Monday
May162005

« A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum »

Today on my way in to school, I put up a fistful of flyers for my upcoming peak oil event. I didn't do terribly much because my stock was a little light and I wanted to be sure to hit a few key points on the campus. I was walking by my old speech class where the instructor is a man named Harry Steinmetz. I have had his classes on a few occasions. The first was in ninth grade at Madison when he taught speech. I allowed myself to fail the first semester, but got up to a B when I finally applied myself. The next class was in my senior year when I took his government, US history, and economics class. I seem to remember doing well in there, getting an A, IIRC. I really dug that class. It was one of those that I was able to not just get a decent grade, but I also had this friendly competition with the best of them, one of which has become a restaurant manager who now manages the Seau's sports bar in San Diego. Anyhow, that class was had in exactly the period of the Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations. I was introduced to finer nuances of historical and political analysis in that class, among other things like NPR, and whatever else. It was a rich experience.

The fall of 2003 was when I took one of his classes again, but this time at Mesa where he has taught for a couple decades anyway. I knew he had retired from the city schools, but that he was still at Mesa, so I was sure to take another class. And, as ever, it was far more than just a speech class. His classes are just delightful experiences in education. Even in ninth grade as I sat and failed his class by sheer force of will, I was in awe of how he taught and got things out of people. His speech class in 2003 was the first class I took after a ten year hiatus. It was a great experience for me, and a nice way to work back into the academic realm after a long time off. I ended up getting not just an "A" but at the end of the semester, he wrote a nice send off to us all and entered our grade, and presumably for the ones that wouldn't be embarrassed by their grades, he also included where we fit in among all his students that semester. His message to me was that I ranked "101 out of 103" students of his that semester. I can live with that.

So now you know how this could happen:

I stopped by the room really tentatively hoping that I could give him some of my flyers to pass out. He has this bold manner about him which pretty much commands action from whoever he is talking to. Part of his exercises is to get people to get up on a minute's notice and give a three minute impromptu speech. So what should I have expected as I poked my head into the doorway? Sure enough, he called me up like I was in the class to give a speech on the spot!

So I did.

It went on for probably ten minutes, and was interspersed with a few promptings of his, and a question or two from the class. He is one of the most informed people I know, so he was able to know exactly what people would be wanting to know next, and he would lead it there. It was a lot of fun, and frankly, some practice for the things I plan to take on now with my peak oil work. I did give something of a speech at another showing of The End of Suburbia back in October. It was to a room of total strangers (but for about three people), and was not rehearsed in any way. It's hard to believe that was six months ago. Shit, I was new at peak oil then. But this time I actually felt like I knew my shit, at least to be a guide for others who have hardly any knowledge of the stuff.

Hey, as long as I have you here, why not see a trailer for the movie?

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