Wednesday, March 29, 2006


In my compulsory bi-weekly posting to a web discussion group for my teacher's craft knowledge course, I almost used the words discourse and hegemony. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank.

Listening to:
Title: Beautiful
Artist: Belle & Sebastian
Album/station: Push The Barman To Open Old Wounds (2005)
Length: 5.13

Monday, March 27, 2006

More from Boys' Corner.

Last week I wrote about Boys' Corner - the badly-lit end stall in the mens toilets at Faceless Corporation's Call Centre of HellTM. Well I think I might make this a weekly thing here on Foetid Air & Gritty. They seem to have a penchant for polls, but they mostly seem old rather than topical. Maybe the boys who participated in toilet-wall discussion have left Faceless Corporation's employ. And we're all the less for it. Le sigh.

Anyhoo, this week Boys' Corner enters pop-cultural discourse (pardon my dodgy html):

Good Crap
Big Bro |||| |||| ||
Aus Idol |||| |||| ||

What next for the lads of Boys' Corner? Existentialism versus fatalism?

Listening to:
Title: Ocean Breathes Salty
Artist: Modest Mouse
Album/station: Good News for People Who Love Bad News (2004)
Length: 3.49

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Sunday.

In breaking with tradition, I did not drink myself stupid this weekend. If my liver could talk, he'd thank me. But I did, however, wake up to the periodical fragmentation of my family. There's a two year cycle with this sort of thing, usually. And I don't care what you say, it's always my Dad's fault. Hopefully though, this time it's for good.

The catalyst this time: some girl he's had on the side, probably on his last trip overseas. Which was pretty much the same sort of deal last time my parents split. This time though, Dad received a txt message and Mum read it, which may or may not have been inadvertant, seeing as they both have near identical mobile phones. Then Dad went on a three-and-a-bit hour tirade (or a thirty second rant, repeated ad nauseum) about how his privacy was invaded, as if it was all Mum's fault.

My parents have split up more than a few times in the past, but for some godforsaken reason they end up getting together again. I don't know why my mum keeps coming back - my dad is nothing but a big dickhead. He's spiteful, vindictive, manipulative and is severely deficient in tact. At least she has a choice. If I had the means, this birdy would have flown the coup years ago, let me tell you. Ah well. Two and a bit years (maybe even less) and I'm gone.

Anyway, I explored most of the Bicentennial and Millennium Parklands on m'bike today. Great day, sunny and not too hot. I think I did about thirty kilometres in all. I'm a little worse for wear though. I have some lower back pain now, and my right knee is acting up.

Listening to:
Title: Freelove
Artist: Depeche Mode
Album/station: Exciter (2001)
Length: 6.10

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Another school: Shireville High.

Another Wednesday, another school observation visit. This time, I had the pleasure of trekking across the city to the Shire. I mean, I understand the importance of experiencing things outside one's usual sphere of existence, but just let me whinge about waking up at five in the morning, sitting on two trains for one-and-a-half hours, and walking about a kilometre uphill, all before nine o'clock. Thanks.

And I didn't even get to see a science class, after all that. The whole faculty was on an excursion to fuck knows where so they put me into a year ten maths class instead. Yay. Binomial expansion and quadratic factorisation. Nyeh. I couldn't teach that, or maths in general. Seriously, if a kid can't see that (x + 7)(x - 4) is x2 + 3x - 28 then I'd smack him upside the head and yell at him, "what the fuck is wrong with you?!?!". I have no time for maths. I know maths is a big part of a science curriculum, but that's a maths teacher's job. I expect my physics students to come to class knowing differential and integral calculus, dammit. So much for numeracy and literacy being the task of every teacher, whatever the subject area.

Anyway, the kids were great. The girls had their heads down and worked through the exercises, while the boys were-- well-- boys. You know, things like sticking post-it notes on each other's backs with cheeky little messages on them. They even put one on their teacher, but with a benign note about playing the bass in some pussy rock band. Still, any normal teacher would have "chucked a spaz" (do they still say that in da skoolz these days?) but this teacher played it cool and surprisingly maintained a good level of order. I'd pay to find out how she did that. No wait, I already am. It's called HECS. Har-di-har.

