Thursday, 29 November 2012


It's about time a proper post has been done. It's also a day late so my bad. I'm almost in the clear (for this week) but earlier this week was not so much fun for me. Mainly for one reason, the Graduate Record Examinations or GRE. If you want to get into any English speaking graduate school for your Masters degree, you're probably want to take this exam.

So while we're on topic, let's take a look at what this exam entails. The trials and tribulations of this stupid test that requires you to pay a third party company nearly $200 so you have a chance of advancing your education.

I was forced to to do this if I wanted to have a chance at Speech and Language Pathology.

Can't say I was pleased.

There are multiple variations of this exam. I only wrote the Revised (aka. general) version so I'm only going to be talking about that one. But I know friends who wrote Physics or Biology orientated versions so those exist too.

Basically, 7 parts: 2 writing, 2 reading, 2 math and the fake part. You have half an hour each of those parts and you can't go back once the time is up. They're all pretty self-explanatory with the exception of the "fake" part. In order to test new questions for future exams, they throw in an extra reading or math section that's worth nothing BUT looks identical to the other parts.

You're wasting time, energy, and effort on a worthless section. You're paying to help them screw over future students. That's so nice of them.

Thanks a lot, jerks.

Writing is writing. Nothing special here. Here's a topic, argue for or against it.

The reading sections consist of reading, vocabulary testing and sometimes both. Reading passages and answering questions is fairly standard, it's the vocab that's annoying. So for example, you'll be given a passage like "Abraham Lincoln was known for his _________ personality." and then you have to pick two words from a list that not only make sense with the sentence, but mean the same thing.

So your word bank will be like "GREGARIOUS. EQUIVOCATE. VICARIOUS. PROSAIC. EGREGIOUS. BLINKERED." Also, you have to get both words right to get 1 point. No half marks here.

Math is math. High school material really. You know, Train A is traveling 50km/h and Train B leaves in the opposite direction at twice the speed, Circle D has a circumference of 9x, determine the diameter of the square inside it, a company's value goes up 10%, how much more funding does Department X get compared to Department Y?

Derp derp.

So comes test day. You'd think I was going to prison or something. Photo ID required, picture taken, dumped in a small room with cameras observing me at all times. They really take this test seriously.

The writing portion is easy. If there's anything I can do it's pull a coherent mass of words out of my butt and have it sound amazing. The first hour is uneventful. Actually I'll be honest with you, the whole 3-4 hours was uneventful.

I finished most of the sections with time to spare and check over previous answers. Now, the thing about the GRE is how it grades your exam. The writing is marked separately out of 6. The reading and math are out of 50 marks and are converted into a score out of 170. Only the grade out of 170 matters. So you could get 27/50 on the math part and that could translate into 146/170.


The best thing about the GRE is that at the end, they give you your score for the reading and math portions. The writing gets sent for marking and that mark comes 3 weeks later.

I got 156 and 159/170. The average varies from 145-150.

The funny thing is that the GRE study guides have schedules for people to study months or weeks in advance. I started studying for this thing half a week beforehand.

Not bad for half a week of studying.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

End of Term Update 2

Hey, for once I have something worth talking about. Unfortunately I have about half a dozen things due this week (half on Tuesday, the other half on Thursday) so the time it takes to write up about whats been going on is being spent working.

Yeah, more all nighters. I haven't even had time to publish comments yet (thanks to everyone who's been dropping by!) but I should be safe by Wednesday.

See everyone then.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

End of Term Update 1

Again, apologies for not visiting everyone. This week has been hectic but I hope I have everything under control. At least, I've done enough of everything to maintain some semblance of control.

Honestly though, I can't afford to slack off or I'm going to die before the end of the weekend. Everyday is a daily struggle just to be on track.

Or I can just stay up all night to try and catch up. That's always fun.

Man I love Corgis.

Almost every project I have is half/almost done so I have an idea of how much work I need to shove into it to complete it on time. The exception is studying for the GRE. Does anyone remember my crazed friend Yu? I managed to grab a few study guides off of him and I'm trying to cram as much as I can for the GRE exam on Sunday.

