Wednesday, 26 December 2007

3 French Hens, 2 Turtle Doves and a Graphics Tablet for me.

I do hope you all had a lovely Christmas, whether you were in Minnesota or India, and that Santa was goood to you etcetc! I certainly had a nice time, despite the lack of snow. :)

Just a quick blog post tonight, mainly because I would only like your opinion, even if you dont usually comment, on these:

Doodle 1

Let me explaaain. For my birthday this year, my mum and dad got me a graphics tablet which is SUCH a joy as I've been moaning about one for quite a while now. (I'm sure they got it just to shut me up :P) Soooo, I've been testing it out by drawing little pictures of people these past few hours and the two images above are the result. They're not that good, but not too bad. I do apologise to James and Mrs O'Neill though. :)Anyway, concrit would be greatfully recieved.

(PS, I didn't get any French Hens or Turtle Doves.)

Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Creative Writing?

"It was a crisp, winter's night just before midnight when she arrived unnoticed. The air was silent, save for the chill dancing in the trees, their skeletal branches rustling above her head as her hooded figure drifted quickly across the moonlight path by the river. They had been planning this for months, she thought to herself; every minor detail was catered for in her mind, every move, every noise, every step, everything was to go like clockwork. These thoughts repeated in her head as she made her way soundlessly along the path, slowing every so often to hesitantly listen to her surroundings. Once, near where the river widened, she stop completely and stood motionless in the shadows. Had she heard something? Could she see something hidden in the dense foliage on the river bank? This abrupt pause took no longer than a few seconds before the figure broke into a run, her feet pounding on the gravel path, the crunch resounding in the still air alongside her shallow breathing. The moonlight danced across her figure from behind tree branches and clouds, providing little light as it painted shapes on the the path and glistened on the river flowing beside her.

His presence was masked by the shadows of the building he was leant upon. He checked his watch, the small hands illuminated by the solitary light of a match- it was fast approaching midnight and yet he was still alone. Flicking the match onto the gravel at his feet, he sighed delving his hands into his pockets. With a mixture of curiosity and boredom, he felt the objects that lay within them. His grandmother had always said you could tell a lot about a man from the contents of his pockets; but then again, he though to himself, she was a crazy old dear. His thumb brushed against the rough box of matches, the twines of knotted string, and with male instinct, he couldn't resist jingling his keys. He wasn't altogether sure what his grandmother would have gathered about him from the three items in his pockets, but he knew it would be a different story with the contents of his backpack that lay by his feet. He sighed again, listening to the darkness that surrounded him with great interest. The echoes of a distant highway, the soft murmur of the stream bubbling by, the wail of a nearby alley cat.. they all drifted to his ears. But after a few moments his ears picked up the sound of footsteps upon gravel coming towards him. Footsteps, he knew, that belonged to whom he had been waiting in the shadows for. His fellow criminal's footsteps."

So yeh, me and James are criminal masterminds! But, no, really, I wrote this because I've been thinking a lot about Creative Writing these past few days and how its not really done in English when you get passed a certain level; I haven't done any since the hazy days of First Year and I think its a bit of a shame. I loved creative writing, not that I am/was good at it or anything, but because I love imagining things and depicting it through words. I think its something just about everyone can do -we do it everyday- and enjoy yet its not a major part of the curriculum (there is probably a good reason for this, do let me know what it is) It is a bit late just now, but I am going to look into this further; I got a bit carried away in my imagination above- I do apologise for a bit of a rambling post! :)

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Miss Indecisive.

Don't you just hate it when people ask you the same questions over and over again, when the answer has been the same for years? Only this year have I noticed how many times I'm asked the same thing,usually by the same people, who just receive the same answer. Mum says its probably because I don't give a satisfying answer, but I feel like I'm living in Groundhog Day. It's really quite amusing sometimes.

FAQs of the week:
"So when's your birthday?"
-"Aren't you 16 yet?"
-"Looking forward to it?"
-"Doing anything nice?"
-"What do you want for your birthday?"
-"What do you want for your Christmas?"
-"Doesn't it suck having a birthday so close to Christmas?"
-"What do you want to do when you leave school?"
-"Don't you want to be a doctor?"

Generally, they come in that order and the answers are always the same. "Before Christmas. No. Spose. Dunno. No idea. No idea. Not really. No, I just like the NHS and medical things. What are you? Mr Flower?!" The thought of making up complex answers has toyed with my imagination for some time now. Sometimes I do succeed and they go like:

-"I'm not 16. I'm 15... 15 years and 360-odd days if your picky. If you want I can work it out in hours, let me fetch my calculator.."
-"I'm totally doing something nice! I'm going to a Lemon Curd factory to try my hand at record breaking lemon curd eating!"
-"Hmm.. What I really want for Christmas is you. No. Only joking. I really really want to go to The North Pole, Narnia or possibly Mars, but I'd settle for Mamma Mia in Glasgow."
-"Well. I want to be a Crash Test Dummy or a corpse in Casualty. Not fussy. Maybe even a BeeKeeper. Or Eddie Izzard's stylist. OH! I want to be a lolly-pop MAN. Yes, Man."

Sometimes its just easier to be irresolute. ;]

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

It Wont Be Long

Yeah yeah yeah!

The countdown to Christmas has shortened considerably since the last time I mentioned it, way back on 22nd of June.. (Yes only I could mention Christmas at such a time of year) and the urge to keep countdowns going in my head has also decreased. I have been keeping numerous dates ticking down inside my head over the past few weeks, the three most important ones being:

17 days to The Snowball. - (Not so chuffed.. Dresses. Hmph.)
19 days to Ones Birthday.
21 days to Christmas.

