Wednesday, January 26, 2011

French words that give special insight

Today at work I was working on French translations for two surveys. Huge parts of them have been professionally translated before (I only translate simple things like "Are you a banana?" = "Es-tu une banane?") but they are mixed up in a whole bunch of different files. One of these days when work slows down a bit, I plan to execute my organisation skills and make a master file of questions in English and French. It will be beautiful... provided I print it off and bedazzle the hardcopy and cover it with ribbons and glitter. Otherwise, it was not be beautiful, but "useful". Which is good, as most workplaces other than modelling agencies prefer useful to beautiful. Myself, I aim to be strong in both adjectives. Usefully beautiful, or beautifully useful, depending on the day.

Your French vocabulary of the day, brought to by myself (applause!) and our translator (applause! but slightly less applause than for me).

Also, I have my keyboard set to English Canada bilingual happily ever after mode, and I CANNOT find the open arrow head things that one uses for html ANYWHERE. How is it that the following symbols take priority over them? £ ¢ ¤ ¬ ¼³²¦ }<>... oh look, I just found them. Complaining works every time...
  • "Je voyage trop pour des raisons d'affaires." - I travel too much for business purposes. Note that BUSINESS (affaires) looks suspiciously similar to AFFAIR, a popular past-time of the Global French community.

  • "Le bouche-à-oreille" - word of mouth, or more literal, from the mouth to the ear. This is good because it reminds us part of communication involves being a good listener.

  • "Vivant en union libre" - living common-law.. or, living in a "free" (as in non-restricted, NOT relating to cost, although that would make me wink too) union. How liberating and non-legally binding!

  • "Célibataire" - single. Seems to be a take on celibacy. Moral preaching?

  • "Moteur de recherche" - search engine. The word is so common now (probably more so than 'telephone book' for younger generations) that one tends to forget that it is actually two separate words combined to make a new, special word. English places the emphasis on 'search', French seems to place the emphasis on 'moteur' (engine). As I'm currently car shopping (an ongoing area of confusion for my confusion-free life), 'moteur' reminds me that I should be reading more about cars and figuring that stuff out. I told my brother that by the time I decide on a car all roads/autos will have been replaced with high-speed light rail anyway.

C'est tout.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Worst Guilt of All: Catholic

I'm not Catholic, but one of my Catholic friends insisted Catholics are raised to feel extra guilty about everything. Thus, anytime I feel extreme guilt, I label it "catholic guilt".

Things that Deliver Guilt to my Soul - in no particular order
  • Reading chick lit. Everytime I dance home from the library with a Meg Cabot piece of literature you can be sure to note that I have also checked out a book on economics, international development, the environment, history, saving the world, etc. Sometimes I'll even read the whole second book. But mostly I read bits and pieces of it so I'll have something to talk about at work if asked what I'm currently reading. ("Princess Diaries 10, but in French!" doesn't sound so impressive.)

  • Napping on Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The guilt is less Catholic in the winter and more so United (United Protestant or whatever I am experiences less guilt). However, in the summer it causes me to slightly panic, particularly if it's a sunny day. Exception to the rule is sleeping outside on the grass letting the sun kiss my bronzing skin, or at the beach. Which brings us to...

  • Not going in the water when I go to the beach. I'm scared of jellyfish. That pretty much explains the only reason I wouldn't get in the water. And it's a frickin' good reason, friends.

  • Buying pineapples. They travel so far to get to wee PEI. Maybe if I start participating in the 2.0x10^4-mile diet. But sometimes I miss eating so much pineapple that my lips feel like they are bleeding and full of botox. (PS: use of scientific notation = +1 point.)

  • Bringing pre-made food to a potluck. I generally try to make something, I really do, but sometimes I don't have time pre-event and I bring something easy (yet delicious!), like cookies or popsicles. That being said, popsicles have yet to EVER disappoint.

  • Using the dryer. I don't use the dryer for regular clothes (see note written in early January about my struggles to make it look like a tornado hasn't destroyed my bedroom) but do use it for bedsheets and towels sometimes. Somewhere, somehow, I have caused death upon an innocent squirrel. Research has yet to prove that dryer use is directly related to squirrel death, but I have a hunch.

  • Staying in more than one Saturday night in a row. So anti-social! .... and boring.

  • Not voting in the municipal election. It's just not as exciting. And I forgot.

