Go forward in time to April 2002.
It has been uncomfortably warm for the past few days. Everyone seems to be melting in the office and elsewhere. However, plenty of sun is good for photographs.
We got a beautiful wooden base for our bed, and now our bedroom looks very cozy. The base has two small drawers on the sides and a large one in the front for sheets and covers. We also have a light bed cover, much lighter and not as warm as the big comforter. However, it still is rather warm for the kind of weather we have been getting.
Saturday: Rubén and Adriana came for lunch at our apartment, where we had potato soup and tacos dorados. Had a good time chatting.
Sunday: Watched the Oscars with my brother, mother, and grandmother. It is ridiculous that Amélie did not win anything.
Lunch consisted of an absolutely delicious freshwater fish in garlic gravy that Oralia cooked; a tomato/lettuce/cucumber salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and sesame seed oil which I prepared; and vegetable soup. And a bottle of pretty good white wine. Mmmmmmmm. We took a long nap afterwards as we were pretty stuffed.
The Rollei 35 seems to be working fine. But we'll only really know until I get the first post-repairs roll developed.
Loaded the Rollei 35 with a roll of Kodak T400CN. I've been pretty happy with Ilford XP2; let's see how this one turns out.
Took the car for servicing — it was quite overdue. It should be ready tomorrow or Friday.
Worked from home today as our bathtub was getting repaired. Er, painted. It seems that the landlord was too cheap to have the bathtub re-coated with the nice ceramic enamel before we moved in, and they just painted it with swimming pool paint. So it had started to chip a lot and there was a large section of bare metal near the drain. They painted it again today, and we can't use the shower until Saturday or so. Sigh.
Lubricated and fiddled with the Rollei 35's mechanism for a bit. The shutter was not opening most of the time due to a lever not returning quite to its original position when cocking the shutter, and so it failed to push the shutter blades when triggered. It doesn't seem to be stuck anymore, and the shutter works. Had a bit of trouble with the Bulb setting; tightened a bolt a bit and it started working again. It is good that I didn't have to open the camera; all the parts in question are reachable by simply removing the back cover. I couldn't have opened the camera, anyways, as the set of screwdrivers we got the other day does not have a small enough Phillips bit.
Friday: Discovered that focus switching across controls no longer works properly in 2.0. I'm trying to understand the protocol now. Sigh. This seemed to work fine two or three weeks ago.
We went to see La Pianiste in the evening. Really excellent movie. And for once it seems someone can make a movie where the actors actually seem to play the musical instruments. And this is not even the main point in the movie. It is fantastic when they pay so much attention to detail, in this and everything else. The acting is truly great, with the piano teacher turning out to be just as close-minded and obnoxious as her mother.
Saturday: Sleep. Food — bad sushi; will not visit that place again. Movie — The Royal Tenenbaums. Not bad, but I expected something better from Wes Anderson. Maybe I just need to watch it again.
The photographs are fantastic. They had some large prints, some about 1 meter wide, and things look amazing at that size. One would think prints of that size made from 35mm negatives would look terrible, but fortunately this is not the case.
It is interesting to see each photographer's particular style even though they have some very similar pictures. Graciela Iturbide is quiet and elegant, and delightfully ironic — her pictures are much, much better than her teacher's, Manuel álvarez Bravo (why is he always so celebrated? Most of his pictures look artificial and posed). Raghu Rai has some extremely beautiful and carefully composed, dream-like pictures. And finally, Sebastião Salgado is downright devastating yet superbly elegant.
Oralia has the idea of turning our service room in the roof of our apartment building into a photo darkroom. We'll start looking for ways to make it light-tight and also for equipment, basically a safelight, tanks and an enlarger.
Plants: They are not entirely happy in the new apartment. The croto is dead. We are not sure if it is the lack of sunlight, as they told us it was a shade plant. The aglaonema is alternately in happy and sad moods, as sometimes its leaves are nice and strong and other days they are frail and sagging. There was an ugly dry leaf in the aralia, but it may just have been an old leaf.
