Category Archives: waffle

blurb and meanderings

Microteaching for #7EDU1024 – Teaching And Supporting Learning

This is the first module for my Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and although I have another day to go for the classroom learning element I can honestly say it is well worth doing if you want to be a good teacher in a higher education environment – which I most certainly do!

Today we all had our microteaching sessions and I will admit that I was ridiculously nervous about receiving my feedback as this is basically the second time I’ve ever had another lecturer present during my delivery (that I don’t also think of as a friend – friends tend to be less critical than others in your peer group) and there were 8 of them at once!

I sat through the morning with my stomach knotting increasingly tighter as each of the other members in my group delivered interesting and in 2 specific cases seemingly flawless 5 minute ‘lectures'(one of whom I really need to pinch the slides and microteach video off if he’ll let me have ’em) nearly everyone else in the group seemed to be brand new to teaching and in some cases never before having taught in a classroom environment. This knowledge just made me feel, if I’m honest, a little more sick; I’ve been doing this for a year now – what if they (very nicely) told me I suck? Eventually everyone else had faced their own personal ordeal and I finally had to get up and face mine.

Now, normally when I teach a class I’m not this nervous but there is just something about demonstrating knowledge or a skill in front of other practitioners that throws me into kinks and I guess I’m not alone in this feeling – but surprisingly, looking back at the video you can’t seem to tell. I look (even to me) fairly professional and ‘together’ so I guess the flipcam can’t pick up shaking hands if you keep ’em moving.

The most negative thing said during the feedback session was that I need to smile more (and it was a unanimous response so maybe my nerves were showing a little after all…) I guess I should be grateful about that but I know the geek in me was shuddering at the loose explanation given of internet technology; normally I do take more than 5 minutes over this and touch upon DNS and the fact that www is NOT the internet but a service like VOIP, file transfer and email which runs ON the internet using TCP/IP and that Tesco actually use TIE which is their EDI equivalent along with an explanation of how that works… But 5 minutes is not a lot of time and I did go over by about 25 seconds so I guess what I’m saying is that no matter how positive people are towards me I’m never truly happy with anything I do *sigh* guess THAT is what I really need to work on…

On the plus side almost every person in the room said they liked my house/ garden analogy to explain how an intranet is extended into an extranet so this is definitely one explanation to keep using. I also hadn’t realised how often I sum up as a way of reinforcing the points I make – it’s just something I now do naturally; seems motherhood is good training for becoming a lecturer because it was pointed out just this weekend how often I do this with elf.

The main things that I’ve taken away from this experience (outside of the knowledge that mutated proteins get sticky then bond together and cause disease or that gold is created at the heart of a supernova) are that I can boil down many of the core concepts I have to teach into 5-10 minute sessions like this and use them to break up my 3 hour classroom sessions. On a lighter note I’ve also learned that I badly want one of the document display OHP ‘thingummys’; being able to draw what I mean on a piece of paper where everyone can see it clearly on the smartboard instead of having to clamber on and off a chair to make full use of a white board in class would be awesome! I hate being short…

While trying to settle on a topic for this microteach I also thought of numerous ways of applying this technique to virtual sessions with videos and prezi presentations (as a kind of information treasure hunt) for 2 different modules and I know that it will make for a very interesting and informative class task to do with my students in another module; the constraints of the task itself made me look at my subjects in a slightly different way so I am completely sold on this as a method of teaching and peer review.

All grown up.

I had a moment yesterday. One of those eureka moments that come when you least expect them.

I was at the vitality show in London, it’s been an annual event for me and a friend for the last 3 years; more an excuse for a girls day out than anything else but we enjoy it. This moment happened while I was waiting for her late arrival; a stall holder stopped me and asked “are you happy with your life and the direction it has taken?” And my unhesitating response was “yes.”

I will admit that there are aspects of my life that could be improved but I have no doubt in my mind that those improvements will occur in time.

The whole show up to that point had seemed a little disappointing; usually at an event of this type I will learn something new to enrich myself or empower myself in some way but this year, nothing. I’d heard it all before or was already doing it. That is when it hit me.

I finally fit in my own skin. I know myself and more importantly I’m happy with myself. I bloody ROCK! That was my take home from this years event and its the best yet. Who knew I’d be all grown up and matured by the age of 36? Not me that’s for sure. I’ll just clap my hands, do a jig and blow an imaginary trumpet for a while before getting some kip, long day of marking ahead of me but you know what? I don’t mind. Life is good people, you just have to live it.

I haz career!

