Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A parody

Hi there, this was kind of predictable once the pattern was established, but still funny.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Report on Coral's Competition pt. 2

"You're great, Coral!"
Hi, Coral did not win anything this time, and she says she's a little disappointed, but she sure did well for her very first competition, don't you think?
We do!

Our Winning Kids!

Coral O'Brien: Chairgirl of the Board

It hasn't been a quiet week in Central Taiwan!
On Friday I took Eowyn to Taipei on the bus for her catalogue photo shoot, and Mommy joined us soon afterwards. The shoot went fairly well and they got some adorable shots in Disney clothing, though she wasn't quite in a grinny mood. She was cranky on the way home, but she's better now.
We got home from that around 12:30 AM on Saturday morning.

Then we got up around 6 AM for Coral's Tae Kwon Do competition; this was a county-wide one.
There were visitors, blackbelts from Jordan, doing demo tussles (See Fig. 3). Coral had two events: the board-kicking thing, and a sort of choreographed TKD routine. She won trophies for both of these events! One for 3rd place and one for 2nd! As a two-trophy winner, she was asked back for another set of competitions today on Sunday morning, and she isn't yet back from that. I'll let you know later. She was very excited by her accomplishments yesterday, as were we all; Coral was up shortly after six today, an hour earlier than we wanted to get up, full of vim. We were rather less vimful. However, we're very proud of her and will soon have a video of her board-kicking event. It kicks plywood! (See Fig. 1)

The demo inspection of Amy's school was imperfect, but not too bad, and it's done; however there'll be much more to prepare for as the real inspection is coming up some time. . .I'm not sure when. And now Amy has more reports and stuff to do for school.

With her I am planning to do a new class at her school, along with an e-learning, web-based course thing for next semester. Listening and speaking and intonation. You'll have the link when it's ready. Sounds like lots of preparation time, but worth it for the experience, I hope. You can see my Google teaching homepage and the schedule for next semester if you are full of sounds and curiosity.

All the best to all of you!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pimento or Pimiento? You be the judge!

Actually, this entry is really about the busy week I've been having. Amy's school is going to be reviewed by the ministry of education and if they are approved they'll be upgraded from a "Institute of Technology" to a "University of Science and Technology;" they'll graduate, in effect, or be promoted. The chairperson of her department has been left basically all to herself to prepare for the departmental review, so Amy and I have been giving a hand most days this week. The mock 'practice review' will take place tomorrow morning.
The normal teacher is out today and tomorrow so I took her place here at our school, and then five hours of English classes. . .
No, wait, my evening student's mom just called to say that the kid was again in a bad mood and wouldn't come to class!
Amy's still at work and it's 7:45 PM. . .
On Sunday we were both at Transworld and I was able to get most of two new "Hueis" (practice tests) for the GEPT project. Also I was teaching Amy's classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at Transworld.

BTW, can you find me in this graduation photo??

This post is adapted from one at my C'est Huat? blog at Yahoo.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The very model of a modern mixup

Late Monday night Amy got a message from our modeling agent friend who said there was an op for Coral to audition for an ad. So Tuesday Grandma took her, Eowyn, and cousin Tina up north for the audition. After they all got back safely, (I drove the rickety VW in constant apprehension) we got a message. An O'Brien got the job. . .but it was Eowyn, not Coral!!
So we may go back up on Friday to do the job, though the fee will be very low--1500 NT dollars--less than the cost of transportation. Then again we may just blow it off as it's hardly worth the income.
Amy and Chris have been coming to Transworld every day to help prepare for the upcoming Ministry of Ed's inspection, translating lots of things and doing endless scads of paperwork. I've been teaching Amy's classes too. Exhausting work and boring too. And the swine students are hardly worth the pearls of learning I'm casting to them in scoopfuls.
Wish us all luck!

