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Wednesday, 11 July 2007

In Linz

I'm in Linz and darn tired. Wrote some music on the train. I'm doing almost all new stuff, but re-using the second half of my first supercollider piece. The piece is kind of klutz and doesn't work well in stereo, except for the second half, which is cool on it's own. I got a new joystick two days ago. It was really great when I first plugged it in. 0-255 for real. 10 bits. 4 channels of analog stick action. woot. But it's become flaky. Sometimes the range of the sticks is cut in half. Sometimes the buttons have different IDs. It's making me a little nervous. I thought I was buying a name-brand joystick, but the name is actually just similar to what I thought I was buying. Oh well. Maybe I'll get a third soon and in the mean time, I've got a bit of a challenge. Usually unplugging it and replugging it works. Or I could put my awesome joystick brain in it.

In other news, if you plug a Dell laptop into a step-down voltage converter, it fucks up the screen in MS windows. (wtf?)

MY clothes are mildewy. meh, I say. Also, I feel a bit weird about being in a women's event, even if the sponsoring group is called "gender changer." Hello, I am twice the gender changer that you are.

Overheard this morning: "somebody was playing the digeridu at 10 o'clock last night!" la la la.

The conference fees include food and lodging, which make it a really good deal, although I was kind of surprised not to be comped in, given that I thought they were going to pay me. We're staying in a haupt schule. This is a kind of elementary school. They have very thin matresses on the floors of the classrooms.

"Haupt" means half. It's a half-school. In Germany, and apparently also in Austria, they have really extreme tracking. College bound kids go to something called Gymnasium. At the end, they take a test. If they pass it, the can go to a university. If they don't pass it, the have they still have their high school diploma, equivalent to those who graduated from a real schule. They just get a diploma and don't have to take a test. Finally, there exists haupt schules. In high school, these kids go to school part time and spend the other half of their time apprenticing to be things like florists or auto mechanics. If you were going to try to figure out what was the most valuable part of every kind of schooling, the big test result is the payoff for the gynasium. The diploma for those in real schule. The apprenticeship for those in haupt shule.

The one that we're at is an elementary school. The tracking starts very early. Transferring from one track to another is virtually impossible. Unless you go to gynasium and pass the big test, there is no way that you will ever go to a university in your country. The American in me rebells to this. But the same sort of tracking also exists in American schools and is more subtle and probably, therefore, more evil. Also, we track kids straight to jail rather than in to apprentice programs, so we suck worse.

Interestingly, the school is an arts magnet. The kids must go on to art academy. I always wondered about the liberal arts value (or lack therof) of conservatories. This seems to confirm my suspicions. Also, I've seen the alphabet posted in all the classrooms, but not a single math-related thing. Maybe it's all on a different floor.

1 comment:

Luc Houtkamp said...

Hi Les,

Hope you have a good time in Linz!

BTW Haupt doesn't mean Half, it means head. In this context it means: main, like in: Hauptbahnhof = main station.

I am busy with the new POW Ensemble show, that will be premiered next weeked in Marseille. After that we go on a well earned holiday to Spain. Maybe we can meet up with you and Cola after we return, somewhere at the end of summer?

Luc