Monday, December 6, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Sometimes I think about the things people use to describe me. And I think of how many different groups of friends (online and off) that only know little bits about me. And some things that hardly anybody knows. So what are some things that I believe define me? Here are some of the things that go into the whole crazy package you see as me:
- I am curious. About everything. There are lots of things I want to know the answer to, and will go forth and research (thank you, internet!). And as much as I love to learn, I love to teach others. But complex issues confuse and mystify me. Which is why politics anymore complex than general knowledge will remain a complete and utter mystery to me.
- I am lazy. There are so many times, and so many situations, when I simply just cannot be bothered. I also love sleep.
- I am shy. Lots of people don't know this. I'm more shy over the phone than face-to-face, and more shy IRL than online. I stay away from lots of parties and clubs where I won't know anyone, or only know very few. It's just far too intimidating for me. At work, in a professional light, I'm much more confident, but I still hate calling people I don't know.
- I am a furry. That's right. I love to roleplay anthropomorphic characters, and I often wish I was an anthro jaguar (hence my twitter name, cammyjag). I love other roleplays as well, but anthro is my first love.
- I am obsessed with other cultures. Asian, Irish, Native American and historical American are my favourite cultures to explore.
- Food. I love food and will try almost anything once.
- I am passionate about equality and social respect. I despise things that cause people to have superior attitudes towards other people. This involves fashion, gossip, willful ignorance, and Disney Princesses.
- The thought of Barbie and Disney Princesses makes me gag involuntarily. I never liked any of these as a child, and seeing my students completely obsessed with them turns me off even more.
- I want to live somewhere else. Nowhere exotic. Just somewhere else. Like the UK. Or Philly.
- I would rather work for nothing than to work somewhere that I hate.
- I could never give up meat. Never ever. *gnaws on steak*
- I love to laugh and make others laugh. Whether it's teasing, harmless pranks, or just sharing a funny story, I love when people are happy.
- I love pretty much any music genre from the 1920s to the 1980s. Except for modern jazz. Swing Jazz and Blues Jazz are fine, though. Modern jazz makes my ears bleed.
- I love to dance. Not all dance, though. Liturgical dance. I'm in my church's dance ministry and I absolutely love it.
- I am socially awkward. I don't know if this is part of my shyness, or exactly how they affect each other, but I've always been on the edge of a group, even if I'm fully involved with it, I've never felt completely emotionally accepted. I hated high school. This also frustrates me in that I'm a very generous person and love to help others, but often receive very little in reciprocation. It's to the point that this is normal for me. I don't give expecting something back, but sometimes it's nice to feel that I'm not ignored or taken advantage of. Lots of times I really don't feel the love and support I give, especially when I need it most. But I'm too shy to say anything really about it.
- I love casual gaming. I suck at video games. Always have, always will. But give me a hidden object game or a puzzle game, a solitaire game or a social game, and you have my attention for several hours.
- I am FORGETFUL. OMG, I'm forgetful. I have a sanguine temperament (HIGHLY sanguine!) and one of the features of the temperament is forgetfulness, or being 'scatter-brained'. That is so me! I even forget to write things down, as often as I've tried, or if I do actually remember to write things down, I forget to go back and read what I've written.
That being said, I can't think of anything else, even though there's probably more. Hope you enjoyed this look into me. Ask me questions! I love to answer them.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Besides the children. That's just a given. This is bonus.
I love to mess with my boss. She is absolutely hilarious to tease. She's a middle-aged lady, even though she calls herself old, and has such a wonderful sense of humour. Being the owner/head teacher/assistant in a preschool is really stressful, so I help by spending little moments of my day making her laugh.
One of my favourite ways is to stand outside her office window (which is directly across from the door of my classroom) and make faces at her until she looks. The other is to stand directly behind her when she's talking to another teacher. Once she was talking to the teacher for over a minute, even hit me in the boob, and still didn't realise I was there until the teacher she was talking to couldn't keep from laughing.
I don't know what it is that makes me want to tease her like that. Maybe it's because I know she'll laugh, and maybe because it's just so dang easy! She reminds me of my mom, the way I can take what she says or does and use it to tease her, and all she can do is laugh and try to hit me. I have good reflexes :D. And because I know she'd never really hit me. Hard, anyway.
This is key, because I love to take advantage of the backup camera she has in her new Kia Sportage and dance or do something crazy when she starts backing up. She always cracks up laughing!