But I'll tell you what: I'm not sure if this is representative of schools in the Shire or anything, but the place was crawling with prettyboys. Now I'm not saying that in a dirty-old-man-pervert kind of way. It's just, you know, yeah. An observation. Even the nerds in my maths class today were trendoids. Bah! Only in the Shire.

So yes, the place wasn't half bad. Apparently, it's got a waiting list, so that's pretty special for a public school. And for a school down in the Shire, there were a surprising number of NESB kids - something the deputy principal kept bringing up in his introduction spiel. Well that, and how far away along The Kingsway (and down a few back streets) the school was from Cronulla.

Listening to:
Title: Cry Me A River
Artist: Natalie Cole
Album/station: Take A Look (1993)
Length: 3.53

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bathroom grafitti and teaching arts students.

In the men's room at Faceless Corporation's Call Centre of HellTM, the poorly lit stall right at the end is called the Boys Corner. Or so one piece of grafitti tells me. Sounds a little toilet-block-in-the-park, if you ask me. Anyway, working at Faceless Corporation has taught me one thing: toilet grafitti is where the cutting political satire is to be found. Behold my dodgy html table representation of an actual piece of toilet wall grafitti:
Election 2004
HowardMark Latham Riddel Taronga Zoo ape
||||||||||| |||| ||

Obviously, it's a reliable, peer-reviewed source. I think I might even need to put a reference in, APA style. Heaven help me if I'm caught plagarising.

Meanwhile at uni today, the main activity in my craft knowledge tutorial was to teach the tute group something from your curriculum area. So Mister Nick and I, being the only science students in the class, banded together and tried to engage the rest of the class, all B Arts kids, with the physical phenomena of dispersion of white light through prisms.

It all went pretty well on reflection. According to the feedback, our pseudo-lesson was interesting and threw up a lot of questions which apparently points to engagement and deep learning. Which is good and all. But-- well, I sucked. No, seriously - I'm not just being hard on myself. Mister Nick stole the show and was just excellent. I, on the other hand, sucked teh ball.

I guess it's only early days yet - a first small foray into proper teaching in the classroom setting, as opposed to presenting a report or something to a tute group. Either that, or I'd be as good a teacher as a horse's arse. I suppose the question now is whether teachers are born or made. Some are born, I'd like to think. Like Mister Nick. Warm, approachable and altogether mentally coordinated. Others, well, maybe they're made. I hope. For my sake.

Listening to:
Title: I'm Looking Through You
Artist: The Wallflowers
Album/station: I Am Sam OST (2001)
Length: 2.40

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The First Laddy.

There's something about writing essays that makes me so not horny.

But I'll tell you who does: Matt Lanter.

Image hosting by Photobucket

You may know him as President Geena McKenzie Allen's son Horace, from the Seven Network's Commander In Chief. See, Commander In Chief might not be the political drama that The West Wing is, but gosh, the first son (first boy?) is polling in the Republic of Mikeynation as extremely fuckable. If first-sons were like princes and had harems, I'd be so there. I suppose in fiction, anything's possible.

If the day that a Republic of Australia ever comes, I'll vote for the candidate with the hottest son. I mean, the real power is in the Parliament anyway.

Listening to:
Title: Sunshine Eyes
Artist: Paul Mac feat. Peta Morris
Album/station: Ministry of Sound: Chillout Sessions, Vol. 8 (2005)
Length: 3.27

Saturday, March 18, 2006

St Patrick's Day.

Dinner at the Lansdowne, five-dollar steak. Indulged in a little drinking.

Traipsed down City Road. Simon snatched unlit cigarette from my mouth and cruuuushed it under foot. Was down to last one. Simon got that one too.

Saw Scrabble Unscripted at the Newtown RSL. Much hilarity.

