Busy week

I had another lazy weekend this weekend, but this time I really did need it – last week felt rather frantic.

For a start, I had an essay due on Thursday. Which of course I didn’t finish last weekend like I should have. Maybe if I’d actually considered what I had on during the week I would have, because I was out on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night, which didn’t leave a lot of time for essay-writing (I did manage to get it done, by sneaking some time at work, but it was a close thing – I was putting the finishing touches on it two hours before the deadline.

On Monday night I went to an ESOL-HT seminar about listening skills to launch a new CD and book they’ve just had published. It’s going to be a great resource, because most of the CDs and tapes out there to help people learn English are produced overseas, and it’s really important for learners to hear NZ accents when they’re learning, so they can understand the people around them. The only decent resource with NZ accents up till now has been for more advanced learners, so this one, which is pitched more at a beginner level, will be very popular.

Tuesday night was meetup, but only me, MrPloppy, and lytteltonwitch were there. Awhina was sick, so they all stayed at home, Angela7715 is overseas, and none of the other semi-regulars showed up. At least that meant there was less temptation to take books home 🙂 (Lytteltonwitch didn’t resist the temptation, though – I convinced her to take Somehow Form a Family by Tony Earley by telling her about its illustrious bookcrossing history). I released the other book I’d taken along, Ladie’s Man by John Ramster, in the bus exchange on the way home. Dunno if it will find an appreciative reader there, but I couldn’t be bothered hanging on to it until the next meetup.

On Wednesday night I had my ESOL student. We had a great session, but as always it took a lot of concentration, so I was shattered by the time I got home. If I’m that tired just teaching, I’d hate to think how exhausted my student must be by the lessons – I’m just having to concentrate on making sure I’m understood and trying to understand what she says to me – she’s got to do all that AND remember the new stuff I’m teaching her!

At least Thursday was a quiet night, but by Friday I was more than ready for the weekend, and was seriously looking forward to going home and collapsing in front of the fire with a good book. Except just before I left work, MrPloppy rang to say Tam had dropped by, and he’d invited her to stay for tea…

It was really nice to see her, and we had a fun evening playing games on the playstation and computers (we tried to be super-geeky and get a LAN party going, but for some reason although all three computers could see the network, we couldn’t get them to see the computer acting as server for the game, and seeing as our network is a bit delicate at the best of times, MrPloppy didn’t want to fiddle with it too much in case the whole thing died again, so we just went back to taking turns on 1-player games), but it wasn’t really what I was in the mood for.

At least I got to make up for it with a totally lazy weekend. Next weekend’s going to be a busy one, so probably a good thing I did.

Currently reading: Chronicle of the Unsung by Martin Edmond
Currently listening to: Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald

Secret Project Report

It’s been dawning on me just how close October is getting, so I’ve been making a concerted effort to get on with my secret cross-stitch project. I managed to get quite a bit more done this weekend, so the deadline isn’t feeling quite as impossible now (though all that white is taking *so* long – there’s so many ever-so-slightly-different shades of white, it’s taking me twice as long as normal because I have to keep stopping to double-check where I’m up to in the pattern).

Last night I was going to take a photo of the progress so far, but then I had the clever idea of using the scanner attached to the new printer instead. A clever idea apart from the fact that the software for it is dreadful – it’s supposed to be all wonderfully user-friendly, but they’ve acheived that by removing any choice from the user, so of course it’s easy – as long as you want it to do what they think you should want it to do… It produced a beautiful scan, but at such a huge resolution that it would have been impossible to post here, and the image editing part of the software doesn’t have a resizing function!!! I couldn’t believe that, so I even checked the help file, and no, you can’t resize the picture. You can crop, and you can adjust the colour balance (but only to certain pre-set levels), but you can’t resize! It doesn’t even tell you what zoom you’re veiwing the picture on, so you can’t tell what size it is anyway. Totally weird.

Normally, I’d just have used The Gimp (a bit like cracking a nut with a sledgehammer, but at least it does have the ability to crack nuts), but we haven’t got it installed on the computer that the scanner’s attached to (I’ll be rectifying that tonight!), and of course the network was playing up again so I couldn’t transfer the file to the other computer which does have it. So, using the full ability of HP’s brilliant image editing software, here’s the work in progress, reduced to a size suitable for the web:

(At least it gives you an idea of what I’m up against with all those shades of off-white!)

Ok, so eventually I did manage to figure out how to fiddle with the resolution on the scanner and get a smaller image that way, but it’s a very awkward way of going about it.

The finished picture’s going to be slightly too big for the scanner bed anyway (which is only A4), so I suspect I’ll be going back to taking a photo for the next picture of work in progress.