I work with some awesome ladies, I tell you. It's not just the children I go to work for. If it wasn't for an equally wonderful staff of teachers that I work with, there's no way that I could enjoy my job so very much! I would never work somewhere to make more money if it meant working in a hostile, gossiping, spiteful atmosphere. Having fun with my coworkers and especially my boss is definitely the highlight to every working day!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
10. You have 1 child here. Sometimes 2. We have 8-12. Every day.
9. We cannot remember everything you say, and we can't stand around and talk to you all day. You are not the only person we have to deal with today, and not even the most important. We are here for the children. If you really need to talk to us, call us at the proper time (ie, when you know they're resting!) or email us. Or even write a note! It's not hard! Don't be selfish with our attention to you.
8. Don't dress your child in white and look at us funny when they come home brown. They are children, they will play. Please dress your child appropriately. They can't tie their shoelaces, and you know they take their shoes off when they come inside. Why are you going to do that to us? And on the other end of the spectrum, don't send them in flip-flops either. They're not proper support for the running/jumping they do all day.
7. PLEASE check your child's communication box/folder daily! There's important information there, and we aren't always there/available to talk to you when you pick your child.
6. Please please PLEASE be on time! This counts for drop-off as well as pick-up. You distrupt the class when you waltz in late and go through your unnecessarily long, drawn-out separation process as if nobody is there. And we don't get paid overtime to sit around and wait for you to come and pick up your child at the end of the day. The child also begins to worry and become distressed. If you have to pick up your child by 5:30, don't LEAVE at 5:30! And don't complain when we charge you the late fee, either!
5. LABEL EVERYTHING. Again, we have multiple children we are taking care of. Many items look similar to us, and most children cannot identify their own belongings. If it looks nice to them, they will claim it whether it belongs to them or not. If it's not labelled, don't blame us if it goes missing. We don't have the time to play the elimination game to guess whose it is. Anything that can detach from them physically should be labelled. This includes socks and underwear! Don't assume that your child will always keep these on. They don't even do it at home, why would they do it at school?
4. We are not a party venue! We are a school. If you would like to have an elaborate birthday party for your child, do it on the weekend. Keep the birthday celebrations at school simple and quick, and work with our schedule, not yours.
3. DISNEY IS THE ENEMY!! Not literally, but it really doesn't belong at a school. We do not promote images and some of the messages they give to children. They often distract from learning when children are more focused on what they're wearing or what they have on their lunchbox/bottle/hat, etc. Keep such images at school at a minimum, and downplay their importance as much as possible. There are more important things to focus on.
2. Let the children be children. Let them develop on their own. They grow up too fast anyway, so why speed up the process by flooding them with images and messages that are not age appropriate? Little girls should not be obsessed with make-up, fashion and gossip. Boys should not be obsessed with guns, fighting and monsters. They can be aware of it, but when they're fed a steady diet of it so that's what is most important to them and that's all they focus on, something is very wrong.
1. RESPECT. Please respect the teachers and the classroom. This is our workplace and our profession, so please treat it as such. We take our jobs very seriously, and our first and most important goal is the safety and wellbeing of your child. We are not your servants, we are not second-class workers. We are professionals, just like you. We work hard, and we work long. We go home tired and drained at the end of the day, but we never stop thinking about your children. They become like our own and we are devoted to them and to you. When we say something, or suggest something, it's because we care. Work with us, not against us. At the end of the day, it's not the paycheck we're looking for, it's knowing that we're doing the best for a child. Let us know that you appreciate us, you have no idea how it helps us when we're tired and stressed.
Teaching is not an easy profession. Teachers don't get paid a lot of money, it's long hours and it's mentally and physically draining. But we teach because it's our passion as well as our profession. Just because we teach preschool, don't think we are less than a grade school or high school teacher. Let's bring back the respect that the teaching profession deserves.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Apple, or Old Navy.
But, other than that (and 4 new parents in one class deciding not to send their children to the school after all, and the toilets not working yesterday due to the power outage on Thurs), it has been an amazing first week of school. All the classrooms had a big makeover in terms of layout, we have brand new carpets and new paint, and we seriously purged all our storage sheds, getting back to a nice, minimalist feel, as a Montessori school should feel. It's so strange, the way things have changed so much between the end of the old school year and the start of the new one. It feels really, really good.
