May, 2015

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2k, 42.2k (or 63.3k), 780k respectively

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015
  1. I hadn’t been in a pool since Family Day in Vancouver.  At lunch, I have this impulsive desire to go for a swim.  In a moment I’m grabbing my suit and some goggles and heading to the Talisman.  I’m 90% I have some drop-in passes there (turns out I have 10 on file, haha) so a new membership card later to make use of those passes, I’m in the pool doing 2k.  It feels great.  I really do need to swim more.  It’s so meditative and doesn’t feel like exercise in the same way other workouts do.
  2. January 2016.  I’ve signed up for a full marathon.  In Walt Disney World.  Actually I signed-up for a back-to-back half-marathon Saturday and full-marathon Sunday.  Initially signing up for the Goofy Challenge combo was as insurance so I could do either when push came to shove.  But I’m now calculating that I can actually do both.  I’ve found a training schedule that could work for me and some partners in crime.  I’m a little concerned about training in the dark/cold then heading to the hot/humid.  I’m also a little concerned about not getting in Orlando properly with two long-distance REALLY early morning runs BUT I’m pretty pumped about what’s possible with this new project.
  3. Summer 2016.  The Camino de Santiago.  I think it’ll be a go!  After workshops and films and online research, I think the summer after this one will be about some serious walking.  I’m not super sure why I’m so compelled by this one.  As that summer draws closer, I’m curious to see how planning will go.  I know no Spanish.  I’m not really a pilgrim any many senses of the word.  And I don’t even own a backpack or hiking shoes.  So it might be a steep learning curve.

Writing a Pecha Kucha (and not barfing because of nerves)

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

(I don’t know why Unicode is suddenly mixing up ? and Â on previous posts either, time to explore the wonderful world of WordPress.)

Last night was PechaKucha Calgary #23, Jam.  After seeing #11. Two, #12. Eureka, #13. Seed, #14. Invest, #16. Sweet 16, #18. Medal, #19. Skin, #20. 20/20, and #22. Global I had to give giving a PechaKucha a try.

Walking out of Global, I said to my friend Joanne, “I’ve just got to do it!” so I dreamed and schemed with some friends and navigated the process.  Our 20’s (Grade 11’s) have the PechaKucha format as one of three final performance tasks in E.L.A. so it all seemed like a good fit.

I’m obviously a fan of the nights.  I knew going in I wanted to say something, get personal, but keep it all fairly light.  I also knew there were no real worst-case-scenarios–the audience is super supportive and is there to enjoy things, not to be combative or challenging.

So the process.

First: apply.  I also nudged a few people to give their support if they felt so inclined.

Then wait.  Good news.  You’re in.

Now the doing.

I had read that it’s best to start on paper/cards and move/plan/consider.  I tried to do that but it didn’t really work for me.  I did a bit of handwriting and a bit of slide making and went back and forth forever and ever on the core of what I wanted to say and how I wanted to introduce it.  I ended up going to one my initial ideas actually even after dozens and dozens of alternatives.  I kind of just kept rotating through possible notes, actual script, and visuals over and over.

Slides were due a week before the talk.  This worked in my favour.  It had me writing the first part of my talk verbatim ( and the end to tie things back full circle) and really thinking about order/structure/visuals.  I knew to keep my slides mostly visual and did what most people probably do: making double what I needed then culling them down to 20.

Once the slides were submitted there was no going back.  Which is good.  Otherwise it’s too tempting to tweak and adjust non-stop.  I left it for a few days (almost afraid to see what I had sent in).  Then watched what I submitted and got down to the real work.  Once the visuals were in it was just rotating through actual script and possible notes.  The temptation: to try and squeeze in more and more.  But instead having to really edit down.

I wrote each slide.  I admire people who can adlib more than I did: but my topic had such specific vocabulary and I really wanted to get across the complexities of our work in High School Redesign.  I kept Jam (the night’s word) pretty front and center and really tried to make a daunting topic more accessible through slides that were light and inviting (think animals, memes, and photos–probably too many of me but the goal was to make things personal.)

My take-homes were to be:  Schools are changing.  Change is hard.  The change is necessary.  Let’s do this.

knew I had too many words. (1600 I think?) like two times too many but I also know I speak fast and that’s how this one was going to go.  For each slide (I had charted) I highlighted a panic sentence.  i.e. if things fall apart just read that one sentence and scrap the rest to get re-caught up.  I also know that if I was ever a sentence or two ahead: great!  Only one transition was truly tied to the speech.  I built up a “which animal did he do his Grade 5 paper on?” silly point of tension then had to pause as slide 4/1:00 revealed “oh, he did his report on Alpacas”.   I didn’t adlib tons but was also stumbling a bit.  Much more at the actual event than rehearsing.

I did rehearse.   And I did try to get to almost memorization.   Which I know not everyone loves.  I made a movie of my .pptx so that I could rehearse it easily (easy to export too).  The goal was to use the movie file on my iPhone to rehearse but I didn’t end up doing that.

It was so nice to not have to bring a laptop or any technology.  I’ve never experienced that before actually.  I just had to have my notes (in my case: my script.) I kept them in my hands the whole night and put my phone number on them (haha–thinking of worst case scenarios beforehand).

I enjoyed the night but definitely experienced others’ talks differently than other nights knowing I’d be doing it too.  I had also brought some friends and colleagues along (and family!) so was watching things through their eyes too.  I was 8th.  6 before the break and 5 after.   One talk was between the break and I, and I was the most tuned out of that one (only thinking oh boy this is it).  He had his slides numbered too, which I considered.  So it was like a countdown to terrible-doom slash awesome-excitement.

(I was my most nervous actually about lunchtime beforehand.)

Everyone was so awesome!  I hope I thanked everyone enough.  The welcome, the information, all of it!  So, so sweet to try this out and take a chance and leap!

The benefit for me: something new.
Hopefully a benefit for others: hearing about the awesome and exciting things we’re up to in this crazy world of public education.

I stumbled.  I felt pleased afterwards.  It was a rush!   The awesomeness was made even more awesome by a great crew along for the adventure.  Always something.  🙂

Bit of rambling here, but never bad to have some of this down.  In all, amazing night and fun memory and really cool group to momentarily be a part of!