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.

School’s out Friday

*note: swear word within video and inappropriate ad from College Humour at the end. Just so you know.

Yes, I’m going to confess. I have an Apple Watch. (run of the mill variety, definitely not Gold)

Do I need one?


Do I feel pretentious wearing it?

Yes, a little bit.

Do I like it?

Yes, I have to admit, I do.

My family gave me a voucher on Mother’s Day this year for an Apple Watch, and I got it this week. They know how much I love new gadgets and I love them for indulging me and recognising that this is something I would enjoy. I do feel like it’s an extremely unnecessary thing to own and I do feel slightly uncomfortable wearing it. The thing is ridiculously expensive here in Australia and it seems frivolous to own one, but I have to confess that I am liking it, even if I remain pretty clueless so far as to what it can do.

I am away from home at the moment, holidaying with my gorgeous daughter in Port Douglas. I know, you don’t need to say it, I sound like someone who is just throwing money around – forgive me, but having just been paid out for long service leave and knowing that I’m never going to get to take that time off, then this was the next best thing. Anyway, back to the Apple Watch part of the story. I’m liking the activity tracker that is reminding me to get out and get moving – it’s a good prompt that I think is going to be beneficial. I can read my incoming mail, send a message using Siri, and answer and send phone calls from it. You do feel like you’re in an episode of Get Smart when you’re holding your wrist near your face and talking into it, but it has been handy in the car. I can hold the driving wheel and talk quite normally and the people on the other end have been unaware that I’m communicating via the Apple Watch.

There are a myriad of apps available and I’m really in the infancy stages of using it. For the first day, it was noticeable, but four days in and I’m starting to see it as a functional device that I think may prove really useful once I am back at work managing meetings and trying to organise myself in what is going to be a very different pattern of commuting for me.

I have to admit that I do feel a tad freakish with it on, given that wearable devices like this aren’t the norm (yet). Mind you, no-one else seems to have noticed it at all, so maybe there’s nothing big deal about it. Mind you, I’m yet to answer a call in a crowded space and I’m not sure I would. I think reaching into the bag to get the phone would probably be my course of action in shared spaces!

If I discover any noteworthy features, I’ll try and write about them. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the warmth of Port Douglas, a far cry from the depths of a Melbourne winter. My daughter and I walked along the beach at Cape Tribulation today, and I marvelled at the fact that I was treading on sand that I can pinpoint on a map of Australia. It seems so pristine there, I do wonder if the shoreline has altered much from the time James Cook and his men encountered it when they circumnavigated Australia’s East Coast. Even more significant, I wonder if our indigenous people have stories that illustrate what this coastline was like before the arrival of white settlement?

I’m going to be enjoying the sun and relaxation space this holiday is offering me. I hope you can find some space for yourself this weekend, be it in the sun, or by a warm fire. Enjoy. :)

School’s out Friday

I suspect many of you have seen this on mainstream media this week. Cats can certainly wind up in some funny spaces – seeing this brought to mind an experience I had with my dearly loved and recently departed cat, Bella. And yes, if you’re a regular reader you may recall me mentioning our loss last year of our dearly loved dog, Bella. That’s right, we had two animals in the same house with the same name. It’s a long story. Suffice to say, two animals often fronted for dinner when called!

But back to the story related to the video above. My parents live nearby, around ten minutes away. I drove there one day, stopping at a set of lights on the way. When I arrived, I could hear a cat wailing when I stepped out of the car. I thought I must have hit the neighbour’s cat so started looking around the car for an injured animal. No sign, but the wailing continued. I eventually narrowed it down to the bonnet of my car. Lifted it, and yep, there was Bella, huddled on top of the engine, wailing. I spent time in the weeks after this checking where Bella was before venturing out for any car trip! 2015-06-26 23-10-13

Bella, daredevil cat, is on the left. Bonnie, far too slothful for any such adventure, is still with us and on the right. No need to check my car when I venture out now. She’s never going to be hidden in the engine – that would require too much effort!

Have a great weekend. Seek out enjoyment. Make it your mission.  Just avoid positioning yourself on the wing of a glider or the top of a car engine.  :)