Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Work's about to get a lot harder...again.

Well, tomorrow the second of two problem children is returning to my class. So far Skywalker has caused a major shift in the classes behavior, causing some of the other children to act up. The second child, who I will call Chewbacca, will be rejoining my class after being in the year 3 class for over a month and in the other year 4 class for a week. These constant switching of classes is very difficult on students, as they need to learn the different classroom expectations of each teacher. Chewbacca is less mature than Skywalker, and thankfully less mean. He will sure be a handful though. I assure you I am dreading tomorrow.
I will let you all know how it goes...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Work's about to get a lot harder...

So I feel I have a grasp on the behavior issues in my class now. This is a good thing as it allows me to teach and allows the kids to learn. Unfortunately, this week has had two events that are going to make my life quite a bit more difficult and stressful: the return of Skywalker to the class and the removal of my teaching assistant.

Skywalker is the name of a student, as the names have been changed to protect the (ahem) innocent. Skywalker is a very rough kid with very little regard for personal property or the feelings of others. He was taken out and placed in another class before I took over as teacher. It was always in the plan to have him back eventually, although no date was set. Turns out, that date was Tuesday.

I arrived early on Tuesday (as I do every day) and set the classroom up. I did my photocopying and drew my daily dinosaur on the white board (it was a baryonyx, I think.) Soon 8:45 rolled around and the students began arriving. It was at this point in the day were one of the vice-heads (principals) leaned in and told me I'd be having Skywalker from now on.

"What?" I said, somewhat shocked. I naturally had expected to have some sort of meeting or short staffroom water-cooler discussion about the subject, so I could have gathered materials for the boy and reorganized the classroom. But no, the decision had been made and I was to deal with it. Thanks.

Secondly, I found out today that I will probably no longer have a permanent teaching assistant for my class. Great! Who needs help with an unruly class plus the roughest kid in school newly added. Not I!

My fantastic TA had also been working one-on-one with a child in the year above me for the past few weeks, and it seems the school is about to move her permanently into that class (and she really does not want to go). This leaves myself and the other year four teacher sharing one TA. I foresee problems in this arrangement as my TA will be very unhappy and my children with have ANOTHER change to their environment - causing more behavior issues for me. The less change and more stability they get, the better.

These two decisions were made by the administration at the school. I blame them for the problems this will cause. And it will be me and the students who will suffer. Oh well, at least I am planning a fun weekend: Going out to see Tenacious D tonight and then co-hosting a vodka party on Saturday night!

But now I haves some school re-planning to do...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Traumador the Amazing Tyrannosaur

I would like to take this moment to announce that I have taken on a new client: Traumador the Tyrannosaur!

As his new Special Talent Agent, I'll be handling his accounts, managing his talents, and increasing his marketability. I promise to promote his skills and crafts, so that Traumador achieves his maximum potential. All this for only my small sizable fee and complete power of attorney. After our meeting at the bar (Check it out here! ), the tyrannosaur signed the standard contract.

For those of you not familiar with Traumador the Tyrannosaur, he is a carnivorous dinosaur on the verge of making it big...Although his size is rather small. He is friendly and talented, helpful and curious. You might remember him from such films as "The Hardcore Apocalypse after Next Tuesday" and "Delta Patrol!"

You can now catch him staring in his own blog at "The Traum Blog!"

Check it out and experience the Trauma for yourself!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bond, James Bond

I went to see Casino Royal last night at the local cinema. And it was good! But different, not at all like the past James Bond movies!

STOP READING if you don't want to any spoilers!

This movie takes Bond back to his first ever mission. (Which is a bit weird because M is still Dame Judy Dench, but there is no Q or Moneypenny.)

Anyway, it shows him as an intense no-nonsense secret agent, who is dealing with how close to let the women into his life. Some good special effects (with no stupid CGI iceberg surfing!) and some great stunts, make it a definite Bond film...but it was missing a good opening song and the standard silhouetted dancing ladies.

How times change. Less gadgets, less comedy, less Bond-quips ("Shocking"), but more reality...

