Friday, January 31, 2003

Entertaining moment of the day (so far!):
I have just been discussing the business cycle (booms, recessions and so on) with a sixth form business studies set, and we talked about products that would/wouldn't really be affected by a recession. In pairs, they came up with a list of products that fell into each category, and then wrote them up on the board. When discussing the list a few minutes later, I discovered that someone had put Durex in the "wouldn't be affected much" column; with a look of deep thought on his face, another boy said, "Couldn't you just use toilet roll?" It took some time for us to work out that he was talking about Kleenex!! :-)

On a slightly sadder note, I read from other blogs (such as here , here and here) that there is snow out and about, yet we have none. In fact, it's bloody cold, but not a hint of the white stuff drifting downwards. Mind you, this article reports on the inevitable excitement caused down south, and contains this FANTASTIC quote: One motorist told BBC Breakfast News that he had only moved two miles in 10 hours and had had just two pasties to sustain him. Two pasties. Exciting travelling companions, no?!

Scandalous suggestions and scurrilous accusations!!
In my inbox today I found one of those emails where the sender answers lots of questions about themselves, and hopes that you'll fill it in for yourself and then return it. Upon reading through, I discovered the final question reads as follows:
33. Person you sent this to who is least likely to respond?
Mad... she'd be too busy blogging!

Mrs Johns - I'd like you to note the time of this post, and the time of my reply to you. I rest my case!! ;-)

Other news today:
Taught some lessons. Went to Sainsburys. Ate some christmas pudding. Drank some port.

Blimey - my life's exciting.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Scandal and outrage have broken out in the House. The prefects caught one of A Block (that's Year 10, or 4th Year in old money) using her phone after the permitted time, and so confiscated it, as per the rules; if you'd heard the outcry you'd think that the culpret had been made to clean the toilets with her toothbrush! The pupils here can become so focused on their own petty litte arguments and mishaps that they lose sight of the big picture. Sometimes I long to tell them all to get a proper perspective on life, but I suspect that this would not be a politically correct thing to do. Professional dilemma of the day: how does one counter the argument of "I know she broke the rules but it's not fair that she gets punished" without saying, "Tough, kid - that's life. Learn it and become a better person."?

Today's course was quite interesting (for a course about teaching!) and the food was great - loads better than the usual Wednesday lunch eaten with the girls here in the House! I then rushed back to Repton, helped to serve tea in the House, ran Junior Pub Quiz (which is both quiz-like and for juniors, though sadly not in a pub) and I'm now grabbing a couple of minutes before going on duty for the evening. One of the main issues arising from today's course was time management and saying no. For those of you who know me well, you will appreciate the problems that I have saying "no"!! (especially if the offer involves food, alcohol, holidays, rampant sex with complete strangers.... and such like!!) Seems I'm destined to be busy!! ;-)

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Met the rest of the Guide division tonight - several looked at me suspiciously in a "who's this young upstart?" sort of way, but as I was the youngest by at least 20 years it was - to be honest - no surprise. I'm afraid that I don't even fit into the big-bottomed, curly grey hair District Commissioner look. At least, not yet. Mind you, the big-bottomed bit may well become true if I continue to eat as I did this evening: garlic mushrooms, followed by brie, potato and courgette bake, followed by baked cheesecake, followed by coffee. Hurrah for food!! :-)

This afternoon, my netballers beat a team from Leicester in a 23-5 win in a match that only lasted 23 minutes! Yippeeee!! Tomorrow I'm off on a jolly (ahem again - meaningful professional development course) so have now got to decide what work my darlings should complete in my absence. Sometimes I think these days out are more trouble than they're worth.

On a more positive note, I've decided to hold a party to celebrate the end of the inspection - anyone who's in the area and free on the evening of Tuesday 4th March is more than welcome to drop in for a pancake or two (it being Shrove Tuesday and all) and no doubt a glass or two of something vaguely alcoholic! Better go and get my lessons sorted... (yawn)

D'you know something? This time yesterday I had all the windows in my classroom open, letting the warmth of the sun in and the smell of the brats out. Today, it is throwing chunks of ice out of the sky and I am stuck here in the staffroom because I refuse to walk over to my classroom if it's pissing it down. However, my free period (ahem - non contact time) is swiftly drawing to a close, and I'm going to have to face the rain after all. Whinge.

Monday, January 27, 2003

My jaunt to the Legion was hampered only by feeling ill and a fear of dripping snot onto the baize. The first red ball I hit went straight into the pocket, but sadly it was downhill from there on, although I did manage a couple of lovely snookers (unintentionally of course - there's no element of skill in my snooker playing!!!) No sign, though, of the James Bond of the Animal World.

