Been on the receiving
end of a lot of schooling lately …
I just had a really odd dream. I dreamed that the community
college where I teach and the university just up the road got together to
provide a workshop for instructors working to prepare students for careers in
film production, not just instructors in the film programs, but those teaching
such things as English (e.g., script writing) and accounting (production
budgeting, etc.). It was a really intense workshop, a week long, and it
involved not only classroom work but field work as well; participants were
picked up from their campuses by bus and taken to each day’s lesson site. One
day involved going out on the water in boats – the one I was assigned to was a
nasty green aluminum runabout that seemed designed to make sure its occupants
ended up soaking wet and very cold.
At the end of each day of study, there were gatherings to dine
and socialize in a large banquet hall at the university. At the end of the
final day of the program, spouses were invited, and all went well until Pat
tried to hog all of the bread in the bread basket on the table. Then he was
told he had to pay for the bread.
As the gathering broke up, many of the participants said
they would be looking forward to the next year’s program, but the folks running
the show said there would be no repeat – this had cost too much money and was
too much hassle to put on.
As Pat and I were hiking out to where he had parked the car,
it was uphill. And then it was even more steeply uphill. And I was tired, and
getting more and more tired, and my muscles were aching. And the path kept
getting steeper, and I kept getting more tired, until finally, I couldn’t stand
up anymore, and I was crawling toward the car, which kept getting farther and
I woke up, and I was still aching. Ugh.
But the whole idea of a workshop like the one I dreamed
about really seems like a good idea, since New Mexico is trying to encourage
the film industry to produce more movies in-state. We already have good
programs in place to train support personnel, and it would be great to have
more higher-level personnel close to home.
In real life, Pat and I have been spending a lot of time
lately in classes, although these classes are related much more to sailboat
racing than film production.
In early November, we headed up to Denver, where we took two
workshops over the weekend, one on race management, and one on race judging.
Our time there coincided with the first snowstorm of the season, small by
Colorado standards, but still enough to ice things over. One of the highlights
of that weekend was meeting people from regional and national organizations,
including a bit of information about changes in the rules that will be taking
place in the new year. We also enjoyed the company of some of our classmates,
such as the commodore of the Aspen Yacht Club (yes, there IS a yacht club in
Aspen!), and some people we’d already worked with at regattas in Colorado. Part
of the idea is to get people doing race management in places other than their
immediate home waters, in order to get regional race management certification.
Later in November, we came to Arizona for another workshop.
This one was put on by the Arizona Yacht Club, and it featured Dick Rose, who
is one of the people who actually wrote the new rules. It was great to learn
not only what the major changes in the rules are, but also why those changes
were implemented. For example, there is a new rule (although I suspect the vast
majority of sailors were already abiding by the practice) that bans
intentionally putting trash in the water. There are some adjustments to rule
changes made four years ago, for example, fine-tuning the rules about outside assistance.
Once my fall teaching was over, it was back to Arizona for a
long-term stay and another training session, this time in handling powerboats
and in operating such boats in support of a sailing regatta. There were two
four-hour classroom sessions, and then there was a day out on the water, in
order to learn hands-on how to operate a powerboat, and in particular how to
operate the boats that belong to the Arizona Yacht Club – after a couple of
incidents, the club decided to make a rule that those who wish to serve on race
committee duty must learn how to operate the boats. The classroom sessions went
well – they covered a lot of material, very quickly, since the people attending
the class were already reasonably familiar with boats and the water.
The on-the-water session, however, was another story. It was
cloudy and rainy, and although the forecast said the weather would be clearing
out by midday, it never did. We worked on low-speed maneuvers, and we began to
do the capsized-boat recovery, but by that time, it was raining heavily, and it
was breezy as well. I was on the first team to attempt the recovery, on a nasty
green aluminum runabout that seemed designed to make sure its occupants ended
up soaking wet and very cold. The 14-foot boat that we were to recover didn’t
just capsize; it turned all the way upside down, making the recovery even
harder. One of my classmates on the boat commented that the instructor had
certainly arranged realistic conditions, unlike the videos we had seen in the
classroom, shot in calm water and clear weather. The instructor decided to
declare a break, go to the marina restaurant to dry off, warm up, and decide
what to do next. Eventually, the decision was made to finish the training at a
later date, with better weather.
year, I get a performance evaluation at work, and one of the things I am
supposed to do is show how I plan to improve as an instructor in the coming
year or two. Continuing education is one potential way to do that. I’m not
sure, however, that my supervisors would count dreaming of an intensive film
program workshop or taking sailing race-management courses toward that
requirement. I guess I’ll have to find something else.
Oh, and one more thing. … I did participate in National
Novel Writing Month this year, and as usual, I did get to 50,000 words, with “Murder
at the Wedding.” I got to bring back some of the colorful characters from the
family reunion a few years back, and various confusions, including a couple of
neo-Nazi skinheads who were attempting to assassinate a cat, only to find out
that the feline was more than their match. Even worse, the skinheads were the
last people (other than the murderer) to see the murder victim alive, so they
really didn’t have a good day.
And yes, I did, as usual, participate in National Cat
Herders Day, although I was so busy herding cats that I didn’t get a chance to
put up my usual post.
Labels: arizona, boats, dreams, food, grammar, new mexico, observations, racing, sailing, teaching, travel, writing