Sunday, November 25, 2007


Well I've been trying Flickr as a way to put some of my 3000 or so digital photos on the web. Unfortunately, as nice as Flickr is for browsing, to actually manage any serious collection of photos one has to pay—and it's about $US25 per year.

So I'll try a few of the other free photo sharing sites and see what I come up with. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

(URL for my Flickr account updated 16 Dec 2007)

Saturday, November 24, 2007


No, I'm not talking about the 1960s musical. I'm talking about my own mop. Well, it was a mop. But now it's shorter, neater and definitely much cooler.

See, I had planned to grow it long, for our tenth wedding anniversary next August. It was down to my shoulder blades when we married, and Laetitia wanted me to grow it long again for our anniversary. I started growing it this term. But what with the warm humidity and the bother of looking after it and the way it falls out and makes a mess everywhere that I get hounded about because I'm too busy to clean it up, and with the way it blows in my eyes when I'm driving and tangles around my glasses and just plain looks messy most of the time… I decided I couldn't be bothered.

Besides, when my year 10 girls can do this to me, my hair is definitely too long!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Moving on up

Last week the year 12 students graduated.

On Friday last week, when the year 12s were away on their Mystery Tour, the year 11s lost no time in staking out new territory in the area where the year 12s normally used to hang out during lunch breaks. On Monday the year 10s were filling in the spaces vacated by the year 11s. Surprisingly the year 9s haven't moved much—although perhaps that's because there are still quite a few year 10 students who also haven't moved. But the year 8s are already noticeably infiltrating the year 9 areas.

I suppose it must be an annual migration. Different areas of the school grounds become associated with the different year levels, and the students feel the need to move on up, preferably a little sooner than the start of next year…

(With apologies to M People for the title of this blog entry.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Our weekend in Brisbane

While the photos are being downloaded, backed up, imported, etc, I figure I may as well tell you a little about our weekend in Bris Vegas.

Got there at 11am on Friday, took far too long to travel about 15km to the restaurant where we met our parents for lunch. Spent the afternoon shopping for a few things we needed, and showing our car to a potential buyer. Had dinner at my parents' place, went to bed early—I was pretty tired!

Saturday was the wedding day. This was actually a “Wedding Party” to celebrate their marriage with friends and renew their vows; the original wedding was in a hospital chapel with the serious threat of imminent death for the groom (here's more info for those who don't know the story). It was a great time of celebration. But since we were the official photographers, we didn't get time to eat lunch or anything much else, except a few bits of fruit grabbed from the nibblies available.

It was held at Palma Rosa: the service outside behind and below the house, the food-eating inside afterwards, and much chatting and mingling on the wide verandahs. Laetitia did a great job of rounding people up for the many family and group photos. By the end of the afternoon the bride and groom were quite worn out, so the plan to go into town for more photos was cancelled, and we went straight to the Pancake Manor for dinner… Uh oh, Laetitia and I can't eat there either! So we grabbed some fast food on the way.

On Sunday we dropped in on the bride and groom to deliver photo proofs and films, and then went to a birthday party of another friend. In the evening we flew home to Mackay.

This is the first wedding I've shot with a digital camera, and I'm very happy with it. I don't have to worry about how much film I'm using up! Yeah baby!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Senior Grad

What a wonderful evening!

It was held in the function room at the local bowls club. It had been decorated nicely, and there was plenty of room (or so I thought). When we first arrived Laetitia thought we might have been overdressed because we saw a few people walking in who were dressed quite casually, but they must have been locals just going to the club. In fact Laetitia turned out to be dressed very appropriately. She looked gorgeous in her Sex Kitten outfit.

First there was an informal meet-and-greet session as people arrived and mingled, followed by a large group photo. Then guests without tickets had to leave, and the rest of us took our seats for the introductions, after which came the meal and formal speeches and presentations.

The speeches were lovely: not too long, very meaningful. Even Laetitia commented on the wisdom of the principal's encouraging message about keeping your eyes on the goal and letting God watch your steps.

