graculus: (oh please)
There's a bit of an ongoing debate in my line of work about what you need to be able to do to teach English to people where it's not their first language - some people seem to think that it's enough that you're a native speaker as if that magically gives you the ability to help other people learn it as well. Short version: it's not. Alongside this, there's the whole 'can't it all just be done by well-meaning volunteers?' argument which makes me break out in hives. As if our learners don't deserve properly-qualified teachers who know what they're doing and are paid to do the job, just because the qualification they're doing is tailored for them and not folks who were born here.

We just got some funding to run courses for people who're not otherwise eligible to access our classes (for example, we only have a very small pot of money for asylum seekers to get access to classes each year, so when it's gone that's it) and it's to support volunteers teaching them. See previous argument and why I won't be applying for the temporary secondment to run that project, because I probably couldn't keep my mouth shut about how I feel. The question is, I guess, whether it's better for folks to have something rather than nothing?

I was asked a couple of weeks back if I wouldn't mind one of the volunteers coming to spend the morning with a class I'm teaching, which I happily agreed to. It's useful for us as teachers to see other people doing stuff differently and I have no problem with someone coming in, but then the guy in question turned out to be the absolute epitome of white hipster nonsense. I had my learners asking him questions so they could practice on him and he wants to teach 'poor children in India' but hasn't really got his head around all this grammar stuff. Ugh. Get away with your white saviour BS, 'poor children in India' deserve better than you too. Thanks too for reinforcing my previous decision.
graculus: (Default)
I'd already planned to go and see American Hustle tomorrow, so was very entertained when I woke up this afternoon to have been dreaming about Jeremy Renner. Except that he kept interrupting important discussions I was having with people, because he was so needy, and we were all 'I'm sorry nobody is paying any attention to you, now go away because grownups are talking...' Heh.

Also, in other news, I got an extremely unexpected hug from one of the library (student) regulars, a Saudi lass who is just finishing off her dissertation and was worried she wouldn't see me again before she goes back home.
graculus: (oh please)
My job, barring the crazy-ass hours, is a piece of cake. My co-workers, on the whole, are sensible people who do what they need to but also are aware that we're there the whole night and therefore rushing around isn't any assistance to anyone - we've got plenty of time to get done what needs to be done and therefore requests from students for assistance with [the catalogue/where certain books are/how to make things print/how to do bullet points in Word] are absolutely fine and very much part of why we're there.

Of course, there's always an exception to the rule and while I get on perfectly well with 3 of my co-workers, the 4th is grinding on everyone's last nerve. Basically, every night during the week (weekends are a bit different in terms of the length and timing of shifts) we're there all night and our boss leaves about an hour after we start work. Which means that N spends that first hour banging about on the ground floor where his office is, looking busy, before later either disappearing off into the staff room and going to sleep for a couple of hours or just leaving the building completely and returning later in the night. This in itself would be bad enough if she wasn't also insisting on telling everyone (in this case, primarily the cleaners and even students, who I'm certain were wondering wtf she was talking to them about this for) how much harder she works than the rest of us.

Our job is to look after the students and the building, with the rest of us deciding that since we're still there long after most students have left, we'll prioritise the former's welfare/ability to get shit done over the latter's tidiness. Which means not interrupting folks who are hard at work (whether it's to collect coffee cups or discarded books) when most of the students are toiling away with their headphones on and oblivious to the world around them. No prizes for guessing what N is doing, as part of her I-am-busier-than-everyone campaign - as stress levels rise through the term and tempers start to fray, I have no doubt she's going to get a mouthful of abuse from someone sooner rather than later. We've come to the conclusion she just doesn't get why we're there and thinks she's part of the cleaning crew, who she has tried to 'help' at times, which impressed them not at all.

So the rest of us are in a dilemma, since we don't really want to tell on her behaviour but are aggravated since she's swinging the lead so vigorously and talking shit about us while she does it. One or the other would be fine, but both? Still, there's time for her to get herself caught - one of the reasons we're there is because the fire alarms apparently go off regularly (though it hasn't happened yet!) and after a botched evacuation last time around, the fire service made it clear that any further issues would lead to a prosecution for the university. All we can hope is that one of these alarms happens while she's asleep or elsewhere, so all we can do then is be honest when asked and let the chips fall as they may... ;)

E.T.A. I'm sure it'll come as no surprise to anyone that workshy N is also the person complaining about night shifts being at night from this post.
graculus: (Snape)
Yes, I'm back but have sprained my wrist quite badly while away so typing currently v. painful, as is changing gear while driving so it's a good thing I'm off work for another week. Proper update later in the week I hope!

