On scanning and friendship

It’s pre-semester at uni and the time to put feelers out regarding tutoring work. I’ve spoken with three unit coordinators for three units (edit: I am hoping to teach a maximum of two tutorials, as restricted by the terms of my scholarship). I won’t know until the end of orientation week whether I’ve scored work or not, as final student numbers (and therefore the required number of tutors) won’t be known until then. It’s always the same story – you talk to a unit coordinator, he or she tells you that he or she can’t promise anything because the number of students/classes won’t be known until orientation week, and you say you are aware of that but wanted to make sure he or she knows you are interested. There are tutor databases that the university encourages you to enter your details into, but I don’t know anyone who has scored tutoring work as result of being found on one of those databases. I think there really is no need for academics to trawl the databases because the really motivated and keen tutors are the ones who get in touch personally with their CVs. I’d much rather hire someone actively sought me out than someone who sat passively on their backside and filled out a form on their computer.

I am supposed to submit the thesis in mid-February next year (2007) and part of me thinks I should forget about tutoring and just concentrate on writing , but then 1) last year I tutored in first semester and managed to write two chapters at the same time, 2) my supervisor has encouraged me to tutor again i.e. she doesn’t think tutoring will have a detrimental effect on the progress of my thesis, and 3) although it’s not great money considering the amount of work you have to do, it is lovely having the extra cash. Oh, and importantly, I like teaching classes. Things will get hectic if I do end up teaching, and so I am trying to get as much done before the craziness starts.

Over the last couple of weekends I’ve scanned 311 photographs for Jac and her friends’ combined birthday party. Jac and her friends thought it would be really cool to have a slide show going during the party, with photographs from their last 40 years, and so they went through their albums and boxes and chose their favourite photos for me to scan. I bought my flatbed scanner years ago before I had a digital camera. I hadn’t used it for ages. Thankfully it still works well and I was able to scan the photos without any dramas. It was easy but laborious (not complaining, just describing). I watched my Elvis and Tom Cruise movies while scanning. I’ve realised that Days of Thunder is Tom Cruise’s very own Elvis movie, without the musical numbers of course. It would be funny if Tom Cruise movies were more like Elvis movies, hehehh.

Once I had all the photos scanned I made two slide shows. One was made via Microsoft PowerPoint and fits on a CD. The other was made using ULead Video Studio (which came with my DVD burner), complete with cool panning and zooming and transitions. This second one fits on a dvd and is much more impressive – it will be the one we’ll use on party night, I think. Again, making the slide show wasn’t difficult, just time-consuming. Encoding the ULead slide show file into an mpg for the dvd, for example, took over 4 hours. Problem was I had to do it three times (that’s 3 x 4 hours) – I kept finding annoying mistakes that I’d missed, and wanting it to be perfect I had to redo it. I’d hate for people at the party to be watching the slide show and perceiving as being an obvious home job.

I’ve had a good laugh at the photographs as I’ve been scanning them. Geez, Jac and her mates really had baaaaaaaad eighties haircuts (I’ve already teased them all about that). They love dressing up for costume parties. And they seemed to play Twister a hell of a lot!

It must be nice to have close friends that you’ve known for over 20 years. I don’t have any friends like that. I’ve made friends when I’ve been in particular jobs, and then when I’ve left the jobs, in most cases we had every intention of remaining friends but we just found that we didn’t have much in common or to talk about any more. I don’t have any friends from my primary school days in Malaysia. When I was around 19 a girl that had been in my class in primary school was studying in Perth, got in touch and wanted to meet up for coffee. We did meet up, but I didn’t feel comfortable – she seemed so conservative and innocent and asked me if I had a boyfriend, what I liked to do for fun and where I liked to hang out – I didn’t really want to tell her I had a girlfriend and I liked going to Lipstick Lessie Nights at DC’s Nightclub and playing pool at the Court Hotel (a gay/lesbian pub). Her idea of fun was being part of YCS (Young Christian Students). She was kind of shocked when I said I’d moved out of home when I was 18 – for her living away from family was something you did only because you got into a college or university far away from home (or you got married). It wasn’t anything personal, for she was perfectly nice, but I knew I didn’t really want to be friends with her – it wasn’t that I disliked her, I just didn’t want to actively pursue any sort of friendship with her. I’m pretty sure she felt similarly about me. After about an hour of awkward conversation and looking into our coffee cups I was thankful when we parted.

I still have a few more thoughts on the subject of friendship, but I must get started on today’s chapter-writing, and must stop now. Will continue some other time.

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