My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

46 Articles Tagged with “school”

  1. I teach now. Teaching is cool

    I’ve had a long and interesting week, so let’s get started.

    As some background, my school has two sites (North and South) as an artifact of combining two schools. North site is undergoing extensive renovation, with an entire new building being added, so South site is being phased out. I’m teaching entirely in one room on South site. Aside from having a Promethean board instead of a SMART board, I’m OK with this. Firstly, South site is a lot quieter. Secondly, it’s only five minutes (or less) from a bus stop on the route between Thetford and Bury. I have a ride, thanks to a teacher who lives literally at the end of the block, but it’s good to have a backup plan.

    I was told to show up bright and early on Monday morning. Since everyone else was starting on Tuesday, I took the bus, and then took a cab to the slightly more distant North site. The other teachers with my agency arrived shortly thereafter … and no one was expecting us. No one was really there. The administrative staff put us in a room, gave us tea and coffee, and printed off our timetables. Then we left.…

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  2. Sailing off the edge

    Last Thursday I wrote my final exam as an undergraduate university student. This marks the end of my formal schooling (for now). I have this week off, which is a welcome break and short vacation, and then I begin my second five-week practicum. Come the last full week of April, I will be finished completely. No more assignments. No more tests. I’ll be a transcript and some bureaucratic processing away from being a certified teacher.

    I have mixed feelings about being finished school. On one hand, it is a relief. This last term of classes went by slowly. Many of my friends remarked that they were not getting much from their classes this time, that they were anxious to get back out in the field or to be done … and I can see whence this line of reasoning comes, and I agree in part. We had an intense conversation about this in my Philosophy of Education class, about how we would redesign the teacher education program if we could. All of us spoke with the voices of very tired teacher candidates.

    On the other hand, it is also terrifying. This is it. When I entered university, I entered as…

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  3. So I knit now

    So I’m knitting now.

    Katie, a friend I have made among my class of teacher candidates, is an avid knitter. (Her teachables also happen to be the same as mine—math and English—how cool is that?) Eventually our conversations about her knitting culminated in an offer to teach me how to knit. I was not digging for this—the thought had honestly never crossed my mind. I used to do some very basic cross-stitching, but my ability to do things with my hands (aside from typing) has always been minimal. Knitting seemed like a daunting skill to learn.

    So I said yes, of course. I had an ample supply of yarn left over from my cross-stitching days. When Katie returned to Thunder Bay after the Christmas break, we went shopping for a perfect set of needles and searching for a perfect beginning pattern. We eventually decided upon this hat pattern, which has the advantage of being knit flat and being done entirely in knit stitch (no purling). Another professional year friend, Hélène, deterred me from starting with a scarf: as she put it, a scarf is long and boring and repetitive; I needed a beginning project that was easy enough…

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  4. Your holiday relaxation program commences in 3, 2, 1...

    It is snowing outside. This is both wonderful and terrifying. Wonderful because snow is awesome. I love living in a country, and a part of the country, that experiences all four seasons in vibrant technicolour and Dolby Digital surround sound. Winter here means minus forty below, winds, snow in the air and on the ground, and plenty of shovelling. Terrifying because this means I may have to shovel in the future--I like shovelling; I hate contemplating the future acts of shovelling. Once I'm doing it, I'm OK.

    School is over now, for two weeks. I had my last examine a week ago. It went well, I think, though I don't have my marks yet. I feel good about it (Complex Analysis), and I feel good about the one prior to it as well (Medieval and Tudor Drama). The rest of the week could have been relaxing in theory, but in practice it was consumed by invigilating an exam on Thursday and then helping the instructor to mark said exam on Friday. Oh my. Six hours of that--and yes, I know, I will have to do this when I become a teacher. But I'm not a teacher yet.

    As I

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  5. Summer endings, September beginnings

    Hello September. I have missed you. You might be my favourite among all months, but don't tell the others. And no, it's not because my birthday is in September (although that helps). Nor is it because September signals the start of fall television, with new episodes of Castle, Chuck, House, Stargate Universe, etc. More than any other month, even that notorious January, September is a month of changes and new beginnings. For those of us biased in our perceptions by our position in the northern hemisphere, summer will soon be a memory; the leaves will change colour; and I'll be back in school, where I belong.

    I spent this summer doing research and quite enjoyed it. We didn't make as much progress toward a solution as I had hoped, but I learned a lot, both about mathematics and research in general. I'm comfortable using LaTeX (which is sexy) and have had some experience with Macaulay2 (also pretty hot). I even went to a conference, something that surprised me.

    With my research finished, I have these two weeks off before school begins on September 13. Next week I return to work at the art gallery. I don't…

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  6. Bring me your math! All your math!

    Tonight Stargate Universe premiered, and I wanted to share my thoughts on it. However, I feel guilty blogging about a television show when I haven't blogged about arguably more important matters, such as life.

