Thursday, June 29, 2006

Yellow Fever

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I initially came across the term yellow fever during my first stint in university. The non-medical, non-deadly version of yellow fever refers to when certain Caucasian (or other non-Asian) people (usually males) have an almost-exclusive attraction towards Asians of the opposite gender. My hubby, for instance, has a bad case of yellow fever, which is why he married a banana like me ;)

Why do some non-Asian guys pursue Asian girls exclusively? Why do some Asian girls get drawn to guys of other ethnicities (particularly Caucasian) more than they're drawn to Asian guys? Why do you see more white guys with Asian girls, than Asian guys with white girls? Why do Asian guys finish last?

Well, Wong Fu Productions (a young Asian production company based in CA) has produced and filmed a short film mockumentary exploring this topic and attempting to answer these questions. You can watch this hilarious 15-minute video, entitled Yellow Fever, on YouTube.com.

Enjoy, and feel free to share with me your insights on this phenomenon known as yellow fever.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mrs. Vice President

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Last night my hubby was officially named the vice-president of the Edmonton .NET User Group (EDMUG), so I guess that makes me the wife of the vice-president of the Edmonton .NET User Group, or the second lady ;)

Way to go, hon! You bring great hair to the group!


Monday, June 26, 2006

Another Perspective

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My hubby pointed out to me an article written by a former teacher named John Taylor Gatto. His article, titled Against School, pinpoints some pretty major flaws in our education system, and criticizes the entire institution of mandatory schooling. He also discusses the history of organized education and its founding premise, as he understands it. Although I don't quite take the same extremist view that Gatto has taken, I do agree that sometimes educators need to be more creative and adaptive, and be willing to take risks to help students think "outside of the box." I thought his article was an interesting point of view worthy of considering, especially if you are an educator or a parent. It definitely gave me something to think about.








Sunday, June 25, 2006

How Old Can You Go?

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Unlike many, I do not want to live until I am 100 years old. In fact, I would be quite content to live until I'm 80, and then be taken home to glory. That's just me.

However, the odds are that I will live a long time, provided that I continue to keep adhering to Forbes' 15 Ways to Live Longer tips:

1) Don't oversleep
2) Be optimistic
3) Have more sex
4) Get a pet
5) Get a VAP
6) Be rich
7) Stop smoking
8) Chill out
9) Eat antioxidants

10) Marry well
11) Exercise
12) Laugh a little
13) Lose weight
14) Manage stress
15) Meditate / pray

So, how long do you want to live?




Saturday, June 24, 2006

Worse Than Mosquitos

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Truly, there aren't many things worse than telemarketers (including mosquitos). What would possess a company to think that their unwelcome in-your-face intrusion into peoples' homes will suddenly drum up business for their crappy product?


I've begun to look for ways to get rid of these annoying phone calls. For the live calls, I have heard of several really good suggestions. Some of the best ones I've heard of are:

-ask the telemarketer what they're wearing, and proceed to tell them what *you* are wearing, in a sexy, seductive, or smarmy voice

-start reading from a really boring textbook (or read your boring PhD thesis to them) any time they try to speak
-answer the phone, and immediately give the receiver to your dog or your babbling toddler. Let them bark or babble into the phone until the telemarketer hangs up or your pet or child loses interest.
-pretend not to understand English, and speak to them in a foreign language


I've tried this last approach a few times now, and it seems to have worked well. Call display lets me know who is calling, and then I answer and proceed to speak in Cantonese. Fluently. And with that annoying hen-peck Chinese voice that only the busybodies (see-lais) use. This usually scares off the telemarketer, and if they don't end the call then I usually will (while uttering in Chinese about how I have no idea what they're talking about). I might begin trying to do this in
Toisan as well, just to give myself some variety.

