Monday, July 30, 2007

Mr. Shiny & New's Blog

This blog belongs to my friend's husband, and it has a lot of funny articles. Lots of good recipes, too. Here's a sample:

Border Guard
This entry tells of an experience my friends had when they decided one day to rent a car and drive into the US to do some shopping. This is part of the exchange between the husband and the border guard.

""What are you going to do in the US?"
"Drive around a bit, go shopping"
"So you rented a car, drove all the way from Toronto, just to drive around here? You realize you're entering a foreign country?...

Shameless Promotion for The Shutter

This kind of film begs a second viewing, as many of the setup elements are cleverly disguised as background color, and don't really attract attention to themselves -- in fact, one of the major plot elements turns out to be a gigantic maguffin that ultimately has nothing to do with the real story...
-a review from

July Highlights and Lowlights Part 2

This summer, the Gang isn't going anywhere for vacation because Thai and Cat have to save up money for their wedding next year. *YAY! Congrats!* Instead, we rented my colleague's cottage in Coboconk.

We went on the weekend of July 21st, for 2 nights and 2 days. The drive there took about 2.5 hours, but could have been less if there wasn't the traffic jam, and probably if they (Thai and Eddie) had stuck to the directions given by Beth. Anyhow, by the time we got there, it was 10pm. It was dark, and the signs were hard to read. Because there are no street lights on the cottage roads, we had to rely on the car's headlights. When we saw the number to Beth's cottage, we started to drive into what we thought was the front yard. We stopped, however, because there was actually a swamp in front of us. We backed out and kept going on the road to see if there was another entrance, and sure enough there was. We got out of the car, went around the back and saw the backyard patio deck, and it was gorgeous even in the dark. We couldn't wait for morning to come so that we could actually go outside use the patio deck.

That night, as we unpacked, Cat cooked some noodles and wontons for us for snack. Some people were worried about the quality of the water, and that was a funny story. Beth left me a note that says I have to switch on the water pump. I went to the wrong switch, and after thinking that I had turned it on, there still was no water. Finally, after speaking with Beth on the phone, I figured out which switch it was, and the water started flowing from the taps. I had to convince everyone that the water was clean and not stinky like at the first cottage we went to years ago in Cobourg. It turned out the water was fine and nobody complained about it after the first night. We were all dead tired, so we went to bed early.

The next morning, we a simple breakfast, and after I made sandwiches for lunch, the gang went out on the fishing boat. This was the weekend before the workshop presentation for summer school, so I had to bring some work with me to the cottage to work on. I brought my laptop with me, and on Saturday morning I worked on the presentation script and my article reflection. After lunch, they all came back early, to my surprise. Eddie had a scowl on his face because everyone else couldn't hold it on the boat and had to come back to use the facilities. LOL!! In the afternoon, they convinced me to go out on the pedal boat.

Cat, Clare and I went out on the pedal boat while Thai and Eddie got back in the fishing boat for more fishing. The lake was beautiful, and the water was very clean. We went around the cape and saw two small islands, which we agreed to set as our goal. When we got there, we realized we couldn't dock because there were too many rocks underneath, and we were afraid of lodging ourselves between a crack somewhere, so be back pedalled and to return home. On our return, we were pedalling against the current, and it felt like we weren't going anywhere despite the fact that we were pedalling a lot harder than before. That gave us a good laugh. We got went the wrong way the first time and entered the wrong inlet. We had to come back out and look for the other inlet, which we found easily because the other two girls recognized a Canadian flag on a cottage by the shore. We approached it and saw our inlet. By that time, we were tired so we took a break.

That evening, we had a BBQ for dinner, after the three of us took a nice nap. It was funny because after going out on the pedal-boat plus taking a nap, it was still only 3:30. Time went by so slowly! After getting up from our nap, we started preparing the food for the BBQ as well as the pasta for tomorrow's lunch. That night, the BBQ was great. After dinner, after cleaning up, we played a bit of Wii, and then we watched the horror movie called The Shutter, a Thailand production. Thai and Eddie were thoroughly scared (muahahaha!). Mission accomplished! After that, we had some dessert and went to bed.