    With a month behind me, I feel good about the school year so far. I only have four courses this year: Introductory Analysis, Partial Differential Equations (PDEs), Introduction to Mathematical Probability, and Speculative Fiction. Three math courses and an English course. All of my math courses are interesting, and I was excited to take the English course the moment I saw it offered. I'll discuss it first, since the rest of the post will be about math.

    My Speculative Fiction course is covering only science fiction this section--which is fine. Although I love literature in general and would gladly have taken something like Victorian Literature if this course hadn't been offered, the chance to read and discuss science fiction for credit is not something I was going to overlook! We're reading The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, The Left Hand of Darkness, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Neuromancer, Dawn, and Singularity Sky. We also have to…

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  7. More narcissism and a little about you

    Sometime between November and ... now ... it became now. I'm not quite sure when this happened, or how it happened((If you know, please do explain it to me.)) ... but it happened. Now that it's now and no longer then, that which was must become what was going to be when then became now--which is now.

    In that same spirit, the university felt it right and proper to commence a second term of classes following on the heels of the first term. I have six courses this term, three math courses, two philosophy courses, and an English course masquerading under the horribly ambiguous name of "Advanced Rhetoric."

    Two of my math courses, Linear Algebra II and Group Theory, are continuations of two of the courses I took last term. Linear Algebra II is, unsurprisingly, the conclusion to Linear Algebra I. We're learning about eigenvalues, eigenvectors, and diagonalization. I'm finding this course easier than the first part, in which I struggled somewhat. Group Theory and Ring Theory are related areas of abstract algebra. "Group theory" always sounds to me like some sort of bizarre sociological phenomenon, but I assure you, it's a math course--complete with dusty chalkboard, incomprehensible symbols, and…

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  8. Ack, I'm an elitist anglophone snob

    So I was going to write this entry in French, but I discovered along the way that I've forgotten my simple past tense. This disturbs me.

    I took French from grade 1 until grade 11 in school (this was before the provincial government postponed mandatory French until grade 4). It's only compulsory until grade 9, but I liked my teachers, and the courses were interesting and academic. Plus, being able to speak another language is a plus. Except I can't really speak it now, can I?

    Part of me thinks I don't have an ear for languages. I excelled at reading and writing French. However, even at the height of my proficiency, I was never too hot at pronunciation or comprehension of spoken French. Nevertheless, I feel bad that I live in a bilingual country yet I only speak English. There's this whole other culture that's an integral part of my country's history and current events, yet I ignore it. I feel like an elitist anglophone snob!

    This week's episode of Spark includes a segment about the French-English digital divide. That's what got me thinking about this, although it was also tonight's French-language debate amongst the federal party leaders.…

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  9. I like Mondays

    After a weekend of work, Mondays are refreshing. I don't work on Mondays, and I get to go back to school and learn.

    I've been back for over a week now, and I'm enjoying it. This is my easy term; I only have five courses: Foundations and Issues in Education, Educational Technology in the Classroom, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra I, and Ring Theory with Applications. Yes, two education courses and three maths. I love math. :D

    Of the education courses, the technology one is online. I knew going into it that it would be easy, but as it stands right now, it's rather inane: for the first four weeks all we have to do is read, then we get a test. Then we have to work in groups to create a blog about teaching technologies, theories that apply to these technologies, etc. This wouldn't be so bad, except that the reading material is full of typos, passive voice, prepositions at the end of the sentence--I'm very glad that I don't have to buy a textbook, but this is almost torture. Spellcheck, please!

    My other education course looks like it'll be more interesting. At least it's mostly discussion-based. That makes it…

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  10. They're here

    The back to school ads have landed.

    Going back to university is different from going back to high school. For one thing, I'm not in school all day, so it feels like I have more free time. In general my schedule is more flexible. Since I'm in a fairly academic program, my school supplies are limited to notebooks, pens, and pencils. I can otherwise ignore the exhortations of sneakers, markers, pencil crayons, and whatnot. Give me something on which to scribble my equations, and I'm happy. :D

    I certainly learned a lot in my first year of university; reflection on this knowledge has led me to make a few resolutions about this year. Firstly, I'm going to try and establish a more consistent schedule in terms of sleeping, when I do homework, writing, working on my computer stuff, etc. While I still need to be flexible, hopefully this will help me manage my time better. I have four math courses in the fall term, all of which will have weekly assignments, I'm sure. Compared to my two full-year math courses last year, this will make things more complicated.

    Secondly, I'm going to try harder. I did well last year,…

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  11. I am done

    Tuesday had my last two exams. I'm officially finished my first year of university: no more homework, no more studying. :hyper: I have four months to relax. Or, you know, not.

    I leave for Ohio in 15 days and have a ton of stuff I need to finish before then. I really want to finish VSNS Lemon before that happens, even though I'm not optimistic enough to think I'll have time to complete the redesign of my site. But that will happen. Stay tuned!

