Go forward in time to October 2003.
This weekend we made an improptu trip to Xalapa. We arrived on Saturday morning. We met with Miguel Ángel and Lucy, who kindly picked us up at the bus station. They took us for breakfast at La Rotonda, a place where they sell delicious gorditas and picadas. I had a gordita de longaniza y nopales, which was quite filling. After that, they took us to look at several houses that were available for rent. It is not likely that we'll be renting any of the ones we saw, as we are not moving to Xalapa until January, but we were able to get a better idea of which parts of the city we like.
After looking at houses for a while, Miguel Ángel and Lucy dropped us off at our hotel and they left towards Cozamaloapan to take Lucy's mother back to her home. We were really tired from the long ride the night before, so we took a long nap. Xalapa is a rainy city, and it rained a whole lot while we were asleep — so we slept like babies. We woke up in the afternoon and decided to go out for food. We went downtown, which is a lovely area, and had a late lunch at La Fonda, a very good and cheap restaurant that overlooks one of the main streets. I had a huge chile en nogada, and Oralia had some equally big enchiladas. Afterwards, we rolled towards a nice cafe by the Ágora de la Ciudad, a cultural center. We had a coffee, and then went back to the hotel. I read for a bit while playing with Oralia's hair and she naturally fell fast asleep.
Yesterday morning we had breakfast at La Parroquia, which is not really the same place as the one in Veracruz. I had a plate of very good huevos ahogados, or poached eggs in tomato sauce, and Oralia had molletes, or toast French bread with refried beans and melted cheese. Then we went to El Dique, an area of the city with three artificial lakes, and looked around there for a while.
In the afternoon we caught up with Miguel Ángel and the rest of his family. They took us to the town of Xico, and the nearby waterfalls of Texolo. The river had a big current as it is the rainy season, so the waterfalls are big and beautiful.
Photos by Oralia. Note the observation area on the top right corner of the waterfall picture; with it you can get a sense of scale for the whole thing.
Upon returning to Xalapa, we went to the bus station to get our tickets back to Mexico City. Unfortunately all the buses were sold out until midnight, so we got our tickets and went back to Miguel Ángel's house. We all talked for quite a while about their GULEV conference anecdotes and the trouble they had organizing everything. Miguelito and Francisco are the children of Miguel Ángel and Lucy, and they were very excited to have visitors at home — they offered us lime water, candy out of their private piñata stash, and potato chips. Oralia was delighted to be with them; she says they are the cutest and most educated children she knows. Eventually we drove back to the bus station and said good-bye to our hosts.
The bus ride back to Mexico City was uneventful and we could actually get some sleep. We arrived in the early morning and took the Metro back home, but it was surprisingly crowded for the time of the day. It is like the whole city is already alive by 5:30 in the morning, while we normally are deep asleep at that time...
Real estate in Xalapa is so much cheaper than Mexico City that it's ridiculous. There is an absolutely enormous house, three bedrooms, 2+2/2 bathrooms, huge kitchen, huge dining/living room, a small and large extra room, and garden with fruit trees, all for rent at MXP 5000 a month. In Mexico City we pay MXP 5200 for a two-bedroom apartment that gets very little sunlight.
We don't want to start renting something that is so huge because we wouldn't really be able to use that much space. Just getting stuff to fill it would become a compulsion. So we are thinking of renting a small house at first; once we have settled in and made good sense of the city, we'll look for an actual house that we can buy. But then again, Miguel Ángel was telling us about how cheap it is to build your own house in Xalapa that we may go crazy and build a really cool home.
Jody's family had their second baby!
Oralia got her diploma for the teacher's course last night. Although the course structure sucked, it is great that she now has the necessary papers to be a teacher.
I finally got off my ass, mixed one packet of XTOL, and developed two rolls from last year. I'll scan them tonight. I thought the fixer was too old to use, but it seemed to work fine with about three minutes's worth of extra fixing time. I seem to have overdeveloped the film a bit; serves me right for not paying attention to the clock and thermometer. Fortunately, the interesting shots seem to have come out fine — they were slightly underexposed when I took them, so overdevelopment did help there.
The clever mechanism that pushes the film forward in one of the plastic loading reels is not working anymore. I had to push the film in by hand. This is not a hassle at all, but it is slightly more inconvenient than just twisting the reel back and forth as usual.
I used one of the remaining two 1-liter packets of XTOL. The A part of the mix had caked in its envelope as usual, absorbing humidity from who knows where. I had to cut up the shiny envelope and scrape the mess carefully. Fortunately, it was no trouble at all to dissolve it in water.
A pattern language for architecture and urbanism. This is just fantastic. As Oralia and I will be moving to Xalapa in January, this pattern language is very good food for thought regarding the house we want to buy.