Unfortunately, I have yet to figure out a way to get rid of automated telemarketing recordings. Recently we've been getting these prerecorded calls f
rom Texas telling us that we've won a cruise (without even mentioning our name - how impersonal a prize!) and that to claim the prize, we need to hit "0" (or some other number on our phone). We've been hanging up these calls (no sense wasting my valuable language skills on a recording) but they still keep coming at all sorts of weird hours of the day.

Any suggestions?




Thursday, June 22, 2006

Happy Birthday Hubbs!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY HUBBY...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Boys and Fast Cars

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The movie The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift, which has only received an IMDB rating of 5/10, scored the number one spot for being the best-selling movie over the box office weekend. The premise of the movie is not terribly original: an outcast named Sean avoids jail time by moving to Tokyo to live with his uncle, and loses at drift-racing against some guy with ties to the Yakuza, resulting in his entry into the "underworld" of drift racing to try to repay his debt. I'm certain that the most memorable parts of this movie (which I have not seen) are likely the race scenes and shots of beautiful pimped-up ("souped-up") vehicles.

So what is the appeal of this movie? I am quite certain that its primary audience is the male demographic from ages 18-35, and my guess is that most males watching the movie are probably living their fast car dreams vicariousl
y through the characters. Perhaps this is where the appeal is, because we know for certain it isn't due to an Oscar-worthy plot or fantastic cinematography.

What is it about fast cars that boys are drawn to, in the first place? From an early age, little boys start playing with toy cars; these miniature vehicles captivate their little minds and can entertain them for hours on end. By the time these boys are in their teens, many have already formulated tastes for certain types of vehicles, none of which are usually affordable or practical and all of which go very very fast. When these boys become grown men, you will usually see them working towards saving enough money to buy their "dream cars," and some eventually do so, whether it is when they've retired or they have experienced some sort of mid-life crisis. So what is it about boys and fast cars? What is their appeal? What makes the mere act of watching a m
ovie about car racing a satisfying experience? Sometimes, I think the male mind is a mystery to me.

(BTW - The way to my man's heart is by getting him a green Mustang with white racing stripes. Give him that, and I'll lose him forever to you (or to the car)! ;) )


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

KFC : Finger Lickin' To Keep Your Heart from Tickin'

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I'll admit it. I love KFC. In fact, that part I love most about the Colonel's secret recipe chicken is its crispy chicken skin. Especially that extra-tasty-crispy stuff. YUM.

This is why I avoid KFC like the plague, and will indulge my appetites only once every 6 months. I know that it's not good for me, and I know that it tastes so good that it's hard to peel off all of the skin and eat only the dry white meat underneath. Who does that?!?

Anyway, the point is that KFC tastes great, but it will kill you if you indulge in it with any frequency. A new article I came across in Time.com today explains that KFC chicken is cooked in trans-fat (partially-hydrogenated) oils, which is what makes it more crispy and more flavourful than other fried chicken on the market. The company is being sued for using this oil, which increases bad cholesterol levels (yes, there is such a thing as good cholesterol!) and raises the risk of coronary disease and diabetes. In fact, "a three-piece extra-crispy combo meal contains as much as 15g of trans fat - more than a person should ingest in a week."

Think about this the next time you order a massive family-sized bucket meal for the two or three of you, and consider your heart the next time you reach down for another delicious greasy skin-laden piece of chicken. Your momentary taste fix may not be worth the physical agony that your body could potentially endure.


Book Review: Love & Respect

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Since I've had a few spare moments over the past few weeks, I've returned to one of my biggest loves - reading. I came across this book when I was looking for other Christian relationship books on Amazon. Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs had a really high rating, so I decided to pick it up.

Well, I have not been disappointed in the least by my investment. This book is written from a Christian perspective to both husbands and wives, and offers an incredibly simple (but easily overlooked) theory on why couples get into unhealthy, unsatisfying ruts. It is based on a verse in the Bible (Ephesians 5:33), which calls husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and for wives to respect their husbands.
The premise is that couples enter into a "Crazy Cycle" when wives (who long to be loved) do not feel loved, and act in ways that are disrespectful to their husbands, who long to be respected. These husbands, feeling disrespected, then act in ways to are unloving towards their wives, perpetuating the cycle in a downward spiral. The author encourages couples to break out of this Crazy Cycle and enter into an Energizing Cycle, where a husband's loving actions gives his wife the assurance and affection that she needs in order to show him the unconditional respect and honor that he craves.