    So how was my first year of university? It was good. Pretty similar to what I expected. It took me longer to settle into it than I had hoped; those first few months were somewhat rocky. However, by the end of the year, I felt more comfortable. Next year I want to work on my time management. My schedule this year was light because I took three online courses, one each term and then one the full year, which left me with a lot of free time each day because I wasn't in class at the campus. Next year I probably won't take any online courses--since nothing I need or want will be offered online--so I'll…

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  12. Update on school

    This is mostly for my dad, who has been bugging me about how I'm doing in school but doesn't understand that I feel more comfortable writing about such matters in front of several million strangers instead of actually talking out loud about it to a parent. :r Curse you, modern society!

    I have one more day to go, and then we've got Reading Week. It's our version of "spring break" for universities. I don't have anything special planned. I just want to enjoy the time off. I'll read, work on my own stuff, try not to think about school ... :D And work, of course. Work has been very hectic this month. I've had a lot of extra shifts added to my calendar as the month progressed, special event type shifts which can be stressful because of their unusual times and the amount of preparation we have to do (like cleaning, moving tables, etc.). I hope March calms down.

    When it comes to school, this is midterm season. I only have three classes in which I have midterms, however. My sociology midterm is this week; it's online, so I can do it anytime from today until Saturday night. The catch…

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  13. Obsess much?

    Tomorrow is my first day of my first year of university. I'm both excited and nervous. Today I went shopping for school supplies. Notebooks, pens, that sort of thing.

    I have two math classes, so I'll be doing a lot of pencil work. I love wooden pencils and have eschewed their mechanical counterparts up until now. However, since the spacial organization of lecture-style seating makes pencil sharpening more of an Olympic sport than useful utility, I've decided to make the leap to mechanical pencils. But, being who I am, I couldn't just stop there. Oh no. It's never that simple. :D

    Wal-Mart presented me with a good, but not dazzling, selection of pencils from which to choose. Being a last minute vulture meant I only had the leftovers, but they still presented me with a poser. Firstly, mechanical pencils come in different diameters of lead! So naturally I had to buy one type of pencil that uses 0.7 mm lead and one that uses 0.5 mm lead in order to compare the two. :shifty: Secondly, if I'm going to be using the same pencil for hours a day, I want one that's comfortable; I ignored the cheaper mechanical pencils and…

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  14. Class of 2007

    School is not over yet; exams have yet to come, but tonight I went through the complicated tribulation of the graduation ceremony and emerged (although somewhat tired) unscathed. The ceremony was long, and at times dull, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless. I cried when our teachers sang, because not only did they sing well, but I thought about all they've done for us during our schooling. It's part of the reason I'm going into teaching, I think--not to sing, but just to affect others' lives in such a profound manner. I've been lucky to have a great number of dedicated teachers who do more than impart facts. They've supported me and shaped me as a person. Similarly, valedictorian Cassie Graham's speech was moving and flawlessly delivered. I mean, Dr. Seuss?! That alone deserves mucho kudos--there are very few people wiser than that man, and the quotation that Cassie chose was spot-on. But it was much more than that. It was personal. There was something in there that let everyone stop and nod and say, "That was me."

    It was surreal, in a sense, as I walked away from the stage, proceeding out the auditorium doors and into…

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  15. Math rocks!

    I got to miss the entire day of school for a math competition at the university. ^_^

    The individual competition was in the morning, so I sat in the lecture theatre with a hundred or so other kids and answered 15 multiple choice and 5 full solution questions (or attempted to answer, I guess). It was pretty hard, but not as bad as last year. I did well on the multiple choice, I think, although not so well on the full solution.

    Then we got a free lunch, which is always a nice break. :D Pasta, chicken wings. Nanaimo bars for dessert. Mmm. After lunch those of us from Westgate tossed a Frisbee around for a little, since it was so nice outside. They gave away free Frisbees, coffee mugs, and of course, the annual t-shirt.

    Then there was the team competition. That went better than the individual one. I was partnered with two other fairly smart kids, so we did fine.

    I'm not sure why I love this math competition so much, except that I do. Well, it was cool to get a day off school and a free lunch just for doing math. And the t-shirt is nice.…

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  16. I'm an idiot

    The integral of f(x) over [a,b] is equal to the integral of f(x) over [a,c] plus the integral of f(x) over [c,b]

    Note that f(x) must be the same over this interval. Silly me. :D

    (My only consolation is that not only did my two classmates fail to spot this, but the student teacher was the one who tried to do this with different functions and led us into the incorrect solution. :r)

  17. First week back!

    I'm nearing the end of the first week back (-ish). So far it feels ... the same, yet different. The same in the sense that I'm used to it; there aren't many surprises. However, being a grade 12 feels different. I've been doing this for three years. I can look around and see the grade 9s and wonder if I was ever like that. The friends I have beside me I've known for three or four years (and some even longer), and we've all gone through similar experiences. Now that this is my last year, the sense that it is all coming to a close becomes more obvious.

