Thursday, September 30, 2010

Odds and Ends

Wow, I'm feeling ultra-bloggy these days, so here's the third post in three days.

To answer questions from my previous post, no, my Kindle doesn't have a touch screen like an iPad. There are conveniently-located buttons on both sides of the screen to turn pages. It's funny how we've become to expect everything to be a touch screen: when I first got my Kindle, I kept touching its screen since I'm used to my iPhone, and pretty much everyone I show the thing to tries the same thing. A few years ago we weren't like that, were we? I'm sure that they'll come out with a touch-screen Kindle sooner or later, and my shiny new toy will become a technological relic.

And to answer more questions from last post, we released the bugs, or benthic macroinvertebrates if you want to use more scientific terminology, back into the river. Oh, and all of the girls and boys were totally into everything, and no one was the least bit squeamish. I was impressed.

Oh, and yes, the book I was talking about was about Henrietta Lacks, the woman who has cells taken from a cancerous tumour, and then they were grown in culture and used in countless areas of research. Interestingly enough, my envi-sci class was engaged in a discussion about genetically-engineered foods today, which evolved into a discussion about medical ethics, and I ended up telling them about this book, and they were enthralled by the story.

So that answers questions from my last post, now onto some new stuff.

A colleague told me a funny story today. Apparently while I was off on my field study yesterday, they removed a tree from in front of my school. His class could see this happening from the window, and one student remarks "Oh sure, they wait until Miss Christielli is gone for the day, then they cut down a tree."

I'm feeling so much better from my cold. I have a tonne of energy this evening. I ran some errands, came home, watched Jeopardy and kicked ass on the category about scientists. Then I remembered that I had a coupon for a free Starbucks drink that was good for the month of September, so I went on a nice walk there. When I came home, I marked a pile of stuff despite Rilo doing her best to sit on it.

Anyway, now I'm going to curl up with my new book, which is great so far. Hope you all have nice Fridays and nice weekends!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Field Trips, kindles, and libraries

Hey kids. I've almost kicked this cold. However, a day in the sun collecting and identifying bugs with teenagers has left me exhausted. I just passed out for about 2 hrs in front of my TV. I started watching Jeopardy, and dammit, now I don't know who won. Hee-hee. Luckily, my parents never miss an episode, so I could call them... if I cared.

So yah, my field trip was amazing. It was a great opportunity that I scored with an environmental education organization where all of the supplies and some expertise were provided for my class for free! We were able to access a portion of a local river by public transit, and the kids went in (wearing hip waders) and collected bugs from the bottom of the stream. It was a really nice sunny day; there were lots of people fishing in the river because it is salmon spawning season. I've never been to this particular park in Toronto before; it's nice to know you can kind of get outdoors within the city.

Based on our analysis of the bugs we collected, it turns out the river is unimpaired! How nice! The neat thing about this study is that the procedure and analysis that we used is the same as those that government and environmental organizations use to determine stream/river quality, so that was cool.

After a long day in the field, I headed home (well, to Starbucks) and finished reading my first book on my Kindle. I have to say that I really like the Kindle. It's not like staring at a screen at all. Whenever I've showed it to people, they are surprised how much the screen looks like a real book. As a friend said "it's like they somehow stuck a page of a real book in there". It's very cool. And you can change the font size and things like that too. Also, it's so light and small that it makes my bag noticeably lighter. It's very portable. I kind of miss turning pages, and the physical realization of how much I read (although there's a percentage on the bottom of the screen), but I think as I read more on the Kindle, the less I'll miss that. Anyhow, I think that it's a great toy to have if you read a lot, carry books around a lot, and/or travel a lot.

The book I finished, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", was rather interesting, but I found the first half more fascinating then the second. It was definitely an interesting piece of non-fiction, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who likes biology.

