Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Check-in

Hello all

I've been quiet on the blog because of computer problems at home. I have an ancient laptop I can check email on. That's about it. I can't run blogger on it. All but the simplest of web pages either won't load or crash the computer (as in "this computer has just performed an illegal operation" and both browser and mail close). I reinstalled operating system (xp) but now have problems getting my product key code accepted. I don't even want to think about what or how many files - lessons, research, images, rough drafts of novels, essays, and so on - have been lost. Normally I'd be cranky about paying to use a computer and get online but right now I am content just to be using a speedy computer not from the last century that doesn't require slow, complicated workarounds just to check and answer mail. So thank you UpHi net for your public access computers. I have until school lets out and the gamers roll in before anyone asks me to vacate the computer I am on.

So what's your excuse for being quiet? I should have logged on here and seen all manner of discussion. Does anyone else have comments on technical reading material? Lesson requests? More to say about reading and social change?

Speaking of reading and globalization, here's something to for you to read about globalization: another review, New York Review of Books reviews economist Stiglitz' book, Globalization and Its Discontents

And on the grammar front - how are you doing with verbs and verb tenses? The best "verb source" I've come across is English Page, which also has a reading room. After all, reading every day is still the best way to improve your reading.

Speaking of reading, write us and tell us what you have been reading - in English - and what you recommend reading. What are your favorite online newspapers? A few of mine are AlterNet, The New York Times, and Salon. I've also been reading poetry and recommend Poetry International and Poetry Foundation. Some have commented on how hard poetry is to read, but reading poetry in another language is an excellent way to pick up the rhythms of and a feel for the spoken language. Besides, you can read poetry for children. That will give you the rythym of the language but with a simpler vocabulary.

Often they are more fun too. Here's one from by Brian Moses from the Poetry International site:

The Ssssnake Hotel

An Indian python will welcome you
to the Ssssnake hotel.
As he finds your keys he’ll maybe enquire
if you’re feeling well.
And he’ll say that he hopes you survive the night,
that you sleep without screaming
and don’t die of fright
at the Ssssnake hotel.

There’s an anaconda that likes to wander
the corridors at night,
and a boa that will lower itself onto guests
as they search for the light.
And if, by chance, you lie awake
and nearby something hisses,
I warn you now, you’re about to be covered
with tiny vipery kisses,
at the Ssssnake hotel.

And should you hear a chorus of groans
coming from the room next door,
and the python cracking someone’s bones,
please don’t go out and explore.
Just ignore all the screams and the strangled yells
when you spend a weekend
at the Ssssnake hotel.

© 2000, Brian MosesFrom: Barking Back at DogsPublisher: Macmillan, London, 2000ISBN: 033048009X

And Tony Mitton -

Forbidden Poem

This poem is not for children.
Keep Out!

There is a big oak door
in front of this poem.
It’s locked.

And on the door is a notice
in big red letters.
It says: Any child who enters here
will never be the same again.

But what’s this?
A key in the keyhole.
And what’s more,
nobody’s about.

“Go on. Look,”
says a little voice
inside your head.
“Surely a poem
cannot strike you dead?”

You turn the key.
The door swings wide.
And then you witness
what’s inside.

And from that day
you’ll try in vain.
You’ll never be the same again.

© 1998, Tony MittonFrom: PlumPublisher: Scholastic, London, 1998ISBN: 0439364094

The Poetry Foundation site has an excellent section on children's poetry too as well as a collection of poems organized by age, theme, reading aloud, poet, etc.


  1. Hi Ms Vanessa
    I’m glad that you solved the problems with your computer. Time to time I have some problems with it too. My computer is ancient too. But it is still working.

    My excuse for being quiet is that I’ m reading the links that you send to us.
    For example: I visited the page with ‘Irregular Verbs, Idioms & Expressions’. I found it very helpful for me. I studied a lot .Still studying (when I have free time). It’s seems very interest to me because looks clear and easy to read. I often need to write many things of learning. Always do this. It is a way to learn something for ever and for good. - I’m a person that likes to use the pen. Not only literally but metaphorically too.- I want to write a book some day but I’m not ready yet. I have some many things to learn, but I have much patience. I want to do right when I feel that is the time. And I hope some day to do this.- I like very much this that I read!! “"If you want to be a writer, write." - Brian Moses "Just look at it, touch it, smell it, listen to it, turn yourself into it. When you do this, the words look after themselves, like magic." - Ted Hughes, from Poetry in the Making” This is exactly meaning that I wrote to you before: That when I’m ready to write I feel the time, Ms Vanessa.

