Monday, May 13, 2013


May 13, 2013

Sleep and I didn’t get along last night and as a result, I felt tired and grumpy most of the day. I did manage to put a couple of hours editing the grammar mistakes out of the CATEC presenters’ submissions, but had to give up on some of them as I simply had no clue as to what they were trying to say.

I got a call from Jennifer as she wanted to discuss some issues regarding both CATEC and my work and evidently didn’t want to put those thoughts in writing. We also chitchatted about her recent trip to Tajikistan where all the participants in the English Teacher Mentoring program, in effect since 2008, had gathered for a reunion.

Natalia wrote to inform me that the English Language Specialist she’d been expecting to work on the textbook project, and with whom I was asked to work, had postponed her visit until September. I wrote back asking for guidelines on the report I needed to submit regarding the trip south.

I then remembered that I’d seen a video on YouTube purporting to show how to create an e-book entirely for free. I googled it and came up with a few links. One in particular, it really surprised me, was created by an African-American guy and it recommended downloading the LibreOffice free software to write the book. I’m used to seeing only white people giving advice on technological tips.

After doing so, I left the flat to meet with Willoughby as we both wanted to attend a lecture on jazz at the American Corner being offered by a historian from the United States invited by the U.S. embassy. When I got there, Willoughby was nowhere to be seen, but when I checked my cell phone, I noted she’d called twice and sent a text message cancelling due to an expected meeting regarding her project on HIV/AIDS prevention.

I stayed for the lecture, which was hardly worth it as the professor kept looking down at her notes or stared at the screen where a poorly made PowerPoint presentation was being projected. She had failed to embed the musical selections into it and had instead brought along someone from the embassy to do so one track at a time.

The crowd present consisted mainly of very young women, and a few males, most of which were fiddling with their cell phones or openly taking calls while the professor spoke. I cut my eyes at a few of them and even motioned with my hands for them to stop talking. I really have no patience with these people who come to an event only to continue their cell phone conversations as if they were at home.

I fled the American Corner the minute the professor started her Q&A session and stopped at the 7 Days supermarket to buy some salads and other prepared dishes as I had no intentions of doing any cooking for now. The trolley pulled up just as I was crossing the street and I got home rather quickly.

I watched the videos on creating an e-book several times and took detailed notes of the initial steps. It recommended a couple of websites where I could create a free cover page, but most of them appeared too complex for me. I did get to open the LibreOffice program and started to play with it.

Elvira wrote to indicate the committee for the American Studies Association was making housing arrangements at the Royal Beach Hotel and only double rooms would be available for the participants. I immediately requested that I be housed with Willoughby while asking her if this message implied that my paper had been accepted. I got no reply.

Meanwhile, Willoughby had reached home and sent the identical message to Elvira requesting we bunk together. She had been to this resort last year and reassured me the rooms were very nice and the food delicious challenging me to find any fault with it by the end of the week.

I was able to spend several hours working with the e-book format getting some pages to look the way I wanted them to while others had been changed entirely while copying and pasting. It’s going to take quite a while to get it all together, but I can’t wait to say that I was able to do it entirely on my own.

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