Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Miss Raven! (from your slacker Aunt, who forgot.)

Hmmph. There were going to be pics with this post but I hate Photobucket so it'll have to wait...

Right! Wot's been 'appenin', then?

I got 32/33 on the computer test! [happy dance] All of our class passed, including the ones who were convinced they were going to fail. (There was one fail, but the teacher let her resit part of the test there and then, and she got enough extra points to scrape a pass! We like this teacher: we're giving him chocolates next week :)

I got another parcel from Joules! Eeeeee! I know have my very own copy of Prime Contact! Signed an' everything. [bounce] :) I've read the story a couple of times via computer, but it's very different - better! - having the book in your hand. [grin] And it's great to finally see the wonderful illustrations in situ!
There were other goodies in the parcel, too. Sachets - and a jar - of Turkish delight flavoured hot choc; a pair of dopey cow s/p shakers; woodgie wee Japanese bear; bear and penguin chocolates (yum!); a few scraps of really lovely material; orchid soap, and chai tea, which made everything smell great! Thanks, Joules, thrilled to bits with my booty!

It's ANZAC day today (day off, woohoo!). The cubs went with their father to the dawn service at the Shrine of Rememberance. I heard them get up around 4 a.m. Heh, they're a bit tired now, but firmly resisting the idea of a nap...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Well, that was a week that was.

Badger and Rocket came back from their school camp yesterday. They enjoyed it, they said, and they were asleep so fast last night it was startling. [grin] I can imagine there were many early bedtimes in the area last night...
It was very quiet while they were away. Very quiet. I won't say I was drifting around like a lonely ghost but I did miss the little beggars. Eh well, only having to get myself organised in the mornings meant I was getting to school nice and early. Which was just as well as I suffered through had three end-of-subject tests in two days.

My exaggerated woes. Listen to them.

No, I'm being melodramatic. It was fraught, but not that traumatic.
First test was in Computers, MSWord. A fairly easy unit, one might think. Well, yes, in some instances, but we, as a class, had concerns about this one. In a 9 week unit we've had three teachers, and until this latest teacher, who is patient and thorough (and has lovely brown eyes) no structure to the learning. Not so bad for me who has some experience - and confidence - poking about with Word, but a bloody disaster for the majority of the class who are computer illiterate and needed to be taken through step by step. For them, self-paced learning, ie: working through the practical exercises in the text book, didn't work. When we were given a practice sheet a week before the exam, that had examples of the sorts of stuff we were supposed to know, there was panic! Our teacher (did I mention his lovely brown eyes?) suggested that perhaps we could have an assignment rather than a test, which would help him gauge who needed what sort of help. After discussions with the IT coordinator, however, we were told that that wasn't an option but not to worry, cos if anyone failed they'd be given extra help in the wobbly areas then allowed a resit. [shrugs] That's standard policy, really, and I can understand why the IT bod didn't want to tilt the system, but the mood going in to the exam was bleak.
I consider myself fairly competent with Word, or at least have an idea where to look for things, but even so I took the full 90 minutes to do the exam. I managed to finish just about everything, and I'll probably pass, but not everyone felt so confident.
By comparison the test for Library Services Industry (same day as the computer fiasco), was a doddle. :) Wasn't able to complete one part of one question cos the website I was sposed to be looking at wouldn't cooperate, but I finished quickly enough and was able to leave early. Then I went home and had a nap. Hoo, boy, did I need it!
The next morning was the Cataloguing test. Meh, I wasn't too fussed about this one even though the subject is tricky and involved. I've almost certainly passed that, but as you can see, this was a brain-busy week. (Plus, got the Annotated Bibliography assignment back this week - the one I fretted over - and I got 100%! Dead chuffed, have to admit, I wasn't at all sure I knew what I was doing there. :)
Next week should be quieter - and there's a public holiday on Friday - so I can relax now...

Got a parcel from Joules! Two DVDs - Nathan Barley (satirical Brit comedy? Oh yeah!) and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. The latter I'm particularly interested in cos Joules has written some fic for it, and recommended I see the series before reading. [grin]. Will do!
Oooh, and there was also a CD of the radio interview Joules did for the release of Prime Contact! Thanks, GoodTwin! Plus, there was a wee coin, a Malta 1c. It's got a weasel on it! So kewt! And I can't think of any other country that has a weasel on its coinage. :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A quick summing up.
Holidays were good - did well on my last test - cubs are off to camp next week.

Ok. Details...

