Unshutting down

I’m back for a bit, because I think I actually have things to write about. For example…

A friend gave a talk to my computing students about working in the software industry (thanks Tim), and one of the points he mentioned was keeping a professional blog for all of one’s work-related writings. With what I’ve been (slowly, slowly, very slowly) figuring out in this most recent web development project, I figure it’s about time I started collating information somewhere, even if it’s just to be able to track my own “professional development” (hooray for work-speak). I’ll be cross-posting those entries to this blog, so I’ll just keep the URL to myself.

Furthermore, I do want to draw again, and I do want to launch Stupid Chicken: The Comic at some point (this decade). My printer/scanner/tea-maker doesn’t seem to work with Mac OS X Leopard, though, so I can’t quite get started. Damned HP printer… the model number is PSC something, which might explain my unnatural antagonism towards it. Also, I’ve lost track of what I was trying to explain here, but in essence, I’m going to try and bring back the webcomic here (and get around to setting up the separate site sometime).

I also met up with a former colleague who’s finally quit to pursue his dreams full-time. Plenty of food for thought from that conversation, and some things I do feel the need to write about.

Speaking of colleagues, I came across another colleague’s blog, and it’s SO. OVERWHELMINGLY. POSITIVE. I’m not sure I can even bring myself to be cynical about what he writes — from what I know of him, he really does seem to be someone who thoroughly believes in his job, his faith and his life. So, yeah, thank goodness for everyone he’s in teaching, but then, what the hell am I doing in this job?

And, hell, I’m actually still really fucking depressed from that whole mess from the end of 2006. I might even write about that, in a departure from my usual spew of vagueness. Maybe.

Beat Cal

Stumbled across this Ars Technica report on the MPAA’s newly-released list of top 25 movie piracy schools. On the list:

24. Stanford University – 405 25. University of California at Berkeley – 398

Alright! Way to make up for years of losing Big Game. Respect.

Also,

A number of schools have the dubious distinction of being on both the MPAA and the RIAA list. The overachievers are: Ohio University (#1 RIAA/#18 MPAA), Purdue University (#2, #5), University of Nebraska at Lincoln (#3/#13), UMASS (#6/#9), Michigan State (#7/#20), North Carolina State (#9/#14), University of South Florida (#11/#23), Boston University (#15/#3), and the University of Michigan (#18/#10).

Am I the only one who thinks that list reads like a NCAA sports ranking list, with AP ranking followed by USA Today ranking? For that matter, why can’t piracy be a NCAA sport?

Dead blog is good blog

That’s what my comment spam just told me.

Three months is an awful long time to spend feeling sorry for yourself, right? I’m back, as soon as I get over this inconveniently-timed bout of weekend flu. In the meantime, I’m on twitter, just like half a million other new signups.

Besides, if I don’t bother posting again, I can claim this was just an April Fool’s special.

GEP

Looks like the Ministry of Education’s finally made it official — no more Gifted Education Programme at the secondary level:

Gifted kids to take ‘integrated’ path (Channelnewsasia.com) NOW MOE finally slaughters SACRED COW (The Electric New Paper)

Nothing surprising, apart from the TNP article being bizarrely smug about their “prediction in 2004”. Because YELLING CAPITAL LETTERS in your headline makes you SOUND MORE CREDIBLE.

What’s surprising is that where I teach, the school’s shutting down its internal GE programme as well. A pity — the small class sizes were nice and manageable, and it felt easier to connect with them than the one or two non-GE classes I’ve taught (granted, I’ve only taught 9 GE classes vs. 1 mainstream here and 2 elsewhere). Maybe it’s my own prejudices at work, but I’m not certain it’ll be as easy to amuse the mainstream kids with my nonsense. We’ll see, I guess.

First day of school

It was no easy task dragging myself back to work after nearly two weeks away from the classroom. At the end of the day, I’ve just about lost my voice, my lesson plans are in disarray, I haven’t finished typing the notes I promised the kids two weeks ago, I owe my bosses all kinds of paperwork, the randomly inserted new timetable slots completely messed up my schedule…

But there were moments in class today when I managed to make the kids laugh madly at one of my usual absurd examples, drawings or voices. And seeing them — especially those who were, just barely a week ago, crying their hearts out — laugh like that, even just for a few seconds, even if they took nothing else away from the lesson, made me glad to be back, and made me glad to be teaching.

Still on the face on the earth

A brief update.

