Friday, January 29, 2010

Changing Tides...Moon... Party on, Garth!

Last night around 1am I had very strong urges to text, "Party on, Garth!" to a variety of people.

So I did.

Anyway. I'm supposed to be sleeping, but I hate going to bed. It's so... not fun.

Stranger: You know what's fun?
Jen Mac: WHAT?!?! *giddy*
Stranger: Going to bed!
Jen Mac: *blink*
Stranger: But at least I go to bed and can function before 9:30 in the morning and don't accidentally poke myself in the eye with a spoon when eating breakfast.
Jen Mac: You didn't see that.
Stranger: But I bet that has happened.
Jen Mac: You can't prove anything!

Anyway, something extremely significant happened earlier this week. As many of you already know due to the communication advances of "email" and social networking of "Facebook", I have found a new Scottish Love.

It has left me torn and confused. Does my heart no longer pine for Ewan McGregor? He has one of my favourite first names, is brave enough to wear make-up, and belts out "Your Song" in Moulin Rouge with such gentle fierceness (such a delicate balance) that the soul becomes stronger with each subsequent listening experience. I watched him eat cow testicles ("nuts", if you will) in Long Way Round, read his achievements in Long Way Down, admired his lightsaber in Star Wars. I have belted out "Elephant Love Medley" at inappropriate, off-key levels for YEARS.

YEARS!!! That is more commitment than buying a DVD PLAYER.

But now...

I have watched this video much too many times already. I crack up at concerning decibels. I sent it to people who won't get it (i.e., have spent little to no time in Scottie-land). I made my parents watch it when I was at their house eating their food (a parent-child tradition once the youngling has left the home), and while they seemed amused (more so the Father), they seemed more concerned that my lung was going to splatter out of my mouth and smack them in the face from my loud, gasping for breath, convulsion-inducing, seal-lion-like laughter.

It's just.. he makes fun of so much! With such GENTLE SKILL.

"... Scots speak the Queen's English. That is, if the Queen developed a serious case of turrets."

The chav outfit.

"They say that traditional cooking comes from the heart. But here in Scotland it comes from the liver, lungs, and eyelids as well, all wrapped up in a sheep's stomach and boiled to perfection to create our national dish of haggis."

"As you casually wander the winding cobbled streets, you may start to hear what sounds like someone f***ing a cat. Relax! This is none other than the sound of Scotland's famous bagpipes."

He's coming to Charlottetown in early May. I need to pretend to be a reporter to meet him. Then I will offer to house sit for him in his empty Scottish home.

... the plans are falling into place. See yee soon, Danny Bhoy!

To bed she says.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's just a little tickle! - - uh oh

Today I and co-workers trudged through the spring (printemps!) weather to go downtown for a meeting. A few things usually cross my mind at some point before or during the meeting:

1. I shouldn't drink too much water (l'eau!) in the two hours preceding the meeting (meeting! - said in a funny accent).
2. I should not eat things with creamy, delicious sauces the day of the meeting.
3. Oh yeah, bring a pen (stylo!).
4. If food or drink is served at the meeting, consume these things SLOWLY (lentement!).
5. I hope I don't start coughing.

The evil dry cough that occasionally develops at the end of or beginning of a cold (rhume - I am teaching you French today). I dislike the general discomfort of it, but I hate the awkwardness of it. I recall in grade 5 having one of those dry coughs. It would be fine, and suddenly a burning tickle would develop in the back of your throat (like a UTI in your mouth!! Ew, jen mac.) and a small throat clearing would be attempted. It cause the tickle to length, to plummet deeper into the throat. A pang of stress flashes through the eyes. Attempts to wet the throat occur. Excessive swallowing of non-existent saliva. And, if you are too be so lucky (avoir de chance!) to have a liquid close by, drinking a fluid.

In grade 5 I recall classmates were giving a presentation at the front of the class, and I was trying to very hard not to cough. Holding my breath. Staring at the upper right corner of the room. Trying to think about other things.

You see, in grade 5 one is not allowed to simply stand up and get a drink of water without asking the teacher. And one does not interrupt another student's presentation with such a juvenile request (demande).

One must SUFFER (oh la la!).

And suffer this wee lass did. To the point she remembers it and memories still flood her brain in effort to develop pro-active strategies.

