All entries for June 2005

June 16, 2005


Follow-up to Wednesday from Bloggle

Today was quite interesting. First lesson I wa sin the special needs department. It's hard not to feel sorry for the kids there. They were doing textiles and it took them an hour to do about four cross stitches.

In the second lesson I ended up watching James Bond, which isn't really what I'm there for, but hey! I'm not complaining. It was an English I was observing and they were studying media. Of course, it was useful for me anyway to see an English teacher in action to see different kinds of questioning techniques… oh, who am I kidding? I was just happy to spend an hour watching a film!

Lessons three and four were in maths. The classes were doing an experiment in order to generate statistical data. They were playing a game (it's fun give it a go) on the internet to test reaction times and I was helping out with that.

I had an interesting conversation about ICT in classes at lunch. I can't believe the technology in schools now, it wasn't like that in my day! I think interactive white boards are amazing, the teachers can do so much.

The remaining lessons were spent writing up some of my bits and pieces. I can't believe I get money for being there, I spend half my time trying to make sure I'm not in anyone's way. Of course the school gets good use out of me, I'll be invigilating another exam tomorrow.

Getting home was the hard part. A taxi arranged by the IoE is supposed to pick me up, unfortunately the company sent one from their fleet of invisible cabs today. I wasn't sure what to do, here I was in a strange town I don't know from Calcutta, with no definite plan for getting home. Oh dear!

It's hard to know how long to wait in these situations, you don't want to leave and then the taxi turn up a minute later. I'd waited for maybe half an hour when a bus went past so I instinctively leapt on and was whisked off to the centre of Nuneaton – at least I know what it's like now. I got off at the bus station and found a Coventry bound bus. Praise ye to Stagecoach! I didn't even have to wait, it was right there. Even more unbelievably the drivers were polite, I almost fainted. I wouldn't like to think that my being dressed all smart rather than like a scruffy student had anything to do with it. Surely not?

The bus I was now on went very close to the school, so I suppose the first bus was fairly superfluous – how was I to know? I wasn't entirely sure where I would end up either, the driver said it stopped near Pool Meadows, but Hillfields is kind of near Pool Meadows, certainly relative to Nuneaton anyway. Hillfields is the last place I'd want to end up. Well, no, I suppose Iraq would be worse, but I found it hard to imagine that the Stagecoach 48 bus stopped at Nuneaton, Bedworth (No I'd never heard of it either) and Basra.

As it happens the bus stopped very near Pool Meadows indeed. I was so relieved I almost cried. I boarded a number 12 bus (back to grumpy drivers – maybe it was because I'd untucked my shirt and slackened my tie because the previous bus was hot and sticky) bound for campus. I got home fully ninety minutes later than I should have. I'm not best pleased, but it's Friday tomorrow so there's somthing to smile about afterall.

June 15, 2005

F411 Championship: Round 8 – Canadian Grand Prix

A rather typical Canadian Grand Prix, don't you think? It wasn't boring but for some reason I felt really sleepy whilst watching it and was in a deamlike state, so I'm not entirely sure what happened. Karthikeyan won right?

Due to the evil Sith lords at ITV I didn't watch qualifying until Sunday morning. I recorded it rather than staying up late, it was only a recording anyway so I didnt think it made much difference when I saw it. Given that they've only just gotten rid of the farcical Sunday qualifying session and that I never managed to follow a single one of these via radio or internet, and certainly not on TV - heaven forfend we should get to see the crucial part – I'd consider this to be quite ironic. Actual irony too, not mere coincidences as we have to suffer from Brundle and F1 Racing.

Silverstone Test

A couple of weeks ago I went to the F1 test at Silverstone with Warwick Motorsport. Even though I'd been to the Grand Prix in 2001 I was completely blown away by how quick the cars were. it was amazing! When we first got there and saw the cars for the first time it was as though someone had pressed the fast forward button. I was half expecting everyone around me to be moving around really quick and talking like chipmunks. Indeed Alvin, Simon and Theodore were there, well Simon was at least.

For some nice pictures, lookie here

I was wearing my purple and black hat at the test, so I was rather hoping that one of the drivers would turn up in Montreal with a new helmet design saying "At the Silverstone test I saw this guy wearing a for sure purple and black hat by the side of the for sure track and thought he looked really cool, so I had to for sure copy the design. If the person in question wants to ring up my people he can have free tickets to all the remaining Grands Prix this year… for sure." I was most disappointed.


