Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Synaesthesia

Synaesthesia - an impression relating to one sense by the stimulation of another sense.
We have program for music visualisation synaesthesia thanks to Paul, and now I stumbled across an interesting view on how to remember words by letter colour synaesthesia.

I wonder how that could help with teaching? Currently for recursion I distinguish between recursive calls (red) and the base case comparison (yellow), the rest of the program is in grey, perhaps I also need to highlight the convergence expression.... (guess which question was done badly in the recent test for CSE1303).

Vicious cycle

Which come first, too much pain causing me to sleep shockingly, or poor sleep causing too much pain? Not to mention when I sleep badly I have disturbing, violent and sickening dreams, and I don't even read/watch horror or thriller movies. I'm sure the dreams could rival the worst for gore and violence quantity. Maybe I should try sleeping tablets again.

Laziness

I was shocked when I found out that two exams (written by the same person) were completely multiple choice. There were no questions allowing/requiring a written explanatory answer. The teacher concerned had even laughed about not having to spend much time marking the papers, when explaining the reasoning to the students during the lectures.

This method does not test the knowledge, skills or abilities in a satisfactory and comprehensive way of any of the students, especially as I know the standard of the questions set. All this method tests is how well the students can guess what the lecturer means, and then circle the corresponding answer.

There was a memo that went around recently (the 5 year plan for CSSE if I remember correctly) which stated that more emphasis should be placed on the quality of teaching. Of the past 3 years, this is the worst I have seen from this particular teacher.

To those first and second year students who did the subjects, I'm sorry. Please take this up with your students reps and with the deans of CSSE, there are many staff who don't believe it's acceptable and who have voiced their opinions, but aren't being listened to.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

The last year

It looks like 2004 will be the last year I may be teaching at Monash. At lest that is what I have been warned. Apparently, the powers higher up have decided they don't need assistant lecturers, so those positions will not be offered after next year. This means that the academics will have to take all of the admin load. I just hope the standard of education does not suffer (further). Some of our best teachers are the ALs, especially when compared to some of the very crap academics that are teaching!

So... I need to think about what I want to do after that... whether I want to do a PhD, or go into industry (eek!), or find another uni, here or overseas where they value teaching more.

One step at a time, must finish honours. Maybe this will motivate me more? Unlikely.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Sleepiness

A double dose of sinusitis antibiotics is playing havoc with my digestion and sending my pain levels through the roof. I haven't cramped like this in a while, meaning I am constantly very sleepy. My body seems to have a sleep reflex to pain. However, the antibiotics are giving me pretty bad nightmares, or allowing my stress levels to screw up my sleep much easier than normal, so even after sleeping I feel like crap.

I had rung my agent (previous house) on Tuesday evening to complain about the landlord sending people around unannounced. She mentioned that the landlord had wanted to take me to court because my mother had snibbed the lock on the front door before shutting it for the last time. Mum thought she was locking it properly, however, it does mean that you can't get in with a key. The other outside doors are all bolted and locked from the inside, and no door handle keys exist for them. I could have insisted on having those locks changed throughout my tenancy for the reason that there is only one entrance to the house, which can be completely and unlockably locked. I don't know why they wanted to take me to court over it. The landlord had to go and 'break' into the house, effectively taking ownership of it, before the agent had done her final inspection.

M (ex-housemate) had spent the Sunday emptying and cleaning out the house, so that the floors were very clean, which made the cleanup on Monday a lot less stressful and quicker. It still took about 5 hours, even without doing any garden work. Now there is just the matter of the outstanding bills owed to me :-\

Apparently the landlord said to the agent that he didn't agree to us moving out a month early even though the termination letter sent by the agent said he would probably agree to it, and I had sent the reciprocal lease termination a month prior to moving out. I thought a non-reply was a sign of agreement. Apparently not.

However, the agent was able to calm the landlord down on both counts, and everything has been forgotten. I hope I don't have anything to do with those landlords again. :-\ Currently I have a request for various fixes to the new place to be handed to the new agent, and I am worried how they will be received. The new landlord does not seem to be the 'handyman' type, so I have no idea how long we'll be waiting for non-leaking taps in the laundry, an outside light fixed, and various other things. I also want to start poisoning the noxious weeds (sticky weed, ivy, wandering dew, bindii grass, cooch), so it's ready for when I get back from overseas, and does not take much looking after by the house-sitter. But that requires permission, and getting permission means completing this letter, and getting Bernie to take it to the agent.

