22 January 2006

- When It Rains -

Just finished the first week of classes. The first day of teaching went great—I always try to do something real that day. BUt Thursday was a disaster. Well, it was a disaster before I even got into the class room. I was trying to digitize some clips. Evil macrovision was causing me all sorts of problems—what you have to go through to extract clips for use in class these days is pretty incredible. I've been reduced to dedicating a machine completely isolated from the internet on which to do all of my digitizing. So I have a fancy-schmancy machine taking up half my desk, which I use only occasionally. Irritating does not even begin to describe it. I'm sure iTunes will soon go the same way and we'll no longer be able to burn our purchases to CD for archiving...

In any case beyond the difficulties with digitizing itself, I was having all sorts of other equipment problems. My CD burner wasn't working—that turned out to be a bad batch of CD blanks. A tape got jammed in my VCR. I went into class, and my computer wouldn't connect to the projection TV—a problem when you are teaching a film class and use your computer to show the clips. I then improvised and used the DVD player. But its audio cables were miswired, so I had to diagnose and fix that. Then to top it off the navigation on the DVD is a bit strange. It's designed to be used on a computor where you can skip around the menu fairly easily, but using a machine it's difficult to predict which clip is going to be selected, so I spent a long time figuring that out. I was completely discombulated by all the technological problems that by the time I actually managed to get class started it I was all out of sorts and so had difficulty remembering what points I wanted to emphasize. Since I teach through questioning, I have to have a very good grasp on what it is I want the students to get. That's the only way I've found to keep the discussion going in directions that are productuve. In any case, it got so bad at times that I don't even think we managed to go around in circles.

If all of that wasn't enough, I developed tendonitis in my foot, which has meant I haven't been able to run for weeks; and I injured my right index finger, which has hampered me in all sorts of ways, including making typing a chore. I'm essentially having to type with one finger on the right side of the keyboard.