Over 4 hours in front of a computer answering poorly worded questions to determine if I qualified to enter graduate school. Fun stuff.

Well, back to work. Never ends does it.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Nothing Substantial

Yeah. Nothing interesting going on. Just more work and more studying.

A blog post will go up when something worth while happens that doesn't involve papers or other academic nonsense. My life gets pretty boring when school takes over.

Here's a picture of a corgi driving a car. I'll see you guys when I see you guys. Will try and visit everyone when I have a spare moment.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Projects Galore

The great thing about this term is the general lack of final exams I have. Technically, I only have 1 but one of my classes has an unofficial final so I have only 2 finals to write in total.

The catch? I have a ton of papers and projects that have deadlines that are slowing approaching. And I've barely started on any of them. Which is not good, but I'll survive.

I hope.

Aging Psych:

I mentioned in a previous post how I was doing volunteer work instead of a paper. It involved helping out with some online stuff, writing things up. No problem there, I thrive online and I own a blog.

But it took until mid October for me to get in touch with the coordinators running the thing and I didn't start any work until early November. That, is a problem.

So now I'm kind of rushing here to get enough things done so I can get a decent grade. I think I'm going to need roughly 3 more blog posts for them before the end of the month. They're only 300-400 word posts each so I should be safe. That'll take an hour each to write.

Total time = 3 Hours.

Conservation Psych:

Got a paper here, 2500 words. Not too heavy though I really should get started on it. Probably take me a solid 5 hours to get this done. Basically, take an issue in the world related to conservation, suggest a way that would fix it but then outline all the issues that would prevent this solution from being implemented.

The biggest problem I find is not say overpopulation, but rather over-consumption. What if half the population of the world was wiped out but the remaining populous started using/wasting materials at double the rate? We haven't solved anything have we.

I've actually been meaning to have a post dedicated to this class. It's an interesting course.

Total time = 3 +5 = 8 Hours.

Social Influences:

Here's where things messy. We got two projects here that are due. 1 is a group project that has not been started but (hopefully) on Sunday my group can finally meet. I have no idea how long this is going to take. We're filming something that doesn't have a script written yet.

Second project is basically a massive paper. I need to research and create a hypothetical textbook chapter. This includes graphs, pictures, researching the topic and seeing as a textbook chapter for this class is roughly 30 pages long, this will not be a walk in the park.

Total time = 8 + ???? + ???? = ????


I still have the GRE exam to write at the end of the month. I haven't started studying yet. Yes, this is the 4 hour long exam I have to write to apply to for Grad school next year.

No I have not started studying.

If it's any consolation it's supposed to be easy. Interpreting chunks of text, impromptu papers, that sort of thing.

Still, I should probably try and take a look at what's to come. I didn't bother buying the help guides. Not when there are free ones available and what not.

Total time = ???? + ????

Better get started.

So if you rarely hear from me in the next few weeks. These are the reasons why.

I am not looking forward to this.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Movember Shame

I'm certain that everyone is aware of the Movember campaign that's been going on for a number of years now. For anyone not aware, it's where men (and I guess women) don't shave to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer.

I think a lot of guys like it because it's a month where they can justify being lazy and not having to shave for a month. Then they can walk around with massive scraggly beards and not get odd or horrified looks from people in public.

But if you're like me, you can't grow facial hair. It just doesn't work. Asians are funny like that.

Baby smooth skin!

Ok, that's not entirely accurate. I can grow facial hair but never to the point where it would look respectable. All I get is this really gross looking peach fuzz or wisps of crap on my chin. My face hates the facial hair too because immediately I start getting zits around the hairs.

So the better solution is to just raze it as soon as anything pops up. Clear cut the entire area.

I mean, if I could grow an Asian beard I would totally go for it. Old Chinese people beards look hilarious.

I'd stroke that thing nonstop.

