Friday, February 11, 2011

Just Because You Can DO, Doesn't Mean You Can Teach

Today I was reminded of why I decided to not become a teacher.  Oh yes, I thought about it at one point.  But early on in my academic career I learned that just because I'm good at a subject didn't mean I could effectively teach it.


When I was in University I studied History.  More specifically I studied British History focusing on the time period from around the Reformation up till the Restoration.  Confused yet?  We're talking roughly 1485 to 1689.  Still confused?  Dont' worry about it.


As the token nerd of my social circle it's not uncommon for me to be asked for help when it comes to all things academic.  So when a friend of mine asked me to proofread an essay of hers I didn't think twice about it. 


Now I understand that writing doesn't come easily to everyone.  God knows I'm not obsessed with grammar by any means, but generally I find things like sentence structure and flow to be somewhat second nature and I guess I've never really understood exactly how difficult it is for people who truly struggle with writing. 

I certainly got a crash course in it though.

How do you tell your friend that based on their writing you would presume that English was NOT their first language?

There is really no easy way to say that.

Now rather than sentencing myself to editing this person's essays for the next 4 years, we got together and I tried to teach her "Essay Writing 101".

Let's just say that afterwards I was really tired, had a massive headache and needed a drink.

After 4 hours or re-writing her essay together I came to a very simple tip that will help everyone.

If you're writing an essay for University.  NEVER ask one of your friends who has already graduated to proofread it for you. 

1) You're putting the person proofreading in a very awkward position if your writing SUCKS
2) No that's pretty much it.  You're putting your friend in a very awkward position if your writing SUCKS.

Tutors exist.  People that do not tutor or teach, usually don't do so for a reason. 

Cheers,

Ash

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Kitten: Cute but Evil

I am the proud mom of a 1 year old kitten named Jasper, and I adore him.  I mean what's not to love?  He's cute, fluffy, affectionate and highly entertaining.  He's my fur baby.

Jasper - 10 Weeks Old
He's also EVIL.

No I'm not talking soul stealing evil, I'm talking chewed my strappy high heels evil.

Now don't get me wrong.  I love my kitten.  He brings me great joy and is a wonderful companion.  I just wish every once and a while he would be a typical independent standoffish cat. 

I'm pretty convinced that my cat is in fact a dog.  He doesn't have typical cat habits and generally follows me around like a puppy.  He also likes to play fetch, which is a dead giveaway. 

In general he's a great behaved little furball.  He doesn't destroy the furniture, uses a scratching post and has never done anything gross outside of his litter box.  He does find very interesting ways to misbehave though. 

Example1:  He likes to chew my hair.

I'm not one of those people who thinks pets need to be kept off the furniture.  My cat is more than welcome to curl up on the couch with me or on the foot of my bed.  And he does.  Pretty much every night, he falls asleep curled up at the foot of my bed after a rousing game of "let's attack mom's feet every time they move under the blankets."  Too bad that's not where he is when I wake up.  It's not uncommon for me to wake up in the morning with a kitten sitting on my head, his ass in my face, tail smacking me while he chews on my ponytail.

Yep.  My cat has a hair fetish.

He's also one of those cats that's just always in your face.  No matter what I'm doing he's trying to climb onto my lap or rub up against me.  Case in point he's currently sitting on the corner of my desk trying to attack my fingers as I type and has been known to plant his butt on top of my homework when he wants attention. 

When I cook he likes to sit on top of my fridge and watch.  When I take a bath he likes to sit on the ledge of the bathtub, which entertainingly enough once resulted in him falling in with me.  He's just one of those curious and affectionate cats.

But as I mentioned.  He's EVIL.  I mean I'm not superstitious about black cats or anything but I'm pretty convinced that my cat has the soul of a trickster.  There's no other explanation for it.

Here's  a list of all the things he's managed to destroy:

- 3 Blackberry chargers
- 4 sets of iPod headphones
- the shoe laces of my running shoes
- the fringe on my cute red scarf
- a pair of strappy high heeled sandals
- the drawstrings on every single hoodie I own
- the cord of my mouse
- the pull cord for the blinds on my window

Pretty much anything that has something long and skinny dangling from it.  Hell he tries to chew on the drawstring of my pj pants while I'm still wearing them.  It's crazy.  In the grand scheme of things he's never destroyed anything irreplaceable.  And it's become somewhat of a game for me to find creative places/ways to hide the things that attract him.  I'm not so good at it though.  My last set of headphones was in my purse and the little furball managed to undo the snap on my purse and pull them out to get to them.

Like all cats he has a box fetish. 












An obsession with sleeping in places he doesn't belong.






And a love of pots and pans?














All in all, shoe eating aside, he's a great companion and as every pet owner already knows, an essential part of my life despite the fact that he commonly jumps on me in the middle of the night or hides cat toys in my purse for me to find when I'm at work. 

Cheers,

Ash

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Being Accident Prone: A Day in the Life

Hi.  My name is Ash and I am possibly the most accident prone person on the planet.

I mean SERIOUSLY accident prone. And not just accident prone but a magnet for bizarre occurrences.

If a piano were to fall out of the sky tomorrow, it would find a way to land on my head.

Two years ago I broke my right wrist in two places. 

How?

A window fell on me. 

Seriously.

I was opening one of the old windows in my apartment, and something gave and it slammed down on me before I could pull my hands out of the way.

See?  Accident prone.

I have cracked ribs coughing with Bronchitis, gotten stitches from a window shattering while I cleaned it.  You name it.  I've done it. 

You know the kind of person that burns their tongue EVERY time they drink something hot?  Yeah, that's me.

I'm also prone to mystery bruises and mystery cuts.  A few weeks ago I got my arm caught on a door handle and had a bruise that pretty much covered my whole forearm.  And the other day I cut a huge chunk out of my hand on the ragged edge of a can.  Me and pointy things don't mix.

The great thing about being a klutz is that I always have a variety of entertaining stories outlining my random escapades.

The window story makes people laugh and cringe every time.

Recently my downfall has been electronics.

I have had more things break on me in the last few weeks than is reasonable for any one human being.  It started before Christmas.  I was watching a movie and my DVD player to crap out on me half way through the film.  One second it was working and the next it was frozen.  I killed the power and the bloody thing wouldn't turn back on.

A few weeks later I was at my staff Christmas party and lost my BlackBerry.

A few days after that I went to turn on my eBook reader and it had nice funky black lines going down the screen.

The week of Christmas my glasses broke.

New Years Eve I went to turn on my camera and i flickered and died.

Last week I went to turn on the lamp in my bedroom and it pretty much exploded.

And finally on Sunday the washing machine in my building broke. 

Seriously. 

I put my clothes is, put in the soap, put in my coins and NOTHING.  I ended up having to haul out my soap covered laundry, put it in a big plastic garbage bag and go to my parents house.

Honestly my mother is surprised I survived to adulthood.

For that fact sometimes I'm surprised too.

So for all my fellow accident prone people.  It's OK.  I understand.  It's not your fault. 

And if that piano ever does fall on me, feel free to put on my headstone "Crushed by a falling piano.  Honestly, we're not surprised."

Cheers,

Ash