Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why would you deny yourself something you want? (Joy in Mad Men)

The end of the first week back at work has arrived. Phew. TGIT (Thursday being the final day of the working week remember).

The first week has been a series of professional development sessions. We have this for two weeks, then a week's holiday (Eid) to acknowledge the end of Ramadan, then a week in schools with teachers before students arrive around September 11. It's a pretty gentle start then.

The professional development? Well it wasn't too bad actually if you take away some posturing, a smattering of condescension, the misuse of English by educators in general and the fact we are working during Ramadan with the temperature in the high 40s every day. Coulda bin worse. Way worse! In fact I quite enjoyed a lot of it and feel more refocused than I did at this time last week.

These language issues have dominated my thoughts of late. For some reason educators feel the need to use verbose language, acronyms wherever they can, and complexity rather than simplicity.

Some recent (as in overused this week) examples that I propose we ban forever: early on we had a proliferation of 'roll out', the ever popular 'drill down', and the detested 'unpack'; a few 'reinvent the wheels' of course, and thankfully no babies in or out of bathwater.

So situation normal, but then a few new contenders entered the ring - 'agentive' seems the latest word to get a thrashing, thanks to NZ researcher - Russell Bishop, and lord knows where the 'give it some skin' expression came from but it quickly became a figure of fun by the end of the week.

Why do educators feel the need to misuse/overuse words  like these? And why do we have to over complicate everything?

Ah well, oh dear, how sad, nevermind.

Ramadan is tough for us western types. No food or drink can be consumed in public during the day between sunrise and sunset. That means no coffee bars or restaurants/cafes are open during this time. Foodmarkets are open though so you can buy food and drink but not consume any of it in public.

Generally the population stays away from roads and shops etc during the day. About 8pm they all come out having broken the day's fast (called iftar). So, in practical terms, shops and hospitals and other work places are closed from mid morning until about 8pm. Makes sense because the day is really hot.

So we have taken to napping in the afternoon and eating before going out about 7pm to do our shopping. I've also been rewatching Mad Men. As you may remember I bought Season 4 a while back and I've been working up to it. I've just finished Season 2.

It's a great show - even better than the first time I watched it. I've sung its praises before and I guess you're on board at this point or not. I'm reading a Mad Men primer called 'The Ultimate Guide to...' after I watch each episode. It is excellent in itself with a plot discussion, cultural notes and some selected comments from blogs at the time of the episode airing in the UK.

Next post - a report on Jacky's baking (yes children - you read that right!)

Love and peace - Wozza

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