However, knowing how long it is to an event saddens me. Where I know that it is 21 days to Christmas, I also know that in 22 days time everything will be over. All the hype, all the excitement and cheer, will just be a "remember yesterday?" thing. It is, after all, only one special day of the year. This had made me think that maybe keeping tabs on time isn't such a good idea after all. The more you know, the shorter it seems to be.

I love this time of year- its the Pop Tart time of year: everything's all warm on the inside and all frosted on the outside. (Or maybe I'm just hungry..) December is too my favourite month, not only because my birthday and Christmas all come in the one weekend :) but because of how gorgeous this season makes everything. Even spiderwebs -something I'd rather class as yucky- turn fresh and decorative, bejeweled by the morning frost. Brightly coloured hats and scarves give a real sense of cheer, even if some are slightly garish and only represent the basic Stranraerian dependence on brightly coloured accessories.

This too gives me a real sense of time and how things have changed for the people around me. Thinking back I often lose myself in daydreams of what Christmas time was like for my parents as kids, and even my grandparents. As a child I loved hearing about the snow drifts that gripped our town in my grandads youth, where he was walking along the tops of hedges without knowing because the snow was so deep... Telling and listening to family stories, another part of Christmas we all love.

The mind wanders as to what this years Christmas will bring.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Anti Bullying Week.

Glen (my little brother) asked me to help him with his homework tonight. Into his 2nd year at the academy, he had been given two worksheets on Anti Bullying Week for PSE and was stuck with the question:

"If you were given a million pounds, how would you use it to diminish bullying in your school?"

It wasn't just because he didn't know what 'diminish' meant or that he couldn't be bothered to answer it himself, but because he didn't really see how money could help stop bullying in our school. To be honest I had to think about it for a moment too, before we started talking about what he thought the school should do to stop bullying- with or without the million pounds.

Glen has learning difficulties due to him having epilepsy when he was a toddler which means he doesn't really understand things as instantly as what you and I would. (You've just got to explain things to him in a way he'll understand better which, apparently I can do well seeing as I've spent most of my time with him) So, his thoughts on the subject were firstly that they should take all those classed as bullies out of schools and either shoot them, or "wheck them all on a desert island." Maybe a bit too harsh Glen I said, and encouraged him away from the violent, extremist actions. Quickly.

About ten minutes into listening to him and talking with him, it soon became clear he'd been paying attention in class and had made up his own mind about what schools could do if encouraged to stop bullying, which is great. He suggested that schools make seniors into buddies to help kids who were being bullied, and bullies could take part in workshops that would make them see how wrong it was- with use of the million pounds. The fact that Glen knew what could be done meant that teaching kids through Anti Bullying Week was actually successful in raising awareness for the cause.

We both agree that bullying is a horrible thing and that its about time teachers in schools were given back the discipline and respect they had once upon a time to deal with bullies accordingly. Maybe not as severe as shooting them on desert islands but enough to prevent as much bullying in schools as possible.

I left him to write up his own answers earlier and he's just given me the sheets to check over. Halfway down one page lies the question: "Have you ever been bullied in school?" to which he has scribbled underneath, "No, my sister does enough to me at home. ;)"

Siblings. You just cant win.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Children In Need 07.

Today was Children In Need, something that comes round the same time every year. To be honest, the day was alright; or to put it another way -things could've been worse. Events included Staff V Pupils football, Bake Sales, Face Painting, Alternative Miss World, Stranraer Academy's Got Talent (don't laugh..) and a non-uniform day. Major frivolity all round, and for a good cause too.

Something that overshadowed the day for me -but also made me smile a little- was the enormous sense of time I suddenly became aware of. Everything that was going on tripped me up and took me back a year to CIN 06. I can remember everything that happened that day and it just shocked me at how quickly a year can go and what changes it can bring. Also the fact that something is always changing, nothing stays the same for long these days.

If someone had said to me back in 4th year that a year later my Art, English, Physics, CDT, PE, Computing and German teachers would all be long gone, I'd probably have laughed. But with time brings change, and change.. well its just something I've got to embrace. Even though I dislike it.

So, I've spent most of the day with my thoughts in the past, remembering all of this made me think of how many changes the school has undergone in the last 365 days. For instance: Last year, Mr Kitson won The X Factor. He was an English teacher who played the guitar well, and who often misplaced his two front teeth. The face of the English Dept changed dramatically after he left. This year, a Mrs Foreman won it. She's the newest edition to the Home Economics teachers, and she's from Jamaica.

Most all of the teachers were missing from the line up of last years concert, and most of this years I didn't know.

Strange that.

This years wasn't as good.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Parents Evening...

Ah, those two words that strike fear into every school pupils mind. It was mine tonight. I must admit, I was feeling a bit apprehensive with tonight's round of appointments as over the past few weeks I've felt my attention span wane and my focus go to pot. But as the evening progressed, the comments remained the same as they have done for the past 5 years, as did my views on them. Summarized, tonight's included:

~Art: "The first thing I remember of teaching Jemma in 4th year was when I strictly told her not to rip up her 6 months of work and start over with 2 months left. Of course, she went and did it anyway, and got an Int 2 A. That's talent coming through. She has talent, something you need to get through higher, and she will."
Uhhuh. I'm sure. My work is utter rubbish IMO. And he so made me sound mean, I wasn't, honest. I just wasn't happy with it so binned it elaborately. Its art, how can it not be coool? :D

"As you know I didn’t have Jemma before the summer, and I’ve come to terms with the fact I’ll never fill the shoes of her Total All-Time Favourite Teacher. *grin* But I think I'm sorta getting there. It was touch and go for a while, yunno like, which I can quite agree with as dear old Liz was a fantastic colleague. I mean I loved the ground she walked on, yunno so."
I've forgotten the rest of what he said as I spent too much time trying to remember what it was he was saying. There was something about all teenagers being weird and that Lara and I spoke in code. Also that he's only sent three emails in the past ten years. I think I'm doing okay though, he's a cool teacher. And Mrs O'Neill, sounds like you've got an admirer ;)

~History 1: "Other than using more Historians quotes in her essays, Jemma is very capable of getting a good pass at Higher."
The rest I forget as I was so astounded she got my name right. Despite the fact I've had her for 4 years now. And despite the fact she taught my mum when she was my age. She likes my doodling though, creative doodling is alright she says. Rock onnn.