Things are still a bit hectic in the office, getting files re-organized, and both the head teacher and I have to squeeze in office time outside of teaching to get everything rolling. Thanks to the head-teacher's mother-in-law who works part-time for us in the office, there's a lot of stress gone out of it, though, since we can rely on her to do a lot of the organizing.
So, school is now back in session, I'm getting my students in shape and in order, and it's looking to be a good year. The real work starts on Monday.
Funny story about my class: my students told their old teacher they wanted to go back to her class, because they have too many 'chores' in my class. XD
It's true, I do have them do chores after lunch. They eat off of plates and drink out of cups to learn good table manners, so after lunch there are dishes to be washed, tables and floors to be wiped, and sweeping to be done. Once they really start working on the shelves, there will also be dusting and organizing of shelves as well. I do this for two main reasons: to give them a sense of pride & responsibility, and to fill the time during their shortened rest time. They'll be heading to primary school next year, which means no more rest time, no more naps. We prepare them for this by shortening their rest time down to one hour of quiet rest during the school year, then quiet activity during summer camp. Chores after lunch and before rest time help to fill that gap. Also, when their work time in the morning gets longer. Also, I told my class that it's their space, and they are responsible for keeping it clean. I have already seen the smiles on their faces after sweeping up the floor, or washing the dishes. They're more than eager to do a good job. They almost fight over whose turn it is, which makes me thankful for my job chart. They can see their names on the chart, and know whose turn it is to work.
Hopefully this week I'll remember to charge my camera and take pics of my classroom. Maybe I'll start my own Wordless Wednesday posts!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
my stuffed toys.
Apple computers. :D
beef. In any form. and most likely cheese.
SO! Busy busy busy. Been getting my classroom ready for school to start this Wednesday. I know American schools started last week, but we start the first Wednesday after Labour Day. So there :P
New batch of preschoolers! Woo! I'll miss my children from last year (my 'minions' as I jokingly referred to them near the end of the school year. Mostly to make my boss laugh.) but they're off to bigger and better things and I wish them all the best! Now I have a new challenge to contend with: the 'girly-girls'. There are 2 (maybe 3) girls who act more like teenagers than 4 year olds. It's all about fashion, tv, music, and clothes. This grates me for several reasons:
- They tend to clique together and alienate the other children.
- These are the same type of children that created hell for me growing up.
- It makes you wonder what their moms are actually thinking, and if they realise what they're setting themselves up for later on.
- It also makes you wonder what types of messages they're being fed through all the media they're exposed to, and it worries me.
- One of them has already decided that one of the boys in the class is her 'boyfriend' because their last names are similar. This worries me.
- They are far too aware of things that, in their context, are far too mature for them. Mostly, they're aware of their bodies and parts, but in all the wrong ways.
I was on youtube the other day, watching clips from the tv special 'Free to be...you and me', where two babies were trying to figure out what they were (boy/girl). It was interesting in that it dealt with the stereotypes we place on children on what it means to be a 'boy' or a 'girl'.
This is something I deal with all the time. Children telling each other they can't do something or they can't like something because it's 'for girls' or it's 'for boys'. Who says? This is something I've had to deal with my whole life. I grew up a very staunch tomboy. I hated having to wear dresses and skirts. I constantly had my mother getting on me as I got older, to wear my uniform skirts more as opposed to my shorts and pants, because I was a 'girl child' (my mother's Jamaican, if you're wondering about the phrase). I've been asked if I was a lesbian because of being such a tomboy. People always trying to get me to wear makeup so I'd look more like a 'lady'.
Now that I'm in my late 20s, I still prefer pants to skirts and dresses, although I will wear them when I want. Also, I've invested in some quality makeup that I've started to wear more frequently because I want to. See, the difference is that I do it because I want to, not because other people have told me that I should. This is what I want to instill in my students. I want them to be able to be who they are, and know who they are, not to be what the media tells them to be. Now, if I can only get the parents on board.
I can already see my first day of school being about respect and courtesy, as well as new material. It's going to be a tough battle.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
The inspiration and the basics.
1920s-based char of course, for the Lackadaisy world. Always need to be mindful of the world you're dropping your character into, so you can build your char into it.
Second, I'd like a male, preferably in the industrial sector. I decided on a general mechanic for now. Might be a mix of car, boat and/or plane in the end, but we'll see. General mechanic is nice and flexible.
Also, for Lackadaisy, I need to pick a species of animal. I usually go with cat, but this time I might go with something different, like a raccoon, possum, squirrel, or maybe even a dog.
