Monday, January 31, 2005

Failure to communicate

(again). Company Ks classes resumed last week, but apparently there was a breakdown in communication in our office (not a real surprise). Old Secretary told me that there was a problem we needed to discuss, and heres how the conversation went:

Old Secretary: You were paid for an extra lesson for your Monday company K class.
MrT: What?
OS: The lesson last on Monday was one more then they had paid for on their contract.
MrT: Its part of the new contract.
OS: New contract? I dont have any record of a new contract.
MrT: Ask Bossman about it.
OS: Oh.

Apparently Bossman hadnt told OS about it, even though shes the secretary responsible for both payroll and billing.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Photo Friday

This week's subject: Crowded - Mine is entry #500

**** Update****

Whoops, sorry, 'Crowded' was last week's Photo Friday subject. This week's subject is Youth - Mine is entry #90

Notes

Lunch with New Guy part 2:
-He's planning on giving our school a four month try to see if he wants to stay.
-His wife is coming over next weekend for a visit and to see if she likes our city.

Unrelated note:
A few days ago I found a CD on the table on the teachers' room titled:
'Pompous Ponce presents: Teach your way to serenity'
I have no desire to know what's on it.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

2005 Bloggies

Whew!

I've just finished going through the nominees for the 2005 Bloggies. It took me three hours, but I've finally put together the ones I'll be voting for in a few minutes. Unless specified, I've viewed/read every one that was nominated in each category.

What do I look for in a blog?
  1. Easy to look at - no animations, nothing flying around the screen, colours easy on the eyes, etc.

  2. Original writing, not just links.

  3. Things of personal interest to me (teaching, travelling, photography)

  4. The tone of the writing.

  5. History: Why did you start blogging?
  6. When voting - one that hasn't been nominated in several other categories.
Here are my choices:

Best Meme - Photo Friday - I'll be attempting to participate in it.

Best Article or Essay - New Kids on the Blog - where I found Rob's blog.

Best applications - Haloscan - the only one I know anything about.

Best OZ or NZ - Spiceblog - not much to choose from.

Best Asian - Tokyo Times - the only one that was even slightly appealing.

Best African or Middle Eastern - 360 Degrees of Sky - Africa fascinates me.

Best European - Zoe - No need to view the others.

Best British or Irish - London Underground Tube Blog - I'm a bit of a transport geek.

Best Latin American - Overcaffeinated

Best Canadian - Bacon and Eh's

Best American - Tequila Mockingbird

Best Tagline - Random Acts of Reality: "Trying to kill as few people as possible..." - definitely the best and also and a fellow Anonymous Work Blogger.

Best Photography - The Narrative - not much to choose from, but this was definitely the best (Andre next year!).

Best non-weblog content - The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog

Best food - Simply Recipes - easy to use and understand.

Best entertainment - none even mildly appealing.

Best weblog about politics - 1115.org

Best web development weblog - 456 Berea Street - one of the only ones I understood.

Best computers or tech - couldn't find one that was even mildly appealing.

Best topical - The Policeman's Blog - a fellow Anonymous Work Blogger.

Best glbt - Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven - quite interesting, and I loved this post.

Most humourous - Defective Yeti - none of them really appealed to me as far as humour goes (JonnyB is totally funnier than any of them), but I liked what Matthew had to say.

Best writing - Real E Fun - a fellow Anonymous Work Blogger.

Best group - A Fistful of Euros - none really appealed to me.

Best community - Fark - one of my regular reads.

Best designed - Jason Santa Maria - Quite tasteful.

Best-kept-secret - Manhattan Transfer

Best new - Preshrunk

Lifetime Achievement - Ernie Hsiung (little.yellow.different) Ernie! Ernie! Ernie! No need to read the others.

Weblog of the year - This Fish Needs a Bicycle - Definitely the best choice.

This blog will be participating in:


Photo Friday (when possible)



World Photo Day 2005

and


International Weblogger's Day (second year)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Time to ask for a raise?

Bosswoman pulled up in a new TT Coupe this morning.

My school is literally becoming a three ring circus.

(this post leads back to my astonished post).

New Guy Two started working at our school at the end of last week. I had only seen him briefly in passing and hadn't had a chance to talk to him, so I knew nothing about him. I met him on Monday and we a few minutes to chat. As with most teachers, we got to the subject of teaching. Here's how the conversation went:

MrT: 'How long have you been teaching?'
New Guy Two: 'Teaching, or teaching English?'
MrT: 'I'll bite. Both.'
NGT: 'I taught English about four years ago for a very short period of time. However, I spent the last three years in New Zealand teaching circus acts.'
MrT: 'Circus acts?'
NGT: 'Yes, juggling, unicycle riding, things like that.'
MrT [trying to control laughter]: 'Really?'
NGT: 'Yes.'