That’s right people – no longer am I on probation as a teacher – I’m now officially a permanent member of staff.

I so like that word: ‘permanent’

…has a nice ring to it eh?!

Reaching for the sky

The last few weeks have been spent perusing journal abstracts and any freely available papers I could get my hands on in an attempt to formulate a decent Phd topic in order to apply for a studentship at the University of Hertfordshire. The main problem I have had is paring down my million and one ideas and areas of interest into one decent question that has enough literature out there to avoid ‘tracks in the snow’ type issues.

The initial ‘boiled down’ idea which seemed promising based on a couple of abstracts I found was to do with a percieved difference in the critical success factor of BME students between online and offline learning – sadly when I managed to obtain an athens login to actually check my assumptions it turned out the actual papers said nothing of the sort – so scratch that!

After arranging to meet with Theo to ask specifically about his current work, I ended up sat in the humanities department office chatting with 5 or 6 lovely folk about their ongoing Phd work and my past experience and interests. Several times I was advised to work from an experience perspective for now as I can always migrate more towards my less understood areas of academic interest when I’ve done enough reading to justify it; apparently for the application process I merely need to show that I’m a good candidate who can structure a proposal that the department can resource and supervise. They actually EXPECT you to change focus at least slightly in the first 8 months as you start immersing yourself in the literature of your chosen field.

This is encouraging. While not extensive, my experience in projects conducting participatory action research is recent and fairly varied, I’ve presented several times at UK conferences about these projects and once at the international Blended Learning conference on my own final year project and experiences as an undergrad. This shows I can take what I’ve learned and present it to others – a Phd requirement from what I’ve heard.

The hope is that I will be accepted onto the studentship, actually put some of my ideas into action and make a difference. it’s like the ultimate dream ‘job’ for me: being paid to study and help other people academically in a place I can walk to with people I already respect and admire.

So yeah, fingers crossed and any advice re the UK Phd application process gratefully received. It’s a long shot as competition for these places will be fierce but I’m hopeful – and what’s life without hope eh?!

I’m sorry twitter but I love pinterest now, can we still be friends..?

Since breaking my phone and having to suffer the reduced data offerings of an intermittent 3g signal on the ‘new’ one, I’ve had less and less inclination to do anything online unless my laptop is fired up. So is it any shock that I’m spending less time on Twitter?

Some of you may say YES! others will merely ‘meh’. But it’s true, part of the reason I found twitter so compelling was its usefulness for discovering new information and finding links to things within my areas of interest – pinterest beats it hands down for everything but the e-learning stuff on my interest list (sadly not many images on those types of articles so can’t pin ’em) and to be honest, my interest in anything ‘work’ related is being slowly eroded the longer it’s taking me to find a job; I need to be challenged to find something of interest and having no work goal has slowly turned my interests in other directions as I try to keep from losing hope on the employment front.

Instead I now prefer to use twitter for chatting and find it more useful as a real time communication tool than as a place for learning: sorry Twitter, it isn’t you; it’s me. I’ve changed and I think we should maybe take a break and not see so much of each other… I admit it, I’ve found someone new – someone younger, prettier and more interesting than you, well, interestingly different anyway…

Pinterest is now my favourite way to spend time online of late; it cheers me up and sort of helps to straighten out any kinks in my thinking and gives me the enthusiasm and inspiration to try new things.

If having an active mind truly slows down the aging process then Pinterest will keep me young forever!

Through pinterest I have whittled down to the things that truly bring joy into my life, the things that I deem important enough to make time for – even if some of that time is just spent pinning ideas for when I also have the space and funds to allow that time to be used more productively. You want to know what they are? there’s no real shock to those of you who know me:

  1. making things (jewellery, crafty bits and web ‘stuff’)
  2. cuddling with Stef and Bella
  3. spending time with Claire
  4. reading
  5. singing

I’ve found that reading the ‘funnies’ and the ‘words of wisdom’ type boards make me feel more affectionate and forgiving and thankful for my family and the things we have, more content in myself and generally more ‘rooted’ in MY idea of me.
I like that feeling, especially if suffering a bad cfs day or when ‘pms’ fuelled dissatisfaction is kicking in; it brings me back around to a more reasonable, positive and receptive frame of mind.

The educational and ‘kids’ boards help me to come up with ideas to keep bella interested, happy and safe. The jewellery and craft boards feed my ideas and love of making pretty/ useful things (and the storage porn on there is just too awesome to behold) I’ve even discovered a small germ of  enthusiasm for cooking through the wild and wonderful collection of recipes that people have pinned – and even *gasp* cleaning and decluttering.

