lloll4: wukong from Stephen Chow movie (wukong)
The haze did clear up by a lot this afternoon, so despite the unrelenting heat, I stood outside the library and took lots of deep breaths. T'was nice not to feel like you're being smothered.

Although now it has resurged and it's making me cough just a bit. Well, it was a nice little respite. I was starting to forget what a blue sky looked like.

This may be just my singular experience, but the only people who want to take the TOEIC that I've only ever come across are Japanese people. Everyone else (ELT or EFL learners, I mean) take either the IELTS or the TOEFL. Apparently you get career brownie points if your company knows you got a good ranking on the TOEIC. Meanwhile, I'm at the 'but the TOEIC is such a lame test!' stage. (It really is! It has questions that test, lemme see, your ability to match a photograph to spoken descriptions, the same type of question and answer thing for grammer and vocabulary you get on the TOEFL except easier and then reading comprehension on things like mock emails, posters, and the like.)

(Ok, I will concede that it is less lame now that since they've added a speaking and writing section to the test.)

A student came in today so I talked to her about what she wanted to achieve: better general English skills aka all-round improvement, or improved TOEIC scores. Guess what she chose. Look, standardised tests are no doubt very useful to have, but really, isn't it more productive to use your precious time - since you work such long hours (7am to 10pm every day is just crazy) - to improve your English overall rather than drill yourself on test-taking skills? Even business English would be more interesting!

Not to say that you won't learn something whilst doing the preparation for TOEIC as I can see I'm going to have to do a quick run-through on basic grammar, etc, but the starting and ending point is TOEIC. So this necessitated picking up the TOEIC preparation kit at Kinokuniya. Have just been looking through it. (Lame!)

Also stopped by the school library to get a book on bankruptcy law. Because my knowledge of bankruptcy law can be summed up in one scientific term: zero. So basically I ended up lugging a textbook, the TOEIC kit, another novel that caught my eye and another knitting magazine. Lugging books is not an advisable activity in this haze, right? *feeling self-aggrieved, even though it was self-inflicted*
lloll4: erhu (erhu)
It's funny that I'm using my erhu icon, as I haven't played it in years. Well, music related anyway.

When I was younger (teenager-ish?), I used to have the biggest hang-up about people who learnt the piano as kids. Our family couldn't afford it then, and I always wondered it was like. Meanwhile all those kids talked about piano lessons and composers and classical music and all that. It seemed so magical. I felt so jealous that when I could finally afford to learn music, I couldn't bring myself to learn the piano. Just too bitter about it. And I'd have hated to let my parents know that I had ever wanted to. (Plus a piano was still too expensive then, while the erhu cost much less.) I just gave them the impression that I thought the erhu was cool and I was getting in touch with my Chinese roots by picking up a Chinese instrument.

Well, I still think the erhu is damn cool. C'mon, it uses snake skin! That's pretty baddass.

The guzheng... I like it; not sure if I love it. It's easy to pick up but tough to be good at it. As opposed to the erhu which is tough all the way. The guqin, on the other hand, is like the anthesis of the erhu: while it feels very natural to hold the erhu, the guqin depends on you holding your hands in a way that I feel is really artificial and contorted (stick your pinky out!) and that takes concentration. And yeah, it's again one of those instruments that's easy to pick up (only seven strings!) but tough - and how! - to play well, especially that you can't even hear some of the notes you're supposed to be playing.

***

Started, despite misgivings, a shawl. Using the same Niebling pattern to make up for the one that I lost, but silk yarn is too expensive now that I have no income, boo. Very pleased with the blue-black wool I'm using now, though, so I guess... I'm being mindful of time constraints and letting myself knit one (or two) round only each day, so it'll take much longer to finish.

Okay, enough with procrastination. Back to reading.

T___T

Dec. 17th, 2011 11:15 pm
lloll4: ice lolly shaped like Mickey Mouse (ponyo squeezed)
See icon. So much.

Finally got my grades. All B's. Which is averagely... average, and also means I've lost my funding. (It required at least an A to make up a higher grade point average.) So, dammit.

Also have to buy some very expensive textbooks for next term. Ditto.

