Category Archives: Learning

Vancouver School Board: Continuing Education

Vancouver School Board: Continuing Education

So, you’ve been out of high school for a while. You’ve gone to University or College. You’ve got your major and you’re working, but you want to learn things that you didn’t have the opportunity to. If you’re looking for an affordable way, check out VSB Continuing Ed classes. Many classes are super inexpensive – the cheapest ones I know of in any disciplinary. I’ve taken French 1, German 1 and currently taking Guitar 1 (8 sessions of 2 hours each $120-$150). That makes it about $8 an hour, making it much more affordable than my friend who is taking private guitar lessons for $25 per 30 minutes.

Of course there are pros and cons in learning with a group. For learning a language, it can be good to hear how people speak and interact. However, depending on your level, you may find the class going too slow or too fast for your needs. I found the German class too slow, since I had been teaching myself for a few months prior. Though the class was good review and helped clarify things.

Guitar is the same, though I think it suits my friend to take the private classes as he has never held a guitar or played much music. The Contd. Ed. may be too fast for him. For me, since I took piano lessons and have played around with my brother’s guitar, it’s actually going at a good pace.

Classes are small, usually 8-12 people per class, so it’s a good size.
Because it is a course, scheduling isn’t as flexible as private lessons. However, the teachers are excellent – usually teaching full time in their field, so you’re not getting someone who just knows a bit about the subject.

It’s easy to register online. At the end of the course, you get a certificate stating you’ve completed the course. I don’t think you can really use it for anything, as everyone gets it. Even a guy who almost never came to class got it at the end – actually, in the last class, he just came by to pick it up. LOL.
It’s a good motivational way to get you pumped into the subject, though don’t expect to become good at it just through completing the course. Most of the time, you do have to spend quite a bit outside of class to get a handle on things. Just depends on how good you want to get.

Try it out! There are plenty of courses to choose from!

Take out the Dishwasher, Replace with a Cabinet!

Ever since I moved into my current apartment, I’ve never used the dishwasher. I just find it so time/money/energy/water consuming. Unless you’re a big family or something and have tons of dishes, it didn’t't make sense for me to use it. Recently, my roommate told me that it was dirty inside – likely from all the dust that’s accumulated. So I turned it on for a quick spin. I was shocked to find that the water wasn’t draining, and ended up scooping up most of the water with a cup.

My first mission was to go and find a new dishwasher. I found some reasonable priced dishwashers, but since I wasn’t going to use it, it seemed like a total waste. The only reason I would get it is that the suite would sell better if it had a dishwasher. But since I didn’t know when I’d move out and sell the place, it made sense to take out the broken dishwasher and install a cabinet instead. It would store all my stuff that would normally be sitting on the counters in the kitchen.


Out of order…

Taking out the dishwasher was a bit of a challenge. Thankfully, there’s YouTube. I watched several of them, like this one to see how it’s taken out.

I asked for help taking it out – I’m glad that I did cuz it needed a lot of force. I could have never been able to pull it out with my no-muscle arm, lol. At times, it was even hard for him. Since I had ‘studied’ on how they were installed and stuff, I had the knowledge and could direct him on what went where. We were a good team. After it was taken out, the dishwasher was taken away for $25 by Sears and it became a corner under the counter where ‘stuff’ sat for a while…lol

We then bought shelves. We bought a big 24″x48″ board for $15 from Home Depot and cut them accordingly to size (that we had measured numerous times before) so that they would fit in properly.  The rest was also from Home Depot; the door was $60, already made with hinges, the handle was a special order for $30 which took about 2 weeks, a couple bucks here and there for brackets and washers, plus one scrap wood for free. So in total, the project cost about $130. Not bad.


Measurements are important!!




First clean out the inside. Added a small narrow board at the bottom.


idearabbit-cabinet7  idearabbit-cabinet5


You can fit a lot of stuff in there! More counter space! :D


Tadaaaa~! :D

I’m super impressed with the result, considering the guy wasn’t a professional builder or anything, and didn’tt have all the tools – but he can do just about everything lol. I love it – it holds so much stuff! My counters are clutter free from blenders, rice-cookers, toasters, and pots. The heavier weight of the door then the rest of the doors in the kitchen makes it more higher-end, and must say is my favourite cabinet :)

Intro to Self-Publishing – Publishers Panel at Central Public Library


I’ve been interested in writing since I was in junior high school, even though my grammar and vocabulary isn’t that great. I’ve always wanted to write a novel based on my grandmother’s life during WWII. I have another one which is already in the works. But with no educational background in writing, I have been searching for some night time classes I could take to improve my writing. Unfortunately, I was sick off and on this fall, and missed the courses. Other classes held at other locations were cancelled due to insufficient enrollment. I hope I will be able to enroll one in the spring.

I’m always keen to learn more about the industry. Writing doesn’t just mean you write and sell it. There are many things to consider from whether you are going to self-publish or go with a traditional publisher. Are you going to get your book printed or distributed as a ebook, or both? How do I find an editor? What’s a book coach? Where do I get my cover design done? And so on…

So I was really excited to see that a free event was happening at the Central Library on self publishing on Nov 16, 2013. Several professional self-publishers shared  knowledge, tips and  experiences of self-publishing within the book industry.

The panel included:

  • Brad Stokes and Matt Begg, Publishing Consultants from FriesenPress
  • Michelle A. Demers, Writer, Editor and Independent Publishing Consultant
  • Jo Blackmore, Publisher from Granville Island Publishing
  • Patty Osborne of Vancouver Desktop Publishing Centre
  • Naomi Pauls, Writer, Editor and Independent Publishing Consultant
  • Carol Sill, Personal Book Coach from Alpha Glyph Publications
  • Kathrin Lake, Executive Director of Vancouver School of Writing

I learned quite a lot. I’m so glad I went. I also took my friend who was just starting to take introductory courses to become an editor, so I think she was happy she tagged along too.

I had just taken Kathrin’s one evening workshop on ebook a few days before, so I already knew her. She remembered me too. It’s good to make connections if you’re interested in entering an industry different from your own. You can learn a lot from the experts. Her ebook session, as well as her presentation at the library was very motivational for me.

Kathrin Lake website

Michelle A. Demers seemed to be very informative and detail-oriented. She caught my attention when she mentioned about authors needing to know about copyrights trademarks, laws and the proper way of setting up a book.

Once the discussions were done and the speakers went back to their own booths that were set up throughout the room, I approached her to see if she had the ‘The Global indie Author’ book that contained all the information that she had mentioned earlier. She didn’t have any more copies, but she was very nice in telling me that the library did carry them. My friend and I thought it was very generous of her to offer the book for ‘free’ when she could have made another sale to me by saying I could order it from Amazon or something.

Since the presentation was at the library, it was convenient to borrow the book. I’ve since started reading it and have learned a lot. The book is great! A must have for any author. It’s packed with a  wealth of information, and although you may find the information online or in other books, this book contains it all in one.

It’s so good I’m thinking of getting an ebook version, though without a tablet, it will have to be read on a computer which isn’t too convenient. (yes I know, as a wanna-be writer I can’t believe I am still without a tablet! It will be my Xmas gift to myself this year though LOL)

She writes it in a tone where it’s like she’s directly talking to you without sounding like a textbook, so it’s not boring. She keeps you engaged and interested, and I find myself reading quickly through like novel.

Michelle. A. Demers website

There is an Introduction to Self-Publishing: Author Panel taking place on Dec 7 at the Central Library. Check their website for more info.