Now you can see why I was astonished. Bossman has hired someone who has very little experience teaching English, because he has teaching experience with circus acts!

From now on, New Guy Two is known as Clown.

2005 Bloggies?

Has anyone been able to access the 2005 Bloggies website? From comments on different blogs, I've learnt that Zoe and JonnyB have been nominated for awards, but when I've tried to view the website both yesterday and today, all I've received has been this:
Bandwidth Limit Exceeded
The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.
When is later? February?

Is there a mirror website somewhere that I can't seem to find?

Monday, January 24, 2005

Astonished

I'm absolutely astonished right now. I can't even blog about it. Everytime I think that nothing odder (not bad this time (yet), just odd) could happen, my school proves me wrong. Let's just say it deals with New Guy Two, who started at the end of last week (not the chap I had lunch with).

I'll blog about it later this week.

Remember IC?

Oddly enough, (the former) Incompetent Colleague's name has been thrown around a bit lately.

It seems that he had the nerve to contact Bossman in December for a reference for another language school in a different part of the country-that-won't-be-named. BM gave the school a reference, but I know that IC wouldn't be pleased by the one he got. I guess it's a case of 'don't ask for what you want, you may get it'. BM also proposed a toast to him at our Christmas party, thanking him for not being there.

According to BM, he's also been contacted by IC several times about returning to our school. BM has assured me that IC won't be returning.

It's probably a good thing, because according to Young Secretary (via Ditzy Teacher), IC's former girlfriend would be quite happy to run him out of the city, as he gave her an STD.

Finally, Ditzy Teacher is heading down to Andalucia this weekend for two weeks and (according to YS) she was supposed to be visiting IC. However, IC is back in England now and DT is quite distraught (remember…she was not so secretly in love with him).

Friday, January 21, 2005

Lunch with New Guy

I unintentionally had lunch with New Guy yesterday. I was sitting in a local eatery and he walked in and asked if he could join me. I agreed, so he got his lunch and we talked.

I asked him how he ended up at our school, and it turns out that this job was his fourth choice. His first choice was a job in the UK that he didn't get. The second was on a different part of The Continent, the third was in another part of the country-that-won't-be-named, and his fourth was our school. He said he took it because he needed a job somewhere.

I then asked him if he had planned on staying or was just passing through. He told me that as far as Bossman knows, he's here for the long term, but just between us, he's just passing through. Actually, I had already knows that as he had said something similar to Young Secretary and she had told me.

Then it was his turn.

He told me he had heard that I have a bad temper (this most likely dates back to the incidents that happened in September). He refused to tell me who had told him that, so I told him that I once lost my temper due to the idiocy of a few other people.

As we were walking back to work, he asked me if I was going to Secret Smoker's going away party on Saturday. My reply was, 'What going away party?' I hadn't been invited, perhaps because Young Secretary (most likely the organiser) knows I'll be out of town this weekend.

Or not.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Updates on New Girl and New Guy

New Girl is coming, but not to our school. She'll be going to our other school in a different part of the country-that-won't-be-named because a teacher that was supposed to start at that school backed out at the last minute.

New Guy isn't very happy. He doesn't like his flat (even thought Bossman has assured us that it's quite nice) and he's not happy about working early mornings (none of us are, but it's a fact of life). He's also told Young Secretary that he hates driving. He's not going to last long.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Sad news

A good blogging buddy, Dr Dre, is hanging up his keyboard for personal reasons. He's assured us that he hasn't sold out (I'll still be waiting for the sitcom, though) or been dooced. If you can spare a moment, call by wish the good doc all the best.

Monday, January 17, 2005

A bit odd

The Report Card was mentioned in the Scotsman on 14 January 05. However, the writer (Susan Mansfield) failed to notify me (and most likely the other blogs mentioned - including CCC and Anytown NHS Trust) that she'd be taking (borrowing? stealing?) part of my blog and using it for her personal gain. I'm not one to to complain about being mentioned in an article, and she did credit me with the quote and link to my blog, but shouldn't she have contacted me (and the other bloggers) first before lifting bits from our blogs? That would be the proper etiqeutte in the print world (as far as I know), so shouldn't it also apply to netiqeutte?

Also, how is this different from the problem that Zoe and others are having, other than the length and extent of the content, and the fact that it was published by a periodical, rather than on a blog?

