1. Random is not just for Wednesdays anymore.
2. Best quote from a CART event ever: "I couldn't hear what she had to say about hearing aids, so I'm not sure if I need hearing aids or not." The person was dead serious (and visually challenged, so could not read the CART screen very well).
3. It's been a long week of long days. Today will be no exception. Someone is coming to speak, and it will be the debut of my new authentic captioning software. Up to now, we've just been projecting my computer screen to a larger screen via a projector. Now it will look like real television captions, with the speaker's video above the words. Pretty neat. Now more than ever, the unindoctrinated will probably believe the captions are being done by voice recognition software. This speaker will undoubtedly be so erudite (and need I mention controversial?) I will make a million mistakes, so I guess I should just let them go ahead and
eat cake think it's VR after all. It'll no doubt be a humbling experience. One good thing about captions versus the large CART screen -- it only shows two to three lines of text on the screen at a time, rather than 25 lines lingering. The mistakes will be pushed off the screen faster, at least.
4. Bueller? Yes, I've put that in my dictionary. I've been prepping every chance I get for weeks. It's anybody's guess what he might talk about. Anything from intelligent design to Michael Moore to economics to the law to acting to the U.S. troops to whatever. I've been looking up stuff online, listening to interviews (a favorite -- haha -- is the one he did recently with Pat Robertson. Check it out on YouTube if you wish), I skimmed his last book, etc.
5. I don't get paid, per se, for prep, though my fee for an event of this sort is high enough that a certain amount of prep time is, in essence, compensated. Most reporters would probably not do this level of preparation, but if I can save myself from having a panic attack by over-prepping, that's my preferred M.O., and I like to think that's what separates the men (me) from the boys. When I was at the BBC, there was a staff of Oxbridge-educated people doing the research for me, giving me education about the topic and the speaker, and feeding me the words. Those were the Cinderella-at-the-ball-before-the-clock-struck-midnight days. Now I do it all myself, and I have a hard time making people understand how much work it is, and a hard time making people understand why most other reporters don't want to do this work. At the moment, I have three pages on a yellow legal pad, two columns each, of words and names that I want to be sure are in my steno dictionary. Everything from apes and orangutans (which he loves to use in his interviews about Darwinism) to Ben Bernanke to General Petraeus to niggardly to Darwinian(s), to Mike Huckabee to Bork and Bjork to theist(s) to aborigines to Nazism to Third Reich to Guillermo Gonzalez to hecklers to abiogenesis to... you get the idea.
6. Clearly I will not have thought of everything, and that's even assuming I remember how to stroke the word in whatever way I have entered it into my dictionary. The way my brain works, I initially stroke it in according to my logic as to "what would make sense" without any thought or hesitation, and that's usually -- keyword usually -- how I would stroke it in the heat of the moment. Then arise the unanticipated conflicts or word boundary problems. Every single time one of those arises in my work, I say, "I've got to remember that one so I can blog about it or give it as an example," but then when I go to write about it or talk about it, I can't remember a single one. Sorry. You'll just have to take my word for it. (But of course, voice recognition software doesn't have word boundary problems. False.)
7. With my increasing specialization in CART work, I felt I needed to get some new business cards, separate from the cards I use for deposition or court work. I didn't want to put all that I do on one card, because the two fields really don't overlap and I think it would be confusing. Also, the cards for the legal work are rather understated and elegant. I allowed myself to get a bit more colorful and playful for the CART cards. See?
That's me: Norma, a la CART. (Shoot. I should copyright and trademark that and use it for my business name someday. Don't you dare steal it!)
Notice there is not one word on there about me running voice recognition software. All right, that's the last time I'm even going to mention voice recognition software. I promise, I'll give it up. If I don't shut up about voice recognition software, one, I'll lose friends, and two, I'll end up the number one hit on Google when one Googles voice recognition software. Mwahaha.
8. I've just been notified that I've now got a summer school student, a grad student who majors in English. As I was saying goodbye to the biology grad students and faculty yesterday, I thanked them for putting up with me all year and told them that I will now be working "in English," and we all had a good laugh that I probably won't remember how to write "regular words" anymore. So after the graduate-level summer school English course, there will follow in the fall the following: organic chemistry, a nutrition course, another graduate-level English course, and a couple of as-yet-unknown courses. And still no voice recognition. Oops.
9. And just before I went to bed last night (about midnight), I quickly checked my stats. One of the last searches to land on my blog was "how to stop repeating words in head in court reporting." Yes, that is a hazard of this occupation. You talk, we are repeating it in our heads. Even more specifically, we are repeating the words while at the same time mentally forming the finger positions of the steno strokes (or outlines, as we call them). Freaky, huh? I've stopped doing that most of the time now, but it took YEARS (decades, probably) for the words to stop. That is one reason it is hard for me to watch TV, I think, and to listen to things like music when I get home from work -- or it used to be that way, especially when I worked all day every day in court. Now that I work less, it is less. No need to send the men in the white coats.