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Journal: How do you say goodbye? (Nope, not a cheesy love story) 1

Journal by enigma48

Has it really been two years?

I've been in Australia for nearly two years now - one studying, one working for an Aussie hosting company. One of the best experiences in my life... I couldn't write long enough to do the story justice so I won't.

Due to a family situation beyond my control, I'm heading home for the foreseeable future. Just like everyone else I'm trying to think of all the things that "I need to do" before I leave - touristy, "damn I shoulda done that while I was there!", general fun sort of stuff.

I'm aware this is partly a futile attempt to avoid having regrets.. but I'd still like to have a good month before I head home and I'm struggling to come up with a list.

Off the top of my head (no order/priority):

* See Ayer's Rock (aka Uluru)
* Visit Tasmania
* "Borrow" something mundane but memorable (i.e. a train station sign)
* Catch up with all friends, do the hard goodbye stuff, favourite restaurants, bars, taking lots of pictures, etc

I'm doing some practical stuff too (get transcripts of degree, do taxes, get a friend set up with a webcam) but I'm more interested in the lighter side of things.

Any ideas?

When you're done, go hug or call your mom. Yep, right away.

User Journal

Journal: Best ID discussion I've seen so far

Journal by enigma48

Just thought I'd leave myself a note about a very well articulated discussion about ID. Samjam and "|/|/|||" had one of the most rational arguments I've ever seen on Slashdot. Wish I had mod points.

Samjam: I'm sorry your words are wasted on a lot of people here, solely because you appear to be pro-ID and that'll get you ignored at best.

"|/|/|||": You're in the majority here, no sympathy for you! :) But thanks for your posts.

Neither user seems to post in large amounts, so I friended both to see more of their comments more often.

User Journal

Journal: It's been 10 years... I guess a deer collision was due 4

Journal by enigma48

Nothing too fantastic - I've been driving for a while and have been exceptionally lucky for the amount of driving I've done. Only have run over one small animal, avoided several others.

But I managed to nail a deer tonight, head on.

I'm fine - little shaky. Thankfully had a smart friend to call for advice. The deer was in very rough shape, couldn't get to its knees, only barely moving its head. My friend suggested I put the animal out of its misery... with the car. Took around 6 tries (when I got close, it moved its head and neck more - the only parts I was aiming for). Which is probably why I'm shaky. The car has seen better days, but it was a young deer. And any accident you can walk away from is a good one, so I'm told by the provincial police.

So I'm off to bed for a few hours so I'm not a complete zombie at work... and get to dread my cell phone all morning, waiting for the provincial police to call me for some reason. I'm hoping they just want a statement but my wicked imagination has me paying fines, getting hauled to jail, or worst: just being blamed for it.

I'm definately partly at fault - if I drove 5km/h, I would have been able to stop... but it was a 60km/h zone on a back road, no traffic, light snow on the road. I remember seeing something pop up in front of me about 50 ft away, then take two leaps at me from the left.. then me braking and swerving (no oncoming traffic thankfully).

Oh, in other news, I applied for and accepted a Teachers College spot at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. Leaving in Feburary, still waiting for my student visa, two high school teachables: math and computers. I quit work in a week and a half and leave for Australia around Feburary 5th - if my visa gets to me soon.

Now I'm going to bed.

User Journal

Journal: For posterity

Journal by enigma48

Got on the meme train and tried the latest popular test:

http://hokev.brinkster.net/quiz/default.asp

------------------
eXpressive: 1/10 * This MAY be something to work on. Maybe.
Practical: 5/10
Physical: 7/10
Giver: 4/10

You are a RPYT--Reserved Practical Physical Taker. This makes you a Stoic.

You are intelligent, rugged, disciplined and profound. Even if you're saddled with a desk job, you are starving for the outdoors. You are very slow to warm up to people, and people are slow to warm up to you, but once they know you they never forget you.