The next morning, Thai made us pancakes while I made sausages and fried eggs. I'm not very good at frying eggs and sausages at the same time, so I had to do one thing at a time. It took me an hour! Fortunately nobody complained. After breakfast, I prepared the cucumber salad and the pasta salad for lunch. When that was done, we decided to go for a short hike. After we put on our sunblock and started up the main road, we realized that we could actually go hiking at the Scarborough Bluffs. So, we returned to the cottage again and started packing up. This itself took an hour and a half. By the time we were done, we decided to just leave for the Scarborough Bluffs.

It was a wonderful experience.

July Highlights and Lowlights

Summer school is over. =D =D

July happened so fast I can't even remember much of it. So here it goes...

Summer School
I saw my friends from last year again, Sherrie and Peter. Later, while talking to the instructor, I learned that many of my classmates from ESL Part 2 last summer had taken the Winter course. I heard they were quite a handful as well, LOL!

I met two new friends this summer, and their names are Jung and Michelle. Jung is a Korean immigrant who came to Canada and first arrived in one of the prairie provinces. Imagine that, your first winter in Canada and you have to suffer it on the prairie. Brrr...Jung is a high school teacher for the Peel Board, and she is a very organized person. She had to put up with Sherrie and me for the last two weeks of the course as we prepared our final major workshop. Michelle also works for the Peel Board, but as an elementary/junior teacher. She is soft-spoken, but very funny. Both Jung and Michelle were such wonderful people to work with.

Everyday after class, we went to Jung's condo to work on the presentation. We would stay there until about 10pm at night, then go home to sleep, and wake up 5 hours later to go to class. This happened for two weeks!! During this time, I only had dinner with my parents once, and that was because we were taking the in-laws out to dinner.

Sherrie, Jung and I really learned a lot from this project. For one, we learned about a lot of the dominant theories that currently back-up the ESL programs throughout North America. Secondly, we also learned about advocacy and how that is so important for our ESL students. And last but not least, we learned about how to do professional presentations. We owe a lot to our instructor, Karen, who instilled in each of us the confidence to go and stand in front of 21 of our colleagues and teach them about Academic Language Learning Strategies (A.L.L.S.). This was hard work and it was also nerve-wracking. So much preparation went into problem-anticipation and solution alone. That was one of the most exhausting aspects, to anticipate what problems we might have with the content of the workshop, the delivery, and then the other miscellaneous things that could make or break your whole workshop, depending on how well you prepared yourself for them. The stress was magnified by the fact that we only had 2 weeks to plan this workshop, plus do all the research to gather information.

Sherrie joked at the beginning that we would do so well that by next spring, we'd be invited to present our workshop at the Celebrating Linguistic Diversity conference at OISE/University of Toronto. Soon, that wasn't just a joke, but rather a motivational incentive. In the end, we felt very good about our presentation. Our grade wasn't stellar, but that was because our instructor and the evaluator were looking for opposite things in the criteria. That's okay, though, because really, it's the process of creating and delivering a workshop that counts. I never saw myself as someone who is capable of doing something like this, and now I've done it.

On the morning of the workshop, we arrived at the classroom and realized that there was no electrical outlet near the front of the classroom where the screen was. In our foolishness, we chose not to re-check the room the day before. We were stuck because we didn't bring an extension cord. Jung came up with the bright idea of using the television stand as the extension cord. It worked, but not very well since there was a cord stretching across one corner of the room. During my initial speech, I got caught inside that corner.

The next problem we experienced was a major one: more than half of our audience was late. We can't afford to wait longer than five minutes, but then that means there would be people trickling in during our presentation. That was very annoying and unprofessional on their part. Even though they didn't have class that day with their own instructor, they had a workshop that they signed up for. They should have arrived on time and treat the workshop with the same level of importance as a class. This created so much unnecessary stress for us.

I had one blackout moment in the middle of the presentation where I got tongue tied because I was so nervous about having the blackout. Instead of taking a deep breath like Karen had instructed us to do, I got anxious and tongue-tied.

In the end, we got some very good reviews by the students.

I feel most grateful to Karen, who prepared us so well for the workshop that we were able to go into it with confidence and conviction.

Now that summer school is over, I'm going to get working on prepping my courses! *YAY* (sarcastic).