There is no denying that it can be an absolute time sink and could even be compared to the Red Dwarf ‘better than life’ idea, but if you lack focus in your life it is invaluable in staving off despair and offering solutions; I’m currently working on a back-up plan to the employment issue thanks to several ‘kick up the arse’ type pinners and will gladly spend time on that site over tv – if nothing else I get exercise through jumping up every few pins to check on ingredients/ craft items/ space which never happens when i’m link chasing elsewhere and Stef has the dubious pleasure of seeing the effects of my ‘tidying’ (which depending on energy levels involves moving furniture around and utilising strange items unconventionally to make better use of our minimal living space)

It keeps me happy – what does it do for you? have you tried it or are you scared of being sucked in…? It’s been around long enough now not to be classed a fad so are you a pinner convert or not?

Just ’cause..

Had some very kind and interesting offers since writing my last post so one way or another it looks like I get to keep my site *grin* do people on the internet rock or what..?

I need to curb my pinterest addiction though or very little will be done to the place (if you’re interested in seeing the kind of things I’ve collected then check out http://pinterest.com/rosevibe/ some lovely things there – if you want an invite let me know) the problem is I’m lacking focus; I need a job, a set of aims and objectives – something with an externally imposed deadline.

That’s right, a deadline.

I know I whined about ’em all through uni but the truth is that f I don’t have a set deadline I flounder and bimble and just collect ideas for things to do ‘someday’ but someday never comes. There is no urgency to the things I want to do for myself; unless it is for another person I let life get in the way and put things off because they’re not really important.

If we owned our own home then it might be different; I could make that my focus and actually do some of the things I’ve earmarked to make life a little easier and utilise the space we have to it’s best advantage – but when you rent a place it’s not so easy to change things, especially when you know it will cost you money in the long run as you have to put it all back the way it was when you move.

Instead I’m fumbling around in a kind of limbo and I hate it; I hate lacking purpose; always have.

I have too many interests and no NEED to focus on any or to choose a favourite, unless I’m doing something for somebody else and have that fear of letting them down to spur me on I’ll continue to make lists, collect tutorials and read about the things I should be doing.

This week has been nice as I’ve had a small job to do, my former tutor had me editing a 3 minute elevator pitch video for some project funding; it was a tight deadline but to be honest, I prefer that; I need that slight feeling of pressure to get the juices flowing. I just wish I hadn’t had a couple of CFS days to deal with in the middle of it or I would feel like I’d done a better job.

..Then again, it wasn’t a bad job; just not up to my perfectionist aspirations, I can always see where I could have done better; still not quite down with the ‘just good enough’ mentality necessary to get things moving.

That’s probably my greatest weakness; I need somebody else to say “stop, it’ll do as it is” because left to myself I’ll be tweaking forever in order to make whatever it is match the perfect result I envision in my head and nobody else will ever see my creation because it “isn’t ready/ it’s not good enough”

So realistically – even if I do ‘get the chance’ to work on it, this website will likely always be as is; my test site still isn’t shiny enough.. One day I’ll find confidence in my abilities and stop comparing myself to people who for years have been doing the things for a living that I’m just learning; but not today.

Today I have to create some pdf’s for another uni contact and play around with wordpress to do so – they want a basic users guide so, screenshots a-plenty. ..And I might venture out into the sunshine for a dose of vitamin D when I’m sick of doing that 😉

..Staying away from pinterest – it’s a worse time sink than stumbleupon!

I’m going to miss you

It seems life is dragging me away from the web on all fronts of late. First there’s the continuous illnesses our household has had to contend with; since September (or even before) we’ve had maybe 2 consecutive weeks where nobody has had a cold/ flu/ norovirus/ ear infection ..and that’s not even accounting for my personal ongoing ME/CFS and Menieres hell.

Then there’s the little things like dodgy net connection, exceeding our bandwidth allowance (thanks netflix!) general motherhood and oh yes, the latest effort real life is making to claw me back from the virtual; my smartphone broke *sob*

I am now back to discovering how much I enjoyed using my MDA Vario (HTC Wizard) the battery lasts THREE DAYS! it has built in calendar and task lists, my old ring tone ( the ‘oohhwa-ah-ah-ah’ bit from the start of Down with the sickness by Disturbed) which annoys my other half no end *grin* It’s a damned good phone.

