Posted in Language Learning/Travel

Téléfrançais

In mid-January my girlfriend shared with me a show that she used to watch in her high school French class. I looked it up and started watching and now I watch about one episode a day.

The show is Téléfrançais and it was an educational children’s show in Canada, mostly Ontario and Québec. It ran from 1985-1986 and features a talking pineapple puppet and two children as the main characters (as well as some singing skeletons and a lot of other human puppets). There are 30 episodes.

Thankfully, they’re all on YouTube. And yes, I’m watching through it (I’m about half-way at the time of writing this). If you are trying to learn French I highly recommend watching this. It’s a little strange but it does grow on you and I certainly enjoy it. From a learning standpoint it is entirely in French but they speak slowly and even highlight important phrases throughout the episode.

If there are any other shows like this for French let me know!

 

Advertisements
Posted in Language Learning/Travel

More French Resources!

Over the Summer, many people enjoyed the article I wrote about all of the resources I was using to learn French and I’ll admit, even though my practice wasn’t as often as I would have liked it to be over Winter Break I have still found more resources to assist me.

For starters, I still highly recommend Duolingo, I finished the French course but I still use it as a great review app. I’m sure you’re not surprised how easy it is to forget things.

I know that I also talked about LingQ, I don’t use the app anymore but I use their website instead (not the biggest fan of the changes they recently made). And if you’re learning French I recommend the book called Une Aventure Linguistique, it’s in the Intermediate 2 section.

As for new resources, on my phone I have found the app called News In Slow French, I only used the free part of their episodes but it’s great to follow along.

I also started using the free app 500 French Conversations and right now they’re starting out very slow and overly simple but I have hopes that it will advance later in the conversations, if not, it’s good for beginners.

I’m still working through Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours but my new instructional French book is Perfect Your French which is an intermediate to advanced level book by the company Teach Yourself.

Let me know if you have any recommendations for resources for me to use, I’m still using all of the ones listed in my other article. And if you found any of these helpful or interesting or are just interested in learning a language, let me know as well!

Posted in Life/Other

A Look Back At 2017

As 2017 comes to an end it’s pretty standard to reflect upon the things that happened in the past year. I was able to take a road-trip to Boston with my fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi, to attend a conference in February. In May I graduated college with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and started living on my own over the Summer for the first time. May was also the beginning of my goal to learn French fluently. June placed me in Field Artillery school (shortly after I started this blog), which ended up being a total bust (turns out I can’t get promoted because of time left on my contract). July allowed me to take a road-trip to Canada with my girlfriend, which was her first time in Canada and my first time in Québec. In October I was accepted to law school which really showed me that I found the field I’m meant to be in. December solidified that by revealing my first 4.0 of my life.

I think that 2017 was actually a very good year, being unemployed most of the Summer was rough but I was able to bounce back economically and other than that I really enjoyed everything that 2017 had to offer. I look forward to 2018.

My goals continue in 2018, I’d like to get to level C1 in French, I’d like to notice an improvement in my jiu jistu, and in the Fall I’d like to do well in my first semseter of law school.

I’m sure that I will make many short and medium term goals to help me reach these year long goals, plus small goals that are outside of these, like completing my Marvel watch through.

Posted in Military/Politics

Net Neutrality

Yes, the same thing that you’ve seen RT’d all over Twitter in addition to funny text posts all over other social medias.

IT.

IS.

IMPORTANT.

What is net neutrality you might ask?

Good question. Net Neutrality means that the internet is a buy one get all type of set up. You pay Comcast (for example) $65/mo and you can go to Facebook, E-Trade, my blog, game online, watch porn, do a research project, whatever you want.

If Net Neutrality is reversed then the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) (like Comcast) to control the speed and/or accessibility of  any websites they choose. You like social media? Pay for just social media. But wait, what if you wanna buy something on Amazon, or look up something on Google? Nope. You only paid for social media.

THIS IS A SERIOUS ATTACK ON FIRST AMENDMENT FREEDOMS!!!

In today’s time, the internet is an important tool for the spread of information across any boundaries allowing people to reach out from oppressing governments in China or read that news article that upsets whatever joke of a political party. Online classes. Netflix.

So then the next big question; how is this even an issue? I mean, who is honestly pushing for that?

Another good question. Nobody. Well, I’m sure the ISPs are. And I’m sure that there’s an uninformed or misinformed group out there. But it’s not a partisan issue.

This is a great example of how Americas leaders have failed to actually be a representation of the people that elected them. This is lazy and greedy politics at its best.

Ah, another alarming thing. THIS HAS ALREADY PASSED THE SENATE. That means that if it passes the house, it becomes law. The house votes on December 14th. Yes, Thursday. This Thursday.

Actually before going on, call your representative right now.

Here is the website: https://whoismyrepresentative.com/

It’s going to be the one that’s under representative, not Senator, we’ll come back to them.

…..

…..

…..

Good, by now you should know who your representatives are and should have called to tell them to vote in favor of saving net neutrality.

Now for the really important thing.

We need to make our congresspeople actually represent us.

Go look at this website: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes

It’s a list of everything that Congress has voted on and who voted for or against it.

