Go forward in time to August 2002.
Filling in Escher's Print Gallery. This is just fantastic.
You see the left-wing newspapers complaining about how the president knelt before the Pope and kissed his hand, and how all of his cabinet members and some big businessmen were there as well. You see the right-wing newspapers giving ample coverage to the Pope's visit, explaining in detail the myth of the man who saw the Virgin of Guadalupe for the first time. Some of the major arteries of the city are closed so that the popemobile can go through them, and they are flanked by millions of people who want to barely see an old, very ill man in a white robe behind bulletproof glass.
Happy birthday to me!
We invited my family to our house, and Oralia made a bunch of really delicious and filling pambazos. We then had some cake that my mother brought, an unusual chocolate/mamey flat cake, pretty good.
It is only on very rare ocassions that my mother and father can be together in the same place, and it made me very happy to have them enjoy dinner in the same table.
And yesterday I was reading Leonard Bernstein's conferences and without thinking about it today I put on my Oscar Peterson CD which has Jet Song, from the West Side Story. Music is serendipitous like that.
Words I learned today while reading Leonard Bernstein: alliteration, anaphora, chiasmus. They happen in music, and Bernstein's explanations are fantastic. I wish I could have attended those conferences. It seems you can get them on video. Hmmm.
How to make the perfect hot dog:
We had those for lunch, along with some really good fabada that Oralia's mother had made.
Since my mother turned into a Christian, she has been doing way too much Bible studies. So today I was in a silly mood and phoned her, "Hi, mom! How are your hermeneutic adventures in the exegesis of the canons?". she answered, "Just great, honey, the biggest adventure of my life".
My mom is smart like that.
It is Oralia's mother's birthday, so got a cake and then went to her house in the morning. She had made her delicious tamales the day before, so we had a very good breakfast.
In the afternoon we went to Maru and Hans Petter's house for their wedding party, where Mancha took care of the hilarious ceremony. Saw Joakim, Leo, Øyvind, and the whole Norwegian band happily eating tacos and guzzling beer. Had a fun time.
In the evening we went back to Oralia's mother's house for some cake. Unfortunately, Hugo and Rubén had already left so we did not get to see them.
We have always liked having plants flanking our apartment's door. So when we moved into our current apartment, we put a little plant to the left of our door. It only took a week for the neighbor next door to set up a larger, flashier plant next to her own door. A few weeks afterwards, when we were finishing unpacking our stuff from moving, we found the three little ceramic suns that were hung outside our old apartment, and we hung them on the wall next to our door. Again, a week afterwards the neighbor got a kitschy sun/moon thing and hung it on her door. At some point some of the neighbors upstairs also got plants for their door.
There is a corner in our apartment where the sun shines in the morning and we put wooden boards at the same level as the window sill to put plants on. They look pretty. About two weeks after we did that, our neighbor, whose window faces ours, also put plants on her window.
About a month and a half ago Oralia's mother gave us a beautiful palm-like plant, and we decided to put it next to our door, on the other side of the original plant. Finally, today the neighbor put a second plant next to her door, a little flower arrangement in a small pot, wrapped in foil — obviously one of the arrangements you are allowed to take home from the centers of the tables at garden parties.
Did we instigate an arms race?
Wrote a stupid spew-a-lot-of-diagnostics patch so that I can figure out what's going on with Nautilus and NFS. Sometimes printf() really is your best debugger, sigh.
We saw Minority Report, which is awesome on all counts. Oralia had it figured out before half of the movie was over, yet it kept us on the edge of our seats throughout.
Tried to make an EOG release, but automake plus glib-genmarshal is a bitch. Punted it until I have some more time.
Made molletes for a quick and very late lunch. Afterwards, we went to pick up some photos from the lab, and they turned out quite well — should be scanning them soon. We then went to the Office Depot to look at printers as we want a nice laser for the house. They have cheap lasers with no PostScript or parallel ports (only USB), not-so-cheap ones with both features, and no high-end stuff. It looks like we'll go for a LaserJet 1200, which is nice enough. While browsing around the office supplies store, we found two very pretty ruled notebooks, and we decided to add them to our incorrigibly ever-growing collection of stationery.
