Monday, September 19, 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________

Many Things 

I know it has been a while since I've posted, but I assure you, I have had many good reasons.

As I have mentioned multiple times, I was scheduled to take the GRE test on the 10th of September. Which meant that my 21st bithday (on the 9th mind) went largely uncelebrated. I did attend my own birthday party on the evening of the 10th, but it was uneventful and certainly not what this section is about.

Being that the GRE is computer based, I received the scores for my two multiple choice sections immediately. With 670 Verbal (94th percentile) and only 710 in Quantitative (72nd percentile) I must admit that I'm a little disappointed, but those scores are still good enough to get me into top programs. You might be wondering why my quantitative score is higher, but at a lower percentile. Easy, a clean 10% of everyone gets 100% in the Math section. Miss one question and your score drops to 710, and very steeply down the percentile rankings. So I missed one question, I've been told that my score is not worth beating myself up over. I'm trying to believe the same thing.

I'm still waiting on my essay scores - out of 6 - (Analysis of Issue and Analysis of Argument) but I feel great about both. I think I definitely scored a 5 on either if not an outright 6.

My position at UBC
Due to an administrative screw up, I did not get a position as a TA in Ling 100. However, due to the unexpected overenrollment in one of the Linguistics core courses, I am a TA for a 300-level course. I am still working at the lab for free, lending a hand with the ongoing experiment and the online course that I helped set up. I don't mind working for free, especially because if I don't get another TA-ship next term, I might just get paid to work on the website like I was going to this term.

So far, it's been really thrilling to think that I'm an acutal TA(Teaching Assistant, for the uninitiated), more so because it's an upper level course. Last Friday I held my first office hours and I've just almost finished marking the first quiz. Initially I was rather unnerved at the prospect of being a TA (seeing how I had completed that course only last fall) but three weeks into the term, I'm really comfortable. There hasn't yet been a question I can't handle (granted, not that much has been taught) or a student that doubts my ability (granted, not many of them know that I'm an undergrad).

Graduate Level Courses
I'm officially registered in Audi 514 (Hearing Science). I needed to get the instructor's permission for this course and it wasn't easy. He refused my request at first, partly on the grounds that I had no Physics in my academic background. That, of course, is bullshit. I got an A2 for my Physics 'O' level, which converts to a first or second year Physics course here. Instead of taking my word for it, he made me prove it with copies of my transcript. I was insulted, to say the least - why on earth would I lie about something like that? The worst part about his "Physics requirement" (that almost had me mailing the Ministry of Education in Singapore) is that we have spent all the class time so far talking about the difference between vectors and scalars, what speed is, what frequency is, what a wave is...etc. Why on earth does anyone need a Physics background if you are going to exhaustively cover the basics? I think this guy is an idiot. If not for the hoops he made me jump through to get into the class, then for his confusing manner that leaves me befuddled about Physics principles that I once understood.

I'm also taking another grad course, but I'm not registered in it. Rather, I sit in on the class and absorb what Eric has to say. It's a course in Phonetics, but Eric only lectures for one and a half hours each week. All the students in the class are expected to take Ling 316 (the course that I'm a TA for) in addition to Eric's lectures. I sit in because I'm interested in the technical side of acoustics and I think I'm a useful link between the two courses. I feel really awkward knowing that I am a TA to several grad students, but I hope that I'll get over it in time. I'm even considering registering in this course for credit, but I'm not sure how that would work.

The Move to the New Apartment
It's finally happened. Jim and I are living in the heart of downtown Vancouver. In fact, if I look to my left now, I can see the Burrard Inlet, which opens into the Pacific. Sure, the view is slightly more obscured by highrises that weren't there in the years before, but it's still something to look out your window at a large, calm body of water. Of course, this means that I'm a mere four blocks away from the seawall, which is a long, flat walk which winds through Stanley Park.

All things considered (i.e. all the sections above this one) the move went well. Jim singlehandedly packed and moved all the stuff that is in this apartment. We have about a box and a half left of loose ends in our old apartment and I still haven't changed the addresses on the various services we subscribe to but for all intents and purposes, we have moved. I mean, our cats are over here!

The location of this apartment is a dream come true. For me at least. Jim's commute is about an hour long, plus or minus traffic. Jim does appreicate the gym in the building though. For my part, I love having everything within walking distance and how easy it is to get to UBC. The location is great, but the state of the apartment is a completely different matter. The washing machine and dishwasher which we had coveted for so long are both busted. The washing machine leaks and is possibly under recall. The dishwasher runs fine, but with no water. To compound matters, we were unaware that either appliance was faulty. We now have a comforter and a sheet in a tub of soapy water that we cannot drain (except onto the floor beneath it) and full dishwasher with dirty dishes that has had all the food matter baked into it.

Regular readers of this blog might readily point out that Jim and I have often gone long periods of time without doing either laundry or dishes. That may be true (and we were hoping to change that with the ensuite machines), but we have never gone long periods of time without hot water. That's right, at this moment, there is no hot water in this apartment. To shower, we boil water in our 1.5L electric kettle and pour it into a large Home Depot bucket and temper it with cold water until we have the temperature right. (We have the bucket in the first place because Alton Brown recommended that we brine a turkey in it. Yes, it is clean.) We then bathe using vessels to pour water over our heads ala water rationing excercises. I have half an ear out for the kettle as I type this - I'm boiling water for Jim's shower.

This post has been long enough. I'm about to walk down to the many restaurants in my neighbourhood and pick out a new one for dinner. We've eaten out for the past three days due to the fact that the kitchen is hardly in order yet. I was worried that that might reek havoc on my diet, but despite the fact that the food I have eaten thus far are not kosher, I've still lots 3lbs over the three days and am still burning plenty ketones. I'm going to have to eat out again tonight, but I don't really want to push my luck. First priority is getting the kitchen in order so that I can go back to my strict, strict diet.

posted by Joie! at 6:07 p.m.


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