Sunday, June 17, 2007

Similes & Metaphors

There is an email going around with what are purported to be students similes and metaphors from actual essays. As an English teacher, I’ve come across a few that raised an eyebrow, but these are in a class of their own. Worth a chuckle.

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a ThighMaster.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

15. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.

16. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

17. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

18. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

19. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

20. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

21. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.


Lil C took this as well of Monty lying in wait.


Lil C took this picture of Monty just after his bath, looking a bit forlorn. She did a great job.



I’m into my first week of holidays and it’s never felt so good to be able to relax. By the end of the term we were all tired beyond belief. It was a tough and very busy term but we made it and everyone is either overseas or heading out to parts of indo for rest and relaxation. We are heading to Bali ourselves for 12 days on Monday. I’ve booked a two bedroom apartment in Kuta (http://www.kutatownhouses.com/) for six nights, then a night in Sanur (http://www.besakih.com/) after which we will check out other hotels. I think being on the ground going to a hotel directly will get us better rates. Spent a fair amount of time on the internet and found some good places so be interesting to see what they look like in reality!

My bonus at end of contract came through so after much deliberation on the net (honestly, I am so pedantic about buying things I spend far too much time researching it thus when the purchase is made it feels almost anticlimactic!) but anyway, got C the laptop she has been wanting and needing to help with her studies. She is delighted with it, and it is a nice machine, cheap as well so an added bonus! Its an Acer 5052, bought for Rp5,6 mill, about AU$740.00. Powerful little machine, its not for gaming or graphics but is quite the performer for office stuff.

The children are doing well. Lil D’s vocabulary is growing in leaps and bounds, surprising us almost every day with new words he picks up. His conversation is now thoughtful and considered (for a 3 year old) and he is able to explain, maintain, and expand on conversations. He is still getting into trouble at every turn, he has this amazing propensity to do the wrong thing then innocently turn away. When pulled up on it we get the wide eyed look as if to say “me? Nahh, not me!!”

It’s quite a battle at times with him as he has his mothers stubborn streak (or is that mine?!) and at times he will just refuse to do as requested until it’s a trip to his bedroom for some time out, a few howls then he finally settles down. The cat is always at risk when he is around, as are our fish as he enjoys throwing things into the pond. As is Lil C if she rough houses too much with him and he gets too excited, as is poor Patsy who has to put up with his requests etc all the time, as are us when ever we take over! In retrospect, Lil D is a holy terror but is also such a sweet kid. This morning we were inspecting the fish as I had my coffee, a morning ritual, and he came up and gave me the biggest hug. Then chatted away to me. It’s moments like that which I treasure.

He still enjoys hopping into bed with us during the night, tho at times inexplicably he insists that C join him in his bed. Last night he was in our bed and sprawled all over the place between us, making sleeping as bit difficult at time when you suddenly get an elbow in the face or a kick to the stomach. I’ve learnt to put a guling between him and me to protect from the worst of the assaults!

Lil C is such a little sweetie. She has become the big sister to Lil D and is constantly giving him advice. He will do things for her that he won’t do for us, and follows her around every where. She is a lovely child, very sensitive, with a flair for the dramatic. At times we call her our drama queen as she will eagerly go into long, drama laden speeches about something or another accompanied with gestures and an amazing portfolio of facial expressions. She gets excited about things we don’t see, and will insist on dragging us to look at what ever has taken her interest. For instance, yesterday she came running in wanting the camera as she had found an unusual grasshopper and wanted to take a picture. She learns fast; she came back with the camera with a very fuzzy pic but after I showed her the close-up feature she went away again and took another pic with much better results. She loves using the camera and it’s fascinating to get pics taken with her eye.

She is doing well at school, tho all the teachers say she gets impatient with things and at times does not follow through. She loves playing, acting, dancing, dressing up and also quiet time with her toys etc. She has a loving nature, and is always bringing things to our attention for a hug and a word of approval. Her reading is improving slowly but again, she gets impatient and guesses words rather than spelling them out but everyone is patiently trying to break her of this habit and be more considered in her approach.

Her best friend has moved into the house four doors down, a couple from country NSW who started teaching with us last year finally moved into the house which was vacated by the other teaching couple & family who are now heading to Karachi for their new posts in late July! The new neighbours have a daughter (J) who was in Lil C’s class and they have become the best of friends which is a relief for us as no matter how hard we try, the Indonesian families seem to want little to do with us. It’s a rare family who will allow their child to play at our house etc, in fact, only one that I know of. She doesn’t get invited to other kid’s houses much so we see her relationship with J as a bit of a life saver. We have, however, requested that J not be in her class this coming school year (July) as want her to expand her friendship circle and also learn more bahasa. Her Indonesian is quite good; enough to get along with her classmates (who are required to speak English in class but still use quite a bit of Indonesian amongst themselves outside the classroom). Her Indonesian teacher says she is doing well though we see little evidence of it at home. Her mandarin teacher also says she is doing well but when pressed, Lil C is reluctant to tell us anything in mandarin! She refuses to use indo or mandarin at home, reserving them for school only tho does use Indonesian with the cook, Banti, who can’t speak English.