Ditched my changes to libwnck from yesterday and started on a cleaner design. We actually want to keep the application objects as the things that maintain groups of windows given their group leader — this is useful to be able to display per-group icons. But we need a new WnckClassGroup object that groups windows based on their window class.
I think I am beginning to understand Shostakovich's second violin concerto. It shares quite a few things with the second cello concerto. I need to read Shosty's memoirs soon...
Mr. Zucchi left today, and it is a long flight back for him.
I'm fixing #76159. Libwnck uses a window's group leader to determine how to group it. However, this doesn't work for old-sk00l applications like Emacs which do stupid things like using a different group leader for each window. GNOME 1.4 used the res_class part of the WM_CLASS property, so windows were grouped properly. Why libwnck uses a completely different method is beyond me, as it seems that users were happy with the way things worked in 1.4. Maybe it is the fault of attention-deficit teenagers, or maybe I'm just an old crank.
Yesterday we went to Superama Revolución to get sushi. As usual, it is amazing that this one particular supermarket sushi can be so good. The fish melts in your mouth, the rice has the perfect texture, and the portions are big. We ate the sushi while watching Woody Allen's A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, which made for a nice Sunday movie.
The other day I had a dream where we were walking along the highway. You could peel off the painted lines on the road because they were made of bacon.
<NotZed> blog sounds like a constipated toilet experience to me
So many things to describe, so little time to write them down.
Last weekend JRB and Zana arrived, and on Sunday we took all the tourists to the pyramids of Teotihuacán. The site is really beautiful during the rainy season, as you can see a lot of green once you climb to the big stone structures. The temple of Quetzalcóatl is being restored, so it should be awesome once they are done with it.
Neither Oralia nor I had made the trip to the pyramids for several years, so it was quite pleasant to go again. It is funny to see people huff and puff their lungs out when going up the stairs to the big pyramid of the Sun.
On Tuesday afternoon we drove to Veracruz for the 3rd Congreso GULEV. I gave my tutorial on GTK+ Drag and Drop on Wednesday, and it went pretty well. It got cut short of the end, though, because the conference center closes at lunchtime — for some reason all the talks that day were delayed by an hour and a half, so the schedule was all messed up. I should put up the presentation material and the cute little demo programs very soon.
The drive to Veracruz started off very well. We stopped in Puebla for lunch, and Arturo took us to a great restaurant. I had pork in huitlacoche sauce which was just delicious, while Oralia had enchiladas in three different kinds of sauces: pipián rojo, pipián verde, and mole poblano. Our tourists had chiles en nogada, and Mike Wolf was brave enough to have cow brains soup. Everything was really good.
Going further, though, we went through a thick fog in the mountain road that leads down to Orizaba. Part of the road there is being repaired, so it had no lane stripes painted yet. We drove slowly for an unpleasant while, but fortunately the highway past Orizaba is straight again, and there was no fog.
Veracruz is a lovely city, as usual, and we had our share of picadas, lecheros, champolas, and good seafood while there. Yesterday morning we went for a tour at the fort of San Juan de Ulúa. Shortly after the Spanish conquest of Mexico, it was built as storage place for goods to be sent to Spain. Then it was a prison and the place where the Inquisition tortured people. Then a new part was built as a palace, and it ended up being the presidential palace for a while during the time of Benito Juárez. Afterwards, it functioned as a prison until the time of Venustiano Carranza. These days it is being restored as a historic site. It is a very impressive set of buildings, especially the part that was the prison. That one is built of coral stone, which absorbs a lot of humidity, and thus was perfect for a thoroughly uncomfortable torture site.
We finally found out why La Parroquia, Veracruz's most famous restaurant, has such fantastically good coffee-with-milk: the family that runs the restaurant has its own ranch, and the milk they use is very thick and creamy, not like the stuff that one normally gets in supermarkets. There are still a few milkmen in Mexico City who deliver that kind of milk, so we will have to find some.
We drove back last night, and luckily the weather was nice through all the way.
In other news, I finished reading William Golding's Rites of Passage last weekend, which was very satisfying.
I've been doing some cleanups in GtkFileChooser. They are not very visible in the user interface right now, except for the following changes to the file list. First, it now has a Last Modified column instead of a Size column — file sizes are not terribly useful, but you often say, "I can't remember which document I was working on, but I know it was last Saturday". Second, directories do get displayed in the file list now, in boldface — we will need this if we kill the directory tree.
Oralia's cabbage soup with habanero peppers is really good stuff.
Saturday: We took Mr. Zucchi to Coyoacán for breakfast, whereupon we asked him if his tacos de pancita were any good. Our beloved Australian replied that they were deliciously awful. Then we went for our fix of strawberry frappe milkshakes.
We took the Saturday-crowded subway downtown to go to the Josef Koudelka photo exhibition at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. It was pretty good, but also rather depressing. The panoramic pictures are very interesting, especially the vertical triptychs. Then we took the Saturday-afternoon-crowded subway back. I couldn't ram myself into the subway car before the doors closed, so I caught up with Oralia and Michael in the next station.