The computer teething problems continue, and for a panic-stricken moment this evening I thought that I was totally without a functioning internet connection, which given that I had not one but two modems before the upgrade was a bit of a blow. Luckily, restarting the computer seems to have done the trick, and I'm now happily back online, and able to waste time in a skillful marking avoidance manouvere!!

String orchestra started again today, and we sightread a great piece of modern music for string quartet and string orchestra, but given that I was 50% of the viola section, I sill ended up playing a solo part all evening, which inspired one or two moment of terror... think I'd better practice before next week!! Anyway, off to the Legion to play snooker now...

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Well - it's been an eventful weekend here on Planet Mad. Most important was that my 'pooter went on a trip to my brother's house, and has come back with all sorts of new bits'n'pieces, including a new operating system. It's no good asking for details though, coz I didn't quite understand what he was going on about - I just used the smile and nod technique. The main problem that I've found so far is that my landline modem isn't working anymore, so I'm spodding this at 9.6Kbps via my mobile phone... it's VERY slow, sob sob! Oh yes, and my bro managed to delete the entirety of ALL my emails - I'd been saving them away for the past three years, so I was probably due a clean-out, but it's also meant my address book going AWOL too. Please email me your addresses. If you want to, of course.

Having been denied computer-based time wasting, I've spent much of today tidying up. This has been quite a monumental task, but when a colleague dropped by this morning and exclaimed at great length over the artistic arrangement of the junk spread across my hallway I knew that I couldn't postpone it any longer. Harrumph. Still, he did go and buy me some Cold & Flu tablets later on, so he's forgiven - I've turned from Space Cadet to Snot Monster in the space of 24 hours, so the pills will come in very handy.

Other exciting news: hamster activity level has been very high, so Fatso has obviously not died yet. He (who is probably a she, according to one of my pupils today) even managed to climb out of the cage, into the box of hamster treats and was then very confused: too much food to get into pouches at one time, nowhere to hide the food, so instead (s)he decided to sit on it. An inspired decision, I thought. From Fatso's point of view, there was only one flaw in the plan: his bottom was not big enough to cover all of the food, so he perched precariously on the pile of chunky hamster treats until forcibly removed. Life's hard being a hamster on Planet Mad.

Friday, January 24, 2003

Am in a philosophical mood today: have spent most of the time thinking about teaching, cogitating over its intricacies and complexities. You need to be able to explain a concept coherently, whilst planning your next sentence/exposition and wondering how to best draw it all on the board (spelling it right at the same time) and check that your pupils are keeping up and understand, whilst also keeping an eye on Myles and Simon, who you know are pulling faces at each other. Sometimes it's no surprise that my brain hurts :-) Still, a colleague watched one of my lessons today and he had nothing but positive comments to make about my teaching, so I have a happy glowy feeling at the moment. I love my job.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Highlight: discovering the new issue of Private Eye in the staffroom this morning.
Hamster activity level: quite high - no manic running round cage or in wheel, but some wobbling up and down ladders in search of food.
Deliveries: one from woo-hoo!! Turn the volume on that stereo up!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

I would like one of these auras, so if anyone knows where to get one please let me know! Ta!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Fatso the hamster is very quiet of late. I hope he has not snuffed it. To make up for this lack of action on the hamster front I am investigating hamster sites on the web. This is an entertaining tale of a woman, her man and her male hamster. And her hamster's babies. Ah. Funny, yet heart-warming. Blimey - I could be a person who write taglines for movies! I bet there wouldn't be anywhere near as much preparation and marking in that job either...!!?!

Had my first official engagement as Guide Distict Commissioner this evening (yawn, yawn and more yawn), which was - as you may have guessed! - slightly on the tedious side! Afterwards I mooched to the Legion for a quiet pint, and ended up talking to a man with a licence to kill. Immediate thought: "This man is James Bond!" I then learnt that it was a licence to kill cows, sheep, and so on, which is somewhat less exciting than I initially thought. He even showed me his licence card. I should have realised that people who are exciting do not tend to frequent British Legion clubs... I will not make this mistake again.