Imbibed at Kelly's. Was honorarily Irish for a few hours. Sang/mumbled Irish standards and blokey rock songs. Got pissed off when man with guitar broke a string. Played pool and won.

Stumbled to the Marly. Did as one does.

Wee hours of morning. Parted ways with the group. Stumbled back up King Street and through uni. Slept a while on front lawns.

Didn't feel like being a bum anymore, got up, walked up Broadway. Watched a guy get hit by a car. And then saw his mate run across the road to help him, but got hit too. Saw bodies fly through the air and hit the road like rag dolls. Saw windscreens shatter. Heard flesh meeting pressed steel. I cried.

Boarded the last Nightride bus instead of first train as planned. Crazy man harassed the bus driver. Discerned that the hot boys sitting in front of me frequent the Wall of Stone but are in fact straight. Wankers.

Bus drove past the accident scene. By that stage, police and ambulance were in attendance. Flashing lights dazzled me.

Arrived at my stop. Disappointed that hot straight wankers didn't get off the bus too. Walked down my street. Realised I'd lied to my mum and told her I'd be staying at a mate's house. Realised how much of a tosser I am, still lying to mum at my age. Walked down through the park under moonlight to the ferry wharf. Started singing By The Light Of The Silvery Moon.

Noticed first ferry wasn't 'till 9ish. Finally headed home.

Couldn't help but be noisy when I got in and woke mum up. Headed straight for my room. Put fresh pack of cigarettes under latest issue of DNA in my drawer; would rather parents find pictures of hot men than cancer sticks.


Listening to:
Title: At The River
Artist: Groove Armada
Album/station: Ministry of Sound: Chillout Session, Vol. 2 (2002)
Length: 3.59

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mem'ries, like the corner of my mind.

So yesterday, a bunch of us teachers-in-training went along to this public high school in Sydney's western suburbs as a part of the Department of Education and Training's Beyond The Bridge program. I'm not really sure exactly what the point of it was. The impression I got was that it was about challenging stereotypes of public schools, and western Sydney ones at that. Not that it changes my mind at all, I'm still gunning to teach in the public system anyway.

But I'll you what though, the school they sent me to totally shat on the one I attended, back in the day. It had just under one-and-a-half thousand kids and over a hundred teachers. And for a public school, it was pretty well resourced. But of course, a tad more couldn't have gone astray. My high school in the northern suburbs, on the other hand, was relatively small with only about six or seven hundred students, and I used to think that that was pretty good as far as public schools went.

The small group of us from USyd got the introduction and were led on a tour by the deputy principle. Of course he doesn't teach anymore, being in charge of discipline and all, but he was a great bloke and he totally loves what he does - in his words, he just loves punishing kids. But not in a sadistic kind of way I don't think, he seemed like a big softy. On the tour, he must've confiscated dozens of iPods, mobile phones and other articles of electronic paraphernalia from unsuspecting students, and told off about a dozen more for having their shirts untucked. He had this look he'd give them while he waited, too. Yep, he stopped the tour of the school until every shirt was tucked, and then we moved on. Such a character.

I spent most of my time at this particular school in the science department, and if I wasn't in the staff room, I was in the labs. And they were exactly the same as the labs at my high school. It was so creepy. They looked the same. They even smelt the same, of musty linoleum and wet rag. I was almost expecting my year twelve biology teacher to jump out of the prep room.

It was so strange being in a school and not being one of the munchkins, pottering around the school, from period to period, learning stuff. It was stranger still, hanging out in staffrooms and having morning tea with the other teachers. Gosh I love 'em. Once the bell went, the place would be full gossip and idle chit-chat. This one physics teacher I spoke to was about to head off and show this video to her year seven kids about human reproduction, and she was giggling like a school girl.

The science head teacher took me down to his year seven class, which happened to be the bottom stream. While we were talking kept referring to them as the dumb kids, the dumb class. Of course I found that a little shocking - I didn't think teachers were supposed to speak like that. But they were great kids. Incidently, it was a lesson about the alimentary canal and sir said to his class that they were mature year seven kids now, and that it was faeces not poo, anus not bumhole, et cetera. But I laughed. Well, tittered. Anus... teehee.