    Westgate seems a lot more crowded this year, in class size and hallway congestion. This could be an illusion; it could be normal and I just need to readjust after the break.

    My geometry class has about 25 people. It isn't that bad, except that geometry has always been one of my weaker points in math, simply because I am not a visual person; I don't learn visually. I prefer more algebra with equations. We've already delved into vectors, and although I grasp most of the key concepts, drawing the diagrams can…

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  18. Brain Drip

    Here's just a random distillation of the thoughts swirling around in my head today (happy Labour Day, everyone). Maybe after doing this I can actually get some writing done before I go to bed.

    Speaking of which, I have school tomorrow. Yes, grade 12, my last year of high school. For those who would like to pretend to be interested in my course schedule:

    First semester: Geometry/Discrete Math, AP Physics, AP Calculus, and Drama Second semester: AP English, Chemistry, History, and Data Management

    Yes, I have three math (physics is basically math-on-a-stick) courses in a row. There is a theory that lunch will sneak in between physics and calculus, but it's a fringe theory at best. :yes:

    For those of you whom I haven't told, I originally wanted to take Writer's Craft, but that was only offered once, at the same time as Geometry. :/ But by not taking it, I wouldn't get a group 1 credit, which I need to graduate. Enter History class, say goodbye to my spare period. My workload shall be intense. But I don't feel too bad, because I don't deserve to--my friend Viv is getting royally screwed over in her schedule, which is quite…

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  19. Summer verge

    One more exam to go. My French exam today was very easy, and I found out that I did quite well on both Math and Chemistry! Just Computer Science is left.

    On the last day of classes, I asked Mr. Dubyk, my math/Computer Science teacher, where he got the nifty cover bag for his laptop. It's essentially a cover into which you slide the laptop and then velcro the top closed with two straps. I was intrigued because it looked durable and easy to carry. My laptop bag is bulky, and its strap just broke recently, so I'm thinking that I'll buy a backpack (especially if I'm going to ride my bike more) and just carry my laptop in there amongst other things. A cover to keep my laptop clean would help though, so I asked him from where he got the bag, and he said that is wife made it--then he offered to have her make me one! :o

    Just goes to show that karma works quite well--if you do good things for people, they do good things for you, and sometimes you get your own little laptop bag out of the deal. :D He gave it to me…

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  20. Much, much better

    :w00t: Went to tonight's Border Cats game! It was excellent. Final score was 7-4 for the Cats, and the game itself was fun to watch. The first few innings were slow, and the Lacrosse Loggers were up by 4. But we scored several times and were tied by the eighth. The bottom of the eighth was amazing: stolen bases, errors on the part of the other team, the type of runs that make you cheer because they're so improbable and extraordinary!

    The Snowbirds were flying tonight too, and I regret forgetting to take my camera along--they flew quite low, and I probably could have caught a few good photos. Oh well. I'll take some photos of the next baseball game if I can remember my camera.

    It was also graduation night for Westgate. Congratulations to those of my friends who graduated and good luck on your future endeavors. I'm going to still be in school for another year, toiling away. :D

    My French presentation is tomorrow. I was supposed to go Friday, second last, but I switched with my friend because she had to play in the band at grad tonight and had to go first tomorrow. :| I don't…

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  21. The countdown begins

    Only 12 more days of school left! :hyper:

    I can't believe I'm counting down, but I'm just that ready for school to finish. Things are going so slowly. The only class in which I really do much work anymore is French anyway, so I'm ready for things to end. This week should be easy, but next week I have a lot of extra-curricular activities going on, including a Black Light production and the school's Outsiders production--on the same day! :o

    Baseball game tomorrow. First one of the season.

    Vanilla Guestbook goes nicely. This weekend's goal was to skin it. I will give you guys a preview of it quite soon--it is not the world's best skin, but it is okay. (Think of it as incentive to customize it for your site :D ). I'm just finalizing a few features and then it needs documentation and smilies! Which means that if you can make smilies, please send me an e-mail or otherwise contact me! I would be much obliged, because graphics aren't my strong suit.

  22. Spatial sense (get some)

    I'm helping out with the backstage portion of my school's production of The Outsiders. Today after school, we needed to paint a set of stairs grey as a piece of the set. The tech department had graciously attached a railing to the stairs (which are just white pieces of wood), and then deposited them on the stage. We planned to carry it into the drama room, which is relatively adjacent to the stage (separated only by a hallway) and paint in there. Easy, right?

    Wrong. There's a ladder up to the lighting booth in between the stage proper and the door on stage right that leads to the hallway. As a result, the stairs were too wide to fit through either gap around the ladder, and we had to carry them down the steps at the front of the stage, across the entire length of the gym, into the main hallway, up another set of steps into the cafeteria, and then across the entire cafeteria to another set of doors.