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Rebecca Oxford Book
Abstract of book
An Update on Language Learning Strategies
The LLS Survey on PDF format

Ideas for Frankenstein, ESLBO

A Chemistry Lesson--Tools in a chemistry lab
1. Bunsen burner
2. Test tube
3. Flask
4. Shake flask
5. Clamp
6. Graduated cylinder
7. Beaker
8. Funnel

1. Map of Switzerland
2. Wuertenberg, Germany
3. Ingolstadt, Bavaria, GEM
4. Mont Blanc
5. Map of France and Chamonix (X)
6. Mer de Glace glacier, France

Students can make a travel brochure for these cities or countries.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Updates from June


1. I celebrated my birthday one week early with the Gang. They surprised me by taking me to dinner at Saigon Star. That's when I discovered that Saigon Star had been renovated, and now it looks just like all the other Asian fusion restaurants, like Spring Rolls and Asian Legend. That's not a bad thing, except they changed their menu, too! All the former authentic Vietnamese dishes have all been expunged to make the menu more presentable and easier to read. That means that there's a lot less variety to choose from now.

After dinner, we went to see a movie, Shrek 3. The reviews weren't all that positive, and at the end, some of the Gang said it was quite boring, and I have to admit, the beginning was a bit boring. But, it was still very funny the rest of the way. I liked it and that's what matters most! =P

Then we went to have dessert at Kelseys. We ordered some finger foods and then two apple crumbles a la mode. The waiter even put two candles on it, the sparkly kind when it burns. It was so pretty! For gifts, I got a $50 dollar gift card from T&Ca, and then I got an elegant chrome watch by Guess from Cl. and D.

It was a fantabulous night!

2. On Friday afternoon, I went downtown to the World's Biggest Bookstore to buy a textbook for my summer school course. While riding the subway, I was reading Speaker for the Dead, the 2nd novel in the Ender Trilogy by Orson Scott Card. A stranger sitting across from me interrupted me to ask me if I liked the sequel, b/c he apparently doesn't think sequels are any good. I told him he should try it b/c in some ways, it's just as good as Ender's Game. Some ways.

He went on to tell me about the books he likes, and then I asked him his opinion on Robert Sawyer. Surprisingly, this stranger doesn't think very highly of Sawyer either. He was trying very hard to say that Sawyer is a self-obsessed, self-gratifying and self-promoting writer, but he couldn't say it. I could guess though b/c that's how I found Sawyer as well when I met him. The Stranger said that Sawyer believes he's a much better writer than he is. A lot of his ideas aren't that original. I TOTALLY AGREE!

Anyway, I thought that was so weird how I bumped into a total stranger who also doesn't like Sawyer. To be fair, I only met Sawyer once, and I haven't read any of his novels, only heard and read excerpts. But, the thing that is strange is that I don't feel like I want to read any of his books, especially after having met the writer and have heard the writer read live. This is very unusual b/c what has happened in the past is that when I meet a writer and I listen to him/her read live, the experience is so special and magical that I get sucked into the hype. This time, it was totally the opposite. Could you believe that?

How sad.

3. On Friday night, my mum had to go to her friend's house to help out with preparing the food for the next day's BBQ. My dad drove her, so I was stuck with babysitting Steph. She was okay at first, but then she realized that my parents were gone, and so she started to cry. I asked her if she wanted cookies, and she said no. Then I asked her if she wanted milk, and she said yes. So, I gave her the heated milk and I was hoping she would fall asleep after that. Boy was I wrong!

She wasn't feeling secure enough to fall asleep without my parents at home, so she sat up watching TV. Then she wanted to have cookies, so I gave her the cookies so that she won't start crying again. She had the cookies, and then went back to watching TV. A while later, she wanted to get out of bed and go look for my parents. I wouldn't let her b/c then she'll start crying again. But, she cried anyway. As I was helping her out of the bed, she vomited on me and the blanket! EW!!

I remained very calm, though. I was very surprised with myself. I took the blanket off the bed, put our clothes into the washer, and washed all the sheets. I didn't get to bed until 1:30 am. My parents came home in the meantime, and my mum was not pleased. She glared at Steph and the toddler almost started to cry again.

4. Finally, on my birthday, I stayed at home and filed. I have to file my stuff right away and organize everything, otherwise, I won't feel like doing it any more in the future.