caz963: (R2D2)
I picked up this blog post the other day from one of the people I follow on Twitter. It's by a teacher in the US, but to be honest, I got about half way through reading it before I realised the blogger wasn't talking about the way that teachers are viewed in the UK.

He/she says that some people have asked why he/she often says that teachers are used as scapegoats on which to heap the blame for all society's ills. So many of the articles I've read in the news media recently keep reinforcing this idea as we're continually fed the idea that there are too many underperforming teachers, and too many underperforming schools. No doubt there are some. But I can honestly say that in all the schools I've worked in since I qualified - and they've all been tough schools - the staff is, on the whole, incredibly hard-working and dedicated.

Add to these misconceptions that there is a new chief of Ofsted who believes that a Principal or Head is "doing something right" if someone tells them that staff morale is at an all time low - and you can't wonder at the fact that a recent survey conducted by the NASUWT stated that around 50% of teachers want out, and the only thing that's keeping them where they are is the fact that the economy has gone down the toilet and there are no jobs out there.
caz963: (father jack)
What the hell is it with drivers and mini-roundabouts? They work the same as normal-sized roundabouts - they're just smaller!

In the 14 mile round trip to and from Tesco's this morning, I encountered no less than three idiots who clearly have no idea how to use them.

The first one not only drove over the top of the mini-roundabout when turning right at it, they cut the corner so severely, that they almost ended up hitting me as I was sitting waiting at the give-way lines. Another one just didn't bother checking whether there was any traffic coming from his right and drove straight across, completely oblivious of the fact that I had right of way and was already moving, and the third gave way to me, as he should have done, but obviously had no idea of what sort of speed I was doing (it was a tight turn so I was probably doing under 20mph) and shot out almost before I'd passed him, narrowly missing me.

(The other favourite idiocy is where someone who should have right of way just sits there waiting for something to happen - so rather than sit there all day, you have to move off before they do).

These are the times when I'm convinced that decent drivers must have some sort of a sixth sense. Incidents like this happen to me - and I'm sure to many people - every day, and I know that if it wasn't for the fact that at least I've got my wits about me, I'd have been involved in loads accidents by now,

Now, I'll readily admit I'm not someone who takes a great deal of notice of speed limits sometimes, and I don't always give the smoothest of rides to my passangers. I have no problem with the proposal to increase the speed limit on motorways. But ALL the problems I experienced today happened because people were driving too fast. Mini-roundabouts are just that - mini! And often, they're in truly stupid places; there's one I navigate regularly at a junction where the road actually narrows around the roundabout, so there's not much room for manouevre and to turn right, you almost have to be on a right-hand lock. But it's perfectly simple to do if you're doing the right speed.

caz963: (Up the cyber)
I love DWM, I really do. Although these days, I tend to read it from about the middle to the end first, because that's the part that has all the video, book and audio reviews and the "Fact of Fiction" section. I'm not so enthusiastic when it comes to reading the stuff about the current series.

But I digress. What I'm moaning about is this.
I suppose this could be considered a spoiler )
caz963: (Ten LoTL)
My last post about the last ep of DW was more about all the unanswered questions that have been left hanging for three months rather than the episode itself, so now I've had a chance to rewatch it, I've got More Thoughts.

So let me show you them )
caz963: (doctor donna wtf)
This is kind of a difficult review to write because the episode itself wasn't really all that much to write home about, was it? So here are some brief thoughts before I head off into other territory, because I have a rant brewing.

NB - Spoilers for the next episode beneath the cut.

I'm starting to wonder whether I know what the hell to make of this show anymore... )
caz963: (Donna UW)
I've tried to hide spoilers in this. I'm not saying anything that's not in the public domain, but just in case...

Okay. As a way of trying to stop myself from thinking too hard about what might or might not happen in next week's DW, and about what might be this (highlight to read) thing that will make us look at the series' mythology differently (according to the current issue of DWM) I've decided to post about something that's been bothering me increasingly over the past few weeks.

Here's the thing... )
caz963: (stupid hurts)
I HATE and LOATHE WITH A PASSION this twice-yearly pissing about with the clocks. Isn't it about time we stopped it and just stuck with the one time-zone?

and while we're on the subject -

caz963: (doctor donna wtf)
A few months back, I bought a copy of Windows 7 to install on my PC or my laptop. My PC is running Vista already (and I've not had any problems with it) but the laptop only runs XP - it was Vista originally, but I was unable to put Vista back on when I had to wipe the HD because of a virus a year or so back.

But I decided to put Windows 7 on the PC, because I'm coasting this laptop through until I can afford a new one - it's 4 or maybe 5 years old now and gets a lot of use, and a new one will come with Windows 7 already, so...

Anyway, all was going well - I'd backed everything up, the installation went without a hitch... until I started to put my programs back on. First up was Norton AntiVirus... which caused the PC to crash. I tried again - another crash.

When I spoke to my Dad, he'd had the same problem. WTF? It's the latest version of Norton and according to the compatility check I did before I installed Windows 7, it's fully compatible.

