Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bad news comes in fives

Nearmiss and I received an update from Marior, who is directing the short we wrote, "Time and Space". He's not pleased with his work. For technical reasons, he wasn't able to watch the dailies until recently and he doesn't like what he sees. He doesn't think the product should be submitted to film festivals. He won't reshoot, but he will finish.

The news disturbed Nearmiss. I'm disappointed, but I did my job well and what happened after it passed out of my hands doesn't bother me. It's a resume stuffer at worst. Like I told Nearmiss, maybe the next director will have access to a roof.

What does bother me is that I won't be teaching JOUR 428 next year. I'm part-time faculty in the Journalism Department (at Concordia University, for you latecomers to the blog), and full-timers get to teach what they choose before the department calls for part-time applications.

Before the department released its list of courses this week, a kind insider had already tipped me off that a full-timer had snatched up JOUR 428, Online Publication.

That pisses me off. From a technical standpoint, nobody in the department knows HTML/XHTML or CSS as well as I do. From a practical standpoint, nobody has run an e-zine for a dozen years, like I did. I've had students come up to me this year to tell me they had registered for next year's course because I was teaching it. Now they'll be stuck with a less qualified instructor.

Although students provided me with mostly positive feedback, I'd have graded my work on 428 this year as a B. It was my first year with it, and I only had the syllabi of past teachers on which to base my lesson plans. I learned a lot, and next year's course was going to be better.

This isn't a demotion or a critique of my work in the course. It's simply a case of greed or ego or both by whoever took over the course, and worst of all it's not in the best interests of the students.

Yesterday, while I was pecking away at "Sheep's End" (good news interlude: I'm up to page 98 and will finish tomorrow), a Videotron rep called me to tell me that we had exceeded our allotted bandwidth over the last two months and racked up extra fees.

We pay an annual bill, so I wouldn't see these charges unless I looked up the usage - but I was downstairs on the laptop and my links were upstairs on my desktop. We have exceeded our allotment in the past, when we'd leave aMule/eMule running. It's possible that a malware infection could have turned a Windows box or two into a zombie, which is what I assumed when the rep said we spilled over our cap.

The rep offered to covert us from Videotron's High-Speed plan to the unlimited Extreme High-Speed for a reduced price for two months. I agreed.

Upstairs, I checked our usage. We've been nowhere near our bandwidth limit.

I got in touch with Videotron customer support through the online chat function (it didn't work in Safari, so I fired up Firefox). The support rep reverted our plan and left a complaint for the first rep's manager. I gotta say, every time I've had to deal with Videotron's tech or customer support, I've been pleased with the outcome. Sales reps, on the other hand....

Another bit of bad news is that Elvi wasn't selected for a two-week intensive course in transmission electron microscopy this summer - er, winter, since the course was in Chile. The course had 200 applications for 48 places, so it's not a kick in the teeth, but Elvi was hoping to go.

Lastly, I am mildly perturbed that my Irrational League fantasy team has fallen out of first place. Thanks, Odalis Perez. Worse, it's Frank Cavallaro who's now in first. My rankings:

.305 batting average (1st, and a phenomenal number, 2nd place is .282)
42 HR (2nd)
146 RBI (3rd)
13 SB (tied 9th)
3.65 ERA (2nd)
1.18 WHIP (1st)
13 wins (tied 2nd)
10 saves (3rd)

My team is 4 HR, 2 RBI, 0.12 ERA, and 0.5 total points behind Frank's. His pitching can't sustain what it's done so far, but I'm still looking for stolen bases.


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