Sunday, February 29, 2004

I like this. Far better than yer average computer game. Hurrah for

Once every four years, I do a bit of Sortin' and Tidyin', and as a part of this, I've been rummaging through my bloggage comments. Hmmm.... there's a lot to get through! And, believe me, this is merely a small sample...

First up, a general enquiry:

Is bloggage a word?

If it's not, it is now! Next, Tim, today:

Well, you've got just over 5.5 hours left to propose to somebody.

Time's ticking away... must get going. It's like Countdown. Or Challenge Anneka. Or more like Mission: Impossible!

Next up, thoughts on the theme of the Madmobile:

I think you should get some MadMobile stickers made up for the Madmobile. Maybe some go faster stripes as well.
Or you could paste panda feet over the roof.

Go faster stripes!! We like that! Maybe even flames painted up the sides... Quick! - stop me before I get carried away...

Moving on with great haste, some about dating:

Loved your internet dating description... it would register highly on my attractive personality scale... and it made me laugh - especially the "possessive partner" after a comment about apostrophes.
Excellent write-up. Especially like the bit on choosing a username, I eventually came to the conclusion that the best username was just your real name. No misrepresentation, no hiding behind a nickname, and evident confidence (i.e. you don't give a crap about your mates identifying you). Shame I never did use my real name, then. :) - Mal. (aka boyracer1975 aka minimalist aka scruffyget)
That internet dating stuff - which service are you using? I want to do a highly unscientific test and I'll put money on the outcome. ;) Here's the deal... you write what you think would be a perfect bloke's profile (in your eyes), and I'll bet you a fiver that it gets less interest than your own profile. Go on, it could be easy money... - Mal.
I was just looking through your planet, and I promise not to tell Charlotte you've signed up to an internet dating thing! Speak to you soon Dave.

The shame! The shame! Pffft! :-P Am seriously considering taking Mal up on his challenge though; I might need to consult the experts first.

Last, but by no means least:

blah. Planet Mad. The perfect work time passer :)

I'm glad. It passes my work time too, which is why I now have a big marking crisis. You should see my empty inbox though: very sexy!

Today is the traditional day for a woman to propose to her beloved. That didn't have much appeal, not least because of the lack of a suitable beloved, so I went to Lancaster and did a presentation at the SSAGO AGM instead. I don't think I'm cut out to be a romantic, y'know.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

From one who knows firsthand what I can be like when I'm drunk:

You obviously weren't drunk enough in brum

Referring, I think, to my dearth of snogging this afternoon. I didn't think that a lack of sobriety would go well with driving the Madmobile!

This afternoon saw me whizzing off to Brum to meet up with someone I'd met over the internet. I followed all the advice to the letter: I'd briefed my friend here about my plans; we met in a public place; we had drinks but not a meal; I didn't give away too many details about myself; I wore a disguise; I used a fake name. Just call me Conchita Gonzales...

All in all it was a pleasant afternoon - we mooched past the Bullring, went for coffee and then played lots of pool. There was much chuckling and mutual understanding. As a mate, they have real potential; as a snog, well, I'm not so sure. Mebbe time will tell...

The whole supermarket dating thing perhaps wasn't such a bad idea after all....

Ooooh! It's all change here at Planet Mad. Under the influence of a certain Mr B, I've now got another chat client*, a pine email account** and a new browser.*** Coupled with last week's new phone, it's all too much for me to bear. Off to lie down in a darkened room.... oh.... that's called "going to bed" is it?! Gosh! You learn a new thing every day!

* Jabber -
** Just like the good old days playing on unix-based email rather than writing essays
*** Firefox, by mozilla. It's goooooood.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

You know that early night I was going to have? It didn't quite happen. Instead I had good company, lots of giggles, bottles of wine, a chocolate fight and an impromptu dinner party. Pah! I'm just such a socialite! ;-)

But, before I finally *do* head off to bed, a few bits of commentage drifting in over the ether...

an early night? You mentioned boozing earlier :)

Bah! Rumbled! And then Tom wrote

< font color='white'>BOO! Tom (hope this works)< / font>
Except he used proper HTML, and I only noticed it because my email arrives as plain text not HTML. Sorry! Finally:
Merci beaucoup for the pancake tip. The bit I have trouble with, however, is the "frying delicately" part. After many attempts, I think perhaps I am not cut out to be a chef, and it's best to leave it up to people who know how.

