Thursday, May 5, 2011

The missing slide/The first Apertium nursery rhyme

In my first talk on day one of the workshop, I forgot the slide that explained the most important part of the dictionaries. I promised to include it the next day (but day one was so disastrous, and I presented everything so badly, that instead I just worked through the notes again, explaining things slowly and adding the new material at the end).

So, we had a meeting to discuss how things went (so badly wrong), when I decided not to use a presentation at all, and towards the end, someone said "it's getting late, we should go to sleep". I said I was too wired to sleep, and Juan Antonio offered to read me a nursery rhyme to help me sleep.

A few minutes later, I went outside to smoke, and thought... hey, I can explain this as a nursery rhyme... so I thought of something quickly, then looked for a cutesy template to use for the slide, and put it on my phone to show the others. They liked the rhyme, but not the picture -- thought it would be insultingly childish. They were right, so I skipped it.

After the workshop, we had the social evening (Chinese buffet), and everyone was talking, drinking, laughing, so I thought I'd show it to a few of the participants. They all loved it. Most of the women had congregated at one table, so I showed them all at the same time. Gema's assessment later was something like "with that slide, Jim chatted up every woman at the table. Including me!".

Day 3 went pretty smoothly (we'd made enough changes for day 2 to recover from day 1), but Tomas decided to rant about XML again (he had launched a ~30 minute discussion about it on day 2. He clearly dislikes XML.) and Felipe asked me if I had the text, I told him I'd put it on the wiki, and he asked me to put it on screen. Some of the women who had been at the restaurant spotted it, and laughed, but most eyes were on Tomas, so I took the first chance to interrupt him, and point at the screen as an example that "we don't think it's too hard to remember".

Then Felipe called on me to read it. Bastard. So I did, and, thankfully, everyone laughed. And applauded, which was odd.

So, that's the story of the first (and hopefully last) Apertium nursery rhyme.

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