We drove through some very wet air (pedants may choose to call it rain, I suppose!) on the way to Trent College to play netball. Luckily, the sun came out as we arrived in Nottingham, and my team played like angels. Actually - I retract that: there were no wings, harps or fluffy clouds in evidence, but they did play a pretty impressive game. Final result: 28-28 and one happy umpire! Had better go and lie down for a bit to recover from the excitement!! :-)

Monday, January 20, 2003

Am in Space Cadet mode, and have been all day. Not sure if it's due to lack of sleep or because I've caught the nasty bug that's wiping out the girls in the House. Personally, I hope it's the former, although the latter would at least give me an excuse to spend a day in bed! Highlight of the day: evening shopping at Tesco - I couldn't recall what I went out to buy, so wandered the aisles trying to remember... a monster bag of wood shaving and five kitchen utensils later I realised that it was Ribena and a copy of Private Eye that I was after. Ho hum.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Been at cinema with a school trip (90+ kids on two coaches... now that's my IDEAL way of spending a Sunday evening!!) However, I saw the excellent Chicago - maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but I thought it was great. We did Chicago when I was at college in Durham and fell in love with it then; I've since seen it on stage in London, and now it's out on a big screen near you! Definitely a soundtrack to add to my wishlist!! :-) Sadly now though, I've got marking marking and more marking to do, so I'd better get going. G'night!

Here you will find photographic evidence of my tartan rug/blue suede docs combintation, as worn to the wedding of K and Pete. Rather fetching, huh?! We only look so presentable becuase we hadn't really drunk very much... I'm sure that unofficial pictures from later in the evening will show us looking far less composed and respectable!! ;-)

YEEEEESSSSSSS!!!! I work with the coolest people - there aren't many that you can phone at 7.00pm to suggest a night out, and by 8pm be on the road to the Big Bad City!! Bloody great!! Have had - as you might be able to tell - a top night out in Nottingham, and got home to find a nice text from the lovely Chris: I am a happy (drunk-ish) bunny!! Perhaps it's time I went to bed... G'night!!

Saturday, January 18, 2003

Have found someone. Better go and have a shower then!

It's NOT fair. It's Saturday night and I want to go OUT, I want to havea good dance, and I have NO one to go with. Harrumph.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Tonight I received the bag that contains the paperwork, files, manuals and useless tat associated with being a Guide District Commissioner. I daren't open it tonight, for fear that I will be sucked into another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of next stop...The Twilight Zone (no nee no nooo, no nee no noooo) Time for bed, said Zebbedee (The only man with a coil fitted!!)

It's Friday afternoon, and while most people are leaving their place of work joyful in the knowledge that they have two whole days off, I am stuck knowing that I have to teach tomorrow. I know that we get holiday days in lieu, but as my next holiday is still 8 weeks away it doesn't make me feel any better right now. Oh dear - I appear to have turned into a whinging cow....I do alopogise! Instead, here is an exciting joke I heard in the pub yesterday:
What's the difference between a buffalo and a bison? A - you can't wash your hands in a buffalo!!

Another late night. Youch. Must stop drinking and being dragged (kicking and screaming) into The Red Lion, which is Repton's finest hostelry. Apart from the British Legion, of course, which has a much bigger snooker table: an important consideration on Planet Mad.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Junior Inter-house netball: A team - first; B team - last.
This pretty much reflects today: had a lie-in - good; taught some educationally sound lessons - good; played lego - very good; stood on sidelines watching aforementioned netball in freezing conditions - bad; mounds of marking still to be done - very bad. Swings and roundabouts.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Update on this evening's activities on Planet Mad:
Washing: 6 loads
Tidying up: token effort
Hamster: happily munching away
Marking: zilch. Ooops.

A reader writes, via the medium of txt msg:
"Ur blog is showing worrying signs of u becoming 1. an alcoholic and 2. getting more insane than u were previously. R u okay?"

The answer to this question has to be yes, although my liver doesn't agree with me. My therapist is also showing signs of concern. I'm off to feed the hamster.

The nap was good, but lasted until 3.30pm, so by the time I'd got my arse back out of bed it was time to go and teach again :-( This means that I still have piles worth of marking to do, along with the mountain of washing and the acres of tidying-up...I know what I'm doing tonight!! ;-)

Oh yes - here you will find a picture of removing wine stains from a dress that is being worn. Needless to say, it was New Year's Eve, and I had been drinking sherry, wine and port. Better get that call to the AA sorted now!!