To anyone who has just found my blog from the Scotsman article, welcome. I hope you enjoy your visit and return frequently.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

New Guy

He started today. He's from Hertfordshire, is about 33 years old and has been teaching since 1999. I only had a few minutes to chat with him so can't form an impression yet. He seems like a decent bloke, but time will tell. He's married, but his wife is back in the UK til he gets settled in. His accent is a bit odd.

Red Flags:

- He said that he's very apprehensive about driving on the 'wrong' side of the road. Here we go again?

- He tried to get out of working at 7h30 (we all work at that time twice a week) by saying that he's not a morning person. Neither am I! If anyone's getting off the 7h30 shift, it's going to be me!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

New Colleagues

Supposedly a new colleague is starting today as an addition to our staff. He was supposed to start on Monday, but he changed his start date at the end of last week. Also, Secret Smoker's replacement will be starting in ten days or so.

I wonder if either will show up, and how long they'll last?

**** Update 12h38 ****

New Guy has now pushed his starting date back to tomorrow. It's not even known if he's in the country yet.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

NATIONAL MITTEN REGISTRY



Lost a mitten? Check out the National Mitten Registry

Missing Mittens?

Like these



Important Canadian winter stuff you know. Not like the Bureau of Missing Socks

Your Pal

Haddocktwat

Sitemeter problems?

Has anyone else been having sitemeter problems? I still get sitemeter reports emailed to me, but when I click on my sitemeter to view my stats (in either Firefox or IE6) I get an error message.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Disaster Prediction

I tried handing in a holiday request form to Bossman today and was told that we have a new procedure this year. He said that Old Secretary is now handling all holiday requests and also finding subs for teachers while they're on holiday. My response was, 'You've got to be kidding!' and he assured me he wasn't.

My long time readers know how efficient OS is with scheduling.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

WELCOME BACK MR T



The strain of blogging here and the inability to live up to your high standards has nearly sent me round the twist.

Welcome back.

Your Pal

Haddocktwat

Back to life

I've returned after a brilliant three weeks of travelling. I'm even a bit tan.

The return was a bit interesting. While I was waiting for the bus back to my city (from the airport), I heard someone say, 'Fancy a lift?' To my surprise, it was Young Secretary. She had come to the airport to meet Secret Smoker, whose plane landed ten minutes after mine. Neither YS or SS had had any idea exactly when I was returning nor did they know which airport I'd be flying into, it was a total coincidence.

Cheers to all my guest bloggers for filling in while I was gone. I'll read the posts soon, but right now I've got to unpack and start planning tomorrow's lessons.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Bully

Simon was his name. He could do no wrong as far as most of the teachers were concerned. He was outside centre in the School Rugby XV. He was Opening Bowler for the 1st XI cricket team and an explosive middle order batsman. He was also a right prat and did so badly in his GCSEs that he was forced to repeat the year. I will only recall three of the stories I have about him as I think you can get a idea of what he was like from these.

We were travelling with the cricket team to Anothertown for a match. I was 12th man (reserve for the un-initiated!). We were going down the motorway when he decided he would start mooning people out of the coach window. He mooned this coach of kids, who all laughed. He moaned this woman, who pretended not to notice. He mooned this old couple who took offence and made the coach pull over. They identified him (God know's how!) and he was dropped from the team and I suddenly had to play. Him getting dropped was, for some reason, my fault and he had a chat with the captain, who was his friend, and made sure that in that game, I got all the crappy assignments.

Another cricket match, this time at the start of the season. My dad had just been to a test match or a one day international and brought me back a brand new England sun hat. I loved it. I always wore a sun hat when I fielded. I wanted to be Carl Hooper (who I met several years later and he told me I wasn't the first person to tell him that story). Anyway, back to the hat. Simon decided it would be quite funny to nick this hat when I was getting changed. He went and took it into the toilets, put it in a urinal and pissed on it. Nice fella.

While getting changed after some sporting thing or other, I was in the changing rooms and was leaning down tying my shoelaces. When all of a sudden I got a whack on the side of my head. It knocked me out cold. I wake up to find a teacher stood there and Simon appologising. Apparently, he was throwing a de-oderant can to someone at the other end of the changing rooms and accidently hit me in the temple with it. From what people told me it was one hell of a whack and it must have been some poor throw to hit me while my head was about a foot off the floor.

I tried to look him up on Friends Reunited when I was writing this but he isn't on there. I'm guessing he's too stupid to use a computer or is possibly banged up at Her Majesty's pleasure.

Friday, January 07, 2005

The Bad

"Satan" was his name. He was a PE teacher. Now don't get me wrong, I liked PE and Games. I was quite a sporty kid. I was reserve goalie for the school football team, making 5 appearances - mainly when the first choice goalie got tickets to watch Anytown Town. I captained my form's rugby team. I was 2nd XI captain at cricket and a mean leg spin bowler. But I couldn't swim.