You do not get much attention from your target sex, and this means you can feel unloved or unwanted. This is not the case! You are just a hard nut to crack, and your social anxiety leaves you overlooked or outside the frame altogether. What is good for you is increments of low-interaction group activity, like sports or outdoor work. The person who can chop wood with you will melt your heart.

In a long term relationship, you are loving and devoted. You are calm in a conflict until your partner presses your buttons -- it's never the problem at hand that gets under your skin, but how your partner handles it. Don't take offense! Sometimes it's just the only way your partner knows how to express things.

You would never cheat, and your approach to sex is conventional and almost prudish. But sex for you is a release and a necessity of life, and you have a sense of entitlement about it that can be trouble. Make sure your partner is comfortable and satisfied -- by communicating both in and out of the bedroom -- and you will be more satisfied yourself.

You may take a lot of what your partner does for granted. Make a special effort to reward and validate him/her, and you will be repaid in spades.

You have nice legs.

Of the 39963 people who have taken this quiz, 4.2 % are this type.

Diagnosis not quite right? Now that you've taken the quiz, you can view the Relationship key. If you have any attributes that are on the cusp, check out the Relationship that complements that attribute (in other words, if you're an XPIT but only 6/10 Practical, take a look at XSIT.)

But beware -- the Taker/Giver attribute is very strong in defining a Relationship type! A RPYT is very different from an RPYG!

Write down what Relationship composite this quiz has given you, because viewing the key will erase your score.

XY Sexy IT In control/can be controlling
XG Good parent RG Good-natured/even keel
XP Good at resolving conflict RT Trouble communicating
XSI Honest to a fault SG People-pleaser

---------------

Reserved Practical Physical Taker - is it just me, or is every term (maybe not 'physical', depending on context) fairly negative?

I liked the Myers-Briggs test much better but both tests seem to get a few more-than-superficial details right. But at least I have my legs. Ahem.

User Journal

Journal: Minimally biased sites with useful information

Journal by enigma48

Just a quick question for ya'll - does anyone visit web sites with a minimal amount of bias? And has decent amount of information?

I'm just getting a little sick of trying to find information but only getting one side of the story. I was looking up some drug information online and found a number of websites listing plain facts - perfect, exactly what I want.

On the other hand, when I do a little research into benefits/drawbacks of chiropractic therapy... completely opposite. Either you're a chiropractor or you're a hater of chiropractic. The NiH website was top-notch though - one of the very few websites that would provide references to their opinions (ie: "works as good as physiotherapy for lower back pain" with 3 refernces). Pros AND cons had references provided.

So, if you see this - can you please post a few websites that you think are well-balanced? ANY subject. I don't care how popular it is, or even if it has not perfectly accurate information - I can always verify information elsewhere.

User Journal

Journal: Changing a losing game 1

Journal by enigma48

I was on a nostalgia trip a few days back and ended up reading a few months worth of journals from 2001. Nothing really noteable except one phrase a good friend told me - always change a losing game.

Much like everyone else, I've gone through my rough patches. While the past 9 months could have been worse, there've been several 'opportunities' (I'll try being positive about them) for personal growth that I never did anything about.

A student of mine, someone in worse shape than I could ever imagine living through, gave me a tape by her favourite motivational speaker - Zig Zigler I think. The religious/morality message didn't sit all too well with me but there were a number of good messages there I needed to be reminded about.

Anywho, about 2 people will see this... but I have a question to ask 'both' of you.

Any ideas on hobbies/activities where you'd find happier/more positive people? (I'm definately not a downer around others, just trying to learn a few new behaviours and change some old ones)

I've somewhat settled on learning a martial art, maybe judo. (a different student suggested it would be the best 'for my personality'... after knowing me for about 6 hours)

I want to start changing this losing game I've got going. Ideas are appreciated.

User Journal

Journal: Geek Assistance Requested

Journal by enigma48

Nothing too strenuous, mostly a call for vague comments/tips about an Apache problem I have.