The book challenges husbands and wives to interact with one another differently, patiently understanding the other's perspective and interpreting one another's dysfunctional actions** as pleas for love or respect rather than as antagonistic, ill-willed decisions to hurt the other. There is a section for husbands that gives them some ideas on how to be more loving towards their wives, and a section for wives that gives them suggestions on how to be more unconditionally respectful towards their husbands.

I realize that some may think that the book is misogynistic, but it really isn't. It's also not a "feminist" book, either. Dr. Eggerichs pretty much places the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of both husbands and wives, and calls on both parties to own their own actions which have contributed to the dysfunction in their interactions with one another.

Although I haven't finished the book yet (I'm about 80% finished), I wanted to review this book right away because I felt convicted by the book's message from the first chapter, and I feel strongly that its message can strengthen not only my marriage, but those of others as well. I encourage you to pick up this book, or else borrow it from me when my Hubbs is finished reading it ;) It could completely change the way that you and your significant other interact.

Rating: 4.5 / 5


**Such as hurtful comments, criticism, stonewalling, or refusing to talk about it. The author makes it clear that abusive, harmful actions are an entirely different matter.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

My Hubby's Great Gift Giver

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Be warned! This is a toot-my-own-horn sort of post.

I am an excellent gift giver when it comes to my husband.

When we first met, I bought him something like 13 Transformers (y'know - Robots in Disguise), including a very rare collectible Megatron. These were my "nice-to-meet-you" gifts for him. For his b-d
ay that year, he also got two DVD sets of a TV show he really liked; I had to pay double for these because I was in Hong Kong at the time and their HMV didn't have much of a demand for this show. I also had to pay to get them shipped to him. For one Christmas I got him an X-box and a Seiko watch. And the list goes on and on.

Well, my Hubb's birthday is around the corner (June 22) and this year, I decided to get him a guitar. Since he's a novice player, I could have just picked up a cheapie for him, but I didn't. Instead, I researched it out online, made several annoying calls to guitar shops around the city, and finally got him a Yamaha. Not just *any* Yamaha, either. One that is sleek, black, and looks like it could have been Johnny Cash's. It's a Yamaha FG720s (Dreadnought) in black.

It is beautiful. It sounds mellow and full and rich. I also bought him some books, a DVD, and some maintenance supplies for this pretty little thing.

He loves his present. He has already begun strumming chords on it, and he looks dead-sexy doing it ;)

Anyway, the point of this is that I am a great gift giver for my man, and much of this is because I know him well and love him dearly. When one loves someone, there is this innate desire to shower them with good things and watch their faces light up in delight. That is my gift from my hubbs - his happiness and his excitement at getting something that he wants but doesn't feel justified in getting for himself. So in the end, although I am the great gift-giver to my guy, he's really the one giving me an even greater gift in return.



(Also, my guy has showered me with nice gifts too, including rare Cabbage Patch dolls that I've always wanted, and jewellery, and a trip to Vancouver, to name a few. I really can't complain because he's pretty good at gift-giving himself!)


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Smooth

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I recently came across one of the slickest, smoothest, funniest ads for a man's shaver ever. The product? Philips Norelco Bodygroom. The website is entirely dedicated to extolling the virtues of this shaver device. Apparently, what sets this shaver apart is its ability to literally shave a man *everywhere* on his body. Be warned, though - the bleeped-out language of this website can be sort of crude! ;)

What really struck me as interesting is the fact that so many guys I have known (of different ethnicities, even), have hated the fact that they've had any hair on their bodies, be it chest hair, back hair, or armpit hair. Even Asian guys I've known (who only have like 7 chest hairs that can be tweezed off in a matter of 2 minutes) have either plucked, shaved, or waxed their armpits! It's surprising to find this out, but it's also good to know that women are not the only gender that wages war against unsightly hair in unwanted places.