NIE holidays started two weeks ago, so I’ve suffered two weeks of fully-paid work-free existence. It’s a difficult life, and it’ll remain this way until next year. I’m not sure what the hell I’ve done with all that time — my personal holiday projects haven’t gotten off the ground, I haven’t really drawn anything new, and I don’t really have that many equally-free friends to hang out with — but, yah lah, it’s been really rather enjoyable.

Let’s see. I watched a bunch of movies:

  • Wallace and Gromit: Excellent, will probably watch it again when it opens Dec 29.
  • Serenity: Excellent, pity it’s not opening here.
  • Hong Kong animated movie McDull: Absolutely freakin hilarious. I laughed so hard I actually had trouble breathing at some point… but what the hell was going on with the plot?!
  • Will be watching Potter movie tonight. It seems awfully trendy to dislike it, so yeah, it sucks giant lumpy wizardy ass.

Also, I interviewed at the old JC and was offered a place to teach there. Previously, the secondary school (I’m not naming them just in case it offends anyone in HR, but it’s really not hard to guess) had also offered to take me in, so now I’m a little torn between the two. What I’ve thought about:

  • Curriculum: The JC Physics curriculum is naturally more challenging, and hence more interesting, than the secondary school one (which I’m already quite bored by, after all these months of training). Also, the lecture-tutorial system seems a little less repetitive than teaching the same thing over and over again in class (I could be horribly wrong on this one). However, the revised JC system also means I’d be way out of my league when it comes to some of the pure Physics content in the H3 modules, such as nuclear and modern Physics.
  • Subject: I’d definitely be teaching Physics in JC. In secondary school, however, I’ve been recommended by my former Computer Science ECA teacher (who moved there from JC after Computing at that level was abolished) to help her develop the Computing syllabus there. It looks interesting enough — they learn a bunch of web design stuff early on, then move on to robotics and .NET programming. Classes for graphics and computer game programming are being developed, too. I’d spent nearly two years assisting in the introductory programming course in university, so all this sounds fun.
  • Exams: No standard nation-wide terminal exam in the secondary school. Less pressure? A school where one can aim to provide a proper education not bound to the shackles of how many A1s one can produce? (Only being mildly sarcastic here.)
  • Colleagues: I don’t really know the people in the JC department I’d be working in, but there are peers already teaching there and I’m sure I’m not the only ex-student from my year who’ll be going back to teach. I’m on pretty good terms with whatever secondary school teachers are left after so many years (wah lau, old already), and I’d feel a little bad for my old ECA teacher who seems very enthusiastic for me to take over from one teacher who’s leaving in June (in time for me to come in).
  • Students: JC kids, being older, could be less bratty and a little more interesting to teach. Also, with only two years of students, I shouldn’t have to teach across different levels, which would allow me more focus in developing my lessons.

So… yeah. Any input on the matter will be appreciated.

Also, more Chicken coming soon. Really.

Things that make you go whuu?!

I haven’t done the whole linking-around thing for a while, so…

  • MPAA equates pirated DVDs to drugs on the street: Not forgetting terrorism, too. And making babies cry by poking their eyes. Damn you, heartless pirates!! [Ars Technica]
  • Wipeout: On a related note, some local blogger takes the moral high ground on piracy… unfortunately, he has my name. Damn you, name-stealing moraliser!! (Thanks to Tucque for pointing this out) [Tomorrow.sg]
  • Taking down Army-related posts and pictures: Local blogger faces MINDEATH sanctions on blogging about NS. Really rather ridiculous, I feel. I liked our men in green (umm, uncomfortable-looking khaki office wear?) better when they were running Windows 95 and generally harmless and ineffectual online. [Miyagi.sg]
  • What are we going to do now?, redux: A teacher’s resignation, and a good read. Not offering my thoughts on this one (you can probably guess). And no, this didn’t make me go whuu?!. [Tym Blogs Too]

That is all. Chicken returns sometime this week, I promise.

What’s with all the chickens, Part 3

Or, “What to do with all the chickens”.

When I’m not drowning in assignments (almost… done… with… Physics… education… essay), I’m considering moving the chicken comics to the front page of this domain, i.e. www.stupidchicken.com, and renaming the entire strip to Stupid Chicken to fit the domain name. It’d require a drastic realignment of Chicken’s underlying motivations and overall psychological health, but I think we can deal.

Maybe in two weeks, when assignment deadlines STOP SHOWING UP AND BITCHSLAPPING ME IN THE FACE EVERY BLOODY DAY THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Back to your regularly scheduled chickens.

What’s with all the chickens, Part 2: What’s this all about

What’s with all the chickens, Part 1: Why this happened