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Survivor Journals

Bob of If I Die Before I Wake has invited nine journallers to participate in a Cyber Survivor Adventure.

Every couple of weeks, the group will be issued a "challenge entry". The site will post a excerpt from the challenge entries, as well as the link to the complete entry found on the journaller's own journal site.

After the challenge entry is posted, the nine journallers will vote one of the writers off the site.

The "ousted" journaller will actually remain on the site, but rather than posting further challenge entries, they will act as a judge and commentator.

The first challenge entry has been issued, and can be found at the Survivor Journal website. The actual entries should be completed by
October 1, 2000.

Please take the time to visit, especially once the challenge entries are posted. There is a message board to post your thoughts/comments and also a instant poll where visitors can vote for who they would want to see kicked off the site.

The reasons behind Survivor Journals are simple.

1. To try something new.
2. Increase the interaction of the journal community.
3. The challenge.
4. Increased exposure to all journals involved.

So take a look around, explore all the journals involved.

If you would like to take part in Survivor Journals, Year Two (around Nov/Dec 2000), let Bob know!


November 2, 2000

I nearly jump out of my skin as the sound of the telephone erupts in my ear. I’ve been doing transcription for Dr. T for over 20 years and I’ve never adjusted to the fact that his telephone resides right next to wherever it is that he dictates and that its ring in the microphone of the dictation unit is ear shattering.

People who dictate notes never think about what their transcriptionists hear. I put up with this guy’s telephone sending my head through the roof with the sound of the loud ring for years, until I finally wrote him a note that said WILL YOU PLEASE TURN YOUR DAMN TELEPHONE DOWN!!! It was amazing. I got an apology and for the past four months life has been blissfully “quiet.”

When the phone rings, it’s softly and doesn’t cause a shrill stabbing through my brain. However, for some reason he’s turned the ringer back up again and I guess I’m going to have to get testy again. I can’t stand the noise in my ear.

There have been some funny instances. One guy seems to have his dictation unit with him everywhere. He’s a busy man and so must get his dictation in whenever he has a few moments. Thus it is that I’ll hear the sound of his walking around, and then the echoing sound that you would expect to hear if you were recording in a bathroom. I’ve never actually heard flushing, but my imagination runs wild.

Sometimes dictation is recorded at a convalescent hospital. It sends chills down my spine to hear the sounds of the patients in the background, moaning or shrieking. At one hospital someone has a whistle that blows regularly and shrilly. I read the stories of their lives, the incontinent ones, the ones who attack staff or intrude themselves into other patient’s rooms, who throw food or refuse to get out of bed. I think of the people these patients once were, who loved, married, raised families, held grandchildren on their laps, and who would be very embarrassed to see the person they have ultimately become.

It makes me frightened, when I remember my loving grandmother, expelled from a rest home for being too aggressive with the other patients. Am I getting a glimpse of my own life some years down the road?

My most frequent “dictator” tends to ramble. I’ve been doing his transcription for so long that it’s hard to believe I actually started doing this in a day when all I had was a non-self-correcting electric typewriter. He still start a sentence, and then change his mind about 10 times before finally getting it the way he wants. The delete key is my friend but there are times in the middle of the night when I’ll scream “JUST SAY IT, WILL YOU!!!!”

Another “dictator” drones on and on and on in such a boring monotone that it literally puts me to sleep. I’ve typed some pretty interesting things in my sleep! I know it’s time to call it quits and take a nap when I read what I’ve written and realize that it bears no relation to what was dictated whatsoever.

Meetings are always fun to transcribe. Someone will hand you a tape to transcribe, neglecting to indicate how many people are speaking or to give any indication of who they are at all. And yet you’re supposed to produce a coherent transcript. “Man with screechy voice says...” “Coughing woman adds...”

The classic “dictator,” though was DMD, an orthopedist. DMD rambled incessantly. His reports would be 6 single spaced pages in which he would repeat himself in several different ways, saying the same thing over and over again until the transcriptionist wanted to scream. But not only was his dictation boring as hell, but he seemed to have no realization that anything he said or did could be picked up by the microphone of the dictation unit.

The best example of this came when my friend Diane (whom Peggy and I recently visited in Seattle) was transcribing one of his tapes. She kept cringing and making sounds. She finally shared that DMD had a cold and that he kept clearing the phlegm from his throat and the sound was nauseating her. “If he spits, I’m outta here,” she said. She continued typing for a bit and suddenly ripped the earphones from her head, threw them across the desk and shrieked “Ohhh...yuck...he DID!

It’s a rare person who gives clear, concise dictation, free from extraneous noise and other distractions, but when I have the good fortune to work for such a person, I really value the dictation!

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created 10/31/00 by Bev Sykes