    I didn’t work a lot on ‘Reading Technical Material’. I open the pages read hurry some of them. But I don’t do a lot of things together. So, I decided to study ‘Irregular Verbs, Idioms & Expressions’, and then I’ll work on ‘reading technical material.
    Also I read almost every day the BBC newspaper. Not all Articles but those that spoken for ‘healthy’ and ‘science’. I don’t like to read for politician or politics. Times to times I like to read song lyrics. I like listen music but I want to understand what the singers say. Already I can understand the English TV movies without Greek subtitles.
    This Week I’ll study the verb tenses for good. This is a big problem for me. I don’t skirt the vocabulary. I know that I can fix it. I want to talk simply and right.

    I’ll write you soon Ms Vanessa.
    Thank you for your time.

  2. Ms Vanessa the the proposal with the title 'Irregular verbs, Idioms and Epressions' is right? has become orthographic error in the word 'E p r e s s i o n s'?
    I think that missing the second word 'x'.

    Epressions or Expressions?
    Have they the same meaning or are different words?

  3. Dear Vanessa!

    I'm glad to hear that your computer is OK. I think that crashing of PC is less depends from his age and lot problems are connected with operating system. In according to my experience (as I mentioned earlier, I'm working as technician of PC and other equipment) you must to have the healthy duplicate of your operating system with all necessary programs. It is gives you the opportunity to recovery your system with all necessary programs on PC in 5-10 minutes instead full installation windows that makes lot of your time. If you will want the detailed description, I will be glad to explain how to do it.


  4. What makes you think my computer problems are solved? I am using public access computers to keep up with blog - behind on e-mail lessons though...

    "Epressions" was a typo

  5. Thank you Ms Vanessa for your answer for two words. In my computer find the word 'Epressios' as a mistake. That's the reason that make the question tou you.
    Also thank you who use puplic computer for us.That make me more worker.

  6. Dear Vanessa!

    I beg your pardon for my indelicacy that I not right understood about your computer. Merely, I thought that after your reinstallation the operating system, it is working properly. However, I take an opportunity for advice (may be it is known for you too, I apologize in advance). All space on your hard disk must be divided at least to two parts. The first part (usually partition C) is intended for operating system and all necessary programs. The volume of data on this partition is not must to exceed 50 % of partition space. It is necessary for properly work the operating system (Windows XP). Another partition (for instance partition D) is intended for letters, lessons, essays and other documents. Only by this allocation of partitions you can reinstall your operating system without loss a data. Concerning your product key code it is depends by some factors:
    a) Your operating system was installed as like demo version for 30 days
    b) You tried to make update for Windows
    I am recommending don't make update and turn off this option into the Windows. Usually after installation windows with service pack 2 don’t make any update. Of course you need to good program of antivirus as like a Norton Antivirus or McAfee. All these recommendations are true when your hardware (electronic part) is working properly. If you need my help for your computer for any reason, I'm always glad to help you.


  7. Mark - thanks. This I am not totally clueless about though. I'm sorry I cannot say the same for all around presenting themselves as experts! I think I figured out what happened before they did. Your advice about security was well meant but really insulting to someone who has been working online for 10 years or so, build web pages, and gets paid to maintain and design sites.

    Apparently, recent Microsoft upgrades have included security protocols to make it harder to reinstall off another disk and then re-activate with your own product key code.

    So I installed but my code was not accepted. Even installing another with its own valid code, that one was not accepted. Multiple attempts as installation flag an acceptance shut down.

    I am not really keen to get into with tech support either, especially with their mandate to sell Vista. Contact tech support with a problem - they tell you the solution is to buy and install Vista. I have to tell you, this really annoys me.

    I now have my hands on a reinstall disk that a bigger geek than either of us says may do it for me. We'll see. I'd really rather not lose work so may end up looking at a slave configuration if that does not work.


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