Friday, November 24, 2006

Presentation Day!

Here I am in my office bright and early, preparing to do a presentation in the Doucette Library on blogs. I have been blogging since April 2004 - wow, that's almost three years of blogging. That's a lot of typing. You can see from the picture I posted above how much the blogosphere has grown since June 2004, which is about when I started blogging. Isn't it amazing to think that in my own small way I have contributed to this. I guess that I have helped almost three hundred students start their own blogs since April 2004 . . . and even more amazing, some of them are still blogging! Cool stuff eh . . . maybe teachers do make a difference?

Monday, November 20, 2006

There are officially two weeks left!

Holy cow . . . there are only two weeks left before the final exams! This is the time to buckle down and focus. Wow, I can't believe that it's all going to be over soon. This has been a great semester so far.

I really enjoyed going to the Ancient Peru Exhibition at the Nickle Arts Museum. It was nice to do something different for a change. I couldn't believe that the University of Calgary would have such a nice exhibition on campus. I was really impressed with all of the gold artifacts. It's amazing to think that such an advanced culture existed here in the Americas way before the arrival of the Europeans. Even worse, that culture was basically destroyed by the arrival of the Europeans. I read somewhere that one of the worst cultural genocides took place after the arrival of the Europeans to the Americas. Millions and millions of people died.

It really gives you something to think about. Especially here in Alberta. We always talk about what a young province this is (we are only 100 years old), but actually, this province has 1000s and 1000s of years of history, it is just that history is the history of the native peoples, and it tends to be ignored by the dominant culture.

Anyway, I recommend that if people were impressed with the Ancient Peruvian exhibition, they should make a trip down to Writing on Stone Provincial Park, or to Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump to seem more of the indigenous cultures that existed here before the arrival of Europeans.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Well, we just had a four day weekend here at the University of Calgary. You would think that I would be well rested, and ready for teaching today, but I am totally exhausted. The reason? MOLD! YUK! This weekend started out well enough because I was going to thoroughly clean my house. I actually enjoy cleaning, so I attacked my house with a vengence. After I had done all of the laundry, tidied and scrubbed the kitchen, straightened out the dining room and shampooed the carpets in the living room, I was ready for the cleaning that never gets done. I thought I would start with the cupboard underneath the sink. I actually hadn't cleaned it since I moved into my house in September 2005. Anyway, I emptied out all of half used cleaning products, empty coffee cans and worn out sponges and I noticed that there was water at the back of the cupboard. I went and got out a flash light, and to my horror I saw there was black mold all over the back wall of the cupboard. ARGH. Black mold can be totally dangerous. Even worse, after further inspection, I noticed that the back wall was rotting away because of the water, and that the countertop behind the sink had totally rotted away because of dripping water. You see, my taps have been dripping for about a year, but I never did anything about it. Why did I leave it so long??????? ARGH. Anyway, I went to London Drugs and bought a million powerful cleaning products and started to dry out my cupboard. Then I went to Home Depot and I bought some new washers (tiny rubber rings) for the taps. I changed the washers in my taps, and they stopped leaking. It was so easy, and it only cost three dollars. Argh. I wish I had fixed them a year ago when the problem first started, and then I wouldn't have to deal with BLACK MOLD. Anyway, after the water dried out, I vacuumed away all of the rotted plaster and wood, and then I thoroughly cleaned the area with a super powerful bleach cleaner. After that I sprayed everything with Lysol (guarenteed to kill mold and mildew). The problem was the cleaning products were so strong that I almost puked. I had to get out of the house. The fumes were awful.

Anyway, I hope everyone can learn from my mistake. Fix small problems before they become big ones.

Friday, November 03, 2006

One of my favourite things to do is go to the movies. I thought I would talk about two of my favourite movie theatres: The Plaza and Paramount Chinook. Last weekend I went to the Plaza Theatre to see the movie "Little Miss Sunshine". It was totally awesome. I really enjoyed it, and I thought that it had a powerful message as well. Basically, the film is about a little girl who travels with her family across the United States to participate in a beauty contest in California. I thought the movie had a lot to say about how bad beauty contests are, especially for young girls. I really enjoyed it, but even more, I enjoyed going to the Plaza Theatre. You see, the Plaza Theatre is only a five minute walk from my house in Kensington. I have been going to the Plaza Theatre for about 16 years, and it is one of the few things that hasn't changed in Calgary. I really love the Plaza. It is an old fashioned cinema with only one screen, so it can only show one movie at a time. Usually, the movies shown at the Plaza are alternative movies that you don't often get to see in the big multi-plex cinemas. Everything about the Plaza is a total trip down memory lane. I highly recommend that my students go to the Plaza at least once while they are in Calgary to experience what it used to be like going to the movies in Canada. Plus, matinees at the Plaza on Saturday and Sunday are only $6!

At the other end of the scale, you have Paramount Chinook. Those are the theatres at Chinook Centre. It is the total luxury modern movie going experience. The seats are the ultimate in comfort, and you never have to worry about some annoying lady with big red hair sitting in front of you because all of the theatres have stadium seating. It's great. Right now, if you dare, you can so and see the movie "Grudge 2". But be careful . . . I almost pooped my pants when I saw it on Hallowe'en. It is basically a J-Horror film, but shot in English. Eeep. I don't want to blog about it anymore. It was just way too scarey, but if you like horror films, you should go.

Anyway, get out of the house on one of those cold wintery afternoons any weekend, but a bucket of popcorn and settle down for a movie experience . . . plus it's a good way to study English :-)