Today in my meeting I started to develop a small tickle in the throat. Luckily, in this case, I successfully formed saliva in my mouth and swallowed it enough to take the tickle down to a pale pink, then non existent. (Yes, tickle intensity is measured on a scale of not-there, to white, to shades of pink, up to intense red. When the red starts glowing, the cough starts flowing.)

Maintenant, on danse.

And now, we dance.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sorry, I Don't Speak French

Title above is actually in reference to a book I'm ready. As clearly I, personally, would be polite enough to apologize about my lack of French skills in the actual language. "Désolé, je ne parle pas français."

Or, you know, I would just speak French.

The book cost a shiny tooney from Indigo, Chapter's sad cousin of uncomfort. If you have not been to an Indigo, but have been to a Chapter's, just picture a Chapter's without comfortable chairs for sitting, and no place to buy coffee. Decor is not quite as welcoming either. I had seen this book on the shelf long ago, but had forgot about it until seeing this random copy on the SVP!! ACHETEZ-MOI!! table.

I started in the middle of the book. I usually wouldn't do this, but it was late at night and I thought, "Just read a little bit, so make sure it's a bit that catches your eye."

I actually don't know what the general consensus is on bilingualism among Canadians. I think it's delightful, but I'm clearly a bit biased based on my love of randomly blurting out words in French. But, that's not really looking at what it truly means for Canada to declare itself a bilingual country. Frankly, I don't really think it's a bilingual country. This book makes the point that we are not - we are actually a country with two official languages. Frankly, it's true. Related, but did Belgium ever declare itself bilingual? Or just having multiple official languages? As with Suisse - three official languages, but I don't think it declared itself trilingual.

So I kind of wonder how far French-speaking regions should bend to serve anglophones, and how far English speaking regions should bend for francophones. In some of tourist surveys we receive at work (most surveys are translated into French) francophones are angry at the lack of French service here. I'm not sure if they had been mislead to thinking that French would be widely offered, or if they just assumed since it was part of Canada. It's true that we do have a French-speaking population (as a first language), but it is quite small. I mean, remember that time the English deported many Acadiens from the Maritimes? (Although I think PEI was effected to a lesser extent). Funny thing: the English didn't really invite any more French in, nor did any French made great efforts to immigrate to PEI.

I wouldn't expect to be served in English in a French region - with the possible exception of a major hotel chain.

I'm not really going anywhere with this. Just killing time.

Je le trouve bizarre que je ne parle pas français maintenant. L'exception c'est au travail. Des fois je travaille en français (comme ecrire les mails ou faire les petits traductions pour les sondages), mais pas beaucoup. Le français? Tu me manques :(

Aujourd`hui c'est comme un jour de mai. 7C et beaucoup de pluie. En anglais il y a une expression - April showers bring May flowers (la pluie d'avril grandi les fleurs de mai - wow... terrible translation effort :D ). ici c'est plutôt comme, les dernieres flacons de neige d'avril changeront à la pluie pour mai, et le debut de juin.

L'année passé il y avait un tempête de neige le derniére jour de mars. Je crois que c'était le derniére tempete de l'hiver. A ce point, il n'y avait pas un tempête de neige encore. C'a me stressée. Je veux que la neige vient maintenant, pas à la fin de mars et pas en avril. Au mellieu de mars je voudrais monter à vélo. C'est necessaire.

Hier j'ai lu un article a propos les accents different d'anglais. Il y a plusieurs des accents d'anglais aux États-Unis, mais pas ici au Canada. Quand on fait du "recherche" à Internet, on trouve qu'il y a cinq accents d'anglais au Canada. Je crois qu'il y a les accents differents ici. Si on voudrait les entendre, demande au canadien(ne) de dire pasta, car, tomorrow, et Calgary (comme la ville). Et peut-être Vancouver... Je trouve que les canadiens de la côté l'ouest mets un petit g dans la mot, et moins qu'un c. "Vang(c)ouver". Et Calgary - il y a les personnes des prairies qui dit Cal-gary. À l'ést on dit Cal-gry.

Et "tomorrow"? Ah, mon mot préferé des insulaires. TA-MOR-AHHHHHH. Et les mots avec 'ar', nous sommes commes les pirates. "I will drive my carrrrrrrrrrr to the barrrrrr."

La fin. Je travaille maintenant. Je vais m'amuser beaucoup. Oh, oui.

Friday, January 22, 2010

"Pint of vodka, love?"