Not to mention paying more for tuition. Ditto, ditto, ditto.

...It's my own fault for not being as hardworking as I ought to have been, and also shortcomings in my own IQ level, so can't really blame anyone. But still, di... yeah. (ETA: If it sounds like I'm sighing a lot, it's because I'm feeling doubtful about doing the next term. My brain has been having "Look, if you're not smart enough for this then so be it, give up and get a job" vs "Are you just scared about going through with the next term and doing even worse?" vs "What have you got to lose?" arguments with itself all day. >_>)

On a tangentially related note, have been doing volunteer work at pro bono office. Paperwork. Answering phones. And other stuff. But it's pretty interesting, plus it's bracing to be in the company of people who have a mission to help and who are not singlemindedly focused on grades, grades, grades. Only annoyance is, because it's a regular working stint, am feeling tired out at the end of the day; I feel almost too tired to go teach after work, which then makes me feel irritable. And then even more tired by the time it finishes. It's a bit sad to be eating dinner at 10.30. Am using an alarm clock these days because I'm scared of oversleeping. So tired. Used to be that I never used to use alarms in the past -- oh well, better an irritating noise (alarm's set on my phone) and being late, I suppose.

Unrelated note: knitted a shrug. And I look good wearing it! Also received my order of Handmaiden yarn. I also see that my days of ordering yarn online will no longer be, due to budget reasons. (I've only done it twice, tho.) Now, what to make with 400 metres of lovely green silk yarn??? Checking Ravelry just makes me tempted to order more yarn. But must make use of this year-end break to scratch my knitting itch; won't have time when term starts. But it's almost too pretty to knit!
lloll4: ice lolly shaped like Mickey Mouse (Default)
Reason #99 for hating the imaginary paper's lack of archival presence on the web: Wikipedia cannot quote you. ETA: Neither can CJR.

Nor can posts - blog posts like this one and other internet witterings. Which sort of pisses me off because I would like to talk about stuff from the imaginary paper but I can't because it'd be unsubstantiated.

O well. this bit's about the book reviews )

***

Terry Prachett's new book is out!

"If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to us to become his moral superior."

Vetinari, Unseen Academicals

I <3 Vetinari.

***

Wandered by the secondhand bookstore today and nearly picked up a copy of The Shipping News. (It was just $1!) Thankfully didn't, as I've already got a copy I'd forgotten about. I suck at remembering whether I already own a book, or had simply borrowed it too often from the library. This is the reason I have four copies of Gawain and the Green Knight. Still, this would not be a problem if I actually have shelfspace. *mourns* Neil Gaiman, who the imaginery paper says will be in town soon, has an awesome library. (Try fitting that in a flat.)

I'd bookblog, but I've been reading non-book stuff lately. Also, this was about the time my Yubina yarn arrived (with lots of cool stamps on the package!), so I've been spending time on Ravelry trying to find a pattern I really like. I'd make this Butterfly dress, except I don't think I bought enough yarn. And that despite how lovely it looks (ignore the ugly pink underdress), I'd feel weird wearing something like that.
lloll4: ice lolly shaped like Mickey Mouse (knitted hat)
I'm on Ravelry, same username. It's a community for knitters. I learnt knitting years ago from a book (just about everything I do comes from books. I learnt to hold chopsticks from a book.) and didn't realise there were tons of resources on the net. Not to mention free patterns! And YouTube for demonstrations on certain techniques.

Anyway, due to the stress of my impending joblessness, I have started to knit something that may or may not turn out to be a sweater--or mayhap a tanktop?--and could well end up fitting only my teddy bear. It keeps my hands busy, anyway--I am determined not to start biting my nails.

Some knitting links:

About knitting yarns, tools, books. What I love most are the yarn reviews, though.
Seasonal knitting magazine. Lovely free patterns.
Previews current issue of Vogue Knitting, but has a free library of stitch patterns
Twist Collective, knitting magazine
Knotions magazine
Elann, sells yarn and has nice collection of free patterns.
ETA: Triangular shawls, by yardage

And most yarn companies, to entice buyers, have a section of patterns, both free and for sale.

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lloll4: ice lolly shaped like Mickey Mouse (Default)
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