Sadly it’s not an Android phone. I had to manually update all my contacts and my calendar, I’ve lost all my CFS crash data for the last 2 months (thankfully had backed up in December otherwise it would be 2 years data lost) I can’t access twitter easily any more as I only have wifi and on the MDA it is dodgy at best plus the browser is an old version of IE which doesn’t help matters much. The camera is useless and I can’t put any apps on it *sniff* that’s the worst thing about this phone; I’ve been spoiled, was so used to having everything at my fingers that now I’ve downgraded I’m really missing my apps – especially the bar code scanner for the calorie counting, and my period tracker (so reliant on it that I don’t know my dates now!) I also didn’t realise how often I accessed the TV guide app until I couldn’t do so anymore.

..And please don’t mention twitter – it’s like I’ve lost a limb.

Maybe it’ll bring me back to ‘real’ blogging though, and maybe something will come up that will allow me to pay for this site to continue – like getting off my backside and selling some jewellery or something. Either way, things are changing in my life, boundaries are shifting and I’m once again re-assessing where I want to go and what I want to do.

Ideally someone will employ me soon – even if it’s just for enough hours a week to pay me the £97.50 I’m allowed to earn on top of my benefits; that’d pay for my website and beads and a little left over for bellas trust fund each month. To be honest it’s all I really need in life to keep me going; everyone needs a hobby or two and having money abouve your outgoings.. well! It’s the dream isn’t it?! (Now if someone would pay me full time wages for a part time job I’d be able to get a nice 3-bed house with garden and that would make me incandescent with joy, room to craft properly; my very own dream come true!)

I’ll show you mine..

jumping girl
While it may come across as a little smug, I’ve written this for the next time I feel crappy because of the ME/CFS or when certain family members try to pull me down and denigrate my achievements; I can look back at this post and feel proud that not only did I finish my foundation degree with a commendation after missing the first 6 weeks of the final year to nurse a newborn child, (and get a student of the year award in the process for also managing to help run a university project) I then went on and NAILED my bachelor degree as a direct entrant.

Sorry? Did I say ‘nailed’?

You’re damn right I did; 1st class honours baby, read it and weep at my brilliance!.

Being a direct entrant to the final year of this course at the University of Hertfordshire meant that unlike most of my fellow students who had enrolled in the first year, my final grade was dependant purely upon the work completed in this year; no prior grades to depend on as a backup for any failed module. (So no pressure eh?!)

I had to defer all my semester B modules because of the ME/CFS issues and this resulted in half my grades being in alphanumeric format (semester a modules) and the new numerical format the university had switched to during  the gap between my initial semester B and the retake semester B

As the table below shows – anything with a numeric grade of 80 or above is deemed ‘outstanding’ BUT, as you’ll see from my DES grade,  an A1 which is the highest possible alphanumeric grade available, is only worth 78 numerically – how someone is supposed to achieve an ‘outstanding’ is beyond me; still, guess I can live with an overall descriptor of ‘Excellent’ *grin*

Numeric Grade  awarded

Undergraduate

Grade Descriptor Equivalent Classification Descriptor
80-100
70-79
Outstanding
Excellent
1st Class Honours
60-69 Very good Upper 2nd Class Honours
50-59 Good Lower 2nd Class Honours
40-49 Satisfactory 3rd Class Honours
30-39
15-29
0-14
Marginal fail
Clear fail
Little or nothing of merit
Not applicable

The degree in question is Bsc Information Technology (web based systems) and it comprised of several modules:

Professional Issues in Computing – Core module
This 3 hour exam showed that I have learned:

  • To understand the standards expected of a computing professional, and the responsibilities that these place on those occupying these roles;
  • To appreciate the legal, professional and ethical issues that can arise during the course of the work of a computing professional; and have an understanding of the impact of computer-based systems on their stakeholders, and on society in general.
  •  To be able to recognise legal, professional and ethical issues in the context of professional computing practice, and deal with them appropriately;
  •  To be able to articulate a well-informed, up-to-date opinion on legal, professional and ethical issues in the context of interactions with, for example, colleagues in professional computing practice and non-technical colleagues.

Grade achieved: 72 (converted from A3)

Digital Entertainment Systems (Digital Media Production) – Optional module

The required coursework showed that I;

  • Understand issues in the development, design, implementation and evaluation of high quality digital media;
  • Understand the wider context of digital media, for example culture, research and future trends in digital media, for example audio and video formats;
  • Understand usability and Human Computer Interaction as it applies to the development of interactive multimedia systems;
  • Developed the range of skills required in order to produce digital media.
  •  Demonstrated professional competence in areas such as image, animation, video and audio production and editing;
  • Developed scripting and programming skills in order to create interactive digital media systems

Grade achieved: 78 (Converted from A1) <– felt so cheated that I got the highest possible alphanumeric grade and in the conversion it wasn’t even an 80! I was quite gutted to see it drop like that.

