Tuesday, May 31, 2005

On holiday ha ha

It happens all the time. Another Mum at the park this evening said "Ah, but of course you're a university teacher, you're on holiday now.". Most people think that being a teacher (or a lecturer if you prefer, I don't because I don't believe in lecturing) involves just teaching. My classes have finished but here are some of the other things I'll be doing at work this week :
- writing two exams on Medical English (reading comprehension, listening comprehension, grammar, vocabulary etc.)
- attending a looooong meeting to plan timetables for next year
- reading, responding to, and correcting blog posts by one of my classes
- rewriting and submitting an article I presented at a conference last year (I'm a little behind)
- reading a dissertation project by a Masters student
- correcting a couple of scientific articles (I got one last week that had been machine translated but that's another post)
- administering oral exams
- thinking about a presentation I'm going to be doing on didactics next month

I'm absolutely not complaining. I love my job. But, no, I'm definitely not on holiday.

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Monday, May 30, 2005

I'll do it later

I think I'll write this post tomorrow. Why don't you have a look at this film instead.
Procrastination

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Postmodernist

Bee did it and then Nate did it, so now it's my turn. They were both "culturally creative" but I'm "postmodern" (she said puffing out her chest). I especially like the bit about even language being subject to analysis (shock, horror, whatever next).

You scored as Postmodernist. Postmodernism is the belief in complete open interpretation. You see the universe as a collection of information with varying ways of putting it together. There is no absolute truth for you; even the most hardened facts are open to interpretation. Meaning relies on context and even the language you use to describe things should be subject to analysis.

Postmodernist

94%

Materialist

75%

Existentialist

69%

Modernist

63%

Cultural Creative

56%

Romanticist

44%

Idealist

31%

Fundamentalist

25%

What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com


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Friday, May 27, 2005

Mon oeil, mon oeil

I realised during the Blogstreams Salon at Tapped In last Sunday that most people (okay the two people who read this blog*) probably think the eye photo I have up there on the right was actually my eye. It wasn't, I had borrowed it from a photo sharing site. Too late, you can't see it any more because I've just changed it for a photo of my real eye. It's a bit droopier than the last one but it still works quite well. Can you see the contacts? I've managed to crop most of the wrinkles. So now you have a window to my real soul, behold the gaping chasm.

Mon oeil
Originally uploaded by Lezzles.

I suppose that this post should really lead into a discussion of our duty to be honest (or not) in our blogging, the various facets of self-representation discernable in the blogosphere, the disproportionate number of people who have chosen an eye as their profile image etc. etc. But I'm too tired. This blog seems to be slipping ineluctably towards the frivolous.
Update on work on house : workmen arrived at 7H15am this morning and left at 10H15 pm but still no electricity in the kitchen.
Update on weather: 34°C today. That's hot.
Update on work at work: loads and loads of rereading scientific research articles to correct the English. Tedious.
Update on children: both have just fallen asleep. It's 11H43pm.

* Since I added the "people online" counter a couple of days ago, I've NEVER been online with someone else. "1 online" looks a bit sad somehow.

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Mess


The new terrace
Originally uploaded by Lezzles.
This is our new terrace. Like it?


kitchen tiles
Originally uploaded by Lezzles.
And here are the kitchen tiles. I know you've been dying to see them.

Texts from a different angle

This is a great idea:

Dracula Blogged: About this blog project:
"Draculablog launches. This blog will publish Bram Stoker's Dracula for the next six months. Individual pieces of the novel will appear on the calendar dates indicated in the text, starting with Jonathan Harker's May 3rd Bistriz journal entry, and finishing up with November 6 and the final Note. "

I'm trying to think of other novels that would lend themselves to daily presentation. "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" perhaps or "The Color Purple".
And here's another way of presenting texts has taken my fancy (James Farmer linked to it yesterday). It's a bit in-you-face, so if you're feeling fragile, have a stiff drink first.


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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Fixing the cyber curtains

Way back in January Graham left me a comment saying he liked the way I was adding to the blog:

"it's part of the fun, isn't it - fixing the cyber curtains and rearranging and adding virtual furniture, making it more like home :)"

My real bricks, mortar and stone house renovation is not coming along as fast as I'd like. I know, I know I'm boring you all to death with this never-ending leitmotif. I won't go on, but I think I made a mega mistake today when I chose the new bathroom tiles (too pink). So I've displaced my home-making instinct to this virtual abode and tweaked it a little to make it cosier. I added a people-online-counter to the sidebar. Look! Admire! (I surreptitiously omitted the "dating online" link they warned me not to remove though. Wonder if they'll notice.)