10pts Tiago Monteiro: Martin Brundle was right, it was so hard to pick out a great drive from anyone, so Monteiro gets the big score on account of being on of only two drivers – take a guess who the other is, it's quite unbelievable – to finish every race so far. That and it's just comedy to giv ehim such points.

8pts Juan Pablo Montoya: He made a pigs ear of it in the end, but he gave Raikkonen food for thought, given how sensational Kimi is at the moment, you can't help but be impressed. But on the other hand:

That kind of thing is hard to miss, though I suppose Montoya was probably seeing red anyway after messing up by not pitting, so wouldn't have noticed a little more.

6pts Michael Schumacher: It was a weird performance from him, in that he doesn't usually inherit places - there aren't usually many for him to inherit. But he didn't stuff it into a wall or forget his mirror-signal-manouvres, so he's deserves some credit.

5pts Christijan Albers: I very nice performance in qualifying, it takes you back to the days of Alonso sticking it to the Benettons, unfortunately with Albers I fear this may be the exception rather than the norm.

4pts Felipe Massa: The other driver to finish every race. I told you it was unbelievable. Another strong drive, all those spins at Silverstone 2002 seem a long time ago.

3pts Jacques Villeneuve: Credit Suisse where Credit Suisse's due. For how much longer though?

2pts Giancarlo Fisichella: Nevermind JFK, this is a real conspiracy! Renault seem determined to screw things up for him wherever possible.

1pt David Coulthard: For saying nipple on live television. tee-hee!

-1pt Jenson Button: A very nice pole position, but it was all downhill from there unfortunately. Perhaps he paid too much attention to the whole "Champions Wall" thing and thought it might help his chances. I'm not entirely sure that's how it works Jenson.


10pts Sauber: I've been really harsh on them recently but they were pretty good in Canada, if Villeneuve can qualify eighth they must be doing something right.

8pts Ferrari: Not quite the revival we might have expected but you can't slag off a team with two cars on the podium that much.

6pts McLaren: It's boring, but they are quick. I'm still not sure what happened with Montoya and the safety car, but they were making for an exciting race beforehand.

5pts BAR: A big improvement from Nurgburgring – it would have been hard not to be I suppose. Plus they used up two lots of bad luck with Sato's car so should be clear for the rest of the season.

4pts Minardi: Another race and another time when Minardi show up more establiushed rivals.

3pts Red Bull: They were slow, they were outqualified by Minardis but they still got three points. It's a mystery, but if they were still green they probably wouldn't have got past the first corner.

2pts Williams: Hey, what do you know? Williams can blame their drivers for not doing as well as they should. It's Ralf and Juan all over again.

1pt Toyota: I really can't think of anything they did in that race. Seriously. Oh well, may as well give them a point.

-1pt Renault: For their anti-Fisi conspiracy.

-10pts Jordan: It's just one big mess. Then they try to fall out with their best (and very well funded) driver. It's not smart.

Special Cases

1pt Me: For brilliantly timing my laundry and watching qualifying, so that after watching the session whilst my clothes were in the drier a was back at the launderette just a few moments before the clothes stopped spinning. That's the sort of timing Juan Pablo Montoya could do with learning.

1pt Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button, Takuma Sato, Fernando Alonso, Giancarlo Fisichella, Mark Webber, Nick Heidfeld, Kimi Raikkonen, Pedro de la Rosa, David Coulthard, Christian Klien, Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli and Tiago Monteiro: The drivers present at the Silverstone test.

1pt Ferrari, BAR, Renault, Williams, McLaren, Red Bull, Toyota and Jordan: The teams present at the Silverstone test.


Follow-up to Tuesday from Bloggle

I had the dubious pleasure of being in a PE lesson today. It made me remember why I hated the subject. They were playing quick cricket and it looked a little too energetic for my liking. It did give me a chance to make some lesson observation notes though. In maths lessons I'll usually go around and help kids who are stuck, but obviously that's not necessary with PE, unless they were to get physically stuck in some gym equipment say. I'd imagine that's quite rare though.

The highlight of the day was observing a really rude Year 9 class. They were horrid! Well I suppose it was only a few class members bringing the rest down, but they certainly weren't going to win any "class of the year" awards. There was a virtually constant stream of pupils being sent out, at one point I could have sworn there were more in the corridor than actually in the class. Lovely.

I've been in school three days now, and some of the pupils are starting to recognise me. It's quite nice hearing "Alright Sir" or "Hello Mr Walker". Of course not all pupils are so pleasant, someone asked me if I was in Year 8. No! Honestly, do I look like I'm 12/13?