Fortunately, because this happened to my Dad, he had to buy a new anti-virus program and it covers 3 users, so he's letting me have a copy of his, but if it wasn't for that, I'd have to shell out for another program when the one I've got has still got about 8 months on the license. I'll be having a moan at Norton - although I doubt I'll get anywhere.
caz963: (DeathStar Pumpkin)
We're not great Halloweeners here in the UK. The kids love it, but a crotchety old thing like me remembers the days when we didn't bat an eyelid on 31st October. Now, of course, you can't move for bats in the shops from about July onwards.

It's not that I object to Halloween itself - it's an ages old festival anyway. I just don't like the way that it's been so ruthlessly promoted over the last 15 years or so, as a purely commercial exercise.

Yes, I know. Christmas is no different. Except - that it sort of is. Because we've always "done" Christmas and it's always (for as long as I remember) been commercialised. Okay, maybe it wasn't back in the year dot in Bethlehem, but hey - presents?! And you know what I mean.

But the explosion of Halloween over the past decade or two over here is due to nothing other than greed on the part of retailers who are desperate to rake in some money before the big bang of Christmas. And that annoys the hell outta me. I'm sure that, if Christmas had just been invented, or if we were adopting it as a custom that had emerged in another country, things wouldm't be any different.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't bug me.

The good thing about Halloween is the abundance of pumpkins in the shops... which all seem to disappear on 1st November. I remember trying to get one around here the week after Halloween last year, and it was impossible! This year, however, I plan to buy a few over the weekend and either cook the flesh and freeze it or just cut it up and freeze it raw. Any recommendations?

I am also possessed of one of the biggest pumpkins I've ever seen, courtesy of a friend of my MiL. It's huge - took up about a quarter of the space in the back of the car when we came home! I haven't weighed it, but I reckon I'll get at least 6 pumpkin pies and a few pints of pumpkin soup out of it. My thoughts are also turning to things like pumpkin risotto (I'll make it up if I can't find a recipe) and pumpkin ravioli. Yum.

Half-term means that it's time to make the Christmas cake and pudding, both of which have duly been done. Well, the pudding has a few hours left to steam, but that's it.

Right - the kids want to make Halloween biscuits, so I'm off.
caz963: (stupid hurts)

How many bloody times do I have to remind kids to put their fucking NAME on their fucking HOMEWORK??!

They're aged from 11-13 and so they shouldn't NEED reminding, but I do it anyway - and they STILL forget!

So now, I'm going to have to wait until I get back to school to finish logging the grades and all the other little pissy bits and pieces I have to do.
caz963: (DW Ten coat)
If you read fic of any kind... you know how sometimes, you read something and think, "Oops. We/They would never say that"?

And how, sometimes, you think, "oh well, it's just a simple mistake." and don't let it spoil your enjoyment of the story?

But then you see the same mistake made by someone else. And this time, it jars a bit. But you again think "oh, well," and keep reading.

Then you see it in another fic.

And it jars even more.

And another.

And another... and another... and another... and...

Today, I finally snapped. )
caz963: (stupid hurts)
I have been practicing the art of serial procrastination for the last few days - I'm very good at it :-) I really need to look at a bit of work before Wednesday, but I've been putting it off. Tonight, though - is the night.


Today's procrastination took the form of going shopping for a school coat for Cazlet #1. She probably won't need it for a couple of months, but given the fact that Christmas decorations have been in the shops since before the beginning of the summer holidays, when she actually needs a coat in a couple of months time, they'll be full of shorts and t-shirts, so it's a case of buying it while we can.

Who on earth is responsible for "sizing" children's clothes these days? Okay, so we all know that buying clothes is a bit of a lottery in that sizes and shapes often vary hugely from shop to shop. But it's even worse with kids' clothes. Cazlet #1 turned 11 at the end of last week, but I've been buying clothes for ages 13 and upwards for quite some time now. She's reasonably tall for her age, but she's certainly not fat; in fact, according to the letter we got the other week, she's the right weight for her height and build. Cazlet #2 is a skinny streak of nothing and clothes in her "age" are often too small as well. We're constantly being told that children are getting fatter and that childhood obesity is becoing a serious problem - so why on earth are clothes made several sizes too small?!

Cazlet #1's school blazer is "age 14". Okay, so it's a bit long in the arms (not much though) but once she gets a jumper or cardi under it, it won't be big in the body. And trying to find a coat that will fit over the top of the blazer proved to be an incredibly difficult task. Most of the coats she tried on were for "age 15" and "age 16" - and they were STILL too small! So we got her to try on coats in womens' sizes. You'd think maybe a size 8 or 10 would do given she's only 11 years old and she's not "filled out" yet. But no - she's in a size 12 and even then there wasn't much room for something underneath. And of course, the proportions are wrong - if there's a belt, it's round her hips rather than her waist and the sleeves are too long.

We did eventually find something in BHS that was a girls' coat with a bit of room in it - not very much, but it's the one she liked best.

It is also nigh-on impossible to find knee-length white socks in shoe size 4-5 - I've been looking since the start of the holidays.

It's bloody ridiculous.

He WHAT???

