Thursday, January 05, 2006 ______________________________________________________________________________

Back to School 

Yesterday was the first official day of the 2006 Winter term. Seeing as how I don't have classes on MWF, I slacked around yesterday playing Starcraft and trying (unsuccessfully) to get Jim to let me watch Dr. Phil. In conversation with Joel (who hasn't updated his blog since National Day last year, but has hinted that a new entry might be coming) that I am a little late. (I'm not even playing Brood War, I'm playing honest-to-god Starcraft Original) So what?! Big deal. I'm working my way slowly (well, recently quite rapidly, actually) up to Brood War, getting myself familiar enough with the game that I am not completely trounced by Jim and my brothers the next time we decide to throw a LAN party. The last time I played was a disaster. I figured I could pick up the game in a round or two. Man was I wrong...

You know, the scary thing is that I could keep going about Starcraft. But I won't.

So today is the first day of classes for me. I had a class at 8 in the morning (more on this later) and will have one at 2pm. Yeap. I have a break from 9:30am-2pm every Tuesday and Thursday. That either means alot of blogging will get done, my honours thesis will be super fast-tracked (I'm planning to work on it full-time MWF) or I'll resolve to lugging my behemoth of a laptop to school to play Starcraft. Either way, good times all around. To tell you the truth, I'm actually looking for a yoga class that I can fit into this time, in keeping with my new commitment to healthy living. I mean it too. It feels so much better to be the weight that I am now, and I'm starting to notice that I feel bloated, sick and sluggish whenever I have characteristically bad foods (fast foods, greasy spoon breakfasts, deep fried anything, super-sweet ice-cream, etc.). So there. Yoga if I can find it, slacking if not.

Although, I'm not sure how much slacking I can fit into this term. I may only be taking three courses, but fact of the matter is, the prof for the first half of the semester for the 8am class is a Nazi. Now I really don't like using the term Nazi seeing as how it's very loaded and means alot to many people around the world. But there's no getting around that description. Today we had our first class and on Tuesday we will have our first quiz. As if that isn't bad enough, she has emphasized that the quizzes will take place at 8am sharp, will consist of five multiple choice questions that will be flashed on the PowerPoint for exactly 30seconds each. That means that if you are 2 minutes late to class and take 15 seconds to settle down, you will only be able to answer one question and you will only have 15 seconds to do so. If you're late, you had better already have your pencils out. These quizzes will take place every other class. More if she can help it. Bloody hell. This means taking the earlier bus and no snooze alarms.

As if that's not enough, here is an excerpt from our class syllabus:

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EXAM RULES

These rules have been made because it actually reduces the errors and ambiguity in marking and students do better. They apply to everyone- no exceptions.
1) NO ABBREVIATIONS. Not even common abbreviations!!! Note that “a.” for artery, “v.” for vein, “L” for left, etc are abbreviations. We may use shortened expressions in class or to fit the words in a diagram but they cannot be used on exams. Three exceptions: You may use VPM, VPL and GABA- only these 3. If the abbreviation you use is not one of those 3 - your answer is wrong.
2) For the cranial nerves use only the name, not the number, for example not “CN III”. You may NOT add the number to the correct name- just don’t use it. Disregarding this rule is the very best way to lose marks. If the answer is the Trochlear Nerve and you put Trochlear N. or CN IV or Trochlear nerve, CN IV, or Trochlear nerve (CN IV) it will be marked wrong. If this isn’t clear, please ask.
3) Only provide the answer to the question asked, double answers will be marked wrong even if I can find the correct answer somewhere within the statement. If you just write down a number of facts that relate to the question but don’t answer the question, you will not be given the mark.
4) Don’t add information in brackets to see if a second answer might improve your chances. If you have added brackets, it is likely you have two answers- it will be marked wrong.
5) If you are asked for a “structure” or some similar term, you have to say whether it is a vein or artery etc. If you are asked for “which artery” then it is already in the question (but safer to add the term).
6) Questions about the location of items very frequently require information about the side involved included in the answer. “Be specific is a hint.” “Be specific” should give you a hint that a general answer is not enough and you need to consider side or some other more specific qualifying term or terms.

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Wow. I think someone needs her nappy time! The rest of the syllabus is written in a similar vein. Part control-freak, part (I'm guessing) insecure about her ability(es) as an instructor, I can tell that I'm in for a rough term. To be fair, it's not as if I wasn't pre-warned about her section of the course. It is not uncommon for people to fail her section and get A+ in the second section of the course (taught by a different instructor). It's just that when you hear stories about instructors like her, you always assume that there is a fair amount of exaggeration. I'm sorry to report that to the extent that I can claim to know her from the one lecture I attended today, the tales regaled about her are thus far, true and unembellished. Starcraft is probably going to have to take more of a backseat than I had anticipated.

Here's to the rest of the term. Hang in there everyone.


posted by Joie! at 12:13 PM

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Sunday, January 01, 2006 ______________________________________________________________________________

Promised Photographs 

When I went to the Bug Zoo in Feb '05 for reading break, I took a photo of the Katydids just because they were so big. For the reference, here is the photo I took:

This photo can also be found in this post.

This go around, I actually mustered up the gumption to hold the katydid and here is the photographic evidence. These photos have not been doctored. Considering my massive bugophobia, I'm really proud of myself.



See. It totally looks as though the bug is as big as my head. I'm telling you, it really is just about that big. The next shot is one of me and Emma, the tarantula and the first bug I held at the Zoo. She's sweet.

For reference, here is the picture of me holding her for the first time:

She is ever so slightly bigger, but she's approaching her full size now and probably won't get any larger.

At Victoria, Jim continued to train his body. He decided to go for a jog in the neighbourhood instead of trying to locate a gym with reasonable drop-in rates. After 1½ hours, we decided that he had gotten lost in the streets and set out to look for him. He wasn't lost. He had just decided to climb Mt. Douglas since it was in the area. We returned the next day (in a car, of course, it is much more civilised that way...) because he wanted to show us just how tall this mountain is. Here is a picture of us at the peak:

I like this picture for its sheer drama. We took another one with the city as a backdrop, but it's nowhere near as cool.

Happy 2006 everyone!


posted by Joie! at 2:48 PM

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