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Parlez-vous français?

I wonder if it’s time for me to learn French. I know words here and there, and apparently I’m able to fool franco-Quebecers when I’m in La Belle Province and say “bonjour” they all start speaking to me a million miles an hours in their mother-tongue, and I’m stuck there with a dumb look on my face. Either they like that look on me, or they assume I’m a French speaker by my pronunciation of “bonjour.”

I’m putting this call out to anyone who might be able to suggest a means to learn French, whether it’s computer software, or they took lessons somewhere, or other. I’m going to ask a French teacher or two at the school I work at, because I’m surrounded by native French speakers.

Why French? Well, for those who don’t know, I live in Canada, which is an officially bilingual country. However, I live in Ontario, which is officially unilingual even with its large French population (the largest outside of Quebec, if I’m not mistaken). Sure Mandarin and Cantonese are probably spoken more in Toronto than French, and Yiddish would definitely help more with my grandparents, but if I’m going to become King of Canada (that’s my career goal, btw) then I need to ensure there’s no uprising in French communities due to a monarch who doesn’t speak their language.

What worries me is my learning disability. From what I’ve gathered from my mother (a former Special Education teacher) and my own observances of Adult-Adam (we’ll just call him “Adam”) is that my learning disability manifested itself through my reading. When faced with a word, I’m not able to effectively string together the series of sounds, rather I see the letters, the sounds they make, balance that with my rather large vocabulary and take an educated guess based on the context. Fortunately I do have a large vocabulary, and understand the ground rules of grammar. Sure I’m pretty lazy, and generally don’t edit my entries, and so there’s usually some grammar errors or typos, but if I were more fastidious then I could eliminate them. In addition, I tend to write in a rather personal manner, rather than formally; this part is probably a lack of post-Secondary education.

I can see these things manifesting as I watch myself reading and writing. There are words which are foreign to me, and I’ll spend years mispronouncing because I don’t know any better, or words which I know the proper spelling of and the proper pronunciation, but whenever I see it on paper (or screen), I spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to figure out what it is. The best example is misogynist. That just took someone who types 120 words per minute about 15 seconds to type… but I got it right! I look at that word and I have no idea what it is, I know the word, I know the spelling, I know the definition, but the pronunciation, which then would lead my brain to the other attributes of the word is difficult for me to come to. So to any journalists I know, please stop using that word.

So this leads me to French, my vocabulary is tiny, and my understanding of the grammar is smaller. I think this was my failing in grade school, and to have added Hebrew on top of that, was more difficult. How can I learn a language if my coping mechanisms are reliant on a working knowledge of the language?

Sacré bleu!

Linky Link

  • Above, NPR inverview Stephin Merritt & Claudia Gonson.
  • Carrie Brownstein, will you marry me? Okay, we’ve never met, and it would be slightly awkward that my best friend has the same first name as me, and his wife has the same first name as you, but does that really matter? Your love of The Magnetic Fields is enough for me. Oh, and while we’re on the topic, your amazingness as part of Sleater-Kinney doesn’t hurt.
  • With a Gold in hand for Canada, 3000km away in the country’s largest city (and my city), the CN Tower goes gold.
  • Mechanical Forest Sound posts a new Gentleman Reg song. Thanks Joe!
  • Apparently Canadians handle their sticks with their left hands. Though I’ve never played hockey, I do hold a golf club and baseball bat left handed. (Yoinked from TIMMMMAAAAY)
  • A video illustrating Microsoft’s creative process. Best comment, “I will never think about MS Paint the same way.”
  • Who has a few million to spare? (via the article’s author… HI KATE!)

Wavelength 500 (Show 5)

My plans of attending Wavelength over the past week seem to have been defeated; of five shows, over the past week, I only attended one. For those who didn’t read my previous post, Wavelength is a music series that has happened every Sunday for the past ten year. To celebrate Wavelength 500 and mourn the end of the weekly series, Toronto was lucky enough to see a five night festival happening in various venues throughout the city.

I missed the first four shows, and unfortunately wasn’t able to see The Bicycles, Laura Barrett, Evening Hymns, Diamond Rings, Picastro, Constantines or numerous other bands, I did however get to see a show I will never forget.

Opening the show were BoarsNeckMean Red Spiders. They were all good. I enjoyed them all but don’t remember enough about any of them to have anything much to say.

The Barcelona Pavilion were probably my highlight of the show. I had wondered for a long time why anyone cared for any music performed by Steve Kado. I had seem him perform a number of times, and just didn’t get it, it didn’t make sense to me. Sure, I had respect for him, and the □□□□□□ Recording Club he helped found and admired the spirit of DIY so very much embodied by □□□□□□ and Wavelength. I’ve also been to The Boat many times and seen bands who were part of the Bad Band Revolution, and always wondered why anyone liked this self-admitted “bad bands,” seriously, they were horrible. I’ve always related Kado to that. Kado used to play in a band called The Barcelona Pavilion, and they reformed in their original lineup for Wavelength 500.

I was blown away by their performance, sure musically, it fit in with the bad band revolution, but it had all those wonderful tenants of good punk! I also haven’t moshed in a long time, and that was a nice change from usual… oh and did I mention that Maggie MacDonald is hot?

The best I can say about Kids on TV is that they are theatrical; I could also say they’re gay, but for some odd reason the two seem to go hand in hand. Their set didn’t really do anything for me, and I didn’t quite understand why anyone else was enjoying it; I found it to be cliché and boring.

Did you know that “Tranzac” is an adjective? As in, “This band is rather Trazacy.” Well, before Thomas came on, I asked someone what they were like, and he said “Tranzacy.” Then after getting bored with them, and hovering elsewhere in the bar, I mentioned my boredom to someone else, and she said, “yeah, they’re very Tranzac.” In closing, they were boring, and not an exciting secret act, the following secret act was much better.

Did someone say Owen Pallett? Oh my! For those who don’t know Owen Pallett used to record and tour under the name Final Fantasy. He’s recently decided to start going by his actual name. Pallett’s set’s biggest drawback was the 30 minutes for him to set up his excessive amounts of gear to play four songs. However, those four songs were absolutely wonderful. Before he left the stage he announced that he would be back in a few with The Hidden Cameras.

Yes, The Hidden Cameras. I’ve never been a fan. I have a strange double 7″ EP, and have listened to it a couple times. but I never really got into them. Unlike Kids on TV, I completely understand why they have a following, and really dug seeing them live. I was able to get into the groove of the audience, and enjoy the show for what it was. I still won’t be buying any of their records any time soon, but I’ll have fun if they randomly decide to close a show I’m at.

Above photo of Doc Pickles taken by Garry Tsaconas, used with permission.

Linky Link

  • Happy Family Day!
  • CityTV has an article on Eric Warner of We Are Busy Bodies. (via Jen Polk, via The Meligrove Band)
  • Mechanical Forest Sound records the highlight of last night’s Wavelength 500… Barcelona Pavilion.
  • Steregum reviews The Magnetic Fields at BAM.
  • Jian Ghomeshi (did I spell that right?) got a lot of flack last night, and though I’m not a fan, he does put some good musicians on his show. See below…

Mal De Mer

Ben Gunning has posted some of my photos on his website. If you already saw those on Flickr or Facebook, they’re the same, but if you haven’t check ’em out at

On that note, check out Ben Gunning’s new record Mal De Mer.

Happy Valentine’s

XKCD is wonderful.

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