I want everything to be done, finished and settled with the old house (final bills to arrive, M to pay outstanding monies, bond returned). I don't feel like I've settled into the new house yet as there is still too much hanging over from the old house. It's making working/studying at all quite difficult (bad health, exhaustion, too much work and boxes everywhere is not making it any easier).

Remedyfind - endo

Remedyfind.com has finally put up an endometriosis section. Loads of different remedies have already been reviewed, with more reviews it will become even more useful. You do need to register before being able to rate/review remedies.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Rain

I have decided that I shouldn't open all the windows... or plan to do washing... cos it then rains hard and long (and floods the fishpond, possibly even under the house). However, rain is good, we do need more of it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

GM crops harm wildlife

It has been found that some GM crops have harmed wildlife. This happened in small 'controlled' test crops in Britain. Contamination of neighboring crops (several miles away) has also been found. And GM food companies wonder why people in general are not happy about GM crops.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Irresponsibility

I hate it when people are irresponsible with other's time, money and reputation. My mother and brother were picking up some left over outdoor furniture from my old place after mowing earlier in the day, and found my ex-housemate leaving with a trailer load. Mum and Brett came back to check to see that the house was left locked because they had noted that all of the windows and the back doors were wide open. The windows and doors were left completely wide open, and certainly not locked! Only the deadlock on the front door was actually locked, the door handle and wire screen were also both unlocked.

Now for starters, I have no idea where M (ex-housemate) got the keys from for the windows, as I had left the place locked and she had given her window keys back (and didn't have a key to the back sliding door). That is one thing to worry about. My insurance policy is still covering that place, and she did not pay bond (the government did), so if anything happened, I would have to pay for it - it would come out of my bond. And god knows when I would get any money back from her for that. (Note - I did get some of the money she owed... still owing $120 and final bills are due next week). In any case.... seeing that the house was left open, Mum rang me, and I had Bernie drive me there (with a migraine) to lock up. M came back just as we were leaving, walked right past ignoring me, and then when I said something she lost it. I just hope her keys did not fall through the porch when she threw them.

I am quite worried what the state of the house will be when I go to clean on Monday. You see, I had left all but her bedroom spotless and empty (apart from a small pile of her stuff in the dining). Lounge, main bedroom and study were completely empty and the kitchen was spotless. I had left the place clean so I only had to spend a couple of hours finishing up before handing the keys back to the agent. I don't have the time, health, energy or money to spend more time and effort on cleaning. But of course I will if I have to because I have no stain on my reputation as a renter/bill payer, and I will make sure it stays that way, even if it kills me.

I had to pick up some stuff on Thursday on the way home from acupuncture and found her stuff strewn throughout the entire house. Instead of packing, she had spread into every single room with clothes, food, junk mail, paper, books, ornaments, etc. Also found 2 additional mattresses in various rooms, and the kitchen in a horrible mess. Rice all over the floor, leftovers on plates and in saucepans, dishes that had been soaking or waiting to be washed on every available surface in the kitchen. Rotting food had just been tossed into the bin without bags (I don't have a hose there any more to rinse the bin!) I can not believe the irresponsible and disrespectful way is she has treated this situation, the house and me. I had thought she had more sense and respect than that.

What I really don't understand is why she spread everything into all the rooms when she should have been packing to move. As she broke down today when I stressed that she should be responsible enough to leave the house locked properly when left alone, she said she hated moving and had a headache and no time. If she had packed instead of spread she would have been able to move in 1-2 trips! Less than a couple of hours.