It's got to be said that children/teenagers say some pretty weird things. I happened to overhear a conversation in one of the classes I was in which featured the excellent quote of "I'm only a lesbian with one person." What?! I wonder if that means I'm asexual with around 6 billion people then. Another bizzare thing was in a registration in the afternoon the children responded with "Good Aftermorning". Which was rather amusing.

The "aftermorning" was spent mainly doing adminstrative bits for the scheme I'm on, which was writing my log and filling in some lesson observation bits. Not terribly exciting. I also had a discussion about the role of PSHE, which is PSE with extra "Health". It was kind of interesting I suppose. At school I always thought it was a waste of time, but I think the main benefits are to children from less affluent backgrounds.

After getting back to campus this afternoon I spotted lots of people in Tuxes in preparation for the Final Fling tonight. So I didn't feel quite so silly dressed up all smart for school. In fact with a shirt and tie I was almost dressing down.

June 14, 2005

Oi! What's in your festival rucksack?

It's going back a bit, but Jo Whiley used to have a feature called "What's in your festival rucksack?". Seeing as festival season is fast approaching, though my beloved Leeds is still a couple of months away, I thought it was time to say what's in my festival rucksack:

Lighter: I don't smoke, it's for those stadium rock moments. (And good for burning stuff, y'know, for kicks)
Crisps and snacks: Probably the healthiest thing I'll eat all weekend, let's face it a stick of lard's better for you than the stuff from those burger vans.
Torch: To avoid fuck!-who-put-that-guy-rope-there? moments.
Toilet Roll: Essential.
Stun Stick: To ease my passage through the crowds exiting the arena after the last band.
Wire Cutters: For the guitar strings of those people who try to play on the campsites. Are they hoping some industry big-wig's going to come along and say, "Hey, you've got talent kid. Here, sign this record deal"?


Radioactive suit: For those nasty portaloos.
A big bag: To catch all those freebies they force on you. Avoid the iced tea though.
Lots of belts: To offer to skater kids who's trousers are looking extra likely to fall down.


Follow-up to Monday from Bloggle

In the morning I was tracking a pupil, this meant going into a number of lessons that were completely alien to me. Including French, in which I am fluent in the following words: Bonjour, Oui and Merci. Also I was in a science lesson including some stuff exploding, neat.

As it happens the pupil I tracking was a child genius or something, but he was pretty normal – kind of like Malcolm in the Middle I guess. The French teacher told me he had an IQ of 180+ (Onehundred and Eighty!) Which is amazing.

In the afternoon I was helping invigilate an exam. Yes, it would appear I've turned to the darkside! It was kind of strange to see it from the other point of view, mostly it involved being asked for compasses or protractors. One of the teacher's advice was to just walk up and down the aisles looking stern. Stern? I'm not particularly good at stern but I tried! Unfortunately my shoes made a ridiculous clunk on the floor so I sort of grimaced every time I took a step. I tried really hard to make it as quiet as possible but the best way was walking on tip-toes which felt a bit silly so I settled for making a noise. Either way I couldn't quite manage a stern face. Oh well, quoi dis done.

June 13, 2005


Follow-up to First Day Tomorrow from Bloggle

After my concerns about transport I was relieved to get to school okay. Though it took me a while to realise that the taxi was there waiting for me on Gibbet Hill road, it was a normal car except for having "Chaffeured Hire Cars" emblazened on the bac window. I looked at it and thought it sounded posh and ignored it. I'm dopey, I know. The only other problem was that the driver was listening to Heart FM, *shivers*.

School was okay in that they did appear to be ready for me, though I had trouble finding the reception to sign in. They'd moved it since I'd been there last term so I quickly got lost, a process which involved actually walking right past where the reception now is. Look, it was early, okay!

The first lesson was me being given a tour by two very polite pupils. Presumably they were being polite on account of it helping get them out of a maths lesson, I imagine that put them in good spirits. After my tour I concluded that, yes, I was indeed at a school and not an abatoir. The classrooms were the real clincher. Honestly, I could have gone round any school, I think they all more or less look the same. The best bit was being shown a classroom with maps on the wall, can you guess what subject that was?

Also I talked to an NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher), it was nice to find out what teaching was like from someone quite new to it, though she did keep repeating the phrase "you'll be fine", which was nice, but it made me wonder why I might not be.