~History 2: "Quietly efficient, but sometimes too quiet. I think Jemma you wrote it on your progress sheet that you needed to add more in class and I agree. You need to work on it."
Yes, this has been the same thing on all my teachers lips from 1st Year. I hate answering in class unless its on a subject I feel strongly about and I am sure of myself. Such a time has only happened once; in English before the summer on the subject of Daphne du Maurier, I know all there is to know so I'm okay with it. Plus the class rocked.

~Maths: "The most quietest girl in the class, *smile*, but always has been and I'm sure always will be."
Yup, too right. That's not changed in five years. Curse me stupid quietness.

So after that I'm left feeling sort of... disheartened with the whole thing. On one hand I'm capable of getting good grades in the next year. On the other hand, am I good enough, willing enough, to get them? I'm too tired to think tonight, which is probably the root problem with my unusual negativity, maybe in the morning tihngs will be looking up.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Where have all the teachers gone?

Yesterday I said goodbye to the last of my favourite teachers. Mr Bennie left the CDT Dept on Friday for a school half the size, with double the size of CDT Dept. I cant blame him for leaving, our department has been running on one teacher most of the year now and it really was unfair on him. Not only was Mr Bennie having to take on more work, but the pupils were missing out too.

Overall actually, our school is running on minimum teachers at the moment. As mentioned here almost every department is suffering due to short term and long term absences, job applications that no one turns up for... Its almost as bad as when our headteacher position went without anyone putting in for it. Surely situations like this is when blogs really can come in handy? If a teacher is going to be off for a long period of time due to illness or whatever, I'm sure they could easily access their computer and leave course notes for their pupils back in school.

Personally I think it'd be a great idea. At the moment I have no art teacher and my work rate is sufffering heavily, the class on a whole has missed its deadlines by weeks and my art study sheet lies empty. I know that if it wasnt for the fact I find writing essays on art fairly reasonable (dare I say I enjoy them?) and I'm able to research at home I would have no chance come exam time. But without a teacher, most of the class arent doing any work at all, in class or at home.

Clue blogging idea screen left. Our actual teacher whilst absent could then upload useful links, reinforce our deadlines (theres something about our cover teacher that no one can take seriously...) and generally keep teaching us over the internet. This way we wouldnt miss out too much as sites like Mikeys school's would mean we could have an "online classroom" so to speak.

Or maybe, just maybe, we could find some actual teachers?

Saturday, 27 October 2007


Finally! Well, four days early but still! Tonight we all had a party at my house, by all I mean all in the above photo, in left to right form.

Bottom Row: Lara Harvey (witch), Hannah McClusky (Evil fairy queen), Me (Marc Bolan/ Drunken Business Woman avec Feather Boa), Stephen Brown (Policeman).
Middle Row: Roslyn Campbell (Evil fairy), Zanda Knight (Zandette), Tom McColm (Harry Potter-esque), Shaun Corbett (Superman!), Hazel Brown (Shaun), Phil Holmes (Pumpkin), and Laura Monteith (Goth).

As you can tell from the photo we had a hilarious night! The picture looks like its been Tom and Zanda's wedding and the rest of us are the wedding goers though. Future premonition? I think not. :) But still brilliant! The rest of the photos are viewable by clicking on the wee box thing to the right of this entitled Halloweeen.

Well I have nothing else coherant to say as I'm rather tired -seeing as we did walk in the cold dark night all the way to Mr Keery's only for him to not open the door- and it is... twenty five past eleven. Dear me. I need to get out of my costume. Night!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Techno-Joy or Techno-Fear?

Well I'm back from my holidays, had a great time and now I've got school to look forward to. Ahem. True to form I've been thinking a lot lately about technology and education, and how different my classes could be if they moved on with the times. Blogs are becoming more widespread, their even cropping up on Casualty.. But as I was saying education and technology. An odd combination for a lot of teachers, or at least rather limited.

I find my school to be quite lucky in the technology department, every class has a whiteboard and every teacher has a laptop. Yet, they are rarely used for anything more than Power Point presentations and EasyTeach files that are so outdated the software struggles to run properly. With new programs like Skitch and Scratch wouldn't it be great if pupils were allowed to make their own learning shows? I think it would, as a pupil I know it takes fun things to motivate me into learning. The availability of new programs is immense out there, why should we have to stick to whats tried and tested? Are we really that un-daring?

The answer is probably yes. And really, in a way, there's nothing wrong with that. Like Eddie Izzard's TechnoFear and TechnoJoy, I know some teachers aren't quite comfortable with using computers and would rather stick with tried and tested ways of teaching. Added with the continual bad press the Internet gets, there does seem very slightly chance of progress.

Take my grandparents for instance. I asked them this afternoon what they thought Bebo, MySpace, FaceBook and MSN were from what they'd heard about them. Their responses were slightly typical of what most "older" people think of the Internet, the usual fears of kids safety etc. Sadly, all this negativity, which I guess is common place, prevents the great opertunities the internet has created being taken in full value.

This in itself isn't suited well to pupils in schools today. We've been brought up on computers and therefore skip and in a way underestimate the hidden dangers present on the web. We dont have this everpresent fears of people not being who they say they are, downloading, broadcasting our opinions for all to see, or even clicking on random buttons in the hope it sorts your problem out. (Speaking from a bad personal experience where I'm sure there was smoke coming from the back of my tower...) But we are aware of them and have a knowledge of the way the net works. Its not like 40-odd years ago where hardly anyone had access to computers, everyone now has at least 2 in their home. So surely these skills should be amplified and further built on in schools?