How are you folks? ;)
graculus: (sarcasm)
So, big meeting. Yes, I am certain I want to be redeployed. Yes, really. No, I'm not going to change my mind in a few weeks because I'm stressed out right now and want to take my ball and go home. Seriously.

Which would all be nicely resolved (well, at least a bit!) if, in the past 2 weeks since I told my boss that my intention was either that or quit she had actually a) spoken with her manager (yes, the one who I pissed off a while ago, how nice for me...) to see if this is even theoretically possible, and b) checked to see what vacancies there might be across the county. *headdesk*

In other news, Sainsburys are now stocking Nutrageous bars for the same price as their other chocolate, which make a reasonable substitute for the (out of stock) peanut butter chunky KitKat - do people really pay £1.20 each on those American candy websites? Jeez, they're not that nice!
graculus: (sarcasm)
When the whole tedious public sector v private sector arguments get rolled out again because of something stupid the government has done (this time round it's 'oh, if you live in a cheaper area and work in the public sector, we shouldn't pay you as much as people in the same jobs where it's more expensive to live') and the trolls trot out their tired rhetoric about the bloated and incompetent public sector and their gold-plated pensions etc...

If life is so good in the public sector (oh, if only that were so!), wouldn't everyone want a job in the public sector? Surely it's not because they all think 'oh, I can't live with the ethical dilemma of getting paid a living wage and having reasonable job conditions, I'd much rather get paid crap and treated like shit!'? It always sounds a little like sour grapes to me.

This rant brought to you by the Millionaire's Tory Party and their hangers-on as clearly they're all getting taxed far too much... ;)

Oh my...

Mar. 10th, 2012 01:29 pm
graculus: (Snape)
Because I have fic to finish I'm currently having a clear-out of the spare room and I just found a folder full of information about job applications I made. In 1998. *facepalm*

Apparently the packrat situation is worse than I thought.

In other news, because I have accomplished something, if not yet the completion of my [ profile] smallfandombang story, I posted my [ profile] picfor1000 - The Talented Mr Solo last week.


Feb. 29th, 2012 07:49 pm
graculus: (sarcasm)
I work in a three storey building and we're on the middle floor (that's the first floor if you're in the UK and the second floor if you're in the US, for some reason...) and this morning I saw someone from upstairs reverse their car into a car driven by one of my team. Fortunately neither of them were injured, though it's caused far more damage to my worker's car since the one reversing into it was a Chelsea tractor, which came away pretty much unscathed.

It just so happened that I was crossing the car park at the time and saw the whole thing, with my worker being completely in the clear. My pointing this out to the person in question when they appeared to be back-pedalling ("oh, my reversing sensors didn't go off!" etc., to which my response was "you probably ought to get them checked out, then" was maybe not the most sympathetic) led to me getting a visit from her manager. Because I made her cry later, apparently, and she wasn't happy I didn't take her off somewhere like it was a big secret and she hadn't already blabbed about her inability to drive safely to everyone on the same floor as her.

*shakes head* What is it about some middle-aged women (and I feel I'm in a position to say this, being one of them!) and the apparent lack of a spinal column? One wonders how some of them even manage to get out of bed in the morning...
graculus: (Snape)
Hell, yeah it's October and I just woke up after getting back from [ profile] connotations yesterday, not that I went to bed immediately on getting home from dropping off [ profile] katemonkey and [ profile] gumbie_cat (who I know were planning a MLP marathon on the Wii because they started talking about it as we turned into [ profile] katemonkey's street, so mock them as they so richly deserve!) but you know what I mean...

Booked the week off because a) I knew it would be A Very Good Idea after the con (awesome as always, guys!) but also b) because I have Stuff To Do which I never seem to get done at the weekends. Like I broke my bed a few weeks back, though sadly not in a fun sexytiems way, and it needs replacing and I can't even begin to consider going to Ikea except during the week. Also nobody told me that being a grown-up would involve taking stuff to the tip recycling centre and having to be Responsible and stuff like that. Or if they did, I ignored it in favour of 'but you can spend all day in your jammies and nobody will give you shit about it!'.

