Friday, November 30, 2007
and i usually run a good it turned out to be a day of evaluating. first i made all five tutorials fill in evaluation forms about me. i feel like i have a good relationship with most of my studentstutorial. they made jokes about me being for the chop - i figure that's a good sign!
i also had the prof sitting in on one class for her to evaluate me, which i'm also not worried about. it was a good class. we talked about the upcoming exam and then did a character map of the play, with a focus on class and gender and the movements between them. smelly felts and big sheets of paper are a crowd pleaser, also v. educational. we got some good discussion going in the end.
then i coordinated a lecture hall of 100 students filling in evaluations of the prof. that could have done with more forward planning on my part.
then i had a packing out office hour, mainly workshopping on thesis statements for their final essay. i like working one-on-one with students. it's very satisfying.
then i came home and did some serious chillaxing after all that being-judged.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
i actually wore the ned helmet back from the grocers this afternoon, because it's nice and warm. just the thing to keep your nose toasty on a freezing cold day. there was lots of snow on campus yesterday. i was very glad to get off the hill and into my nice cozy apartment, where ziggy was making apple crumble. i showed her my new toy and tried to explain what it meant. she said "so he's like a terrorist?"
still working on phd apps. it's a very involved process. after you've done all the figuring where to apply to and when the due dates are you put together an application package (or two, often, going to different places at the university) which generally includes transcripts from each previous institution, three reference letters, a writing sample (25p academic work), a research proposal, academic cv, and statement of purpose (essentially "i'm the best student in the world for x, y and z reasons, you're the best university in the world for x, y and z reasons - we belong together!" except with more name dropping). some of this stuff goes in the mail, some of it is on electronic forms and some of it has to come direct from previous institutions or referees. figuring out who wants what and when and where is half the fun.
so far i have the transcripts in the mail (cross fingers - i filled in lots and lots of forms at both institutions), the ball rolling on reference letters, and decent drafts of all the other stuff, except the statement of purpose, which has to be individually tailored for each program you're applying to. i hate writing these statements, and often think it would be easier if i were an american. it's so uncool to talk yourself up in australia or canada. but i'm not doing too badly, on the whole. slowly and surely, with lots of cursing and whimpering.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
i'm really very happy about the way my bookshelf looks now, with all its decoration. see, that's the picturebooks up the top left, then graphic novels, then general fiction (alphabetical by surname) and misc, with hardcore theory down the bottom right. if you click on the picture you can see more closely to browse my collection. I do still have occasional pangs for my many books packed in boxes in the 'dale (with g+b caretaking). today i was remembering my enormous hardback book of famous photographs (it is just called "photo" if i remember correctly, which isn't much help) and my fabulous hardback two volume OED (c/o the rellies).
hmmm. too many big decisions. more herbal tea! tea is the answer!
Monday, November 26, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
and again, in song:
i would also like to make a plea for left-leaning types to give the greens first preference. as commenters on this blog have pointed out, labour isn't much better than the liberals at this point. if the greens hold the balance of power maybe they can keep the bastards honest. here's a slightly patronising video which explains how your vote for the green can still get rid of howard. or, here, go to this website and listen to lovely bob brown explaining why he's cool. also their policies totally rock. did you know they have female candidates? it's totally wild.
we all know howard's a lying rodent. do the right thing.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
click on the photos to make them bigger - that one above was taken at midday, btw.
stunning view + rainbow:
if you look down the bottom there you can see boats - this was the view to the mainland. you could see the lights of vancouver on a clear night. the stars were so bright (big dipper, little dipper, casio pia) and the trees all dark and pointy. beautiful! the other half of the rainbow:
saltspring used to be inhabited by hippies, as far as i understand, and now houses a strange mix of hippies, yuppies, loggers and hardcore christians. the town we were near was small and cute, with lots of very good bookshops and local handicrafts.
this is a park near the centre of town:
we did a bit of shopping and i got smelly things. yumness:
now i am back in the big bad city, catching up on paperwork and housework. good news - i have a job next semester! i'll be TAing for a medieval literature subject. i just met the prof i'll be working for, and she seems very nice. she's been friends for years with the prof i'm currently working for, which is also a positive sign, as current-prof and i have bonded. i asked new-prof what i should start reading and she said "beowulf." (it's very funny if you're a lit-nerd; beowulf is generally accepted as the first piece of english literature.)