In PEI we have 19 retail outlets where we can buy liquor, wine, beer, liqueurs, etc. Omitting bootleggers. Someone (the public? local MLA? not sure) was pushing to get a liquor store constructed in Cavendish, one of the busiest tourist destinations in PEI (think Green Gables). There was a cabinet shuffle last week, and the minister now in charge of the PEI Liquor Control Commission stated that the gov't will not open a liquor store in Cavendish, as there is already one 7-km away in Rustico. Residents of Rustico do not want a liquor store in Cavendish as it will hurt sales in their own store, and visitors/people from Cavendish will no longer drive to Rustico to spend money, thus hurting surrounding businesses.

The Guardian (local newspaper) and CBC PEI both allow comments to be left on their news articles/postings. I hate the argument, "It's fine, that's how it is, that's how we do it now."

Just because we do it now does not mean it is the best alternative. Residents also argue, "Oh, we shouldn't spend money on that." However, the liquor store generates REVENUE. I assume they turn a dandy profit, given how much liquor is taxed in this province... Okay, I don't actually know how much liquor is taxed here. But we like to think it's high. The gov't already lends money to blundering local businesses.

A liquor store in Cavendish could be small and seasonal. It could even be in the western part of Cavendish, closer to Stanley Bridge, thus even further away from Rustico. I'm not sure why so many people are so quick to say no.

Maybe they're bootleggers in the Cavendish area?

Proximity of other liquor stores
Stratford LC to Downtown LC: 3.3 km
Downtown LC to Oak Tree Place: 1.3 km
Oak Tree Place to West Royalty LC: 4.2 km
(and yes, I realise Charlottetown serves a greater population than the North Shore.)

Summerside has two liquor stores, both which are about 14 km away from the one in Kensington.

Now, a really innovative idea would be selling liquor in gas stations, corner stores, and grocery stores, à la Québec, United States, and what I`ve seen of Europe. Also believe Alberta, but can`t say that for 100 percent. Or even just select gas stations, as in New Brunswick (although I`m not sure if this law has changed at any point.)

But that`s okay PEI, we don`t want to make things too convenient for tourists and visitors.

In a related note, I kind of want a beer now. Mmm.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

French makes Jennifer MacMuscles popular

I recently learned that many of the random people that come across my blog (i.e., those to whom I am not related nor am friends with on Facebook) often find me my Googling random things, often in French.

Is the French blogosphere so small that I give decent search results?!

Not really, because I re-searched the key phrases that people entered into Google to find my blog. I must be on search result page 842 or something, as I lost interest after page 8 or so.

Some of the great things people search for, and somehow find me:

"pop a wheelie" vélo

c'est jolie et c'est bonne mais ce n'est pas que je veus

chat for mac students english

es que la vie est cher au canada en 2010

et maintenant translation

français grâce à google je peux : translated to english

fun francais parlent anglais

i like my boobs

je fait froid et fatigue means

je n'aime pas maintenant. translate --> I am the SECOND search result for this on

je suis a sept mots maintenant translate - TOP SEARCH RESULT.

je vends beaucoup de gym equipment - Fifth search result?

je vois que tu essaye de parler français.

jennifer mac muscles - Top result again?! I am MacStrong.

la voyage á paris c'est formidable

les produits swipe en france

magasin jen macet

malheursement vertaal

my sexy point

my sexy point sign in

non porte quoi translate

parler anglais

pas que tu dit maintenant in english

"translate, j ai un mal de tete aie aie aie . alors que je dois preparer voyage"

translation je parle anglais aussi

what does this mean in english je veux faire le bonbon vous aimer en ce moment

So there we go. I am easy to stalk. And with every word I type, I am being more easily found. Type type type.

Time to get a pen name?

Anyway, still not that cold here. I dress for the arctic on my walk to/home from work, and am a pool of sweat by the time I get there. But, you know, MacMuscle sweat. The best kind of sweat there is! Winter is one-quarter over, and it seems so weak. It does snow a little almost every day, but where is that BIG January storm that blows around small puppy dogs? I need winter to get big NOW so that it will clear up by mid March and I can start biking again without eight litres of snot dripping from my nose. And you are very welcome for the delicious visual. It's winter, people get runny noses. C'est la vie.

I *finally* decided what I'm giving up for the remainder of 2010: the Bulk Barn. Or, more specifically, candy from the Bulk Barn. I shall permit myself to buy grains, nuts, and other random things that the top three ingredients are just various forms of sugar. Apparently they are "bad" for me. Aisle three, I be taking you DOWN.