PS. I finished City of Night, the 2nd Dean Koontz's Frankenstein book and it was . . . good reading but not too eventful.
Now starting "The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson about the 1893 Columbian Exposition. No real opinion yet but seems to use a similar approach to The Professor and the Madman and The Map that Changed the World.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Typhoonery; Generation GEPT

Hi all, greetings from stormy, ill-weathered Taiwan. It's typhoon season and it's dreary; has been for a week or so. Yush. Also I'm working on a standardized test of EFL and wanted to share some improvised and possibly fragmented paragraphs I worked up for practice with oral skill for Taiwanesish youngsters.

  • Stop jumping on the radio, Terry.
  • Now it's time to hear the latest news.
  • What should you do when your sink is broken?
  • Do you think my nose is too big?
  • Why do you keep looking at your watch?
  • Is there anything I can do to help you?
  • Don't throw your gum at the lion, Lisa.
  • Try to talk more slowly and put the cat down.
  • Take a minute to review your notes.
  • I don't want any carrots with my apple pie.
  • Please wait for a moment while I sleep.
  • Can you possibly fix my car before lunch time?
  • Are you sure you want to have beer for breakfast?
  • There are no sharks in my pool, I think.
  • I might need some help moving my sofa.
  • I don't really like listening to good music.
  • Why are we really taking this test?
  • Can you give me a pencil?
  • What movies are playing at the theater this evening?
  • This is a story about a toy cowboy and a toy pig.
  • Tell me the truth--I can't believe you really are George Bush's father.
  • Swimming is easier when you don't wear ski pants.
  • Salads are always more delicious with candy in them.
  • What are you going to do with that huge pillow?
  • I can't understand how to make math classes fun.

Many people who used to feel tired of watching TV programs every day have taken up a hobby. There are many hobbies you can choose from. Some people enjoy building up collections of coins, stamps, CDs, or bottlecaps. Other people prefer to build model cars, ships, or airplanes. Some like knitting or making clothing. Whatever you choose will certainly be more interesting and more useful to you than endless hours of cheap cartoons, so try to get involved in some kind of hobby today! Stop wasting your time and have fun!

The other day, I ran into my old friend Steve. I hadn't seen him in several months. It was great to see him, but I don't think he was so happy to see me again. In fact, he appeared to be angry about something, though he was still polite enough to me. He said that he'd lost his job last month and that he was still looking for a new one. He also said that he had to move out of his apartment and live with his parents again. Also, he said that I now had his old job. I hope he was just in a bad mood, and that he's not really angry at me. I still think he's a great guy.

Drinking beverages--it's a fun and easy way to cool down in the summer and to get toasty warm in the winter. Here's how to do it. First, get yourself a delicious drink--why not start with something easy, like a glass of cold water? OK now, pick up the glass with one of your hands. Be careful, because glass breaks very easily. Next, bring the glass close to your mouth with the same hand you used before. Then, with your lips, hold the BOTTOM edge of the top of the glass and tip the glass towards your face slowly. If you go too fast, you could get your shirt all wet! Open your mouth a little so the water can fall right in. Don't forget to swallow it, or your mouth will quickly fill up. After a few seconds, tip the glass back to level and swallow all the water in your mouth. Put the cup down and smile, because I'm sure you'll feel wonderful! Isn't that fun? You can have a drink any day, and even at night! Go on, have a beverage soon and make it a habit for life!

Dear Mom,
I found a dog outside my apartment the other day. It is a tiny little puppy, orange with white stripes. It is very cute. Nobody was watching me, so I took the puppy into my house and gave it some yummy food: corn soup. I called the puppy "Turf" because that's the little sound he makes when he's hungry. Today I dressed Turf up in a cute dress and took photos of him with my web camera. Then in the afternoon I got a message on my homepage from the police. They said that the dog belongs to somebody else, and that I have to give my Turf back to my neighbors or go to jail. That made me angry, so I decided to run away to Canada. I'm leaving now, Mom, and I'll miss you very much. Please tell the police that Turf loves me and doesn't want to go home. I'll see you when I am an old man!
Lots of love,

