Sunday, June 30, 2013

Five Weeks to Go

If you're wondering what The Impossible Goal is, you can read about it here.

 photo 5THDoctor.jpg As I write this, it's five weeks and four days to go until the Guinness attempt, 4:30 pm, August 8, 2013. It's open to the public. Come a bit early to the NCRA convention and have a watch.

I blogged later than normal last week (and forgot to click "publish" until just now), so I don't have much to share except my thoughts.  I believe I'm fast enough right now to not completely blow 370, but not fast enough that I'm confident in it.  I've been doing speed practice at approximately 500 wpm -- not at all getting it -- but after about a year and a half of training, I know what I must do at this point!  I must increase the speed. I'm thinking 530-550.

The problem with making the speed so high is that as I speed up audio, even with the newfangled technology that makes the dictation not sound like Alvin, Simon, and Theodore, the words aren't quite as clear.  But you gotta do what you gotta do!

Six Weeks to Go

 photo Sixth_doctor.jpgIf you're wondering what The Impossible Goal is, you can read about it here.

Yikes! I almost forgot a blog post this week.  I had a busy busy BUSY weekend, with a partial sick day plus an out-of-town trip.  I'm getting caught up on work and stuff, but it also means I'm behind on practice.  I've had a few jobs this last weekend where I wrote for several hours, so when my hands are exhausted, I do not practice, or I practice very little.  Not much value in breaking any world record if it means my hands get stress injured.

So we fall off the horse; we get back on again.  It won't be long now.

August 8, 4:30.  Not long now.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Seven Weeks to Go

If you're wondering what The Impossible Goal is, you can read about it here.

 photo Doctor7.jpg What's really to update? Not a whole lot. I am getting closer and closer to the minimum speed of 370.

There's going to be a total of eight takes of one minute apiece. Two at 400, two at 390, two at 380, and two at 370.  After dictation, we'll scope 'em up and see what we got.

I practiced "slow" on Saturday, and 370 is quite sloppy and mostly indecipherable, but I got something for everything. I didn't look at it too hard to see if I could make sense out of the slop since we had stuff going on, but it's starting -- STARTING -- to feel attainable. Oh, if I only had a couple more months.  (I think I'd feel this way no matter how long I had to practice.)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Guide for a Convention Newbie, Part Deux: When You Aren't That Much of a People Person

from fandom base dot com photo fandombasedaenerys.jpg
Just be glad, y'know, it's Bond
and not Game of Thrones.
(from Fandom Base at
Prologue:  2013 NCRA convention brochure, page 9: "Come dressed as James Bond or your favorite Bond character. Formal attire is encouraged but not required." Good thing it's not required, because I am totally GEEKING OUT over the opportunity to cosplay at an NCRA convention!!!  *geeky flail* Wait till ya see it. :-D 

I've written a bit on your first time at an NCRA convention before, but I didn't really address the social issue as much as I will do so now.  This post, might I say, is NOT for the person who has no problems in new social situations. If you're naturally gregarious, extroverted, chatty, what have you, this post will seem like a big ol' DUH!! However, for some of us (many more than you'd think), the social aspect of conventions is the most intimidating or exhausting.  If you have some tips, let us know in the comments! Here's some things that have helped me:

*When you think, "I don't KNOW anybody!":  Let me fill you in on a secret: Nor does anyone else.  It SEEMS like everyone's in a little conversation group but you. It SEEMS like everyone's mingling and having a good time, but I guarantee you most of those people have just met.  Yes, there are some of us who have gone to every conference event since Benjamin Franklin discovered serial ports (citation needed), but those aren't the majority.  Give yourself permission to stand to the side during the Thursday evening reception or the Saturday night party and just observe.  Look for loosely-knit groups of two or three--groups where they're not gathered in a tight circle but have a circle that's slightly "open," according to their body language -- and introduce yourself.  Heck, just say it. "I'm new to these things, and I don't know anyone.  I'm -state your name- and I'm a -profession- from -your town-. What do you do?"  That line works with individuals just as well. Lather, rinse, repeat.