 

Now the next step is a little more difficult. Find out when they’re running for reelection and VOTE THEM OUT. The Senate passed the Net Neutrality bill, which means that at least your senator needs to go. I’m sure your house representative needs to go as well. Most of them have been in office WAY too long and they have gotten used to Americans not paying attention to what they’re doing.

And before you ask, no, do not vote along party lines. If your party isn’t running anybody else because so and so has been in office for X years undefeated then VOTE FOR THE OTHER PARTY or better yet, VOTE THIRD PARTY. Political parties are out of control and they’re going to ruin our country by people just blindly following them (looking at you Alabama).

Look at the other persons record as well, maybe they’re shitty too. And if so, a write-in never hurt anybody. But hey, don’t forget, you can (and should) run too.

Courage. Common Sense. Country.

Posted in Language Learning/Travel

Not Ready for a 3rd Language

Well a few weeks ago I posted that I thought I was going to start learning Japanese. But after a week or so trial run of it I realized that even though I was learning some basic Japanese, I was forgetting all my French! I decided this over the Thanksgiving holiday and decided that upon my return to college I would continue to devote myself only to French. Today during French class it really hit me with how much I’ve forgotten and I’m hoping that another break of living alone and intensely studying French will help me get back up to my level.

Posted in Language Learning/Travel

A 3rd Language

I have been studying a lot everyday in order to improve my French. My current language learning goal is to be CEFR B2 in French by the end of 2017. The good news here is that I think that I am already there based off of my experiences with my university’s French professor and my italki professor (plus other things like the fact that I just finished the Duolingo French course the other day and I can understand more and more of the TV show that I’m watching through).

So the question now is, where do I go from here?

The end of 2017 would mark 8 months of intensive French learning, and that would leave 8 months until I would start law school (which I’ve been accepted to 2 by the way, another post). [That doesn’t count the extra month that I’d give myself if I started now].

My choice would be Japanese.

But now that leaves the question of do I learn Japanese for 8 (9) months for the hope of getting to that B2 level or do I give myself another 8 months of intensive French in the hopes of getting to the C1 level?

Additionally, if I go for Japanese, how do I maintain this level of French?

Posted in Academic/Professional

Automated Assessments for Employment

As I’m starting to apply to Summer jobs for the upcoming break, I’ve notified an awful trend that constantly pops up whenever I’m applying to companies.

 

The Assessment.

 

This seems simple and honestly harmless if it would be done by somebody who was somewhat intelligent. If I present that I have a college degree why am I still required to prove that I can read, or do basic math? That’s not even the worst part of the assessment.

The worst part is whenever they need you to answer close to 50+ questions on how much you agree or disagree with questions about your work ethic or if you like working in groups, etc, etc.

I understand that all of this is a “time saver” for the company however, many of those questions are repeated several times and makes me think that it’s just a way for the HR departments of companies to not do anything by looking over resumes and/or calling people for interviews.

That’s another point, if I upload my resume or my LinkedIn profile, why am I still required to type in everything again?

The job market is shit, but that’s because companies make it too hard to get a simple administrative job. I have a Bachelors Degree, a CDL, First Aid/CPR, hell, I’m conversational in another language and it’s still hard for me to find a decent job? Pathetic.

Posted in Media/Pop Culture

Fantastic Four (2005)

My Marvel watch-through has touched upon another classic, the 2005 Fantastic Four movie. Now I could easily talk about the movie but I have two specific things that I would like to talk about instead, that relate to that movie.

First, after the failed 1993 Fantastic Four movie it’s really not hard to get any better than that because that was just awful. However, I think that this reboot is universally accepted as the best version of the Fantastic Four. The 2015 edition was absolutely terrible and everybody knows it. There’s obvious problems with keeping this reboot as the one needed for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, first, because it came out 3 years before the MCU started; but the biggest one by far is the fact that Chris Evans can’t possibly play both the Human Torch and Captain America.

The second thing I would like to talk about is the massive inconsistencies within the Marvel Universe (no, not the MCU, the universe itself). We have all of these superheros/groups that overlap in location, but not in political atmosphere. This can be seen clearly in the Fantastic Four movie where the heros are from New York and people are constantly cheering out front of their house, showing huge support. They were even all there during the final fight with Dr. Doom. However, in another part of the same city, Spider-Man is constantly hounded by the press for being either a hero or a menace. Daredevil is around too but stays more in the underground of Hell’s Kitchen. The worst part of it all, is that with all the action of superheros in one central location it makes you wonder why in upstate New York that the X-Men are constantly dealing with political dilemmas regarding their rights and how they are being monitored. Why are the X-Men being treated as 2nd-class citizens but yet Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four don’t have any political drama? (And yes, we run into these same problem with the beginning of the Civil War, but we’ll come to that when we get there).

My biggest problem with the movie would have to be the fact that Dr. Doom has video and audio monitoring in the Baxter Building, why? And does the Fantastic Four know?

Posted in Language Learning/Travel

2 Months Left- Daily Practice

Well I just realized the other night that my goal to increase my French to at least a B2 level on the CEFR Scale by the end of 2017 is approaching rather quickly, with only 2 months and a day to go at the time of writing this. I decided that I should share with my readers the list of everything I do on a daily basis to try and improve my French.

