20 x 20

Monday, February 14, 2011

Anyone who has ever actually heard me tell a story knows that it often takes me at least six minutes to get the part where I say what the story is about, so you can just imagine the challenge of putting together a Pecha Kucha presentation on the Dollar a Day Project — twenty slides, twenty seconds per slide, for a total presentation time of six minutes and forty seconds.

That’s hard!

I was not swayed by the tight timing and decided to begin at the beginning, with my adventures in indentured servitude at my first job out of college in Princeton, New Jersey.

I didn’t have a script at all, I was thinking I’d use the slides as my guide, with each slide representing a key point, and the change of slide would trigger the change of topic. So deciding on the point of each slide was really important, and I spent nearly eight hours getting things ready for a six-minute presentation. Holy cow.

It seemed like things were in good shape, but a couple of hours before the presentation I started to get nervous and decided I needed to go through it all in my head to make sure I knew what I was saying and that I’d be able to do it all in the time allotted. So I went over everything a bunch of times trying to make sure I got to the point for each slide and everything would work — and I was in a coffee shop with free refills, so I was totally wired by the time it was all figured out — and once the presentation started I just took a deep breath and went straight through and got to the end and was like okay I have no idea what I just said. I’m going to have to watch the video.

And I don’t know when the video came out, but someone last week told me they saw me on YouTube, so I looked it up and watched it and I think it’s hilarious.

You couldn’t see the slides very well even in the live presentation — I tried to use the same color scheme as on the blog but the green is too light — and also the lighting in the video isn’t great (it was in a bar), so I’ll include a PDF of the slides and will point out a few additional things here:

(1) the graph on slide three is in fact actual data about my food purchases that I tracked in Quicken and now have in a Filemaker database. It is not a fake graph just for show.

(2) the points on the Google map are the actual stores I shopped at — and I don’t remember exactly how I put together that map and it seemed like it shouldn’t have been a problem but it was a big pain.

(3) everything I said is true, which is why I think it’s funny. Especially things like saying that reading How to Cook a Wolf made me glad that I was poor so I could be like M.F.K. Fisher. True! Sad, but true.

The other funny thing is that I had never put together a Power Point presentation before, this was my very first one. I’m a big fan of Edward Tufte, and like very much his essay on the The Cognitive Style of Power Point, and I love more than anything Peter Norvig’s fabulous parody Gettysburg Address as PowerPoint presentation. (I especially love the graph of how many nations there were 87 years ago and how many there are now, but the whole thing is brilliant.) So previously I just had experience with people making fun of PowerPoint, now I’ve actually used it. That’s progress, I think.

The presentation was on December 16 and I knew it was videotaped but didn’t follow up on finding the link. But since I heard it was up, I managed to watch it when I was visiting a friend last week. (For anyone who has ever sent me a video to watch and it took me two months to get to it, don’t be offended, it takes me two months for me to get to videos of myself that I actually want to watch.)

So, without further ado (it probably took more than six minutes to read this post), here’s the video.

And anyone in the area should come out for the next Pecha Kucha Night Raleigh, which is being held on March 9 at Noir in the Glenwood South area of Raleigh (the same location the December one was held, where the video was shot).

3 Responses to “20 x 20”

  1. Lorrie Says:

    This was a great summary of your project, but it was more fun actually reading about it while you were doing it. I like your determination to prove that you can do something when others tell you that you can’t.

  2. lessisenough Says:

    Well there was definitely more drama involved in the project, but I liked being able to talk about the background and where it came from. I didn’t wake up one day being able to eat for a dollar, and I feel like that’s something important that was missing from the other people who attempted similar projects. No experience.

  3. Lorrie Says:

    I read some of the other dollar a day blogs also, and yours definitely showed an ability to be frugal and eat a pretty nutritionally sound diet. I appreciate what you did. I think it was especially good for many who never think about how much money they spend on food and think that it is impossible to be frugal and eat a healthy diet. I also liked your ability to challenge yourself and the naysayers in your life, as well as “the system.”


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