Anyway, the next time you find yourself having a hard time coming up with a gift idea for the hairy neanderthal in your family, *or* for the hair-phobic dude in your life, then consider this a potential gift idea. I hear it's a relatively new product, so I'm not sure if it is available in Canada yet. But, if it's anything like what the site claims it to be, it'll be in London Drugs in no time! =)


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fandom Gone Awry

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Allow me to preface this post by saying:


GO OILERS GO!

I, too, am an Oilers fan. One who cheers when they score, swears when they get scored on, and gets pissed off at calls that are or are not made. I would wear a jersey if I owned one, I love seeing the Oiler flags on other people's cars, and I appreciate that merchants around the city have Oiler logos painted on their windows. I even get a small thrill from seeing "Go Oilers Go" flash on the front of the busses that drive by. These are all very community-friendly, unifying, and encouraging gestures meant to show the city's support for their favourite hockey (and dare I say, sports) team.

However, this is where my fandom ends. I love the Oilers and am proud of what they have accomplished, but my happiness is not dependent on their success, nor do I associate myself so closely with them that I feel a personal compulsion to "celebrate" in the most raucous way possible when they win a game. I do not bring anarchy to my community.

That's right, I went there~! The show of "fan support" has taken an entirely stupid turn in this city. Where most would normally associate fan support with team jerseys, flags, noisemakers and cheers at the game, and painted faces, this city has taken it to mean something entirely different - something far more destructive and dangerous. In our town, "fanatics" have become lunatics who take to the streets of Whyte in drunken, adrenalin/serotonin/drug-induced stupors resulting in all sorts of ridiculous behaviour. Grown men dangling from power lines, fires being started in the middle of the street, raging crowds breaking windows, women flashing their breasts, and near-rioting on the streets that have forced SWAT teams and swarms of officers to have to patrol the streets on every game night.

How do these behaviours support the Oilers? How are they encouraging our players to aspire to do better in the Stanley Cup Finals? They don't and they aren't. This near-mayhem has nothing to do with the Oilers, really. People who have nothing more exciting to do in their lives have simply made the Oiler successes an excuse to go out and act like idiots and be "justified" in their behaviour. If it was a standard Saturday night on Whyte during the hockey off-season, nobody would be dangling from power lines. Nobody would be flashing their breasts in the middle of the street. And most certainly, nobody would be foolish enough to start a bonfire or break someone's windows.

But alas, these are not standard nights on Whyte. This is the Stanley Cup Final, and whether it's because of mob mentalities or the "Limber Trigger," it will be too much to expect civility from certain populations of this city. If the Oilers win the Cup, I would hope they send in the army, because there will certainly be more fires and instances of vandalism. Likewise, heaven help us if the Oilers lose, because they may need to send in the army for that, too. We don't know what to expect when the crowds run amuck, but we do know that this has nothing to do with fandom anymore. This fandom has seriously gone awry.



Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Time Escapes Me

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Where does the time go? Honestly, I had an excuse when I had classes to attend and assignments to complete. Now, I am just a sad slothful human being with no excuse.

It is 1:35 p.m. and I am still sitting at the computer, where I have been perched (on-and-off) for the past 5.5 hours. I have, in that time, managed to accomplish embarrassingly little: I've made (and consumed) 2 meals, done 1 load of laundry, done 1 load of dishes, brushed my teeth, read 4 chapters of a book, and read an excess of gossip blogs. Oh, and I ordered some contact lenses over the phone. That has been the extent of my activity in the last 5.5 hours.