Back to the con, I somehow ended up modding/co-modding two panels, which went way better than my half-arsed preparation could have possibly allowed me to hope - for those who weren't there, they were on 'Kink meme culture - creative wellspring or inspirational cul-de-sac' (or it may have been the other way around...) and 'What, if anything, has fandom learned from various fails or does it just make us more prone to navel-gazing?' At some point this week there will be summaries of the main points and links to stuff on [ profile] connotations, though I have to say after someone at the Crack Fic panel talked about the Merlin/Arthur AU where Arthur is a BNF in Camelot fandom and there was also discussion about the various Charles/Erik fic where one or other of them is a kitten, how is it that all of those ended up being recced on [ profile] epic_recs the past few days? Fandom Hive Mind, we haz it. And there was also (finally, after many years of threatening to do so) pimping of Wild Wild West and it was good. :)

In short, it was once again good to be Among My People and I am already looking forward to next year, though my brain still refuses to accept that this will be Connotations X - yes, the con is 10 next year! *wibbles*

In other news, work continues to be just like working for local government, but with more chocolate and biscuits. Buzz the psycho loner ferret has now decided his latest trick will be to go blind in both eyes, which means he has a tendency to run into things since his only paces are either complete stop or full-out run. And there must and will be fic. Along with consideration of whether I want to attempt Nano this year, which will depend on whether I can storyboard the idea (in the movie version of which, in my mind at least, the male protagonists are currently played by Takeshi Kaneshiro and Paul Bettany, no I have no idea how that happened either...) I have and convince myself I can get a novel out of it, which I probably can if I put my mind to it.

Thoughts? Comments? Brickbats? I could probably do with more of all of those, except maybe the latter. ;)
graculus: (sarcasm)
After discovering my burst pipe yesterday, I eventually found another stop-valve which stops all the water, so I am now just subject to significantly squelchy carpets (soon to be removed) and am very thankful for concrete floors downstairs.

On the negative side, the stop-valve stops all the water. All of it, not just the water going into the central heating system and my electric shower appears to be extremely unhappy with me. Grrrr. Aggravating but not completely insurmountable - demolition has been put back to the weekend, so today's task will be trying to find the elusive plumber who can come and fix this when I get everything else done.

So, before Christmas? Doesn't look like a goer...
graculus: (sarcasm)
Came home from work to a burst pipe, which I can't find because it's behind a false wall and therefore all I could do is move everything out of the adjacent room and prepare to demolish said wall tomorrow morning instead of going to work.

For some reason, known only to the gods and the person who installed the heating in this house, the water supply to/from (not sure which because I can't tell) the heating system is not controlled by the main internal stop valve. And I can't get to the external stop valve to turn off all the water coming into the house because it's under 2 inches of ice and compacted snow.

Tomorrow, even if I can get a plumber (not guaranteed at all, given the recent spate of bad weather) I was advised by the one company I could speak to that they couldn't do anything about pipes they couldn't get to. Hence the impending demolition. Damnit, life is a pain in the arse sometimes!
graculus: (sarcasm)
What's with all the fail this year? Seriously, has someone put something in the water supply that's making folks act like asshats (more than usual)? Midsummer madness of some sort?

  • The whole SGFail business where Token Lesbian gets to be on the receiving end of a bodyswapping rape scene... (and it just rumbles on - [ profile] sheafrotherdon is probably your best source for ongoing informantion)

  • The Mammoth Book of Sci Fi Writers Who Are Awesome Just Like Me (and the rest of you are just jealous!) fail...

  • John C Wright gets to have a fail all his own...

    The latter has certainly lost some sales over this - I had one of his ebooks, which I've now deleted unread and that's his chances of sales from me out of the window. I doubt he cares, but it makes me feel a little bit better after reading his tedious vitriol.

    So, can you separate asshattery from artist? Or does knowing something about someone in the public eye make you run away from what they produce? Personally, if I never see another Mel Gibson movie it'll be a thousand years too soon, and the same goes for Tom Cruise - I'm not all that tolerant of either anti-Semites or crazy Scientologists. And then there's Orson Scott Card...
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