Saturday, December 19, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Sorry you are still holding bad feelings about this.
That e-mail was intended for Allyson....and was not meant to go on the list serve.
Really you should worry about more important things...and I hope you are doing more to care about the world then just taking spelling mistakes and crazy accusations out on small projects helping kids in the DR and Africa.
Allyson never paid back what she promised.....That now her bad karma.
To do that to a small project like ours is a horrible selfish thing to do. A person meaning well does not promise things they can not do...and then leave people broke and try to ruin good projects aiding kids. I mean really.
We get tones of wonderful e-mails and thank you letter from local and international people. I work with the kids everyday...building homes, pre-schools, running programmes...
I have won the Red Cross Humanitarian Award, Worked for the UN and just been offered another UN job, plus just got a full scholarship from Yale University because of my work, sponsoring not one but 2 of our projects in South Africa.
....COLORS also gets support from some Very well known people and NGOs who have all seen our work on the ground.....leaving you looking silly for writing me this. And despite all this...I am dyslexic and have achieved way above this despite spelling mistakes..petty petty.
I know your a friend of Allysons so get over it and tell her that she might not feel so guilty if she pays back what she promised. It is not good to carry around such bad karma.
Hope your doing more with your life then writing ridiculous e-mails to volunteers working in Africa. You are now off my list, thank God. Please dont write again and restrain your efforts for bigger more important things.
Peace and Love
Thursday, December 10, 2009
March 31, 2008 7:23:58 AM
Subject: Allyson Invoice
COLORS has not recived any of the money you prommised to pay back after you made the rorary project fall through. Stan from Rotary promissed you would keep your word and pay it back since it the ethical thing to do.
I trusted you, again, ....and hoped you would pull through.
You promissed you would pay at leaset in instalments every month.???? But you have not helped at all...and I am working so hard each day keeping 5 projects running at once, and feel it should not be nesssary for me to have to follow up on this at the point. It should be done and completed,,,but we are all still waiting on you.
COLORS never would have bought you this ticket if you did not alreday promis to pull through and commit to the Rotary
This all left COLORS in a terrible possion, having lost the funds from your ticket once you backed out
This is issue is now larger then just us,
This is Kids and volunteers in need that this money is for....not for you to keep. The support was not inteneded for you to waist but to pay back to COLORS respctfully.
It has been over three months of waiting for you to take action...so I've been asked by my donors to writ you this letter so you can justifiy the funds and return the kids money where it belongs.
We have some fantastic programs running here. All the volunteers know that the money coming from you is what should be helping them be here too. So they are still waiting for their extra support.
Next week Lesley Choyce and the donors who sponcered the flight will be comming buy your house for the money you owe COLORS. or you can just mail a check.
Please get someone to write a check to COLORS for what you owe.
Please write your chcek out to: Project COLORS
NOte: funds owed for flight
Project COLORS attn: Lesleychoyce
Sunyata A. Choyce
Founding Director, Project COLORS International South Africa #011-27-78-871-6939
Sent: Monday, March 31, 2008 6:53:51 PM
Subject: RE: Allyson invoice
Dear Ms. Choyce,
I'm writing in regards to the message you sent out earlier today. I've read it over several times and am both surprised and disappointed with its content. Before I go further let me say that I have no doubt you work hard and have the best intentions of effecting a positive change. However, I think you have done more to damage your credibility with a single e-mail than the years of hard work you put forth to make that change happen.
Your choice to include the ids-list serve in a private matter is a strange one. I can only imagine that you have every dime accounted for and are in great need of the money owing to you. What's unfortunate is that you have done the opposite of what you intended - you have created sympathy for a person who would otherwise deserve none. The threatening tone at the end of the message was especially uncalled for.
You have also involved the twit who posted anonymously, the other students, and myself (which is why I'm writing this). Your message was so unprofessionally written that it makes me question what type of organization you run. There were so many spelling and grammar errors that it was almost illegible. If anything your e-mail is a lesson to everyone in how not to handle a problem situation. Most damningly, it gives no one a reason to support your efforts when there are other more credible projects that are just as in need of funding.
I do hope you receive your money and I sincerely hope this incident doesn't derail your hard work.
Sent April 1st, 2008
Re: Allyson Invoice
Dont worry it wont.
South Africa #011-27-78-871-6939, www.projectcolors.com
Monday, December 07, 2009
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I know that reflection is important for educators; we need to constantly assess our practices in the never ending endeavor of improving them. As such, I understand why teacher educator programs have such a strong focus on reflection. However, I think there are limits to what we need to reflect on. For example, at the end of our class you had us reflect on the statement ‘time flies.’ In fairness we did not spend a great of time on this but I felt as though our time could have been better spent doing something else. To me, ‘time flies’ is one of those small-talk conversations you have with co-workers around this time of year or with a classmate (outside of class) at the end of a term. I truly appreciate that you make an effort to fold our feedback into class (and that you allow for feedback) but I don’t feel that conversation was worthy of our time.
