Yakking Into Words and Work

I got my first sub job for the year yesterday. The phone call came on Monday afternoon. It was only a partial day, but I got to stay home and work (including starting this post) during the early hours of the day. That gave me time to diddle (doing nothing useful) and then therefore compose this post before heading off to “work.”

I already had two more assignments lined up yet this week, so it looks like Iʼm going to be kind of busy until Saturday finally arrives. All three of these opportunities to work appear interesting. Yesterday I got to watch over the band again, for the third time now (in addition to library supervision and covering one section of home economics — or whatever its correctly termed category has become these days). Serving as band teacherʼs an interesting position for one whose musical ear would be flatteringly (and exaggeratedly) described as “tin.” Fortunately, at least at Andrew, for the time being, several seniors cooperatively serve as very effective leaders (thank you, Abby and Kate — and my grateful acknowledgment, in hindsight and during blog-revision, to the entire band), and except for my very first time, when the group conned me into quitting nearly fifteen minutes early “to put away instruments,” leaving far too much time to kill at the end of the period, all has been good with band (if loud on these ancient ears). My second task is also only a partial day, this time in art. Thatʼs another job Iʼve done before, however not since last year. And for one whose aesthetic skills are as limited as my own, also an interesting challenge. However, the instructorʼs lesson plans are usually excellent, and if I get to work with the elementary, those kids are almost universally enthusiastic.

Itʼs the third assignment that seems to be the biggest mountain to climb. For a whole day I will soon get to be the vocal music teacher. Read above on the “tin ear,” and realize that Iʼm the one who got told back in my college years, “Itʼs good that some of us were born to be in the audience,” when someone more musical than myself caught me humming along at a concert. Oh well. I donʼt know what the teacher has in mind, but I will do my best. At least only one of her periods will be with bigger kids, the high school choir, which at last count, I think, was comprised of only four members, all of whom I like, and the middle school choir session will eventually end when those scheduled 48 minutes expire. For all I know, Iʼll be showing movies, and with one exception on the day before Christmas break a few weeks ago, that activity always goes pretty easily.

Also going easily or well is the composition of this post, a matter of special interest (probably only to me) because I am experimenting as I go about the “writing.” Although I have surely made folks read too much on the issue in posts over most of last year, I am once again playing around with the dictation software and hardware.

Trying to get the microphone, Dictate and myself all in harmony, this whole post is being composed aloud. And Iʼm using Dictateʼs own NotePad. The programʼs accuracy seems stronger in its own environment, and so far, at least on this post, I havenʼt found it suddenly unable to finish the words at the ends of my phrases (although it heard that last word as “freezes”). So far, sadly, that noncompletion (sometimes of several words) problem does develop when I try to dictate directly into Scrivener. If this experiment today works, perhaps I can force myself ahead with “Mistakes by Moonlight” (so long completed in longhand now) and get Søren and Judahʼs adventure to a digitized end. I am also eleven handwritten pages into the second story about them, and I want to get that digitized ASAP (hey, Dictate handled that abbreviation perfectly!), so I can move on to other things.

For instance, as I may have noted sometime earlier, the Tourist has a completed “adventure” in San Francisco, handwritten in the little red Harrodʼs notebook, which also needs to be turned into digital text. And, after a little more research on TSA procedures (the program didnʼt do so well with that unfortunate acronym) and customs and security for ongoing passengers arriving from abroad, the Chicago OʼHare story that I have been sharing parts of some recent Sundays* should be done. All hopefully involve simple and easy dictation. But thatʼs up to the microphone and the software and me, which still seem to be doing pretty well as I make things up out loud just now.

The time approaches to head off to work. Iʼll use that as a signal that I should wrap this up, reminding myself that Iʼd prefer to keep the posts brief this year (or at least consider a thousand words something of the maximum), and get this set of words transferred over to WordPress in my browser. I hope the new year is treating you all as well as my software is treating me, at least for now (that means the software, not you and the new year).

* You can check back over Sunday posts in November and December 2010 to find the relevant reading, if you missed it at the time. Thatʼs what the “Wak through Time” pull-down menu to the right is for, after all — searching out old posts. You could also try searching for “dictation” in the “Search Wakdjunkaga” entry box just under the monthly calendar, also to the right (realizing of course that the first hit youʼll get currently will be this one, simply with older posts below).

— With some editing by hand in Scrivener first, this turned out pretty well for a quick-and-dirty vocal posting. And I kept it at a thousand words!

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A

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