School’s out Friday

It’s been a big week for reliving the past.

Back to the Future day

 The Independent

If you missed pretty much every form of media celebrating Back to the Future day on October 21st, then relive a bit of the magic here with this more than impressive effort from Toyota. Bringing together Doc and Marty (Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox) and revisiting location scenes from the movies is a bit of a stroke of genius to promote their new vehicle.  The car uses hydrogen fuel cell technology and you can learn more about it by following this link.

I don’t know about you, but I remain disappointed that we all aren’t powering ourselves to the local shops on our hoverboards as promised in the original 1989 movie. Back then, it all seemed possible. The fact that our phones are talking to us and Google can send us an ad about the coffee shop we’re walking past in a country we’ve never visited before demonstrates that we’ve come a long way, but the hoverboard in the true Back to the Future sense remains elusive. Seth Sentry sums up the disappoint of many with his song, Dear Science. *warning – swear words within. If it wasn’t for the profanity, this would be a great starter for a science lesson.

And for those of you who were transfixed in a movie theatre in 1977 when a Star Cruiser emerged across the screen in the opening scene of the original Star Wars, then settle back and watch the trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Posted to YouTube four days ago, it’s already clocked up 40,014,984 views.  George Lucas must be rubbing his hands with glee.

Have a great weekend. Fire up a classic film. Relive the past. :)


School’s out Friday

Now before you go and get all fired up wondering why I’d post such an inappropriate video, keep in mind that this was published on a site called ‘The Onion‘. Here’s what it’s about, according to Wikipedia!

The Onion‍ ’​s articles satirically comment on current events, both real and fictional. It satirizes the tone and format of traditional news organizations with stories, editorials, op-ed pieces, and man-in-the-street interviews using a traditional news website layout and an editorial voice modeled after that of the Associated Press. The publication’s humor often depends on presenting mundane, everyday events as newsworthy, surreal or alarming. Comedian Bob Odenkirk has praised the publication stating, “It’s the best comedy writing in the country, and it has been since it started.”

What’s quite hilarious is the comment thread on YouTube, where it’s apparent that some people are convinced it’s a genuine video. The Onion site does say that their content is not appropriate for people under the age of 18, but I’ve been thinking about how you could use this as a discussion starter with students to discuss their digital lives. You could follow it up with a discussion about YouTube comments and see what they make of them. Can they identify satire? When is it apparent that someone has been duped? What is a comment like the following saying?

Going by the comment section alone, you’d think you’d reached the Poe’s Law Event Horizon. It’s a warped plane of existence were parody and reality twist, churn and overlap. Sarcasm and sincerity become one, and the ignorant bear the same face as the knowing, and nothing is quite as it seems. Enter at your own risk.
Then you could send your students on a journey exploring Poe’s Law.  Ahhh, the possibilities…
Have a great weekend – lovely weather forecast for Melbourne. The sun beckons. :)

School’s out Friday

I wish I was as confident as Hank Green in thinking that Yellowstone National Park poses no threat to our current existence.

When the Tsunami struck on December 26th 2004, I remember taking Bill Bryson’s ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ off my bookshelf to see what he had to say about Tsunamis. What that led me to was his description of Yellowstone National Park and what this place actually is. Here’s an extract, thanks to a posting on

“In the 1960s, while studying the volcanic history of Yellowstone National Park, Bob Christiansen of the United States Geological Survey became puzzled about something: … he couldn’t find the park’s volcano. …

By coincidence, just at this time NASA decided to test some new high-altitude cameras by taking photographs of Yellowstone, copies of which some thoughtful official passed on to the park authorities on the assumption that they might make a nice blow-up for one of the visitors’ centers. As soon as Christiansen saw the photos, he realized why he had failed to spot the [volcano]: virtually the whole park — 2.2 million acres — was [a volcano]. The explosion had left a crater more than forty miles across-much too huge to be perceived from anywhere at ground level. At some time in the past Yellowstone must have blown up with a violence far beyond the scale of anything known to humans.

Yellowstone, it turns out, is a supervolcano. It sits on top of an enormous hot spot, a reservoir of molten rock that rises from at least 125 miles down in the Earth. The heat from the hot spot is what powers all of Yellowstone’s vents, geysers, hot springs, and popping mud pots. … Imagine a pile of TNT about the size of Rhode Island and reaching eight miles into the sky to about the height of the highest cirrus clouds, and you have some idea of what visitors to Yellowstone are shuffling around on top of. …

Since its first known eruption 16.5 million years ago, [the Yellowstone volcano] has blown up about a hundred times, but the most recent three eruptions are the ones that get written about. The last eruption was a thousand times greater than that of Mount St. Helens; the one before that was 280 times bigger and the one before was … at least twenty-five hundred times greater than St. Helens.”