In the evening we watched Iris at the new theater near home. It is a little work of art. It is amazing how similar the young and old John Bailey characters are to each other. The editing is flawless, mixing scenes of the young couple's days with their old selves, switching smoothly on something as trivial as opening a door.
Rather unfruitful debugging session with Nautilus and NFS.
Oralia cut my hair in the evening, so I am pretty again.
In the morning we went for tacos de barbacoa in Coyoacán, and then shopping for CDs — got Charlie Parker, Edith Piaf, and the new David Bowie album. We then went to my mother's, and after talking to my brother about movies and we decided to rent two, Pay it Forward and The Green Mile. We had already seen the first one, which is pretty good, and watched it again with my mother. Then we saw The Green Mile, which I had not seen before, and it is hauntingly excellent.
Today we went with Ricardo, Alfonso, and Luis. They picked us up in Luis's new toy, a very pretty 4x4 jeep. We then went to pick up Claudia and went for lunch at a sushi place that was not bad at all; Oralia had maki rolls and I had noodles and tempura. We then drove towards the Centro Ceremonial Otomí, into some dirt side-roads, to test out the 4x4. It is indeed a lot of fun to go on that thing over muddy and inclined ground. We took many pictures, but they aren't developed yet. Later, we found a big boulder on one of the dirt roads, which Paco and Luis had tried to move the last time they went there. We used Luis's climbing ropes to tie it to the jeep and pull it around. The ropes needed re-adjusting many times, but we managed to pull it to the side of the dirt road, facing a large downwards slope. We all then pushed the boulder, which rolled downwards about 20 meters, bumped onto a trunk in the ground, and stopped. Then, the ladies stayed in the jeep because it was cold outside, and us boys went to try to push the boulder farther down. We managed to roll it upside down just once as it was too heavy to push further. After that, we were hungry and drove back. We stopped at a tacos place, drove Claudia back to her home, and then Luis took us to our place.
Got my Rollei 35 back from the shop again, and it does seem to work now. However, one can only tell after developing the first roll. They did give it a good cleaning in addition to the repairs, which is good.
We finally watched Attack fo the Clones. It is much, much better than Episode I, which left me with little eagerness to see the next in the series. Now I am actually looking forward to seeing Episode III.
Doc Searls has a great slide show.
The full text for Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs is now online!
I now have a patch for this silliness. The right way to fix it would definitely be for Nautilus to paint its stuff by hand instead of creating a custom style. Or at least to have a way for GTK+ to notify you about theme changes regardless of whether you have set a user style or not.
We had Ricardo and his brother Alfonso for lunch. It is always great to see Ricardo, my old friend from junior high school. He gave us one of his photograph prints as a gift, and it is of the interior of the National Post Office Building. When he took the picture we were on a little photographic trip around the historical center of the city, and that was a year and a half ago.
Yesterday I helped the HP-UX dudes with a Gdk-pixbuf bug. The RGB 565 case for little endian server -> big endian client was not working. After some bit twiddling it is fine. This is good, as now all four cases are fixed (lsb->lsb, lsb->msb, msb->lsb, msb->msb). The RGB 555 cases have not been tested as extensively, I think, so there may still be bugs lurking in them.
I've been fixing the way Nautilus handles EelBackground to set the background color of any number of widgets. The stupid thing defaults to hardcoded colors rather than using the GTK+ theme's colors as a fallback.
GDB under Linux really does not like to cooperate when debugging threaded programs.
Started going through Bach's little preludes and fugues once again. Why does it feel so good to play Bach?
In the morning a SUV crashed into the phone post on the corner of our street. It looks like the driver swerved off to avoid hitting another car, but this second car just ran away.
Went to visit my mother. We looked through old family albums and other random stuff. Afterwards we went to visit Oralia's parents.
