Sunday, April 19, 2009

Family Business - March 2009

At the beginning of the month one of my aunts came to Vancouver for a couple of days, and my sister and I met up with her for dinner. That was nice, since I don't often see members of my extended family. On a sadder note, one of my uncles died on the other side of the family. It was pretty unexpected, and I feel pretty bad for his family, although I wasn't very close to him personally.

Still on the subject of family, I was still unemployed at the beginning of March, but I did get a little bit of work when my sister asked me to do some copy-editing for her. It was pretty easy. All I had to do was to read her Master's Thesis (which I probably would have done anyway), and correct the grammar (which I probably would have done anyway). As my sister's got pretty good grammar, it was a lot easier than, say, trying to correct a student composition!

In the middle of the month I finally got a job at a language school. It's similar to the school I was working at in the fall. I'm teaching one low-level class of about twelve students, almost all of whom are Saudi Arabian men. I'm also doing private tutoring with a German student. I'm glad to be teaching again. I need the money, but I also enjoy the work. It's nice to feel useful, and it gives me a chance to practise the skills I learned in the TESL course in January. I'm also glad to be getting some practice with tutoring, which I've never done before.

I tried to attend the St. Patrick's Day celebrations, but the weather was lousy. Half-way through the afternoon, it actually started snowing! That's unusual for Vancouver; I don't think it snowed once in the month of February. And apparently this has been an unusually cold winter! The next week I went to see a presentation on homelessness at the library. They showed a documentary and tried to explain who the people on the street are and why they are there. I don't know a lot about the issue, but it's a major problem in Vancouver; there are homeless people everywhere.

I still don't have money to do much, but I've discovered one cheap form of entertainment. One of the churches here has started having movie nights on Fridays. They're working their way through some of the major Oscar contenders from last year, most of which I didn't get to see. They ask for a donation, but it's still cheaper than seeing a film in theatres, and they hold discussions afterward. I've also been getting T.V. shows free from the library.

In the news, actor Andy Hallett, who played Lorne on Angel, died this month. I didn't know much about him, but Lorne was my third favourite Angel character, so I'm sad. I'm also quite surprised, since he was one of the youngest actors on the series.

Movies I've seen this month:

Milk – A relatively well-made movie about a gay-rights activist in San Francisco. It was interesting, but I didn't get really into it. The characters could have been better developed (especially Dan White), and the style didn't grab me. (Three and a half stars)

T.V. shows I've seen this month:

Torchwood (Season 1) – I dig the heck out of the fact that the hero is a hot, manly bisexual, and the way all the characters defy sexual clich├ęs. Unfortunately, that's about the only good thing I can say about this show. The premise, story, and atmosphere are all along the lines of Buffy, Angel, or The X-Files. The writing is mediocre and the character development leaves a lot to be desired. Like the shows of Joss Whedon, it tries to maintain a tension between cynicism and optimism, but its sappy moments feel trite and its attempts to be "dark" mostly come off as silly. Still, it does improve a bit in the last four episodes. Maybe Season 2 will be better.

Books I've read this month:

Heidi by Johanna Spyri – As an adult, this book didn't really grab me, but it's a good children's book, and I can see why I liked it as a child.