A Day in the Life of a Civil Engineer

When I was growing up, I had always heard about the Engineer. He was the one who drove the train, and that was the definition that we learned in school. Now, however, the profession is much larger and more interesting. There are different kind of engineers. You have to go to engineering school, and then take additional tests.  View this video and find out more about this exciting profession.

Questions about the video

What did you learn new about the Civil Engineering field?

What process can civil engineers do much faster with computers?

What types of projects do civil engineers take?

Is this profession very stressful?

When does Brad Martin come into the office?

Over to you!

What kinds of projects would you want to hire a civil engineer?

Are you attracted by this video to look into this type of work?

What type of skills do you need to acquire in order to succeed?

Thanks for watching and catch you next time!

What to do in Belfast

Belfast speaks English with a Irish broge, that is the unique accent of Ireland. It brings to mind the fairy tales of Ireland and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It is the jewel of Ireland, on the harbor which launched many ships in its day.

Visiting Belfast is a must if you want to learn more about the Titanic. The most well known Irish shipbuilders, Harland and Wolff built the RMS Titanic here in Belfast. The ship was one of many that were built in Belfast in the early 20th century. The Titanic Quarter, built on the grounds of the shipbuilder, is a new exhibit and attraction park that tells the history of the real Titanic, not just the movie.

Belfast has had its share of political controversy, there were many riots between the Protestants and the Catholics, and the signing of the IRA Ceasefire and the Good Friday Agreement have helped the city heal its wounds. Now the city is poised to attract tourists and make it a real jewel in Northern Ireland.

There are many cultural events in Belfast, with many famous rock and roll bands originating from Belfast, The Belfast Rock ‘N’ Roll Club is just one of the Rock and Roll venues that are very popular. People used to travel from far away to hear the unique bands that played in the ‘Club’

For a taste of the real local scene, you must go to a Belfast Beer Garden.  There you can sample beers and enjoy music.  If you have had enough Rock and Roll, you can go to the Acoustic Nights and hear classical guitar and unplugged sessions by local music sensations.

Belfast has everything, great restaurants, music, history, so enjoy your stay in Belfast and come back soon!


How to Type in English

Do you find yourself still hunting and pecking for the letters on the computer keyboard? A  lot of people need to write for their jobs at work, but have never had the time to take a typing course. Yet, you feel like you are still a beginner when it comes to filling out forms on the computer and interfacing with the Internet.

Touch Typing can be a very important skill for you in the modern world. When you can touch type, then being a prolific blogger is much easier. Doctors can write out their reports much faster and more accurately. Students can become better writers.

So what is the the best method to learn how to Touch Type? In one word: Practice. I learned how to Touch Type when I was in summer school of 10th grade, many years ago. It took about six weeks of 1 hour lessons each day, but at the end I knew how to type. We learned on the newest technology of the day, the IBM Selectric Typewriter (ok, so now you know how long ago that was). The principles have not changed since that far off time.

As I didn’t find a method that was exactly as I had remembered, I wrote a book myself. I took each letter and typed it for a whole line. Each new letter is then typed for a full line. This is because even when you only know four letters, you can get up a good rhythm while typing. Then little by little I added new letters until we have covered the whole keyboard. Yes, it might take you more time, but in the end you will be able to Touch Type! Persistence is the key, keep going and you will be a Touch Typer!

Here is the link on Amazon for the new method: How to Touch Type  in English.

How to type in English



Disneyland was built in Anaheim, California way back in 1955. The park was the only one which was personally designed and built by Walt Disney. He envisioned that people would come to the park to relive his famous animated movies come to life.

Source: google.com via Stephanie on Pinterest

Disneyland, the park layout

The park is laid out into ” lands”  Fairy Land, Adventure Land, Main Street USA, New Orleans Square, Frontier Land, Critter Country, Mikey’s Toontown and Tomorrow Land. Each land has a separate “feel” and atmosphere. To get a feel of the whole park, take the Train which goes around to each of the lands. Take the Monorail to see Disneyland from the sky.