I got a call from the library today, because the brand new Richard B. Wright book had come in, and I'm the first person to get it! Yay! I don't think I've been the first person to read a new library book since I was a kid, and the Stratford librarians used to save the new dinosaur books for me to read first (my nerdiness was well known at the library... I was so Lisa Simpson). Anyway, my new book is called "Mr. Shakespeare's Bastard", and I'm really looking forward to it. Wright is the author of one of my favourite books (Clara Callan), so I have high hopes!

Anyway, I should start it, then sleep. I did not do any marking tonight, so I must get to school early enough so I can finish a grade 9 set of quizzes before they declare mutiny.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The inevitable fall cold.

Usually when there is a change of season, I get a cold. So right now I'm enjoying the fall edition of the change-of-season sniffles. It's rendered me tired and sniffly.

Anyway, stuff's good. I don't feel like I have much to blog about these days. School's busy as usual. I have a field trip tomorrow. I'm taking my environmental science class to a river to do a stream study. It will be a fun day, but means that I'll be outside all day, so hopefully the weather co-operates. Cross your fingers for sunshine and no rain.

I got the new Ben Folds & Nick Hornby album. Ben wrote the music and does the singing, and Nick Hornby, author of High Fidelity, About a Boy and others, wrote the lyrics. I'm getting into it. Right now I'm listening to the song "Picture Window" which is making me feeling a little bit emo. It's pretty though.

What else? I got a new jacket today. My old black spring/fall jacket is looking faded these days and has holes in the pockets and when I saw a cute black corduroy jacket while wandering through the mall today after school, I knew it'd be a good buy. I'm going to wear it tomorrow, even though I'll be watching kids in hipwaders collecting bugs.

Which reminds me, I can't forget my camera.

I should wash dishes. I should make my lunch. I just want to curl up in bed and read. Right now I'm 65% into "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" on my Kindle. I'm enjoying it. I'd like to finish it tonight.

I should call my mother.

I think my brain has been addled by this cold I have. I don't feel as on top of things as I'd like to these days.

Maybe an early bed-time will help me. Good night.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Exhaustion and Candy

Boy am I tuckered out! I'm still getting into the groove of school, I think. Two of my classes are ginormous (29 kids each) this semester and I'm feeling it. I know that many teachers have bigger class sizes than this, but I've been spoiled the last couple years with smaller classes, so I'm feeling the difference. The piles of marking seem that much larger, and I find in my fourth period class that I just can't get around to everyone every day. In that course the curriculum is extra heavy too, so it's a challenge. However, the kids are really good, I can't complain, there are just a lot of them!

Anyway, my apartment is a mess, and my eating/gym-going routines aren't what I'd like them to be, but I will work on these.

I've been keeping up with reading everyone's blogs, but I haven't commented in couple days. Many I'll go on a comment spree tomorrow night.

However, lots of excitement in the way of candy!

My Kindle and its pretty green case arrived today! Perfect timing, as I had 15 pages left of "One Day". Oh, and by the way, really great NON-CORNY romance. Loved it.

My first e-book will "The Postmistress" by Sarah Blake. It took me half an hour to find/select which book I wanted to start with. Also, I find it hard to read a new book after you finish a good book. Often, I wish the good book had just kept going.

Oh, and since I'm hoping the arrival of the Kindle will mean that I go on a reading spree, book recommendations from you to me are strongly encouraged. Anything great I should read?

More candy: I've discovered the show Modern Family on DVD. HILARIOUS. Love it. I can't decided who my favourite character is: Gloria and Cameron are both hilarious. And Manny too. Seriously, if you haven't seen the show, check it out. I missed the season premiere tonight, but I'll catch up.

In an annual tradition, I watched the Polaris Prize being streamed online while making some snarky and some sincere remarks on MSN with a blog buddy who no longer blogs. There were four albums nominated that I loved, yet of course, none of them were the winner. (Karkwa won. They were all right.) The performances that I caught were great! However, the standout of the night were Tegan and Sara doing stripped down a couple of their songs with the always amazing Owen Pallett joining on violin. I seriously got teary eyed during the performance below. I can sometimes get emotional at the drop of a hat. Anyway, watch this. Awesome.

