I mean the war between me and the powerpoint. OK I know that I am lucky to live in the 21st century, and that only 15 years ago I would have had to order whatever slides I needed at least a week before my lectures (and if you only finish them 5 days in advance, that's a problem).
But this new technological world means that I reckon that I have spent as much time making the damn powerpoint as I have spent writing the first lecture. Or at least it feels like it.
Why so long?
Well, first of all I have too many images on my laptop...assembled for these Mellon lectures, but not properly sorted or named. So finding the particular shot of the particular statue of Julius Caesar I want amongst all the pics called anonymously 'img 2346', 'img 2347' etc can turn out to be a 20 minute job -- if you're lucky.
Then I discover that the pic is wildly too big and a bit pale. Reducing the size, cropping the extremities and adding a nice bit of contrast takes another ten minutes.
And that is before I have put any kind of caption in. Now my preference in PPT is to make it as like old-fashioned slides as possible, and I cant bear all the tricks of moving balloons, melting images, bullet points etc etc. But if you are going to whip by an image without saying exactly who it is by, or when, putting a simple caption on it seems a good idea.
So that is what I spent more than half of this morning doing, and felt pleased enough with the result. I then showed up at the National Gallery for a 'run through' (I was keen to know if the texts were big enough to be read from the back row by a normally sighted person). But, bloody hell, when we did the run through all but one of the captions had disappeared.
My first paranoid instinct was that it was a MAC/PC compatibility problem (like when young people turn up in Cambridge for job talks and the PPT turns their carefully selected Greek quotes into gibberish). But, you were right Lorenzo: what had happened was that the font colour had slipped back from white to black..and, so having reverted to black on black, was totally invisible.
So I have spent the evening correcting that and adding the remaining pictures.
The truth is I am quite pleased with the product. But was it a good use of time, with 5 more lectures to go? I don't think so (unless you imagine it is relaxing, which it sure doesn't feel!).