it is properly winter here. top of 7 predicted for most of this week (but sunny!) and it snowed up at uni over the weekend. i just put two wool coats in for drycleaning.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
see my new hair! shiny!
i trotted off the embassy after my lecture yesterday, feeling very grown up and politicised. they wouldn't let me set up my how to vote box cos they had to call sixteen million people first to check it was okay, so i have to call them tomorrow and see how it went. otherwise i'll have to find out where the expats hang in vancouver and do a poster run. or something.
i voted. that was kinda cool. but lonely. i dunno. yay for the democratic process!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
i judge people by their bookshelves, so i enjoy this exercise. don't know if you lot do. well?
as usual we have a mixture of teaching, "good for me" reading and plain enjoyable/fluff.
in the teaching category i'm reading the roaring girl and other plays, which are 16/17th plays about london. lots of sex jokes, which the editors have duly footnoted and translated. i'm working a lesson around this observation. . .
i'm also marking essays about anne and awake and dreaming. They're both local books - the kit pearson is set in vancouver and victoria, which is very enjoyable. apparently the author does tours of the cemetery in victoria. i'd love to go. the fat green book is perry nodelman's words about pictures, the classic picturebook criticisms book. highly recommended.
in the "good for me" category i have the fat book on the louvre (very good fun) and, yes, a children's chapter book *in* french. it's slow going but satisfying. i read it aloud and use hte pictures to help me along. next i'm going to tackle harry potter in french. i figure it's predictable and familiar enough to work.
plain enjoyable is bridget jones (always make me snort aloud), doctor dolittle and ivan coyote. i may have mentioned ivan coyote. so very good.
ps. are you reading anything fun?
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
i just did a practise run of my picturebook lecture. it went for 50 mins, so i can chop it down a little. last time i lectured i was way too short, so this is very good news. i still have to make a bit of a conclusion. unfortunately my tutorial today was a whole new sort of boring and nasty (i hate teaching referencing systems) so i'm not feeling jazzed up for teaching. i'm sure it'll be fine once i get in front of an audience.
new hair, very exciting! (not that hair in the pie pic - much better). pics to follow.
Monday, November 12, 2007
i have been writing my picturebook lecture all day, which is very satisfying. i so enjoy picturebooks and picturebook theory. i'm lecturing at one of the colleges (like TAFE) about how to read an image in a picturebook, which is a topic i'm very interested in. I'm starting from the very beginning, and explaining left-to-right and depth perception and that sort of thing, and working through relationships between characters; style, colour and repeated shapes; framing, layout and the relationship between text and image.
i'll put an extract below. the bits in ALL CAPS are notes to remind me to show a specific illustration to demonstrate a point. the prof has booked a very exciting machine which projects an image of anything you put below it. in the past when i did presentations on picturebooks i've spent hours and hours scanning each individual image, adjusting the colours and so forth, saving it as a jpg and compiling the images into powerpoint, which is effective but very labour intensive. with this thingy i can just put the book into the machine and point out the relevant bits with my finger. it means i can use a lot more pictures, too, cos it's not such a hassle. anyway, this is still very drafty, but you get the picture. (ha! picture! see!):
"In Western culture we read text from left to right, so we also read the action in illustrations from left to right. If ever a character in a book is running they will run from the left hand side of the page to the right. We also assume that what’s happening on the right hand side of the page happens later than what happens on the left, so if a character is throwing a pie in the face of another character the pie will fly from left to right. ROSIE’S WALK. This is a picturebook from Israel. NODELMAN You see the Hebrew is read from right to left, and the direction of the train is from right to left. This illustration is rather disconcerting to Western viewers who aren’t used to action moving this way. Tell Anne Spudvilas story about her first book.
We use the information about left to right movement to read the action in a story. MAX SAILS TOWARDS ISLAND. We also use it, more subtly, to read when something is going wrong. MAX CHASES DOG W FORK. IDA’S TERRIBLE MISTAKE. When things start going right for Ida she moves from left to right. Movement from right to left can also indicate a home coming (vis. home-away-home pattern) MAX RETURNING, but not always. Rosie, for instance, walks solidly from left to right to get away from home and from left to right to return home. In this case picturebook convention overrides logical meaning. (But did anyone notice that? I certainly didn’t.)"
see how well my lettuces are going! though i haven't checked them since the storm, so i probably should do that. they tend to get buried in fallen leaves.
they still need thinning, which i do whenever i feel i haven't had enough greens.
from VTA, via chicory's human:
very entertaining magnets!
lovely friendly letter from john winston (click on image to make it big enough to read, hopefully) and nummy chocolate!
from nanny, via JT:
shiny congratulation card!
from bbb and grot:
funky australiana and liz stringer cd! eeee!
from nimmersatt and the hard farmer:
glorious mountains from exciting european jaunts.
love you all! watch yr mailboxes. . .