So yes, the cubs are off to camp next week. Only for 3 days - ripped off! They're at high school now, I was expecting them to be gone for the whole week! All my high school camps went for a week...
The cubs' father and I - and the cubs - attended our first lot of parent-teacher interviews last week. Heh, funnily enough we were hearing exactly the same sorts of things we heard from their primary school teachers. They're more than capable of the work but they need to work faster, complete tasks, hand in homework. All the teachers we spoke to impressed on the cubs that they won't be getting second chances, particularly in the higher forms; if they don't complete a task/test, they fail. Badger and Rocket weren't happy to hear that, but I think they understand the importance of being organised. Pity they don't have sterling role models at home to emulate. And yes, I include myself in that.
But we did hear some good things, too. Both of the cubs are enthusiastic in class, and not afraid to ask questions, also, their English teacher was very impressed with their class presentations. She said that by the end of their talks even the girls were showing an interest in WH40K. [grin]

And so to my own school work. We're in the process of finishing up some classes and beginning others - consequently, tests. Had 2 last week, with another 2 coming up next week. The two up-coming are going to be tricky - I'm not looking forward to the Cataloguing one - but I got 93% on one of last week's. Be nice if I can keep up the +90% results.
One of our tutors, Kathy, made a chocolate cake for our last class! 'twas very yummy. She's a great teacher too. :)

The school holidays were very quiet, mostly because I had no free money until the last 3 days. Then the cubs and I spent a day at Puffing Billy, meeting up with Soulsis and the hordlings later so they could shower us with gifts (hee! I haz a flamingo finger puppet! And a Dalek easter egg!) The day after that we all trooped out to see a surprisingly engaging movie. That was fun! Oh, and Soulsis, Miss Raven and I investigated a garage sale nearby and I came back with a big new maneki neko! 30cm, with whiskers! And only $5! Nicely spotted, thank you, Soulsis. :)

We had some wild weather over the hols, too. Windy. Very windy. 'Hurricane speeds', apparently, gusting over the State. Trees down all over the place; a couple of people killed by buildings collapsing on them. My cable broadband, and the landline, were down for 4 days, but we were fortunate. Some other areas had no electricity for close to a week. Erk. I don't like high winds at the best of times and this lot just made me want to take refuge in a cave. Surprised we didn't lose more of the roof, or the fence, though. Just lucky, I guess.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ah, crime fiction, I loves it, but haven't read anything much of the 'foundation' stuff - y'know Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle. I have however, finally got 'round to reading some Raymond Chandler, him being considered one of the icons on the genre.
It's very cool! Humourously dry, wonderfully descriptive, and written in 1st person, which I'm partial to - as evidenced by the 1 and 4/5 novels I've written in that style.

Here's a couple of examples.
"... It got quiet. There was loneliness and the smell of kelp and the smell of wild sage from the hills. A yellow window hung here and there, all by itself, like the last orange. Cars passed, spraying the pavement with cold white light, then growled off into the darkness again. Wisps of fog chased the stars down the sky."
(From Farewell, my lovely - Penguin, London - p.55)

And this bit, where Marlowe's just come to from being knocked unconscious.)

"... fall down and hit the ground with my face, The reason I hit it with my face, I got my chin scraped. That way I know it's scraped. No, I can't see it. I don't have to see it. It's my chin and I know whether it's scraped or not. Maybe you want to make something of it. Okey shut up and let me think..."

(as above, p. 59)

See? Funny. I giggled. :)

Ah, holidays, the perfect time to laze about watching DVDs. In this instance, seasons 1 & 2 of The Thin Blue Line.
The cubs and I really enjoyed this, lots of laughs, but oh, Mr Elton, you can't help the social commentary, can you? Not that that's a problem, dear me, no, it's great to see something funny that's got a bit of substance.

But these hols haven't just been spent watching DVDs, no indeed, I've been doing homework as well. I've 3 tests to look forward to in the first week back in term 2, so I've done some solid revising for those, and - finally - made a start on a couple of largish assignments.
I don't like assignments. Tests are fine - you revise, you do the paper, it's done - but assignments hang around and around for ages. Also, I'm finding it quite difficult to get my head in to the fact, rather than fiction space. Having to condense and paraphrase a huge wodge of information makes my brain hurt. As for keeping to the word limit? [throws hands up in disgust] 1000 words is not much space at all to describe the features of two libraries. Hmph.
Eh well, could be worse, I spose, I could be trying to fathom a less than fuzzy subject like Physics. Oh, that'd be a laugh, I'm sure. :)

Tch, the cubs asked me to stop dancing the other day. True, I was dancing in such a way as to produce maximum irritation but I'm still entitled to artistic expression, yes?
My poor boys...

And finally, I just have to say how much I detest the phrase 'light on fire'. You 'set fire to' something, or it's 'set alight'. Grrr.