I should hope so.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Spanish Inquisition

Well, here I am sat infront of a hotel computer in sunny Menorca, watching my online time tick away in the corner of my screen. I have 8 minutes 45 seconds left apparently. Must press on.

May I just warn you that there may be random spelling and grammatical mistakes as the keyboards are of a Spanish nature and I still haven´t found the question marks. Although, they do have a rather fetching upside down interrobang that is on a key shortcut I cant quite reach... ¡¿ That´ll do.

I´ve been in Spain for just a few days now, and I love it already. Everywhere you go the people are far friendlier than what you get back in Scotland. Maybe because its sunny and they have sunny dispositions to match. (Hence the depressively rainy attitudes of us in Scotland?) ;)

Another thing that struck me is that when we´re out having a meal or a drink in a restaurant, it is still legal over here to smoke. I guess I´ve been so used to it over in Britain that it was quite surprising and novel to see. Being a very anti-smoking child I guess I was just a wee bit peeved.

Is peeved even a word? I´ve repeated it inside my head so many times that it now seems silly. I will check, when I get a decent computer and keyboard.

Also, I´ve become all to aware of my own accent recently. Very self conscious when talking as I find myself saying things like, "Huvnae" "Cannae" "Faffed" "Ocht" "Ken" and I´m sure I say "Aye" every second word. Its probably because I´m used to everyone else around me sounding equally stupid. (Luv yas reli)

Rebecca and I have already made friends with a few of the locals, like El Spanish Dude (we haven't yet learned his name) who -whilst I was snorkeling- flung bread in the water so the fish wold attack me. Good job I can swim. Fast. He´s really cool though, he says "Ola" to all you reading.

Oh gosh, only a few minutes left. *superfasttypingmode*

*Happified squeal* I´ve been catching up on everyones blogs before I came on to quickly type this and, thank you to Mrs O´Neill for mentioning me on her blog. Never been recognised for doing anything ever before. At least not under the right name. How bien! I think.. Spanish isn't that good, watching Dora the Explorer does not count as good language skills...

Well I only have under a minute left so this will have to be cut short. Will resume blogging with pictures when I return, hopefully with a tan too.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007


I'm still fixated with Halloween but I'll leave it out (mostly) for this post as its a rather quick post. Its the second day of the October Holidays and already my mind is numb. So numb in fact, I read my horoscope today. I rarely do unless I'm really bored, but when I do I do find them somewhat interesting. Todays reading for Capricorns everywhere is:

'Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zipadee-ay, my-oh-my what a wonderful day...' Remember the old Disney Song Of The South? The best version of this that you'll ever hear is by Steve Miller on his much underrated album, Born 2B Blue. I'm mentioning this to you today because, well, you decide. Because I want to talk about music? Or because 'plenty of sunshine' actually IS coming your way. Venus is forming a conjunction to your ruler. That's the truth. It's actual. Soon (almost) everything will be satisfactual.

I find this quite funny as I'm off to Menorca -possibly Majorca, I get confused easily- in two days, which explains the sunshine (I hope). I also have been talking about music and Disney a lot recently, see the post below, which ties in too. Happy coincidence? Most probably.

Anyway, seeing as I'm off into the sunshine soon, this will be my last post for the next week at least. However I hope to return with some good pictures and blog topics other than Halloween. Also I'm taking my sketchbook with me which no doubt will feed my fasination with the sky and rural countryside at the minute. Hence the picture above, taken from Innermessan (sp?) the other week by my trusty telephone sidekick and I.

Oh! how silly of me, I forgot to type in "Popular Ned Language" today. Tsk, I shall leave that for a rainy November day. I've been doing my research y'see, as much as it pains me to do so, but I want to do a wee social-type experiment.

How do you think "picture" is apparently spelt?

Monday, 1 October 2007

"Dont you lot use the internet for anything educational?"

This was the interesting question posed to my history class today by Mrs H. The class' reaction was as expected, to her surprise, with comments like, "Unles Bebo and MSN are classed as educational, no." -- "Not unless I have to." and possibly the worst, "Ocht naw, dae ah look yen on thaem brainy folk?"

This sent me into a blog-post-purpose day dream for the rest of the lesson. What do I do on the Internet when I spend hours of my free time glued to the screen? What do other people my age do? Could teachers use the internet as a way of education? Of course, the answers to the first two questions are easy.

1)I usually send my computer into hyper-drive by opening far too many windows at once and carrying out numerous tasks simultaneously. In other words; I chat on bebo, I upload pictures from my phone, I download music onto my MP3, I discuss on one or two forums, I share conversations with many different people over MSN, I potter away with my blog, I listen to music and more often than not my Photo shop is running in the background making some form of pixel-art. There's the odd homework task in the mix too.
-Educational relevance? Not much.

2) Most teenagers at Stranraer Academy (not including the PGs as we are indeed in a league of our own, Shaun will explain if he comments :P) spend their online life worshiping BEBO and MSN, and would willingly admit so. This includes; racing to get the latest skins, newest tricks and tips, newest versions, the first to have an original name or the most "loves." This is normally done by talking in the worst language ever known to man- where vowels don't exist, punctuation is overused and the idea of capital letters is but an urban myth. Do they realise how bad grammatical and spelling mistakes look online? No. IT ISNA3 KWL TA3 TAK RYT!!!1
-Educational relevance? Not much.

The third answer is rather different. Both the above answers wouldn't come under the "education" bracket for most teachers in school, including Mrs H, as stereotypical educational use of the Internet is researching a topic elaborately using as many pie charts as possible. But, in my opinion, I feel this could be changed. The Internet is a vast network in which there is so much to learn from, giving the right tools to access it, and could well be turned into one of the greatest teacher-helping pupil-friendly textbooks ever.

