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It's midnight, and I am dreading the morning. Since I can't sleep, I'm posting to 
this group and maybe there is someone who will come up with a remedy for the bane 
of my life, or at least commiserate with me. 
  Tomorrow is the final senior class assembly -- Prom Promise.  I need to show a 
video about the dangers of drinking and driving to 400 pre-prom students. This is 
an annual event with a student-made video and three police officers giving a 
presentation. (I know this is coming, but I don't know what day, and somehow, I am 
left out of the loop and don't find out the date till the afternoon before, or 
sometimes that morning, an hour prior. This is something that is arranged with the 
senior class sponsors and the school's administrative team, but somehow I am always 
left out of the loop, including the year when I was one of the senior class 
sponsors because the other class sponsor was the one that the administrators always 
arranged things with).  
  While I appreciate the importance of this assembly, I dread it every year because 
I can't seem to get the equipment set up easily. 
  I don't leave the equipment hooked up prior to the assembly because I use the LCD 
projector for showing powerpoint presentations throughout the year. 
  I have labeled where the wires and cables are supposed to go, but things never 
seem to match up when I try it again. 
  I seem to have most of my problems with the audio.
  Here is the setup:
  Plug extension cord into the wall. Plug another extension cord into the first 
one. Plug the power strip into the second extension cord. Plug the cord from the 
cart into the power strip (there's only room for two things to be plugged in from 
the cart, so I will need a power strip).
  Plug vcr, amplifier, and LCD projector into the power strip.
  cable goes from vcr - video out - to LCD projector - video in (yellow ends on 
  cable goes from vcr -- audio out -- to amplifier - audio in (red ends on cables). 
This is where I really get confused. Why is there a place on the LCD projector for 
"audio in"? If I hook the audio cable to the LCD projector, how is the sound going 
to get to the amplifier?  
  microphone goes from amplifier to the plug on the stage which hooks into the 
multi-purpose room speaker system (the plug that is closer has been broken for 
years so the cart with my LCD/VCR has to be close enough to the stage to reach the 
farther one).
  tape goes into vcr (make sure tape is rewound)
  turn on vcr and amp. Turn on LCD projector.
  Press play on vcr. 
  Figure out why video is not projecting on the screen. Play around with the 
settings till I get a picture on the screen. Hopefully this won't take more than 10 
minutes to figure out. 
  Try to figure out why I'm not getting sound. Try moving cables around. Still 
doesn't work. Eventually, figure out that the multi-purpose room speaker system is 
not turned on. 
  Try to find the on switch at the back of the stage. It's too dark back stage and 
I don't know where it is anyway. 
  Find someone who knows where the switch is to turn it on. 
  Still no sound. Try switching audio cable back to the way it was before.  
  It (hopefully works).
  This is all done with 400 impatient teenagers, two vice principals, three police 
officers, our security officer, and several teachers waiting, thinking, I presume, 
that Mrs. Davies is an idiot. I also am thinking that I'm an idiot, and that maybe 
I should retire so I don't have to face this next year. 
  Even though I agree with the unspoken feeling that I'm an idiot, I do wonder why 
with a staff of 125, no one else seems to step in and make it work. We have a 
technology coordinator at the school, but she only does computers and this is a 
vcr, so it's considered my domain. It would be nice if the video was a DVD, but the 
television production teacher prefers analog technology.  
  This year since I found out two days in advance, I thought I might be in better 
shape, but I fear it will be as bad as ever tomorrow morning. I did all the hooking 
up I could upstairs in the library. I couldn't leave the library till the end of 
the day because I had classes. 
  After school, I wheeled my cart to the elevator and down to the multi-purpose 
room to try out the setup. There was loud music and students dancing. I went about 
setting up the LCD projector. The kids started to ask me if I could get out of the 
way because they had to rehearse. I asked what they were rehearsing for and they 
told me it was for the fashion show. The sponsor came over and told me that they 
needed to rehearse and I really needed to get out of the way. 
  I explained that I really had to do this and worked on the setup for a few more 
minutes. I still didn't achieve sound. With 30 impatient fashion models growling at 
me, I decided I just had to give up and hope I could get it working tomorrow 
  If anyone has asuggestion for making it easier next year, I'd be eternally in 
your debt.
  Jan Davies, Library Media Specialist
  Laurel High School
  Laurel, Maryland

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