C is tired and looking forward to the Bali holiday. We are using the airfare money I got at the end of contract to pay for it, which is a bit of a bonus as it doesn’t really come out of our own pockets. The school provides airfares for the whole family at the end of 2 years but as we aren’t heading back this time and thought to put it to good use here instead! C has been working very hard, she studies all the time, and last week and this week has been sitting exams. A friend is the supervisor for the exams, and she goes to the school to do them. Cora is very conscientious about them, and is doing them under exam conditions just as tho she was back home and doing them at university. She refuses to take a peek at them beforehand and complies with all rules down to the last letter. So, she works hard at it, is keeping on top of the dozens of assignments she has to do, and so far has passed all of them. The workload seems huge, much more than I remember when I did the same course so I can only figure that they have really tightened up the whole process and content.

Just started going to the gym again after more than a week off as just couldn’t get into it. Had a good workout yesterday and will do the same today. The break from the gym has been good for me; think I needed a rest from it. It’s been going well, the weights have settled into a particular range for now, just enough to make me sweat but not enough to cause a heart attack! J I’m bench lifting 65-70kgs now which is pretty good, and back lifting about 100 kgs which is even better! Dumbbells sit around 35 kgs each for most exercises which is also comfortable at the moment. I think after the holidays I should be able to get up to 40 kg dumbbells but not pushing it, last thing I want is an injury. My knee is still troubling me, I must have done some injury to it somewhere late last year, if its not better by august I’ll go for an mri and see if they can find any other probs with it. Awhile ago when I saw a bone doc he told me it was knee stress, not sure from what. Have been kind to it and laid off the x-trainer quite a bit but every now and then do it just to stretch the legs. Haven’t been on my bike tho as it seems to accentuate the problem. Ah well!

Anyway, that’s all the news.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Front garden.
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Long Weekend

It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Sunny but with a breeze, fresh and light on the skin and eyes. We have just had an industrious time in the front garden, weeding, re-potting and generally enjoying ourselves. The kids played about, helped gather leaves and continually pestered us with questions, a very healthy activity as far as I’m concerned!

Cut down some bamboo that was growing out of control, destroying one of our kitchen knives in the process, to which C responded with some amusement. Cleaned the filter on the pond pump, took out a dying plant, cut back some shrubbery and so on, and generally had a good time. Our next door neighbours also came out, doing the same in their garden, so the kids were wandering back and forth, pestering them as well. She is Lil C’s principal, and he is my principal, but both very down to earth and nice to be around. Good people. It was pleasant to have a chat and admire each other gardens!

Saturday night saw us staying in and watching the movie “The Holiday”. With Jude Law etc, I would have thought it’d be good but was quite disappointed. The actors seemed uncomfortable in their roles, and Jack Black was totally miscast. As was Kate Winslet who tried unconvincingly to play a lovelorn character. Cameron Diaz was no better. Still, it was okay to spend 90 minutes and after that we were in bed by 9.30pm, unheard of usually for yours truly, but both of us were tired so we headed to bed after checking on the children. Lil C had a friend over for a sleepover, but both were tired out after an afternoon of furious playing, so by 8.30 both of them were fast asleep. Lil D was also early to bed, just after 6pm as he didn’t have an afternoon sleep.

Saturday day didn’t do much, wandered over the Carrefour, the shopping centre as I haven’t been in for quite a long time and the urge was upon me to see just what was for sale! Priced some laptops for C who is very keen to get one to help with her studies. It was very confusing, the choice is huge and getting on the net is no better. Spent a couple of hours today wandering through sites trying to find something within our budget and that had a good reputation. It’s a maze of information, and at times quite misleading. At least I’ve been able to narrow it down to a handful so next weekend will go out and do some shopping around for them.

Friday night saw Cora go out with a lot of others to an opera concert. By all accounts it was a wonderful performance, at the Majapahit hotel by visiting Italian opera singers. Tickets were Rp300, 000 and C said it was worth every rupiah. I had to miss out as it was a public holiday thus the maid’s day off and thus had to baby-sit. Next time. Friday day didn’t do much at all. I had a luxurious afternoon sleep, read my book, and generally just lazed. I’ve taken nearly a week off the gym as found early in the week I just couldn’t get into it. Think my body was saying enough for the moment, and I figure it pays to listen. Will start back into it tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, it’s the start of our last week at school, after which we have 4 weeks holiday. It’ll be good to have the break. It’s going to be a busy week as need to get stuff prepared for the following school year but hopefully should get it all under control by Friday lunchtime which is when we finish.

The evenings are also busy. Monday night is book club, Tuesday night is graduation night for the school, Wednesday night is a farewell dinner for leaving expat teachers, Thursday night is free and Friday night is another dinner with friends. I think by Saturday I’ll be quite glad everyone will be on planes leaving the country allowing us to relax a bit! Should be a good week though.


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