At least it is not the appalling 1967 Casino Royal, staring David Niven, Peter Sellers, Orsen Wells, and Woody Allen. Please don't see that movie. See this one instead. Please.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Smallville cameos

I have now found myself in two episodes of the fifth season of Smallville ('Thirst' and 'Exposed'). In both episodes I play the same man, Mr. Guy the Carrier of Paper, a worker in the basement of the Daily Planet. You will notice how I have taken the important role and varied it by having my jacket OFF in the first episode, and ON in the second. True acting.

See for yourself:

Here I am bumping into Chloe, on her first day as a reporter at the Daily Planet. And I did actually bump into her. See the eye contact?

A nice shot of the Daily Planet set. You can see me in front of Chloe again, this time bringing papers to the filling cabinets at the right.

Here in the second episode, Chloe and Lois Lane are too busy with their computer to notice me walking past. Notice the paper I am transporting. It is very important paper.

Now I am walking up to Chloe and Lois as they talk with a detective. Check out the same paper I am carrying. Here I am...

...And there I go. Right past Chloe and Lois. The more observant of you will notice that, besides the important green papers, I am also carrying a copy of the Daily Planet newspaper.

So there you have it. My other 15 minutes of fame. And it turns out that skilled acting is all about the props. A very good prop is paper.

As for my life here, I am good. I have been painting and playing a borrowed trumpet! Pictures to follow soon.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Back off, man. I'm a scientist.

The Peter's finally meet. Plus Egon. (Thanks Dave!)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Who ya gonna call?

Haven't you ever been sitting around and wishing you had the coolest video game to play?

Well, I have. And I, along with my friends Craig and Cam, have come up with it! All we need is a bunch of money and the rights to...

The Ghostbusters Video Game!

Can you imagine? A first-person shooter style game where you play one of the four Ghostbusters (Peter, Ray, Egon, or Winston), roaming around a 3D New York City, using their proton packs and traps busting ghosts! You could follow the storyline of the movie, capturing smaller ghosts, working your way up to Gozer and the Stay Puff Marshmellow Man! You could drive the Ecto-1! You could even work with Slimer!

How cool would this be?!!!

Favorite Quotes...
- "Why worry? Each one of us is carrying an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back."
- "When someone asks if you're a God, you say 'Yes'!"
- "Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria!"
- "I blame myself." "So do I."
- "Woah. Somebody's coming."
- 'Back off man, I'm a scientist."
- "Listen! Do you smell something?"
- "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Nice shootin', Tex!"
- "The flowers are still standing."
- "What, someone blows their nose and you want to keep it?"

Half-Term Experiences - Part 3: Stokesay Castle

Continuing my trip aroung the Midlands area, the coach brought us to the small, beautiful, and remote Stokesay Castle. Actually it is one of the best preserved examples of a 13th century fortified manor house on the world. As you walk into the Great Hall, you can imagine long tables full of steaming food, noblemen and guests drinking and singing, armour clanking, dogs snaging scraps of food, live medievil music playing, and the smell of sweaty soldiers before deoderant was invented.

Interestingly, the ladies of the court were not allowed to the feast. They were to stay in their bed chambers and peek through holes in the walls to see the hunk knight of their dreams.

I found out all this information through the guided tour audio-guides: a 1980's brick-like phone-shaped device that plays the information track at the touvh of a button. Stocksay Castle's audio-guide was hilarious! A male and female voice would take turns talking, while sound effects play behind (squeeling pig, soldiers partying, head chopped off sound...) Reminds me of the even more hilarious audio guide for Stonehenge - poety by druids, warnings by whitches, and goats...yes. Goats.

I also learned that Stokesay Castle had been attacked only once in it's entire history! And it surrended without a fight during the English Civil War (around 1640s). Not very glamourous...

The audio guide has about 16 stops. At the end of each stop, it tells you to turn and walk to another location. Great. Easy. Should be simple without any opportunity to get lost. Unfortunately, stop 12 was in a room that was closed off, but we listened anyway, trying to match stop 12 with room 13. The guide is telling us to look for "the two distinctive holes in the floor.." but all I could see was a beetle and what looks like the remains of a well-blown nose. "Walk through the door and turn left..." is what I hear, but if I went left, I would walk out the window. How easily life can be turned upside-down!