Finally the cake was cut, and the graduates got up and danced. They have been practicing for months, and it showed. They looked fantastic! They began with a waltz, then a cha-cha. The third dance was rock-and-roll, after which they invited other guests to join them.

Which brings me to what I think was the greatest thing about the night: The parents were a major part of the evening's celebrations. Every student's parents were there, and some brothers, sisters and grandparents too. It was a lovely evening in which the parents and families really got to celebrate together. The parents were invited to stand behind their children and bless them, and the students presented flowers to their parents as a token of thanks.

And now I'd better go because I have a plane to catch. We're going to Brisbane this morning, for Esther and Andy's wedding party tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Celebration week & Mr Muscle

Whew! What a week.

On Monday evening at square dancing, someone stood on my foot. It hurt. I've been limping since.

Tuesday morning I lost a lesson I'd planned for because instead we had a whole-high-school practice for Celebration Night. Then I lost the next lesson too, because my year 12 students were practicing for their final Chapel on Thursday morning. I had intended to do a “maths in the kitchen” (i.e. cooking) lesson with them. But that was okay, we did it at lunch time instead. They loved the cake I made, and the chocolate cubes and chicken stir fry that two of them made.

Tuesday night was Celebration Night. It was exciting and action packed (no, really!). In a distinctly different experience from my own high school graduation nights, the principal spoke for only 20 minutes. The school's Jazz Ensemble played at the end, and they were simply fantastic!

Wednesday morning was Celebration Morning, when they gave out all the awards they didn't have time for on Tuesday night. After that I got to supervise a year 10 drama class; I think I'll ask to teach drama some time in the future, it was a lot of fun!

Then this morning was Senior Chapel. The year 12s came in free dress, and produced a morning of music, short speeches, advice, and teacher awards. I am now officially “Mr Muscle”. (“Although it looks like there's nothing on the outside, all the power is on the inside!”) My year 8s asked me in the next lesson whether they could call me that. (I said, “Sure, for the rest of this year—but I don't promise to answer!”) The teachers sang “I cannot tell…” for the graduating students; I played violin, a last-minute idea that worked out quite well.

Tonight is the Senior Graduation Dinner. I hope I survive!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What a beginning teacher says about his first year

For one of the final subjects in CHC's Bachelor of Education program, the lecturer sets an assignment which is fairly free-form; one of the options for the assignment is to interview some beginning teachers to find out what they thought of their first year of teaching. I remember doing this assignment last year, and very much appreciating the helpful responses I got.

Anyway, one of my fellow students at CHC, who finishes this year, asked me if I would answer some questions for her. Remembering how much I got out of it myself, I told her I'd love to! Little did I know how many questions she'd ask..

It took me a few hours to type up the answers. (She ‘interviewed’ me by email.) And I thought, maybe others might be interested in my answers. So I've made them available on the web. Enjoy! (Warning: It's quite long.)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Loquacious Laetitia

And now my wife also has a blog:

Happy reading!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Part of the family

Laetitia keeps reminding me that I haven't posted to my blog for a while, so here goes..

This afternoon she told me something very touching. Her mum has offered us their piano (I have no idea how we could possibly get it up here to Mackay!) because I'm “the only person in the family who (still) plays piano”. Why do I find that touching? It shows that she considers me part of her family.

Meanwhile, we've just been offered a 13-month extension to our lease here (until early January 2009), which means we don't have to worry about finding somewhere to live for next year. For those who don't know, we currently live directly over the fence from the school where I work—I can even connect to the school's wireless network from our dining room table, on a good day. This is very convenient, as it saves us from needing two cars (or alternatively from organising a complicated schedule that would get us both to work on time). But it can be almost too convenient: it can sometimes be hard for me to leave my work behind when I come home, and it's almost too easy for me to go in to the staffroom on a weekend.

Speaking of two cars, we're still trying to sell our Volvo 440. Know anyone who wants one?