A few months back I decided I wanted to launch a sort of Slashdot-esque news and resources for teachers website. Mostly just to scratch an itch of my own, I decided to use Slash.

I haven't touched Linux in a couple years now but got through the basic install in a few hours. First time failed, second install went better. In general, if the install fails at any point, you have to have a *good* grasp of things to even consider recovery (dependancy hell and slash appears to be very touchy) - I basically format and begin again.

Rather than do that again, I wouldn't mind a few offhand tips on what I could be facing here:

Slash installed itself as a virtual host (originally www.wme.ca:80 but I changed this to *:80) and I can get an initial page showing, but no graphics load nor do any website links work.

This is my first Apache install but I knew enough to check the docroots and everything seemed fine. The real pain is I can see error logs from slash and apache but no mentions about 404 errors, so I don't know what it is even trying (and failing) to do.

Any tips, suggestions, pointers to useful resources are appreciated. I'll be continuing my own troubleshooting but won't be able to look at this much for at least a week.

Assume I'm an idiot. I'd much rather swallow my ego than blow a month fixing a simple "first time admin" blunder.

User Journal

Journal: Quick! Talk me out of walking up the CN Tower! 3

Journal by enigma48

I haven't done anything requiring 'sponsoring' for about 10 years now but I think this will be pretty cool.

The World Wildlife Foundation does a yearly "Climb the CN Tower" event and some friends of mine encouraged me to join. I have to admit, I joined for a very selfish reason - how many people can say they climbed the CN Tower? 1,776 steps.

The interesting part is I'm not in shape even slightly - unless you consider round a shape (yeah, ha ha, I know.. I'm here all week folks). Thankfully, there will be many paramedics on site.

Onto the whoring: The biggest thing I dislike about sponsoring online is the trouble. This event has an incredibly simple process - click below and fill in the payment details (Mastercard / Visa / Amex required).

https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/personalPage.aspx?EventID=771&LangPref=en-CA&RegistrationID=38038

I'm going to bring a digital camera with me and get some snapshots of the Toronto skyline - will post them ASAP after the event.

If I get even one ./ sponsorship, I'll be ecstatic.

1 cent per step gets close to $20.00CAD but ANY amount is greatly appreciated.

Have a great week everyone!

User Journal

Journal: Teachers College

Journal by enigma48

Alternate title: When rejection is good news.

I applied to several Teachers Colleges in Ontario last December and got all my notices today - all rejections. With average-ish grades and below-average experience, there was a slim chance of finding a spot. Especially when the demand for teachers is going up but no (ok, ONE) Teachers Colleges being built or expanded in Ontario. Very competitive.

The good news? A few months back, I started looking into attending Teachers College in another country. (British) Commonwealth countries have very similar standards for Teachers College so it doesn't much matter where I get my Bachelor of Education, nor where I use it.

I think I've settled on Australia. England is way too expensive, the US is simply too much like Ontario but nearly as expensive as England, New Zealand... hmm, never thought about it much.

I'm not the travelling type. The idea of living in Australia scares me a bit - I've moved 10 times in my life, all within 20 km. (7 times within 5km, once down the same street...) This is completely out of character for me.

On the other hand, I think this is an amazing chance. A decade ago, I was pretty much in the top percentiles of shyness; I'm no where near the same person I was before but I still have a lot of room to grow. Living in the same area, same friends, etc helped stabilize my very rocky life. This sort of massive shock to my life may be the best thing I ever do.

It'll certainly be the most expensive :). But on a working-life-income scale, still a drop in the bucket. My other option is to work for a year in low-paying teaching jobs, hoping the experience helps me look better for applying next year within Ontario.

I'm not in a rush to get on with life, but I'm turning 25 soon. I can't think of any single exceptional reason to delay things further - as is, I'll be close to 27 just after finishing Teachers College.

I know I don't have much of a readership here, but if anyone wants to add some words of wisdom (teaching, life, **living in australia**, moving to a new continent, travel concerts regarding moving to a new continent...) I'd love to hear it.