All right, I'm off to read my Kindle. I'll let you know what it's like! Oh, and I'm so glad I got a Kindle instead of the Kobo which Chapters is selling. It's gorgeous, whereas the Kobo seems a little chintzy to me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The dog days are over.

It truly feels like fall these days. I love fall, and one thing I notice is that a lot of my blog buddies are the same way, so a lot of blogs have morphed into fall love letters of sorts.

I've been having some really nice fall, aka autumn, moments lately. Word choice note: I like the word autumn more than the word fall, however I think I've always called this season fall, so that's what comes out when I think/talk/write about it. Here is a list of great stuff that's been going on in my world during the past week.

1) I went for a really nice bike ride today. It really was just a trip to my friend Fea's and back because we then departed for TIFF together, but it was good riding weather for sure.

2) The movie I saw at TIFF (Sarah's Key) was really good. There was a lot of crying going on in the theatre. It's a movie from France, mostly in French but with a lot of English, so I'm not sure when it's coming out here, but when it does, I highly recommend it. And the book as I said last post.

3) I've been listening to Florence + the Machine's album "Lungs" a lot lately. I bought in the summer but never listened to until last week. It's great.

4) I'm reading a really good book called "One Day" by David Nicholls. It's about a couple and what their life is like every July 15th over a span of twenty years. I'm liking it a lot.

5) My Kindle has shipped. So maybe the next book I read will be on the Kindle!

6) Last week, three of my besties from work and I went for coffee at a really pretty French bakery in my neighbourhood. I can't believe I hadn't been there before. I had a spicy cocoa macaroon. It was delish. The place made me miss France.

7) On Saturday, I got a Zipcar and drove to Vaughn for a workshop at a conservation area there. I'm doing a stream study with my environmental science class, so this was teacher training for that. It was a good day; I think the kids will love the study. We went down to the river for a bit to collect bugs, and I got a lovely mosquito bite on my neck.

Since I had the car, I went to Ikea to get some picture frames and storage boxes, and also went to the big mall there. I bought nothing. Well done Christielli.

8) I feel like this post has completely sucked. I was going to write all kinds of deep things but got distracted by convos on MSN, Facebook, and text messages, so I promise to do better next time.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Random Bits of Fun!

1) I neglected to mention in my last post that I got tickets to a TIFF movie. TIFF is the Toronto International Film Festival for those of you who don't live here and aren't subjected to 24/7 coverage of celebrity sightings on the news. It's the film adaptation of a great book I read this summer: Sarah's Key!

I hope that the movie doesn't disappoint as sometimes film adaptations of books tend to do. However, the story is amazing so I have faith that it will carry through to film.

I do highly recommend the book to anyone and everyone. In fact, I'm usually not someone who speaks to strangers in public, but when I was in a bookstore line in Boston this summer and the lady in front of me had the book in her hands, I had to tell her that it was great. It's always nice to hear that the book that you're buying is good, right?

2) Speaking of books, the cover for my Kindle has been shipped and is on its way. So I guess I can look at it and get excited about the Kindle until the actual gadget arrives. I agree with a lot of your comments about e-readers on my previous post: I too might miss the turning of the pages and curling up with a book, however, since the Kindle was designed with book-lovers in mind, it's not supposed to feel like you are staring at a screen (it's only b & w), and it's supposed to just "disappear" as you get immersed in your e-book.

Anyway, when it arrives, you lucky blog-readers will get to live vicariously through me and find out what it's like. That's why I'm splurging on it, you know. Gotta do stuff for your blog audience. ;)

3) Today I got pre-sale tickets to see Broken Social Scene in December. I'm very excited. I've never seen them properly, only at a record store. I also got to make Steve's day with news of the tickets. Win-win!

4) My classes are still really good. We're all gelling together nicely.

5) I think I'm going out for Brazilian food with some pals from work... but then again, I thought that about last Wednesday too and it didn't happen. We shall see if it's a go this week.

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

It just is.

