Sunday, December 13, 2015


I spent all day yesterday at school, judging a robotics competition. Talk about something I never imagined myself doing! A co-worker ran the event and about a week ago pleaded for volunteers to be judges. To get him out of a jam, I agreed to help out.

I was a bit concerned because I'm not really a technology-minded person. Talk about machines and gears and circuits makes my eyes roll back in my head. But as it turned out I was assigned to judge projects, which have more to do with identifying a problem (in this case, about ecology) and devising potential solutions. We looked for thoroughness of research, diversity of sources, that kind of thing. Not SO different from my background as a journalist and librarian!

The hardest thing was scoring everyone, and last night, I was beset by second thoughts about whether we'd been too hard on our teams. I kept envisioning all the kids and their various projects and thinking, "Geez, maybe I should have given so-and-so more credit!" But it wouldn't have changed the lineup at the end of the day, because we were just one of four judging categories and any variation would have been just a point or two within our category alone.

If that makes sense.

Anyway, it was all fun and kind of stressful and the responsibility nagged at me afterwards. I hate being responsible for someone else's happiness and/or disappointment. Particularly a child's!

But on the positive side, I got to present an award, which required me to flex my muscles as a public speaker -- podium, microphone and all -- and proved a moment of great excitement for one team. Again, not something I expected to be doing! Life is full of surprises!

Last night, Dave and I watched the movie "Michael Clayton," with George Clooney, and we got all the way through it and during the final scene, when George confronts Tilda Swinton in the hotel lobby, I realized I'd seen it before. I'm not sure why it took me that long to tumble, but it did. I have a vague feeling I rented it from Netflix not long after the Oscars in 2008. Still, we liked it.

(Photo: The entrance to a mews in Knightsbridge, on Wednesday evening.)


Yorkshire Pudding said...

That Knightsbridge photograph doesn't look as if it is from London - more like Hereford, Worcester or perhaps York. I guess that London is a city filled with little surprises if you only look. Your photographs seem to prove that point Steve.

Ms. Moon said...

God. What a relief to know that I'm not the only one who can't remember if she's seen a movie before.
You're certainly filling up your resume with interesting experiences.
I love that photo.

Sharon said...

I love the photo today. What a great entrance.
Good work on the judging.
I really enjoyed that movie when I saw it. I'd watch it again.

ellen abbott said...

I coached a team for Odyssey of the Mind for a couple of years. not the same as judging, but it was fun. a lot of work and a big time commitment but fun. re the movies, I seem to have the opposite problem. I'll be watching a movie I know I have already seen and then will come a part that I don't remember at all! I'm thinking of watching a movie on my computer today, husband has football on.

37paddington said...

Life is good over there in London! I love it. And what a fantastic photo.

jenny_o said...

I am always terrible at new experiences but in hindsight find I've enjoyed them and grown because of them. If only I could remember that BEFORE I get dragged kicking and screaming into them :)

Kudos for volunteering and helping out your co-worker.

alphabet soup said...

I'm so pleased you explained the robotics judging, I had no idea what it might entail. The actual process appears to have been way more interesting, looking into how the teams arrived at the end result.

Ms Soup