You are mislead: pancks are sooooo easy. I do (if I say so myself) make a mean panck or two, but let's face it: if my Guides can do it, anyone can!

Mua-ha-ha... subtle advertising - we like!

Thanks to Tim for pointing it out!

Today I have mostly been: netballing; freezing; thawing; chatting; peace-making; running; playing; shouting; singing.

Duty until 9, and then an early night - I just can't hack the pace anymore!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

love the internet dating commentary. Oh so true. And yet, I met what turned out to be one of my best friends through such a (shhh) service a couple years ago, so it's a mystery!

It certainly is. I'm definitely bemused by it!

Wednesday is one of my overnight duty nights, where I have to do late-night patrols of the House, check everywhere is locked up and set the intruder alarms. Normally it's a real battle. After all, imagine what it's like trying to get a teenager into their bedroom by a certain time, to turn their lights out at a time which is inevitably far earlier than lights-out at home. Now multiply that by 60. Words cannot do justice to some of the battles of wills that take place over bedtimes. I normally reckon on doing a final check at about midnight.

Tonight, however, was a doddle: at 10.55pm, the common rooms were deserted, there was no audible noise, all of the lights were out. Easy life - maybe even an early night for me too!!

It just makes me worried that they're plotting something.

I received an exciting message earlier. It read:

"Oh!" I thought, "A message written in invisible print." However, it appears that I may have been mistaken:

Woops, I wondered what would happen if I pressed the button below. - XymoxJonP

A-ha! That explains it! The box o'er there claims another victim! Mua-ha-ha!!

(This post has been brought to you using exclamation marks from the EU Punctuation Surplus; no commas were harmed in the create of this bloggage.)

Oooh! Intrigue and mystery! We like intrigue...

You seem a girl after my own heart, looking at the entry on Feb 1st. I might have said this before. Mm gin and tonic. Hello! - random person who you don't know and who hasn't had ANY pancakes yet :(

Tres exciting, mais oui? (And that's yer actual French!) The answer of course, oh mystery visitor, is to acquire one egg, half a pint of milk (full-fat all the way) and 4oz of plain flour, whizz together, fry delicately, and Robert's your mother's brother.

It's GCSE mock exam week, and I had the pleasure of invigilating in the main school hall for a lesson today. Invigilation for internal exams is bearable because we're allowed to get on with other work - in this case, unsurprisingly, marking - but it was so bitterly cold that by the end of 50 minutes I'd turned into an ice-cube. To be fair, I'm not particularly cubic; perhaps I would be better described as an "ice-blob".

Either way, I'd like to be used to chill gin and tonic, but it had better be a big glass.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

pancake excesses? mmmmmm

Mmmm it was indeed (both on Saturday and tonight) although I've eaten so much I had to undo the waistband on my jeans. Bleurgh!

Next you'll be buying a full version of AutoCAD (v.expensive) just so you can own a dongle! Caz

Nah, I'll be following my Uncle Pete's advice and looking here instead!

And now... bed.

Pah, pah and more pah! Technology is not my friend; Orange customer services are not my knights in shining armour. I have used my whizzy new phone to take a fantastic picture of this evening's work, and I was going to post it here with a comedy caption. Alas, it's not to be. I'm afraid you're missing out; I, however, will continue chortling about it for some time to come, I suspect, and once the damn thing's working properly, I shall inflict it upon you when you're least expecting it.

I'm off now to top up my pancake level, which has been gradually falling after Saturday's excesses. Hurrah!

An unexpected boon - even though it is a Tuesday afternoon, I'm not doing netball! I'll be marking exam papers instead, which doesn't sound much more exciting until you realise that it can take place indoors with a big pot of tea alongside. Hmmm...

Monday, February 23, 2004

After a certain amount of prompting this weekend, I continue my epic about internet dating. I suspect that this is a bad thing to do, but it all amuses me, so - Katie Melua in the background and beer in hand - I'm off...

