Sweet Nostalgia

I ran out of my favourite facial cleanser last week and paid a visit to South African Essentials in Joondalup to buy a new supply. It's odd how the things one has used for a long time - in this case I'd been using Elizabeth Anne Baby Shampoo since my children were babies - remain the best. While there I was thrilled to see a bag of sweets labeled "Black Balls". When I was a kid we called them by the very non-pc name of "Niggerballs". I just had to buy them and see if they were the same; and they are. The first, strong aniseed flavour of the black coating never quite goes away but subsequent layers of different colours and different flavours make sucking these sweets a delightfully different experience. I took half a bag to work the following day and it was fun to watch my colleagues, all middle-aged, getting excited about the different flavours and colours, taking them out of their mouths to see what colour had been reached and sucking like mad to get to the next one. Just the same as I and my friends did when we were kids.

On another tack, what in South Africa are called sweets, are called lollies in Australia, candy in the USA and sweeties in the UK. How can we purport to speak the same language when basic childhood pleasures are known by such different names?


Grammar and Citation

The Resource of the Week at ResourceShelf this week is Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). It is a comprehensive writing style page where users can request help with grammar, construction and how to overcome writer's block (among others).

"OWL is easy to navigate; click the plus sign next to each item in the list on the right side of the page to access an excellent collection of succinct, well-written (of course) tutorials by category — The Writing Process (including what to do about “writer’s block”); Professional, Technical, and Job Search Writing (including writing for Chinese, North American, and Indian business audiences); General Academic Writing; Research and Citation (both APA and MLA are covered in detail); Grammar and Mechanics; English as a Second Language; Internet Literacy (including information on documenting electronic resources); Writing in the Social Sciences; Writing in Engineering; Literary Analysis and Criticism; Creative Writing; Teaching Writing; and Tutoring Writing. The site is keyword searchable via a box on the home page."

Of particular interest to me is the advice about APA citation. We teach Harvard at Central but I have recently been asked to do some APA classes - which I've had to turn down because I'm not familiar with it. I believe it is very similar to Harvard but I'll have to work out a new lesson format - and answers to my set examples - so this will be most useful, to me and the students who need to use it.

Who am I?

As part of the 23 Things programme that I am coordinating for my college I started playing around with avatars from Yahoo earlier this week. Here is my avatar:

Yahoo! Avatars
She's quite unlike the character I play in Oblivion (blonde, fair-skinned, delicate-looking but a champion fighter with "hands like a smith" or my Second Life avatar (she changes virtually every time I go in-world as I have an amazing array of free hairstyles, skins and clothes in my inventory as well as the ability to change my appearance at will). It's sometimes hard to come back to reality and look at myself in a real-world mirror.


23 Things @ Central

On Monday I started a trial run of the popular 23 Things programme based on the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's 23 Learning 2.0 Things. I'm learning things myself as I go along but think that I and the participants should get a lot of fun out of it.

One of my favourite sites for finding out about new Web 2.0 things is Go2Web20.net; It has an endless variety of Web 2.0 sites and an RSS feed that goes some way to keeping me up to date.


What to read?

If you're ever stuck for something to read - here's a blog that gives a new suggestion each day Blogging for a Good Book.
I've reached the stage where I seldom know what to look for in my local public library (I have read all my favourites over and over again) and this could provide me with inspiration.


Google's classroom posters

From Pandia Search Engine News comes a note about Google's set of posters for the classroom, explaining stuff like how a search engines work, how to improve your search results and how to make the most of Google Books. There is a link to the .pdf files. these could prove very useful in Information Literacy classes - as long as teachers take pains to explain to their students that Google is not the only search engine.


Time wasters

Before I started blogging I would go through the various newsletters to which I subscribed and send useful articles to my colleagues. They may or may not have read the articles but if ever they wanted to read them at a later date my emails would have been difficult to find amongst the myriad of others that we receive every day. One of my colleagues has recently remembered some of these and asked if I could resend them - but I'm not sure exactly which she's asking for. I've been going through all those I sent to "Librarians" and have come across several that I'd forgotten. This one is not related to librarianship at all but is a lovely way to stay awake during a boring meeting:

Business Meeting Bingo http://www.tysknews.com/LiteStuff/bingo.htm

Do you keep falling asleep in meetings and seminars? What about those long and boring conference calls? Monotone voices burbling on and on like a creek for hours on end, forcing you to look for the nearest sharp object or length of wire to end it all. Here's a way to change all of that... Meeting Bingo!

1. Before (or during) your next meeting, seminar, or conference call, prepare yourself by drawing a square. I find that 5"x5" is a good size. Divide the card into columns-five across and five down. That will give you 25 one-inch blocks.

2. Write one of the following words/phrases in each block:


strategic fit

core competencies

best practice

bottom line


take that off-line


out of the loop




think outside the box

fast track



knowledge base


touch base


client focus


game plan


3. Check off the appropriate block when you hear one of those words/phrases.

4. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, stand up and shout "BULLSHIT!"


Back in the Saddle

My plane from Bali touched down in Perth at 5.00am on Monday. After 2 weeks of perfect tropical sunshine it was difficult to adjust to the rain and cold of a Perth winter and wearing heavy clothing is a definite no-no. Oh for the ubiquitous bathers and floating sarongs worn by most tourists in Bali.

Tuesday I returned to work and it took me all morning just to work through my email. We are short-staffed because of all the winter bugs that so many have succumbed to so it's head down and tail up and I've not had time to attend to this blog.

Before I started blogging I would sift through the various newsletters to which I subscribed and feed through snippets of information to my colleagues. I realise that I have drifted away from this and become a bit more personal in my posts. One of my colleagues has been requesting copies of old emails that she found interesting at the time but can no longer find. Had they been in the blog and tagged that would not be a problem. I should start to do more of that though I think I stopped because so many are already doing it.

I've been preparing the "23 Things" exercise that will be having a trial run staring next week (comment from my director: "Do we have access to Web 2.0?"). I look forward to getting that under way. Also various presentations are planned for Adult Learning Week in September (SL demo and discussion and Wiki and Blog workshop).