Today I had the sort-of-epiphany that happens when you have been living in a new apartment or house for a little while: you are in some room, in my case the kitchen, and you say to yourself, "hey, this is my home!". It had not happened for me in the new apartment until today. Before that I did not feel like I was living in a strange place — I knew pretty well where the indispensable things were, so even during the after-moving chaos I never had a severe case of "where is X" — but somehow the "I'm at home" feeling had not happened.
Last night I was pouring some cereal for a simple dinner and then I went back to working on my laptop, and it happened. I felt at home, I felt I was using the things we have at home; it is when you feel you are using a place instead of merely being in it. Today I had the same feeling as I was making breakfast, a cream cheese and tarragon omelet for Oralia and a camembert and tarragon omelet for myself.
Perhaps I got this feeling until now because before yesterday the apartment was a complete disaster, with books and random crap strewn all over the floor. You had to walk carefully to avoid stepping on something, and the plants were in random places and so you had to be even more careful not to hurt them as you walked. But now the plants are in their proper place, the books are in their bookcases, pots and pans and dishes and silverware are where they should be, and the only things left lying on the floor are a few random items that don't really have a fixed place and can just go in any random drawer, or perhaps the trash can.
Last night we burned a bunch of CDs that were pending. We had had a bunch of audio files stored on the computer for a long time, and we had not been able to burn them to CD because I had lent my CD writer to Ricardo. About a week ago we went to his house to pick it up, where his mother greeted us very cheerfully (Ricardo is in Ensenada right now). It feels good to have fewer things that are pending, and also to have more free space on the hard drive...
The World Bank recommends that countries should give 40,000 million dollars to poor countries this year. The U.S.A. is going to spend 400,000 million dollars on defense this year.
What's an order of magnitude between friends?
Friday: We went to watch In the Bedroom. It does have very good acting, but somehow the whole movie didn't seem as satisfying as what the hype would lead you to think.
We also got a new bookcase at the wooden furniture bazaar. Most of the books that were strewn around the floor are now in bookcases. Now they just need organizing.
Saturday: Sleep. Lunch. Sleep. Visited my mother and brother in the evening, and we went to Carlos's house to give him his sanding machine back. Sleep.
Sunday: We went to the Xochimilco plant market.
Plants and pots are very cheap there. We got some beautiful shade-plants for the house.
Toalla, hiedra plateada, (?)
Started the keyboard navigation work on libbonoboui. It is not clear which parts should have what... aren't toolbars supposed to be mouse-only things, with all the functions accessible from the menus anyways?
We went to watch A Beautiful Mind in the evening. Great movie, although (ha ha, the nerd in me complains) I wish they had gone a bit more into game theory and Nash's work. This is not the main point of the movie, though, so it is fine that they left it as it is.
Friday: Annoyingly unproductive day, although I managed to finish the last pieces of the session management tutorial. We went to a little progressive rock festival at the Foro Alicia, but the bands were in general abysmally bad, so we left early.
Saturday: We woke up at noon. Went for some food, and then to move all the remaining things to the new apartment. We thought this would take two or three trips in the car and then about 4 or 5 hours for cleaning the old apartment. It actually took like five trips and 13 hours — we finished cleaning the place at 5:30 in the morning. We were exhausted and went back to the new apartment for bed.
Sunday: Went back to the old apartment to give back the keys to the landlady. Our landlady was a total bitch, complaining all the time about the holes we drilled on the walls for book shelves and such. Afterwards, when the actual guy who administers the building came by, he said that those holes were part of the "normal use" of the apartment and would cause no deductions from our deposit return. Whew.
Back home, more sleep.
Today: Read lots of mail, as way too much stuff seemed to happen over the weekend. In the afternoon we went to see the landlord so that he would give us a check for the deposit return. We should be able to cash it tomorrow afternoon.
Also, stupidly hit my thumb while hammering a nail for one of the pictures on the wall. Blah.
Go backward in time to February 2002.Federico Mena-Quintero <email@example.com> Wed 2002/Aug/14 11:38:32 CDT