Thursday, July 02, 2009

Odds and Ends Thursday 18

I had meant to save the picture of the uniform check until today. Monday’s uniform check and the subsequent attendance depletion have defined the week. The school seems lonely and small. The ununiformed have slowly been making their way back, but class sizes have been in the manageable-but-miniscule 20s for most of the week; a large drop-off from the usual raucous-but-jolly 40s. It’s made the classroom less stressful, but a lot of the kids that aren’t here are likeable. Oh well. Here are some other odds and ends from the week:
  • Yesterday morning on my walk to school, I saw some dark clouds in the distance, and I thought to myself, “Hmmm… it might rain.” A half hour later when the rain was coming down in sheets, I realized that the honesty of Samoan weather. In San Francisco, harmless clouds can wear a façade of menace; it keeps you guessing. Here, a rain cloud is a rain cloud.
  • I may have been a little hard on Michael Jackson on Saturday. Or maybe not. Either way, the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” is one of the most underrated songs ever. Is there anything better than using a countermelody as an intro? I don’t think there is.
  • Track practice has been going on here for the past couple weeks. It’s intense. They’ve been doing shot put and discus in my front yard (pointing away from the house, obviously). The whole lawn is pock-marked with divots. Some kids stick around doing laps until the early evening.
  • I’m still a little bummed I didn’t get a Samoa visor after last Friday’s CAT. Completely unrelated, Blakey traded a school jersey for a Manu Samoa jersey. Unfair.
  • I finished season 3 of Weeds last night. Quite the shake-up for Nancy Botwin. My only issue with the show is that it should be an hour. There’s so much plot that we never get to see what day-to-day life is like. I understand how being in her line of work in the suburbs could spawn big problems, but I want to see more stories about here little problems. I have the same problem with AMC’s Breaking Bad.
  • Other good songs that use a countermelody as an intro:
    • King Harvest’s “Dancing in the Moonlight”;
    • The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” (this is a weak example);
    • David Haas’s “You Are Mine” (sorry to bring Jesus into the mix, but it works); and
    • Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill” (also a weak example).
  • I found the SMALL function in Excel this week. It gives the kth smallest number in a given series. So if you have 3,7,3,8,4,6, the SMALL function will tell you that the 2nd smallest number is 3. It took Blakey and me 3 weeks to find the stupid thing, no thanks to the people who write the Microsoft Office Help content.
  • Attendance in my year 12 class is quickly becoming a problem. I get an average of 16 students a day in there, which is only 2/3 of the class. Even more annoying is that it’s not the same 8 students who are missing each day. It’s like they’re rotating on some unpublished schedule. Very frustrating.
  • The roads are scheduled to switch sides here—driving on the right will become driving on the left—on September 7, just over two months from now, and things are heating up. This will definitely be a longer blog topic as we get closer to the date, but the big group that is fighting the switch, People Against Switching Sides (PASS), is desperately trying to win a couple court battles here. The saga continues.
  • I wore my independence day staff uniform shirt for the first time today. I guess it’s pretty snazzy. I got a lot of comments from my staff and from the Peace Corps volunteers I randomly ran into throughout the day. Oh, and the guy at the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Culture. You can see a glimpse of it in the pictures below. Maybe next time I wear it, I’ll get a better pic.
That’s all I got for today. I hope you enjoy your 3-day weekend, America. Pictures below.

My year 13s did presentations in class today for the PowerPoint unit. We only got through 2 of them, so they'll continue Monday. They're pretty fun. I'll talk about them more on Monday, probably. Also, my snazzy shirt is on the far left of the pic.

Sinaumea giving his presentation.

This boat, the USNS Richard E. Byrd is parked in the harbour. You can read more about it at the blog that Luisa found here. Peace Corps plays the Navy at softball on the 4th of July. Should be intense.

My secretary was out today, and I notice this calendar hanging next to her desk. It's clearly a different Hustler from the American variety...


Amanda said...

I like your snazzy shirt. I will try to copy Weeds season 4 & send it soon.

Arseneault Family said...

you didn't even have to point out you're "snazzy shirt"!!!!! LOVE it!!