    This is where we encountered our biggest problem--apparently the stairs wouldn't fit through those doors either. We even tried to jam it through using brute force, but no such…

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  23. Math competition

    Today I participated in the TD Canada Trust Math Competition at LU. I went last year too, although it was at the college then because of a strike at the university.

    I don't think I did too well at the individual portion. Part of the reason was that some of the questions involved stuff I simply haven't learned yet. As for the team competition...I think we did reasonably well. Again, I felt a bit useless because I was on a team with two grade 12s (the grade above me) and I didn't know half as much as they did. :D Plus, there was nothing on conic sections! That was my "thing", since I had just finished learning it, whereas the grade 12s had forgotten it. Oh, there were sequences and series all right (another grade 11 subject that I haven't learned), but no conics whatsoever!

    So yeah...we did get down an answer for every question, but we used the horrendous method of guess-and-check for nearly every one, and our proofs were quite flimsy. :D The answers will be posted online sometime this weekend, so I'll get a link up to them later.

    Lunch was quite good. There was pasta,…

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  24. Une excursion francaise?

    My French class went on a field trip today. We went to "Kingfisher Outdoor Education Centre". It's a place down near Kingfisher Lake where they teach students about biology and the environment and stuff, and it's a neat place to visit. Our French teacher, Mme. Ben Sari, arranged for us to take the trip so that we could practice our French (the guides don't speak French, but we could speak in French to each other about what we saw and such). Let me say right now that it was a really cool idea.

    We got on the bus at the start of the day and drove for half an hour to Kingfisher, which is slightly out of the way. Now, before I go on, I should explain what I mean by "slightly out of the way". For those of you who have never been to Northwestern Ontario, Canada, or even the northern part of the United States, then you must realise that we are smack dab in the middle of the boreal forest. Basically you drive either east or west along the highway, otherwise you are in the bush. ;) Looking out the window of the bus, I would…

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  25. Driving

    I went driving for my first time today after Black Light! :|

    I didn't crash the car into anything, though, so we'll call it a success. My dad took me to a subdivision where there's no traffic. Basically I tried to get comfortable with the car--which still scares me--and get a feel for using the steering wheel, gas, brakes, etc. I bemoan my lack of spatial sense and find it very difficult to know just how hard to press a pedal or turn the wheel. But I'll learn.

    Like I said, I didn't break anything, and I did pretty well. Now I just have to find a driving school. I've put that on hold for a bit because Black Light practices have been my weekend focus. We present on April 10 and today (er, Saturday) was our first actual practice with the entire set assembled. Unsurprisingly, the play makes much more sense with a set around it than without! We have one more practice next week, a dress rehearsal, and then...show time! I think we'll be ready.

    My "project" this weekend has been programming Snake in Turing (what we've been using for computer science). I have it all done except…

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  26. Will do English work for a cell phone

    I've learned a life lesson today: People will give you cell phones if you take English classes.

    Go back and read that sentence. Yeah. Crazy, eh? You see, my brother is in grade 8 and shall be going into grade 9, so he has his option sheets for next year. He originally intended on taking several applied-level courses (if you don't live in Ontario, you probably don't understand this part, but you'll get the gist of it). We managed to talk him into everything at the academic level, save for English. My parents finally got him to take academic English (on the theory that it's easier to drop down into applied than it is to move into academic) by promising to get him a cell phone.

    Society triumphs again. I think.

    So yeah. My plan is pretty simple: send me a cell phone and I shall do your English homework. Not that I actually want a cell phone (it's not like I'd use it). But the money you lose buying me a cell phone can be considered the just punishment for even thinking about getting someone else to do your work for you. Only politicians can get away with that.

  27. Decision time

    I did say that I wouldn't make any decisions until 3:30. Well, it's 4:32 right now, and I already have a pretty good idea of how this semester will be.

    I finally figured out what the computer course is about: "Introduction to Computer Science". Basically programming and stuff. We're going to start off with Turing, then move into XHTML--but only so we can display the output from our final units, creating dynamically driven websites using databases and PHP.

    So in other words, I already know most of this stuff (except Turing). I don't think I'll learn a lot coding-wise, although I hope I'll emerge with an improved understanding of OOP and maybe regex. But Mr. Dubyk (the teacher) told me he'd help get rid of our bad habits, of which I have accumulated quite a lot. The major focus of the course, however, is on planning one's programs using flow charts and such before one even starts coding them. I really think that this will help me, since I am terrible when it comes to planning. I really should plan, but I just can't stand doing it. Being forced to do it will help, though, since it'll…

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  28. School tomorrow!

    Tomorrow I go back to school. Mixed feelings, eh, which I kind of regret, since I want to like school. Westgate makes that incredibly difficult, however. The atmosphere is just not wubbly like it was back at FWCI.

    But I harp on that enough. I'm going into this semester with a fresh slate: no preconceived notions until 3:30 PM tomorrow. Then I can make irrational decisions if I want, but only then. Maybe it won't be so bad. I supposedly get a teacher from FWCI for two of my classes.

