Catching Up

I seem to have nothing to write that even I am interested in reading these days! But my schedule has been otherwise full, so perhaps that's why.

The TEFL certificate is progressing more slowly than I would like. It's boring! And the site contains grammatical errors and ambiguous instructions (interesting, given they're trying to teach me to teach English). I'm still plugging away at French and German on Livemocha, too, where ahtapot has been correcting my homework. I'm grateful he found me, because he gives much better feedback than anyone else so far. Unfortunately, I am at a plateau with vocabulary. I can't seem to retain new words as well as I did before, and I still screw up the prepositions. Arrgh.

Other than that, in the past week, I've:

- Watched my cousin's husband perform standup. He had been doing more corporate gigs, but they're cutting down on the live entertainment these days, so he's back in the clubs.

- Listened to my dad's golfing buddy play the drums. He plays jazz fusion, which has complex jazz rhythms combined with asian melodies, or asian rhythms combined with jazz melodies, and a considerable amount of contrasting counterpoint, plus some traditional instrumentation... not always easy to follow. All the musicians playing that night were incredible, though.

- Visited with an aunt and uncle who came up from So Cal last weekend. My aunt was giving one of my cousins a hard time about his sister not holding her own financially and sponging off him when I arrived with Piglet. I let Piglet loose, and she created enough excitement that my aunt let my cousin off the hook for awhile.

- Watched Harold and Maude at the Castro Theater. Bud Cort was there and did a Q&A after the show. There was also a heckler who made a few rude comments and let out some annoying whistles. He shut up when people yelled at him, though. As soon as the lights came up, the SFPD hauled him out, which was a complete overreaction on the part of the management. First, no one from the theater came in to intervene first, they just sent the police in right away. Second, he'd already calmed down by the time they showed up. Third, you couldn't hear a word Bud Cort said, because they were still dealing with the guy several minutes later. I lost a lot of respect for the Castro Theater management.

- Watched my Fuji finePix 6800Zoom die when I whipped it out the other day. I polled a few friends about replacement possibilities, then headed to Circuit City. I bought a Canon PowerShot SX110 IS, which is smaller, lighter, allows more control, and takes standard AA batteries. It is also made of cheap plastic -- I predict it won't last nearly as long as the old Fuji. I should return my dad's D50 now...

More activity in one week than I've had the last month. No wonder I'm a little sick tonight! I'm trying to keep up with everyone, though.


Lobo will be surprised when he wakes up

Somewhere in Germany, a man slumbers. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, in the San Francisco Bay Area, the woman who gets to snuggle with him once every few months strolls into her local nail salon on a whim. Kim, her manicurist, looks puzzled: you're not due for another week or two! But the little Japanese woman looks instead to the retired RF Engineer in the barber chair and inquires of her: "Tammy, I need an 8 inch ponytail for this charity. Do you have time to cut my hair?" She hands Tammy a page with donation requirements, and replaces her in the chair.

My hair before cutting ->

It's been two and a half years since my last donation, which went to Locks of Love. Most of you know Sheila recently donated hers, reminding me it was about that time. I usually wait longer, but it seems to be growing more slowly this time, and Señor Inglés likes my hair long. I opted to do it now, while it has some time to grow before I see Lobo, and for donating it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths instead, which accepts 8 inches instead of 10 (thanks for the idea, Sheila!).

Tammy pulled my hair back, measured and said "in order to get 8 inches of usable ponytail, I have to cut 14 inches from the full length." Jennifer, the owner (and Tammy's daughter in law), said something in Vietnamese, which from the tone was something like "you're wrong," then in English mentioned another client who'd come in to do the same thing. My hair was pretty damaged, and had been layered, so Tammy had a point. I let her take the longer amount, which ended up being 15 inches.

<- My 15 inch ponytail

I have much less hair than I when I left the house this afternoon, and it's shorter than I would like, but it will grow. I think this will be my final donation. It takes so long to grow, and having it so long is a pain. This is my fifth submission, four more than most others who donate hair give, so I feel okay about ending that cycle.

The excitement over, I sat down to my LiveMocha and TEFL accounts. I have been buckling down on the TEFL certification (I'm doing it through i-to-i) and new language acquisition, and researching labor markets and issues, which is why I haven't been here as much (and my house is messy, my checkbook not balanced...). After a few minutes, I realized my neck was cold! My hair no longer wraps itself around me to keep me warm.

Learning German with my short hair ->

For those of you into learning languages, LiveMocha is based on the Rosetta Stone platform. They show pictures and text and play audio of terms and sentences related to the pictures, then do a series of text and autio-based repetition exercises, a sort of combination between the Direct and Lexical methods. Like Rosetta Stone, the first things you learn are words and sentences you are not likely to use regularly (the woman is fat -- yes, that's an actual sentence they used). Their reasoning is you learn the way a child first learning language does. Where that method fails is it doesn't take into account adults have a knowledge bank (developed neural pathways) for language babies don't. I use it to supplement the other methods I'm using, which teach more practical terminology. Oh, and the chat function is annoying. Right when I'm concentrating on my lesson, a window pops up, telling me some guy (it's never a woman) wants to chat.