Principles and Applications of Web Services (technology) – Core module

The 3 hour exam showed that I have learned to

  • Understand the different components of typical web service architectures including data representations, messaging protocols and service description based on XML
  • Understand the different approaches to implementing web services across a range of application such as mash-ups and enterprise services
  • Generate requests to a web service using appropriately formatted requests, and process or display the returned XML data
  • Create a web service using appropriate standards, protocols and tools to enable third parties to access particular data or functionality

Grade achieved: 72 (converted from A3)

Principles and Applications of Web Services (architecture) – Core module

Another 3 hour exam which demonstrated my knowledge of

  • Different approaches to web service architecture including mash-ups, RESTful services, and Enterprise Web Services;
  • The role of XML standards in developing service oriented architectures such as XML Schemas, BPEL, and WS Policy/Addressing/Security.
  • How to use XML schemas and data in the specification and configuration of web services;
  • How to evaluate the applicability of different web service architectures in a given situation.

Grade achieved: 71

Web Application Development (Design) – Core module
The 2 hour exam and additional coursework portfolio showed that I have learned

  • To understand and explain the importance of separating style from content;
  • To discuss principles and practices of good web site design and the standards that web design should comply with.
  • To participate in the planning, design and development of a web site, selecting suitable tools and technologies for the task;
  • To evaluate and improve existing web designs to make them more accessible or effective.

Grade achieved: 72 (converted from A3)

Web Application Development (enhancement) – Core module
This was another 3 hour exam which showed that I’ve learned

  • To describe the document object model;
  • To discuss the capabilities and pitfalls of using client side scripting in web sites.
  • To create or interpret state charts of the interface;
  • To add client side scripting to web sites using standards compliant instructions;
  • To incorporate visual or time-based media to a web site that does not affect the function or accessibility of the site.

Grade achieved: 69

Web Based Systems Project – Core module
This is the one all the lovely folk in my social networks got sick of hearing about – but I really owe the folk of the web for getting me through it, random questions answered, emotional support and the odd kick up the virtual behind meant that the coursework I submitted and the website I demonstrated proved that I had learned to:

  1. Understand a coherent set of Information Technology principles and techniques appropriate to the solution of a practical problem that involves the development, deployment, or management of a Web-Based System;
  2. Appreciate when and how to apply those principles and techniques to the solution of problems in Web-Based Systems.
  3. Select and resolve a substantial practical task which requires applied knowledge of Information Technology in the context of a Web-Based Systems problem;
  4. Plan and conduct a programme of practical work independently of close supervision;
  5. Select and apply an appropriate set of criteria against which their own project work and the work of others may be evaluated;
  6. Document, report on, and critically evaluate  work in a manner appropriate to the needs of a specified readership.
Grade achieved: 71 <– 90% of that grade was down to my ability to follow through on point 6; all hail the English teachers of my past! Danetre comprehensive school and Daventry tertiary college – I owe you too.


So, that’s how I got my degree, by learning a lot of rather interesting and hopefully useful ‘stuff’, it involved a lot of hair pulling, several late nights and relapse inducing cram sessions, So I also know how far I can push myself mentally before things go south on the health front.

No, there was very little programming and coding involved in this last year aside from the tweaking to templates and scripts conducted as part of my project; but I have the basic knowledge needed to go away and teach myself how to do all the fancy stuff.

The main thing this course has taught me is what I am not. I am not a web designer, nor am I a web developer; I am a knowledgeable client or at best a hobbyist. But you know what? That’s ok. I don’t really want to be either of those things anyway, I discovered my love of e-learning during this academic journey, I know how to create reusable learning objects, what tools and techniques to use to aid students with their studies and how to explain what is needed to the REAL techies and creatives out there with either a crude prototype or the necessary models.

I can liaise between geeks and normals with ease in a work environment and find the solution to a problem even if I can’t fully implement it myself (yet) I can write reports well, keep (mostly) to deadlines and GET THE JOB DONE – despite health and home issues.

Basically, I ROCK!

So I’m going to stop beating myself up over the job search issue and give myself a well earned break until Bella goes full time to nursery in January, then I should be able to manage 20hrs a week (travel dependent) in some FE/HE institute working on anything to aid in the creation of an inclusive blended learning environment.

So.. I’m a graduate – pending results. Now what?