*Where do I sit?:  Lunch time, and you don't have someone to sit with. I like to play Table Roulette.  Sit at an EMPTY table that's in the middle of things and see who sits with you.  Better yet: join the board and you get a reserved table. Therefore, you don't have to worry.  And by the way, if anyone asks you if you want to join them for dinner, you say YES!

*When crowds aren't your thing:  I agree. They're not my thing either.  Don't room with anyone. I RARELY room with anyone to whom I'm not married. (Good advice.)  Not because I don't LIKE my colleagues; I just gotta have some quiet every day and in large doses.  Do attend the receptions, but let yourself skip out when it feels time.

*When you think, "I'm such a newbie.":  We all were students and new reporters at one time.  I wish I could've come to all these conventions when I was a new reporter -- and I wish I read this blog post at that time.  But since I don't have a TARDIS, I'll tell it to you students/newbies.  Observe and see who seems to be in charge, who seems to have their $h!+ together (looks can be deceiving), who embodies LOVE for this profession.  Introduce yourself to them in the manner I described a few paragraphs above.  If you're feeling pretty bold, ask them to introduce you around. These are the people who want this profession to succeed and, by extension, want YOU to succeed.

*DON'T hang around anyone who spends more than 50% of their time complaining.  If you have to get up and switch seats, do so. I'm serious.  Yes, they are loved by God and they are human beings deserving of dignity and compassion, but they are TOXIC.  You're here to be pulled up, not dragged down.  Needless to say, don't be a complainer yourself.  THANK the people in charge of putting the convention or conference together. If you've never been involved in the planning of one of these things, YOU HAVE NO IDEA of the challenges therein.  Really.  Lift others up, and you find yourself lifted up as well.  This is not being a Pollyanna pie-in-the-sky; it's fact.  If you have serious problems about something, speak to someone who can do something about it and/or volunteer to do something about it yourself.  Sound like I'm on a soapbox? I am.

In conclusion, if you're feeling a bit of social anxiety, it's not just you.  Or at least I hope it's not just me. :) See you soon!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Eight Weeks to Go

If you're wondering what The Impossible Goal is, you can read about it here.

 photo EighthDoctor.jpgNot much to report on this week, but I'm still making slow work towards the goal. I'm not getting something for everything at 400, but 370 is looking better and better.

August 8, 4:30 pm. Two months to go.  I'll be glad when it's over, but I'm certainly glad I signed up for this.  I've shortened my writing far more than I would have done if I hadn't had this goal, and I've done more speed practice than ever before.

The Guinness record attempt is open to all, even if you're not registered for the convention. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Nine Weeks to Go

If you're wondering what The Impossible Goal is, you can read about it here.

 photo createcardninedocphp.jpg Not a good past few days for practicing -- had a visit from my wonderful sis-in-law in which we went out for drinks, a tornado warning happened, and we ended up sheltering in the basement of my favorite brewpub. (Six Row Brewing Company. Their beer is YUM.)

And as a result of the storm, our power was out for a few days, so I only got a few sessions of practice here & there from a few downloaded files I had, but not the high-speed practice from the Magnum Steno Club since, well, I couldn't get online. Phooey.

And then yesterday I had some busted molars taken out of my face, which meant I felt like poop all day and did NOT practice.  I'm better today, but my jaw still feels like I went a round with Tyler Durden.

Back in the saddle again with some practice today. A few days off the practice grid does NOT mean you say "t'heck with it" and give up. Continue on.  Several months back I figured that no matter how much I practiced, after the attempt was over, I would probably wish I'd practiced more.  So a few days down is no excuse for stopping.

Now, it is also OFFICIAL that the Guinness attempt will take place at 4:30 Thursday afternoon, August 8, at Nashville.  Not the optimum time to get plenty of people to watch, but there you are.