2010/02 – Parenthetical

It was time to renew my driver’s license.  I went to the bus stop, then remembered I needed some documents for verification, so I ran home.  I grabbed what was there and went back out to the nearest bus stop (there’s a convenient 830 line that passes by my apartment).
I reached the office in a timely manner.  After a fair wait in line, I was told that my documents were insufficient.  I had my license and my passport as well as a certain tax form (tuition), but instead of the latter, I was required to have either my social registry card (SSN) or my employer’s tax form (W-2).  I went straight home, got both, and headed back again.  I’d thrown away a whole hour on that first trip.  Happily, I had had a bit of fun when I dropped my hat unaware, and a lady behind me took it up to the largish Polynesian woman in front of me, asking if it was hers.  It was my cheap Chinese-made Mongolian hat, and it was proof that the hat looked womanly.  [Thanks for checking, Bonnie.]
On the way back the second time, I spotted a burrito-looking thing on a banner at McDonald’s for a dollar.  I made a note to treat myself to it on my way back home.  (It turned out to be a breakfast item, so I had no chance to get it anyway.)  I went in to the driver’s license office again and was disheartened by the line, so I went back out, intending to go enjoy my meal.  Instead I saw an Arby’s right there.  I went and got a dollar item (junior roast beef sandwich?) there and came back, enjoying it in line.  Finally, I got a picture taken that revealed my baldingness.  The license cost me 25.
I made my way back to the bus station, a block or two away.  I decided I’d go to McDonald’s after all (since the combination meal I’d considered getting at Arby’s would’ve cost 5 dollars anyway).  I walked away with another dollar item (Mc-something).  As I left the restaurant, my bus came by.  I ran for it.  It didn’t stop at the stop anyway, so I had no chance… it was long gone.  Across the road I saw another dollar item advertised at Burger King, so I went for it (a whopper junior).  All three of these had been 1.08 with tax.  There was a Wendy’s next door, and I was on a roll, so I stopped in for their dollar item (whatever), and was happy to find it was only 1.07 (99 cents originally).  There was a KFC next to that, but I decided against a fifth item.  I would have missed the next bus anyway; it came right after I crossed back over to the stop.
There was a "bargain book sale" in the Wilkinson centre, and I spent 15 on a Japanese dictionary, Japanese cards, and a fat TOEFL book (that one was only 1.27 or something).  I found a place to warm back up my two remaining burgers, then enjoyed them and came to the library.  Dropping my stuff off, I went and found the Vietnamese teacher in the next building over (JFSB) and repaid him for the book he’d let me take, 20 dollars.  The Japanese-class Viet girl was there for some reason, along with three students.  They were just finishing the class.
Come to think of it, she had lipstick on.  Ha ha…  Too bad she never wears that to Japanese class.  Guess she’s not interested in any of us there.  She’s a little kid, anyway.
They seemed to wonder why I hadn’t been to class.  I told them I couldn’t even add the class by audit, but the teacher said I was free to "follow the class" anyway, if I could only make it on time.
My employer, Mark Davies, e-mailed back his few assistants today reporting our progress on our review work on his COHA corpus (http://corpus.byu.edu).  He initially stated a figure of some few tens of thousands of items we had to review.  Earlier today, he’d asked me how long my 1900 corrected items so far had taken me (it was a little over 8 hours).  I hadn’t kept up with the quota he’d given us (ten per minute, 5,000 per 10-hour week), and I did my best to alleviate my disappointing answer, especially since I hadn’t quite finished my 10 hours last week.  But in his report just now, I saw that my rate had been the "high range" (I’m not sure if there were two of us or three; he’d mentioned bringing in students from his class to the project later).  That was a relief on my end.  We could go quite a bit faster, anyway.  The problem, actually, is that it’s difficult to sit for ten hours per week only clicking two or three buttons and typing a few letters, over and over.  Even scanning hundreds of pages from books was more engaging.  For my part, I’m able to get through it only by taking enjoyment from deciding the parts of speech of some of the more challenging words, many of which are out-of-date; but our duty is rather to minimize the time spent on part-of-speech decisions in order to maximize output.
Let’s see.  Elder Hallam came yesterday to my Korean buddy study.  That was fun.
He signed up for Blockbuster and got a 30-day one-at-a-time free-movie deal.  So far we’ve watched "Minority Report" and "Taken" (Liam Neeson).  I tried to tell him to get "Tremors"; he said they didn’t have it.  He got "Gremlins" instead (my other suggestion), and we watched it last night.  It wasn’t so scary as I remembered it being.  It was intended as a "horror comedy" or something, but it had been much realer to me as a child.  Especially memorable had been that scene where the woman flies out on the chair.  I think that helped increase my sympathy for the immobile…  I also remember the two cops NOT helping the Santa, and I would bet that that scene somehow helped me to hate sluggish bystanding, too.  Most traumatic, I think, had been the girl recalling why she hated Christmas because of her father’s santa accident.  I had gotten a sick feeling over that one, and I remembered the feeling last night, although this time it was overpowered by the goofiness of the rest of the film.
I guess the moral is that we (film-making adults) can’t assume that other people (kids) will be as insensitive to things as we are.
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