No guys – this is not a swear word, though it should be an anti-swear word. It comes, I believe, from GK Chesterton, the poet who wrote The Donkey:
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.
And he also apparently wrote a book called “Man Alive”, which I really must get hold of. Apparently it tells the tale of a man who courts and marries his wife six times under different names. That appeals to me as a soppy romantic. It’s like Richard Bach’s love story “Bridge Across Forever” – where choices, serendipity and chance, coincidence or synchronicity change his whole world and path in life.
So what is MOOREEFFOC? Chesterton described walking down a street and seeing this sign and spending engaging moments wondering what it could mean, what it was and then had that moment of enlightenment, where he realised that he was looking at the back side of the sign on a glass door – it said Coffee Room. So mundane and ordinary, hardly worth a glance, yet because his perspective changed he was able to take flight into his imagination.
The Great Terry Pratchett says in “Thief of Time” that the 5 elements of the world are Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Surprise!
You can tell that the sun came out for a couple of hours yesterday, can’t you? I didn’t budge from the porch from 6 till 10 when the clouds came up and it got miz. So much to look at – the rose bushes, the busy thrush who hops down alongside the wall every day at 9, checking for insects, the pair of bronze mannikins feeding their baby outside Pat’s office window, the leaves and the light. Mooreeffoc indeed.(Remember the Martian game, Sioux? Driving back from the Polokwane SAAADA conference in that ghastly fog? Martians would love this word.)
Rocky gave us a mooreeffoc moment on Sunday. The dogs are getting cabin fever with all the ‘wet’. Pepper especially needed to run. So Pat and I packed them into Squashy (my lovely relatively new Qashqai), with the back lined with an ex-Army groundsheet that we acquired somewhere, and took them down to the Lahee Park hockey/rugby field (the one where the PDAC ends). It was fairly deserted because of the grey weather – usually there are at least 3 cars of necking couples parked there. The dogs were completely over-excited to be getting out, slobbering everywhere. The field was waterlogged. Neither Pat nor I could have caught them if they’d decided to take off, so they were relatively good. (I had my poop-scooping plastic bags in my pocket – this is one function a paper bag could not serve well.) They went crazy and were tired within ten minutes running back and forth.
And Rocky got hot (it was humid) so he found the biggest, muddiest puddle in a km radius and parked himself in it. Up to the middle of his back. The bliss on his luck dragon face brought tears of laughter to my eyes. Needless to say, I hadn’t thought of taking a towel with us… So Squashy is covered in mud, on the inside roof, down the sides (dogs shake when they get wet) and all over the seats. (Pepper really feels that she should be in the driving seat or at very least the front passenger seat.) I was covered in mud, because I had to lift Rocky into the car because he’d exhausted himself. The aftermath is shown in these two pics – check out the pool turning into a billabong with Rock’s post mud-spa swim!
The whole experience lasted an hour, yet it was exhilarating. Completely uncontrollable, chaotic and alive-making. I probably shouldn’t have bathed before it, but it was fun – risky in a way, but then it reminded me that nothing is controllable, possibly not even our selves. Certainly not our misbehaving cells!
Other moreeffoc moments have been really noticing the flowers that Joan M, Paulette and Shirley and Mary brought. The bright orange of the roses has been a great antidote to the grey gloom, and the purples, lavenders, yellows and whites of the dahlias and daisies have been serene in moments of fear and anxiety. And the absolute over-the-top indulgence of the textures of all those petals. Don’t you just love the candle holder/lamp that Sharon B got for Pat for her birthday?
So begins Tuesday, exam day. I’m heading out to go and get my blood tested, to get new cord for the washing line and some planters for the veggie seedlings. How was there ever time to work before? You guys who are working are amazing. I’m starting to feel a little guilty about my self-indulgence. On the other hand, I will be wearing black today (My Pioneers 2010 t-shirt with Kathy’s pink socks) to support the Stop the Secrecy Bill campaign and I will be calling the Speakers office in line with the AVAAZ campaign.
I will also be checking my systems for online participation in Ed Tech’s e-Learning festival webinars that start tomorrow. I’m going to see if I can participate (silently) from the Treatment Centre – tomorrow is my 6 hour chemo day (if the bloods are good). I’ll definitely be there on Thursday. If I’m feeling strong enough, I’d really like to see the Pioneers get their web-based learning certificates on Friday, in the flesh. They really deserve acknowledgement and kudos for finding those two extra hours a week, for nine months, to work on their online pedagogy/autogogy. Thinking too of Bwalya, who once again has picked up my duty of running the consciousness-raising workshop for DUT staff.
I really wish people would get that online teaching is not just about manipulating the technology. I can’t believe that after 10 years of online teaching at DUT, people in authority are still thinking that you can learn all about online learning in a 3 day workshop! Do they understand nothing about how philosophy and pedagogy have to change? Which means changing attitudes to power relations with students, to hierarchies, to the nature of learning interactions i.e. ontological and epistemological change! If anyone reading this post is in this category of thought (unlikely really) – please, please, please – stop it! Read the literature! (Oy – I’ve got the shakes because I feel so passionately about this issue – I’m so tired of trying to explain how online teaching and learning works to people who should know better. Mari must feel worse, she’s been doing it for more than a decade! Guys – how about trusting the experts, rather than managerialist and stupid notions about training in Higher Ed. It’s easy to schedule multitudes of workshops to show measurable activity, but the fact is behaviour, attitudes and thinking doesn’t change in 2-3 days. Transformation takes working the practice into the reality of academic work – a gradual process.
I hope you get a curious crowd of potential Pioneers,B – you are amazing.
Gotta get goin’!