Long-Weekend Fun

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Steve and Jill discuss how they spent their 3-day weekend. They also talk about some questions that were asked on the LingQ community forum.

Steve: Hi Jill.

Jill: Hi Steve.

Steve: So, we had a long weekend?

Jill: We did.

Steve: Now, am I allowed to ask you what you did on your long weekend?

That’s your private time, you know.

Jill: Yes.

Actually, I already mentioned it on Friday what I was going to do and I went up to Chris’s parents place.

They live in a very small community in northern B.C.; on a lake they live.

We just went up there and had a relaxing weekend where his mom fed us lots of food.

She baked four different kinds of cookies and homemade cinnamon buns and butterscotch oat squares and made three huge dinners and three huge breakfasts.

Really, we just ate ourselves sick is basically what we did all weekend.

Steve: You know, I don’t think I could do that; I used to be able to.

If I did that I wouldn’t sleep well.

I would feel oooh.

Jill: I didn’t. I didn’t.

I actually didn’t sleep very well and woke up always feeling gross and swearing I wasn’t going to eat anything that day and then just continued to eat and eat and eat, because it’s all so good and it’s just there.

If it’s not there right in front of you, you won’t eat it, but because it’s just everywhere all the time.

Steve: Well, you have to eat for two, you know.

Jill: Well, not really, I don’t need to eat that, it’s more like eating for four.

Steve: Oh yeah.

You know it’s funny, I guess traditional hospitality is that you give your guests more and take more and won’t you have seconds.

No, I’m okay.

No, no, please have more.

What’s the matter is it no good?

Jill: Exactly and I find older generations are like that more and often people of European descent and his mom is from the former Yugoslavia.

Well, she was born in Canada, but her parents came over from there and she was raised on a farm where there was always baking and they milked their own cows and always lots of cooking going on, so she’s like that.

She’s happy when you’re eating and when she’s doing things for you.

Steve: Right.

Jill: You know, there was just kind of a lot of sitting around too, so no exercise and a lot of food, which doesn’t make for a great combination.

Steve: No, no, but it’s nice too and I’m sure that his parents really appreciated having you guys up there.

Part of it is to do it for them too, right?

Jill: Oh yeah and it was lots of fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it and we play cards for hours and we watch movies and we, you know, visit, so it’s very nice.

It’s just I’m not eating too much today.

Steve: No, try and recover; get back into balance.

Jill: That’s right.

Steve: Right.

Jill: And what about you, what did you do?

Steve: Well, you know, my wife is away.

She went south where the weather is nice, so I’m up here on my own batching it, so to speak.

So, I mean, I spent some time at the computer…there’s been a flurry of webcasts…partly because I have my new MAC and it’s so incredibly easy to do them and it’s kind of fun to do.

I’m working on my Russian.

I spent a fair amount of time on my Russian, actually.

I discovered… You know, when I was in Riga not too long ago, I bought a bunch of Russian audio books, including four or five Russian audio books on Russian history; fairly detailed, but I like history.

I figured it might be difficult for me now, but eventually, you know.

So, I’ve been listening to it, having trouble understanding it and then I looked at the name of the author.

I can’t remember his name right now, but I typed… You know, I have a phonetic Russian keyboard, because one of the problems with typing in Russian is that you’ve got to type on their keyboard where you’ve got to learn the keyboard again, which is a terrible nuisance, right?

But, they have a phonetic Russian keyboard, so I type as if it’s English, because you know that the Russian R looks like a P to us, right?

So I type R and it comes up R, but it looks like a P, because the Russian R looks like a P and so forth and there are a few areas where, you know, there are special characters that only exist in Russian.

I know where they are now, so it’s easy for me to type in Russian.

I typed the author’s name, I can’t remember his name, and low and behold it’s available in E-book form.

So, I was able to download and this is a massive book of history, I mean massive.

Like I’ve got four MP3 CDs and this only covers from the year, whatever, 1300 to 1700 or something.

It’s just a massive work on Russian history.

I don’t know that I’ll ever get through the whole thing, but it’s fascinating.

So, I spent a fair amount of time going through this in LingQ, saving all these new words to LingQ, then listening to the text that I had been reading, so I did a fair amount of that.

I was planning to go… Oh and I cleaned up a bit, you know, old pictures and stuff.

We’ve got some new desks for the study that Carmen and I are going to share and so that made me move a bunch of stuff.

There were drawers full of junk, so I was getting rid of junk.