The whole internet dating thing's all a bit nerve-wracking: you have 300 words in which to prostitute yourself, and then you have to hope that others manage to read between the lines, are able to pick up the nuances in your description, can read you as you're meant to be read. Luckily, I have enough practice reading kids' work to identify the real person behind the writing. I'm not sure this is a good thing though.

To cynical ol' me, profiles fall into three categories. The first group are those whose profiles might as well read

I'm not bothered about looks, it's personality that counts (although all I want is a woman who's blonde, tall, thin, with huge breasts so don't bother applying unless you hit three out of these criteria)

. You can be sure that a lot of the people who specify their ideal woman's size/shape are not quite 10/10 on the physical perfection scale themselves, and co-incidentally will also be the people who describe themselves as "very attractive". Strange, that.

The second group are most nicely described as "desperate", in a "most women tend to run away screaming loudly" sort of way. There's no one thing that identifies these blokes, although they have a tendency to finish their profiles with the words "please drop me a line!", "please, please get in touch" or "pretty please send me a message". If it's about reading between the lines, these blokes' profiles are often written in double-line spacing.

The third subsection are the genuine men who are simultaneously embarrassed by having to resort to internet dating ("I've never done this before, but my mate said it works, so I thought I'd give it a go...") but also committed enough to write an interesting, witty profile. Quite often these are the men who stand out, who have thought it through, who set themselves apart from the crowd. There are certainly some nice people out there, provided you can take 300 words as an accurate guide to someone's personality.

Having deciphered some of the code used in the profiles, the next stage is identifying your favourites. In some cases, this is not hard. In other cases it may be a quirky comment, or simply a certain turn of phrase that pushes someone to the front of the queue. Photographs help, of course, although I myself am too cowardly to add my own photo. What makes this whole selection process worse, however, is the fact that the objects of your affection can see that they have been placed on your favourite list; it's all a bit too traumatic for me to cope with. What happens if your favourites don't add you to *their* 'favourite' list? Are you then entitled to believe that you're worthless? Or is it just a case that they're member of the superficial brigade who believe that woman with short, dark hair are not as worthy as tall blondes? To be honest, the whole "whose favourite list am I on" malarky is a tad disturbing; I never knew that weirdos found me so attractive until I did internet dating!

Don't get me wrong, I've exchanged emails with some nice blokeys - one or two of whom I may well meet - but I'm still not convinced about this as a method of meeting new people. I still have 18 days left of my extended, paid-for membership left, after which time I might just let it drift quietly off. I might stick to snogging Wendy's mates after all...! :-)

Ladies and gentlemen, I am contemplating buying a dongle.

And what's more, I'm not just considering it because I like its name!

It's the first day of Summer Timetable, which means that afternoon lessons now take place before games, rather than vice versa. It's all to do with the light evenings, apparently, although I think it's just a cunning ploy to stop me napping after lunch. In honour of the official start of summer (at least in school terms!) I wore my new girlie clothes, and very smart I looked too; so much so that kids kept asking if I was off anywhere important!

I'm struggling to get my new phone to do the exciting things that I want it to: technology yet again defeats me. One day, I keep telling myself, I will get it all sorted out; until that point I'll just keep pressing buttons at random and see what happens.

I have a huge amount of paperwork to do, but - all being well - it will be sorted this evening and I will then be far less stressed. Fingers crossed...

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Last night I was mostly eating pancakes. Today I shall be mostly smirking.


Saturday, February 21, 2004

Perambulating round the house during the last lesson before lunch today, I discovered a posse of sixth-form watching some DVD about the making of Lord of the Rings. We started talking about the film and the relative attractiveness of the various characters ("Still the prettiest") as they appeared on the screen.

A. (who's not seen the film): Ooh - who's that?
E.: That's Sam and Frodo.
Me: Sam's moving in for a snog...
All the girls: NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
E.: No - they're just friends.
Me: Eurm... have you seen the way that Sam glances longingly at Frodo?!
E.: No - they're good friends.
Me: I bet you don't look at your friends like that.

[all eyes move to the TV, where - luckily - Sam is fluttering his eyelids at Frodo in a particularly homoerotic way]

E.: Hmmm... I'd never thought of it before, but now you come to mention it...

