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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Technology Strikes Again!






YouTube, as is generally accepted, in the fountain of all wisdom.  I have now been trained by Toni to stop asking him questions about, well, anything and to turn to YouTube instead because, simply, all the answers are there.
            And indeed they are – as long as you ask the right questions.
            My latest attempt to give myself a nervous breakdown was to try and set up a booklet.  Now this has been a bane of my professional life for as long as I can remember.  I am very much a booklet teacher.  If it is worth doing, it is worth making a booklet to put it in.
            One of my truly great achievements in the School on the Hill was forcing the powers that be to buy me (not the bloody school) a long arm stapler.  This amazingly important element in life made my booklets just that little bit more professional by having the staples vertical to the line of the spine.  The usual effect is of a slanted staple because the arm of the thing is far too short.  Not with a long arm version.  I jealously guarded it and never, but never loaned it out.  Some things in school only survive through the caring selfishness of determined individuals!
            So, I attempted to put the poems that I have now written as part of my OU Creative Writing course into a booklet.  This should be easy.  A few clicks and the job should be done.  Having never (never) managed this successfully before I had a certain gritty determination about doing it properly this time.
            As part of the scheme I have bought a printer which prints on both sides of the paper.  The perfect accompaniment to booklet production.  My previous attempts have all been on the cut out and stick on previously constructed templates with page numbers carefully written in to avoid confusion.  This time it was all going to be done by the computer.
            So YouTube was prodded into action and I made notes and printed out instructions.  Thus primed I went to my computer and found that I had a different version of Word.  A later and more sophisticated version possibly, but certainly not the one in the films.  So back to YouTube, and remembering to mention this time around that this was Word for Mac.
            Low and behold, no sooner asked for then, as if my magic, some hapless music teacher promised to tell all.
            My heart sank when he started his little lecture by saying that Mac had no facility for making booklets.  He then compounded my depression by saying that all could be made well by simply downloading a program.  This is always the prelude to hours of frustration as the program hides itself away or is haplessly corrupted or simply doesn’t work.  Nevertheless, goaded by desperation I put all my faith in his hesitant delivery and empty of hope I typed in a wan request for the program to appear.
            Much to my astonishment it existed and downloaded.  So far so unnatural. It was then time for it to work.  And it did.  Up to a point.
            It took me five hours to get the sodding thing to print out in the way that I wanted it to.  Five hours.  Not, admittedly constant effort – part of the time was Toni trying to calm me down as yet another set of pages came out of the machine wrongly.
            The only thing that is keeping me sane is the determination that the next time I have to make a booklet it is going to be easier.  Please god!
            And the staples.  I ended up using a pair of dividers to poke holes in the spine and then fitted the individual staple in them and pushed the ends down with a ruler.  So much for technology.
            But I do have a booklet ready to give to Suzanne when I meet her tomorrow after school.  She asked for the poems and it will take the restraint of a person who is not like me not to moan about the length of time that it took to make the booklet.
            I think that she is expecting me to read them out while we sample a few tapas and a bottle of Cava.  I hope that there are no other humans listening to us as I do so.  Though my poems are not really the reading out loud in a public place sort of stuff – but what the hell, culture is culture after all.
            The next assignment if Life Writing – and that can be addressed in poetry as well.  As I keep thinking, a lot is riding on the outcome of the present assignment.

We are also getting nearer to the moment when I have to decide on my next course – which will start in October.  It has to be a third level course and I need 120 credits to finish my degree.  In effect that means two years of study at level three and then I am done.  My Modern Art course will be 60 of those credits and then I have to do something else.  It might even be literature – a reversion to type!

Our lunch today was in the little restaurant opposite Lidl.  I had a small slice of tortilla followed by lightly fried calçots with special sauce; medallions of hake in a creamy sauce with asparagus, peas and peppers; flan de mató, with red wine and Casera – for €8.95!  Toni’s meal was even cheaper – nothing.  This restaurant has a loyalty card which means for every ten meals at ‘full’ price you get one free.  In effect it means that each meal costs about six and a half quid, with wine.  And it was sunny.

It was a pity that the meal was before the struggle for the booklet.  But the memory of it lessens the pain a little.  And I had a good swim – even if somebody had the effrontery to come into my lane to do a bit of swimming.  It only lasted for ten or so lengths and he departed to waters calmer.  It is a good thing that I was not wearing my glasses or I could hold a grudge.

Tomorrow we are promised rain.  And I will have to wear shoes to go into the centre of Barcelona.  Life can be hard.
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