I started running at the gym. So much more battering on the body that biking, per unit of time. I could bike for three hours and still prance about happily afterwards (provided seat is at the right height). I play on the treadmill for 30 minutes and become concerned that the outside of my foot is going to snap off in an extremely painful way. It also could be bloody. Hard to tell, I've never had the side of my foot snap off.

I watched "Come Dine with Us" this Sunday afternoon. It made me miss the UK, something I haven't felt much lately other than during my mini-holiday stint there in Nov/Dec. Le sigh. Take me back, Scottie-land?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Ne pas, ne pas, ne pas!

Title of this post inspired by friend's terrible, yet terribly entertaining, francais.

"Le bateau et le cove de Peggy???? Ne pas."


Obviously the above is grammatically incorrect, but I let it slide.

It's winter! And... I like it. I can't believe I'm saying that. But it's fake winter. The temperature rarely dips below -5C. The snow is wet and heavy, instead of fluffy and soft. Also, it helps that Christmas Break was fantastically fun, and included some outdoor fun.

Things I like about winter: (note, this is pre-deep freeze that will eventually come, and when I will flee to Mexico like a criminal)
  • The white snow reflects light, so even though it's dark early, it doesn't seem quite as dark as it would without the snow.
  • Functioning winter clothes, e.g., the kind that actually keep you warm. Although Charlottetown isn't too much colder than Paris was (though much damper is the Isle), I have my real winter clothes here and it makes a huge difference.
  • When you are walking outside, it's snowing, but the wind is at yee back so it looks like snow is dancing in front of you, yet you do not freeze.
  • Sledding.
  • Adventures of walking in unexplored land. This weekend we explored PEI's highest "peak". It was a very daring adventure. Appropriate write-up will eventually follow.
  • My 'stompy' winter boots that make me feel like I can kick in doors and stomp through the cruddiest of snow.
  • Snuggling under many layers of blankets.
  • Listening to the wind.
  • Power outages. Yes, I like them. They force you to do nothing but relax and slow down. NOTE: this bullet is omitted if power has been out for so long that one must seek shelter due to lack of heat.
  • Watching the kids at the daycare outside my window play in the snow, oblivious to any cold.
  • Hair is generally not frizzy!
However, winter is not without its flaws:
  • Static electricity
  • Hat hair
  • Learning the hard way that ones boots are not waterproof
  • Car accidents
  • Feeling really, really pale
  • Deep freezes with ridiculous windchills
C'est tout que j'ecris a propos d'hiver.

I did the Polar Bear Dip this year! This is my pre-game face of nerves.

Yes folks, that is the look of a strong-hearted, confident champion. One who laughs in the face of uncertainty.

I had a spotter that day, on hand with towels, slippers - the supplies one must have when crashing into just above freezing water. However, the most important tool she was armed with was my camera. She correctly pointed out that she would not be able to photograph my reaction upon entering the water, so I displayed a fake reaction, which was perhaps more dramatic of my real reaction which I don't remember. However, somehow.. I don't think I cursed upon entering the water.

And before you know it... it's done. I feel like I should be famous among the mortals who did not participate in the icy endeavor. HAIL JENNIFER! We were about 3/4 of the way back in the crowd. Strategic, as those first in would have to crush through the ice with their shins, AND face the oncoming crowd when trying to hustle out of the water.

In the end, I did not dunk under the water, but I believe I went waste deep. I could have went deeper, but the water gushing into my sneakers was causing slight panic to creep into my brain because, well, the water was pretty damn cold. As I turned around to come out, the rocks were super slippery and I recall having a flash oh, "WHAT IF YOU ARE NEVER ABLE TO GET PAST THE SLIPPY ROCKS AND YOU FREEZE? AND NEED TO BE RESCUED AND LOOK LIKE A KNOB??"

Luckily that did not happen.

And standing around after was not so bad, except the feet. I have never had so little feeling in my toes ever before. Taking my sneakers off was hard, like picking up a sleeping uncooperative animal. Putting on slippers was also challenging. It felt like trying to to put a small plastic bag around a giant box or something.

So it was done! I feel it's a good way to start off the year. Something a bit whacky, a lil' nutty, hopefully foreshadowing for the year to come.

Et, la fin.