Is talking to yourself recommended?

Lifestyle self tutoring: the tutor inquires about an age-old habit.

When I’m alone, I often talk myself through tasks. I’m sure it’s beneficial, so did a little research.

Apparently, there are experts who agree with me: talking to yourself organizes and directs your process, and even increases your engagement.

If you’re alone, I guess you could ask yourself: Should you talk to yourself more?

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

What is a tank town?

Tutoring English, discoveries are continuous. The tutor brings up the term tank town.

tank town (noun):
a small town, not distinguished.

Apparently, the phrase comes from the steam locomotive era, when a train would stop at a town to refill its boiler.


Mish, Frederick C (editor). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

School supplies: calculators: the amazing Staples BD-6108 scientific calculator

Tutoring math, calculators are always interesting. The tutor mentions a great find at Staples.

On a clearance rack at Staples yesterday I found the BD-6108 scientific calculator for $3.97.

I can’t remember seeing the BD-6108 before, but I just opened it from the carton and it’s fantastic. It does everything my high school students typically need, except graphing. Since graphing calculators may not be allowed for some tests, students need a plain scientific one for everyday use. The Staples BD-6108 is even more powerful than needed.

I love the Staples BD-6108, but perhaps it’s not for everyone, since it’s reverse-entry, which means you enter the number, then the function. Most students seem to prefer forward entry, which essentially means you enter an operation the way you would write it.

To me, a surprising feature of the BD-6108 is its quadratic equation solver. I can’t remember seeing a simpler one, and here’s how to use it:

  1. Let’s imagine you want to solve 3x^2 + 13x – 10 = 0.
  2. First, press MODE 7.
  3. You’ll see the prompt for a. Key 3, then DATA.
  4. You’ll see the prompt for b. Key 13, then DATA.
  5. You’ll see the prompt for c. Key -10, then DATA.
  6. The first solution will appear: 2/3.
  7. Press DATA to see the other solution: -5.

For everyday, nonspecific calculations, the BD-6108 must be in MODE 1: it’s important to remember to return to MODE 1 after doing something else, such as using the quadratic solver.

Inside its packaging the BD-6108 contains a folded-up manual. Read it, front and back; it won’t take long.

I hope to share other school supplies discoveries in future posts:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

What does feverfew look like?

Self-tutoring about plant identification: the tutor identifies the daisy-like plant growing in the backyard.

Identifying this one took some time, but I believe it’s feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium). The non-pointed, lobed leaves seem to be decisive, as many plants, apparently, have flowers like daisies.

Apparently feverfew can take hold pretty quickly, though it’s not native here. I’ve not seen it in the yard before, but numerous are present now.


Pojar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon. Plants of Coastal British Columbia. Vancouver: BC Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing, 1994.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

What is the 2 hour, 4 hour rule for food safety?

Self-tutoring about food safety: the tutor brings up the 2 hour, 4 hour rule.

During summer, food safety might be apropos, for a couple of reasons:

  1. People often cook food for outdoors, and possibly large batches.
  2. The elevated temperature might cause more rapid spoilage.

One rule I find interesting is the 2 hour, 4 hour rule, which refers to foods that are harmful to consume if they spoil. It focuses on time the food has spent between 5°C and 60°C, and assumes refrigeration temperature < 5°C.

2 hour, 4 hour rule:

  • 0 to 2 hours: safe to use or refrigerate.
  • 2 to 4 hours: safe to use but too late to refrigerate.
  • > 4 hours: discard.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Gooseberries: Ribes uva-crispa vs Ribes hirtellum

Self-tutoring about botany: the tutor wades into the distinctions between the European gooseberry and the American one.

Ribes uva-crispa is the old world gooseberry. Its berries can be an inch (2.5cm) across – its leaves, 6cm. However, its nodal spines typically max at less than a cm.

The gooseberry bush I’ve been observing has berries 1cm across, and leaves about 3cm. However, its nodal spines are easily over a cm long. It’s Ribes hirtellum, the American gooseberry.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Licorice anti-inflammatory effect

Self-tutoring about home remedies: the tutor inquires about licorice.

My wife mentioned to me that licorice can have anti-inflammatory effect. I looked up the idea for confirmation.

From the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information, United States) point of view, licorice has observed anti-inflammatory effect.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Ronald Reagan and ice cream

Self-tutoring about history and dessert: the tutor shares a find about Ronald Reagan.

I was a kid while Reagan was in power in the United States. Times were heady: the Cold War was reaching its climax. Most people probably recall Reagan as the tough president who wouldn’t back down from the Soviets. He earned their respect, and mine as well.

Reagan loved the American way of life. In fact, back in ’84, he designated July as National Ice Cream Month. More specifically, July’s third Sunday would be National Ice Cream Day. He recommended Americans come up with fitting ways to embrace the occasion.

Reagan was always smiling. I regret I never got to share a bowl of ice cream with him:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Can you substitute lard for butter?

Cooking self-tutoring: the tutor experiments substituting lard for butter.

A scones recipe calls for butter…what to do if you haven’t any? Normally I use margarine instead.

Today, hoping for scones that would be a little more crumbly, I used lard instead of margarine. It worked.


Here’s the scones recipe in which I made the substitution:

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.