Introduced to me by Mrs O'Neill, Wikispaces and blogs are but two of the ways schools could get a little bit of technology into their classrooms -provided they have the know-how and the willingness to do so. I personally find this to be great, as its far more enjoyable than copying out of textbooks. They would allow more for kids who are absent or if the teacher happens to be absent or even just in fun homework tasks, to adapt to learning in different media and environments.

Our school however, appears to be stuck in the days when PowerPoint presentations were the best and only way of teaching. Maybe one day things'll change and ideas about interactive school communities wont just be resigned to History period day-dreams.

[Of course, being one of those quiet invisible type of people sitting in the back of the class, I didn't refer to any of my ideas about what the Internet could be used for in this certain class, for four reasons; 1) The fear of having to answer that dreaded question, "What's a blog?", 2) Getting quizzed on what I post on my blog, and 3) I have a fear of anyone else finding my blog.]

Sunday, 23 September 2007

My WeeMee's got style.

I was going to redo my FIVE THINGS ABOUT ME thing tonight but then I realsied, there really aren't that many things that are interesting about me. I'm a pretty dull person. So instead, I figured I just post one random fact about me. So here it is-

--A few months from the start of the year, I set myself the challenge of learning Sign Language. I'd stopped and started along the way, what with exams and other distractions but I took it back up propperly over the summer and now I'm almost fluent, give or take a few words. Best part of it is that I can have a conversation in class and noone except Lara knows what I'm saying. Its great.

Or maaybe thats just me being weird.

Anyway, as per usual I have a ton of things to do but have managed to find something to distract myself. I've given my WeeMee a room, an umbrella and glasses. How cool. If you're reading and you have a WeeMee leave me a message as I'm message-less. I've also uploaded a few pictures into my Picassa album, viewable by clicking on the swan thing to the right of this. Andd, partly due to Shaun shouting, "HELLO MRS DORNAN!" at my mum every time he sees her, I've created a blog for her. Its a bit.. empty at the moment as she's not posted yet but I'll soon change that. ;)

Music change today. I originally wanted Marc Bolan- Hot Love but its not hosted, so Metal Guru will just have to do. Hard to think he's been dead for 30 years already this month. Also shockingly, its only 19 days to my holidays, 95 days to my birthday, and 98 days to Christmas. Not that I'm counting..

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

One of those days?

I'm going to do what I do best- grumble and discuss the weather. Every month of the calendar year seems to have its own seasonal personality, to which we abide by during the weeks they contain. Clothing styles change with the weather, the colours change, the clocks change and our anticipation changes depending on what we're looking forward to. Reading my blog, you've probably noticed I'm a very visual person, most things in my life are associated with certain colours- like a human Mood Ring per se. So, I've been thinking, (s'becoming a habit these days, I'm getting worried) of what my year would look like if someone was to compose it visually.

-January and February are the bleak months yet they are filled with hope for the future year too. These are the months everyone is still singing from Christmas and looking forward subconsciously, with little spring lambs frolicking in fields of glistening snow drops. I think its best represented by cool blues and mint greens, like the coolness of toothpaste..

-June and July feel the warmest and brightest, when schools gearing up for the holidays and the atmosphere is happy. Summer sun, ice creams and adventuristic days at amongst every child's hopes (and expectations). Most likely to be represented by reds and yellows, which reflecting in both the heat and the energy levels presented in these midway months.

-September-October time is the transition into the cooler oranges, muted pinks and browns. I find this time of year to be both glorious in colour yet, personally, really really.. muted. Like, there are barely any big holidays to celebrate, other than Halloween -which in itself gives off a dark tone- and its the time of year when I start to lose all sense of everything and just feel perpetually tired, for no outstanding reason.

-November and December pick up the pace again as the build up to Christmas is on the horizon. Scarves and hats are dug out of cluttered drawers, Christmas decorations begin to take over the house and the only thing on TV is The Great Escape. (Maybe one year they'll surprise us by not escaping..) The nights become darker and wintry, where the only good thing to do is snuggle up with a good book and hot chocolate- great! I love winter. Everything happens in December for me; my birthday, then Christmas then New Year and not to mention the reflective days where all you do is talk about whats gone on over the past year. It can surprise you what can change, what you don't notice as you're too busy looking ahead.

I had one of these days today. A December day in September, (maybe Global Warming is creeping up on us) where the weather became instantly cold with a biting wind and all I wanted to do was think back to the summer and warmer times. I suppose its a sort of comfort thing, talking about what has been rather than face the future, I do it far to often- mainly in maths when I'm invisible.

The thought of Global Warming rather alarms me. I'm not a huge fan of change, even though I believe change is a good thing, and slowly but surely even I can see the effects we're having on this planet. Pretty soon, the weather system and our yearly calendar will undoubtedly change, and I cant say for the better. So far, we've had extreme flooding in the Midlands and Tornadoes in London;- it wouldn't surprise me if next Belfast was turned into a swamp and Scotland was ravished by spontaneous hail stones the size of coconuts. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but the weather's become so unpredictable not even my blog can control it.

Is there much we can do? Does obsessive recycling hold the answer, or even do enough? I suppose we'll just have to wait and see. Maybe when I'm having a barbecue and beach party on my birthday will everything make sense.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Judging Books By Their Covers.

In English today we started reading through the first Short Story I've studied in a very long while; "The Darkness Out There" by Penelope Lively. I like it so far, I'm an analysis-aholic as it is anyway so I'm intrigued at the prospect of studying it thoroughly. This, surprisingly, got me thinking: What is it that makes us read what we read?