Mua-ha-ha!! That's just destroyed the film for them: never again will they be able to watch it without thinking of that! Tomorrow I will point them in the direction of the Very Secret Diaries and their corruption will be complete! :-)

Last night was another eventful night on duty. Much as I love the constant change and challenge of school, sometimes I long for a more mundane life.

Friday, February 20, 2004

A new phone has been acquired (number still the same), but I've not been able to get any of the phone numbers off the old sim card. I've not got them written down anywhere either.

I am a wally.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I took my phone to the resident phone-experts (a.k.a. the sixth form in the House) and explained the situation. One took my sim-card in an attempt to retrieve my numbers, while another attacked my phone's innards with a pen, and then with a key (they're a very techically minded lot!). Neither attempt was successful. For a brief moment, the combination of dodgy repair moves and shocking language paid off, and we got it working; I managed to write down 3 numbers and it died again.

Quite how the conversation got from phones to the menopause and KY Jelly I have no idea, but it did and it was very amusing. What japes!

Just on a day when it couldn't possibly get any worse, my phone's broken. I took the cover off and something fell out of it. This item is made of plastic and metal and looks like it could be an intergral part of the phone-turning-on mechanism. Fuck shit wank bollocks: that's how crap I'm feeling right now.

Lunch in school is a formal affair: each child returns to their House to eat while staff move from House to House. It's all highly civilised, and generally finishes with coffee for the teachers on the Housemaster/Housemistress' private side. Thursdays is my day for eating at one of the boys' Houses, and after lunch the Housemaster's children and their friends ran in (seeing as they hadve a decent length half-term, not some glorified weekend). One girl saw me, stopped dead in her tracks, pointed and said,

"That's the mad leader from Rainbows!"

Yargh! My disguise is blown!

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

This afternoon I should have been marking, but I went for an adventure instead. This evening I should have been marking, but I tried to fix my computer instead. Tonight I should be sleeping, but I'll be doing my marking instead. Chance of a an early night: diminishing quickly.

Today I shall be mostly having inpromptu luncheon parties.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Thoughts drifting inwards:

I'm just giggling at your entry

I assume this refers to my whittering about dating, not any other sort of entry. Moving swiftly on before those of you with dirty minds begin to get intrigued...

Girlie clothes? more details needed. Does this mean skirts?
It tommorrow and still no word of how you found yourself in Next? Caz (who has to buy a girlie dress before Aug)

It does indeed mean skirts, or at least, one skirt, plus jacket and top. What make this skirt even more girlie than any other skirt that I own is that it is short. Well, not short in most people's eyes, but by my standards it's miniscule. All I need now is some courage to wear it in public!

A couple of weeks ago, my sixth form assured me that internet dating was the way forwards. "You should try it, Miss E: it's free to sign up and it's sooo funny," said one girl, and - because it was a Friday morning and nearing the end of the lesson and the topic was particularly boring - I let her continue. It was nothing to do with my desire to know more about the whole thing, you understand, because (as you will all know) I am by no means desperate. Of course not. I have more social engagements than an engaged person who is very social. Honest. Moving on swiftly...

I decided that there may be a modicum of truth in what my sixth form said and asked around those who know about such things; the results of my survey were quite promising, and the advice offered was very useful. With this in mind, I decided to sign up. The site I'd chosen let guests have a look at a few profiles, to whet the appetite as it were. There were no obvious weirdos in the sample, so - feeling reassured - I took the plunge and hit the "Join now!" button.

I thought it would be quite straightforward: after all, how hard can it be to write a bit about yourself? I was wrong. The first hurdle was choosing a user-name. This says much about how people would like to be perceived, and possibly says more about their personality than they would care to reveal. Let's face it: what would you expect from someone if they call themselves "Sexy_chick" or "Horny_grrrl"? You might as well call yourself "Over-inflated_Ego" or "I'm_Really_A_Minger". Thinking of a suitable tag for myself was almost impossible. After all, I suspect I'm unlikely to get much interest if I'm called "Cynical_Git" or "Desperate_Teacher". And whilst I may attract attention if I go down the physical description route ("Massive_Knockers") I suspect it may not be the sort of bloke I'm quite looking for!