I've been in survival mode for about 10 weeks now; I'm *so* glad I get to take some time now to reflect a little. Just hope this cold I'm developing doesn't go much further. One gland was pretty swollen but is feeling much smaller today.

User Journal

Journal: Decision Time

Journal by enigma48

While the last journal was only written about 2 hours ago, I've been struggling with this decision for the past 24 hours.

The argument I've settled to decide is a pretty simple one now - with all the demands on my time, can I do a decent job? I know a few people who can do 50 hour weeks in their sleep but I am definately not one of them.

In reality, I would likely survive the next few months but I wouldn't be prepared for class. I wouldn't be able to google for helpful aids, spend time with my current computer students when they have trouble with the next assignment. I also completely forgot about a few other demands on my time/energy - I may survive it but everyone I'd work with would suffer :).

So, time to bite the bullet and quit my retail job. The people working there are wonderful and I admit this will be embarrassing as hell. "Big picture"-wise, this is a necessary choice.

Besides, the average student debt in Canada is $20,000 and while I'm slightly over that, a few extra dollars while I burn out ain't gonna do much. The time will hopefully do me wonders.

Wish me luck.

User Journal

Journal: Dilemma - no, not that song

Journal by enigma48

So this week has been a little busier than most.

A) I picked up a part-time job a couple weeks ago with a former employer ("old job"), just to save up a little more cash for Teachers College.

B) On a whim, I applied for a part-time teaching job. On monday my resume went in, tuesday we arranged an interview, wednesday was the interview and thursday the job was offered to me (starting this monday).

C) I'm still a TA for my Introduction to Computers class.

D) I've postponed my trip to Ottawa to check out their Teachers College indefinately - damn.

E) Finishing up putting together a K6-450 computer for dad.

The really fun part? The new job (I've accepted the offer, now we talk about the low wage and contract) COMPLETELY conflicts with the course I TA for. In order to make this work, I need to reschedule all my labs and office hours - inconviencing many students and probably deeply offending a few.

On top of that, I need to either quit my 'old' job or reschedule my availability there. They won't be fond of either choice. If I decide to stay and things get very difficult in November (2 20hr/week jobs, 1 10hr/week TA commitment, 1 university course + exam, 10hr/week driving) then I'll likely end up having to quit that job. Did I mention they are a retail operation? I'm in a very small department - losing me in November would hurt them *plenty*.

This new opportunity is amazing - I'll be teaching people who have to change careers because of injuries, class sizes are *very* small (2-4 people), etc. I won't have to spend much time managing behavioural issues and I'll actually be *teaching*. Lesson plans, tests, everything. A little scary but an excellent way of getting my feet wet without drowning.

But in the worst case scenario, I quit my retail job, rearrange my TA responsibilities (causing students immense difficulties) and then this job may not work out. I'll still have my health, but everything else is shot to hell!

The one decision I really need to make is do I keep the retail job or not. If this teaching position doesn't work out, I'm effectively out of work until next year (good luck finding many jobs very close to Christmas or in the first quarter next year).

There is one other question I'm completely avoiding: if I have to choose between TA'ing and this new job... eek. There are so many angles it hurts. (Which is better for my application to Teachers College, TA pays more but has fewer hours, new job is a great way to see if I could be a teacher, etc)

I'm open to any suggestions - selfless (offer students free help on saturdays for their inconvience) or selfish (keep both jobs, dump the retail one in november and laugh at the soon-to-be-overwhelmed-fools!).

Anyone got a crystal ball I can use? Doesn't need to be a deluxe model, just something good for 1-2 months in the future.

User Journal

Journal: Ghosts in the closet

Journal by enigma48

Unless you've just come by for the first time, you probably know I'm aiming to be a teacher. And that I'm more invested in this goal ("Oooo, teaching!") than my programming stint. ("Hey, got nothing better to do and the degree says I can do it")

By no means was today a harsh day but I had someone comment on my poor work ethic (jokingly of course). It was about a VERY minor assignment I'd neglected for University Teaching: Theory and Practice. UTTP is a grad level course that covers a lot of good teaching practices for TAs/new professors. For the record: I'm only a lowly 4th year student, I have to audit UTTP - aka "pay money but get no credit and optionally do no work". Anyway, the 'assignment' was optional, trivial (but I wanted to do it) and I rushed it before class.