  • Not knowing the names of different kinds of trees. But it's okay, trees are deaf so they don't respond if I call them by name anyway. Ha! How I laugh at my funnies.

Good night, a happy Monday to all!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lessons Learned: 2011, week 1 & 2 edition

There is a famous PEI proverb that states, "She who stops learning will suffer in rust."

Note: Proverb not famous, I made it up, but if we work together we can make it famous!

I have learned a variety of things thus far in 2011 that I think I should share with the world. Some of these were learned in late 2010, but the lesson is still fresh and reinforced into my soul on a daily basis.
  1. When hiring people to do data entry, do not assume data entry is easy and almost anyone can do it. Instead, treat the job candidate like he/she is a drunk driver. Provide a series of tests, particularly on eyesight, and ability to recollect information. Assume this person has the potential to ruin three straight weeks of work because you will have to correct all of their work. This will be extremely painful, time consuming, and irritating. This is the biggest lesson of EVER. WRITE THIS DOWN.

  2. Do NOT swipe yourself in the eye with an earring. This will result in a very watery eye, pain, and struggles to open the eye. Your vision will be blurry, and the glaring white of the snow will make your struggles and wincing comparable to an animated character about to be "dipped". (Who Framed Roger Rabbit? reference = +1 pnt.)

  3. Skate! 2011 marks the first time I have owned skates since Junior High. I think I had skated on ice twice in the past decade. Getting on the ice was slightly terrifying at first, but also super fun. No falls yet *knock on wood*

  4. Giving up chocolate for a year is ridiculous. Very unrewarding. I had someone look at me awkwardly and say, "Why would you give up something that can give such pleasure?" Hannah said that New Year's Resolutions were made to be broken, so I broke mine. Now I'm just like everyone else! Yay! Really, giving it up just meant gummie bear massacres were going to overtake 2011.

  5. Workmates are a reliable source of weather information. I LOVE weather. Extreme weather. Humidity at 99.9%, rain falling with such force that it bounces back up off the ground, snowfalls that require goggles if outside, sunlight so strong it makes you feel like your bones are being sauteed. Today/this evening there is supposed to be some wild weather going through parts of Nova Scotia, but PEI was expected to miss it. I checked out Environment Canada's website at about 3:00 because I suddenly really wanted to know how our daily highs and lows were comparing against the average temperature in other years. (Did you just yawn? Yeah, probably. But I swear it's fascinating.) Nothing was posted about a weather watch. Apparently a heavy snowfall warning went up at 4:00pm and I got an email with a link about fifteen minutes later from one coworker, and a verbal message from another about five minutes later. UPEI staff are fierce weather monitors.

  6. The first week back to work after Christmas is evil. (ceteris paribus.) It just is. And I say that with no negative energy towards my actual organisation. It wouldn't matter where I worked.

Knowledge is power! Time to eat peanut butter!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Hey 2011, welcome to the party.

Oh, PS, in case I forget, I'm giving up chocolate in 2011. Apparently I confuse New Years with lent, despite not being catholic and always unintentionally doing that chest/forehead/shoulder touching thing in the wrong order.

In 2007 I boycotted non-sandwich related fast food. 2008 was Wal-Mart, but then I went when out of province so stopped after I bought Skittles and sunglasses at an Albertan Wal-Mart. 2009 was FRENCH FRIES (the ketchup cravings were overpowering my logic). 2010 was going to be the Bulk Barn but that got boring and meant I was buying giant packages of candy at the grocery store as opposed to small servings at the Bulk Barn.

This will be my most challenging year to date. In terms of fake lent. My most real challenging year was 1983, when I could only communicate by baby noises and was unable to sit up on my own. I overcame those challenges and can now communicate using real words and can generally walk long distances without falling. Generally. Not guaranteed.

Footnote: Chocolate fake lent does not exist when in Europe.

Oh, and if I order non-chocolate cheesecake and the plate comes drizzled with chocolate syrup on it that's okay because that tastes like crap anyway.

Or if it's a matter of life or death. (Robber: "Jennifer, if you don't eat this piece of chocolate I will shoot all the Shetland ponies in the entire world!!" or, Doctor: "If you don't eat this piece of chocolate your heart will erupt!")

And to clarify, the subject of this post will be read, "Hey, two thousand and eleven...", not, "Hey, twenty eleven..." because twenty and eleven is actually thirty one. In roman numerals it is MMXI, not XXXI.

You're welcome, and good night.