power out(r)ages

I’ve always noticed the similarity of spelling for the words outage and outrage (like miniseries and ministeries…) (OK, I’m a word nerd….) and I finally have a chance to use them in a meaningful context!

I gave five formal presentations and for two of them, the power in the building went out. That meant no juice for the LCD projector which showed my powerpoints. For the first of the two presentations, I had nearly finished going through my Terribly Entertaining Powerpoint, including music and video, and was able to just segway into discussion. However, for the second one, my final presentation given yesterday for a large group of teachers from ten different universities, the power went out on the third slide — of about 60 slides and never came back for the duration of the presentation. Not good.

There were three reasons it wasn’t as devastating as it might have been. First, everyone had a 1 page two-sided handout with the main ideas so that they could take structured notes, so everyone had something to go by. That had been made on a strange but effective machine, only about 5 minutes before the power went out — so, lucky! Second, I had fully charged my computer in the guest house the previous night so that I, at least, could see my own powerpoint and it could guide me to some of the examples, and my speaker was attached to it so I was able to play a couple of the audio samples even without the projector….and third, I really knew my material and could easily speak on the topic (English word formation) with or without any props. To make it better, my colleagues from National U rushed in with a marker and some napkins so I could use the small whiteboard in the front of the room, and I was able to use it extensively.

But — it’s not fun. It’s unpredictable and that is maddening. You don’t know when the power will go off, or for how long. It happened again in the guest house last night although only for a few minutes. The only illumination in the room was from the ghostly light of my laptop!

Ulaan Bataar and environs are straining from the ballooning growth of the population and haven’t modernized or cleaned up their power generation. Oh, did I tell you a coal fired plant is belching huge amounts of sulphur dioxide and particulate matter from a low smokestack, right on the edge of town?

I’m not sure what alternatives are available in this climate, but engineers and environmentalists need to get to work….and their governmental ministeries should create a miniseries about it! LOL



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3 responses to “power out(r)ages

  1. Anne Wilson-Dooley

    You are just experiencing another aspect of life in Mongolia. Good on the computer charge and white board that helped you get though it.

  2. Julie Howard

    Enjoyed this post and look forward to reading more; however, since you are a word nerd, I will note that the term for a seamless transition is “segue.” You used “segway,” which is name of the wheeled, motorized sidewalk vehicle and should be capitalized if you ever have occasion to use it again.

  3. Ewa Karczmarz

    I believe that, at one point or the other, everyone experienced similar technical difficulties. I call it ‘the viciousness of still nature’. It was a test for your true professionalism.

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