Because I asked her to keep the place locked and to show a bit more respect for other's property, money and reputation she broke down. I'm worried that this might cause even more damage to the property, or me to not be paid for the remaining bills. I'm probably worrying too much, but I can't afford to pay for her bills and spend more than half a day readying the house for returning it to the agent.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Bad mouses

I am not having a good time with computer hardware at the moment.. my ps2 mouse port on my dual boot machine has died (probably blew the fuse). I wasted $25 on a new ps2 mouse before finding out it was the port though. Windows wants drivers before it can use the USB mouse and I discovered that Quicktime crashes without the mouse. It required the keyboard mouse accessibility stuff to be on to work QT in order for me to view the new ROTK trailer. I want ROTK now... and I want the EE of TT yesterday! In other computer frustrations, I couldn't play through the digital audio from either of the two SCSI CDRoms and the IDE CDRom is not good enough to get a non broken digital stream.

However, I do have pictures up, so it's feeling a little less like I've just moved. The kitchen is still not sorted - I have no idea where I'm going to put my billion and one herbs and spices. You can't move in the storage room under the house (well... you can... just not very far), and the garden is crying out. All the books are still in boxes, and will be for a long time, although once the Sten shelves are up, the games can come out of storage, and there will be more room in the lounge.

We had a murder today. A one legged raven poked Fatty the goldfish (true to his name) from the pond. Bernie saw him and flipped him back into the pond, but he had a hole leading to his brain (or at least into his head), and finally stopped breathing, so became the start of a new compost pile. The murderer came back to take another swoop at the pond later on, probably wondering where his dinner went.

I'm in a load of pain, and wondering if it's because I haven't been to acupuncture for 4 weeks or so. I half hope it is, and half hope it isn't because I don't want to have to continue forking out $80 odd each fortnight for treatment and herbs. My supervisors are pressuring me to get work done on the project - specifically the experiments, which I am really not looking forward to. I have extensions on 3 assignments that I am completely non-motivated to do, and am running out of time for everything (and running out of Mersyndol Forte for pain).

Money is getting to a desperate situation, mostly due to my ex-housemate owing so much, and not knowing if/when I get my $2000 bonus for teaching for three semesters straight. My leave in December has still not been approved, and the person who usually arranges my (incredibly strange and difficult) contract changes at this time of the year has quit without warning or leaving any instructions. I was due to go full time sometime this week to start getting my bonus.... it takes about a fortnight to process contract changes, and I can't be full time in December when I go on leave. I hate money, I hate being paid a pittance for too many hours work, and I hate it when people don't pay their (very large) overdue bills (heading up to a month now).

Long rambly post because my brain is not working. Sleep now.... maybe tonight I won't dream of spiders, or my childhood, or of being hunted/killed. *sigh*

Why cool?

I have been reading about Monash's Cool Campus initiative. I don't see anything 'cool' about it. Useful, yes, and trendy to a point. But really it's just about tying technology closer to teaching, learning and everyday life. It assumes that students and staff are rich enough to own laptops, PDAs and various other forms of technology. It would probably encourage more students not to attend classes, the audio recordings of the lectures and the provided lecture notes already do a very good job of ensuring low attendance.

I also wonder how much information is too much? One of the projects was to investigate a web-based bulletin board (like the first year noticeboard, etc), which can display class cancellations and dynamic content. While ideally useful, how many students would take notice of it after the first few times they walk past? And how many would go out of their way to walk past it (especially over in the new CSSE building, 10 minutes walk from the center of Clayton campus)?

Friday, October 3, 2003

*gah*

Ok... now it's a reality, I'm moving house on Sunday, instead of three weeks. This has come about for a number of reasons. Movers cost too much. They don't insure against damaging goods (including pianos) in transit - that's extra. My housemate owes me nearly $400, which would have paid for movers had their prices been a little more reasonable.

Which means I have three days to pack the house, clean everything, and salvage my bulbs and other plants from the garden. I hope they survive being pulled up this early!

And of course, I have 3 huge assignments and an exam in the next week and a bit, not to mention I'm suffering from exhaustion & depression (I had to put down my angel fish which I had for about 4 years, and had to do it quickly, which meant using a knife *argh!!*).

And I panicked earlier, thinking daylight savings was starting this weekend, and would therefore lose an hour. I hate daylight savings, it means there is more daylight when I'm meant to be awake, and I don't like daylight. However, two kind people have pointed it out to me that it starts at the end of October - thanks! Much relief.