This has been the course of the day for the past 3 days of my "summer holiday" life. I'm not sure how time has managed to speed up so as to reduce the available time I have for getting a hubcap, going to the gym, and running miscellaneous errands. I start out the day well-intentioned, too; I have big plans to hit the gym early, and get showered and ready, and be on the road by noon. I get up at a decent hour, and eat breakfast at a "normal' time. So what has kept me from accomplishing my goals?

I blame the Internet. The fact that I have so much information available to me just a few keystrokes and clicks away means that I can forever be online and at my computer, and not notice that time (and my life!) is passing me by. These countless hours of aimless surfing do little to improve me as a person, but entertain me to no end and therefore, capture my attention and energy. It is a shameful thing, really; the whole surf-the-net-just-because practice is incredibly unhealthy and unproductive and inexcusable, even for someone who is on vacation.

Is time escaping you as well? Are you, like myself, an Internet junkie? If so, things must change. It is time to turn off the computer. It is time to tackle all of those projects that you've been saving "for the summer" or "for the weekend," and it is time to get out of the house and do something that requires some activity! We must (I must) take charge of our time and start making conscious choices to be productive, rather than let time run amuck with our schedules and leave us feeling tired and lame at the end of another uneventful day!

Take back time, I say! Don't let it escape us any more!

And with that, I'm off to the gym. And to run some errands.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Time to Blog!

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For some reason, many people jumped on the blogging bandwagon over the past year, but it appears to me that few have actually followed through with regular posting over the last couple of months. If a blog is a)not visited by anyone, and b)not linked on anyone else's blogroll, then I can understand that to blog or not to blog is inconsequential.

However, what of the blogs that have been linked, or do have a semi-regular readership? Should there not be a regularity with which these blogs are updated?

How often is too often? How infrequently is too infrequent? Surely there is a "rule of thumb" for this sort of thing!

I have not researched what blog etiquette suggests, so feel free to enlighten me with these guidelines. Daily? Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly? Whenever the blogger has time?

Also, at what point should a blog be declared dead? After 6 months of non-posting? After a year of silence? Do blogging utilities such as Blogger automatically delete sites after a specified period of inactivity? And do abandonned blog sites just waste room on our cyberspace, or is there justification for keeping them there?

In my hubby's original post, he listed off several blog names that he had considered using that had already been taken up by dying/dead blogs. He wasn't able to secure these other names because there was no way for the other blogs to be annihilated (even though some of these definitely deserved to be removed). These blogs still "exist" in cyberspace, although their owners have long since taken up new projects and kicked them to the curb. Shouldn't there by a cyber-janitor to delete these things after 4 years of non-posting?!? I know that with domain names, these need to be renewed (and paid for) annually, or else the domain owners lose their rights to that domain, and the name gets offered up to new bidders again. Perhaps a similar thing needs to be done for blogs.

Anyway, that's a little piece of my mind. What's your thought on this?



Aftertastes

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So, now that I am finished school for the next few months, I thought I should take up a new hobby: more blogging! ;)

I have created a new blog, aptly titled Aftertastes, to chronicle my adventures in dining in this fine city (as well as in other cities, if opportunities arise for such reviews).

Feel free to check it out, and to add your comments if you have also had experiences at these places!


Friday, June 09, 2006

Hawaii Hungry

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I am currently experiencing Hawaii-withdrawal symptoms (yes they are occurring a year later, but my body is slow!), including the following: foaming at the mouth when viewing pictures of beautiful blue waters, continuous pounding images of sunshine and Lava Flows and books and lawnchairs bombarding my brain, and an unrelenting desire to book a "last-minute-deal" to HI with nary a care for cost.

My Hubbs is presently medicating me with gentle reminders about our inability to take a honeymoon trip *every* summer of our lives. I think my body is resisting his weak drugs, though,
and I continue to grow more desperate for a beach holiday (namely in Hawaii) every day.

He has also tried giving me a placebo: offering me trips to the mountains on getaway weekends. I fear those have had little effect in calming the cravings for sand and sunshine and the smell of ocean waves.

