I find nothing quite so humbling as trying to use unfamiliar software. The only thing that comes close is trying to read Mandarin. Unlike spoken language, software seems to always suffer design or instructional flaws that make you wonder if anyone thoroughly tested it and kept in mind that the most basic functions are also those that inevitably cause the most trouble.
Of particular irritation is employment software. I’ve seen my share of these programs and I have yet to see one that lets you explain that you work under a temporary contract for a flat rate. Employment software makes it appear as if I have held a job for four months only and have worked for minimum wage and as if I have frequently quit my jobs. For instance, in the past year I have had three such jobs: I have been the marketing manager and the house manager for the children’s theatre (two months); I have been the production coordinator of the Asian festival (five months); I am presently the photographer for the concert series (five months). There have also been various other jobs I’ve done, including acting as a casting agent for the theatre and as an executive assistant to Mr. B.
This work is impossible to explain using a software form, so I attach a letter of explanation. This does little to improve things; I get questions about having held three jobs in one year. One solution is to make it appear as if the contract lasted for a year, but then I have to explain how it is that I worked–presumably full time–for four cents an hour.
At the moment, I’m wrestling with software that allows you to make a slideshow with music. This is the most basic type of video and yet I am bouncing off the software’s perimeters, unable to splice sections together and wondering how things got sectioned the way they did in the first place. I have made, it seems, 58 different videos, each with a single picture in it. This project reminds me of my first attempts with Photoshop, where I sloppily cut out a picture of my father’s head and placed it on top of the Colossus of Rhodes. It took me all day to complete and I didn’t receive one word of praise for my efforts.
This latest project was my idea. I’m always trying to learn new skills, not at the expense of others. That way, I can enjoy no pressure when it takes me two months to learn something that can be accomplished with one click. From experience, I know the learning process is pretty slow. I’m best using a tutorial and following someone else’s steps, which, strangely enough, is exactly opposite how I learn dance.
Here, a dance around Kanapaha, oiseaux et lapin the featured players.