At midnight, got a phone call from Luis Javier. It is great to hear from him, but he also had a piece of bad news, which is that Alexandra's father passed away. After the shock of hearing that, we talked about Luis's environmental modeling work and about the suckiness, for him, of being in the U.K.
We made a big lunch today: tortilla soup, chicharrón en salsa verde, bean soup, and nopales.
Started fixing a simple bug in Nautilus, just to discover that Damon already had a fix for it. Argh. Went looking for more stuff to fix.
We had white rice with potato chunks and veal in chile pasilla sauce for lunch. It was soooooo good.
And for dinner we had eggs with the leftover sauce from lunch, and raspberry and cream cheese crepes for dessert. Cooking is so pleasant when our kitchen is not a mess...
Removed the stupid preferences dialog from EOG. The code responsible for it was so convoluted and broken it deserved scrapping. Left only the View menu in place, which works nicely.
Had some delicious chicken thighs in mustard sauce and red noodle soup for lunch. Mmmmmmm.
I went to pick up my Rollei 35 from the repair shop. When I tested it, though, it didn't work. They did fix the film advance lever and the shutter does open now. However, the shutter does not close back and the shutter speed dial is stuck. Sent it back for more repairs, sigh.
Afterwards, failed to find a battery for our car in the three stores that I visited. What a waste of time.
Miguel notified me about Pepe Barberán's death. This is very sad news.
Debugging Nautilus has been an exercise in frustration. The internal APIs have no documentation and the gnome-vfs public ones are not much better. I think I have a reasonable grip on how things work now, but I still haven't been able to fix the bugs assigned to me.
It seems that when buying fresh (non-grated) parmesan cheese, you do get what you pay for. The chunk we have right now was expensive even by cheese standards, but it is damn good.
No rehearsal today. Chucho called to say that there was no one in the rehearsal studio to unlock the door for us.
It is better to stay at home with Oralia, anyways.
I need to get more Ginastera CDs.
Yesterday we went to a dreadfully boring family reunion in Cuernavaca, a garden party sort of thing, intended so that second cousins would meet each other or somesuch. It turns out that not very many of the cousins who would be around our age were there, so we pretty much just ate the food, which was good, talked to my dad for a bit, who was a bit tipsy, looked at very old family pictures, which were interesting in a formal-portrait sort of way, and then left when the overall consensus was that the reunion was over.
I do not really dislike family reunions. But this one looked like a lot of posing was going on. You have the aunts and uncles whom you never get to see and thus you have nothing in common with them. You do not remember their names and they do not remember yours, so having every such reunion be a monotony of "this is such and such, and he does this and that", over and over again, with the same people every time, seems rather pointless. You have the aunts well past middle-age who wear big hair and pasty make-up in layers thicker than millimeter, which make it disgusting when you have to greet them and kiss them on the cheek. You have the uncles who are bored and keep asking the waiters for coke-and-rhums, or those who are already drunk. There are the hired waiters who, bless their thankless jobs, attend you with faked smiles that turn into real smiles when you let them know, explicitly or with subtle body language, that you are as out of place in that reunion as them.
Oralia was right in pointing out that I looked like Saki's Reginald, and I certainly felt that way.
After leaving we headed to Tepoztlán, a small town near Cuernavaca, and rented a room in a cozy little family hotel. Today, Sunday, we had a good breakfast in the marketplace and then wandered around the town for most of the day, being too lazy to climb the Tepozteco mountain. We browsed through the crafts market and all the weird little shops. Tepoztlán is a haven for new-age nodders and their hand reading, psychic healing, crystal gazing, zodiac contemplation habits. So we also got some good laughs at stores that advertise themselves as being "cosmic portals", or those that will give you soul massages while burning oversweet-smelling candles and playing bad sitar and soft synthesizer loops. But behind that façade designed for ignorant tourists, you have a lovely little town with good food and friendly people and a mountain that gives you a nice workout when you climb it.
It was relaxing.