On My Phone

My phone is where most of my learning comes from, all from free apps.

  • Duolingo– I do 5 lessons of Duolingo a day because I find that it incorporates the main 4 parts of learning a language very nicely. They have a nice language selection and it’s entirely free.
  • Memrise– I do roughly 2 lessons of Memrise per day. Their language selection is a lot nicer than Duolingos but their free content isn’t as resounding as Duolingos.
  • Tinycards– Tinycards is actually made by Duolingo and serves as flashcards to help you remember the main lessons on the main app. They’re a bit slow to get through but it helps with the memorization, at least at the beginning.
  • YouTube– YouTube is a great help when it comes to immersing myself because I use it to look up songs that I already know, but now in French. I listen to one Disney song and one cover of a pop song per day.
  • Wikipedia– Reading at least part of one article a day has helped me continue my goal of learning one new thing a day, as well as improving my reading comprehension, and speaking (because yes, I read it out loud on my way to work and get very strange looks).
  • TuneIn– I listen to at least 5 minutes of a French podcast everyday, entirely for free thanks to TuneIn. It allows you to search radio stations by language.
  • LingQ– This is another one where the free service is just as nice without having to pay.  I can listen to a French speaker from a variety of choices (right now I’m going through some TED Talks) and it has the script so that you can read along.
  • Anki– This is the phone version of Anki. I’ll talk about the computer version later. With the phone version (which is free on Android) I made flashcards consisting of all the conversational connectors given to me by being a part of the Fluent in 3 Months Program, as well as creating one for any word that I didn’t know or couldn’t remember while trying to think in that language this past July (when I tried to use only French for a month, no, I didn’t write about it, it went well but we’ll come back to that another time).
  • France 24– This is the news station that I chose, but it’s essentially to attempt to read a news article every morning in that language, out loud.

On My Computer

  • Anki- With the computer version (also free), I downloaded a pack of premade flashcards called “5,000 Most Common French Words” and I work through about 25 each day.
  • Rosetta Stone– Yes, I bought Rosetta Stone, awhile ago, but no, I don’t think it’s worth it for the price, but it’s already bought, so I do a lesson a day.

Books

I have two ‘types’ of books that I read per day to help with my French. The first is a book in French (currently Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours) in which I read a few paragraphs and then I read those same paragraphs again, but in my English edition of the same book (Around the World in 80 Days). The other type of book is an instructional book, one that will actually help me improve my knowledge of the language. I read a chapter a day and currently that book is Language Hacking: French by Benny Lewis.

TV

Thanks to a Google Chrome extension called Hola! I can watch Netflix from any region (restrictions apply), but I use this mostly to watch a show that I already know in my target language. Currently I watch Friends.

Weekly

Now, I have to do some things on the weekly basis instead of daily because they require a time commitment and coordination of schedules (and sometimes payment).

  • College French Professor- Since I’ve made it clear by now that I am a college student, it makes sense that I live in a college town. Thankfully this means that I have access to the friendly French professor (it probably helps that I’m in her French 3 class twice a week). Her and I meet for about 30 minutes a week to talk in French.
  • italki– I love italki’s services and have been using them to talk with a French lady (in France) about once a week for 30 minutes. I started out paying $8 for these lessons but after so many months the teacher reduced my cost to $5.

Whenever Possible

Now with my busy lifestyle I’m not able to do every French language related thing that I’d like every week/day. So whenever possible, I throw a little extra practice in.

  • Make a YouTube video- not long, maybe 30 seconds to a minute, but you’d be surprised how much talking that is
  • Watch a children’s movie- language wouldn’t be that advanced and if I have them on DVD anyways, why not?
  • Write social media posts- Easier said then done. I don’t do much actual written posting on Facebook anymore (unless I’m traveling) and Twitter is already hard with the character limit but it’s enjoyable once you get the hang of it.
  • Think- I try to think in French in the shower or when I’m walking to work, just to add that extra dedication to language learning.
Posted in Military/Politics

Term Limits

One topic that seems to be brought up a lot recently is that Congress should have term limits. This topic isn’t just on one side of the aisle either. I have heard both Democrats and Republicans argue for this issue – and not many argue against.

So then, why isn’t it a thing yet?

Well that’s because we assume that the government has our best interests in mind. Yes I know, that’s awfully conspiracy theorist for you. However, the evidence is obvious on this topic.

The main counter-point brought up to me when I say we need to push our representatives to vote for term limits is that they wouldn’t vote for something that will push them out of office. Well that’s the beauty of the system.

You see, if everybody in a district told their representative to push for term limits, and they didn’t, then they should be voted out and somebody who will push for term limits should be voted in. Repeat for all districts.

Except we can’t do that “because this Republican this or this Democrat that”. Maybe we should leave our parties alone and fix the bigger issues in America today, like the rising power of the government to be exempt from their rules, or for them to pass laws that don’t matter thus extending the reach of the federal government in a 1984 style rewrite of rights. Not to get ahead of myself or anything.

The government answers to the people, don’t forget that.