I only have three more waste of time classes left.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
1. Check the expiration date of milk and other dairy products, especially during the closure of the Dempster Highway. Just because the expiry date has long since past doesn't mean that stores take the products off the shelves. Buyer beware
2. Though milk may be ridiculously expensive (at least $10.00 for two litres) don't stop drinking it, or at least take calcium pills. I've slipped and fallen four times on the road and had several other close calls. You'll need to make sure your bones are well fortified against such mishaps. Luckily for me, I'm almost invincible
3. Don't be surprised if people beg for money while you're shopping for groceries
4. People tend to overdress for the weather - don't feel like you have to follow suit
5. If you have happen to find a stray animal, and are interested in its well-being, you are better off taking it to a vet yourself. Animal Control does not check the condition of the animals they pick up
6. You may miss: loved ones, friends, fresh fruit, movie theatres, a reason to cook/bake, the sun, etc. Do your best to fill your free time with various activities.
7. Gossip extends well beyond town borders. You will probably hear stories about people living in other communities or maybe one of your own students will have been banned from a entering a nearby community. Be prepared to hear some amazing tales.
8. For the most part, the people you meet will be friendly but making deeper connections with people may be challenging.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
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Sunday, November 15, 2009
This is the face of the dog that I encountered on my way home tonight. Much of the dog's body was covered in ice and when I picked it up its paws were equally ice encrusted. It's been dipping below -30 outside and I don't think this dog has the constitution to deal with these lows.
I was at loss for what to do with the dog. There was absolutely no way I could leave it outside (part of me just wanted to take it home, even though it was really smelly). With the aid of a passing couple and some helpful hotel receptionists we were able to contact animal control and shortly after a man came to take the dog to the pound. He said the dog has 3-5 days to be claimed, after that it will be put to sleep then burned. The animal control officer repeated this several times which I believe was either a ploy to encourage people (me) to adopt or they were the words of a very desensitized individual.
I guess this story is to be continued.
Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
I’ll start by saying that I enjoyed this book but not without some serious reservations. First and foremost the 9 year old protagonist, Oskar Schell, is the most tiring character I have ever come across. I initially stopped a reading a few pages into the book because of this and had to wonder why everyone he met in his quest around New York City didn’t feel the same way. Moreover, I thought the way the other characters treated Oskar to be a little too kindly in spite of his complete lack of social graces.
I also found that the story of Oskar’s grandparents left me feeling more confused than anything. The breakdown of nothing places was hard to follow and, to me, incomprehensible in why anyone would choose to live that way. The grandmother’s acceptance of the grandfather’s decisions was equally hard to believe.
At the bottom of all of this is a story of love and loss set not long after Sept. 11, 2001. It’s an emotional tale and one that is worth reading despite the confusion and fatigue encountered along the way.
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
This is Davidson’s first novel and, according the book flap, the product of seven years composition and research. I have no difficulty in believing this. Davidson’s nameless protagonist suffers horrible burns at the beginning of the novel and everything from the burning of his flesh to his brutal rehabilitation is described in meticulous detail. Despite the grim and often unpleasant specifics this is where the book excels. Unfortunately the novel isn’t able to sustain this momentum or believability. Ultimately, The Gargoyle is a story about love and redemption but its meaning gets muddled when folded into Dante’s Inferno and when mixed with some heavy handed Christianity.
There is an unfortunate comparison on the back of this novel to Life of Pi by Yann Martel. It’s possible to see how a comparison could be made (though a weak one) and in the end it doesn’t do Davidson any favours. Martel’s book holds up long after the last page has been read but the more I think about Davidson’s the more I think about what didn’t work, rather than what did.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
I had a pleasant surprise at school today. There was a knock on my door while I was trying to explain how to find the lowest common denominator as a product of prime numbers. A delivery man walked in with a box containing one cake and a package of cookies. It seems my mom had arranged for these to be sent from the local North Mart. I had told no one it was my birthday but soon found myself handing out pieces of cake to my students and the other staff. All in all, it was a very nice surprise and one that was enjoyed by many people.
I'm copying an interesting article from Norbert Ispin's website. I don't agree with it entirely though I say bring on the cylons:
Tezuka Osamu, the creator of Astor Boy, envisioned a future in which racism extended to the machines that humanity had created. This resulted in a lot of conflict and allowed Astro the chance to fly, fight and laser blast his way into the hearts of millions of people around the world. However, it seems that maybe a real life Astro Boy wouldn't have it so easy. A recent article on the National Geographic website talks about the 'uncanny valley,' or the unsettled feeling that people get when they see a robot or image that looks too human. According to the article, it's possible that even monkeys feel this way. I cannot but help but wonder then where our efforts at creating artificial intelligence will lead us. Will we feel contempt for what we have created if it looks too much like us? Sadly, I fear the answer will be yes.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
A little over 120 ago Frans Boas conducted a field study of the Indigenous peoples of Baffin Island. His research and methodology forever changed the Anthropological process. Though I don't talk much of Boas in my day to day life he is something of a hero of mine (if I were to have an academic hero). I mention this only because I felt a little like an anthropologist tonight - though one without a)a research question b) credentials.