A few bags of junk went out to the garbage.

So yeah, I kept myself busy.

Jill: And what do you do?

I know Carmen is such a fantastic cook.

Does she do what some women do and leave you frozen meals in the freezer or does she just let you fend for yourself when she’s gone?

Steve: No, she made some things, like we had a great big pork roast. After a while, I’m tired of slicing the pork roast, you know.

Jill: Eating the same thing day after day, yeah.

Steve: One evening I grabbed a barbeque chicken at the supermarket and took that home and opened a nice bottle of wine and had that.

But, I must admit, you know, having spent the whole day at home, I also like to go out at night.

There are a couple of places that I go here in West Vancouver where, you know, they know me, I know the people who run the restaurant, so I go in there and try to pick my way through a simple meal there, so I did that as well, but sometimes I’ll stay at home.

Oh, the other thing, I watched four Russian videos over the weekend.

Jill: A videothon.

Steve: Well, one was Anna Karenina, because I’m reading the book.

One was the Russian version of I guess it’s called Ten Little Indians or something by Agatha Christie.

Two of them were stories about guys that are… No, one is about a wife who is unfaithful to her husband and has this tremendous flaming affair and God knows what.

It’s a bit like a modern-day version of Anna Karenina, in a way.

The other one is about this guy who never says no and he’s got a girlfriend on the side and he promises to her, he promises to his wife, he’s got some guy mooching on him and he can never say no to anyone and he just has this tremendously complicated life.

Anyway, they were four very different… I had a blast, actually, watching them.

Jill: And you understood them for the most part?

Steve: With subtitles.

Jill: With subtitles, yeah.

Steve: But, I understand a fair amount of the dialogue.

When I watched them the second time I watched them with Russian subtitles and I still follow along.

So, it was good; it’s fun.

I enjoyed it and it gives me a bit of the flavor of Russian life, not so much Anna Karenina, but certainly those two Russian movies were from the sort of 1980s, ‘80s-‘90s, so you get a sense of life in Russia during then, which is fun.

I mean, it’s very similar to life here.

I mean, some of the rules of the game are different, but people and jobs and interacting and families and stuff like that.

Jill: They’re not that much different than us?

Steve: Not so much different, except they seem to, you know, live obviously at much closer quarters than we do in smaller accommodations.

They are more in each other’s way between in-laws and neighbors and one thing or another.

Jill: Right, yeah.

Steve: So, it was fun.

Jill: Well good.

Steve: And we have a short week. You know, the advantage of a long weekend is not only that you get three days off on the weekend, but you also have a short week.

Jill: Exactly, a four-day work week. It always goes fast, which can be good or bad; depends on how much work you have to do.

Steve: That’s right.

Jill: And so, I guess now maybe we’ll just mention before we finish a couple of questions that were asked on the forum recently from our members, from LingQ members and one was “fair share”.

We usually say “my fair share.” “I’ve had my fair share.” The sentence here was “I have seen more than my fair share of cargo shipping containers.” I’m sorry; I can’t remember who it was that posted that, I think it was a she, who didn’t understand “fair” and “share” together, which doesn’t make sense if you try to think of what fair means and what share means, but it’s a phrase.

“Fair share” means you’ve seen a lot.

You’ve seen a lot of something.

Steve: I mean, you sometimes hear people say “I have had more than my share.” In other words, normally it’s applied to something that’s perhaps a little bit unpleasant.

So, you say I have had more than my share of trouble.

I have had more than my share of interruptions today.

I have had my fair share means the same.

My fair share means more than my share.

Jill: Really too much, too many; more than you would like.

Steve: At least as much as I’m entitled to.

Jill: Right.

Steve: Like you’re the 10th person who’s interrupted me today.

Jill: Right.

Steve: I have had my fair share of interruptions. Leave me alone, I need to get back to my work.

Jill: Right.

Steve: Basically.

Jill: Yeah.

So in this sentence the person is probably saying they’ve had more than their fair share of…they’ve seen more than their fair share of shipping cargo containers.

So, likely, they’re saying that they don’t care if they ever see another one again.

They’ve seen enough.

Steve: Well, that’s right or maybe that’s what their job is and today they are not so happy doing it.

Jill: Right.

Steve: But maybe after a good night’s sleep, tomorrow they’ll be happy to get back into cargo shipping containers.

Jill: Right. The next one was somebody asked about when we say “to have”.

This example was “to have a hamburger”.