I was only in one (revision) class today, the rest was spent planning lessons, looking through my handbook and writing my log (which was rather short seeing as I hadn't done anything to log about), or I suppose more accurately it was divided between those those activities and trying to look busy by striking thoughtful poses and looking into space with deep concentration.

Tomorrow is tracking a pupil, which isn't some terrifying hunting game, I merely go to the same lessons as them. I hope no one asks me to help during English.

June 12, 2005

First Day Tomorrow

Follow-up to Back to School from Bloggle

Most post exam slothernlyness is about to be blown out of the water by my going into school for the next three weeks. Good bye lazy lie-ins, hello Mr. Taxi at 7:30am.

This starts tomorrow, which means whilst most people (apart from the poor buggers who still have exams and actual teaching students and probably plenty of others too but that kind of stamps on my point, oh and let's not forget people who live in the real world outside of our cosy little bubble who have proper jobs and don't get stupid amounts of time off) are winding down, I'm winding up again. Oh well, I always like to be different.

I just hope I get to school alright and they're actually ready for me. I was originally due to start last week but changed due to match someone else going into the same school at the same time, which was mightily nice of me I might add, seeing as I won't get to go home for an extra week now (sad face). Added to this Warwick Email has conspired to stop me getting there by refusing to deliver emails from the Institue of Education regarding my transport. The bastard! I hate computers, I swear they do it on purpose sometimes. Seeing as it would appear that the IoE sent me at least two emails that I didn't get, hence didn't reply to (have you ever managed to reply to an email you didn't get? It's not easy) they must think I'm a right case. I sincerely hope this doesn't in anyway affect my PGCE application(!)

I've spent the day reading through the handbook we get telling us what we have to do. Part of this is writing a log of what we've done. How about a weblog? huh? I think perhaps the, ahem, colourful language featured here may not be appropriate fodder. Plus there's a number of forms I've been making copies of by using Excel to create my own. It's great, if teaching falls through as a career I've started myself on a path towards forgery, I think I've made a good start on it.

Anyway it looks like early nights for me, I have a neurotic compulsion in situations like this to prepare everything the night before, this includes making my lunch and packing my bag, general stuff most people do, but also tieing my tie and laying out my clothes in the order I'm going to put them on. I told you I was neurotic. I've stopped short of putting the toast in the toaster for breakfast already, so it would appear I'm not completely insane, though a lack of sleep over the next three weeks may well tip the balance.

So assuming the Taxi turns up, the driver doesn't get lost (we've had problems before), the school's still standing (it's a rougth area apparently, arson?), they're expecting me, they don't decide they don't like the look of me and I manage to remember all my appropriate bits of paper I think I should be okay. Oh yeah, better set my alarm clock too.

June 11, 2005

Gig Review

Where did the guy on the right learn to play the fridge?

It does look quite a nice fridge, I think I spotted a 3 star rating on it. This means it's a good way better than the usual fare we students put up with, which generally are cupboards with a fan in the back powered by a poor little boy rescued from a sweatshop floor.

Random fridge fact: Fridges were invented by Australian Frank Richard Idge, who gave his name to his creation.

I went to that fridge shop – Selfridges – and found the appropriate model to get a closer look. It boasts a varity of light colours including white (standard), blue (for, y'know) and black. The inside is twice the size of the outside meaning you can store plenty of food. Things you might want to put in are butter, milk, certain vegetables and your girlfriend/boyfriend to preserve their youth. It sells for £599.

I give the fridge 7/10

June 09, 2005

Guide to reading

I recently started reading The Odyssey. Apart from the obvious differences to books I normally read (it's not aimed at people half my age), in the beginning of the book there were instructions on how to read the story. Having read books (note the plural. Impressive, huh?) before I decided to skip this and dive straight in. But I appreciate that some people are not as literary blessed, so for those people here's how you read:

As with all my "Guide To thing" the first step is a highly unhumerous and patronising suggestion to find an appropriate object about which the guide is being written. In this case you need to buy a book. It's worth remembering that you can't read a chapter of a book to see if it's any good like you would listen to a track on a CD. So read the blurbs (for the scientists who can't read, this is the bit on the back of the book telling you what it's about) to figure out which to buy.