Well, there’s continuing development on the wordpress site I created for my final year project, a site I’m setting up for another friend and of course this place needs a little TLC now I finally have the time.

But the mental challenge of a job would be preferable. Yes, I know I’m stuck looking for part-time but part-time work in an interesting job is better than full time incapacity benefit stuck at home where my only interaction with the outside world is via twitter! (even if it doesn’t pay as much)

I do have a few personal challenges that are admittedly more ‘aim’ than ‘objective’;

1. Create a wordpress e-learning theme that is scorm compliant and at least attempts to be WCAG AAA compliant
2. Write a few nettuts that are payment worthy.
3. Create some fantastic geek jewellery.
4. Create some beautiful ‘normal’ jewellery.
5. Learn more about moodle and blackboard
6. Create my symptom tracker web app
7. Find someone to consider my web taxonomy ideas (a whole other post)
8. Learn to use all available google tools
9. Write an academic research paper fit for publishing
10. Learn to drive (actually this one IS an objective)
11. (just for @lesleyconner and my dad) write a book/ story

And then there’s the ‘none work’ stuff I want to do with my family and friends;

1. Teach bella to read
2. Go on holiday to centerparcs
3. Go and visit friends abroad
4. Take bella to a sandy beach, make a sandcastle and bury stefanio (purely for the photo op)
5. Family photo shoot
6. REGULAR Karaoke with Claire
7. Write some songs with Claire
8. Have a mass gathering of geeks with kids somewhere with a bouncy castle and a wide open space for running games.
9. Visit an aquarium, science and ‘normal’ museums with bella
10. Have a ‘dirty weekend’ spa break with stef.

Hmm.. notice how all the family and friend stuff costs money but most of the work stuff is free? Guess I need that job first after all *grin*

Who wants to pay me good money to do the stuff in the first list? Feel free to contact me; i’m now open to offers ;o)

Time for PAWS..

..Revision that is.

Since I feel I did so well on the WAD exam (web application development for those of you wondering) following my flashcard creation and use I’m doing the same for PAWS (principles and applications of web services).

I’ll be adding my revision slides here just as I did the WAD stuff so enjoy; maybe learn or remember something of use should you choose to read ’em.

  • Paws (semester A recap)
  • MVC, modelling and cookies
  • ISO 25010 (up to 30th April 2010)
  • Javascript, http and the DOM
  • web security
  •  

    Endings and fears

    I’ll start by pointing out that I’m not your average student; I’m a woman in a field statistically more favourable to men and it’s been said by more than a few of my tutors that I have drive and focus beyond the norm.

    If this is so then it’s probably because I’m a mature student with a hidden disability and a toddler.

    As a mature student I already have experience of the workplace and know about the unspoken politics at play; I’m aware that I have to work three times as hard as the average student if I want to become employed at the end of my degree – especially in the current economic climate. I’ve experienced homelessness, I’ve experienced poverty to the stage where all I’ve had to eat are porridge oats and cold water (don’t recommend) and I’ve experienced the horror of the benefits process and all the ways they grind you down and try to stop you from trying to claim your due.

    The drive and focus mentioned above are easily explained in one word: Fear.

    I’m afraid that I’ll never get the chance to work again because:

    1. My illnesses dictate that realistically I can only take a part time position
    2. Already having a child also means the possibility of more time off work
    3. As a woman, what if I get pregnant again? (not something I’d do again through choice I assure you *shudders*

    Yes, legally none of this should have any bearing on my fitness do do a job but an employer will have to consider the fact that the nature of my illness could result in a relapse and sick days without warning – which under the disability act they have to cater for; so even a part time employer may stumble a little when considering me.

    These are the strikes I have against me even before an employer looks at my ability, so for me to compete in the working arena against able bodied folk younger than me without responsibilities, I have to perform well above average.

    So, if I seem to be focussed on doing anything that will make me a more attractive candidate for work, imagine just how much harder I’ll work in an effort to retain that position should someone out there take a punt on me? If I can get a position whereby I can work flexi-time and/ or from home, mainly to my own schedule; I could do wondrous things people – just pray that somebody out there will give me the chance!

    The things you learn..

    Did you know that wordpress utilises xml-rpc for posts like these that are sent via a weblog client? Neither did I until I read the codex.

    I know most of you couldn’t care less – including the few folk reading this that even know what xml-rpc is, but since i’m having to not only learn about web service messaging but also pin down exactly what wordpress is in web service terms; i found it to be quite interesting..

    Now, to get back to actually doing the above. Have a nice day folks.