Personally, I throw caution to the wind and often chose books by their covers. They intrigue me, I fall hook line and sinker for the advertising companies who design the covers in the first place. Maybe its just my mindset, or.. something but if I notice an interesting cover, I’m most likely to read the book. There are other reasons, obviously, like the author or raving reviews that I like to make my own decisions about but added with a great cover usually is a recipe for success.

Strangely though, the Daphne Du Maurier books don’t have very interesting and detailed Terry-Pratchett-like covers, yet I’m an avid reader. I like their simplicity. The plots and characters make up for this once you get reading however. (The narrator in Rebecca has my full sympathy, for obvious reasons.)

I'm a sucker for cover art, Terry Pratchett's being the worst. Or the velvety covers of children's books by Debi Gliori. Or those uber cool Pop-Up books about pirates and dragons... Anyway. Here are a two books that have caught my eye whilst blogging here:

<Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans. I think the simplicity of the colour and shapes in this cover is what I like. Pink umbrella FTW. Haven't read the book yet, so I cant comment on whether I can judge a book by its cover successfully.

Going Home by Harriet Evans. Wintry and Christmas-y, portrays the book superbly. >

They're both rather intriguing covers, I'm tempted to read A Hopeless Romantic already. The books that feature in my picture in the top of this post are just a selection that I love- especially The Interpretation Of Murder. Good books in my books anyway..

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Sending Out An SOS.

Just a quick update today as I'm rather taken by a creative writing idea I've just decided to pursue- shall post more details once I get parts written. The outcome should hopefully be really really weird and funny and hopefully a good read (provided its legal of course.) Its set in Stranraer Academy aswell. (Says it all really dunnit)

I'm in the middle of trying to persuade my mum to write a blog post on here as she's just recently switched jobs and become a Learning Support teacher at the Academy, she has been for the past three years but now she's full time. I think it'd be pretty interesting to read. And make a change from mum reading all my posts. :P

Change of song today: The Police & Sting- Message In A Bottle. Incredibly catchy and I like itt.

Must get back to my plan before I forget everything thats in my head. More on the story later.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Pet Hates.

Now back at school my rate of daily conversation has increased. I know that sounds terrible, but at school you either learn, talk or... skive I suppose. Well, there are a whole lot of things you can get up too in Stranraer Academy but I shant say what. ;) The conversation at lunch turned into one of Pet Hates, and I got really interested so I've carried it on to my blog. I was also tagged to do it by my "Irish-Buddy" friend Kathie who wont let me link to her blog for some odd reason. Lolz.

Pet hates. Some of my pet hates dont really sound like pet hates, they just sound fussy. But heyho. I have several, as follows-
- The most obvious one, the "conspiracy" surrounding the spelling and mistaken identity I have with my name. I would love to change my name to something unforgettable like Sacagawea... Jemma really isnt that hard. Is it?

- I really dislike it when old people stand in the middle of the street and talk about how many times they've had their hips replaced. I also find it humourous so I'm not sure this one counts. Plus, I'll be old one day... Muwhahaha. *pensioner from hell music*

- In school, the craze of wearing luminous orange/green/yellow bangles, belts, shoes, hairbands, earrings, eye shaddow and beads. Really, there is no need for it unless you happen to wander the streets as a late-night Lollipop Woman.

- The same people mentioned above spelling words in the new "Ned-ictionary." Words including: Awryt, bbz, plz, hu, laffs, tht, fanx and wuu2, the list goes on... If thats not bad enough they bombard you with copious amounts of xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx's at the end of each sentence. Do these people have no concept of how bad spelling and grammatical mistakes look online. *despair*

- Push and Pull doors. There's always that moment of confusion in your mind when you're not sure whether to Push or Pull but you also dont want to look like an idiot when trying to find out. Or maybe thats just me... [Wouldnt that sentence be hillarious if taken out of context? ;)]

I dont have as many pet hates as I origanaly thought.. Wow. Well, its an open tag, apparently so feel free to participate at your own will.

Drawing of the week, the only drawing of the week as I'm at war with my art teacher, is my one of my favourite food other than Lemon curd. Jelly.

I like brightly coloured things.

Brightly coloured jelly-tastic things.

Which is why my next picutre I plan to put up here will be awesome. I hope anyway.

Song of the week: ELO- Calling America. I adoore it.
Quote of the week: "Yeh, rhythm and rhyme, like Lemon and Lime. Innit."
Poet of the week- Stevie Smith (Infelice and Our Bog is Dood)
Food and general Everything Of The Week- Awesome Ice cream sprinkles. S'love. :)

Its 10 oclock. Offically the latest I've ever left an essay. Excpet that time I woke up at 3am and remembered I had one on the Identification to write. That was a silly moment. Must be off!

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Back to School.

Well that's summer 07 over. Usually that comment would be followed by "and what a summer its been" but this year its not true. The weather has been non existent of anything that could be classed as Summery and the school holidays were far too short. Not that I'm complaining...

The first day of school was Tuesday, and I'm so glad its over. Everything was alright -I had slowly gripped how to use a pencil again by 4th period- and classes settled in quite quickly. Wednesday was pretty much the same, and the influx of new teachers is incredible! But at least it means we can get taught now..


Mrs O'Neill has bravely left the English Dept, Stranraer Academy, in search of an educational adventure in Minnesota! As Shaun has beaten me to, we do wish you the best of luck in your new job and for your future Mrs O. Even if you're veryveryveryveryvery muchly missed. Do enjoy itt! And do keep us up to date with your blog, when you find the time in the 7 hour time difference that isss.

Our English adventures have come to an end. Alongside Mrs O'Neill leaving -which was veryveryvery... (okay, I'll stop with that now) saddening- I have been moved into Mr Keery's class because of my exam result, leaving Laura, Grant and James in another class. Its all gone to pot I tell youuu. :D They're even doing a poem about a hospital. A HOSPITAL! My specialist subject of all things. Rather unfair.

