Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas...

...And all through the house,
There were some people stirring,
But no signs of a mouse.

After baking for ages,
the oven finally lost power,
And the cookies and cakes
begged for one to devour.

An exchange student typing
a ridiculous poem
thought, "Say, what would happen,
if I were back home?

I'd be sitting quite close
to a roaring lounge fire,
while here heat travels daily,
with no threat of expire."

As he looked around thinking
of molasses and gifts,
he thought of world culture,
and all of its rifts.

Realizing how people
don't always agree,
he remembered his purpose
for being in NZ.

Mending false generalizations
and bad stereotypes
was a great noble calling,
that outweighed his gripes.

So as I now sit writing,
of the differences here,
I wish you Merry Christmas,
And a Happy New Year!

-Copyright Fledgeling Inspiration Poetry Division (not really, hehe...)

So, that's my poetry writing for the year. I won't be posting anytime really soon, as I'm heading to the Coromandel Peninsula on a 9-day camping trip. I'll be taking pictures for Picturesque there, and I really hope I can locate my camera connector or an SD card reader or something, because I've got almost half a year's photos to upload.

From Zelandia with love,

Andy Scherch

Friday, December 12, 2008

Filler episodes!

Yeah, I'm probably not going to have a whole lot to say over the next month or so, as not a whole lot is happening that soon. The soonest thing is that we're going camping at Coromandel starting Boxing Day. Though, I'll start trying to compile my Picturesque post, so you'll get to see some stuff. Hmmm...not much else to say.

Fun Fact: Fiordland, New Zealand, has Mitre Peak, which is the largest sea cliff in the world, at over 1600 meters!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Yep! Now that my NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority) exams are over, I'm on summer vacation! Now if only I was enthusiastic about it as I was half a year ago. I've got Christmas coming up here, but it's going to be really REALLY different. I mean, it just doesn't seem so nice to have Christmas decorations and lights and such without the accompaniment of snow, crisp air, a warm coat, and seeing your breath slightly condense in front of you. There'll be a really long day on Christmas day, and that also just doesn't seem as good as having a nice Christmas dinner while a fire is crackling in the living room and/or there being a nice thin (or preferably thick =D) coat of unblemished snow outside... I deal much better with colder temperatures than hotter ones, as much of my family and friends know, and that's also why I'm not as enthusiastic. Finally, I'm quite nervous as to the results of my NZQA's, since I have no idea whether they will count for anything whatsoever back home, and whether my getting an A, M, or an E will change into any other school grade. I'm quite worried on that front as if an A translates into a C or something, then my physics won't do very well since I can barely manage an A with the lack of knowledge that I have.

By now, you're probably wondering what I mean by A M and E. Well with the NZQA's, they have standards-based assessments. Certain questions merit only part of an A (Achievement), while some harder ones merit an M (Achievement with Merit) if done fully, and there are also some still harder ones that merit an E (Achievement with Excellence) if done fully. Now I find there are a few problems with this system. First, it's possible to get all of the Excellence questions fully correct, but still only get Achievement because you didn't answer enough Merit questions fully. That is because of this grading system (The numbers change depending on the exam, I'm taking this from an old Spanish listening exam that we took in class):

A: Any 9 correct answers
M: A + 4 other correct answers, 3 of which must be Merit-granting (meaning you must have answered a question to achieve the Merit standard for that question, whether you fully answered a Merit one or managed to reach the Merit standard on an Excellence question)
E: M + 3 other correct answers, 2 of which must be Excellence-granting

If you add this up, at minimum for E you need: 11 Achievement questions, 3 Merit questions, and 2 Excellence questions. However, if you got say...12 Achievement, 1 Merit, and 4 Excellence, you would only get Achievement, not even Merit let alone Excellence. A tad messed up wouldn't you say? So it's like saying "You got all of the really hard questions fully right and got every one of the easy questions right but missed a part of 2 medium questions, so I'm giving you a C." So you see why I'm worried?

Anyway, yeah I've got summer again. I like winter though, so I'm not as excited. Though I do like playing pool here and I'm going to go swim in the Waikato University pools soon. Apparently one of them has a diving board, so that'll be fun. But that's just about all I have to say for now, except...

Fun Fact: Did you know Hamilton, New Zealand and Cordoba, Spain, are direct antipodes of each other? That pair is one of only 7 pairs of direct antipodal cities in the world! Want to know what an antipode is? Look it up. You're only getting 1 fun fact out of me per post =D.

Thanks for reading!