In my defence, I could bring up a number of things - my grandmother recently died, I just began a new job which has been leaving me *completely* exhausted (ie: get home at 6pm, can't keep eyes open past 9pm), I had an assignment due (plus a midterm in two days), etc.

In reality, I was never close to my grandma (I'd seen her maybe a few times over the past 10 years) and she's been suffering through Altzheimers for several years, the new job was only three days ago and I didn't start my assignment until VERY recently. I had 2 weeks to do this 1-2 hour piddly little assignment for my UTTP class - a class teaching me how to BE A GOOD TEACHER/ROLE MODEL - and I rushed through it before class.

I hate the fact that my mind immediately generates all these (relatively) good excuses for why I suck. I admit its useful... but doesn't make for an honest person if I use them.

So this must be an odd number day... nope, even. Hmm. I guess I need to flip my rule: on an even numbered day, I'm scared as hell to be a teacher with all my flaws and weaknesses. The odd days I just want to be a teacher *really* badly and feel great about the choice.

I doubt my classmate with her sarcastic "well aren't you the horrible student" (or something like that; the comment probably set my anxiety level way up and I'm distorting the words a little) meant to scar me emotionally ;). On the upside, I gave her and another grad student a ride home tonight and she is volunteering to bake cookies for me, err, the class. (what do you mean the world doesn't revolve around me?)

I guess this marks the day I've decided to go a little more personal in my journal. I have no big problem with exposing my soul to the world - this is, or was, the way I made friends earlier in my life. The only reason I've been a little cautious about this is because of a fear this might come back to haunt me - maybe a boss would find out, maybe one of my students (a small loss of professionalism), etc.

But yah know what? I'm exhausted tonight and when I get tired, the inhibitions come down quite a bit. Anxiety is hardly an issue - being coherent and typing is hard 'nuff as is.

On a side note, I've never seen the weather forecast as follows:

Afternoon: 100% chance of rain
Night: 100% chance of rain
Overnight: 100% chance, heavy rain
Morning: 100% chance of rain

Thought I was in Vancouver or something.

Other side note: I just grabbed SlashCode and I think I may starting up a Teachers/technolgy slash site soon. Gives me an excuse to run a third computer in the house, maybe put up my own mailserver, etc. Toys. Think I'll have to read up on the whole DeMilitarized Zone concept and change a few things on my Smoothwall firewall... but it's not like I'm being a good student anyway so I have time.

PPPPPPPS: I am aiming to be in Ottawa around the 24th-27th. Anyone want to provide me with an itinerary, leaving a gap for me to spend some time at the University of Ottawa? (Teachers College there sounds good)

User Journal

Journal: Yikes, they really sneak up on ya don't they? 2

Journal by enigma48

After JD's two-week old post in my journal (so much for that web message for journal replies) covering some of his expertise/experience teaching, I thought I'd just leave an option question for anyone who runs across this.

Even if you're not a teacher, EVERYONE has taught someone something. If you've seen Patch Adams (Great Robin Williams movie), you likely remember the interesting defense he used - every patient he treated had cared for someone else, so they were doctors too.

I'm horrible at being concise, so I'll try this: As a teacher, what have you done that worked? Or not worked?

I'd like to see everything - controlling a unruly class, getting that apathetic D- student interested in some subject material, anything goes.

PS: Does anyone get those web messages saying so-and-so replied to a journal?

Education

Journal: My recent MetaMoment(tm)

Journal by enigma48

As the hordes of people who read this journal probably know (maybe not, glossed over this a bit) I'm discovering that I'm really into teaching. Programming didn't do it for me and tonight I had a BIG moment where my life kind of took shape.

