sexta-feira, agosto 06, 2004


Here I was planning a nice long work on my independent studies work week, and then at 12:30 on Monday afternoon, I get a phone call from Savio that I am scheduled to teach a class at 2 pm! For a class I knew nothing about. With a book I had not yet seen. With objective for the level that I had never read. It was the quickest and most copied lesson plan ever. Luckily, Meuamor has taught this class, so I was able to basically copy from him what it was I was going to do that day. It was an okay lesson. I think we had a good time. Shortly after this class ended, I was told I was to teach ANOTHER one the next day, and then today I was finally told I am also teaching a pronunciation course on Saturdays. I may also be teaching some private classes at the post office here. Go figure, in a week I have gone from 1 student to 5 classes! Crazy! I guess this is how things work around here. This also means I really gotta get my shit done for MSU. Soon. Focus Ali, focus....

I spent most of today on the computer in search of two things: Portuguese spell check for Word, and some kind of recording device that would should Waveforms to use in my pronunciation class. I have succeeded, sort of, in both. I downloaded Audacity, which had come highly recommended by some people at the ELC some time ago. It's not exactly what I am looking for, and it's really hard to filter out the noise. I think I need to get a better microphone and that will help. I think it will suffice for the time being.

The second break through came after going through all the right steps according to modern society: I checked the Microsoft website, reinstalled Office XP, got all the updates, contacted (or tried to) Microsoft who referred me to IBM since it was an IBM computer, and IBM referred me to the Brasilian division of IBM since I am in Brasil. Never mind that my questions were all in English and my computer was configured in the U.S. and that I am betting will refer me back to the Americans. I hate tech help people for this reason. So, having exhausted all the "right" channels, I consulted Brian, my guru of computers, who suggested I try open source programs instead. Sure enough had a free download version that was similar to everything in Office XP. I even got a Power Point equivalent (a program I was missing for some reason). All I had to do was choose the language and download it. Took half an hour (big file - 166 MB), but it was worth it because it works! Everything is in Portuguese because that was the language I chose. You can choose from about a hundred different languages. I highly recommend it.

All this effort and work today, and I haven't worked on the things I need most to accomplish. Some habits never die.

domingo, agosto 01, 2004

Well after my small amount of annoyance yesterday, we did in fact get a hold of the Velox guy who came a while later to connect us. With the exception that the phone now has a "kkkrsskketttttscchchchchchch" noise while you use it (this even with the filter they put on to prevent it), it's working well. So far I have listened to 4 NPR shows and am currently listening to (The Finest in Radio), right from my beloved studios in the Basement of Holden Hall at MSU! What a joy to hear what I left behind!

My dear Kerido Kevyn has quickly come and gone again. While he was here a few weeks ago, we introduced him to Marina, a friend of ours we now call "A sequestradora de gringo" and we lost him to whatever passion ensued after their meeting. He then left us to travel up the coast of Brasil, making a brief stop in each city to wander around and experience life. This included Fortaleza where he was lucky enough to stay with the lovely Adri whom I met online for free and go out on the town. Hopefully I will meet her some day too. She promises to come to Salvador to visit before she moves to Canada with her husband. In any case, now Kevyn was wandering about with the idea that he was to be back in Southern Bahia to teach some time after August 8th, but consequently called his boss on Thursday and found out he was supposed to be back there on the 2nd. So Friday he showed up, went out with Marina, and us briefly much later, and then left on Saturday afternoon. We won't see him again until sometime in December, when he will be included in our travel plans for Chapada. Poor Marina really fell for him and called us yesterday to inform us she was very sad and wanted to cry. I hope he doesn't break her heart.

Meuamor has gone into ultra clean and organize mode because he starts classes and teaching again tomorrow. To protect himself from the dust and sneezing fits, he has put a t-shirt over his head and tied it on with just his eyes showing through the neck hole. It looks rather like a white ninja or one of those guys in Iraq who was beheading people. Hopefully this will evolve into my having my own work space now. I need it to feel like I can organize. It's bad enough we are both trying to use this computer, let alone the same work space.

Okay, enough wasting time, back to my journal article stack!