And Satan took us for swimming. He was determined to make my life hell. Thankfully there was also T who couldn't swim. Last lesson on a Thursday used to be swimming and the before that English. It was 'squeaky bum time' during that lesson.

He used to goad me by saying - "What if your plane crashed in the sea and you couldn't swim - you'd be dead! Ha!". My reply under my breath was, "Statistically, if your plane hits water you die on impact anyway." He used to push me and T into the deep end of the pool and then stand there holding the pole just too far away from us so we had to splutter and splash until we either nearly drowned and he took pity on us or we 'swam' to the pole. I suppose I was quite brave or stupid, some may say. My mum could see how much it was upsetting me so she said she would write me a note to cover all the swimming lessons. I refused. I wouldn't let him win.

I only skived one swimming lesson. When it was raining during games I was faced with the possibility of double swimming. I had a master plan. I went to the teacher in charge of our footy team and told him that I had a cold and that if he wanted me to be on the bench on Saturday that I shouldn't do Games. When I went to see Satan with my excuse he refused to believe me. So I got Footy teacher to come down who said to him. "Look unless you can magic me a goalkeeper for saturday, Dre has to miss Games."

T and I won in the end. T's father went to see the Head and pointed out the Satan was bullying us. He got bollocked and never went near us again. Although I did hear him once trying to bribe P into pushing me in.

The Good

My favourite teacher at school was "The Doc" who taught us Physics. He was one of the meanest and most beligerant teachers in the school but he was only being hard on you for your own good. I ended up doing Physics A-Level and getting an A in it so I guess his magic rubbed off on me.

He had some strange ways. He used to teach us the syllabus for, say, five lessons and then on the sixth, he'd go off on a complete tangent and we'd spend 40 minutes calculating:
  • what thickness a 6 foot tall spider's legs would have to be to support its body,
  • the distance away and size an electron would be if a hydrogen nucleus was a pound coin on his desk,
  • the amount of current running down each strand of electrified chicken wire
  • and the chance of inhaling an oxygen molecule that Caesar exhaled in his dying "Et tu Brute" breath. (Which is surprisingly high!)

We'd also have to do Oxford and Cambridge standard exam questions when studying for GCSE. "The best way to train for a marathon is to run up Everest with a sack of bricks on your back."

He was also very strict. He used to make you lay out your calculations in a specific way. If you deviated from that way then you would get comments like "DROSS!" and "DRIVEL!!!!!" written across your homework. He also insisted that all homework be done in the brown homework book. If it wasn't done in that book, it wasn't marked. When the, in his words, "snivelling little toad", J, handed his homework in on a piece of A4 paper, Doc got a book of matches and set it on fire in front of the entire class.

But he was fair. I remember once when he set us a test about radiation, conduction and convection. I wrote about how a silver surface reject heat. He marked that as wrong and I got some comment like "IDIOT!" written on my work, until I produced his own photocopied notes which hadn't copied the word 'reflects' correctly and made it look like 'rejects'. So he gave me a mark for learning what he had given me, even though it was incorrect.

He was also very harsh on my friend C and about 5 other people. He suspected them all of cheating and took them one by one outside of the classroom and into his office where he grilled them over the cheating. Of course none of them were daft enough to admit that they had cheated. They thought they could get away with it.

Well at least until The Doc pointed out that they had all calculated the distance between the Earth and the Moon as being about 100,000,000 miles.

Once again The Doc proved he was the best.

Better late than never

Hi All,

Dr Dre here from Doing Less Harm, musings from Anytown NHS Trust. I am one of the many guest bloggers Mr T has asked to help him out while he's on holiday.

I thought since I was going to blog some stories from my school days then I should treat them like I did my homework and do them on the last minute and very late at night.

So here goes, hope you enjoy The Good, The Bad and The Bully.

Dr Dre.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Follow your bliss

Find what is truly important to you, accept what is in your heart and what makes you excited, happy and content and follow it.

Remove the barriers to growth (fear, anger, resentment) and you will be at peace.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, properous New Year.

Monday, January 03, 2005

A quick hello

I'm off to Warm and Sunny Place #3 tomorrow morning so I thought I'd stop in and wish everyone a belated Happy New Year.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

If I was a poor blogger before...

I'm a truly awful blogger now. Only a handful of posts here at Mr. T's and nothing new since before Christmas at my own site. Well, I suppose by now you've already rung in the New Year 'cross the pond so I send you my heartfelt wishes for a happy, healthy, and blessed New Year!

Don't go making any more resolutions than you can actually pretend to keep. ;D

CHEERS!!!!

HR Lady