Main Street USA

As you enter the park, you are in Main Street USA, which is set up to feel like a typical Main street in the Midwest in the 1900’s. There are stores, an old fashioned cinema, where you can “Meet Mr. Lincoln”, see old fashioned cars and a horse drawn buggy. Many times you can meet Mickey Mouse posing for pictures. Other characters from Disney are roaming around the park, waving hello, dressed up in over-sized costumes. Minnie Mouse and  Goofy, are a few that you will meet.

Rides in the Lands of Disneyland

In each Land there are rides for different ages. One of the most famous rides that actually made it into a series of movies is the Pirates of the Caribbean, in New Orleans Square. This is a water ride that features the song, Oh Ho, Oh Ho a Pirates Life for Me. Inside is also an expensive restaurant.

There are also thriller rides, such as the Matterhorn, which is a fast paced roller coaster, made more scary because much of the ride is inside the mountain, where it is dark. When I used to visit Disneyland, you had to buy tickets to get into each ride. The roller coasters all were an “E” ticket which means they were the most expensive.  “A” and “B” tickets were for the Merry Go Round, and Uncle Toad’s Wild ride.

Being a guest in Disneyland

One thing that makes Disneyland different from other amusement parks is that you feel like you are really living somewhere else. All the park goers are “Guests” and the workers are “Cast.” You are treated with respect, and the park employees do their best to make sure that your stay at the park is a Fairy Tale come true.





Prices and the Economy

Professor Paul Cwik brings us a new perspective about the economy and prices.

Every society  has to solve the problems of production and distribution.  Which products do we produce? How does the society as a whole decide which is the most desirable.  Dr. Cwik teaches us guidelines that every society uses to determine the answers.

Watch this video for enlightenment.


What function does prices serve?

How do we determine what products to produce?

How does the customer know if a product is scarce or not?

How does a producer know how to make a product?

Pay attention to the types of products that are available for sale in your city.  Do you see this pricing mechanism at work?  What types of products have low prices, and which have high prices?

Thanks to Dr. Paul Cwik for these wonderful insights.


Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is known as the Queen of Crime. Her books are translated into numerous languages,  her 66 novels and short story collections have sold over four billion copies world wide since their publication.

Biography of Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie was born in in 1890 in Turquay Devon, England. She was home schooled and when her father died when she was 11, that was the end of her happy childhood, she was sent to London to various private schools. She was married to Archibald “Archie” Christie after World War 1, after volunteering in hospitals during the war. They were married after the war, but divorced after Archie deserted her for a mistress. Agatha then disappeared for 11 days, turning up in a hotel under an assumed name. She published her first novel in 1920, “The Mysterious Affair at Styles,”  the first time that Hercule Poirit, a retired Belgian detective, now living in England. She then met her second husband, Max Mallowan in 1930. She kept her name, as she was already famous as a writer. Max was an archaeologist specializing in the Middle East of Syria, Egypt, and other places. They had a daughter Rosalind.

The Role of Archaeology in Christie’s novels

As Agatha went to her husband’s digs, she wrote and this provided for the setting for many of her novels. Murder on the Orient Express was written at a hotel that is at the end of the line in Turkey,  Other novels are set in Egypt, “Murder on the Nile” and one was set in her home town, Torquay, “And Then There Were None.”

Movies and adaptations

Agatha Christie’s novels have been adapted for movies, the most famous being Murder on the Orient Express which was released in 1974, two years before her death. Her play, “The Mousetrap” is the longest running play, running 25,000 performances. Agatha wrote all the way up to her death, and even gave permission for two books that had been in a safe to be released in 1976. She died of natural causes in January, 1976. We really miss the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie.


What is the BULATS English Exam?

The BULATS is an English exam that is given by Cambridge ESOL division of Cambridge University. What makes the BULATS different is that it is given in four languages, English, Spanish, French and German. This means that the test questions and the instructions are in your native language. This is important because many students have difficulty with other tests because they don’t understand the instructions, which are in English. When the instructions are in your native language, you will understand exactly what information the questions is asking for.

The different parts of the BULATS Exam

The test lasts one hour and measures the different English Language skills, Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing.  Since the test is Internet based, the test is interactive, and you get the next question based on the answer that you just answered.

You can take the test from anywhere in the world on the Internet.  You don’t have to download any software, and you can take the tests in any order you wish.