Though saying that, I can stay happy about it. There are plenty of funny memories and quips from before the summer. Like the "When a pupil goes mad" Button... James' plane book...Haha, my distracting plane impressions... The Nuclear Power, War in Iraq, Racism and NHS essays... The Free Stuff Spree, well James' Free Stuff Spree... My silly similes poster... And of course these blogs, they've been great to write and read, so thank you Miss, English was great. :)

[Oh and by the way, Mr Keery has absconded with most of your books including SeaBiscuit. And we pinched your classroom sign. For safe keeping of course.. ;)]

Best wishes, x

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Summer Blogging, Grease remake 2070.

Yes! I'm summer blogging. Here's a brief outline of the story, and why you should all join up too:

Mrs O'Neill suggested we should have a Wikispace which leads to our newly created Summer Blogs where we'll keep an account during the summer of our holidays and other things etc, there will also be Creative Writing included too.

What we need now is new members. So, if you're interested in keeping a blog and like the idea of a Summer one, please contact us via our blogs or the Wikispace and we'll be sure to answer any queries and join you up!

Updates shall follow about any advanced x

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Motivate Motivation

Recently, well today as a matter of fact, I handed in my Personal Study of Daphne du Maurier's 'Rebecca' for English. I loveloveloved writing it, whereas a few people have complained about having to do work only a matter of days before the summer holidays, as I loveloveloved the book. (What a surprise...) I adore writing analytically, especially if its on a piece of text or novel that I enjoyed reading, whether I‘m good at it is a different matter. To be honest, I think you need to like your novel to actually spur yourself into reading into the deeper meanings of it. If that makes sense...?

Let me make myself slightly less jumbled like alphabetical soup, which is yummy by the way.

I'm one of those people who needs a big interest or incentive and added on pressure to actually function properly. For instance, the Int 2 Coursework requirements for Art are that each candidate produces 2 3-A2 sheets, one set for Still Life and the other for Graphic Design. They give both 3rd and 4th year to do this in. Now, me being the lazy so-and-so I am, I left both my final pieces and most of my Still Life Unit un-done up until the last two months, meaning everything was an uber big rush. But I finished it, and it was incredibly better than anything I'd done in the free time limit. Ok, so it took me three hours, one packet of chalks and a helluva big mess to do it in, but it was done and I liked it. Cant say mum was too chuffed about the mess though. Even the dog was techno-coloured. :)

"Motivation such an aggravation,
Accusations dont know how to take them.
Inspirations getting hard to fake it.
Concentrations never hard to brake it.
Situation never what you want it to be.
" Sum 41, Motivation.

"Computers are magnificent tools for the realization of our dreams, but no machine can replace the human spark of spirit, compassion, love, and understanding."
~Louis Gerstner.

Anyway, motivation. I need motivation, and I think we all do in some aspect. If there weren’t deadlines to meet, would we as a nation be able to function? You face deadlines everyday, TV Schedules, Newspaper Deadlines, Doctors appointments and even the more subtle ones like being home in time to watch your favourite TV program. So what motivates people?

Studies show that it is a balance between our emotions and incentives that make us self motivate to complete tasks. The Soul Purpose, a company like The Tree Of Knowledge who specialise in Motivational Workshops state that its rather like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey, which is an excellent way of describing it.

However, this then means that an episode of Casualty, a Peanut butter Kit Kat or Jelly can be used against me. Hmmm… I may have to re-asses my insentives...

Friday, 22 June 2007

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly...

Admit it, you sang Fah lah lah lah la la lah lah lah after reading the title didn't you? :D

185 Days, 13 Hours.

That's all it is before the halls are decked, the turkeys are stuffed and the house is turned upside down in an explosion of brightly coloured tinsel. Great isn't it? I know its nowhere near the right time to be singing Christmas songs or swapping tales of your family arguments that inevitably happen at the extensive and overcrowded dinner table, but the topic has got me thinking. Or reflecting rather.

On December the 4th, 2000, the Dornan family left Glasgow Airport with the destination 3 hours North East of Britain. Lapland. Being only 8 and 6 at the time meant it was still OK to get over-excited at things and both Glen and myself were extremely excited what with it being the run up to Christmas and my birthday too. Upon arriving in Lapland the first scene was like something taken out of a Christmas Card, with snow covering everything its icy fingers could reach. It was as if we'd left the busy humdrum life of Scotland and entered a world like no other. There were no cars, no bustling shops filled with gift-crazy mothers, no clocks that constantly reminded you that you had to be somewhere else five minutes ago. Nothing. Just pure peace and serenity.

I think that was one of the things I remember, and to this day the memory remains intact as if it were only a few months ago. The feel of the snow when I stepped into it right up to my knees... Watching as my breath lingered in the air like a make-believe tree decoration... Glen and I making snow angels... Battling in snowball fights with our fellow travellers... Catching the look on my mums face when Glen hit her with snowball before she returned fire... the reindeer wandering the trees nearby... magical.

Of course, at the time I wasn't analysing just what was drawing me into the place, but the more I think back on it I can see it in my mind. Every once in a while we all need a break. Whether it be to a hot Mediterranean country or the chilling wilds of Norway, if its a contrast from your home its worthwhile. I don't think anyone would be sane if they stayed in Stranraer for all of time, that would be enough, in the words of many an Academy pupil, 'tae drive a sane man batty.'

The backseat traveller in me feels compelled to say thats its part of Human Instinct to explore and discover not only new places but ourselves in the journey to the destination. Like travelling all the way down to the Cotswolds before you suddenly decided you dislike the car seats and can barely move upon arriving. Or going round Longleat Safari Park in 40'C heat in a car with no Air Conditioning or allowance to open the windows, and realizing you hate the heat but love the sun. Maybe I'm just speaking from past experience but in my opinion the journey that takes you where you're going, is just as important as the getting there.

