, Normandy, Strasbourg, Nice, etc.
The French government has reacted by saying that the culprits will be prosecuted, and that law must be restored. The Police has also quadrupled spot identity checks (that's what happened to me). Like that will help anything -it`ll just make the situation worse.
The situation won't get better until the racism issue in France is addressed. If I was a French citizen, but treated like a second-class citizen, of course I would be mad.

Ca fait onze nuits de dérangement en France maintenant. Il a répandu des banlieues de Paris aux autres grandes villes un peu partout en France. Entre samedi et dimanche presque 1.300 véhicules ont été brûlés, ainsi que des autres bâtiments publiques comme les bureaux de Poste, des écoles, et des pharmacies. Les feux ont commencé au centre-ville de Paris, et dans des autres villes comme Lille (où j'ai habité -ce n'est pas surprenant d'entendre qu'il y existe des ennuis), Marseille, Normandie, Strasbourg, Nice, etc.
Le gouvernement français a réagi en disant que les coupables seront jugé, et que le droit sera rétabli. La Police a aussi augmenté par quatre fois les demandes d'identité (ce qui m'est arrivé). Oui, comme cela va améliorer la situation -je pense que ça va la rendre plus difficile à regler.
La situation n'améliora pas jusqu'à ce que le racisme français est reglé. Si j'étais un cityoen français, mais on m'a traitait comme un cityoen de deuxième degré, bien sûr que je serais fâché.
Si vous etes en France ou Français, qu'en pensez vous?

November 04, 2005

La Violence en Banlieu (Ile-de-France)...
I don't know if you've heard about the problems in the suburbs of Paris (hopefully you have), but it's been going on for a over a week now. Dominique de Villepin (French Prime Minister) even put off his official visit to Canada and Quebec to stay in France to deal with the situation.
The whole thing started on October 27th, when two boys (15 and 17) were electrocuted in an electric substation in Clichy-sous-Bois (outskirts of Paris) after fleeing from police. Of course the police deny the fact that they were chasing the boys.
Soon after, rioting started in mainly "ethnic" (read poor Black and Arab neighbourhoods that have been segregated by the French) areas surrounding Paris. Last night was the eighth night of rioting, in which more than 500 cars were torched, 27 buses burned, and 5 riot police injured in the Paris region alone. The violence is spreading to other areas of France too, such as Dijon where a few cars were torched last night as well. Nicolas Sarkozy, the Minister of the Interior said about the riots that they are "troublemakers, a bunch of hoodlums, [and] think they can do whatever they want".
I'm actually surprised that this violence hasn't occurred earlier, considering the amount of racism and discrimination that exists in France towards Blacks and Arabs. Almost every time I entered the Metro in Lille, I would see the French police interrogating an Arab. After my police incident, I was told by a few French people that "it's odd that they stopped you, because you don't look Black or Arab," as if that was a common occurrence.

November 01, 2005

Last night was of course Halloween, which normally means lots of little kids running around in costumes wanting candy. I don't know why, but there were a lot fewer kids than normal. It didn't rain, but I guess they stayed away due to the threat of rain.
Near the end of the night my sister and I decided to go trick-or-treating for a bit, on our way to the house where she babysits (to drop off candy for the kids).
I dressed up like Frankenstein and my sister as a mad scientist (too many chem labs for her!). We figured the two went well together, and the mask covered my face so people wouldn't ask how old I was! (Yes, I am 22 and yes, I did go trick-or-treating). We didn't stay out too long, but it was a lot of fun.