    Oh.. and if you happen to have an academic resource about wordpress and/ or webservices PLEASE leave a link in the comments! Thanking ye muchly 😉

    If I win the lottery tonight, you’re invited!

    I’ve already tweeted about the party to end all parties aka biggest tweet-up in history – that’s right, with a £17.8 million jackpot I would SO be meeting all of my net buddies, and I figure if I pay for you all to drag partner and offspring along for the fun then it’ll help show there’s a definite advantage to using social media *grin*
    ..but how would I meet over 200 people at one party for long enough to have a decent conversation?

    Which is why I said this:

    [tweeted]http://twitter.com/rosevibe/status/45487922585141248[/tweeted]

    A week should give me enough time to meet folks and I reckon the #lottoparty hashtag would be trending within minutes *grin*

    So say I squander around £3m on the party, £1m on house and furnishings. What then?

    Obviously Bella would need a £1m trust fund and we’d have to set aside £1m for the likely sibling to follow (hey, a multimillionairess can have kids without worrying about anything while a CFS ridden student can’t) £5m split between various family members £2m on taxes (probably) and £2m in savings to fund the house etc then the rest can go on a business venture.

    Yup – a business venture. I’m damned if i’ll kill myself getting a 1st and then do nothing with my degree!
    I even know who my first lot of employees would be: @elmundio87 for code duties and whoever he recommended to me that he wanted to work with, a lad I know called Meyrick for the graphic design (he’s a graphical genius) @musobubble for most of my musical needs and as contractors (since I’m guessing they’d not give up their own businesses to work for me) @philwoodmusic to fill the gaps @musobubble can’t and @loudmouthman for sheer genius and guidance.

    ..I’d also have to try and lure away a couple of my old tutors for the e-learning side of things; Natasha Khilji (database and all round tutoring goddesss) and Diane Bulmer (business, HR and solid classroom skills) then deprive the UoH LTI department of @sarahjaneflynn and then beg for another couple of contractors in the shape of @MarkRussell (he is the e-assessment king) and @audio for his experience in the E-learning arena; I’m sure other people would be added to this list but they would be the cream *grin*

    I have a ton of ideas for e-learning tools, apps and web services; if I could get the right people on board then there’d be no stopping us!
    ..It’d be watch out Google! Rosevibe’s coming.. ;0)

    So come on.. What would YOU do with a £17.8m lottery win?

    2011 bucket list

    Everyone’s done a few of those ‘Things to do before I die lists’ so this is my ‘things to do before the death of 2011’ list. I aim to have at least attempted everything on this list by December 31st 2011

    1. graduate with a 1st class honours in Bsc web based systems
    2. take Bella to a centerparcs
    3. create my own font (or 2)
    4. create a wordpress theme
    5. renew my passport
    6. present at another conference (probably BLU if i get my abstract in on time)
    7. do at least 5 of the beading tutorials I have saved to disc
    8. attend a beading workshop
    9. attend a wire working class
    10. attend a glasswork class
    11. try yoga or tai-chi
    12. start building my chronic calendar and symptom tracker app
    13. start consolidating all of my websites and blogs
    14. move house
    15. create a video documenting Bellas first 3 years
    16. Go to a spa with stef.

    What are your plans (or hopes) for this year? do tell..

    Should of, would of, could of.. (or, ‘I love me..’)

    While completing a music meme on facebook courtesy of Master Chris Hambly, I was caught in a meander down memory lane and I realised that I’ve had many opportunities to live a pretty amazing life.

    The meme was one of those ‘list x tracks from your mp3 player’ and because the shuffle function threw up a lot of tracks I don’t listen to very often; mostly from the heavier rock and metal genres, I had quite a few OMG moments; these were the soundtrack of my time in Manchester pre-illness.

    I mostly lived in Jillys rock world from the first weekend I ventured out after moving there. The door staff became friends and looked out for me both in the club and out of it (Mo came along on my CBT test and I attended his wedding reception, at one point or another they all picked me and my broken down shitty TZR 125 up from some place or another and I’d house sit every year for the Isle of man contingent when they made the TT pilgrimage)

    I started out studying drama at the Abraham moss college where I had my finest theatrical hour as Rosie in ‘My Mother Said I never Should‘, a 4 person 3 hour play directed by a wonderful woman whose name sadly escapes me now.

    I was forever being asked to record this that and the other for random people (mostly ‘producers’ using the offer as a pick up line) because the theatre rooms were located at the other side of the recording studios – one time I actually had someone follow us into the theatre demanding to know who had been singing outside the room and while I started apologising they demanded my number for a forthcoming project – much to the amusement of my fellow loveys.

