Headlines for Wednesday:


Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
AX@1200-1300 Q1 Do lab in RS303 from 2005.10.12 (teaching)
AX@1500-1800 Q1 Go to engg psych lab in RS303 from 2005.10.12 (mie1407f)
AXSend Stephen outline of del.icio.us talk : E-Mail from Stephen Perelgut
AXMake ING deposit
AXPractice speech
BXTransfer last Toastmasters record
BXReply to Dominique : E-Mail from Dominique Cimafranca
BXWrite thank-you note to Greg
BXAdd Michael Olson to gna project : E-Mail from Michael Olson
CXCheck out yubnub.org


1. MIE mishaps

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I'm starting to think that my class finds me amusing. They laugh whenever they see me get stressed out.

Today was supposed to be one of my easy days. Prof. Shepard was going to do a demo, and all he needed was a Net connection. The audiovisual people sent the confirmation last week. Great. Wonderful.

Except that the room didn't actually come with a computer and Prof. Shepard didn't have a laptop. Ack!

I ran to Rosebrugh Building and borrowed a laptop from the undergraduate office. I lugged the heavy Dell bag back to Bahen as quickly as I could, and frantically set it up.

It booted into Windows 98. Had a bad feeling about that... Checked out the TCP/IP settings and saw far too many entries. Not good. Felt around the box. No Ethernet port! No Ethernet cable, either. Panic panic panic.

Would've nearly hyperventilated in front of the class, 'cept had a hard time breathing because the A/V guy was a heavy smoker. Waaah.

Ran out again, grabbed a patch cable from my lab, and borrowed a laptop from one of the students sitting near the back. Still didn't work! Panic panic panic. Rebooted. Checked ipconfig and realized I missed a "0" in the IP address.

Fixed the error. Got Google to show up. Whee! Did whirl-around of joy. Class laughed. Remembered I was in class. Tried to, err, grin in a dignified manner. Went back to setting everything up.

Student in question was big fan of Mozilla Firefox and had even bothered fixing Start Menu. Good for him. =) Brought up demo requested by professor. Was trapped by seating arrangement in front part of lecture theatre. Could not go back to my seat. Tried to inconspicuously lean against wall.

Realized red blouse and bright orange skirt not conducive to inconspicuous hiding. Tried not to fidget as would have been even more distracting.

Saw professor switch back to browser and bring up Javascript-heavy application. Just _knew_ there were going to be cross-platform problems. Thanked lucky stars knew exact command name to call up Internet Explorer. Saved the day again.

'Course, still responsible for things not going as smoothly as planned. Meep.

2. Nearly full CPU utilization

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This week is quite a challenge. Two major things on my plate: the Toastmasters competition tomorrow and the lab report due on Friday. Another thing to keep in mind is the field trip tomorrow morning. Next week, a few other big things: CASCON and a lab I need to teach.

Was I wrong to take the Toastmasters competition on? It's optional, after all, and I could very well not have volunteered. Still, I think it'll be a good experience, and it's already taught me far more about public speaking than I expected. So it's not a terrible idea, just challenging.

I'm juggling a bit more than I'm comfortable with, but it should be doable, and if I _do_ need to hit the panic button, I think I'll be able to drop enough from my schedule to do well.

3. Toastmasters Humorous Speech contest tomorrow

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Searching the Net for tips on Toastmasters humorous speech competitions, I ran across Steve Pavlina's blog entry about his division's humorous speech contest last year. <blockquote> So if you ever find yourself running up against your limits in some area of your life, see if you can find someone who’s already pushed past that limitation in their own life.</blockquote>

I'm looking forward to the contest!

4. Novell usability results

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From David Tang of Novell: <blockquote> Extensive usability research, including video trials, is now available to developers worldwide at betterdesktop.openSUSE.org </blockquote>

Totally awesome! Good karma for Novell. This is Good Stuff!

E-Mail from David Tang

5. Speech practice

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I've just realized how amazingly useful a digital voice recorder is in preparing for a speech. I can record myself, listen for awkward segments or good phrases, and repeat until I'm satisfied. I'm also thrilled to find that the scraps-of-paper approach to organizing speech material works really well for me. =)

My current speech preparation procedure:

- 1. I capture speech ideas in a small notebook. Come to think of it, I

should transfer speech ideas to a dedicated notebook for even more fun....

- 2. I develop speeches by scribbling material onto little scraps of

paper and laying them out on the floor or on a desk. I prefer working on the floor because there's more space.

- 3. I record a few runs while reading my notes, revising the material

as I discover what works and what doesn't.

- 4. I gradually move to recording runs without looking at my notes.

My speech isn't perfectly polished and I still stumble over a few words, but I managed to do a lot of work in the last hour and a half. =) Whee!

6. Stepping outside my comfort zone

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I get a thrill out of speaking at the edge of my comfort zone. In my Toastmasters speech about rediscovering theatre, I teetered on the brink of tears, my voice slightly hoarse with emotion. Even with a few years of experience in public technical speaking, tension still closes up my throat and pushes me to speak faster.

I have to stretch my voice and my skills. Just like Kuya Ed had me go over the rough spots in my vocal range when he was teaching me how to sing, I have to go over the rough spots in my vocal and emotive range when I speak. Each challenge stretches me and makes me grow.

The competition is an excellent opportunity for me to learn how to use humor. Greg's right. People don't really listen to speakers in order to be educated. They want to be entertained. It's scary as heck, but I want to learn how to do that. It's fun. =)

The next seven days

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% Breakfast Two eggs, bacon, and rice
% Dinner Chicken nuggets and rice
% Vitamins yes