    Speaking of classes, I have math, chemistry, French, and a computer course. I have no clue what the computer course is about--I signed up for it last year but have completely forgotten what it involves. So tomorrow will indeed be an interesting day. Everything is still really up in the air, of course, since my schedule could have changed.

    Anyway I should get to bed, as I have to wake up in about seven hours and eat and go to school. I'm glad to be going back, even though the week could have been a bit longer. :r

    P.S. Sorry if those leftovers I ate before going to bed…

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  29. Drama drama drama

    What a wild ride! Got up, ate breakfast, went to school, set up for drama. It was interesting, to say the least. I love the controlled chaos of setting up for a drama production. :D

    As you may recall, last week's drama exam was moved to this week.

    The order of the docudramas were: “Genocide”, “Hurricane Katrina”, “Life in the Fast Lane” (my group!), and “War for Peace”. They were all brilliant, considering that we hadn't practiced them for a week. Every group had its share of mistakes (such as me forgetting to do portions of a chase scene) but every group had its strong points too. I think that, visually, “Genocide” was the most effective. They had an awesome array of visual icons. “War for Peace” presented the most meaningful message (all of the topics are meaningful, but I loved how they used “In Flander's Fields” for one portion; it was quite moving). “Hurricane Katrina” had awesome music! And my group, aside from the great chase scene, had the benefit of being a slightly lighter topic—not necessarily in nature, but in the way we presented it.

    Overall I think it worked out wonderfully. Cleaning up wasn't that bad…

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  30. So today basically sucks

    I apologise for the language in the title, but it's rather fitting. I was all ready, all hyper, to do our drama exam . . . and then it was cancelled.

    Mrs. Vieira's apparently sick. I'm not angry; I've been sick before too. I'm just very disheartened, disappointed, and basically I feel like I've been punched in the gut. I was ready, and now I have to wait until next Wednesday. I don't even know what time. :(

    It wouldn't be so bad if we weren't so disorganised. The groups were running around today, snapping at each other, trying to get things done, even with Mrs. Vieira absent. My group is pretty well organised, but I still feel very uneasy. If we had more guidance, if we knew when our exam might be, that would be better. :/

    And I got an 88% for our group English seminar on The Plague. Apparently it was "too complicated" for our audience; we should have "simplified" it. :rolleyes:

    So I didn't have a good day today. But it was the last day of the semester, so hopefully the week will improve.

  31. I'd like an extra-large rat, to go, please

    It was rat dissection day in biology class! (Tomorrow too).

    Yes, my friends, large preserved white rats from Boreal Laboratories shipped from Toronto to Thunder Bay for the use in our fun fun dissection.

    It was absoutely repulsive. :D Not so much the whole cutting into a dead rat part, I can stomach that. It was the squishy consistency of the internal organs and ugly colour of the liver that made me pause. That, and the fact that no matter how many times I wash my hands, it's like I'll never be able to get the smell out. Lady Macbeth: Out out, damn spot!

    I was thinking as we cut into the musculature, "It's like one of those small cereal boxes with the flaps that you open up so you can pour milk into it." I didn't want to bring it up, however, because that would be gross—but another group member vocalised my thought.

    Election night, eh. I'll probably do another post in an hour or two, and then one more after the results are announced.

  32. How not to stop a bus

    Since the dawn of time, Man himself has puzzled over this very question. How does one stop a moving school bus? Well, take it from me: running at side of the bus wildly with a laptop satchel over one shoulder and a schoolbag over the other, waving papers in the air, is not the way to do it. Trust me, I know. Throwing oneself into traffic may work for Gonzo, but it doesn't work too well for me.

    It started like this: my friends, Vivike and Crystal, and myself were heading for the bus turnaround, where we would wait for our bus. At the turnaround, Vivike picks up a few scattered pieces of lined paper and remarks that it looks like her project. She, Crystal, and our friend Cortney had an English project, and Cortney was supposed to take said papers home over the weekend.

    We look up, and lo and behold, Cortney's bus is pulling around to leave. This is where I take the papers and sort of charge at the side of the bus as it turns out of the turnaround. It literally passes next to me, so I turn to try and avoid it, and I fall…

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  33. Semi-snow days

    The inclement weather, consisting mostly of snow, made the highways too difficult for the buses to traverse today, so most rural kids did not go to school. That's okay, small classes are good. Then, during period two, the principal announced that rural buses would be leaving at noon, so most rural kids who were at school left at noon (some stayed).

    So we didn't do much during drama (which was cut short by a drinking and driving assembly that was okay). And then there were only seven kids in physics class, so we did nothing there. I played Yahtzee! with my physics teacher, my biology teacher, a chemistry teacher, and another student. (And I won :D )

  34. What an awesome day, eh

    I had an awesome day. You can tell, because I only use the word "awesome" when I'm in a good mood, and then I tend to overuse it.

