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Please take a gander at [livejournal.com profile] aldersprig's "Cunning Linguist", inspired by one of my prompts. 
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Guess what day it be today!   (P-{D=


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 Yoinked from [info]blanhe2feed ...

Go ahead;
test your vocabulary.

According to this test, most adult native English speakers score somewhere between 20,000 to 35,000 estimated words in their vocabulary. I scored 31,800. Yay me!  :)
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One of my very dear friends bought me a gift certificate for Amazon. (Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] iammystery_girl, you are so made of AWESOME!) As the gift certificate was for Amazon.co.uk, I took the opportunity to shop for books I cannot readily get on this side of the pond, in particular, books on learning Irish Gaelic. Whilst searching under the terms 'Irish Gaelic', I came across this: 



*chuckle*
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Another Taylor Mali classic:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjhOBiSk8 Gg

 The the impotence of proofreading
By Taylor Mali
www.taylormali.com 

Has this ever happened to you?
You work very horde on a paper for English clash
And then get a very glow raid (like a D or even a D= )
and all because you are the word¹s liverwurst spoiler.
Proofreading your peppers is a matter of the the utmost impotence. 

This is a problem that affects manly, manly students.
I myself was such a bed spiller once upon a term
that my English teacher in my sophomoric year,
Mrs. Myth, said I would never get into a good colleague.
And that¹s all I wanted, just to get into a good colleague.
Not just anal community colleague,
because I wouldn¹t be happy at anal community colleague.
I needed a place that would offer me intellectual simulation,
I really need to be challenged, challenged dentally.
I know this makes me sound like a stereo,
but I really wanted to go to an ivory legal collegue.
So I needed to improvement
or gone would be my dream of going to Harvard, Jail, or Prison
(in Prison, New Jersey).
 

So I got myself a spell checker
and figured I was on Sleazy Street.
 

But there are several missed aches
that a spell chukker can¹t can¹t catch catch.
For instant, if you accidentally leave a word
your spell exchequer won¹t put it in you.
And God for billing purposes only
you should have serial problems with Tori Spelling
your spell Chekhov might replace a word
with one you had absolutely no detention of using.
Because what do you want it to douch?
It only does what you tell it to douche.
You¹re the one with your hand on the mouth going clit, clit, clit.
It just goes to show you how embargo
one careless clit of the mouth can be.
 

Which reminds me of this one time during my Junior Mint.
The teacher read my entire paper on A Sale of Two Titties
out loud to all of my assmates.
I¹m not joking, I¹m totally cereal.
It was the most humidifying experience of my life,
being laughed at pubically.
 

So do yourself a flavor and follow these two Pisces of advice:
One: There is no prostitute for careful editing.
And three: When it comes to proofreading,
the red penis your friend.

Reading...

Mar. 8th, 2008 10:37 pm
the_vulture: (Default)
 Sometime last week, I picked up a Stephen King novel, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. It just happened to be in a Co-op store I was shopping in for fairly cheap. As I still hadn't made it to a proper bookstore to get something to read to my Sweetie, I thought, "Why not?" Afterall, it was advertised as having something of the same flavour as the story The Body, upon which the film Stand by Me is based.  

Well, about Monday, as I was literally lying around with nothing to do (damn back), I started in on it. Later that day, I was finished. 

This showed me two things. First, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed reading and, second, my reading speed, despite doing very much heavy reading in a long time, seems to have actually increased. I attribute that to marking all that English work; if I'm getting speedier at reading through garbled, mispelled grammatical nightmares, it only stands to reason that I would blaze through well written work.

During the week, I received a few other books, as well. I voraciously devoured Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, which was both highly imaginative and quite amusing and I've started into a novel I just got yesterday, Freedom Writers, which is a compilation of journals by underpriviledged American highschool pupils and the English teacher that helped to make a difference in their lives. I saw the film based on that book and decided that I MUST read the book. I was not wrong. 

Sadly, experiments to try and record myself reading for my dear have gone a bit awry, as it appears that my camera, which has superior video functions to my webcam, will only record for three minutes at a stretch. Yerg! I'll have to resort to my webcam, but not tonight. 

Whilst reading Freedom Writers, I noticed another thing. For kids that the school system had written off as underachievers who would likely drop out, these guys are damn articulate! Even compensating for the fact that their work was likely edited for publishing, they are very expressive and aware. And then it hit me: I'm reading the work of thirteen year olds that could vastly outwrite my most able sixteen year olds.  

Okay, actually, I've seen examples of work by eight year olds that outstrips most of my senior pupils. Bloody hell, no wonder I have such difficulty trying to match the curriculum I'm supposed to be teaching them to their actual ability level; they're simply not able to do it. Seriously, how am I supposed to teach Shakespeare (required for SATS and GCSE coursework) to kids who have difficulty remembering that full sentences need to start with a capital and end with a fullstop, exclamation mark, or question mark? 