Then, I need a name and an origin. For me, origin comes before name. Will he be first or second gen immigrant, or an American mongrel with no particular ethnic breeding?
Finally, I need to start thinking of personality and history. I've already decided that they'll be somewhat traditionally educated: a basic elementary education, followed by years of apprenticeship. Given the amount of years that one apprentices for, he'll be most likely in his late 20s, maybe early thirties in 1927 (the target year for the Lackadaisy world). That would mean he'd have been old enough to serve at least some time in the Great War. Maybe he served as a mechanic in the war? That would give him the proper training in planes and cars, if not boats. The boats could have been picked up more as a hobby, living close to the river.
Okay! Now that you've got your starting point, it's time to move onto the next step: research!
Research, research, research...
Unless you're creating some fictional creature right off the top of your head, you're going to HAVE to do your research! Chances are, practically every character you create is going to need some kind of research.
For me, I think I'm going to go for a non-feline character, so I need to start looking at what species of animal I'd like to use. I usually start with Wikipedia for an overview and a list of species/breeds of any particular animal I'm thinking of. This is also where origin comes in. I've decided to go with American mongrel, so if I choose a dog, it's going to have to be an american breed, or if I choose a squirrel, it can't be a European species.
(two hours later)
Okay! After much research, including almost an hour of tangent researching (when I was researching raccoons, i came across a fun google word: baculum), I have settled on an Australian Shepherd. While not crucial to my characters, Australian Shepherds existed as a breed during the 1920s. Usually I reserve such strict distinctions to the feral pets. Plus, now that I have my species and breed, I can nail down an exact origin. He should have grown up on a Mid-Western farm close to a town, where he could've easily become apprenticed and gone to school. He also should have several siblings, so that he wouldn't have been stuck at the farm, but could pursue a mechanic/blacksmith apprenticeship. This mean he would also be one of the youngest in the sibling line. Also, I usually choose an animal based on the temperament I want, so his temperament would follow that of an Australian Shepherd.
Now to work on his war record...
Ah, found it. I've decided that he was part of the 'Motor Transport Corps', the precursor to the current U.S. Army Transportation Corps. He was assigned to the Service Parks.
Okay, seems like he can't do planes in the war, as planes are apparently under the Navy. See? This is why research is important. Okay, let's stick to motor vehicles and boats as a hobby.
Service ParksDesigned to make repairs not requiring much time or heavy equipment, these mostly mobile workshops carried a limited stock of spare parts and were mainly assigned to combat zones. Because of their temporary and mobile nature, the service parks were often operating in the open, under canvas, or in any shelter found to be available. (Wikipedia quote, from Motor Transport Corps (United States Army) (World War One))
The last thing I think I REALLY need to research at this point is his present wardrobe. Unlike most of my previous characters, he is strictly working class, so he needs to be dressed appropriately. Also, what would his work clothes (this is different to his street clothes) and his tools look like?
So, he would wear either overalls or, more probably, a combo suit that he could wear right over his street clothes. They'd be made of denim or some other heavy material. In the winter he'd wear a matching jacket. Since I see him owning his own shop, he'd most likely not wear these clothes out on the street, but a sensible suit. He'd most likely have in his closet: several shirts and pants for daywear that he could mix and match, no more than 3 'Sunday best' or evening suits, and maybe one or two leisure suits. He'd also have motoring clothes, since I think he should have his own car or motorbike. He would prefer braces (suspenders) to belts, and his favourite hats would be a flat cap and a wool trilby; he'd wear a felt fedora with his best clothes.
I think that's enough research for me... oh snap!
I almost forgot one of my most important parts of research (for me, anyway)! I must name this guy. I always look for a good name that would be relatively common, especially if they're an all-American. If not, I name them based on their ethnicity. When looking at name popularity, research the character's BIRTH YEAR. Don't research the year that's your character's 'present-day'.
Clayton Lawrence Whitfield. Yes, I like the sound of that. Any nicknames? Childhood ones would be 'Clay', while Army ones would be 'Whit'.
Okay, that's enough for now. I'll post the final profile once i finish hashing it out.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
This last one is a compilation of different commercials put to music. Longer, but very touching. My favourite.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Name: Leviticus Abrahamson III
Build: Thin, but sturdy. Strong and fit from working with boiler engines.
