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Hello again.

This blog is back in action! I have recently got a job at the local college, so I’ll be using this space as I originally had intended – for educational notes, records and research.

My other blog, Nautiloid Burblings, I shall keep for literary, artistic and other interests.

First up, the amazing Google Form.

I am working on a system to make lesson planning a little easier and quicker.

Google forms allow you to save to a spreadsheet that updates automatically and can have any number of contributors. Fantastic for teachers and students and anyone who needs to share complex information.

Note: I have removed the form to avoid possible confusion if anyone decided to add data!

Please comment if you are interested in working together on this type of project or if you want a link to my form.

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After a good Sprinti

After a good Sprinti

I wouldn’t normally write about my dreams on this blog, but I remember them so infrequently these days and this one is really quite interesting.

The character is a young English woman on a gap year, possibly in La Paz, working as a volunteer teacher.  She is talking to ‘camera’ explaining about how she has coped with the altitude and can now ‘run around with my iPod’ because she’s been doing this local, and very ancient, sport called ‘Sprinti.’

Basically it’s a bit like a big Inka game of tag.  You are given a coloured thread by someone and told to run and take it to a specified person in such-and-such a part of the city.  You deliver the thread to them and add another, which you have to find on the way.

That recipient then has to deliver both threads to the person you specify.  And so on, building up more and more threads and connecting more and more people.

Towards the end of the dream it was explained that the runner wears the threads on their wrist and that they represent some form of notice to the community, a bit like a kind of charity run for a cause, so people might say: ‘Ah, there goes so-and-so on a Sprinti for the Kid’s Hospital.’

The dream seemed so realistic that I almost wonder whether Sprinti isn’t real – perhaps it’s a message from the Aylllu unconscious, or maybe it’s a reference to Khipu runners.  Who knows?

Nice idea though.  Next time someone asks if you play a sport you can say – ‘Sure, I do a bit of Sprinti every now and again.’

Going through my Google Reader articles and find one entitled ‘Pass me the nautiloid, nurse‘…

My heart leapt – at last Nature Magazine is referring to my blog!

Alas, the article is about something much more important, namely whether allowing hospital patients to handle museum objects could help speed up their recovery and alleviate suffering.

Great idea.  I know I’d like it.

This post from Sci-Fi Standpoint. I wonder about gene-modifying out such a fundamental part of human nature, not that I’m happy about these nasty characteristics… it’s a bit like getting rid of competitiveness, stress or aggression. None of them are nice things, but their elimination could have serious unintended consequences. Try the Vonnegut classic ‘Harrison Bergeron‘ for a dystopian projection of the attempt to iron out all human differences and make everyone ‘equal’.

I know Banks isn’t saying this exactly, and I love the idea in principle of getting rid of –isms, I’m just a little skeptical.

Still, anything we can do to bring on The Culture gets my vote.

I understand what everyone’s on about now. I got so used to just pressing the ‘delete all spam now’ button that I hadn’t stopped to smell the flowers. Just to be clear, here’s a sample before I zapped them. The first one could be relevant to Catherynne M Valente’s somewhat lewd posting involving inappropriate usage of vacuum cleaners by male poets.

Apologies to the Spam sensitive:

  • Dianna Holliday: Which Ones Really Work? We List The Top Penis Enlargement Products!‎ – Put on an average gain of 3.02 inches where it matters – and all gains are 100% permanent …
  • Gun: Afghan rebels kill 102 US soldiers‎ – Man refuses to help girl, gets killed…
  • giff venkat: Finest adamo offer‎ – look, medication overnite check out here…
  • Tammie Wiseman: Last news for Ina Blount‎ – Best Hottest video! All Over The Net…
  • MacLellan: Kidnapper at large in NY, dangerous‎ – Black dogs tear man apart…
  • noest: How to get rid love dysfunction‎ – Don’t be scared when you the size of my anaconda after 2 months …
  • nickum: Bear attack kills 3 in Atlanta zoo‎ – Playboy cover features Chelsea Clinton…
  • Marisol Lovett: 3 FREE Bottles Of VPXL !!‎ – Try it today – you have nothing to lose, just a lot to gain! “Ever since I started on your…
  • Jaycob: Lucky draw for free cruise trip‎ – FDA faulted over unapproved uses of medication – Fingernails found in hamburger…

There’s probably a fine story in there involving all the list elements…


The May issue of journal of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM) has an inspiring article by Mette Heinz detailing how she has been using a Memory Palace technique, based on the layout of the Forbidden City, to learn her Chinese Herbs.

I’ve always wanted to build a memory palace, particularly to learn to read and write Chinese characters.  It would be interesting to use the idea in teaching work also.
WikiHow has a piece on how to do it.
An extract from Jonathan Spence’s book on Matteo Ricci is also available.


The May issue of journal of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM) has an inspiring article by Mette Heinz detailing how she has been using a Memory Palace technique, based on the layout of the Forbidden City, to learn her Chinese Herbs.

I’ve always wanted to build a memory palace, particularly to learn to read and write Chinese characters.  It would be interesting to use the idea in teaching work also.
WikiHow has a piece on how to do it.
An extract from Jonathan Spence’s book on Matteo Ricci is also available.


This system is mentioned by OmniGroup in relation to the Omni Focus programme which is being developed.

Wikipedia article here.

Firefox/Google tools and advice on implementing the system with Gmail.

EasyTask Manager looks interesting too.

As an alternative to all this hard work and busy business, I found this.

Whatever anyone says about Google (and it’s not all great I know) I do love it/them. From now, and over the next year, I will be exploring the Google For Educators universe and using it to develop my own teaching and learning.

Here I go again. I have four blogs now! One on my personal Yahoo 360, another for my College Yahoo 360 and a family one on .mac. This blog, which WILL work, is intended to be a holding space for ideas and discoveries and plans. It is linked to Google which so far is the most interesting of the email services, wooing me back away from Yahoo as it is so detailed and flexible. I would like to figure out how to add RSS feeds to this Blogger site so I can pursue researches and keep up to date with other blogger pages, e.g. Pynchonoid. ‘Against the Day’ hasn’t arrived in the library yet, despite being published two days ago. I guess they are covering it in plastic. Mmm.
As for Zaffre Kolinsky… I don’t know. He is waiting in the wings as ever. Waiting for his chance. The Fairly Dark Lords are up and away. I wonder if they will get signed. I should imagine that they will reject all overtures.
First things first, though. I will be posting teaching ideas. Then maybe some essays. Then maybe some extracts of work in progress. Then maybe some paitings and foldovers… Can I organise all this into explorer style menus?

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