I used to envy these teachers they write novels and make films about who could really inspire kids everyone else gives up on and changes their lives. I never could seem to do that, no matter my efforts. Now, though, it at least seems a little clearer why. The teacher in Freedom Writers helped them, in large part, by having them express themselves through journals. How can my kids write journals if they have problems dealing with full sentences? *sigh* 

At some point, I'm gonna have to do a full entry on the many ways that society, in particular the education authorities, have really let these kids down. 

For my part, the struggle will be over soon. Just a few more weeks and I'm out. THAT cannot come soon enough, all abused ideals set aside.

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Well, after living two years in this particular region of southern England, I finally discovered a few critical rules to simulating the local accent. It hit my like a bolt from the heavens when a child called out to his parents "Can I go on d' compu-ah?" I'm certain he intended "Can I go on the computer?", but the locals here (and I'm amazed I only just really put the pieces together) are lazy about TH sounds (changing them to D or F sounds), exceptionally lazy about T sounds (to the point of completing omitting them), and modifying RR sounds to AH. Before I leave this country, I might actually be able to fake a genuine English accent that isn't some parody of posh a la Monty Python. Yay me! *chuckle*  

Another fact of existence in England was brought to the forefront of my awareness this weekend. As I went about to the shops and did my running in a T-shirt and shorts in the middle of January, it was again affirmed: English winters are PUSSY!!! (What can I say? Any opportunity to proudly display my Canadianity...

the_vulture: (tvhead)
Oh, look! Another poster child for brain damage suffered from diving head first into the shallow end of the gene pool! It's astounding what you'll find browsing person.com's blog section...

What u fink....

Nov 21, 2007, 21:33

what u fink i shud rite my blog bout.... cum on giv me sum ideas.....

 

 

I "fink" you should write about how the hell you managed to waste ALL of that time you should have spent paying attention in English class! 
the_vulture: (tvhead)
Okay, I've closed this one to all but people on my contact list to reduce the risk of mortally embarrassing the poster of this "quizzy."  

The following is taken from the blog of another user (name withheld to protect the stupid). The comments I really, really wanted to give are in red: 

pl do diss Please 'dis'? Okay!  

Nov 17, 2007, 19:42  

tags: quizzy Rhymes with "dizzy"  

> name You spelled this right. So far so good...

> age Okay, still on monosyllables, but still correct...

> whr yhooo kum frm Now just where does a yahoo cum firmly? Oh wait, that's "Where do you come from?"! Silly me! Well, in answer to that question, I come from a country where we speak English. What language do they speak in your country?

> wht wud yhooo do 2 me if yhooo were alwn wivv me 4 30mins Four hours and thirty minutes? My, we're specific all of the sudden! Personally, that'd be a bit over five lessons worth of phonics I'd make you study.

> descibe me in 3 words Easy! Very lazy TXT-oholic

> wht do yhooo fink of me I 'fink' you have very limited career opportunities involving any form of writing or transcription. How's that job at McDonald's?

> wot do yhooo r8t me

* minga

* average

* stunna I'll go with 'stunna'; It's the closest spelling to 'stunned.'

* a dog

> wht wud yhooo lke 2 say 2 me bt feel lke yhooo cnt 4 sum reason I'd like to say "Go back to school!", but I suspect that your teachers have suffered more than enough already.

> say gdby bt mke it meaniful Goodbye! See? Look! I used VOWELS! That kind of effort must be pretty meaningful for you, right?

x x x

Current Mood:   awrsum x 'arse' + 'sum' = 'total ass' Okay, I agree with that assessment.  

And people wonder why I despair for the youth of Britain...  
the_vulture: (Default)
Being of maritimer descent, I have had, throughout my life, a number of interesting encounters with that quite hideous, though fairly delicious denizen of the sea, the lobster (le homard, en français).

At approximately the same time that I graduated from high school, my parents also paid off their house mortage. As such, in celebration of both events, they decided to have some lobster shipped in from the east coast of Canada for a grand feast.

During the preparations that fine summer day, I beheld, looking out the screen door, a good family friend putting lobsters (live, of course) into the large pot of boiling salt water.

Sensing he had an audience, he held one of the lobsters menacingly over the pot and, with melodramatic flair, bellowed out...

REPENT!!!

Needless to say, I was doubled over with laughter.

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What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on Memegen.net

Canada. You probably get irritated when British people and Europeans think you're from the States, but over here we wouldn't make a mistake like that.

Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?



the_vulture: (Man/Vulture)
I did it again; I completely forgot about International Talk Like a Pirate Day. All that time thinking up great pirate-theme activities during the summer gone up in smoke. (sigh...)

As for the rest of life, I'm now into Week 5 of the running program and going strong. I did a half hour this morning, clocking over 2.2 miles, and will do two more this week. For the last few days, I've been pretty annoyed because I still can't get the scale to budge below 125 kilos, in spite of all the training. It doesn't seem like I've lost much waist size, either. I also wasn't impressed when I did a 12 minute run test and determined that I'm at the bottom end of "average" in terms of physical performance.

A closer look at my physical improvements... )

School is going well, so far, though I still have a fair bit of work ahead of me in terms of getting my planner organized and my room sorted. Aside from a few problems here and there, the kids have been great. I'm especially enjoying working with the year 7s; they're really sweet! (I really do think I should've been a primary teacher.)