I think my malady is contagious, and now my Hubbs is experiencing similar mental flashes of beaches and warm humid breezes.

If this continues, we may lose our desire to fight anymore, and give in to our sickness, taking a trip to HI at any cost.

Save us from ourselves!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What I Learned in Elementary Music Class

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Did you know that the natural singing voice range for all children is actually from the first-line F to the high E? I did not. I also don't remember ever being able to sing that high. No, this loquacious girl was born with a husky, low, breathy, torch-singer voice. I'm sure of it.

*******

On a related note, many "children's songs" are performed in an adult's comfortable singing range rather than a child's. As a result, most of these sing-a-long songs are actually too low for most kids (forcing them to use their "talking voice" tones), and thus are not developmentally appropriate for teaching them to sing.

*******

I discovered this week that recorders usually squeak when played for the following reasons (all of which I have done during my recorder adventures):

1) The holes aren't being covered properly with the fleshy part of one's fingers
2) The recorder has too much moisture inside its body, and needs to be cleaned
3) You're blowing too hard on the instrument. (Wait, that sounded dirty for some reason!)

Note that one of the reasons is NOT that one has a defective recorder, as I believe is the case with me. ;)


*******

If I take the 8:50 train, I can get to class for 9:02. Sure, that's not punctual since class begins at 9:00, but I have problems trying to leave home earlier than that. I don't know why.

*******

Music and Phys. Ed. actually have a lot more in common than most people think. Both subjects
actually have (as part of the mandated curriculum) the required elements of dance (aka movement to music), and games (again, movement to music/sound). Both subjects are also the ones to be "taken away" or "cut" when students misbehave, or time runs out. Neither subject feels very happy about this, and argue vehemently that their value is equal to that of math and language arts and science. Do you agree? Think about all the pudgy, musically-challenged kids you've seen or known in the last few years (and I don't count Karaoke Revolution or Guitar Heroes as "music") and then tell me what you think! ;)

*******

The only thing worse than having to play the recorder is having to play the recorder for 15% of your mark. That sucks.



Sunday, June 04, 2006

Humility, Thy Name is Recorder

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Alas, there is nothing so humbling as learning to play an instrument. And of these instruments, some provide more character building experiences than others. The recorder is one such instrument.
Do not be fooled by its simple appearance, its neat line of 10 unassuming holes, and its afforability and subsequent presence in many elementary music classrooms. This is no easy instrument to master. In fact, it is a downright impossibility to play well if a)you have never had any formal musical background or training to start with, b)you're older than the age of 12, c)you happen to have a moist mouth or moist palms and fingers or poor fine motor coordination skills.

I am slightly fortunate that 8 years of piano and 5 years of violin have given me some experience with fingering, and musical notation, and fingering at musical notation. ;) However, my background was no match for this flute-like instrument of the devil. As I attempted to play through songs with a 6-note range (which is nothing if you are a true musician), I created all manner of squeaks and squeals that can only have come straight from the pits of hell. The reasons for these eardrum-blowing noises? I blew too hard
, I blew too softly, my fingers didn't cover the holes properly, my fingers were covering the holes too much, there was too much moisture in the recorder, there was too much moisture in my mouth, there was too much moisture on my sweaty fingertips, etc. Apparently if this instrument is not mastered by the time one is 12 (and I was not among the "privileged" pre-pubescents to be given such recorder training), then it is essentially a hopeless cause.

So the question of the day is: why does Mrs. Loquacious put herself through such humbling trials to learn this challenging instrument? The answer is: she is a masochist. And she is taking a class on how to teach music to rugrats that requires her to "play" children's songs on the diabolical soprano recorder.

After several hours of practice over the past week that has resulted in my hubby having to a)blast his MP3 music very loudly to drown out my cat-in-a-blender squeakage, b)leave the room, and c)pray for my class to end soon, I have built a ton of character and learned a lot about being humble and being able to laugh at myself (or cry at my pathetic playing skills).

I have never been so thankful to be deaf in one ear!