Day 490

Monday | July 1st, 2013

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Time to roll into the office, get the TOEIC camp computer logistics sorted and set up. Perhaps I’m in need of a shower as well.

Already the yahoos were complaining even before I could finish my breakfast. Gotta call from the department liaison, Nag the Mighty Woolgatherer (herein known as NW), while I was getting dressed. Then still more nagging when I was trying to get out of the house. Various shades of bitching from everyone, but my least favorite being the one where people think that I’m working less than anyone else. The TOEIC camp started a week ago and all I had to do was say hello to a bunch of students. Then somehow it gets lodged in the heads that I’ve gone and had a week off living wild and free when actually I’ve spent quite a bit of time chained to a computer working out kinks or building new materials and shit.

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It was a great and exceedingly hot day to roll in. And the false starts getting out of the house; and the picture taking along the path to the Office of Official Nag made that journey slower. I got in after 11.00—not at all like the 09.00 I’d envisioned the night before. NW informed me that the dates we had laid out in the workshop—days that were bickered over—couldn’t all be had because, while yes, the computer lab was booked for the TOEIC camp, it was also booked for other camps.

Insert mini-rant about the differences in perception when two people tell you something is “booked” for the “camp” and your assumptions being shattered by unspoken reality. Or insert the internal self-shaming rant where you fell like crap because you wrote checks, and mightily assured checks they were, that now can’t be entirely cashed and you look like an ass and that might have been avoided if you had tackled this mess, knowing full well that it would be a mess of some sort, last week when there was a lot more time to soften the blow to your team. Really, either or both rants fit the crimes.

We took a walk over the the IT department to fetch the key to the computer lab. The lab this summer is ‘B’ (last summer it was ‘A’). NW let me to boot up the number of machines I would need on the 9 of 10 days I need to play my role in the gong show (that 10th day will be back in the Library; site of the winter camp). Last summer, I played fetch the key from the IT building every morning. This summer is another game of fetch the key, just … another place to go.

IT has decided to be nicer and more flexible this summer: they unlocked the machines so I could install some of the software I’m going to need on my ten day stint. That will take about 30-40 minutes off of each day (the computers boot from an image and any changes made while they are locked are lost on reboot).

I had to run back to my office and grab some headsets to test the setups. It seems like I wouldn’t need to do this, but last summer NW set me up in a backup-backup lab with only 8 working systems and none of them had audio drivers installed. When I pointed this out there was a woolgathering pause followed by a, “Do you need that?” It is TOEIC Speaking I’m talking about here, not TOEIC Surfing or TOEIC Etch-a-Sketch. Yes, I need audio drivers to plug in mics and headphones … e.g. headsets.

A quick dash between buildings on a day like this one means you lose a kilo just trying to breathe. Add variations of Fetch-the-Key, walking to work and back with a laptop and support gear, and sitting around in a lab all day and I start seeing this impending bleakness for what it is: prison camp. When I’ve got a working lab, I’m not letting it out of my sight, which means I’ll be camped out in this one for the 9 days that I’ve managed to wrangle it away from another camp.

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In the evening, as it gets hotter, I seem to choose to use the outside bathroom over our $5,000 inside bathroom. Strangely, I feel I’ve got more privacy out here. There’s also that fly situation

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This is why I work at home, real equipment and real comfort (above). Food is just a room away, the music can be loud, Meow gives recharging kisses, and not once do I curse my computing environment or want to slay the designers who thought Windows 7’s file manager a better that OSX’s or even XP’s). I can also work in a sullied state.

The Daily Bullet

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Day 487.

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