The Olympic torch made its way to town today and in celebration there were speeches, a town feast, and traditional dances. Pictured above are only some of the fine foods available for consumption. Other dishes included muskox chili, muskox stirfry (which was more like meat and gravy), and muk tuk (beluga blubber). Anyone who knows me is probably saying, "Jesse's an adventuresome sort, he probably loaded up on the blubber and chili." It is true that I was sorely tempted to expand my epicurean horizons but I didn't want anyone else to go without at my expense. (That, of course, is a total lie - c) I'm worse than a spoiled child when it comes to trying new foods, especially ones that come from the sea and/or were primarily used for insulation).
I met with two of my coworkers at the dinner. Both took the opportunity to comment that I need a warmer jacket. This is becoming a regular saying and one that I dislike (do ever I look cold?). Even my students have told me that I need a 'parkee'. (And d) I dislike other people telling me how to dress).
In fairness, it was -33 degrees Celsius tonight. I think Wasiata, the North Wind, has done its best to drive out the last remaining currents of warm air. However, I know this isn't true because it's only November; there's still plenty of time for the weather to get even colder.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Some recent inexcusable excuses:
- sister going into delivery (this happened on Monday, the student missed the rest of the week)
- student took son to get H1N1 shot, doctor told student she had to stay home because she could be a carrier
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
- I lose three students (1 was removed from my class list because she stopped showing up after the first week, another was kicked out of my morning class because she never attends (she is still in her afternoon classes (for now)), and another decided she's moving to the capital city)
- my English class now has 6 students (I started with 10)
- no less than 85 work e-mails were sent to me (only three of them were actually for me(see 1st point))
- the town seems to have run out of milk. Conclusion - the Dempster highway is closed
- the milk I had bought, and froze, for this occasion has turned an unsightly and somewhat unpleasant yellow colour. Under normal circumstances I would 'forget' about the milk in the freezer but now it's the last bastion of hope for maintaining my morning routine
- the fruit section of the supermarket could be used in film about the early days of exploration; the ones where sailors try to stave off scurvy by preserving fruits for as long as possible. The produce I saw today would work well for the tail end of a long journey
- My place of employment had an open house. I was told it was happening in early November
- My computer at work looked as though it 'threw up' all of the documents I had put into specific folders. The documents were splattered all over the desktop.
- (the above photograph is a garbage can in Yellowknife)
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Two high school girls were here a few weeks ago fund-raising for the Terry Fox run. My wife and I both donated cash and filled out the form - I on the last line of the actual form and my wife on a form they had drawn up themselves, due to the actual form being full. After they left we both questioned whether it was legitimate and my wife followed up by calling the school. It turned out the girls had not turned in any cash and denied receiving any and they did not turn in the form they had drawn up, just the actual form, for which they said they had only received cheques which they said they had turned in. The school may now be turning it over to the RCMP. (End of e-mail)
I think we can all agree that even Bernie Madoff would be proud of their enterprising nature.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Friday, October 02, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
- Went to bank to replace lost debit card
- Daughter hadn't come home and couldn't leave because door couldn't be locked
- Couldn't wake up babysitter
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
My morning started with a phone call to the adult education department of the Toronto District School Board; they wanted to offer me a long term occasional position. Ouch. Hopefully they’ll need teachers as badly next September.
My days at school pass by fairly fast but they are stressful. One woman in my class has been off all week. She showed up yesterday with a black eye and a broken nose. She said she “got into something” on Friday night; I didn’t ask what, or who, that something was. I later heard that her injuries were caused by a fight with her brother.
For the most part my students are quite enjoyable (there is one problem person, but what classroom would be complete without one of those?). There is a lot they haven’t learned, or forgot, about reading and writing and math. I’m frequently assuming they have too much prior knowledge (though it’s what they should have for the level of the course). As well, I’m quickly becoming acquainted with the level of work they like to do and where they’ll start to resist.
One of the biggest challenges this school faces is attendance. Every day I receive e-mails from my supervisor saying if someone has an excused or unexcused absence and the reason they gave. Presented for the first time is a new section of this blog called: Inexcusable absences
(Please note, these are all actual excuses given by students – taken directly from e-mails from my supervisor)
- "Are there classes this morning?"
- She 'forgot' there was no school for her kids today."
- She's sick, "but will be better by 10 and will come to class then"
- doesn't have babysitter
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
My apologies for the infrequency of posts. The hotel I was staying at had a very unreliable internet connection and I wasn't disciplined enough to write anything in Word and post it later. Currently, I am sitting on the floor of my otherwise empty apartment (which may shorten the length of this post). I actually slept on the floor last night - my stuff will hopefully be arriving by the end of next week. There was no reason given for why my possessions were delayed in their transit but I suspect that the couch caused some trouble around the Winnipeg area and had to spend a few days in a holding cell.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Today I sort of started my job. It's only sort of because 1) a foul stench drove everyone out of the building before the day was done. There's nothing quite like the smell of unadulterated sewer gas to make you appreciate fresh air. 2) I'm not teaching yet, just getting everything set up. The actual start date of the classes is something of a mystery. My supervisor seems to think that the building won't be ready for the students to start next Tuesday - maybe a week later, maybe less.