Monday, January 31, 2011

senior trip bake sale

Yes, there is a bake sale... ARE bake SALES I should say, as it's not limited to just one or just one day. The high school seniors are raising money for their senior trip and they're doing it by baking - breads, cakes, cookies, brownies... I think it's pretty much you name it, they'll bake it. So, if you want something baked lemme know - the kid will be spending plenty of time in the kitchen in the near future. Snickerdoodles, banana bread, peanut butter cookies, blueberry muffins... place an order and help her on her way to Istanbul.

(My senior trip - we took a bus to Disneyland, quickly changed into required dresses/suits in a hotel at dusk, then went and listened to C & C Music Factory, ran around, rode some roller coasters then piled back in the bus at dawn and slept the whole way home... I think, no, I know, I drooled on some guy's shoulder. Still sorry about that Ruben. It was a blast - no planes or hotels stays or a week off school but fun nonetheless. I tracked down some C & C to share...)

thoughts on law

I'd really like to speak with lawyers - no I don't want advice, I just want to learn about the practical application of the the differences between civil code and common law. I'm reading a lot lately trying to develop some ideas and there seems to be a different approaches taken to trials and the judiciary role in the continental system versus the commonwealth and I'd like to explore the continental views... I'd like to hear about first hand experiences. And I want to develop some other ideas but in order to do so I have to research... but I've never researched any legal issues or statistics outside of the US and would appreciate an orientation/introduction/overview over here... call it what you want, I want someone to hold my hand for a few minutes and walk me through the steps, sources, etc. If I'm continuing in academics and with a degree program that is strictly academic then I should have the chance to delve more deeply in to strictly academic issues... but if we're going to switch to a practical degree then I'd like a better understanding of practical application... either way, I want to talk with someone who has the time and patience to talk with me.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

books and movies and such

We got hit with mild food poisoning this weekend after some take-away Indian shrimp... that won't be happening again. Saturday was spent recovering, then the school banquet and today I woke up with a head cold - couldn't stand up and see straight at the same time.

While I was resting I read (I could see till I was upright)... and I thought about all of our books and movies and such (I watched a movie too, Ella Enchanted, I love sweet little fairy tales when I don't feel well). And I thought about all the books I've read, we've read, and movies we've watched - and I think I may start writing book reviews here for those of you who also like to read. I know that I get exposure to some authors I wouldn't necessarily encounter in the US and the same thing with films... so I'm thinking maybe I'll write about movies too.

That last bit is more based upon a conversation I had with someone recently - the reviewers here are intelligent and well-read but so damn pretentious! It's as if the reviewers for the local English language papers have to reinforce that they're native English speakers by using the most convoluted language possible when they write! It's horrible. I hate reading the reviews... it's like something from a different era - for some reason they make me think of the British class system in India or something - so darn snobby and full of themselves. In this language is the dividing line rather than such an obvious ethnic division. Now that I think about it, I've had this conversation with quite a few people and not once did I instigate it.

These reviews aree occasionally a source of humor unto themselves. And yes, honestly I can picture a good number of the local reviews being written by mutton chopped men bursting through their tweed vests, chained by the gold pocket watches, ashing a fine cigar and declaring "Here, here!" and harrumphing a few times before mumbling "Here, here!" again, then catching a carriage to the club where they debate the merits of the latest cricket match or snifter of brandy or some other such nonsense.

I'm not saying I'll be any good at giving you reviews, but mine aren't intended for the "everyman", no, mine are intended primarily for people who know me and know my tastes and are quite likely share them... not necessarily but at least you'll understand where I'm coming from. Or not... in which case my thoughts on those sorts of things may give you an idea as to whose blog you're reading :)

apparently sometimes the internet DOES break

Recently I had to write a few stern emails to a student addressing a few issues that require an immediate response. There are time sensitive matters so I've been monitoring my email for the past week and then over the weekend... and still no answer.

Each day that's passed it's become a bit more and more aggravating as it's impacting the direction of the next few steps I have to take - I've been irritated a bit.

I realized today that I'm not being ignored. The issue's not being ignored - but I'm not about to get an answer. The student is in Cairo and the internet's been cut off. Even if there were internet access there are far larger things happening than emails from me.

I wish peace and strength to the people of Egypt. Your courage is inspiring. I hope that there is a swift and easy transition to a genuine and transparent democracy. And I really hope that a confident and competent moderate leader surfaces soon.

Friday, January 28, 2011

can i get some comfort?!?

We live in a furnished flat - impeccably furnished in all respects... however the bed is hard and lumpy - a tufted mattress in fact. And my body can't take it.

Where can I go for a feather bed or some other sort of cushiony pillowy thing I can put on top of the mattress... something with some substance, not just a thin slice of foam?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

can you recommend some cuban food?

Please. I'm tired of Czech, Italian, burgers and such. I'd like some Cuban food... in a Cuban restaurant with Cuban music and colorful tablecloths and smiling people. Maybe I need to leave the country for that. That would make for a really expensive dinner, so if you can, please recommend a good local (Praha) Cuban restaurant. My tastebuds thank you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom. I love you... a whole lot more than I can express. You're far beyond awesome and we're pretty darn lucky to be your family. Hope you had a great day.

cheating - my take as your teacher

When you cheat on a test it makes me like you less. A lot less. Not only have you shown me a lack of integrity you have also made my job a lot harder. The dislike is directly in proportion to how much harder my job has become.

When you're a university student and you cheat it affects your ability to continue studying at uni. It calls formal protocol in to play - a report to the Dean who files a report with the Registrar and also with the Academic Committee and next the accrediting agency... then a formal review board is assembled to determine the possible extent of the cheating which then leads to either a less formal resolution at an Examination Board or a highly formal hearing. And more formal protocol after that.

I'm not a formal person and have well established distaste for such formalized proceedings... there are way too many in the above process for my life to be enjoyable during that time. And I hate failing students - I hate cause distress for my students, actually. If you work hard and are determined I am here to offer all the support and guidance you can ask for. Failing students hurts. Almost as much as these darn formalities. And you, foolish student, are the sole cause and creator of the situation.

People need to be assembled, reports to be written, notes to be taken and submitted, records to be kept, more meetings to be held, witnesses and justification to be heard (yet to no avail as the cheating is too damn obvious), teacher testimony, evaluations, determinations, reports to be issued, failing marks to be generated, horrible formal repercussions to be dealt... and all because you were too lazy to actually do the work the right way when it was assigned.

And... on top of that, you've failed. Not just the exam, but as a student. Your job is to learn and you haven't done that. And you no longer have friends or allies in your camp cause the cheating stench rolling of the folds of your cheating body is overwhelming - no one wants to get caught up in the taint of it.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

English education & its value

Here's an interesting article about the value some parents place upon an English-language education for their youngsters...

How long would you stand out in the cold - literally freezing temperatures, mind you?