Eventually I decided on something suitable, breathed a sigh of relief and clicked on the "Next" button. I then had to enter information on a variety of topics, using little drop-down lists. "Phew!" thought I, "Much easier!" Oh no! Height - fine; age - no problems; employment and income - a doddle; appearance - ah. The options available were "average", "attractive" and "very attractive". Now, call me cyncial if you will, but you can guess what I'll be thinking as I search through the profiles - "very attractive" is likely to translate directly to "arrogant" while "average" may as well be "minger". The only option has to be "attractive", so that's what I chose, regardless of how true it is or isn't. (And - on a related tangent - do people really have much idea of how attractive they are? Isn't it all a tad subjective?)

The final part of the sign-up process involves a blank box, with the instruction "describe yourself and your ideal partner". No longer are there helpful little drop-down lists wtih options to select; the only helpful suggestion is "Get this bit right - it's the most important bit"; no pressure, but the page is a blank canvas just waiting for your pen picture. Aaargh! What to write?! Something pithy and unconventional; words portraying my eloquence and wit, and my modesty too. In the end I compromised:

I like: being busy; lying on the sofa; trying new things; ordering the same meal each time; my job; my free time; being with friends; being alone; walking on hilltops; sitting in pubs; raucous laughter; quiet smirks; being me; life. I'm not so keen on: whingers; apostrophes in the wrong place; possessive partners. The above is an official entry in the "Crappest Personal Ad Competition 2004"

Not bad for 5 minutes' thinking gone midnight when all I wanted to do was go to bed. So that was it - the trap was set, the bait had been laid: now all I had to do was wait.

It didn't take long.

I'd had no intention of paying any sort of fee, but then the first email arrived: "you have 2 new messages" Excitement!! The only drawback is the need to pay to read them. Pah! Unable to bear the suspense any longer out came the plastic, and a moment later the messages were there on my screen.

hi.i am quite shy till i get to know someone. i like 4x4 vehicles and exploreing the countryside in them.i am also interested in the wiccan religion& like visiting stone circles & megaliths.
Hey how u doing? we seem to have same intrests, i am from derby , but work in notts, i love going out, walking and being outside, and keeping fit and going to cinema too and 10 pin bowling and play fottie to but like lots cuddles 2, :-) i am 26 male and i drive, mail me back if u like the sound of me, i am not looking for perfection just sumone to make me complete, is that you? come on mail me back its valatines day xxx

My heart sank. Given my pedantic fastidiousness about spelling and punctuation, it seemed I was destined to failure. How to reply without causing offence?

"Thanks for your message but you are clearly a fool who hasn't bothered to read my profile in depth."

Hmmm.... maybe not. Try again:

"Has no-one ever told you how annoying txt-speak is in proper writing? No? Then let me take the opportunity"

Again, unlikely to be a winner. Instead, I have to confess, I just ignored them. Youch. Luckily, the next few messages were properly spelt and punctuated and the whole thing seemed much better. Of these, and of profiles, more next time - I have to go and lie down in a darkened room now to recover from writing such an epic. Sorry, eyes!

Monday, February 16, 2004

I was going to write, in depth, about my experiences so far with internet dating, but I was kidnapped by aliens, dragged round Ikea and forced to buy girlie clothes in Next. Tomorrow, I promise you...

Claire's doing some encouragement:

74 miles to go and only the second half of term to do them in!! Go for it Love CMT

I did another 3 miles on Sunday, but even so I've got one hell of a lot of walking to get done. Eeek! Better get my boots on! :-)

The weekend started in fairly conventional fashion with lessons and a parents' meeting, but the kids all ran away at lunchtime, leaving me free to spend the afternoon playing pool, drinking beer and feeding money into the jukebox like there's no tomorrow. It was good, as was the evening's curry and conversation, and the Sunday lounging. Last night was spent at a colleague's for dinner, and then back here for drinks, deep'n'meaningful conversation and a lazy Monday. A fine start to the holiday, methinks!

Friday, February 13, 2004

With reference to my new box o'er there (I assume!):

Spiffy. Looks exactly the same as before. :)

Indeed it does: I have talented friends! Only four lessons, one parents' meeting, one sleep session and lots of tidying-up to go before it's the holiday: let the good times commence!