(I adore travelling. Give me a good book, my Walkman phone and any mode of transport you chose and I'd be happy wherever you sent me. So long as it wasn't James piloting the plane, I've seen his landings, and trust me, the runway ain't fun on one wheel!)

I'm just curious as to what other people think of travelling, what with today's society being given daily reminders of the terrorism atrocities and attacks in recent times. Even though it is a daily commodity we all take for granted, should we pay more attention to the wider effects? Global Warming has been a major cause for concern recently with Britan's Carbon Footprint being discussed on every news forum the world over. Personally, I think even though we need time away and time to ourselves, we should all pay more attention to what our affects will have on future generations. Will Scotland be like it is today? Or will we be all walking around in "Atmospheric Protection Suits" like aliens from a Sci-Fi movie? Or, will we even be here at all? Given enough food and the mind boggles at the possibilities.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007


Recently, I have been surveying the Education System from within its very walls, yes, my school. My school isn't perfect, no one in the town would say so but its not exactly terribly bad either. Yes, there a days when if given a shot gun you could shoot yourself silly with the amount of pupils you'd like to eradicate permanently, and then there are also days when you feel like a working part of a huge community, almost like a family. A very estranged, distended and noisy family, but a family nonetheless. (Ok, so I may be exaggerating just a little with the shot gun theory but I'm sure others would agree.)

I had two days just like these not so long ago, it was a Monday and a Tuesday of the same week if I remember correctly. Nothing major happened on the Monday; no big bomb threats or a deliberate setting-on-fire of the library, there was just period after period of disruptive pupils, extreme heating conditions and clueless cover teachers. Added together on a grey, drizzly, typical Scottish Monday did not result in a nice Jemma. The day almost drove me to loose faith in the school completely.

If there is one thing I cant stand is being in a class where I know I have a great deal of work I could be getting on with but due to an illness my teacher hasnt made it in and we get a cover teacher who'd just as happily make us watch endless episodes of The Simpsons. Or, in the case of RME, Wallace and Gromit. I'm most deffinately not blaming it on the teachers or the cover teachers for that matter, its the lack of discipline there is in todays schools and also in many family homes.

Kids are misbehaving, then are not getting punished by the Higher Management according to what they've done. Its either to be put on a timetable (which has mutated into a badge of hounour and a plus 100 points on your Street Cred) or to get a phonecall home. I'm sorry to admit but, say, 10 years ago if your parents got a phonecall from the school, they would immediately ask you what you've done, why you'd done it and get the full story before taking it further and dealing with it. In 2007 however, the immediate parental reaction is to ask the teachers why they have the nerve to call them about their child when their child has done nothing wrong, yet they havent even got the story straight from either side. It is not only setting a bad example and making the kids have no respect for the school, but its also going to affect them in later life, the school is going to become the workplace and teachers are going to become employers and there will be no end in the problems.

Witnessing fellow pupils misbehave in classes, seeing teachers getting stressed out over them and watching as the state of education slides decidedly downwards, I cant help but feel a great deal of pity for the teachers in schools. They not only have the responsibilty of teaching and nuturing you minds, but they aslo have the added pressures of discipline and parents who refused to believe their child is no longer their little angel. I say they deserve more credit than they currently get, dont you?

*I find my opinions on this subject rather ironic as I myself want to be an Art Teacher. :)

Friday, 15 June 2007

Me In A Blogshell.

Whilst pondering what I could place in my blog and certain topics that will come up over the next few weeks I decided I just get this entry over and done with.

The All About Me Section.

Of course, I don't expect many to read this but just in case someone stumbles across my blog they may as well know a little bit about me. So here goes...

-I'm Jemma, I'm 15 and currently loving English and Art in Stranraer Academy. I like going out in the rain, eating Lemon Curd and watching Casualty. By Jove if I could figure out how to eat Lemon Curd in the rain and watch Casualty at the same time I'd be laughing.
-Other hobbies include writing on here, Bebo (I know its not really a hobby but you'll find me there very often) taking my Guinea Pigs walks, listening to music and keeping in touch with everyone I know in Australia, England and Holland.
-The art side of me is just a pastime but one day in the hazy-but-near future, I'd love to teach it as a subject. Knowing me, it'll change but heyho, cake decorating is my back up. Still Life and Graphic Design are my strong points with hands also but I'd love to get my Portraiture up to scratch. Being in 5th Year and taking 5 Highers doesn't leave you with much free time however, so its on the back burner at the minute.
- School Life isn't too bad at the minute, English and Art are getting me through the weeks quite happily. Mrs ONeill and Mr Nimmo are excellente' and I think that's what makes all the difference. S'awsum! Getting to study the NHS and Daphne du Maurier in English.


1. My name is Jemma. J E M M A. Not Jenna, Heather, James, Gemma or indeed "Glens big sister," thank you very much.

2. I used to do ballet, which then morphed into swimming for the Stranraer Stingrays. Haha.

3. My birthday is the 22nd of December, and to quote my Granny, I "was the best Christmas present" she's ever had. <3

4. I'm totally obsessed with Casualty. Muwhahaha. Its awesome, and its the only thing I watch on TV funnnily enough. Susan Cookson, who plays Dr Maggie Coldwell, is absoloutely amazing and deserves much more credit than she gets. (Strokes ones autograph :P)

5. My favourite author in the world is Daphne du Maurier (in case I havent already told you so, which I highly doubt :P) Its not just the fact that her books are amazing and gothicly romantic, but its also the fact that Daphne herself was such an interesting character. The recent BBC 2 Period Drama 'Daphne' was based around her life and ti was ohso excellente'. I have it on DVD if anyone wishes to watch, it seriously was one of the best Dramas I've viewed in an absolute age.

Update soooon x