Aug. 29th, 2010 02:25 pm
caz963: (doctor donna wtf)

rant under here )

ETA: There is some spoilery speculation in the comments.


Jun. 26th, 2010 10:30 pm
caz963: (ten!specs)
I got a thing in the post today about renewing the photo on my driving license. I wasn't aware that I needed to renew it, but it seems that these new-fangled ones that have a photo on have to be renewed every ten years.

Okay. But the bastards want to charge me twenty quid for doing something I didn't ask for and don't see the point of, because my appearance hasn't changed all that much over the last ten years!

I remember when Mr Caz got his license in 2002, and all the aggro he had when he submitted his photo. It can't be this and it can't be that, oh, and if you wear glasses the frames mustn't cover ANY of your eyes and if they do, you have to take them off, and also no lens-glare and, and, and... seriously, it took him about 3 attempts to send them a photo they would accept.

But I ask you, what is the fucking point of taking your glasses off for a photo that could be used to identify you if you wear glasses all the bloody time anyway and nobody that knows you would probably recognise you without them??

Like I don't pay enough in road tax and fuel tax already.
caz963: (ten!specs)
You can tell it's still the school holidays, because I have time to write stuff like this!

Prompted by some comments and discussions I’ve been having here over the last couple of days, and by the number of reaction posts I’ve seen that are bemoaning the direction that DW is now taking (after only two episodes!), I had a few thoughts that I wanted to jot down as a result.

I try to be very careful about what I say here, because I know that fandom can be a dangerous place at times. It’s why I tend to steer fairly clear most of the time and am posting stuff like this at my own LJ rather than at one of the comms. I hope people will pick up on it and read it anyway, but that anyone who comments will respect the fact that this is MY journal and as such contains my opinions. I hope I never present anything I put here as anything other than my own opinion, and I’m perfectly happy for people to put points of view that don’t agree with mine and to have a friendly discussion with them.

Here, then, are a bunch of thinky-thoughts about the show in general and one particular thing that is annoying me.

you can please some of the people some of the time… )

and now to the specifics )

So there ya go. Feel free to agree or disagree with me - I don't mind either way as long as we can all play nice!
caz963: (arthur & merlin)
Why the hell can't TV channels just leave their bloody programme schedules ALONE?? Merlin was on so early tonight, I missed it. Most weeks it's been on after 6pm, but tonight it was on at 5.40. Which I found out at 6.20.

caz963: (R2D2)
According to The Independent Overseas Students are Better at English than we Brits.

Yep. That's because they're actually TAUGHT English, rather than what seems to pass for it now.

Case in point. My eldest, who is now in year 6, has had a couple of bits of English homework over the last couple of weeks or so which have involved her having to write a reasonably formal letter on each occasion. Okay, she's ten, so we're not talking serious business letters here, but she doesn't seem to have actually been taught what to do and what not to do. Like not starting the body of the letter with "hello".

She's good at English - or what is nowadays known as "literacy" - but she still makes mistakes with "there, their and they're". One of the comments I seem to write over and over when I'm marking is "CHECK your work."

I'm seriously considering writing a note to her teacher asking her just why she's been set these particular pieces of homework if she's not actually covered in class what she needs to do in order to be able to do it. Homework is supposed to be about re-inforcement, not giving a kid a task they have no idea how to do. It's either that, or I'll write the bloody thing and see if the teacher notices.
caz963: (crikey!)
According to google, the weather for this area tomorrow is going to be sunny, and temperatures will reach 26 degrees. (That's 79 F for my leftpondian chums).

Well, that's not too bad - apart from the fact that even with the temperatures we've had so far, which haven't reached those dizzy heights (shut up - for the UK, it's a height, okay?) my classroom has been like an oven. I have all the windows open as far as possible (which isn't a lot; we're on the first floor, and while there are some kids, I'd gladly through out of the window, it's not all that desirable!) - but it's still horrible. The kids have been complaining for weeks, and so have I - but I have yet to see the fan(s) I've asked for. Even in winter, I had to turn the radiators off and open windows because it got overwarm in there!

So I'm not looking forward to next week because of that. And as well as the heat, there will be the delightful odour of unwashed-teenage-boy to contend with, together with the eau de god-knows-what-cheap-crap body spray they insist on spraying on themselves in the room despite repeated requests to refrain!
caz963: (father jack)
I've just paid some bills online, and had to invent yet ANOTHER password for something.

I get that some of this stuff is an extra layer of security, all well and good. But if we're not supposed to write passwords down, how the hell are we going to remember them all?

I admit, I've taken to using the same usernames and passwords for practically everything - but it really pisses me off when a site won't let me have a particular password because it doesn't have the required number of letters/numbers/capital letters. That means I have to think of a new one, and they're the ones I'm likely to forget. The one I've just used is for Verified by Visa, which I've changed 3 times in the last couple of months. I'll have to change it next time as well, because all the easily memorable passwords are ones I've already used.

I think that next time I'll just enter a random bunch of numbers and letters, because whatever I put in, I'll have forgotten it by the next time!


caz963: (Default)

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