But then it was time to get on the bus, as the university professer/Margret Thatcher guide was calling us to board. On to our final destination of the day: the town of Shrewsbury. Birthplace to one of the most important men in science...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Stress release...

This week has been really stressful in my class (lots of shouting out, refusing to work, teeth falling out, blood down the top...) Ugh.

So I need a way to release some stress.

Click on the link "Create your own Jackson Pollock Masterpiece!" and relax as I did.

Really works.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Half-Term Experiences - Part 2: Ludlow Castle

On the Saturday of last week, the ladies of the house Renata and Kate invited me to join then and their friend on a tour of the Midlands area. The full day tour began with going to Ludlow Castle on the coach, which left at 9am from the university. Usually this wouldn't have been a problem, but we had gone out drinking the night before and I wasn't feeling too good. We had to rush to get to the coach on time and then off we went! And then off I went - to sleep...

I woke up in the small town of Ludlow. More specifically, I woke to a lurch inside the parking lot beside a toilet just outside of Ludlow. Luckily Ludlow is very small, so it only took us 5 minutes to walk to the town square where the market was in full swing.

The Saturday Market was a bustle of alive things (merchants) and dead things (products), with children and dogs running underfoot and amazing smells and sounds assaulting the senses.

Ludlow is dominated by (and famous for) it's 11th century castle; a beautiful medieval castle in the last years/centuries of its life, more of a ruins that you can walk through and onto and under and into and around. We were able to climb to the highest tower in the castle (up long spiral staircases) and become sentry knights surveying the beautiful English countryside, looking for advancing armies or potential tourists. The view was breathtaking. Even the pigeons thought so.

Speaking of pigeons, it seemed that every room in the castle had to have a dead bird in it. It was almost Ludlow Law: All rooms to be furnished with dead poultry. Special double rooms have dead cat at no extra cost! Call now...

Soon it was lunch time and my stomach was calling for fish and chips. Never one to disagree with my tum, we found one of the fifteen fish'n'chips shops and ate by the church, enjoying the view of Ludlow in the Fall....before returning to my dreams on the coach. The next stop was another castle...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My 15 Minutes of Fame

About a year ago, I was an extra in the motion picture "X-Men 3: The Last Stand" which was filmed in Vancouver. I played a cop in one scene and a soldier in the finale, and now the movie has come out on DVD. I have created some screen-captured photographs of myself in the movie (remember to click on the pics to enlarge them).

The first scene I am in is where the mutant Angel jumps from the Wall Center and flies over the crowd.

There I am, the San Francisco PD officer standing by the road. (Definitely me!)

Here is the back of my head! (Definitely my ear!)

This is the view of the crowd from the top of the Wall Center. You can see the crowd with me, at the top of the pic, standing by Burrard Street.

Here is the whole scene together from the movie:

The other scene I am in is the movie's finale. I am a soldier in the US Army defending Alcatraz from invading Brotherhood of Mutants. My plastic gun explodes and I back away slowly.

Here my gun explodes. (Could be me...all grunts look the same...)

Here I am backing away slowly. (Not really sure which one is me...somewhere down left)

There you go! My other film/TV credits include I, Robot, Catwoman, 88 Minutes, Smallville, Killer Instinct, Dead Zone, The 4400, the Hardcore Apocalypse after Next Tuesday, and Delta Patrol (coming soon)!

So keep your eyes peeled for me, Extra-Extraordinaire, on a screen near you!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Halloween Rebellion

I did not take my school's "No Halloween" policy lying down. I rebelled in minimal yet significant ways.

I wore all black with my T-Rex skeleton tie. I discussed Halloween with my class and asked them what they were dressing-up as. I gave an art lesson at the end of the day that included colouring ghosts and pumpkins, and creating candy bags to take home. I also gave out Halloween stickers to each child at the end of the day.

So there, British School administration! Ha Ha!

On a related note, Guy Faux Day, or Firework day, or increased-burns-of-the-face day, is celebrated on November 5th...

"Remember, Remember,
The 5th of November, ......"