As for the gaming club, I'm really looking forward to the next session; my (very) newbie players, having finally finished their characters, have managed, in the ten remaining minutes of last session, to get themselves into an altercation with local toughs in a country inn. Yes, in true D&D tradition, their first adventure is starting off with a tavern brawl (chuckle).

Sadly, though, it'll have to wait till next Wednesday, as tomorrow I'll be away to visit an ear-nose-and-throat specialist to diagnose me for obstructive sleep apnea. Otherwise, I won't be able to obtain the prescription I need to replace my CPAP machine (which is acting up a bit) in this country.

And things with [livejournal.com profile] imapunkin are also going well. This weekend we had a good, reassuring heart-to-heart that really clarified things for us about how we can adapt to each other's idiosyncrasies.

So, all-in-all, life is currently good.
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By now, my folks are about half way across Canada. They're on their way to see my paternal grandfather, who is dying of cancer and has been told he hasn't much time. They have to drive as they really can't afford airfare, but the driving really cuts into their available time for this trip (which isn't really all that much before my father starts work again). When I last spoke to Mom, she was a bit stressed out about the whole thing as there was so much to do before they left.

Before they left, I asked for my grandfather's telephone number. I'm not sure if I'll call or not; I picture the whole thing being quite awkward between the two of us (especially given that we do not share a language of proficiency (he is solely French speaking and my French "est la merde")). On top of that, we haven't really given a damn about each other for over a decade. In those years, the only conversation we've had (if you could call it that) was when I would answer the phone on the rare occasions that he was calling my father. Any attempts to engage in even simple conversation ("How are you?" "I am fine.") at such points met with failure. Just to be clear, I don't bear him any malice; I just don't really bear much of anything for him. I'm guessing the feelings are mutual.

But the opportunity to speak with him is now coming to a permanent close. And that finality is making me question whether or not I should break the silence. If I call him, what would I say? ("Hi, how are ya?" "Merde, I'm dying.") It's not like we can really sustain a meaningful conversation, given language differences (even with the translation help of my mother when she arrives). Should I even call? Would calling him give him him any comfort, knowing that I've thought of him or that his grandson has finally achieved some measure of success in a career? Or would it just uncomfortably remind him of the long standing distance between us? It's a bit of a conundrum.

I've still got a couple days to think about this, before my parents arrive back east.

In the meantime, I'd best get on with enjoying the last week of my vacation.

Beef Jerky

Jul. 29th, 2006 08:21 pm
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I do recall mentioning somewhere in an earlier post that I have to catch up on a tale from the class room or two. Actually, let's make that a few.

I'll begin a simple cautionary tale about the dangers of entering the classrooms of a less cosmopolitan area of England with a foreign accent.

Unlike the previous two schools I've taught at, the one I'm teaching at now has very little in the way of foreign teachers (or even foreign pupils). As such, these pupils have a stronger fascination with my "American" accident than others have had. Of course, having such little experience, they were at first confused as to what my accent was, even guessing that I was Australian (and, yes, I did, out of a sense of mischievousness, "assist" in that misperception).

It shouldn't have been such a surprise then, when, during a conversation with year 10 girls that wound its way to foods that I miss from Canada, one of the girls took to immediate obsession with the way in which I pronounce "beef jerky." From then on, whenever she saw me, she would exclaim "beef jerky" with her best high pitched attempt at mimicking my accent. It didn't take any real length of time before her friends joined in and, after only a few weeks, I soon acquired the term as a nickname (which I hope many will forget over the summer).

Of course, though many pupils call me that, few have any understanding of how the nickname came to be. That almost led to an unfortunate misconception, but I nipped it in the bud quite quickly and effectively, to the amusement of all but one. However, that's a tale for another day...

POST-NOTE: I was a little remiss by failing to mention that many of the year 10 girls used (and sometimes still do) demand that I say "beef jerky." This odd little behaviour has spread to younger year groups (boys and girls), though many of the year 8 girls have recently taken up demands for their own word of choice, "tasty."
the_vulture: (tvhead)
One thing that I noticed upon my recent introduction to Live Journal is the use of the term "meme." It brings me back to the brief period in my life when I was avidly reading "Ad Busters." My understanding of a meme is that ideas are much like viruses, replicating themselves in the consciousness of people. Some are more competitive than others and the study of this "ideological Darwinism" was referred to as "memetics."

In Live Journal, though, I wonder if the meaning of "meme" has drifted to refer more closely to widgety doodads that people copy and paste from one journal to the next. (At this point, given that this entry follows closely on that discussing haikujaguar's "celebration of achievement" meme, I will clarify that I am not referring to her's; it is close to the original idea of "meme.") Such things include the "life's sign post meme," or the "clique calculator meme," which, while entertaining, are, to me, mislabelled according to my original understanding. If anything, they seem to be more related to modern folklore within the specific cultural context of Live Journal users.

Am I just being too picky about semantics?

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