I also went to a special ed science class, and they were performing an experiment to see how much energy was in food by heating water with a flaming peanut. Some of the boys in the class incinerated a whole pack of matches, while this group of girls were, or seemed, totally terrified of the bunsen burner. And get this: they called me Sir and asked me to light it for them. Ohmigod! I could get used to that. The sir part, not the flirting sudents. I mean it would be flattering and all, but wrong.

I'm looking forward to practicum in June. Fifteen days of observing and practice teaching.

Listening to:
Title: Popular Mechanics for Lovers
Artist: Beulah
Album/station: The Coast Is Never Clear (2001)
Length: 3.04

Friday, March 10, 2006

Summer days, drifting away.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm really getting into the whole early mornings thing. I mean, not that getting up at 7am is especially early. It's just, relative to my usual efforts of rising at eleven or noon over the summer holidays, seven o'clock is early. And considering last night was a late night, too - or an early morning, really. That's because, folks, I went to Beachball at Manning Bar.

I wasn't thinking of even going this year, you know, because I thought I'd be well over it by now. But I went and ended up having a good time. It started with beer and cocktails at Hermann's and drunkenly stumbling towards Manning House (yes, ashamedly already trashed - blame Simon and Pat) and waiting in line for a couple of hours because someone wasn't smart enough to buy tickets beforehand. Bah! More drinking ensued. Not healthy.

Another thing that's so not healthy: I came so very close to kissing a girl. A GIRL! Luckily I freaked out and went outside for a breather. Crisis averted. A pox on chicks who try to turn gays straight. It just isn't happening ladies.

Anyhoo, so despite all of that, I still managed wake up in time to get the 8.15am ferry this morning and grab something dodgy to eat for brekky.

At the river
HarbourCat Pam Burridge coming alongside Meadowbank Wharf.

Breakfast at Tiff-- I mean Customs Square
The dodgy McCoffee that accompanied my breakfast at Customs Square this morning.

Listening to:
Title: In Between Days
Artist: The Cure
Album/station: Greatest Hits (2001)
Length: 2.58

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Idle chit-chat.

Alrighty, so over the summer holidays, it appears that Dave was involved with a reality program called Nerd FC. Apparently, a bunch of sportingly-inept nerds get trained up in the art and/or science that is football (a.k.a. the sport formerly known as soccer), and eventually play off against a first-grade, A-League team.

But Dave? A nerd? I mean, sure he's a little skinny. And he a moves a little awkwardly. But he's got the perfect tan. And he's a tiny bit cute. He's even got pretty hot hair.

Hmm. Oh dear, that'll be a show to watch. It'll screen on SBS TV weekly from Good Friday.

Also, Edward and I are thinking of branch-stacking the Dems. Well that, and competing for first position on the Democrats Senate ticket for 2013. Apparently, he appeals to the old folks, and little ol' me, I appeal to the call-centre-chick demographic. Obviously we'd do the Dems a whole lot of good, seeing as old folks and call centre chicks are an influential segment of the electorate. But seriously though, I'm still shopping around for a political party to join since I made a resolution to that effect post-2004 election. And the Dems are at the top of the shortlist.

And, umm, if you've never seen one and always wanted to see what dumb bogans look like, well then here you go.

Oh, and further to the previous post, if I ever end up getting one, I think I might call my boat Schrodinger's Cat.

Listening to:
Title: I Know It's Over
Artist: The Smiths
Album/station: The Very Best Of The Smiths (2001)
Length: 5.50

Monday, March 06, 2006

Summer dreams, ripped at the seams...

A new dawn and a new university semester. Ohmigod, I'm a third-year student. That's the realisation that came to us during the first session of sociallist potato-goods-consumption for the year. You know, where everyone puts in what they can to the notional hash-brown/chips fund and each is entitled to an equal share, regardless of their contribution. It was a respectable turn out of the Manning House Couch crew, minus the couch. Damn first year kids, taking our damn couch. Bah! We will have our vengeance...