The Early Start option won my vote, so at 6.30 this morning I was busy photocopying exam papers. I felt great at the time, but now I'm about to fall asleep and there are still 3 lessons and lunch to go before I can have a nap. Yawn!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Have had a barmy day - teaching this morning, then zoomed over to Bromsgrove School to play netball (well - to support my team) and we won 12-10, in a very close and exciting match. This was even more satisfying as this time last year we lost to Bromsgrove by a considerable amount. Ha ha!! From there, I then pootled to Merry Hill shopping centre in search of a winter coat. Didn't find a coat, but acquired new boots and some shower gel. A brief visit to see my parents' kittens (about 4 weeks old: now big enough to climb out of the box and fight each other) then off to the centre of Birmingham for a curry with SAGGA. Very enjoyable, but I've failed to do any marking, and I've not yet written the exam that the A Block are due to sit tomorrow. Hmm - might by a late one. Or perhaps an early start. Sigh.

Been playing snooker at the British Legion (my "get away from school" haunt) and managed to pot the pink with my eyes shut (literally) and played 2 black-ball games, and one pink-ball game. Not bad for one who quite happily admites to being crap!! :-) However, am too drunk to type (result of beer being £1.65 a pint) so will stop here. G'night.

Monday, January 13, 2003

My netball technique this afternoon was described as "rugby". On reflection, I do not feel that this is completely unjustified, as I a) slightly bent (ahem) the no-contact rule; and b) have played rugby more recently than I played netball (I played rugby twice at university, but was then frightened by the size of some of the forwards, so retired gracefully to the drinking games section of the Students' Union, whereas I was kicked out of the school netball team at the age of 9 because I was too vicious. 'Nuff said!!) However, 45 minutes of running round like a complete psycho means that I am wheezing like Darth Vader. It's at times like this that I consider getting fit, but then reality re-asserts itself, and I realise that fitness involves running, pain, injury, and - in extreme cases - lycra. I think not! Guess I'm just destined to be a slob!! :-)

Sunday, January 12, 2003

Have eaten only some chocolate and an apple today. Am most upset, because spent most of this afternoon planning this evening's meal (bacon, fried egg, mashed swede...and anything else left in the cupboard) but I forgot to cook it, and now it's too late. Pah. Damn the internet and its abilty to absorb numerous hours of the weekend.

However, I did find this (courtesy of the SDMB) - Lord of the Rings in the style of the Rev. Spooner:

Balbo Biggins was hitting in his souse and poking a smipe. He was laughing over the wonderful ploke he had jade -- a marvelous pisadearring act.

Suddenly the boor durst open. Standing there was a tall figure, Grandalf the Gay. He was a wait grizard who could spast kells and fagic mormulas.

“You’re a had Bobbit,” said Grandalf the Gay.

“Don’t get your bickers in a nunch,” said Balbo, burrowing his frau. “Ruts wong?”

“Oh, puh-leeeze,” said Grandalf the Gay. “As I’ve suspected all along, you must pee in bossession of the Run Wing.”

“The Run Wing!” exclaimed Balbo. “You’ve been smoking too much wipe peed.”

“Nay, it is that very ring that was taken from the lark dord Sauron in a bitched pattle.”

“Did you come to rake my ting?” Balbo stammered.

“No, I tare not dutch it. It is arvil inkeynate! But we have to keep it from the lark dord Sauron.”

“Sauron? But I though he dit the bust.”

“No, he lives on as an isembodied dye. Now you must rake the ting and throw it into the Dacks of Croom.”

“Me? Take it to the Dacks of Croom? Helll-loooo, Grandalf. It’s me, Balbo Biggins. I’m a Hobbit, remember? Short, rotund, retiring. Fairy heat.”

“Even so, the ring thrust be moan into the Dacks of Croom.”

“And I’m supposed to do it? What about all those ucking Forcs out there? Not to ention the Ments.”

“I don’t know, maybe we could get up some kind of a Fellowship or something. Get companions for you. How about Dimli the Gwarf? He has great bowress in prattle.”


Bodo Fraggins looked with disgust on his companions, Perry and Mippen ...

Sophie's "Word of the Day" challenge is now sorted - thanks to, whom I discovered via Pete's blog. I even managed to get the link into my template without losing anything important. Why do I have to be drunk to work computers accurately?! :-)

Hum. Archives. Found 'em. Wine is my friend.

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Oh dear - I've lost all my archives, just by trying to alter the settings, and there's no warning that this would happen. Not, you understand, that this is a great disaster that spells certain doom to humanity, but it is slightly upsetting. Harrumph. Shall go and fret for a bit.

Have been accosted by a girl from Wednesday morning's sex group and told that I should institute a "word of the day"...I'm going to have to find a website that'll do it for me - any ideas? I'm sure someone's got one on their blog. Hmmm - will have to go searching! On a more exciting note, we won the net ball this afternoon, whooping the opponents' arses a massive 43-5. Hurrah!! :-)

Friday, January 10, 2003

Have been at Guides. How can four girls make so much noise? Have lost the will to live. Am going to lie down in a darkened room and think about break-even charts, which is tomorrow's exciting topic for my year 10s. I can guarantee that they will also have lost the will to live by the time I've finished with them! Mua-ha-ha!!