    It was raining all today and the rural buses were cancelled, stranding a few peers out in the country. Some got rides to school (whew . . . good thing too) but a few people couldn't make it. As a result, my English class was virtually barren, and we did zero work. After those wasted 75 minutes, it was down to the drama room to haul all of our stuff out to the waiting bus.

    We went to an elementary school and set up in their gym. It was, frankly, awesome. I mean, everyone had their little mistakes . . . such as performing an entire scene out of order. :r But other than that, I think that the performances were all done quite well. Each group had its strong points and weaker points, but the kids, I'm sure, loved it. :D Good job, guys!

    Now tomorrow we have to clean up and do the post-performance evaluation stuff. -_- Joy.

  35. Cabaret!

    Cabaret was awesome!

    My friends who were in it kept on insisting that it was worse than last year. Well, I did not go last year (nor the year before that, ad infinitum), but I'm sure they were pretty good even by those standards. It was non-stop fun, and by the time I got home, I was pretty tired. ^_^

    Muwahahahaha. Good job Neil, Cassie, Cortney, Vivike, Ally, Crystal, Robbie, Ricky, Andrew, and um . . . anyone whose name I'm too tired to remember. :D

    Yes, it's a Friday morning. I have school. And I'm dead tired. I think this will be an unproductive school day and then work after that. My weekend is also surprisingly busy, due to the fact that I have two unplanned excursions to go on top of the two I knew about. :ermm: Suddenly it seems like I've been catapulted from no life to a very busy life. . . .

  36. I sicken me

    I don't like bragging. And I don't like seeming like an elitist egotistical person, even though sometimes I think I come off that way. -_-

    But yeah . . . I have 100% in biology class as of today. So unless I do fantastically badly on our mitosis / meiosis quiz tomorrow, my mark will most likely be 99-100% for midterm next week. Sickening, eh? :r

    As if I don't already attract enough attention in class, what with my crazy dancing, reading, question-answering, question-asking, and other atypical behaviour. >_< I'm beginning to think that reputations are a lot more trouble than they're worth, but I can't for the life of me figure out how I could get rid of mine without completely changing my apparent lifestyle (and I'm just too lazy). I think people care way too much about what other people are doing.

    To offset my elation, however, I do have an 89% only in drama. It's up 1 per cent, but I'm still a little miffed. I don't blame the teacher or the class, both are excellent, so I've only my own stubborn inflexibility to refuse. I think it's my writing that has brought my mark down. Oh…

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  37. Mmm . . . pie

    I got my laptop back last Thursday, which was great. It works way better now that they've replaced the broken components, and I can run Ubuntu without the computer shutting down on me. I should have blogged about it but I was too lazy.

    Hmm . . . what else. Oh yes, apparently we're doing Fifth Business in our English class instead of A Separate Peace. This is good because a) I've read Fifth Business and b) it's a great novel. So it's a win-win scenario for me.

    The title of today's article is brought to you by: A Bus Ride. We were discussing pie on the way to school. Indeed. . . .

    Oh, and happy birthday, Google.

  38. Life in the Madhouse

    A bell rings, buzzing in your ear so that all you can hear are the people around you and its incessant tone. It stops, but already the pulsating mass of flesh around you is moving, struggling against itself as the herd becomes one and two and three—no, four! directions at once. The dynamics are on an impossible scale, yet you manage to cope anyway.

    Welcome to life in the madhouse. In some places, also known as high school.

    After one day, I've already decided I don't like big schools. Apparently Westgate now has a population of over 1300. That's nice, except that the building really can't support that many. Take the cafeteria, for example: it's smaller than the one at FWCI, and as such, they cannot fit every student into it at lunch. So some students have to eat elsewhere. I didn't even try to get into the cafeteria to buy milk, I made straight for the courtyard rather than enter the maddest part of the sanitarium.

    Class sizes are larger than I'm used to, but overall the classes themselves are as usual. I've already received the "we expect you to be more mature because you're seniors now" maxim…

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  39. School starts, eh

    So, it has finally arrived. I think it can be summed up like so: I love school; I hate going back to school. School as itself is a tolerable entity, it's the process of reacquainting myself with school that's difficult. And the bureaucratic hegemony doesn't make it easier.

    That said, I found my homeroom easily enough (stairs, not so much) and waited the half hour left until school started today (they change the schedule, but not the buses!). Westgate isn't as different from FWCI as it seems on the outside, it has smaller hallways in my opinion and perhaps even smaller classrooms, just more of them.

    School was over before it even began. The buses were going to pick us up at 3. My mom was coming at 1. I was done at slightly after 11. So what did I do? I walked home. It isn't that far a walk, just down one street for several long blocks. It took about 25 minutes, and I worked up quite a sweat. So for those of you out there who want to stalk me, beware that walking home from my school is possible, but not advisable.

