Thursday, March 02, 2006

good times at UU

I had an early morning scriptieseminar today, my first. This, apparently, is the forum by which all master's students with ongoing projects in my course of study come to discuss results and workshop their presentations. There were only 3 presentations today, mine, as always fate would have it, being last. Mine was also the only one done in Dutch, the shortest, and the most polished and intensive in design(IMHO). I wish I could understand the details of the conversations in Dutch, especially one guy who was suposed to present but I just tuned out during his half hour Q&A. I suppose this was the best way to get the chief phonetics researchers here all together, all of them some of my favorite characters: Sieb, the venerable emeritus chair of the seminar, silvery hair and an expensive black Italian turtleneck with matching jacket, who loves to savage students over experimental theory; Hugo, the professor I've had the most tiem with developing my work, who is tall and broad like a farmer, but with a quick sense of humor and timing from his work in speech rhythm and statistics; and, arriving late, Gerrit, the most tech-minded of my professors, with a degree in physics. Alas, Sieb's laptop, Win95 edition, lacked USB ports (!), so from USB stick to floppy on another computer, thence into the floppy drive. I was a bit stuck when the pdf file of my presentation didn't open (not going to even explain why my file is in OpenOffice to this congregation) so, not believing any system doesn't have some form of Acrobat, I hunted through the program files to find a dusty exe of version 5.0. I think Gerrit found that the most impressive part of my presenttion. Maybe, that's a bit harsh, everyone seemed interested, if only to express reservations. This is because I just started working on the project, thus it is at a stage of very many questions and related projects to emulate, but not very many decisions and results. Style comes easy, substance is hard. I expect that to change very quickly, if the projected timeline is to complete this before summertime. Now I have my work cut out for me.

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