Monday, February 27, 2006

German Class

At the beginning of the semester, I decided to switch sections for my introductory German course. While it resulted in a more tolerable schedule, I also had to deal with a different professor.

My first Prof was from Columbia; German is not her first language, but at least she can explain things in a way that we know is effective, since she is the one standing in front of the class... Her class was fun, lively, and she always had fun ways of teaching things. There was a lot of group work, so you were constantly practising. She had a lot of slides, and it was always easy to take good notes. We had lots of small assignments that never took much time, but you learned a lot. It was a fun, no-pressure environment and I was thriving.

This semester, I have a Swiss professor. He has a more pressured environment, and it has caused me to lose all my enthusiasm for the subject. He goes around the class and grills you. I feel as though I'm learning nothing. My notes are more or less useless, being filled with the random vocabulary words he mentions, and a few (very few) useful grammatical notes. We are given assignment sheets every week, which basically look like (in translated form):

  • Monday, February 27
    • pp. 307–311 (read)
    • p.308 (do exercises, don't hand in)
    • p.311 (memorise vocabulary for class)

Now, this is fine, but since we don't hand in the exercises, I have no drive to hand them in—lack of motivation. For the vocabulary, the teacher stands in front of the class, and rattles off English words and points to students (who have to put their books away) and they have to immediately answer with the German translation. Very drill-like. Not pleasant at all. Doesn't make me want to learn. It just makes me less eager to answer questions. Even at the beginning of class when he asks what people did the day before, or what they plan on doing during the weekend it still seems like an interrogation. About as pleasant as nailing my hands to the floor.

Scheiße... :(

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Why I hate the Olympics

Okay, I think I must be the only person who genuinely hates the two weeks every two years when I have to deal with the Olympics. Now, I hate watching sports in general. As far as competitive sports, in the case of Hockey, my brain never got beyond the stage of "why am I watching this puck go back and forth along the ice while people try to get it into a net?" To me I just never saw the point of watching it. I can see how it can be fun to play it (though not really for me) but I don't get watching it.

Now, I very rarely hear any good reasons behind it...

  • Oh, it's exciting!
  • It's all about watching their skill!
  • It's the fights!
  • It's just something to do with the guys!

I just explained why I don't understand the excitement.

As for skill, if I don't care about putting a rock into a hole (or a puck into a net, a ball into a basket, etc.) I don't see why I would care any more about someone who does it well.

With Hockey, people seem to love watching it just for the fights that break out. This makes less sense to me. Why not watch wrestling, ultimate fighting, or a kung fu movie? These fights are probably just as staged as the others...

As far as something to do with the guys, I guess if you have a bunch of guys who feel the same, they can feed off of each others' excitement, but personally, when I'm around a bunch of these sporty types I just feel out of place, even when it's friends. I feel like I don't know these deranged, yelling people around me.

Alright, that covers the Hockey, and any other competitive sports, but that's just a part of the Olympic events. As for the rest, I guess I can see that it's a more filtered version of competitive sports that deals with just the elements of skill and the excitement of having your country (or country of preference) win. However, in this case my brain sees it as nyah, nyah, I skate faster than you can! So, while I give credit where credit is due—recall, I've never said I don't appreciate the talent these people have at what they do, nor do I disrespect the amount of effort they put into their activities—this doesn't mean I can spend two weeks caring about it.

Now, I must clarify one thing: I don't watch television. So none of this should be blamed on complaints of oh, my favourite show is cancelled... stupid Olympics! It's purely my dislike of Olympic events.

On top of everything, I have to deal with people constantly thinking I care. There's always someone who says something like so, anything good happen today? and in some cases I have to keep up with these things just to prevent having to deal with the television being turned on to check on the events. That will just mean an hour that I genuinely consider wasted for me. Maybe not for the other viewers, but I certainly don't appreciate having to watch it.

I'm just glad it's over today. At least I get 2 years PLUS a few months this time since I have until the summer.

Edit: I just discovered a more in-depth rant about the Olympics that entertained me very much.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Been a while, again...

Well, I figure it's high time I got back in the blogging game. I know it has taken me months to get back to it but it seems like every time I get started, either something distracts me or somehow I lose everything I've written. I never figured out how I managed such things.

So, after all the years of using the internet, I am only now learning html. Sad, eh? Now's better than never, I guess. I'm picking up css and xhtml too, because it really couldn't hurt. Besides, you can't make a very pretty page with html alone.

I've been using a fantastic book, called Head First html with css and xhtml. This series of books is fantastic. I just can't get over how much I'm enjoying the writing style. I'd definitely consider writing a Head First book for something science-related. If only I could gather together all of my smarts and do it. But for now, I'll just plan. Or dawdle. Or something.

Stupid d key. It's broken. It doubles up randomly, and I've had a lot of backspacing to do. If there are random dds that shouldn't be there, just ignore them, but I think I've got it all under control. First it was the comma, now it's the d. I wish my mac would just be without little issues for a while. I'll have to post about the problems I've been having when I have some more time. It's kinda 4:36am right now, so I think I should be sleeping. But you know, anything to procrastinate. I know when I wake up I'll just have to study learn everything from scratch for my Stochastic Processes exam on Monday. That won't be fun.

Oh well. I'll try to pick this up tomorrow.