Ugh. I really slacked off this term. I was able to finish the final for 140B, but I'm not even going to attempt the final for 141B--which is dictation at 50 wpm in Q&A form, and 'literary' form.  I need to practice a LOT more over the summer to even consider taking the speed class at 60 wpm.

Fortunately, the lab is going to be open during the summer at the college, so I may go there while the kids are at camp (assuming that we can afford it at this point--the house needed some painting to protect structural wood, so...) OR, better yet, I've transferred ALL the dictations from the class onto my iPod, so I can take my stenomachine to a library and practice there with NO access to the internet. That was my downfall, really. My huge distraction. That and being in the house and walking off and doing laundry ( can't believe that) and dishes and other stuff and sometimes, even, watching TV. So yeah. My iPod is going to save my ass this summer. I am going to be using it a lot.

I really have to review and all that. And I'll probably have to retake 141b (that's the Theory Review class). Two people did that this semester, and they did amazingly well. They said it really helped them move forward.
Oh, for crying out loud. I spent a distracted afternoon doing the Drills 1-4 in my book, and then realized, after I had done all four of them, that they were for Lesson 52 and not Lesson 53!

Talk about your Homer Simpson moments. There were no donuts about, so I consoled myself with a couple of chocolate cadbury orange eggs. Bad me. Way bad me.

Anyhow, I went back and did the correct homework, but still have to do three Timed Writings of 5 minutes each, then type out the English on the regular keyboard, and correct. I will still have time this week to do the next two lessons (four days) assuming nothing else comes along to distract me.
If there's anyone on my flist who is absolutely boggled and has NO idea what it is I'm studying, here's a great little story that a newstation did about Stenography and students and how recession proof this profession is.

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/video?id=6649456

It's an ABC story--and yes, isn't it so cool?

(top reporters can earn $200,000, median earnings are $100,000, and a fair number of people earn $50-75,000 working three days a week)
Can't get out of doing some practicing, darn it. I've been putting it off, but it's really not in my best interest NOT to practice, so, off I am, to do some 50wpm dictations. Ugh. I'll probably have to do them at least five times each before I stop making mistakes, or losing my spot because I'm thinking to much about where my fingers should go.

It's just so much more fun to read or write (now that I'm getting back into my world-building). Maybe I can actually think about it while I practice. The teacher told us that's a *good* thing when you can think about something else while you're typing away on the stenomachine. And I have been able to do that, to a point., it's pretty crazy when that happens.
Oh, this is great. I managed to finish a lesson with only three errors in the first try! Yayz! This doesn't happen often. It wasn't a very long lesson, but still.
Good god, out of 25 people signed up for Theory Review B, three have already withdrawn. No one has withdrawn from Theory B (yet).

It'll be interesting to see how many people make it through this semester in both classes.
Just working on my lesson and homework for Lesson 37 (out of 60). Had to stop to eat some lunch and do some laundry, and now it's back to business. I *seem* to be absorbing this one more easily than the last two. But that could be because I'm trying not to sleep deprive myself.
O.M.G. I finally was able to get my steno machine to talk to the Global CAT program. It works! Awesome! But it's still pretty fussy and I'll have to take notes for a little while to get the hang of convincing the two temperamental things to keep talking to each other. What I just did consists of much rebooting of Windows, unplugging of stenomachine and its USB Coolgear adaptor, and making sure it all goes on in sequence. Gah!

Anyhow, it really IS pretty cool to see how this CAT program is supposed to work. I think I'm going to be using this a lot more; heaven knows I need the practice and reinforcement.
We're now up to Lesson 32 in the lesson book. I'm stumbling on typing out words that contain prefixes with astericks and double passes on the keys. I have to repeat the movements more in order to figure out which fingers are best for reaching over to that center key on the machine and then repeat entire words to get the rhythm down. And I have to review AND practice the speed dictations. God. What have I let myself in for? You mean I actually have to *work* at this?
Argh. I'm falling a leetle bit behind. I'm finishing up on Lesson 11, although I DO have to go over the aural dictations so that I can move my speed up and make sure I'm able to, you know, take dictation, which is the point of taking Steno! AND I have to do three reviews of earlier lessons (which I clearly need to do, based on my performance on their dictations). AND I have a couple of quizzes to do.

Yeah. Full plate. More folks are starting to fall behind right now, and I really don't want to do that.

My fingers/mind are having a real hard time finding the keys without hesitation, which is bad bad, bad. Which means--I have to start practicing everytime I sit down so I get over that. I should know where my fingers go without *thinking* about it. That could be part of my problem. I'm thinking about it.
The last two weeks were rough on the steno machine. The last two lessons (three, really) 7, 8 and 9, were hard. They were long. And had tons of briefs to memorize. Not to mention some complex finger placements and multiple vowels. This week is going much easier for some reason. The lesson isn't quite as long. As long as I *trust* my brain and fingers, I do relatively well. But as soon as I start thinking about what I'm doing *BAM!* Tons of screw-ups.

The pattern of easy/hard/easy/hard/easy is plain. The entire class seems to go in this cycle. Almost no one mails in perfect notes (those strips of paper with the steno shorthand on it). Well, except for one person in the class.