Officially, I don't share any more classes with those good folk. While they complete the last few senior units in their science degrees, I'm treading water in the education half of my combined degree. But while I can't actually enrol in PHYS3040 this semester, I've decided that with all my free time - free time that as a science student, I'm not at all used to - I'll sit in on the lectures anyway. Yeah, it's pretty nerdy. But think about it: learning for free with no pressure from assessment and exams. Sweet. And it'll set me up for when I take it up in first semester next year.

Meanwhile, coming home from the first day back at uni wasn't without its drama. Just after leaving Milson's Point, the ferry I was on broke down. RiverCat Marlene Matthews lost her starboard engine and spluttered around off Blues Point before eventually limping back to the McMahon's Point wharf. But the powers that be despatched a relatively petite HarbourCat Anne Sargeant to fill in and amazingly, she got us home only ten minutes late.

MV Anne Sargeant's colours.
The Red Ensign flying from Anne Sargeant's stern.

The ferry takes around twice as long to get me home than the train does, but it's so much more pleasant. And it doesn't matter if the ferry isn't air-conditioned because there's almost always a nice sea breeze blowing up the river. Generally though, I just love the water. So much so that being a sailorman in the navy was second on my list after being a teacher.

I drifted off into a bit of a daydream on Anne Sargeant's aft open deck. It might've been the scent of salt on the air, or maybe I'd just had too much sun. But y'know, I've given up on owning my own home, and despite the astronomical cost of housing in this city, I don't think I could leave it. We might be wankers, but I like it here. And without a family and kids of my own to provide for, I've decided that instead I'm going to sink my meagre future teaching salary into a boat. Something small, about eighteen to twenty-five feet, single mast, and some decent internal accomodation. I'll snatch up a mooring somewhere up river from the city, near Shepherds or Brays Bays, and sail around between school terms, Pacey Witter-style. Of course, I'd give my boat a less pussier name than True Love.

Listening to:
Title: Danse Macabre
Artist: Kraak & Smaak
Album/station: Ministry of Sound: Chillout Sessions, Vol. 8 (2005)
Length: 5.13

Friday, March 03, 2006

University bureaucracy.

Alrighty. The inaugural post from the AccessLab in the Education Building will be an incoherent rant. Great start to the year, innit? Honestly, this ridiculous bureaucracy has me seriously rethinking this B.Ed.(Sec.).,B.Sc. degree. Okay well not really, but well it's my party and I'll cry if I want to. Cry if I want to. You'd cry too if it happened to you. Et cetera.

So I came to uni today for this course orientation meeting. I thought it'd all be pretty sweet. I'd enrolled in all the units that I was supposed to and I was pretty confident it was all good. Then the guy who's in charge of the science curriculum subjects tells me that EDSE3053 Teaching Science Elective (Senior Science) isn't running in and was never offered for first semester. Bah! The online enrolment system said it was offered, and I even had to put in a special permission form to the faculty office. So some bigwig in Edfac must've thought it was running too, gave approval and let me enroll.

Bah cruntsticks. So now I've got to re-enroll in EDSE3053, but for second semester. And now I'll be overloaded. Woe is me. On the upside, I'd have it easy this semester, so that got me thinking. Maybe I could jump everyone else and sign up to a first semester physics unit to make up for that lost class and I'd have a proper full load. Sweet. And it'd sure solve the problem of losing momentum with my science degree, excuse the pun. Of course, I was WRONG. Teaching practicum covers both stuvac and the exam period. So it wasn't a goer. Bah!

It already sucks as it is, seeing that there isn't going to be a physics teaching elective. Not for this year at least, and there's a slim chance it might get up next year. Very slim. I don't want to teach chemistry. Chemistry sucks teh ball. How is Edfac meant to churn out much needed physics teachers if they don't even run the course? Kerrazy.

Listening to:
Title: Inane chatter
Artist: The good folk of the Education AccessLab
Length: never-fucking-ending