The subway will not be open this week, from Tuesday to Friday, because all the trains are being repainted black. The seats and curtains will also be replaced with black ones. This will make the trains harder to see at night and also in the underground stations. We don't want any bad people finding our super trains and taking them away, so remember not to tell anybody else about the new color. Also, please tell everybody about the change so that we can protect the trains. Thank you for your cooperation and we'll see you again on Saturday with the secret black-colored trains! Have a great week driving in the city in your car!
--The City Hall Planning and Secret Train Office

The other day, I was walking down the street on my way to school. I suddenly noticed a man's wallet lying on the sidewalk outside the post office! It was quite a surprise. I looked around and tried to discover if anybody was looking for the wallet, and also to see if anybody was watching me. I couldn't see anyone doing either of those things, so I picked up the wallet and put it into my book bag. When I had some time to myself, I examined the wallet. It had 3700 NT dollars in it, as well as several credit cards and a driver's license. I decided to bring the wallet to the police station after school, but I kept the cash as a reward for myself for being such a good person.

Last night at 9:25 PM a man was injured in Taipei when a motorcycle fell on him, breaking his wrist and three ribs. What is strange is that nobody was riding the motorcycle. In fact, the man, Mr. Alva Lin of Kaohsiung, was taking out his umbrella because of the rain. The umbrella hit a parked motorcycle next to Mr. Lin and this caused the cycle to fall down. Unfortunately, Mr. Lin was kneeling down right next to it! Today, Mr. Lin has been treated at the New Life Hospital in Taipei and is expected to be just fine after a month or two. The owner of the motorcycle has not been blamed for the accident. This is Thomas Chen, reporting from Taipei.

That night, Telly went to the shop secretly with a long box under his arm. He was wearing a tall opera hat and an old high school jacket, and on his feet was a pair of yellow socks. The shop appeared to be deserted, but when Telly knocked on the door in a specific and unusual pattern, the door opened silently. Telly looked around to make sure that nobody was watching, and then he stepped inside the dark shop. He pulled out a heavy piece of metal from his pocket, expecting to need some sort of protection from the man who waited within.

ALSO, some "non Wilde" quotes from my Google Widget.

"Yes, sir," he said, and closed the door with a slight bang. Odd, thought Howard as he lit a new and slightly bedraggled cigarette: Temple's out of sorts. What's got up his jumper today? Arnold raced for the door and

What Lord Shillingsly didn't realize was the magnitude of the gift he was to give to her in exchange for her silence. Arnold was a sure thing; no doubt of that. But when Lady Enid showed her the photorealistic scans of his date with the flower girl as an attachment to that wretched email, he had been easily persuaded.
What in blazes was he to do otherwise? All the wedding plans had been laid out in strips and the event was coming like a snail shot out of a buskin. A revelation of that kind during the season would be devastating for his father, his fiancee, and the flower girl, and the flowers themselves. . .well! It was hardly thinkable.
He retraced his thoughts to the morning before when he'd been greeted by an affable Arnold, who'd challenged him to a footrace to the entrance of the Memorial. Arnold raced to the door, and

The Turlock continued to stalk unevenly towards the bleeding Arnold, who let out a muffled shriek of dismay. It shook its shaggy head and large drops of pus and vinegar sported out in rays, tainting a circle of land around it. This assault was going well, it mused as it loomed closer to the boy, but where was the thrill of violent mauling that so soothed his nerves of old? Ah, the ennui was returning, the Turlock sighed to himself as it troubledly raked its jagged and musty claws in random patterns through Arnold's mangled flesh and organs. Perhaps a vacation . . .? Arnold raced for the door and

Perhaps the Turlock has a wife and several baby Turlets?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Last "Dissertation Progress" post