Why is it that I get hungry after drinking? Right now I could devour a horse and all its stablemates. Also its unstable mates too.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Chocolate monitor?!! What a quality job! :)

Indeed it was.

hope your bum thaws out

Luckily it has; thanks for enquiring!

The box o'er there used to be powered by some free webhosting thingy but it caused all sorts of confusion, and so Tim has kindly written me a new one and very whizzy it is too. I bow down in homage to his spoddiness. Apparently it's going to cost me 6 beers per year; I reckon that's a bargain!

Today was the day of the school's annual Steeplechase, which in a world without euphemism would be known as "the evil cross-country race over very muddy fields which the bastard sadist teachers make you run, while they stand on a corner near the end and shout out cheery encouragement. Grrr." Last year I was chocolate monitor; this year I got to be one of the sadist teachers lining the route. It was all good, clean fun, but my bum still hasn't thawed out.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

In the department we have a system of observations set up so we all visit another teacher and watch one of their lessons. I had a colleague in my Upper Sixth lesson this morning, and we were talking about strategic planning for businesses, using McDonald's strategic direction mapping technique: all very exciting stuff, as you can well imagine. I decided to use supermarkets for my example. Just imagine the scene: the outline map is projected on the board; I'm taking each supermarket in turn and marking it in the appropriate position on the map; I'm waving my arms round energetically; it's all going really well. And then my braincell explodes. I get confused and forget how to speak. I refer to Lidl and Aldi as "Addl". Bugger.

This is my second early morning in a row. Bleurgh!

Monday, February 09, 2004

I've been letting things slip a little of late blogwise. I haven't been able to bring myself to write about the inspection; I've got comments stacked up and not replied to; I've been a bit crap all round, really. I have, however, now regained my inner balance and poise* and am feeling up to it once more. Sadly, there's a large pile of marking to be overcome first, which is growing at what seems like an exponential rate. I promise you: once that's done, I'll be a bit more diligent.

* Some of you may be surprised to discover that I have poise and balance, but I do. They're just very well hidden.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

It's been a good day: lounging in bed reading; getting passport photos that look vaguely recognisable; listening to a concert by some phenomonal string players. Sadly, this schedule hasn't included any marking as yet, so that's my evening occupied!

Saturday, February 07, 2004

The best-laid plans, and all that. Hey ho!

Am feeling a little more invigorated today: slightly less nondescript and slightly more positive. Tonight, I break free and head off to the Big Bad City of Brum for a bit of a boogie; tomorrow I intend to spend all day in bed recovering!

Thursday, February 05, 2004

I suspect I'm ailing for something. I've had an opened bar of Dairy Milk on the kitchen table for three days, and have been able to eat no more than three squares without feeling sick. It's a bad sign when my chocolate tolerance drops... how will I get through my marking now?!

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

We're in the middle of an inspection into care standards at school. It's all a bit much to write about but I'm sleepy-tired and feel like a deflated balloon.

Monday, February 02, 2004

It's been an amusing day. Hectic, mind you, but amusing.

Amusing thing number 1:
One of my GCSE classes created some quiz cards at the end of last term: a Business Studies question and answer on one side; a non-business question/answer on the reverse. We'd done a business question and I turned the card over to read: "What is Miss E's first name?" You should have heard the answers, even after I gave them the initial:
Me: It begins with an M
Them: Madge?
Me: No!
Them: Maggie?
Me: No!
Them: Margarietta?
Me: No!
Them: Eurm... Miss?
Me: Noooo!
Them: Matron?
(I had to tell them in the end, just so we could get back to the excitement of ratio analysis)

Amusing thing number 2:
There was something. Honest. I just can't remember what it was. I suspect it have something to do with renaming certain ratios as the Current Bun and the Roast, but I'm not quite sure. Poor lil' braincell! I really must go to bed. G'night.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Words that get up my nose:



(I'm not even going to mention apostrophes and semi-colons)

Tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be... late-night marking, helped by tea. Admittedly it's not late at night just yet, but I suspect it might be by the time I'm through.