Appearance: Black, wavy hair, bright green eyes. One eye is scarred, and he wears a telescopic monogoggle over it, which actually helps him see better than his regular eye. He has various other scars and burns on his arms and chest, par for the course with his line of work. He tends to wear: a black coachman's hat, a rifle frock coat, a tan canvas vest when working, or a gold and red vest when he's not. Various colours of canvas pants when working, more fancy trousers when not. Tends to wear a silk puff tie when he's not working, as well as gloves.
Accessories: A telescoping monogoggle, which he switches for a regular pair of tinted goggles when he's machining. When he's not machining, they live atop his coachman's hat. He carries a doctor bag with his tools and writing supplies, and when he's travelling, a small chest with his chemicals and a large duffel bag with his extra clothes. For defense he carries a shotgun-type weapon of his own design which shoots heavy-duty shells, as well as a more traditional Colt 45 Peacemaker.
Personality: Shameless and proud, but not unreasonably boastful. He's smart and he knows it. Tends to leap without looking, and is willing to follow anything that'll lead him to his riches.
History: is forthcoming...
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Anyway, getting off the steampunk topic for awhile before I beat it to death (next time I'll probably talking about a couple of steampunk chars that I've created), I wanted to talk a little bit, in vague terms, about my job and my kids. My kids at my job.
I teach at a Montessori preschool, in the preschool class, which is the oldest group. I currently have 7 (soon to be 8) children in the class, all ranging from 4-5 years old. The newest one will be just 3, but he's ready to move up. One thing I love about my class is that my kids are making the leap into beginning reading. I mean, REAL reading! Sounding out words and reading a story. It's exciting for me. They're really smart kids, and I get to teach them all sorts of things. They're always asking questions, to the point of my insanity at times, but they're sweet kids. If I talk about them in the future, it'll be by initials only, and no pics. Safety first, you know!
I really can't wait to get to work and see what they've been up to while I've been sick. I know they've been well taken care of, because the head teacher's been covering my class, and she's an old pro at Montessori. I just hope they don't go nuts now that I'm back. But they probably will. Just my luck, huh? X3
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Okay, I don't feel like doing any more right now. More later...
I just realised I said that both had wide brims. I'll find some wide-brimmed Victorian hats later and stick it in here.
Anyway, I know you all love a juicy confession, so here it is.
I'm a furry.
Yes, it's true, and now you finally know the truth. I'm not hardcore like other people, with the whole fursuit thing (which I think is creepy, btw) but I wouldn't mind having moveable ears and tail. Being able to climb and walk on all fours like a cat, and able to convey emotion through previously mentioned appendages just appeals to me. Yes, I do have a fursona (furry personality). Her name's Camilla, she's a jaguar of Mexican heritage. In modern-day, she is fully bilingual, but in her original era of the 1920s, she speaks primarily Spanish with broken English. The original Camilla is much more feral, having grown up in the border towns of Texas. She's a gun-for-hire in the Prohibition. In modern-day, she's a financial shark, highly intelligent and highly cosmopolitan.
How did I get into such a thing? In one word, Lackadaisy.
What is Lackadaisy? Let me give you a taste:
Monday, February 1, 2010
Now, you may ask, "But airships are real. What do they have to do with this fantasy genre?"
Yes, airships, zeppelins, blimps, hot air balloons, they shaped our history in a big way. They're sleek, pretty and massive. But are they outrageous enough for Steampunk? Oh ho ho no, my friends!
When you think Steampunk airship, think a classic wooden ship (maybe metal reinforced) with a big-ass balloon on top. Most will have either mizzen sails along the ship sides or propellors and underneath for stability/propulsion.
One requirement for all airships as well, is a huge boiler room. Whether your airship runs on steam, some form of liquid fuel, or even magic (either elemental or electrical), you are obligated to have a boiler room with a hardcore or nerdy engineer.
Now, what exactly were these ships used for? Well, how many uses do traditional ships have? There were passenger and luxury ships, merchant ships, personal crafts, and ESPECIALLY pirate ships!
Because you can't have a good steampunk without pirates and/or some evil scientist!
We'll talk more about smaller steampunk machines later, especially the support vehicles for the airships.
- Buy goggles with prescription lenses. Hardly anyone does this, but I know that Atomefabrik.com does offer this service, but it's mad expensive.
- Pince-nez glasses! Because nothing says Victorian like an awesome pair of these!
Genius, I know, but it's harder than you think to nail down a satisfactory colour for each emotion. And which emotions should I include in this? This will be an ongoing thought process...