I just got back from a pretty good workout at the gym. New school year: new good habits, I always say. I hadn't been in awhile, and it was great to find that they've installed a bunch of new bike posts in front of the gym. There used to only be two, and they'd always be taken, and I'd have to go around the corner or across the street to lock up my bike. Anyway, it's a nice little touch.

So yah, here's some randomness from the recent past, the present, and the future.

1) I survived the first week of school. My classes seem good. Right now the planning is a bit overwhelming but I'll get back into that groove soon (I hope).

2) I've been listening to a lot of Rilo Kiley lately. Poor Rilo has to put up with my wandering around her apartment singing loudly and massacring her namesake. Poor kitty. (She's giving me a dirty look right now as I sing "I Never".)

3) I ordered a Kindle! One night this week I was browsing the internet because I was in the mood to buy something. Anyway, my travels brought me to the Kindle site and I thought "hmmm".

I was/am still on the fence about e-readers. I love books as physical objects but I have a bad habit of buying too many of them and my bookshelf is full. I'm trying to use the library more, but I also like immediacy. With a Kindle, I can get the latest books for $10 in 60 seconds! Damn this culture of immediate gratification and its bad influence on me! I also like the idea of not having to lug books around when I travel. A con of an e-reader is that I can't lend books to people from it, so I guess people who use me as a lending library (hi Dad!) are going to be out of luck.

My friend Flora got a Kindle for her birthday and raved about it when I last saw her. Anyway, I was discussing the idea with my mom, and she was really for it, so that went in on the "pro" side of the argument. The deciding factor for me is that I hope the novelty of it will get me reading more. I haven't been reading as much as I'd like to this year, so maybe the latest gadget will encourage me to spend more time reading, and less time on more mindless things (hi internet!).

I put my order in today. It's not going to be here anytime soon. They are currently out of stock because they are so popular, but they estimate mine will be ready on September 24th. It's also gotta ship from the US, so that'll add another week or so. I'm going to push it out of my mind and then it will be a nice surprise.

However, who wants to bet my pretty apple green case will arrive well in advance?

4) My plan for the autumn is to rock my purple chucks as much as possible.

5) I am in love with Starbucks' Toffee Mocha Frappucino. So much so, I haven't even had one of my beloved Pumpkin Spice Lattes yet. I'm holding off on the latte until it gets a little bit cooler.

6) I'm really excited to watch this show. It looks like it might have potential, and may warm my heart. I don't get A&E, but I hope that I'll either be able to find it on the internet, or someone nice (hi Steve!) will let me watch it at their house.

7) I was going to be ambitious and make homemade mac and cheese but that would mean going to the grocery store, and I'm supposed to meet up with my long-lost friend Mathew for coffee tonight so I don't think there will be time. Ahhh, well, toast and peanut butter it will be! Happy Monday everyone!

Edit: I just realized that I could have grilled cheese + soup for dinner instead! Yum! Perfect fall comfort dinner!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Labour Day Weekend/First Day Back

Wow. It seems like it's been an eternity since my last post. Here's a summary of what's been going on in the world of Christielli since then.

1) After three hectic days at school where I managed to get enough accomplished, I was able to take Friday off. So I spent the day making my first lasagna ever. It was really yummy. Day well spent. However, it was so time consuming, I doubt I'll do it again until there's another break from school.

2) On Saturday morning, I took the train to St. Ratford. I had a pleasant trip there. I got to spend some good quality time with the 'rents, and catch up with some friends. I got to meet my friend Teresa's new baby (he was born just over a week ago), sample her mother-in-law's amazing shrimp curry, and have a great dinner with my pal Heather.

3) I returned to Toronto on Monday. It was a yucky rainy day, which meant it was not really conducive for anything but spending some quality couch time with Miss Rilo Kitty. I find Labour Day always a little hard to deal with because it's the end of summer. I do look forward to going back to school, however it's always a hard transition and I get a little mopey. Luckily, Steve was nice enough to take me for ice cream to ease the pain, then we rented a movie but ended up watching Hoarders instead. That show is hard to watch, but once you get into an episode it's hard to turn away. Anyway, my Monday night moping was minimal.

