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Reasons to be cheerful, part 190284

Filed under: Spain — Thomas @ 23:35


A bunch of good things happened to me recently, in quick succession. Today was particularly satisfying, so a quick list lest I forget that I am born lucky.

  • I spent the past weekend in Amsterdam, Groningen, Midwolda, and Amsterdam, for Sofie and Mariette's wedding. A great time was had by all, and groups of friends mixed into one for a weekend of celebration. Life can be beautiful sometimes.
  • The first night in Amsterdam I went to a milonga all by myself for the first time and finally got round to asking complete strangers to dance. Win.
  • The last day in Amsterdam I spent with Africa and Alex, and among other things we had a great Kobe steak that really is worth the extra price - it melts like butter in your mouth.
  • Last night out of the blue one of my uncles called because he had heard 'the news' and wanted to check in on me and see how I was doing. I'm guessing he was surprised I was doing pretty much fine considering, but it was a good feeling to know someone out there in my family cares enough to call. It made the distance that much shorter for a little while.
  • Also last night, I familiarized myself with one of work's projects that needed a patch which I'd been asking to be made since Thursday because of a customer problem (which ran like a red thread, sadly, throughout the wedding weekend). I spent five hours trying to get a first unit test written and running into that project (there were none before), then ten minutes patching the code and writing the code to show that my patch works. Today, that patch got deployed and attacked with six different use cases, and it all held up. This is on code I've never seen before, so win.
  • Today, I exchanged a work favour for a home favour with Fernando, and he immediately agreed to come home with me and help me set up the big IKEA closet. On the way we stopped at Angel's to pick up these double bench chairs I've been dreaming about getting ever since he showed them to me:

    We took them home on our heads, and I cleaned them. They need some more cleaning, but I love them already. I got these specifically because someone old and wise recently pointed out to me that Barcelona has individual benches, and she was sad and angry at that little fact. So these twin seat benches are a raised fist against Barcelona's soltero benches.

  • And, as usual, Angel didn't let us go without at least a full glass of wine, and a bag with a huge chunk of tortillas and some freshly cooked gambas. Thank God for people with a passion for what they do.
  • After helping me put the closet together (we made it half way through, this particular IKEA set needs a power drill and a saw to put together!), Fernando took me to the Diseny Hub Barcelona because a good friend of him works there. Turns out they have a MakerBot there, he's printing parts for a RepRap, and he's willing to print my parts. So after being sidelined in my attempts to get one in Belgium, it turns out I will now be able to make one just ten minutes from my current living place!

    Also, the place seems awesome, has real industrial 3D printers and etchers and 3D scanners, offers workshops, and it looks like people can actually come in and use things. I have a feeling I'm going to be dropping by there...

It's a big enough list of things to be cheerful about in a really short time, and I've left out some less practical more private things, so summer is looking good so far...

I’m back

Filed under: Life,Spain,Twisted — Thomas @ 18:32


So obviously, blog-wise I fell off the face of the earth for close to two months.

The immediate reason is some personal stuff happening to me that I needed to bounce back from (well, ok, I lied - it's not stuff, it's just one tiny little thing.)

As a result I haven't done much hacking at all, beside a few fruitful morituri hack sessions.

As a consequence, I don't have much useful to report, but I am going to slowly get back to some hacking. My Lego Mindstorms are already with me here in Barcelona so I am going to get started on that CD ripping robot Any Day Now.

I'll get more specific about what non-hacking stuff I've been up to recently after the fallout of the personal stuff, but for now I'll just mention I've been hugely enjoying getting back to playing basketball over the last year. A while ago Farid taught me a nice layup trick, and yesterday I had Pepe film it:

I haven't pulled that one off correctly during a game though!

Oh wait, I lied. Yesterday I got a proof of achievement of something hacker-related: my Spanish diploma in Twisted!


I need to buy me a wall to hang that on, it's just too cool! And the back lists all skills achieved, in Spanish. Check this out:

"El manejo de errores robusto con diferidos". I'm sure that official had a field day translating deferred into Spanish.

Life! I'm back to eating you, one bite at a time. Make sure you're ready for me.


Filed under: Spain — Thomas @ 11:07


left work around 38 degrees C, got a haircut, went for some great tapas on my own reading Darkly Dreaming Dexter, went to a bar, met up with friends, an impromptu bbq plan was hatched, went to a lovely atico at Portal De L'Angel, barbecued in a soothing summer breeze, rode home on the back of a motorcycle hanging on for dear life. All in all a typical Barcelona summer Tuesday.


Filed under: Fun,Games,Spain — Thomas @ 21:53


I finally went out and bought Vin Diesel's Wheelman. It is set in Barcelona, awesome!

At least, some weird Frankenstein version of Barcelona. The map is a bit screwy, things are slightly out of place. I had read the game designers claimed they did so to make the game more dynamic, which is weird - Barcelona has one of the best city plans in the world, but these guys think they can do better than Ildefons Cerdà. So far it's just confusing.

The first mission didn't allow me to stray, but as soon as I dropped off the woman thief in Raval, I drove straight to work, to the World Trade Center. I wanted to drive underneath the hotel building, to the north building, up the stairs, and jump straight off the side, onto a ferry.

But they put FENCES in front of the World Trade Center!!! I can't get through!

I guess I'll have to take an actual plane and take the subway to work again on Monday...

Still, I already like the game. The effects are awesome, if comical. I already smashed 15 police cars into bits.

What is up with that casino just smack next to the World Trade Center though ? Hello ? It's not like it is that far to the two towers....

best medicine

Filed under: Spain — Thomas @ 22:25


after a hard first day back at work: the Holy Triad at Ciudad Condal. montadito de solomillo, brocheta de langostinos and mini-hamburguesa con cebolla confitada. All for the bargain sum of 8.50 euro. This Holy Triad will probably be a valid reason forever to come back to Barcelona.

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