    My classes are as follows: *…

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  40. Depressing

    Tomorrow marks exactly two weeks until the start of school . . . first day back will be right after Labour Day. Kind of depressing when I think about it, since it seems like the summer has gone by amazingly quickly. And no matter how much I do during the vacation, it always seems like it's not enough time to get everything done. Admittedly, it's probably because I like the hours: stay up late into the night and early into the morning on the computer and reading, then sleeping 10 hours and waking up during the day. I can't do that once school begins.

    I'll have to make up a list of school supplies I need . . . figure out if I need more clothes (oh my won't, that be fun) and then comes the day when I actually go to school. This is my first year that I will be busing, which will be a new experience. . . . I haven't received a time table yet, which goes to show how increasingly disorganised and incompetent the school Board is becoming during this "integration" process.

    I can't say that it's all bad. I really like school and enjoy…

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  41. Crunchy tickets

    Lots of updates. Every day I say I'll write an update, then I go off and do something else. . . .

    Unfortunately, my school is closing. I'm understandably distraught. My marks are good though: 98% in all four classes, making a nice average of . . . you guessed it, 98%!

    Not much else to talk about . . . um . . . I got promoted today at InvisionFree Support. I'm now Tachyon, a Support Team member.

    Which means I'm off to answer support tickets and other such things....

  42. Dual booting my emotions

    Lots of updates (the site moved servers).

    I installed Ubuntu Linux on my computer. Now it is a dual boot Unbuntu/Win XP laptop. There are some hardware issues with the CPU and heating, but otherwise it is pretty cool. Ubuntu has almost everything that I need, including the GIMP and a functional word processor. I'm still a Linux newbie, but I'm learning as I go.

    School continues to wind down. The schedule continues to be affected by our impending closure. My exams, mostly held in-class, are going pretty well (100 in English and 97 in Science). I took the second part of my English exam on Tuesday but have yet to receive a mark, I think I'll get it on next Thursday. My History exam is on Monday, followed by the second part of my Science exam on Wednesday.

    The impending closure continues to loom. We had a "Blue Bear Bash" on Wednesday. We got to see pictures of our school and its students through various decades. FWCI has been around for 107 years, since 1898. It's seen two World Wars, the Cold War, the invention of the radio, television, computer. . . . What saddens me the most…

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  43. A very dramatic blog entry

    Well, there's been a few changes. I got the random quote up, although due to some FreeType library problems, it is in a text version rather than an image. Also, I've added a background-image, a starfield. It was created by me, using the GIMP and a convenient tutorial.

    To go with the starfield, I released a new logo. Those of you using Internet Explorer on a Windows platform will probably now be wondering why it has a blueish background that doesn't look very nice. Well, I explain that in a special section of my About page.

    More mundane updates now . . . well, in school every class is beginning to wind down but accelerate as teachers hurry to finish things by the end of the year. Matters are further complicated by closure issues. In order to make more time for packing and moving, they cut our exam days to two, so many teachers are holding in-class exams.

    In drama, we had our Drama Improv-O-Rama. It was awesome! However, I think that improv is more fun when we were not competing. Now I'm depressed because the school year is ending, and my school is closing. It would be not…

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  44. Student trustee interview

    Interesting day, overall. I had an interview for Student Trustee, which is essentially the student representative who goes to the Board Trustee meetings. It was . . . awkward. I learned that the questions included with the application were for preparation only, and that I wasn't actually supposed to fill them out. I'm understandably nervous about what sort of impression I made. Either way, I think I will be happy with the outcome: if I get the position, then it is a great opportunity. If I do not, then it will be a great relief anyway.

  45. Doctor Who?

    I watched the CBC's premiere of the BBC's new Doctor Who series last night. Sadly, I've never had the opportunity to see any of the previous series, but I do think this one is . . . okay. I haven't really seen a lot of British television before, so it was a little surprising. But overall I did like the storyline, if the episode itself wasn't that great. The teaser for next week does look interesting, so I'll be watching that.

    Hmm . . . well, I got to borrow hair spray from my principal today. Indeed, that was first. I made a propaganda poster for history class, and because I used chalk my history teacher suggested I spray it with hair spray to prevent smudging. Thus, I borrowed someone's hairspray (and the poster didn't smudge!).

  46. My school is closing. Again.

    This isn't the first time. In Grade 7, my elementary school closed, so I went to my present school (which is a 7-12 school) for Grade 8. That turned out to be a blessing in disguised, I quite like my present school. Due to the mismanagement of the Ontario government with education funding, and an unfortunate decision on the part of my city's board of education, my school has been slated for closure at the end of the school year. That's it, a done deal, goodbye. So that means I need to find another school to complete my last two years of high school. My first alternative happens to be across the city, but I really wouldn't mind busing every day if it was necessary. Unfortunately, it is slated for closure in June 2007--that happens to be the year I graduate, so I'm not extremely worried, but little do I know that the board might try to close it earlier, to 'save money' or something like that. I can see their reasoning, but I don't have to like it.

    Well . . . as Ghanima says in Children of Dune: "One door closes, but another door opens. And behind…

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