And soon I'll be buying an electronic Stenograph Stentura student machine, along with some other stuff (probably a program as well) so that I can gain the benefit of self-correction as I type. That should help a lot. But I'm a cheapo, and the thought of spending upwards to $2K gives me the willies. But it'll all be for the greater good. In a couple of years I'll be able to start pulling in some decent money, hopefully. I just have to practice, practice, practice!
I'm going to eat at McDonald's for lunch, dammit. I don't care. I FINALLY finished a freaking simple REVIEW lesson for Theory review that was busting my butt and I finally got through it with fewer than three mistakes, good enough to mail it in. Dammit.

And tonight is the Guy's birthday, so I have to get him a chocolate cake. I'm ordering pizza, I am NOT in the mood to cook tonight (I have a headache that started this morning and has only gotten worse plus I started my monthly this morning and I am NOT a happy camper). And in Theory for CR, there's this big big lesson coming up that some other folks in my class have already started/finished. And when I took a look at it myself, holy crap. It's huge. It's hugely long. And has a lot of memorization of briefs in it. I will have to do some work on it today, Saturday and Sunday or I am going to fall behind. There's no way you could do this stuff on only 40 hours of practice time per week.

Yayz!

Sep. 8th, 2008 12:52 pm
All the practice I did on Saturday over the weekend HELPED! I finished Lesson 5's homework first thing this morning (at 10am or so). I'm so paranoid about making mistakes that I immediately start shaking  when I do homework. The way homework works is, you take out your Theory book, and do a long paper strip and type out the entire lesson. And you try doing it without any mistakes. Perfect is best, but 1-3 mistakes is okay. If you make too many mistakes, you have to do the entire thing all over again.

I managed to make only 1 mistake! Yayz!

Of course, if the teacher finds a mistake I missed, I get a Zero for my homework, and not 5 points. I double-checked it, but OMG. It's sort of like when you edit for your fic, rereading it over and over and over. You stop seeing the mistakes. That happened to me on Lesson 3. I got lucky and my teacher took pity on me and gave me 2 points instead of the zero I deserved.

Tonight and tomorrow I practice the Challenge material and get that in early on Thursday. Oh yeah.
Ah, boy. My second week of Steno Machine class is coming to a close. Whoa. Takes a LOT of repetition, smacking those little piano-type keys over and over and training the fingers to go where they're supposed to go. I think I spent about two hours today alone on about 10 little sentences total so I'd get over the hestitation of finding the correct keys to hit.

And it was frustrating today to work on my homework and with each repetition of the work, make more and more mistakes on the paper strip. Gah. I ended up mailing in the first one I did. It still had way more mistakes than I wanted on it (I'm trying for fewer than 3 per homework, preferably one or none) but oh well. I did find out that some of the errors that I thought were errors really *aren't*, so hopefully when the prof sees that one, it'll turn out better than I thought, grade-wise.

I keep thinking ahead and imagining how COOL it's going to be when all I have to do is *listen* to someone talking, and be able to transcribe what they've just said. For some reason that kicks my motivation. Hee. I am hoping to hire myself out to Creation Con at some point so I can transcribe the panels. That would very cool. Once I'm fast enough, of course. Or sit in on writer's meetings. Or whatever else meetings like that.
I drove 42 miles one way to pick up a rental manual steno machine yesterday. It's not like the fancy computerized one in the icon to the left, though. But it's clean, well-maintained, and came with a tripod.  Rental is surprisingly cheap (not counting the $200 deposit, which I'll get back as long as my kids and their friends don't destroy the machines while I'm not looking!) but when I continue on past the first semester, I'm going to have to buy a computerized student machine. That alone is $1550, not counting the programs I'll need for it AND the paper and so forth. 

I'll have to baby my right arm. It's given me problems over the past year or so. A lot of that has to do with my bad posture at the computer, and spending way too much time on the computer.

Gonna have to approach learning steno the way I had to learn to writing: TRUST in my brain and myself, and let my brain do its work without second-guessing!
Yesterday was the first day I could sign up for the Theory and Theory Review classes, so I did! And surprise, they credited me $60 for the class I dropped earlier this summer, so I only had to pay about half. All I need now is to rent a steno machine. I already bought the books I need for the class back in May, so that's clear.

It's going to be hard work and tons of practice, and miracles of miracles, I'm still motivated and excited about this. Whee! I can't wait until I can type like the wind!
 Well, tomorrow I go to the community college 40 miles away from me, and start taking the first class - it's not actually working on the machines, but an in-depth course on what you can do WITH your crazy steno skillz, if you decide to take Court Reporting. It's required for their department, so no biggie. Their Fall semester begins in late August - woohoo! 

All I know is, I'm going to have to leave damned early in the morning to get there at 9am. And bring a lunch.
Well, I've signed up at a semi-local community college for a review of what court reporting, captioning and other related jobs are like, and what the job opportunities are and what the college's coursework is. It starts in about a month, and I've paid up for it already. No books required at this point. It's not Theory. Theory is when you learn the finger moves and the shorthand system. Kind of like when we all learned how to type in high school. It's going to be a LOT of boring repetition, but I deal with that in daily life anyway.

I might drive down there this week to see what the drive is like, in case I decide not to do online coursework. I think I'd do better OUT of the house than IN the house trying not to be distracted. 

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