Hi everyone, I'm back from Kaohsiung with a diploma.
Woo Hoo!
We left home at around 9 AM: Amy driving, and Eowyn and Chris in the car too. Made good time--about 2 hours to the city. Made it on campus at about 11:10, with 50 minutes to finish all the paperwork if we were to finish by lunch break time. Well, I sweated like mad but got the diploma and did all the other required hoopery. They got my name on the English diploma as "Chris O'brien" so I asked them to fix the B. They'll send the fixed diploma. The Chinese one is OK. I will scan it for my dear family members in the US. It is small and rather unimpressive looking, but it's real and with that and the paperwork I am now officially an ex-student, almost for the first time since I was 5.
We also visited Ikea and got info on the bookshelf material they have available. Our walls are in an unusual shape, being located in the attic area, so it's a but complex for "F in math" me. We had a splendid meal in Kaohsiung's 4-month-old restaurant, the Outback Steakhouse. Let me say again: SPLENDID!!
They said that there would be a typhoon today so we hurried home, but there is still no typhoon today. Just jerking our chains, I guess.
Lots of hugs and friendly waves to all you devoted readers who never write comments.
Hee hee hee

Monday, August 6, 2007

Deathly Hallowses?

Last Sunday (a week before yesterday) my advanced student gave me her copy of HP7 to read and I did so that day and finished it on last Wednesday. It was really great.
But a few days before the official first day of sales of the book, there were many spoilers and fake versions, it was said. I found one article that said so and downloaded the link it had. The PDF file there is certainly not the real version, but I'm about 400 pages into this piece of fan fiction--a full-fledged novel--and it's quite good. I have some criticisms about it which I'll give here soon--such as using some idiomatic British phrases such as "hacked off" and "over the moon" too frequently--but it's got some good and ingenious ideas and I recommend it as an interesting and enjoyable read, even though it is obviously not 'canon' and not licensed either.
I found it at an article that quoted its clumsy phrase "stared morosely at the familiar visage of number four, Privet Drive" and you can use that to search for it on Google.
Love to discuss it with you, and its points of comparison with the real Deathly Hallows book.

Please note that the PDF I am referring to is 569 pages long and has the phrase mentioned above on the first page. If you find a dedication "THE DEDICATION OF THIS BOOK IS SPLIT SEVEN WAYS" then it is probably the real version. Please do NOT download or read that version. Buy the book. It is a treasure worth keeping in its authentic and paid-for version!

Though Ms. Rowling (the name rhymes with bowling and not with howling, according to one article, though Emma Watson rhymes it with Howling in one interview and Jim Dale rhymes it with Bowling) is richer than Queen Elizabeth, she has worked hard to earn her royalties. The writer of the fan fiction (he or she makes "A/N" author's notes from time to time in the text) is a talented and probably untrained "by ear" amateur making no money from his or her novel and deserves some encouragement for the effort, though not for 'scamming' fans of the real 'canon'. Let this person either try some work that is labeled as fan fiction, I say, or try something original for publication. I'd like to know who it is and give that person some credit, but possibly we'll never know.

UPDATE: this seems to be the source of the fan fiction:
It is specifically posted there as fan fiction, not intended as a ripoff or fake version.

We went swimming yesterday after my class and Eowyn made real progress, enjoying dipping her face in the pool and even walking around in the shallow area (she's just tall enough to reach the bottom of the pool with her feet).
I'm going with Amy to Sun Yat-sen U tomorrow to hand in my diss and "leave school" officially, and pick up my diploma. We'll also go to the new Ikea store to get some DIY bookshelves for the fifth floor study area.

Best to you all.
"Litmus Paper"

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

You can Diss me!

Hi, I discovered that the first time I uploaded the PDF of the dissertation, there was some kind of problem with the file or . . . not sure what exactly the problem was. Anyway, I tried and tried yesterday and finally confirmed that it was OK. Now I need to wait another three days (till the writing rage cools off) and I'll be able to go back to campus and finish the process of leaving school as a diplomaed graduate. I picked up all 17 copies of the dissertation that were printed (delivered to the printers last Sat) and they look great! Just now have to confirm that the asst. will really be there next Weds. when I am planning to go. . .

UPDATE: Yes, the assistant, Rosa, will be there and so I will go. I got the Graduation photo in the mail today--the one I paid $100 NTD for--along with a CDR of photos. Not bad.
Working on the GEPT items. 2nd Elementary Hui.