Monthly Archives: November 2009

Learning French

As any Canadian, I took French in school for 10 or 11 years. I remember it being really tough to learn all the verb tenses. They talked about past participle, future progressive, past perfect, etc. What probably made this tough is that I didn’t know those terms for English verbs. I obviously knew the meanings of “flown”, “will be flying” and “had flown”, but until I taught ESL, I couldn’t have matched the terms to the tenses. I think I might have been a bad English student… maybe a bad French student too.

It was even hard to explain the general meaning of tenses. Explaining “will fly” vs. “will be flying” vs. “will have flown” vs. “will have been flying” was a huge challenge. I had to give it serious thought to generalize what time a tense refers to. Try it yourself, I dare you.

Let’s go for a fly!


With Regards to Catholic Education…

How does the Toronto Catholic District School Board still exist? After all this corruption among the trustees, and the ridiculous and unfair concept of one religion getting a publicly-funded school board while others do not, why doesn’t the world’s most multicultural city just assimilate the two public boards into one? Score one for diversity, by exposing more students to various backgrounds and religions. Score another for added efficiency, because having more schools means more students will live closer to a school they can go to, and resources can be distributed as necessary.

It would probably be wise to grandfather everyone, so students continue the program in their current school, but going to a new school means changing programs. After a few years, the system will be assimilated and the kinks mostly resolved.

Some people would be outraged, but most of these people would be Christians/Catholics, who should at least accept that they’ve been getting a lucrative deal this whole time. You can get a religious education at church. There is no other significant difference except the racial backgrounds of these schools. So if you’re saying the Catholic publicly-funded board is better than the secular one, it almost amounts to saying “You get a better education when you’re in school with all white Catholic kids.” I don’t think they have a leg to stand on, do they?

The private schools would probably get some questionably race-motivated enrolments. That’s all good, you can get any education you want if you’re willing to pay for it. But the Catholic school board should not continue to receive public funding.

As for the trustees… I guess they thought they were created in god’s image?

Link: National Post

EDIT: Later read an article about how some people put their kids in French Immersion programs for similar superficial reasons.

Also, this post is not anti-religion, rather, in support of fairness amongst religions and creating more diverse schools.

A Guide to Eating Healthy When Living Alone

A guide to healthy eating when living by yourself: Buy a lot of fruit and veg at the grocery store. You know *you* have to eat it before it goes rotten, because nobody else is going to. And you don’t want to waste all that money by tossing out $20 worth of food every week. So you keep eating all the healthy food you’ve bought, and problem solved!

This also means that when you’re out, you can more or less spoil yourself and not worry about fat/sugar/salt content, because you eat properly at home.

South Park’s Baseball Episode

In the finals between South Park and Denver, the Denver team is so good at sucking that they can pitch the ball at South Park’s bats, and hit fly balls into South Park’s gloves.

But Denver, like all the other teams, has been trying to lose the whole time. So just how incredible must the other teams in Denver’s division have been, for Denver to have been the team that was *worst* at losing?

Downtown Relief Line (part 1)

Preface: Keep in mind this is pretty much a pipe dream, and Transit City is probably far more important to the city right now.

Toronto has just been awarded the 2015 Pan-American Games. This is believed to be an incentive to improve the city’s rapid transit network. Specifically, the much-discussed Downtown Relief Line is core to this plan. The West Donlands area would be redeveloped with new housing, and serve as the athletes’ village during the games. But this area is currently severely underserved by public transit, and a new subway line may be just what is needed.

The Downtown Relief Line was proposed in part for the ability to alleviate transfers at Yonge-Bloor and St. George stations, and provide a faster route downtown for people travelling from the west or east ends of the Bloor-Danforth line. It would also alleviate serious overcrowding problems, which are only going to get worse if the Yonge line extends north of Finch.

Taking the subway downtown (towards the 2 transfer points) in the morning gets extremely crowded, except from the Spadina line*. When I was going downtown from the west end, my subway car would be full by about Lansdowne or Dufferin, and people would often be left behind on the platform because they simply couldn’t board the train. The situation is mirrored on the Yonge line and Danforth line. There need to be more options for commuters in the morning.

The Downtown Relief Line was originally proposed to go southbound from Pape station, and across Eastern Avenue / Front Street, with a transfer point at Union, and ending at Spadina. A potential westward extension would connect to Bloor at Dundas West, and a potential northward extension would go up from Pape to Eglinton (presumably at Don Mills).

That plan outlines a good general idea of what Toronto’s DRL should do.

The End of Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time should always be in effect. Moving the clocks back an hour in the fall seems to be so you’re not leaving for work when it’s dark. But when you leave work and it’s already dark out (again), it gives the feeling that the day is over and you should just stay home. (See “Seasonal Affective Disorder”). There are enough other people out when I leave for work that I’m not too torn up about it, but I do hate missing the entire day’s worth of sunlight because sunset is moved an hour earlier.

In March, when the clocks moved forward again, I went from getting up after the sun to getting up before it again. It felt like I was leaving for work at 5am. The gradual effect of days getting shorter in the fall doesn’t create this effect – only the sudden one hour shift does.

One “benefit” is the extra hour before last call on that one night a year when 2:00 becomes 1:00 again, but it takes a dedicated person to continue drinking through essentially 3:00 am. One night’s minor benefit is not worth 5 months of worsened living.