But I'd like to take the time to share with you a shaving story from a not so distant past. Back in Junior High, when I first started getting my first actual clumps of facial hair. I hated them. I had seen what teenagers looked like with their scraggly upper lip fur. You looked like a disgusting nerd that's what. And while I may have been a nerd, I was determined not to look disgusting.

I really didn't want to go around using my Dad's electrical razor, that's just weird. But my parents however were unsympathetic to my woes. They laughed when I asked for my first razor, questioning the whereabouts of my so-called "hair".

It could have been that I was just really paranoid about the hair and there wasn't much, but it didn't matter. It bothered me a lot. And so I got crafty, and a few weeks later I asked my parents for...

Wait for it.

A set of tweezers.

Yep. Parents wouldn't get me a razor so I asked for tweezers.

I literally spent years with these tweezers ripping out any and every offending follicle on my face. Of course it hurt, but it the pain was worth it so that I wouldn't look like a disgusting mess incapable of growing a proper beard. Looking back, I'm probably a lot more vain than most guys.

A lot of people questioned my ability to grow facial hair, a lot of guys seem to display theirs with pride. Not me. Eventually they assumed I was just meticulously shaving it all off, almost no one knows my tweezer secret.

Maybe if I could grow a goatee overnight I'd do it but the inbetween process is really gross.

I'd love to be able to walk around with one of these.

Many years of plucking later I finally got around to getting a razor. I can confirm it's a lot more efficient and a lot less painful.

The tweezers now sit somewhere in my bathroom unused and gathering dust. And they'll probably continue to sit like that.

Unless my razor dies or something.

Yeah, I'm going to go charge it up now.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Remembrance Weekend Post

I'm not sure how recognized Remembrance day is in the rest of the world but in Canada we kind of make a big deal out of it. Days off, school assemblies, wearing poppies, etc.. And I think there should be some attention paid to it, we're recognizing the sacrifices of the people who have fought in wars.

So take a minute or two on Sunday if you can. A moment of silence out of respect for these people. If you want to be really on top of things, try and do it at 11AM.

Short post today. I'll see you guys on Tuesday.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Random Assortments Post

Lots of little unrelated things to discuss in this post today so don't expect any form of coherency. When something bigger or more interesting happens in my life you can expect a post on that. But until then, this kind of a post will have to make due.

First off, congrats to Obama winning the elections last night. I don't usually like to discuss politics on my blog but this is kind of a significant event so it deserves some form of mention. Also hard to not notice it seeing as all my friends on Facebook kind of exploded.

Is this a good or bad thing? Hard to say. Though I guess it's true that once you go black, you can't go back.

Now if Canada could only get rid of Stephen Harper... I hate the man for trying to censor the Internet up here.

Should this man really represent us?

Next thing is snow. It literally went from just leaves on the ground to up to 25cm of snow overnight. There have been over 200 collisions, buses take forever to get anywhere, parts of highways have been closed off, and the last I heard, the light rail transit was shut down too.

Getting to classes tomorrow is going to be so much fun.

I should be used to it I guess. Though my friends from the province of BC are just laughing. I hate them so much right now.

Last thing, I'm booking an appointment with my doctor. My lungs will not leave me alone and they're starting to hurt sporadically. It's not longer just random breathlessness or discomfort, it's pain not unlike when my lung was healing from surgery. I'm not sure what's happening, but the fact that this has been occurring on and off for over 2 weeks now is getting me worried.

Plus I promised Theresa I'd get it checked out if it continued. Also can't let her know because she's busy again with exams and I can't afford to be stressing her out with my health problems.

Also she won't have time to read my blog so no worries about her finding out from this.

And if she does see this post, this otter will distract her.

Alright, back to work. See you guys on Saturday.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Halfway Point

It's about halfway through the term. And I have a general feeling about how well I've done this term:

Aging: ~B
Cognitive: ~B
Conservation: ~A
Social Influence: ~B

This is roughly a B+  or 3.3. That's generally how well I've done in my previous terms. But at the moment there's only one word that rings in my mind.

As I've mentioned before, I'm trying to get into Speech and Langauge Pathology. However, it appears the program has gotten a lot more competitive over the years. If you want to stand a chance, you should have a GPA of 3.7 or an A-.

