Wednesday, January 16, 2008

First Day of Classes

Well, I've survived my first day of classes, in spite of being in the Big Blue Slidemobile.

Chevy Stepsides just were not made to go well on slick roads. I've made it back and forth to classes, though, by driving very slowly, and not giving the tires a chance to break loose. (Thank you, Mamaw, for putting new tires on it, so that I actually have a chance to do that...)

Oh, yeah, I didn't tell you guys did I? My beloved Chevy Malibu is in the shop, getting a strange groaning noise in the power steering pump checked out. Which is a bit tricky because this is one of those problems that only happens when it's cold, only turning left, and only until a certain point. And not even always then. But a while back I had a hose come loose from my power steering pump, dumping all of my fluid on the ground. Which happened two years ago, as well. No big deal, slap a new hose clamp on there, fill 'er up and she runs like a top.

Except that this groaning noise started. With it being only to the left I have to wonder if the power steering fluid got into the rack and pinion or something, gathered dirt, and gums things up in the cold, making the power steering pump work harder on a left turn, and causing the groan, until things get broke loose again. I don't know, but I gather from what Mamaw has told me that the mechanic had a ball doing doughnuts trying to recreate the issue.

Meanwhile, in my classes, JJ and Marylin are team teaching Equine Evaluation, which means that the rules are going to be a lot more strict than if just Marilyn were teaching it. And, either JJ is going to keep Marilyn a little more organized, or we're going to have twice the chaos as we did in Production. I haven't had a classroom class with JJ yet, so I can't tell.

Reproduction is another of Marilyn's classes, and she opened it today by saying "I'm giving you this syllabus but we won't be following it." Gotta love it. Of course she explained the changes, and they made sense, we're covering the brood mare first, rather than the stallion, as it says on the syllabus, because the stallion is easier.

Ag Financing. This class is going to kick my skinny white butt. The instructor seems like a nice enough guy, but he's got one of those bland voices that tends to go in one ear and out the other. Now, I'm pretty talented at turning on the mental recorder in my mind, taking a few notes, and using the notes to remind me of what was said during the lecture. But there are limits.

This man talked for thirty minutes solid, and the only thing I remember is: "I won't be teaching from the book, for the most part. The book is more for a reference, and we won't even be covering all of it." I only remember that, because it was ten minutes in, and I'd already decided that I was going to have to resign myself to not remembering the lectures and just using the book. I was paying close attention, too! That phrase scared the crap out of me, so I went and bought a Digital Voice Recorder.

This little thing seems pretty spiffy... I would have liked one with a USB hookup so that I could download files directly onto my computer, but they didn't have one with the mic sensitivity that I'm going to need. (Rackafrackin speak softly and carry a big stick my ass, speak up man!) But, because I'm just Techno-savvy enough to get myself into trouble, I ran a couple of tests. The mic should pick up what I need, and once I get home, I can plug my external speakers into the recorder, plug my headset into the computer, pull up Audacity (a fantastically user-friendly audio editing program that I use to make my own ringtones for the cell phone) and record from the device onto the computer.

The downside (and possibly the upside, considering the problem that caused me to get the recorder in the first place) is that I have to listen to the recording as I'm performing this jury-rigged transfer. But, the sound quality comes across well, and I can compile the recordings and back them up either onto my external hard drive or to CD, when I have enough of them.

I'll probably test the classroom compatibility of the recorder tomorrow in Creative Writing, so that I'll know before Monday if I can set it on the table beside me, or if I need to set it up by the instructor.

I'm just glad this kind of technology is available, or I'd probably wind up begging someone for help or tanking the class. And I can't afford to tank the class.