Another thing I almost added to the sidebar was my Bloglines blogroll but decided in the end that it was too much of a temporary thing. Some of the subscriptions I'm trying out and may delete in a couple of weeks. Other haven't been active for ages but I keep hoping. Gordon McLean posted about this a few days ago having just removed the blogroll from his sidebar and observes that nobody even seemed to notice.

Remember I said ages and ages ago that I would like to have archives by tags as well as by dates? Well, Jean VĂ©ronis (great blog) has done it. But he had to do the spade work himself. I wonder how?

Oops, real housework calls, must go and fix my little girl's non-cyber lamp. She just poured cold water on the hot bulb and it exploded. (And that's not just a fitting end to this post but also true).

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Monday, May 23, 2005

The Miniature Earth

Have a look at this if you haven't already seen it: The Miniature Earth. It's packed with humbling facts and I'm sure I could didactise it to make a video comprehension exercise for my students of medicine. All I need is a couple of hours.......
PS Still no electricity in the kitchen. Picnic dinners are no longer fun, but still a lot more nutritious than the meals most of the people-statistics in "The Miniature Earth" are getting. It helps to get things into perspective occasionally.

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All I said was.....

On the dangers of commenting...

Came back from a rainy weekend in Pau to discover that a couple of people had criticised a comment I left at Petite Anglaise�'s blog so I'm feeling a little bruised. She had made a rather sad post suggesting that she was splitting up from the French father of her little girl (whose blog psudonym is Tadpole). A Brit living in France with a Frenchman and a child about the same age as mine — this obviously struck a chord. I left a comment saying

"Are you really, really, really, really sure? She’s such a tiny tadpole and it’s so difficult growing up with your parents apart"

Later someone wrote "Please ignore comments like Lesley’s above. Only you know what is best for you, not anyone else. My parents divorced when I was five and I turned out just fine.", and then someone added: "I just saw Lesley’s comment. Tadpole won’t even remember when you were together and so many kids’ parents live apart that she won’t feel like the odd one out. If anyone makes any comments like that again just remember that they’re speaking from the experience of a different generation."

This first of all made me feel a little guilty for voicing my gut reaction. Then I thought, shit, you're allowed to comment even if you're not saying the same thing as everyone else. I don't know this person from Adam, I only read her blog, and I don't know her bloke either. Perhaps he's awful and she's really nice. Perhaps it's the other way around. Perhaps they're totally incompatible. Perhaps they were made for each other. But then none of the other commenters know them either. I simply got the impression that she sounded a little nostalgic about the failing relationship. Now if you feel nostalgic, that means to me that you're not entirely sure about your decision. And I'm sorry but children do regret it when their parents live separately. It's a momentous decision.
I decided that I had learned my lesson and that I would no longer leave comments on private and personal posts made by people I don't know. So why did I leave a comment this evening after a further post confirming the break-up wishing la Petite Anglaise good luck in her new life?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

GRRRRRRRRR

I'm writing this post for the second time. Not Blogger's fault but mine for stupidly closing the win... oh what does it matter. Here we go again.

Does anyone know of a cheap and cheerful hotel in Montreal for my friend Deborah? She's not a blogger (yet) so I can't point you in the direction of her blog, but she is my most regular commenter and for this I am most grateful.

House update: Downstairs is almsot finished. Kitchen fitted, floor down, walls sanded, plastered and painted. All we need now is electricity.

Car update: Both in the garage today by coincidence one for elective surgery the other for emergency treatment. Total damage 740 Euros. Eeek!

Children update: Both royal pains in the ass due to lack of sleep and house upheaval. Much encouraged by comparing Antipodéesse's blog about her kids now and the one about their babyhood. It seems that naughty little children can turn out quite nice.

Work update: Spent entire day collating exam and continuous assessment marks for 450 students. Can't help thinking that this is a waste of time (read "my precious time and talent").

Travel update : Going to Pau for the weekend. 6th weekend in a row away from home. No wonder the poor kids are unbearable, they've lost their bearings.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Ipod or not ipod?