Preparing the BULATS

Before taking the test, it is best to download the sample exam in your native language and do it at home. The sample test has all the same types of questions, but is not as long as the official test, and you won’t get graded.  Do the sample test to see which questions are difficult for you and then practice that language area.  Give yourself  a reasonable amount of time to study before taking the real exam.

One advantage of this test is that you get your results when you finish the test!  You don’t have to wait and you will know your score right away.

Good luck on the BULATS English Exam!


Is the cost of living really rising?

According the Professor Steve Horowitz, the cost of living is actually going down.  Workers can buy what they want with much less time worked now than in the 1970’s.

This is not a new concept.  Actually, I found it in Mark Twain’s fiction book, “A Connecticut Yankee in King Author’s Court.”  He compares the amount of work that a person needs to do in order to get the buying power of goods. This concept gets the main character in a lot of trouble in the novel. The people of the 6th Century are stuck on the amount of money that a person makes per day, not the  buying power of that money.   Of course, Mark Twain is  really talking about the 19th Century, by means of an allegory, and we are now in the 21st.  The same principles apply.

There are  also technological advancements that make the products that we buy nowadays more valuable.


Give an example of a product that in fact the price in terms of time worked has gone down

Do the products that we can buy now give more value?

Do you feel that your income is keeping pace with the prices?

What factors do you take in account when buying a new large appliance?

Does this information about hours worked vs prices help you to make financial decisions?


MoMA – The Museum of Modern Art

Interview with Amilia -former Director of the Westwood Art Association on Westwood Blvd in Los Angeles

“I was the Director of the Westwood Art Association when MoMA was being built during the 1970’s. I was very enthusiastic about this project because most other museums at that time would not exhibit Modern Art and there was a real need for such an outlet.

Gloria Steinman, the editor of the Premier Women’s magazine “Cosmopolitan”  came to us to fund raise for MOMa. She came to see our latest exhibit, Henry Miller’s drawings from his book “Tropic of Cancer.”  She raised quite a bit of money, I myself gave $50.00 quite a generous gift in the 1970’s. Gloria promised us a show when MoMA opened.

After many delays MoMA opened, and it had a rocky start because people weren’t used to this type of art. It was very far out, American Art. Most of the artists in the exhibitions were young from the ages of 19 and 27.

There was one exhibit that was all black. Black paintings, black sculptures and even the walls and floor were painted black. Another new category that had never been in a museum was Performance Art,  and the use of Video instead of just paintings. Garbage Art, which the artist uses items that have been thrown away was also very new. There was a very interesting exhibit of wigs in fantastic shapes and colors. MoMA lives up to its reputation of being at the forefront of Modern Art.”

If you are in New York, put MoMA on your list of museums to see, just to see something very far out.


Source: google.ca via Stephanie on Pinterest

The Cambridge Proficiency Listening Exam

The Listening section of the Cambridge Proficiency Exam tests your ability to understand a variety of spoken subjects. You are tested with another person, who you may not know at all. There are two examiners, one will ask the questions and the other listens and takes notes. There are four parts of the exam.

The first part of the exam is short recordings about a minute long.  You listen to it only once and answer two  multiple choice questions. In order to succeed this part of the exam, you need to listen to English, and figure out the main topic, who the speaker is, what is the purpose of the speech, and other details. There are four recordings and a total of 8 questions.


The second part of the exam is sentence completion.  You listen to a lecture, or an interview  of about three to four minutes long, and you have to put in the missing word.  In this section you need to pick out certain information, and figure out the opinion of the main speaker in the recording.  There are 9 fill in the gap questions.

The third part of the exam is a recording of three to four minutes long, usually a dialog between two people.   you need to answer five multiple choice questions about the recording.  In order to do well on this part of the exam, you need to listen for details, find out the opinion of one of the speakers, what is the overall subject of the recording and be able to infer what a person would do based on the information that is given.

Part four has  six multiple matching questions.  You will hear a dialog of three to four minutes, and during which the speakers may agree with each other, or disagree. You will have to match statements to each speaker based on the opinion that is expressed during the recording.  In order to do well on this part of the exam, you need to listen to recordings of debates and practice finding out the opinion of each speaker.


Good luck on this part of the exam!