“I had a hamburger at McDonald’s.” And so she was wondering if “have” means to eat or to pick up or to take or what does it mean, which I guess is confusing.

Steve: Very confusing and I noticed that question was also put on our forum.

Well, first of all, we should answer the question.

To have a hamburger is to eat a hamburger, but wherever you can use a vague term and a more precise term, use the more precise term; because that’s where the expression “You can’t have your cake and eat it too” is very confusing to people.

Because, okay, once you eat the cake you no longer have the cake.

Jill: Right.

Steve: But here, have a hamburger means to eat the hamburger or if you come to my place for dinner with 10 people, I might say does everyone have their hamburger?

Do you have your hamburger?

Jill: I have it. It doesn’t mean that I ate it; it means that I can see it.

I have it on my plate in front of me.

Steve: But, you typically…yeah, I had a hamburger.

Jill: We usually use it meaning to eat.

Steve: Right.

Jill: I had a hamburger last night for dinner. That means I ate a hamburger last night.

Steve: Right.

I had a glass of wine.

I had a hamburger.

Would you like to have a glass of wine?

Jill: Exactly. Would you like a glass of wine?

Steve: Did you have a good time?

Jill: I had a great time.

Steve: You had a great time. Did you have a lot of trouble finding my house?

Jill: I had no trouble at all.

Steve: So, these are some of the ways that “have” is used.

You know, again, it’s just a matter of getting used to it.

I am sure that there are grammar books that will give you the 15 different situations where have is used.

Don’t bother trying to remember them, just get used to seeing them and, eventually, in these phrases “I had a hamburger”, “Do you want to have a hamburger?” you’ll just get used to saying them.

Jill: Yeah, exactly and the person did ask too if they could use the verb “took”.

And no, you can’t say “I took a hamburger at McDonald’s last night.” “Take” does not mean ate.

It doesn’t mean the same thing as “to have” in this situation.

You can say “I ate” or “I had”.

Steve: You know, there are some interesting ones here on the forum, which we could spend a couple of minutes on.

Jill: These did come from the forum.

Steve: Yeah, here’s one. The forum, by the way, is at LingQ, LingQ.com.

Ojin found this sentence.

“When you have disagreements learn to disagree from the neck up.” And he says what does “the neck up” mean?

Well, at the very least, it means don’t start hitting each other and I suspect that that’s what he means.

Jill: I would think so. I mean, that’s not really very common.

Steve: It’s not common, no.

Jill: I would think that they mean use words rather than fists to solve your disagreement.

Steve: Right, but it also suggests you’re not allowed to, you know, wave your hands around and make gestures.

Jill: Right.

Steve: So, that’s what that would mean.

There you just take it literally, “from the neck up”, so yeah, just use your head to disagree.

Here was one as well.

“Many of you are aware of the issue of public transport… Why just today on my way in from the airport…” The question is: what does this mean?

Well, this is, first of all, part of a sentence.

It was meant to illustrate how in public speaking — I remember this because I wrote it — you sort of want to introduce the subject and maybe make reference to something that the people in your audience are familiar with.

In this particular instance, we’re talking about public transport in this community and so I would have said “Why just today…”, “It just so happened today on my way in…” and presumably I was then going to say “…it took me five hours when it should have taken me fifteen minutes” or something like that, so I can relate the issue of public transportation to something that the audience is familiar with.

It’s not a sentence.

It’s not a complete sentence, so it’s probably not a good example.

Maybe I’ll have to answer this because I don’t think anyone else can.

So, yeah, I think maybe we’ll do one more here and we do encourage you, and Jillian has answered this, we do encourage you to use the forum.

Here, you know, I had said “Once I have a few ideas down it then becomes easier to start planning and organizing.” Words influence ideas.

What does the word “down” mean?

It means to write down.

Jill: To write down, yeah; get down on a piece of paper.

Steve: Get down, you see, like jot down, write down and so, again, it’s that word “have”. It’s that word have.

“Once I have a few ideas down on paper…”, “I have a few ideas down on paper…” so, have is a very useful word.

Jill: Very common verb, yeah.

Steve: Which, you know, it’s true in a lot of languages where the word have seems to…because it’s so handy.

People are lazy, so they use the same word in many different ways.

Okay, we’ve talked quite a while here, so we’ll stop here.

Jill: And we’ll do another one on Wednesday.

Steve: Okay Jill, great.

Jill: Thank you.

Steve: Bye, bye.

Jill: Bye, bye.

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