In the evening we went to Leo and Paola's house, where they threw a little party. Joakim, Violeta, Hans Petter, and Maru were there. Leo made some pretty good pizza and cocktails, and reasonable quantities of alcohol were ingested. Maru reminded me of the first GUADEC in Paris and the cute little restaurant where a bunch of hackers had dinner that day. How times have changed. Later, more friends of the crazy Norwegians arrived and we all went to a party near our house, but it was ridiculously overcrowded and loud. We didn't know anyone there, so Oralia and I just left home. Zucchi stayed, though, getting plastered with a certain soft-spoken Norwegian.
Sunday: Woke up late. Our favorite barbacoa place would have surely run out of food, so we went to La Polar to have some birria. It is the first time that any of us had had it, and it was rather good. Nothing spectacular, but it gives you a nice stomach-warming feel. A certain naughty Norwegian had told us that it was the perfect hangover food; no one of us really had hangovers, though.
After breakfast, Oralia and I wanted to go to watch Amen. We thought that it was in French and so Mr. Zucchi wouldn't understand that or the Spanish subtitles, so we dropped him off near the Museo de Arte Moderno. We went to see the movie, and it was rather underwhelming. The subject matter is such that it could have been a fantastic movie, but it just fails to grab you.
In the evening my cauterized skin really started hurting, as the old skin is flaking off quickly and exposing the new tissue. I applied some of the anesthetic ointment that the doctor recommended, and it burnt for an unbearable short while, after which the pain just stopped. Oralia went to the pharmacy to get some pain reliever syrup, and it also seems to have worked. Thankfully, I could sleep very well after that.
Today: Went to the Novell office in Mexico City to talk to the HR person; it went pretty well. It is reassuring to finally get proper health insurance.
John Adams' Century Rolls is amazingly good. It is the kind of album you can have on repeat all day. I'll have to go on an Adams shopping spree.
Last night we went for dinner to Taro, our favorite Japanese restaurant. Oralia had gyoza and a delicious shrimp salad, and Mr. Zucchi and I shared a totally ass-kicking, spicy octopus entree and a pretty good shabu-shabu. Everything was delicious, as it is usual for that place.
My visit to the dentist yesterday yielded a long discussion on Buddhist topics; the dentist is a Buddhist and she was talking to Oralia about all sorts of interesting things. Meanwhile I just lay down with my mouth open.
I am working on the new GtkFileChooser widget. This is what the prototype UI looks like right now:
It will improve during the next few days, moving closer to the new OS X file selector.
On Saturday morning we went to pick up Oralia's results from her teacher's course. She did pretty well, which makes both of us happy. Then we went for a quick breakfast, and came back home pretty tired. Mr. Zucchi wanted to go out while we took a nap, so we gave him instructions of how to get to the metro station nearest to our house, and from there to the city center. It looks like he got to see the cathedral and even went as far as the Café de Tacuba.
In the afternoon I met with Fabián, Guadalupe, and Adelina, from San Juan del Río in Querétaro. They are trying to get their school to use free software rather than Windows boxes. They are also starting a pretty cool project to integrate speech recognition, speech synthesis, and telephony to make it easy for deaf people to use a telephone. A computer would perform speech recognition on the incoming audio from the phone and display the text on the screen; the deaf user would then type back something which would go through the speech synthesis engine, and the resulting audio would be sent to the telephone.
This has other interesting applications, like making an deaf accessibility plug-in for GnomeMeeting which would translate the audio into text. For the hard-core l33t trendy types, you could also call from your cell phone into your computer, and have your mumbly and incoherent speech translated into weblog entries.
In the evening we picked up my little sister Carla from my father's house and we went to watch Pirates of the Caribbean. AaaarrRRRrRRRrrrr!
While we were driving to the theater, my sister fully interrogated Mr. Zucchi about his life, including whether there are kangaroos and koalas where he lives. She was pretty surprised to learn that you can actually eat kangaroo meat.
Yesterday we went for breakfast to Coyoacán, as usual, and then we drove downtown to visit the National Museum of Anthropology. Going there is always a pleasure, even though yesterday it was unusually crowded. Some of the pieces were missing because they are on tour in the Aztecs exhibition in London. Michael was especially amused at the Rabbit God of Pulque, an alcoholic drink made of fermented cactus juice. Apparently the Mexicas said that very drunk people were in a state of "four hundred rabbits", who had taken over their bodies.
Next weekend we should be going to the pyramids of Teotihuacán, so it should be an interesting trip.
I must have caught a cold last night, because today I am sneezing like crazy and my nose runs a lot.
Go backward in time to August 2003.Federico Mena-Quintero <email@example.com> Mon 2003/Sep/01 12:26:56 CDT