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Even an afternoon spent traipsing round the bustling metropolis that is Burton on Trent has not satisfied my desire for excitement, so I'm off to my classroom for a bit of late-night photocopying. Gosh - my life is sooo thrilling. Just hold me back.


Lazy Thursdays - how I love 'em! Admittedly, the two lessons I had to teach (economic growth and time-based management - yawn!) were a bit of an interruption to my leisure, but it's not been a bad day so far. I might even venture out into the big bad world of Burton upon Trent this afternoon. On the other hand, I could just have another nap. Hmmm: difficult decisions of our time!! :-)

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

This afternoon wasn't too bad really... the actors excelled themselves, and the discussions went well, despite the presence of both boys and girls. Entertaining question of the day: "Why do they make flavoured condoms?" :-) Have been on duty this evening, which means I'm lagging behind on my sleep-schedule for the day: this is the first day since the start of term that I haven't had a nap at some point. At least I have the luxury of a lie-in tomorrow, as I have periods 1 and 2 free. Really, I ought to get up and do some work, but if my work-rate is anything like this afternoon's, then I'll achieve nothing and will be better off in bed. At least - that's how I'm justifying it to myself!! :-)

PS - Mark is skiing in Austria, and reckons it's -10 Celcius out there... makes the weather here look positively balmy!!

Well - three days (two and a half, to be pedantic!) of school done. I'm absolutely exhausted - the routine of early morning starts is killing me!! I slept for 2 hours last night before getting up and going to the pub. I'm obviously too old for this life!! On the other hand, I've been doing sex education with the first years (year 9) for a lot of today, and have designated willy to be the word of the day!! We started off with dirty words and what they actually mean (a bit of an eye-opener for some!) and progressed to girls' bits and boys' bits, and then onto relationships and crushes. It was all good fun, although I'm probably responsible for some of them now thinking that sex is summat to do with dodgy hand actions (a demonstration of why the clitoris brings pleasure, no less!!) Surreal, but they seemed to enjoy it and find it useful. This afternoon is roleplay (with the help of the GCSE and A level Theatre Studies group) which will be in mixed groups, rather than this morning's single-sex arrangement... potentially more trouble this afternoon... I'm not looking forward to it so much :-/

Another exciting thought - it's finally got warm enough to snow. Big sheep-sized flakes are falling from the sky as I sit and type...I only hope it sticks!! Hurrah for winter!!!!!!!! :-)

Saturday, January 04, 2003

Have been out enjoying my last day of freedom by walking in the snow! :-) To be fair, there's not actually any snow in Repton, but I went to Wetton, in the White Peak area (between Ashbourne and Leek) and had a yomp-ette there. It was quite spooky, actually, because upon arriving in Wetton I discovered a pub that I visited this time last year but had forgotten the name of.... I managed to repeat the visit experience today, and had stilton, broccoli and celery soup...very yummy!! (and a pint of Black Sheep Special... which is always good!) I've got loads of preparation work to do before Monday, but I'm trying to resist doing anything today. I might head off to the cinema later on, provided I can decide what to watch, that is!!

Thursday, January 02, 2003

You know the wedding I went to a couple of weeks back...? Well - I'm famous here! Have been tempted to write back and let him know that I was the one wearing the rug, but that might cause more confusion than it's worth!! :-)

Have just got in from New Year, spent in a camping barn in Hathersage (Peak District) along with random people from DUSAGG and DOGs. Good fun was had by all, and highlights of the weekend (Sunday to Thursday to be pedantic!) were:- cooking the best sticky-toffee pudding in the world ever; a huge meal, complete with black tie and an evil alocholic punch, on New Year's Eve; and lying in bed on New Year's Day watching some of the nutters... erm, I mean... boys get back into their dress shirts and bow ties to go walking up Kinder Scout. We spent all day hoping that Mountain Rescue wouldn't pick them up for being still drunk from the night before!! I also managed to set fire to the kitchen, which wasn't the cleverest thing to do because I then had to spend all morning cleaning up dry powder from the fire extinguisher. Mymother was obviously right when she warned me that kitchens and I don't mix!! At least the powder didn't get in the scrambled eggs!! Given the number of digital comeras on site, I wouldn't be surprised if there are pictures on the web before too long. Watch this space!! :-)