Sunday, 30 July 2017

Presentation day! ...Was a bit of a disaster for me! Friday 28th July.

What a disaster yesterday's presentation was for me! - At 8:30 am in the morning, I thought it would be a good idea to just do a quick tidy up of my front page to the "Prezi" home page of mine.  Then, when the presentation time of 10:35 am came, just a couple of hours later, I could walk into the conference room and simply "sign-on and go!"...

A very good idea I thought...  And, as it was "La Veintiocho de Julio", a national fiesta day in Peru, the country of my birth, I thought nothing could go wrong!

(Hubris perhaps?)

I resolved too quickly to remove all the clutter and backup copies of work in progress, plus all those presentations and backups from the last term. To file them away neatly, and hey presto, a nice clean "menu" for me to impress the lecturers and 'judges' with when I walked into the conference room a couple of hours or so later.

...[Ego-driven motives perhaps, I hate myself for being so shallow in thinking this way!]

So off I went, busily moving past 'Prezis' and backups to different folders from the front screen menu, and deleting the presentations that had been superseded and no longer valid.

Move this file...   Delete this file...  "ARE YOU SURE?" the message said... "Yes" of course I am!... more delay, tut, tut, in my mind.
[I've only got an hour and a half to get to Huddersfield in plenty of time for the presentation].

So my mind was thinking 'I need to be set off from here at 9:15 at the latest, then I've got a good hour and 20 mins. to complete a 45-minute journey and have plenty of contingency for "Sheep on the Road"; a broken down bus causing traffic jams; road works and other delays.

Fine.  Delete the next file... "ARE YOU SURE?" ... Of course, I am! "YES", [tut, tut, more delay].

[move that file to last terms work....]

Delete this file "ARE YOU SURE?" ...YES!...

[Come on, it's nearly 8:55 by my watch...]

Delete / move / delete and so on.


  "Application is Not Responding"...

Crash!...[PC jumps back to the desktop screen]

Oh no!...

[ Restart my web browser it's all disappeared! ]


Where's my presentation for today? ... I said aghast, to myself looking at the screen with last term's version on it...

Oh my god! (I'm not religious, and I apologise to anyone reading, who is of course, but it seems we always turn to Him in our immediate despair).

What's happened! ...What have I done!

It [the cloud based app, but also arguably, me], had only gone and deleted the presentation that I've been working on for the last ten days!

Help!...  I looked in all the online help spaces for the Prezi site, but they all said, once a cloud file is deleted there is no way of recovering it, and "The 'undelete' function is only available in the fully paid up 'Pro-version of Prezzi'"... Arrggh!

Oh M.G... again....#"£$££$%% and a few other expletives about my own stupidity and applications not being fail safe, came out involuntarily again.

It's 9:05 am.
I need to be set off on my journey as soon as possible... I suppose I can stretch it to 9:30 which gives me an hour to get to University, park my car, and walk/run to the conference room with about 10mins for recovery time from breathlessness, so... What can I do?

Now thankfully, for some reason at 00:30 am the night before, having just finished the last touches to my swish Peregrine-centric, peregrine-zooming-binocular, media-spectacular, all out, "I'm quite chuffed with that!" show, I took the last decision to make screen shots of each frame of the sequence. This was done so that after the actual formal display, I could rush home, use the screen shots as the basis of the Adobe "Portable Data/ display Format" (.pdf).  Then, convert them through photoshop into a static version that I could upload to the University's submission portal for my tutors to assess as a hard 'electronic copy'...

The plan was, to get home after the presentation, upload it, then jump back in my car to drive for about 3 1/2 to 4 hours up the A1 to join with my wife in plenty of time to spend the weekend together in our new cottage. (She had been up there for the last few days, and I'd been working on my own).

Thank goodness that I had done this!... Between 9:10 and 9:35-ish, I managed to make a static version of the approx. 30 slides and put them into a coherent format....


Then off to Uni!... Got there for 10:20 am, parked the car and ran over to the Contemporary Art Building... 5 minutes to get my breath back....

Thankfully, things seemed to have been going well, some previous presentations had over run a little, and the timetable was running a few minutes late...

I had time to cool down and gather my thoughts... [How had I been so stupid!]

Ah well, there was nothing I could do but to put my best foot forward and "blag" it, confidently presenting in the best way I could.

Best foot forwards, stiff upper-lip and all that.  I hadn't felt so nervous (and foolish), for a long time, my mind was churning, and I knew it would affect my delivery, even though I knew my material back to front almost!

Being too honest perhaps, I decided to mention it very quietly to my tutors, shortly after entering the room, "...Unfortunately, the the swish-animated-Prezi-version was 'trashed' at 9:20 or thereabouts, this morning, so I hope they did not mind if I used a static .pdf version instead?" [or similar words to that effect]...
"No, that is fine" was the reply.
I'm glad to say, they immediately put me at ease, and off I went...
- I was not at all very polished, nor as unflustered as I would have liked, but I did my best to get the messages across in a relaxed, yet confident way. Hopefully convincing the tutor's that my year's work to date was still very valid and progressing well; which of course, with their help, it had been. I think I did sort of OK but felt incredibly despondent with the morning's events and I've been worried ever since.  I recognise that failure can be a good learning tool, but why does it have to happen at critical moments I wonder.  Perhaps my tiredness of driving so much recently has been doing more harm than I thought?


  • Overall, I could definitely have done a much better delivery I think, but the content and messages were generally made in the right way; I believe, albeit, in a very unpolished, amateurish and rather 'clunky' way.  I'm certainly not happy with what I did.
  • I was very flustered, and the lesson "not to alter anything in a presentation at the last minute unless absolutely vital" has been cemented.  I should, (and did), have known this already.  Something similar happened to me before when I was unexpectedly asked to give someone else's presentation at a major customer meeting many years ago, and my delivery was appalling then. I replayed those embarrassing memories and emotions and cursed my bungling for many months afterwards.  Perhaps I need to listen to myself and such recollections more!
  • As it turned out, it took me the rest of the afternoon to completely re-draw and re write the animated "Prezi" version online.  
  • I probably didn't need to do this, but I felt that I had to make a new digital Prezi version for completeness, and for my own sake of perfectionism.  I finished the down load of both the static copy and the electronic version to 'Turnitin' by about 7:15 pm that night, 4 hours later than planned. 
  • When I drove up to Northumberland through some horrible weather, the A1 was shut, so had to make a long detour, and by the time I got to the cottage, it was nearly midnight.  I was shattered, and very down in my mood. It's taken most of today to come around and start thinking a little bit more positively about what my tutors said to me.
  • I know now that I need to put all that behind me.  
  • It was a real mess in my mind on Friday, and I felt utterly demoralised, but I know I need to push forward, I shall take a break for this next week or so, recharge, and perhaps re-evaluate things.  
  • I still need to spend some time with my poor suffering wife who has been so amazingly supportive, and I just need to get on with more drawing too!   
  • I have the opportunity now, I just need to get down to it!

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