I guess life has been going on fine, with a pretty frenetic studying period in the one week preceding the Block Tests, then the Block Tests (which only lasted for 3 days), and finally the one-week break which really is much more of a break than the March Holidays.
I’ve also recently gotten back into playing online Scrabble, though I don’t spend as much time there nowadays. One half of this is because it is really not that great playing people who can never get a non-bingo move right but seem to get every bingo spot on. Or playing people who get every non-bingo and bingo move right. It’s just unreal to play perfectly, unless your moves are (pretty) obvious, or you have a encyclopedic knowledge of leave and synergy values. Even then, what is the most equitable move may not be the “winning-est” move, and there’s a lot of subjectivity in deciding what’s the best (though much of this has been quashed by programmes like Maven and Quackle). Nigel and Ganesh, probably the 2 most successful SOWPODS players out there, probably decide on their moves on a different algorithm from Quackle (and hence sometimes don’t do as well on Quackle analyses). And the strength of a player’s moves in a tournament isn’t determined completely by equity OR win percentage (though these are fairly reasonable indicators). It may, for instance, be determined by where he is in the tournament – which is why spread preservation (over win percentage) can be more important say at the start of the tourney. The other half of this is the unhappy finding that my playing skills (if any) have deteriorated – nowadays I’m usually happy playing VOID because I don’t make stupid 3-4 letter phoneys.
Anyway enough ranting about Scrabble. The Block Tests, at least to me, were far from easy – partially because they highlighted, to a great extent, my examination skills (or lack thereof). This problem, obviously, isn’t something that just popped out of nowhere; I think it has always plagued me, and that probably explains why my written examination scores aren’t as stellar as I’d wish for them to be. During writing examinations, I don’t organise my thoughts properly – most of the time it’s just random blabbering on sub-points which don’t lend any crucial elaboration to the topic (which, in the case of Literature, is king). This is avoided when I type, because I’m not under time pressure, I check by reading what I write (for grammatical fluency, so please murder me if I screw up, uh wait actually please don’t), and I have whole online dictionaries available to me (though I rarely if ever use the thesaurus). For subjects like Math, the time pressure causes carelessness in my workings (I once had something like 2 x 4 = 6, if I remember correctly) and various mental blocks which eventually culminate in half-done questions.
Though I think the underlying fault is not examination skills (which would probably mean a self-prescription of 13521873 exams) – those are actually problems in thinking. I tried to tackle the writing problem this Block Tests, which means I actually spent more time organising what exactly I’d be writing about instead of just merely listing out the sub-points I’d be making. The result – generally longer essays (though my essays are short by the norm), a greater awareness of what I’m writing about, and at least for one half of the Lit paper, decent grades. Perhaps some of this work is working. As for Math, I probably haven’t done enough work – and the grades (which on relative terms are decent, but on absolute terms are revolting) will probably push me towards doing more work. I think the final outcome I want from this is not just good grades (because almost everyone will get good grades if they put in a minimum amount of work, given our examination system), but an improved translation from thought to actuality (in writing and action).
One week break
I was pretty grateful that I got a one week break right after the Blocks – probably good to take a little rest after everything. Though I have to say I wasted far too much time on the “little rest” – practically every day was spent relaxing, and I don’t think I’m in the mood to do any work nowadays. It was great that I managed to catch up with the Scrabble people with Yen Nee’s Gin gathering on Friday (I think, I can’t remember days well); don’t think I’ll be seeing them much this year. Also got to play some LAN & pool with classmates – all wastes of time but pretty fun anyway. Plus the random outing with family, which I always enjoy.
Anyways, for me, tomorrow-Sunday are X Japan days, then Monday is a Wrestlemania day. It’s just so sad that these days have to clash with the start of the proper Term 2. X Japan day 1 will start off at 0000 hrs sharp with Prologue (World Anthem) then proceed on to the definitive X. All the other arrangements will depend on how tired I am by then, though I’ll hope to slot in the mainstream favourite Endless Rain and my own favourite Kurenai before I sleep. The 30-minute trip to school will be the Art of Life, then the wait for morning assembly will be filled with Scars and Silent Jealousy (not forgetting the Es Dur no Piano Sen before that). The wait for Literature will be Longing; and this will be followed by the other ballads (because this may be played on the classroom speakers the selection here must be soothing and acceptable to every ear). The bus ride back, though, is abhorrently violent; it will be tetanised with a Rusty Nail, then beautified with Dahlia before it is finally sawn with I.V. – who knows if Blue Blood will flow from the wounds. Right I guess none of you understood that :).