Thursday, November 08, 2007
i'd rather stab myself in the eye with a fork than vote for the liberals OR why i love the interwebs
‘Vote Liberal? My Arse!’ undies – Now in new hotsy-totsy leopard print. Wear your political heart on your backside. And let your most intimate friends know you’d rather stab yourself in the eye with a fork than vote for the Liberal Party.
'JOHN HOWARD LIES' - BLACK T shirt. Bold, simple, and cooler than fuck, our fuzzy letter-esque tees are the shit you must have during the all-important election campaign. Because if there's anything the electorate needs reminding about, it's that Our Leader is - at best - loose with the truth.
i also found this on a different site:
anyone got anything better to say about k.rudd than "he's probably not as bad as howard"? i'm kinda out of the loop.
thankfully life is going well. i'm still plugging away at phd applications (i hatehatehate writing proposals!) and teaching and marking. i'm giving a guest lecture next week, so i'm preparing for that too. more on that later - i'm very excited! teaching is going well. we played "anywhere but here" in the name round, which went down well. my supervising prof greeted me with "it must be that time of year. epponnee-rae's stopped spiking her hair and i'm lecturing in jeans." hah!
in tutorial we spent a long time going through john donne's poem "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning," which was fun. i drew diagrams on the board and explained the penis joke, and the students did some good interpreting and translating. i'm proud that i've mostly succeeded in creating the sort of noisy, friendly, creative classroom space i wanted. then i made them use the poem to do an exercise on thesis statements, which also got them talking. i hope this will improve the next batch of essays. . .
here are the pumpkin photos i wanted to post like sixteen million years ago. first, how the pumpkins looked all lit up. their round little bellies make me so happy!
second, some of the roasted pumpkin seeds miriam made from their insides. they were delicious.
we were going to make their outsides into pumpkin pie after halloween, but we left it a bit long, and now they have gone to be with the great pumpkin in the sky. ziggy assures me they're happy there.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
My news, um - i finished the GRE! It actually wasn't that bad. I spent three hours filling in little bubbles with a 2B pencil then bought a fat book about the Louvre as a reward. I don't get the marks from this exam for six weeks (!!!) but I think I went okay. There were lots of questions on material I knew very well and could answer immediately, lots of stuff I didn't know very well but had read or memorised in the last two weeks and could answer after a bit of thought, lots of stuff I was able to make an educated guess on (the way the points work rewards educated guessing) and only five I had to leave blank cos of having no clue at all. That's probably all I can tell you, cos of signing a stat dec about not revealing the content of the test to anybody.
Now I'm working on PhD applications and trying to figure out where I should live for the next five or so years. It's a hard decision, as always. Right now I'm loving Canada - this dude in hard hat and overalls just knocked on the door and warned me that if I needed to have a shower or cook stuff I should do so now cos they're going to cut off the water for a couple of hours (burst main). Which, when I write it like that, sounds more annoying than anything, but do the workmen go individually to every house in the block in Australia and give them advance warning? I don't remember it ever happening. And the other day a Ticket Nazi helped me figure out which train I wanted to catch, being very polite and "Ma'am"ing me. And when I was riding home at 1am last night a car stopped in a roundabout and let me go through first.
Ah, the idealism of youth. Ziggy's friend nearly got run over on a pedestrian crossing the other day (wearing a reflective raincoat) and the driver followed him down the street abusing him. These things happen too.
Where was I? Oh, lord, that's right. I was replying to all the emails from my students about their next assignment. I should get back to that and stop blathering about the Canadian stereotype.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
thanks, jt! they're beautiful. i do miss gumtrees, you cruel auntie!
this is the same lake jt sent me pictures of in summer. remember this?
glad it's not as dry anymore.
i have little news. i have my last exam in the wee hours tomorrow - wish me luck! my main worry are the american poets and novelists. somehow i have managed to do seven years of tertiary education without seriously studying any americans. i've discovered i like robert frost and herman melville, and dislike faulker, emerson and hemingway. never say the GRE doesn't teach you anything!