September 30, 2003

English Lit Presentation Day! Run!!!

It has been quite a day today, as I predicted yesterday. It did not, however, turn out quite as I predicted. Chapel was a big disappointment as FL proved to be a no show today. Plus, I was a little worried after my group's practice run-through of our presentation for English Lit. Suffice to say that less than an hour and a half before the presentation, things did not look as if they had come together, and more than one of us seemed ill-prepared. I will admit that I myself seemed ill-prepared, but I wasn't. It looked that way because I was doing a practice run on a Power Point presentation . . . without Power Point.

I wasn't nervous about speaking in front of people, at least. I feel fairly confident about that, most of the time. That was what I was telling myself, at any rate. Then I got to class, and people started coming in, and I realized, "Oh, yeah. There are nearly 40 people in this class. Oh, yeah. I have to stand up first and get things started." Then, I got nervous. Nerves, I can handle. I helped Dr. Watson boot up the computer and find my Power Point dilly, he read a brief (but relevant) devotional, and it was time to go.

Immediately, problem number one rears its ugly head. The stupid little hand-held slide clicker that I can aim at the projector won't work, and I'm forced to go with the keyboard as I advance, point by point, through the slides. The keyboard, of course, proves to be severely crippling. I must hold it in both hands, and constantly move around to aim it at that dorky little cabinet that houses all the equipment. The thing was seriously cramping my style . . . I spent the first few points still attempting to maintain eye contact with my audience. I would absent-mindedly set the keyboard down on the front desk as I faced them to expound upon each sub-point, only to pick it up a few seconds later and have to walk around in front of the cabinet again. The flow was suffering.

Eventually, I just had to stand still and face the screen (turning my back on Dr. Watson, from whence my grade would come, always bad) and it pretty much looked like I was standing there reading it, which I wasn't (I had only given myself vague points to reference from, anyway). In the midst of this adapting process, I completely passed over one of my key points. It was the kind of key point that isn't missed when you don't mention it, but which I kicked myself for afterwards when it occurred to me.

I remembered, while I still had a good head of steam, that I had left my notes sitting on my desk and I had to go over and get them as I talked. Fortunately, I sit right in front of the screen, five feet from the podium. No biggie. Between the fifth and sixth slides, I became a bit more unfamiliar with the ground I was covering and I actually had to refer to my notes. Unfortunately, since I had been successfully running from memory, I had to stop for several seconds and find my place (eight pages of notes).

In spite of these difficulties, my audience laughed when they were supposed to laugh (very little else truly matters to me) and I was able to bring my part to a successful conclusion. After that, it all hung on my group members. I sat, and watched, and waited. They did fine. The costumes used by the guys from Club were quite creative (which is something I have come to expect from that particular floor). The group discussions were guided firmly, and there was an encouraging level of class participation. I'm rambling again . . . The point is, we got a 92.

Got tons of work done this afternoon, thankfully, which does nothing to explain why I'm still up. It does a great deal to explain how I'm managing to go to bed as soon as I finish this, however. "Inklings" was its usual fun self. We went to Dr. Woodring's house for the evening and basically read to each other for two hours. While I felt that we could have dwelt a little less on making large numbers of (sometimes) petty points during the discussion, and so progressed farther than we did, I had a good time.

Guatemala stuff: Two massive wrecks involving pickups.

These accidents are as ridiculous as they are common. The first apparently involved a pickup that was traveling too fast when it hit a pothole and the driver lost control. He was consumed in the subsequent blaze, along with a 10 year old and a 12 year old who were riding in the cab. Here's the insane part: 17 of the people who were riding in the back, were injured. When I say pickup, I'm not talking any F-350 or anything like that (although 17+ passengers would obviously still be ridiculous), this was probably some little Japanese or Korean job.

The second seems to have taken place when the pickup drove off . . . if I'm reading the article right (and I am), the bloody thing drove off of a thousand foot cliff; never a good idea. The insane thing is that only two people died. 14 were injured. I have no idea how this is possible unless they landed on a 50 foot pile of eiderdown or something.

I ask certain personages again: You think the running of a red light will even make me the slightest bit nervous? Most accidents you read about involve buses, because bus drivers have this scary mix of homicidal and suicidal tendencies and they like to (literally) live on the edge. However, when these things do involve pickups, the results are not pretty. These people literally perch on the sides of the bed, most of their bodies hanging over the edge, while the driver takes curves near (see above) 1,000 foot cliffs at reckless speeds on two-way roads which are approximately a pickup and a half wide. And you wonder why my hair went white prematurely. Wait . . . nevermind.

Well, it's insanely late for someone who is getting up for a Bib Lit test at 7:15 tomorrow. Good night, y'all.

Posted by Jared at September 30, 2003 02:12 AM | TrackBack