austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

You may think the chords are going wrong

You know a seminar is going badly when you can see your audience has completely lost track of what you're talking about. I know that look; I've seen it on my students. The speaker had to have seen it in mine. He was making the classic mistake of trying to present every step of his paper, rather than introduction- results- sketch- looking ahead. You know it's going really badly when people in the audience keep looking over their shoulders at the wall clock. You know it's going really very badly when the people who already have wristwatches are also checking the wall clock. I felt sorry for the speaker, but had absolutely no idea what he was talking about or where he was going. And then someone kept encouraging me to ask a question.

Meanwhile a few more people, including the bookstore, have asked my plans about that class with the schedule conflict. I didn't think I was teaching it, but more people have asked me about that than for the classes I am teaching, so I e-mailed the person who set the schedule. He's checking. If I do teach this it'll be three classes I'm teaching next term. That's not so bad, though. I've taught two of them several times before, and the one I haven't is close to the one I might be teaching. With two undergraduate research projects to lead too, this means I'd better be racking up the points for teaching credentials when my employment review comes up. In any case I've got to get much more efficient about the way I handle the overhead of my courses. I'm obsessive-compulsive: I don't do efficiency, I do systematizing.

Is it juvenile to enjoy the 17th of July because that's the date on the iCal icon? The Mac OS X default puts it in the dock on the bottom of the screen, and when you run the program the icon updates to the current day, which is, of course the same. But the ``iCal running'' 17 July is different from the ordinary ``sitting in the dock'' 17 July icon, by a slightly thicker font. At least I find it cute.

Trivia: Franz Liszt wrote nineteen Hungarian Rhapsodies. Source: The New York Public Library Desk Reference, Editors Paul Fargis, Sheree Bykofski.

Currently Reading: Telephone: The First Hundred Years, John Brooks. It was written in 1976, and it includes bundles of fascinating trivia I recommend to all my friends with interest in technological infrastructure. Among the past-is-a-different-world pieces, it mentioned a recent (to the time of writing) case where a Bell Labs researcher got in trouble with his corporate overlords for trying to synthesize a violin sound. That's understandable, sure, since how could the synthesizing of a complex sound be of potential value to AT&T?


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