Bill Bryson (2003) A Short History of Nearly Everything  Broadway Books, P.224 – 228.

Comforting, huh?

What this has done is make me attuned to any news that is reported as coming from Yellowstone National Park. When I saw a video posted on YouTube in 2014 purportedly showing Bison fleeing the park, I thought end of days was coming. Turns out, the Bison were running into the park! Verification matters, especially when you’re thinking a cataclysmic event is on the horizon!

But Hank’s message is a good one. After completing a term in a new school, I’m very aware that change is a constant. And when you’re working in the kind of job I have, you’re in a constant state of helping people try and get comfortable with change. Not always easy, but necessary!

Coincidentally, in terms of the Yellowstone connection anyway, I was driving to work today listening to a podcast called Snap Judgement. First story was about Yellowstone National Park, and a legendary female wolf who researchers dubbed ’06’ – her birth year. It’s quite the extraordinary tale, so follow this link for your listening pleasure. Do partake, and have a great weekend. :)


School’s out Friday

Otherwise Engaged from Jack Sidey on Vimeo.

You know, if this didn’t make me laugh so much I’m pretty sure I’d be crying instead.

What’s happened to moments? What’s happened to shared experiences between two people that necessitate and deserve alone time? Why do we feel a need to share beyond the moment?

I don’t have the answer, but I do know that I participate in this new era of sharing beyond the moment. I did it tonight, although not in the context of a moment like a marriage proposal. My husband and I were at a trivia night, and I was engaged in a dialogue via text message with a new colleague who is making my life at a new school joyous. We were sharing repartee via text about my husband’s purchase of a sleeping bag that weighed enough to warrant the hiring of a sherpa when my son ventures on a school trip to Central Australia.

And you know what, even though it took me away from the people I was sitting with, it was a shared experience with someone who is making a difference in my life, someone I truly value right now when life is tough negotiating a new landscape. And that means something. So, even though we exit real life spaces for brief moments to engage in online spaces with others, sometimes we do it because the connections there matter deeply.

Is that enough of a answer to the questions posed above?

Maybe. It worked for me tonight.

Have a great weekend. Make a connection with someone. Face to face or otherwise, just make a connection. :)

School’s out Friday

This caught my eye this week. It’s Jeff Scardino’s relevant resume video. Jeff is senior creative at Ogilvy & Mather and professor at the Miami Ad School in Brooklyn, and his creative approach to the traditional resume has seen him score eight responses and five meeting requests from ten job applications lodged. Here’s the approach he took;

He designed what he calls the relevant résumé — a résumé littered with your failures, bad references, and non-skills.
His personal one highlights several losing pitches during his time in the advertising industry, “missed honors,” his inability to remember names, and even romantic failures from his time at Ohio University…

In today’s world, creativity may be required to make you stand out from the crowd. I’m wondering, how many career’s advisors are tuned into thinking like this? What are we doing in schools today that might be helping our young people learn to stand out from the crowd?

Not enough, I suspect.

Have a great weekend. Contemplate your failures and find a way to make them work to your best effect! :)

School’s out Friday

If you’ve never seen James Corden’s Car Pool Karaoke then this one with Rod Stewart is a good place to start. Rod is a little revealing about his behaviour in his wilder days, but it’s a nice trip down memory lane for those of you who might have grown up listening to songs like ‘Maggie May’.

What I like about James’ series of videos is the relatability with the experience of singing and dancing in the car. I’m a fan of the practice, and I’m putting my skills to good use now that I’m driving for longer periods to get to work. Right now ‘Peanut Butter Jelly’ by Galantis is my favourite Car Karaoke tune – if you happen to see me whizzing past there are echoes of early 80’s dance moves being played out. Hopefully all the other drivers around me have their eyes on the road!

Have a great weekend. Dance in the car – it’s a liberating experience. :)


School’s out Friday

Stepping out of his comfort zone has worked pretty well for Richard Branson. Here’s hoping the same applies to me!

I’ve stepped way out of my comfort zone and just experienced the first week of work at a new school. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried (not while at work!) and I’ve made some nice connections with the people I’m working with. That is what has kept me sane – my thanks go to everyone there who have made me feel so welcome.

To be totally honest with you, I’d underestimated just how hard it is to start a new job. You go from someone who was competent in pretty much everything you were doing in your previous job, to someone who is struggling to remember the footprint of the building you are in, the names of people you’ve just been introduced to less than two minutes ago, and how you go about navigating a Windows environment on a PC when you’ve used a Mac for the last 6 years!

Give me another 8 or so weeks and I’m sure I’ll be handling things like a pro. Well, hopefully anyway – maybe semi-professional is a more apt forecast!

A weekend of contemplative rest is in order. Taking stock, collecting my thoughts, getting ready to do it all again next week. Keeping in mind that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. :)

Have a great weekend. Enjoy, may the sun shine.