Once you've done this it's relatively plain sailing, but here are some tips to make the process easier:

  • If the book's really boring then check how many pages there are. This way you can work out how far you've managed to get through (Yay! Only 24% to go!) and makes the whole process more fun.
  • If you're reading a humerous book just assume any big words you don't know the meaning of mean something funny and let out a snort when you read them.
  • Glance over any names you can't quite get into your head. This Odyssey is full of such names, which are too difficult for my poor little brain to understand so I just sort of leave a blank in my mind when I see them – I know who it means, so I don't lose track of the story.
  • If the book contains verse, such as in the Lord of the Rings, just skip them to save time. I happen to know that this is a trick favoured by at least one classicist. So if it's good enough for one of them, then it's good enough for the rest of us. However don't do this if you're reading poetry, you'll get to the end far too quickly.

June 08, 2005

Who dies?

There's little over a month left until the release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Already there's lots of discussion about who the Prince might be, but also a major character is supposed to bite the dust. Without being too morbid, who might that be?


Not likely to go this book, that would kind of defeat the point of a seventh. But he's got to die at some point, surely. I don't know about anyone else but if he's still alive at the end I don't think I'd sleep easy.
Probability of death before the end: 10/10
Probability of death in HBP: 0/10
Probability of renouncing his dark ways and opening a Garden Centre in Cornwall: 1/10, Would you buy a plant from him?


Could happen. I'm picturing an Obi Wan style "Strike me down and I'll become more powerful than you could possibly imagine", scenario. Don't reckon he'd mind dieing much if it helped the fight against Voldemort, besides he's getting on a bit anyway.
Probability of death before the end: 8/10
Probability of death in HBP: 5/10
Probability of Lenny Henry cutting off his beard for comic relief: 0/10, all good wizards need beards.

Editorial Note (Remove for publication): I hope no one notices that my picture of Dumbledore looks like a gnome.

He's a good bet to die before the end, though again I'd say not yet. His school friends all come under the categories of people who are dead, or he'd like to see dead. I figure he'll go the same way.
Probability of death before the end: 7/10
Probability of death in HBP: 3/10
Probability of Wolf-Lupin eating Cho Chang: 1/10, it'd be funny though.

A Weasley
Surely by the law of averages one of them's for it. Arthur and Ginny have had pretty close calls already, and Charlie works with dragons for Chrissakes. That's just asking for trouble. Reckon one of them dieing in this book wouldn't hurt the next. The big question then is which?
Probability of death before the end: 9/10
Probability of death in HBP: 8/10
Probability of Mrs. Weasley being flustered at some point: 10/10

Luna Lovegood
She's pretty morose so there's probably a good chance of her popping her clogs, though she'll probably be around for the seventh. Hell, maybe she wants to die. Maybe her and Harry will get it together in the next one and she dies to save him or something.
Probability of death before the end: 6/10
Probability of death in HBP: 4/10
Probability of her saying something weird: 10/10

Beatrix Lestrange
Think she might have pissed a few people off by killing Sirius. Me, for instance. But I don't think I'm likely to kill her. Lupin maybe? Harry's already put himself in the not-killing-for-revenge camp.
Probability of death before the end: 8/10
Probability of death in HBP: 7/10
Probability of making me struggle to pronounce her name in my head whilst reading HBP: 10/10

I think a number of characters are pretty certain not to die. These are:

Ron and Hermione
They'd better not die. JK Rowling would probably have to relocate to a small unheard of island in the Pacific Ocean to avoid being pitchforked if they do.
Probability of some Gryffindor lovin' 9/10, it's gonna happen.

Fred and George
The first rule of any good story is don't kill your comedy characters. Well, maybe it's not the first rule but it's got to be in the top ten.
Probability of royally pissing everyone off with some prank: 8/10

Again with the comedy. He's too nice to die anyway, can't see it happening.
Probability of letting some vital piece of information slip: 10/10


I reckon he's gonna become headmaster at Hogwarts in the end. I can definitely see it happening, assuming he lives of course. Probably he might have to do more undercover work as a Death Eater, so he's in a high risk position.
Probability of death before the end: 4/10
Probability of death in HBP: 2/10
Probability of giving Harry an A in potions: 0/10

I've come across suggestions that Harry and Voldemort's lives are so entwined that Voldemort might only be able to die if Harry does. Maybe, but I reckon that's where someone like Dumbledore might be able to come in and die in Harry's place somehow. And besides, can you really imagine the last line in the last book being "And Harry was dead"? Cue, millions of people jumping off a cliff.
Probability of death before the end: 3/10
Probability of death in HBP: 0/10 (Surely! Make it hard to get a seventh book out, though JK Rowling did seem to lose interest halfway through Order of the Pheonix)
Probability of whinging about friends/scar/girls/homework/anything he can think of: 10/10

June 2005

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