So as you can see, a 3.3 isn't going to be good enough to get me in. I don't expect myself to get A's in all my courses, but at least an A- so I have a fighting chance.

I have to kick things up a notch.


All hope is not lost yet. I still need to write the GRE at the end of the month and I really should start studying for it soon. I also should start looking to work or volunteer with something SLP related. Not only will it give me vital experience, but I could use a second job. Especially next term when my schedule will be even more light.

My only saving grace for my GPA at the moment is apparently they only care about your grades for the last 2 years that you were in school. In other words, with a bit more work my disastrous 3 year grades will suddenly become invalid, like they never existed at all.

Seriously though, if that year even touches the rest of my GPA I'll drop to a B-.

Replace Homer with some bad grades and you get the idea.

My last hope is that a lot of my remaining marks for my courses are in the form of papers and projects. Wish me luck on them, I need all I can get.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Post-Halloween Disappointment

Halloween has come and gone. Normally I'm not a fan of dressing up, I preferred to look at other people's costumes. But this year I decided to try to be different and goes as the Slenderman simply because I had the bodytype and it was fairly easy to do.

The only thing I was missing for a mask or head covering to complete it. So I ordered something online at the beginning of the month with the predicted date of arrival with roughly a week until it would arrived. Prefect timing.

And so I waited.

And waited.

It's after Halloween and it still hasn't arrived.

So I'm certainly disappointed. I mean, I paid extra for it to come in before Halloween. I also booked the day off of work so I could run around on Campus. Instead, I just ended up sleeping in and loafing off. It's not bad, but I'd rather run around as a mythical entity that abducts people on the one day that it's socially acceptable. I can sleep in any other day.

I'm tempted to blame Sandy for the delays in the mail but I have no idea when it'll arrive. I got an email a while ago saying it was shipped out, and would arrive within 8 days at the latest. That means it should have arrived last Friday. And if it arrived late on the weekend or something, I should have got it on Monday.

It's Wednesday now.

And waiting.

I guess I'll just dress up next year then. Assuming I don't think of a better costume. In the meantime, I've done some thinking and realized that simply wearing a suit and a head-covering mask doesn't make you a good Slenderman. You look more like a mannequin than anything.

So in preparation of next Halloween, let's take a look at what makes the Slenderman so unsettling to so many people, and how we can translate that into a better costume.

I think I can sum it up in the various pictures and images that are used with the Slenderman.

Take a look at the picture below:

First, he's disproportionate and tall, he doesn't look normal. People hate things that look almost human but are slightly off. It's the uncanny valley effect, basically, things that clearly don't look human (e.g. a cartoon) look fine and obviously humans look ok. But it's that inbetween stage of the two that really cause us to feel uncomfortable.

Imagine how the Slenderman would move, completely ungainly and hobbling. He looks like he could almost pass as a person but it's these little differences that throw us off and that's the goal here seeing as he is some kind of urban legend monster.

To accomplish this we we're going to need two things stilts and some form of trash grabbers. If you cover the stilts up well, bam, you have an extra few feet of height. Attach the grabbers to your forearms, bam, extra arm length. Some of the best Slenderman costumes I've seen recommend using dry-waller stilts just because they're easier to walk around with. So I can look for those.

Not creepy at all.

Being abnormally tall won't be hard with the stilts. I'm over 6 feet which is a decent height but it's not rare or uncommon to see other people that tall. To make this costume go from mannequin to Slenderman, we need to make ourselves unrealistically tall. We're talking, 7/8/9 feet tall. The bigger some weird looking thing is, the more scary it is. We see this kind of behavior in animals all the time, puffing themselves up to look bigger in hopes of intimidating something else.

I'm hoping that if I'm running around like this next Halloween I won't trip and fall or anything. Remember, I live in Canada, and by Halloween, we usually have snow and ice all over the place. I remember trying to build a costume around jackets and snowpants.

Maybe I'll just be the Slenderman indoors...