I love working with technology. First computer I touched was a C64 around grade 3 (7 years old or so) - my cousin had one and my babysitter had one. I *loved* typing in PLAY and LOAD to start the games.

I finished my Bachelor of Computing degree not having a good idea where I wanted to go. Programming was a harmless choice but I seriously considered blowing another 10k and getting a bunch of certifications and doing the system/database/network administrator route. So I got one of the few programming jobs available, tried my best for a year and left amicably. It wasn't my thing.

I've been searching for 'my thing' now for a little while. I've learned a little more about myself in the process - realizing I like teaching, finding a small part of an extrovert in me (working with people 'recharges' me even if I am scared half to death of them!), things like that.

Tonight on the way back from D and M's (names dropped to protect the not-so-innocent), I sort of pieced together a career I think I'd really enjoy. I'm still not sure on the specifics but I knew the second I got home I *needed* to write this down. (used to keep a paper journal but this will suffice)

A new public university just opened up in Ontario (Canada) - University of Ontario Institute of Technology. They only teach science/math/technology subjects - I think the only university like it in Ontario. They also have a Teachers College (schools using public dollars almost always require would-be teachers have a 1-year Bachelor of Education, Teachers College provide it).

One thing I had mixed feelings about: manditory laptops. Students pay $1400 CAD per year for all the software, hardware (new models every two years) and support they need.

I agree laptops are useful but for education? I think almost all parents would say they'll learn more/better with a laptop but why? Do students pay more attention and retain knowledge better with a laptop in their hand? Do online course materials guarantee in-depth learning? WHAT makes laptops useful to students? Technology is good and all but in what ways do they improve someone's education?

My first idea: I'll be a teacher. I'll use technology in new ways to help my students understand and I'll probably end up working more hours than an average teacher.

My second idea (tonight, 1 hour ago): I'll try a Masters of Education. I'll study new educational techniques (problem-based learning, constructivist philosophies/teaching vs instructivist), maybe write a few papers and maybe stay in academia and keep studying about learning.

2b: Maybe a doctorate?

My third idea: As a programmer, I set a goal for myself that I'd be moving towards a managerial/advisory role within 5 years. I enjoy big-picture thinking, working with clients to define/identify problems vs 100% coding and being ASKED for my opinion.

Taking my 3rd idea a litter further... how about fixing the system? How about teaching educators/administration/parents how to use technology to improve the education system? I'm not sure about anyone else but I feel 'consultant' is almost a negative (ie: insulting) noun. But an Educational Technology Consultant may be the perfect fit for me.

Other thoughts I don't want to forget:

*I likely need academic credentials to be taken seriously (they'd help anyway)
*I have NO experience with writing papers, doing academic research, etc. I vaguely know about the process and can see a few weaknesses within me that'll probably cause problems - basically, I'll need to work on things a LOT if I ever wanted to do pure research. I don't think I'd enjoy pure research either.
*Partnering up with someone that complements my strengths/weaknesses is definately worth investigating
*I need to complete a semester-long project incorporating my two main areas of study (Computer Science and I've nearly completed a minor in Business Administration) to finish my Honours degree. I want to look at doing some preliminary work in the Business department here at Guelph - maybe see if I can create a few tools they use, compare the results vs last year or even between classes, etc.

Improving the university system, adult education, elementary/high-school education, training... all can benefit from improved use of technology.

Some ideas (some may be stolen and I forget the source!)

*Real-time voting/multiple-choice as a way to get students participating in lessons
*Stop/start/continue feedback exercises mid-semester
*Animations to clarify topics
*Anonymous, real-time brainstorming software
*Pre-lesson 'debunking' software - students often carry the wrong idea into a class and even if they learn the right answer in the class, they often revert to their old idea (ie: Electrons 2D orbit a nucleus vs 3D orbitals) ...and I am forgetting a lot of the other stuff.

Sentient plasmoids are a gas.

Working...