Solipsism and Me

Idle reports from an idle fellow

That ole TEI Workshop Magic

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Day two dawns, somewhat the worse for vodka. Somehow I got up the hill to the computer lab in time for the “TEI basic” session, in which we introduce the niceties of actually marking up an issue of Punch in TEI. Amazingly, quite a few of the jokes survived translation, and all the students worked through the practical exercise with very little need for supervision. Let me record here how wonderful it is to have a properly prepared and tested exercise, translated properly into the local lingo. All praise to Alexei and Tanya! We went for a well earned lunch in a canteen resplendent with plastic flowers, where I turned down the bread soup, but enjoyed plof (rice and meat) and salad, and lemon tea. I retired to my hotel room and slept for most of the afternoon, partly because it was raining, mostly because the jet lag had caught up with me. Or maybe the vodka. In the evening, we went out for dinner in a fake German beer hall, where the beer was Czech and good, and the food took forever to come. I eat fish, and so did Tania,but was too tired to appreciate it fully.

Day three of the course, and we are still on a roll. Manuscripts! Names and Places! I’m impressed by the way everyone is still paying attention, and even asking good questions. The practical session has been postponed to day four, so that we could all enjoy a Cultural Visit to the University Library, where we dutifully gawped at various memorabilia of the long distinguished history of Kazan University, founded in the 18th century and the first University in Russia to do .. oh all sorts of things. Lobachevsky studied here, as did Lenin (but they threw him out for being too revolutionary) and Tolstoi (ditto, tho for reasons not explained). We also had a visit to the rare books room of the library, where we were given tantalising glimpses of some ancient manuscripts and assorted incunabula. No photos, no touchy-touchy.

After another canteen lunch, I went for a walk, which degenerated into a crawl, up to the Kremlin. Friday means weddings in Russia, so this was full of wedding parties as well as tourists
… it is all very scenic: and contains the biggest mosque in Russia, and also a fairly large and typically over decorated orthodox cathedral.
I prayed for better weather in both, and was duly rewarded by the sun coming out as I staggered back to the conference in time for a heated panel discussion on the inadequacies of Unicode as a means of representing Old Church Slavonic, featuring a rather provocative Serbian called Zoran Kostic from the Foundation of the Holy Monastery Hilandar. The Muscovites were having none of it, but his font (which he demonstrated to me over dinner) really is very beautiful. He’s a real typographer and has no time for XML nonsense (his words, not mine). Dinner was in the Turkish restaurant down the road, and featured exotic dancing as well as a lot of chitchat with the students. Nadezhda Gorbachova from Perm graciously agreed to be my facebook friend, and Heinz Miklas from Austria danced impressively with one of the local exotic dancers.


Written by Lou

August 28, 2008 at 18:23

Posted in Uncategorized

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