4) Today was the big day! I put on my new purple cardigan/lilac frilly tank top duo, my favourite black skirt, and matching lilac flats and headed off to the races. The first day back is a joke. It consists of 20 minute classes which are basically a meet and greet. Then there's a bit of prep time built in, and the same ol' staff meeting where you go through the same ol' staff handbook you get every year.

Anyway, it's nice to be back and see old friends and catch up. My classes this semester look great. I've got my environmental science course which is my favourite to teach, so that's nice to come back to. My grade 9s probably won't make a peep until the end of October, and my grade 10s seem a little chatty but good-natured. It will be an awesome semester.

5) Tomorrow is the first full day of classes where I'll have to do a lot of talking and probably won't be able to speak by the end of the day.

6) I'm all ready for tomorrow which means that hopefully I can finish the awesome book I've been reading forever and start on the new one I picked up from the library tonight. Fall's a good time for me to reawaken my inner bookworm, I hope.

Happy September everyone!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

15 Albums (Special Blog Edition)

I have been hit twice by this little meme in the facebook-o-sphere, and I thought it was a fun thing to do whilst doing laundry. Anyway, instead of another post about work, which is really what's consuming me these days, I've decided to bring this meme to the blogosphere. And, since my blog buddies are very special to me, you guys get the special annotated version!

Here we go.

The rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you've heard that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Remember: List records in no particular order.

1) The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner - Ben Folds Five
This album came after my first year of university during a hard summer when my Nana was dying of cancer. The song "Magic" defined that point in my life, and the rest of the album's great. It's funny that it's not too sad for me to listen to either.

2) Under the Pink - Tori Amos
I didn't like this album at first. However, after it being the only CD that was kicking around the art gallery where I worked one summer, and hence the only thing I had to listen to during the last hour of my shift when no one was there, I really got into and became a huge Tori fan.

3) Reconstruction Site - The Weakerthans
I saw this album develop over the course of many Weakerthans shows. I knew the songs so well before the album was released. It's so special to me.

4) Twice Removed - Sloan
Deeper Than Beauty. Pen Pals. Coax Me. Snowsuit Sound. I Hate My Generation. I Can Feel It. A lot of my fave old school Sloan songs in one place. Love.

5) (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves - Hawksley Workman
I was at the CD release party at the Rivoli where Hawksley performed this album with a string quartet. It's always been my favourite Hawksley album as a result.

6) Fox Confessor Brings the Flood - Neko Case
This is the album that really got me into Neko Case. That teenage feeling? That's how I feel about this album!

7) Pinkerton - Weezer
I am so happy that I'm among the lucky who was a teenager when this album came out and got to mope around to it in its prime. And El Scorcho is one of my fave songs ever.

8) Hold On Now, Youngster - Los Campesinos!
This album got me into LC! and I'm still waiting anxiously to see them live. October 8th can't come too soon.

9) The Reminder - Feist
Just so you know, this album plays very well when you are in France. And anywhere else, really.

10) Set Yourself of Fire - Stars
Even though Stars keeps putting out amazing stuff, and their preceding albums are great too, this is my favourite.

11) Parachutes - Coldplay
Coldplay, although I'm okay with them, isn't one of my favourite bands, so it's surprising that this album made my list. However, I love the lovely simplicity of this disc, and I listened to it on repeat when I first started reading Harry Potter, so this album reminds me Harry Potter more than anything.

12) You Were Here - Sarah Harmer
This is a desert island album for me. I always come back to it.

13) Three - Joel Plaskett
Triple album of awesomeness.

14) C'mon Feel the Illinoise - Sufjan Stevens
I love the long song titles, the complex arrangements, and Sufjan's voice on this album.

15) Everything in Transit - Jack's Mannequin
This is the album that I go to when I need something pop/punk/emo with mad piano.

If you'd like to tag yourself with this meme, do it! :)