On our way back we stopped in Tres Marías for some quesadilla action. This is a tiny village that makes its living out of selling food to people on the highway, and there are many food stands next to the road. While we ate, two stupid yuppies with huge and noisy motorcycles started going up and down the road making wheelies. They were being extremely noisy and managed to piss off practically everyone in the town. After a while one of them lost control, overturned, smashed his motorcycle, and got injured rather badly. Everyone in the town was delighted, and we could eat in peace, at ease and knowing that we could trust natural selection at its best.
Today is our first wedding anniversary! And I am completely thrilled to live with the most wonderful woman on earth.
To celebrate, we had lunch at El Cambalache, where of course we stuffed ourselves.
Finished writing a beautiful GConf schema file for the new GEdit. With a couple of Emacs macros, it was not that painful.
Last night I started going through the Beringer piano exercises again, chapter two, progressive movement of the hand. I need to exercise my little and ring fingers, which give me trouble when playing a white key with the ring finger and the adjacent black key with the little finger. My ring fingertips are too fat, possibly as a result of me having bitten my fingernails for a long time, and they tend to get stuck between the black keys if I am not careful. Sigh.
Had a two-hour conference call with the rest of the Sun/GNOME 2.0 team. It was tiring but useful. I need a phone with a headset.
Last night's rehearsal was great. We only did composition, improvising on a theme by Leo, and many interesting snippets came out. I was inspired or something, and while I was not quite Keith Emerson, my hands just felt nicely in control of scales, ornaments, counterpoint, and everything.
Today we had lunch with Oralia's friends Dominga, Carolina and her daughters, Salma and Rebeca. Dominga, a grown lady who really has gone through life, was delighted to see the Seville photos that we got from the lab the other day. Carolina was mostly busy in the kitchen, and the little children were amused by yours truly. I let them make noise on the keyboard, taught them how to sort a pack of cards, played hide-and-seek with them, and beat their efforts at making funny faces.
Not all people are happy in Spain. In particular, many gypsies have little hope of being anything but street beggars. We gave some money to this woman and asked if we could take her picture. She said we would need to give her a bit more money if we wanted to do that, so we did.
My last dream before waking up today was of our band having to play in a small room with a rudimentary stage, all in dim red and blue and yellow lighting, which I could see through the only door in the room. We would play an improvisation on some theme as if we were a jazz band. Somehow I knew I would not be playing the keyboard but rather the guitar, and I was nervous because I am not a guitar player. We entered the room and climbed on the stage which looked like a big box on the floor to make a platform. Two or three people formed the audience and they were sitting cross-legged on the floor. The other band members had not been able to find a guitar for me and instead they gave me a short board of wood with strings made of shoe laces of different colors, thicker boot laces for the low strings, tennis laces in the middle, and thin shoe laces for the higher strings. Some of them seemed to glow in the dark, like green tennis shoe laces under black lights. I was afraid that the whole thing would be out of tune and I would have to tune each individual shoe lace. Fortunately, after the other guys started playing I struck the first few strings lightly and they felt just fine and perfectly in tune. The lower strings sounded like an electric bass and the higher strings like the notes on the lower register of a piano. I started playing just the fundamental notes of the harmony over a theme that was being played on the guitar, but instead of a guitar sound it sounded like a glockenspiel. When I tried making chords on the upper shoe strings, they were like arpeggiated chords on a piano and I thought what great tension they must have to sound like that. I was doing big scales and tremendous chords and we were all playing wonderfully, and all the time I was thinking to myself how on earth could I have learned to play my wood and shoe laces instrument so quickly and so well. Then the dream ended after we stopped playing and the two or three people in the audience started clapping, smiling and cheering and all tinged in red and blue and yellow.
I woke up and grabbed some music paper and wrote down what I could remember of the piece we were playing in the dream. It is just a sketch and it is rather simple, but at least it is worth of some exploration. I wonder what the surrealists would think.
Go backward in time to June 2002.Federico Mena-Quintero <email@example.com> Mon 2002/Sep/09 13:16:07 CDT