    So I guess it’s no shock that I ended up in music (I actually hated the theatre, the people were 90% self-centred/ insecure bitches, 7% couldn’t care less techies and 3% talented actors – loved the acting; hated the people)

    From some great collaborations including a local radio promo piece recorded with a talented guitarist called Dave for the MANCAT college I attended (then had to leave when ‘New deal’ came out and my course didn’t meet the criteria for financial aid) to my shining moments of event management..

    Perhaps the best work I ever did and I possibly missed my calling there; I first organised a music night for my then boyfriends band, I’d pre-sold a ton of tickets when the head liners pulled out the day before..

    After a brief panic I managed to pull some strings (ie begged people I knew) and got the then flavour of the year band ‘Kill II This’ in their place – I was lucky they were willing to do it as a warm up for the already advertised solo gig 2 days later. It was a very successful night and despite spending a fortune on the rider managed to not only break even but make a small profit – which for a first promo event with next to no advertising was apparently unheard of according to Shawn and Russell (the events and bar managers at Manchester Uni S.U)

    My second event was even more satisfying – 4 days with 27 bands at the band on the wall; Not sure how I got roped into this..

    I was a 1st year popular music student at Salford Uni (another course I was forced to leave for financial reasons) and I was approached by one of the 3rd years for help organising the music performance exams, I had to sort out running lists and stage manage the whole thing – from getting the instruments and equipment to the venue to getting the people on and off stage on time.

    It was a roaring success – so much so that I was asked to do the same again at the local pub a few weeks later by 2 of the bands when they were putting on an event.. I kinda miss all that, not just performing but organising things, it was a buzz.

    I had a lot of contacts back then because I was part of the student scene both AS a student but also as a bouncer, bar staff and ‘casual crew’ so my work was also my social life and it was a blast.

    I was asked to join several bands (even had a 3 fist review for one of my student bands in Kerrang! I still have it, torn out and kept in a photo album; the reviewer LOVED me *grin*) and as I mentioned on facebook; Mark of ‘Kill II This’ fame once asked me to join that very band as a bass player when someone told him I was learning to play bass – sadly I declined but part of me has always wondered what might have been had I accepted..

    I passed up several music opportunities; to go on tours as a backstage gofer, to record dance tracks for export (I was an idiot back then and didn’t want to ‘sell out’) and to work abroad as part of a duo.

    All this was on top of my day jobs which were generally of the shop assistant/ customer service variety. Until I got a job at the Hard Rock Casino then my life went nuts because those people party HARD. Casino folk are either working, sleeping or partying and they do each of those at weird hours because they do not live the life normal folk know.

    It was during that time I got ‘in’ with the car crowd – the guys who do the illegal drag racing up and down dual carriageways and ‘chip’ their cars and always know someone who can get you a part.. I had many a trip to wales at 4am with the lads, night driving is a pleasure! ..So I guess it’s doubly weird that I STILL don’t have a license.

    I also had an abortive attempt at a writing collaboration with a guy in Canada – his backers paid for me to fly over there for a weekend after about 3 months of online talks and we spent a night holed up in a room at the holiday inn discussing his (dreadful) screenplay, he’d previously made a film about the treatment of slaves and had sent me a video of it, he wanted to give religion the same treatment.. but upon my return a story (maybe true, maybe not) about his wife becoming terminally ill killed that project and communication dwindled – maybe I should have been less honest with my criticism?

    I’ve met so many famous people in the touring music industry that the names have all rolled into a jumble in my mind, a few stand out but generally not for good reasons and I doubt very many of them would remember me any better – I was just the ‘little girl doing back door security’ (as Pantera guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell dubbed me) but I’m still gutted that Bruce Dickinson wouldn’t let me have his flight jacket because that was a cool jacket and most definitely would have been in my size..

    I do remember how nice Cass of Skunk Anansie was the night I got talked into giving up seeing the show to work it by my panicked boss – was not best pleased as the tickets had been a birthday present; I’m not a fangrrl and I have zero interest in meeting the artists of work I admire, I just like to watch and listen from a distance (though my one exception to that would be Sandra Bullock; I think she’d be fun to hang out with) He made a point of sitting and chatting to me at the back door and got the side of stage lad to swap with me at one point so I could see at least some of the show.

    ..Nice guy, great performer; so glad they’re going to be touring again because THIS time I’m getting a ticket and going to see ’em – if it kills me!