Transcending tricksy reading

I was just glancing over this paragraph and my vision played a trick on me. It comes from IUPUI’s website.

The Office of the Vice President for Information Technology has steering committees in place to help develop strategies and establish priorities for shared administrative and academic systems. The Oncourse Priorities Committee has specific responsibilities for ensuring thoughtful and timely decisions regarding priorities for Oncourse, IU’s online collaboration and learning system, and for recommending policies to guide its effective use. In light of, the OPC will also provide guidance to the Learning Technologies Steering Committee regarding any future selection of a new learning management system for Indiana University. Below is a list of current committee members:

After glancing at the document, I was certain that I saw the word “transcend” somewhere in it. When I looked it over repeatedly, I found that “transcend” was not there at all.

Perhaps this is along the same line as the mistakes that can be present in eye-witness testimony. One can remember an event that might have taken only a fraction of a second. Over time the event will gradually shift from being a movie to a short story. This short story can be adjusted by people asking questions or reinforcing story facets with feedback and positive reinforcement. Talking with another witness can confound ones memories with the other person’s memories so that both are wrong.

One specific example of this is in police investigations. The police (for the most part) don’t try to manipulate the witness, but they have an effect by asking some questions and not others. Also, they can give reinforcement to certain details with their comments by thanking the witness for their information. In some situations, such as with children, these adjustments are very hard to avoid.

The movie and short story feel equally true, but after a while they won’t match the actual events that happened. As the short story then turns into a sound bite, the eye witness can be wrong, sometimes in catastrophic ways for the plaintiff defendant.


I’ve been looking for a new social group to belong to. I’ve thought of writing clubs and chess clubs but I haven’t got very far beyond that. I found some writing clubs in Auburn, but they meet on Tuesdays and I’d rather go to an event in Fort Wayne Tuesday evenings.

A friend suggested looking into toastmasters. I had heard of them several years ago, but never went searching for a group.

After the second prompting, I went online and learned a little bit about it. There’s a group that meets Thursdays in Fort Wayne that fits with my schedule really well. They practice public speaking and leadership skills.

The meeting was fun. People were a little bit more formal than I’m used to, but after a little bit it didn’t seem out of place.

We had three people speak as well as some table topics where people give impromptu one minute speeches. The person giving the topics asked if I wanted to answer a question which I did.

The topic I chose was about vanity and how often does one look at oneself in the mirror. I said that that has been a problem because sometimes I leave the house not composed well. I don’t look in the mirror as much as I should have. A couple of times that’s been embarrassing for example, by buttoning my shirt wrong for example. I then did a little non-sequitur and talked about how I look in the mirror a lot when I’m driving.

The one comment the evaluator made was that I said “um” a few times. I asked how to improve that and they suggested to just pause when I don’t know what to say. That sounds like something I can practice.

The toastmaster that evening was dressed really sharply in a white suit and black tie. He was really funny. One topic he shared through the evening was trivia about the movie Casablanca. Since I hadn’t watched it before, his suggestion was to rent it, so I’ve got it by my DVD player waiting to watch.

I’m planning to go back next week and bring an application form. Since they meet every week, I’ll be able to add it to my routine and learn some new skills.

No accident here

I had a little extra excitement driving up from a doctor’s office yesterday. It was getting toward rush hour and the interstate was pretty busy.

There was a large group of cars merging on the next on ramp so I got out of their way by going to the middle of three lanes, thinking I’d be safe. However, another driver merging in apparently decided they weren’t going fast enough so he went to pull into the center lane too!

I don’t think he saw me (or even looked) because he didn’t back down from going into my lane. We were almost aligned so I’m grateful I saw him moving in.

I popped over to the third lane where the really good thing happened: there wasn’t anyone near me in that lane for me to cause my own accident.

I wanted to do some road rage and chase the person, but when the green car drove off speeding, I didn’t chase him and just noticed that he had a special license plate. I have had some bad experiences with people having that plate, so it is hard not to use it as a confirmation that they are all rotten drivers.

Thinking about the incident in bed, it was challenging to not obsess on what almost happened. A little prayer and noticing that there wasn’t any accident when it could have been a really bad multi-car pileup, I was able to let it go.

So, the score is zero accidents, one negligent driver and a grateful accident-free driver.