It Is Probably Dangerous for Me to Even Be Near a Computer Right Now

Can I just take a moment to list all the verious technological failures I had today? One of my new duties at work involves teaching a 90-person lecture class. This is an entirely new thing for me, as I’ve only ever taught small, 20-30 person classes before. One has to re-think a lot of things, and so far it’s involved a lot of new technology. Technology that all decided to take a dive today.

First, the projector that shows my presentation materials wouldn’t come on. Then, the student-response system (a little remote control thing that lets them take paperless quizzes and respond to polls in class) would not work on the right frequency. Then, the batteries in my clip-on microphone died and I had to shout the rest of the lecture. Finally, when I got back to my office, the quiz and polling results from the student-response system were not saved where they were supposed to be and are still, as of now, missing.

Quite the day, and I cannot even blame Mercury Retrograde, because it ended earlier this month. It’s not just the technology that’s all wrong, either: there was also a huge coffee spill at the front of the classroom, left from the previous class, around which I had to navigate so I didn’t slip and fall during my perambulations. JUST TO MAKE IT MORE FUN. You know, amidst all the shouting, apologizing, and general incompetent clicking of various buttons. It’s safe to say I’ve made a great impression on my students.

And be jealous, friends: I capped off the wonderful workday with a faculty meeting. [Hypothetical remainder of this paragraph pre-emptively redacted. Predacted? I don’t know; IT’S A PARADOX.]

The one thing working correctly right now, thank dog, is my home air conditioner. All summer long it’s been dying on me — I’ve called the maintenance folks for repairs at least 3-4 times, and it will work again after they come out and then it will die again a few days or weeks later. They finally decided I needed a new unit, which they installed for me on Monday. Thank heavens, it is now in working order and my apartment is at a tolerable temperature*. Because, you know, it is still 90º here in Alabama and will likely be for quite some time. Lest I worry I’d have nothing else to complain about.

*I.e., 77-80º. I bet you think if you were a guest in my home you’d be sweltering, but never fear. I bump it down to a chilly 74 when I have company. I am just that goddamn gracious a host.


  1. I prefer, and keep my own, AC at 77-80*, so you know, for when I visit again. Heh.
    Also, OY VEY with the technology, and we were JUST talking about that. Well, I hope you give it another try. None of it was your fault, was it? Anyhow, hope it works for you next time!


    1. When you come visit it will be like Tom Haverford’s apartment. Eighty degrees, night and day, blankets everywhere, a cheese plate with fresh figs, a whole shelf full of coconut water. Just AMENITIES EVERYWHERE!


  2. The automated classroom is a horrible thing. Design the acoustics properly and nobody needs a mic for 90 people. I get why with that many and with your subject the clickers and powerpoint stuff could be very useful, but I despise them in science classes. I even hate whiteboards because they don’t erase well. Plus, many a fine instructor has been laid low by technological failures beyond their control. A blackboard and chalk always work.

    Maybe next time just shout at them in German to instill the proper fear.


      1. WHAT DEVILRY IS THIS? How does one teach with no blackboard? Might as well be asked to chop down the Redwoods with a butter knife.

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