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Headlines for Thursday:

Tasks

Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
AX@1100-1200 Q1 Attend lecture in MP134 from 2005.11.17 (mie1407f)
ACWrite follow-up mail to workshop participants
BX+enggpsych Get further sources for powergrid story

Notes

1. Flash fiction: "Nine Lives to One"

Categories: ShortStories#46 -- Permalink
In response to flashxer prompt: <blockquote> THE OLD MAN WAS SENILE, BEDRIDDEN, AND LYING IN HIS OWN WASTE. HE WAS WHEEZING HARD WHEN TWO PEOPLE, WEARING BALACLAVAS THAT COVERED THEIR FACES COMPLETELY DROPPED A PILLOW OVER HIS FACE AND HELD IT THERE... </blockquote>

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NINE LIVES TO ONE (222 words)<br/> Sacha Chua

Ninety years old and he was still like a child around cats--a mean, cruel, nasty boy who kicked them and pulled their tails and 'forgot' to feed them. His wife loved the cats, but she loved him too, so she overlooked his cruelties and snuck her little kitties catnip every so often.

But cats don't forgive as easily, and they live for a long time.

Age took its toll on the man. He grew frailer and frailer. Bedridden, he ranted and raved at his wife as she took care of him. She pretended not to hear his insults.

The cats heard, though. They took to staring at him from the foot of his bed, silent witnesses to the verbal abuse his wife endured. After particularly bad nights, she'd find herself waking up to the purring comfort of cats snuggling under her blanket or rubbing their tiny faces against hers.

He sickened further, lungs heaving in the crisp night air, arms too feeble to move.

The cats almost seemed to smile.

One day his wife found him staring straight up, rigid. Dead.

Suffocation, the doctors said. How he suffocated in that bare room, no one could explain.

But the cats all purred, even the littlest ones as light as feathers on the nose and mouth and chest of a weak old man...

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You can tell when I'm procrastinating something big. I write more flash fiction.

2. Teaching reflections

Yesterday's class session went well. FINALLY! I felt like I was _really_ doing something. What made the difference?
  • <b>Attendance.</b> The professor emphasized the importance of the lab, so all the students showed up. The previous two lab saw half the seats empty, which distracted me a bit. A full house gave me more energy to work with and more questions to field during the lab portion.
  • <b>Preparation.</b> I remembered to tell students about the detailed lab handouts prepared by the previous teaching assistant. The students also spent some time working on the project, which gave them plenty of questions to ask.
  • <b>Timing.</b> The students had the theoretical background from the lecture _and_ the practical need for the tool (even if it was a need created by the project definition). The previous two lab sessions were a little too early, and the lack of theory and need confused the students. This time, though, everything fit.

That was the third time I'd covered roughly the same material, and the difference really showed. I learned from my mistakes and a few brave students' questions, and I figured out what aspects I needed to focus on in order to address their concerns.

I was supposed to introduce JESS, the Java Expert System Shell, but I felt that focusing on Weka for the entire session would leave the students with better understanding. That was a good call. There's enough time to briefly introduce JESS next session, anyway.

What can I do better next time? Preparation is something within my control: always make sure that learning is motivated by something and that students have written instructions that they can follow at their own pace. Attendance and timing are things I can address with the professor's help. I'll also take comfort in the fact that things get a little easier the more I teach them, so I shouldn't be too worried when I completely bomb the first time I teach something! =)

3. Cold!

Categories: None -- Permalink
My ears hurt earlier. I guess Canadians have just adapted to the weather by evolving thicker ears. Mine were almost icy! I am _so_ wearing something fluffy and warm tomorrow. Weather forecast was -1..2'C, with flurries late. Meep.

4. "What should I do with my life?"

Categories: None -- Permalink
What Should I Do With My Life?<br/> The real meaning of success — and how to find it <blockquote> Those who are lit by that passion are the object of envy among their peers and the subject of intense curiosity. They are the source of good ideas. They make the extra effort. They demonstrate the commitment. They are the ones who, day by day, will rescue this drifting ship. And they will be rewarded. With money, sure, and responsibility, undoubtedly. But with something even better too: the kind of satisfaction that comes with knowing your place in the world. We are sitting on a huge potential boom in productivity — if we could just get the square pegs out of the round holes. </blockquote>

Totally awesome. Read it. Then read it again. Then take a moment to listen for that quiet whisper, that faint urge. =)

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Page: 2005.11.17
Updated: 2005-11-1811:50:4111:50:41+0800
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