I have 100€ (a birthday prezzie) burning a hole in my pocket. I originally planned to put it towards an ipod. Now, kottke, the professional blogger, has a post on 50 things to do with your ipod but this is a little too advanced for me. I'm still at the do-I-really-need-one? stage. What do you think? Do I really, really need one? And if so which one? What do you do with yours?
Or maybe I'll just leave the dosh at the bottom of my underwear drawer and hope it makes babies so that I can buy a Powerbook.
[Note for potential burglars: that's not really where I keep it. We're talking virtual banknotes here.]
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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Chain of thoughts

It's really hard to get back into blogging mode when you've been away for a while (or if you're feeling a bit down in the dumps like Nate or Andre.) I've had a blogging break for a few days while I went to that conference in Toulouse — massive anti-climax. Makes me wonder why I bother with these things. It would be easier just to write an article and send it off to a journal. Of course the theory is that you get lots of feedback and stimulation from other conference participants. (See Jill on the preparation of what sounds like a fantastic conference: Hypertext 05.) The conference I went to last week, or at least the workshop I spent most of my time in, was not at all like that. I wish I could say more about the plodding pedestrianism of most of what I listened to but the transparency of my URL prevents this (how could I have been so stupid to choose my REAL name as a URL?). By all accounts (well, J says anyway) the best thing was Michael Swan on good paedagogical rules but unfortunately I was trapped in another workshop while he was speaking. I didn't get to see Widdowson either. I did go to the plenary given by Iain Pears though and found it very entertaining - particularly his reference to his own "slash and burn" approach to French grammar. I bought one of his books afterwards and finished it on the train on the way to Brive to spend the end of the weekend in the Dordogne. The book turned out to be a bit of a disappointment (all plot and no style, not at all like his plenary). Back at the disembowled ranch, things are coming along, not exactly nicely but they're coming along. We now have a kitchen, but no electricity so we can't actually use any of those gleaming appliances. They're now putting the hardwood floor down in the living area. Must rush, I'm going to a seminar on cognitive linguistics in a moment. Roll on the intellectual stimulation because otherwise I'm going to spend the afternoon mentally planning where I'm going to put the furniture in my beautiful new house. Cognitive furniture moving.


Category: Misc

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Nude cedars


nude cedars, originally uploaded by Lezzles.

Definitely no time for a blog tonight but here's a photo instead. It's of nude cedars, or maybe naked cedars, I'm translating from the French. They're trees that don't actually have any leaves and apparently they're pretty rare. (If anyone knows how they do photosynthesis, please tell me) We saw some last week during our holidays. That was a terrible lie. I didn't actually see them because I stayed in the car with E who had fallen asleep. Oh and since you ask, no the article is not coming along nicely and the beautiful Ikea kitchen is still in bits on the floor.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

is it that time already?

I have never, ever, ever been this badly prepared for giving a conference paper. Things have been ganging up against me:
1) The work in the house. We came back on Sunday to no electricity, no gas, no hot water. (Beautiful terracotta tiles in the empty kitchen though)
2) Holidays. I took a laptop with me to Moliets and never actually got round to taking it out of the bag. It was too sunny, the pool was too lovely, the wine was too plentiful, the company was too genial.
3) Children. Refuse to go to sleep at night. Can still be found prancing round their bedrooms at 11pm when they were tucked in two hours earlier.
4) Motivation. Lack thereof.
5) Other people’s blogs. I’m spending too much time catching up on all those interesting posts that have accumulated in my Bloglines account. Five minutes “before I get down to work” soon turns into “an hour and a half. Oops too late to do any work.”
So I’ll no doubt be scribbling a conclusion to my paper in the train to Toulouse on Friday morning. Here is the title “Scientific Biography: Text Revealing Context”. If you could all just write a page and send it to me, I could add an introduction about the postmodern way of writing articles collaboratively and in a trendy destructured non-narrative fashion……..

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Monday, May 09, 2005

Farniente


Farninete, originally uploaded by Lezzles.

A lot of time was spent by the pool with my brother and family fresh from Scotland drinking up the sun.

House in Moliets


House in Moliets, originally uploaded by Lezzles.

Some of the houses in the Landes are quaint like this.

Atlantic coast


DSCN1638, originally uploaded by Lezzles.

Just back from our holiday in the Landes: a region of endless sandy beaches and shady pine forests . Here is a photo of the Atlantic coast near Moliets.