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Christmas 2007 trip roundup

I spent some days in Spain these past weeks. For the first time, I didn’t tell anyone I was going there; call me antisocial if you want, but I was slightly stressed and didn’t want to think of timetables, meetings, arrangements and all that.

To make it even better, I chose to flight a week before Christmas, on an absurd day and hour: Sunday between afternoon and evening, and I think I will always try to repeat that decision. The check in queues were quite fast (maybe five minutes) and I passed the passport control and security check quite quickly. If it wasn’t because I had a laptop and had to take it out of the bag and place it in the tray and blah blah I would have been in the waiting lounge 4 minutes ago. The rest was quite smooth, excepting a couple of Spaniards which had been in London for the past week and already hated it and the weather.

Apart from moaning about that during the full length of the flight, she decided to adopt an strange giving-birth position, by reclining in her seat and putting her knees against my seat back, without asking if I minded to be shaken and pushed forward, of course. I tried to let her know or to demonstrate that she wasn’t behaving, by looking back at her, but apparently she didn’t notice (or didn’t want to notice). So I finally had to stand up and asked her kindly if she minded to stop doing that, because when she put the knees that way, I was quite uncomfortable. She looked at me with a questioning face and mumbled something as to justify what she was doing, instead of saying Oh sorry! I didn’t notice I was being such an annoying passenger!. And then I proceeded to calmly explain her that because the seat was so thin, like a very, very thin cushion, I not only was being shaken and pushed forward, but I also could feel her knees kind of kicking my back. And then I said thanks and sat down again, luckily she removed her knees from where they were (not without moaning about that in whispers, of course).

Luckily too, my suitcase hadn’t been lost and I got it with my load of presents. I think my idea of putting an sticker on it to differentiate it from all the other samsonite suitcases was a very good (although almost two years late) idea.

In the following days I did several amazing things:

Fogassa

First one was having some fogassa for breakfast. A fogassa is a typical sweet product which has a texture in between cake and bread, and is topped with almonds and nuts, and usually some sugar. The dough has also seeds which give it its distinctive flavour, mostly comin. I hadn’t eaten this for years! I almost felt sorry about eating it :-)

Tried to renew my ID card

I went to the police station, scared in advance (after having had to stand those horrible queues in Seville for renewing doob’s ID card), but it was totally unnecessary. I not only got an appointment for that day but I also couldn’t do anything because since I’m registered as resident in London, I can’t renew my ID without a residency certificate which the consulate has to emit. Following the officer advice, I sent them an e-mail asking for those details that very day, which happened to be a complete loss of time since I got the reply today, that is, almost two weeks later. I’ll give a try next time I go to Spain, I guess.

Visiting an old hermitage (and finding a derelict house)

I had that feeling of the hermitage being far away, up the hill, but London’s distances make everything appear little. I began to walk and even if I stopped for taking pictures several times, I was on top of the hill in around 20 minutes. My main intention was to make a panorama picture of the view, but it was very foggy and it looked more like a romantic watercolour; the mountains at the end of the valley could hardly be distinguished.

The best of all was that from the top of the hill I saw what looked as an abandoned house, so I thought that it would be cool to have a look when going back, since the path was close to the house. It was a marvelously neglected house, actually. The roof was falling or had already fallen in most of the rooms, burglars had removed most of the doors and left only the ugly ones, but mysteriously they didn’t touch the beds, which were left there, as well as the mattresses. They were pretty much rotten and destroyed but they hadn’t been moved from their place. I didn’t dare to go to the upper floor since I didn’t want to have any accident.

The house had its name painted on the front door, and I tried to find some information about it but it seems like nobody has mentioned it ever in the internets. I could probably get some info if I went to the official registers and archives but I think that would be a little overkill, and I think I am not that curious.

It is a real pity since it looked like it was a very nice looking house; one could still see the faded decoration in some of the walls and it was naive but had a distinction touch. Mystery!

Getting a cold

Instead of getting it after I go to Spain, this time I chose to do it during the trip. But I acted quickly and gave myself an overdose of vitamin C and various vegetables and I managed to recover in a few days.

La follonera

I was somehow attacked by an old woman while waiting at a supermarket’s till to pay! She came to the queue a minute after I had arrived and tried to fool me so that I let her go first. The woman which was currently paying at the till probably couldn’t read or write since she offered her open wallet to the cashier when having to pay and asked her to write a “For my loved Blah” card for sticking it to the big Serrano Ham she had just bought. I was so placidly waiting and she began to nervously shake herself behind me, reducing the courtesy distance between she and me more and more, since I had blocked her the access to the belt where the products are placed.

The illiterate woman finally left and I began to put my items on the belt, when suddenly another woman came asking for a refund. The crazy woman behind me, which I’ll call La Follonera from now on, began to pant and moan and complain about having to wait one minute (all of this action had happened in a very short amount of time). She even began to push my items forward in the belt so that she could put her stupid presents in the belt, as if she was trying to evidence that she was in a hurry.

I finally asked her to calm down and wait as we all were doing and she began to shout, for our surprise:

WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG?! HUH? It’s you which has to move your products instead of being stuck in the middle!!!!

The cashier, another girl which was behind La Follonera, and me, looked at her, completely puzzled by that sudden expansion of rage and absurd reasonings. I quietly told her:

Push. You have pushed me. That’s what you’ve done.

… and then proceeded to continue bagging my items, as the cashier had began to scan them. La Follonera kept complaining and moaning, maybe more annoyed by the fact that nobody paid her attention than because I told her to wait.

It’s even more funny that I asked things to her politely and she spoke to me in a very rude way. She looked as if she had decided beforehand that she was going to get angry with someone that day, whichever was the reason, just because she felt like having a fight.

Windowsless \o/

I also took the opportunity to upgrade the family computer to Ubuntu 7.10. It was running Windows 2000 and I was delaying any change because I know it’s hard to change habits but it never worked properly and I was feeling worse and worse about the idea of the computer running windows.

I am very happy about the change, I might write more about that. Best is I’m not the only one which is happy with the new system!

Hormigas

On the 24th December I stumbled upon the only half decent TV programs I saw in the Spanish TV for years, Hormigas and Eva Hache (or something like that). The Hormigas show was quite entertaining (the little muppets were very nice too) and the parody of the King’s speech by Eva Hache was quite hilarious; after that, it turned to be slightly annoying and somehow forced.

Tripping down the memory lane

Concerned about the longevity of writable cd’s and even more about the data in them, I decided to go through my CD-R cd’s and copy the relevant stuff to the computer’s hard disk. In the process I found some songs and other jewels which I may publish or not but that I had almost forgotten about! :-)

Sun!!!

I think it had been raining or cloudy the 90% of days but we finally had a sunny day on the 25th. We headed to the country to have a bit of a sunny green grasp. At last!

Everything was fairly wet yet but the sun cheered us up a lot. Specially me, I had left a sunny London just to be greeted by a cloudy Valencia, boooh!

Back into London

The Spanish picaresque manifested itself again in the Airport’s metro station, with lots of people travelling to the airport with a ticket which was valid for one zone only (the airport is in zone 2) and complaining about having to pay an extra. Amazingly, the station staff was simply letting everybody out without asking them to pay the right fare.

We had some refreshments in the coffee house with views to the runway and I finally went to my gate, where I could assist to the total disgrace of the people which had bought that infamous speedy boarding and were placed in a bus for going to the plane, instead of directly boarding the plane as one could expect. The result is that they paid more and ended up being treated as a normal passenger in group A.

The arrival into Gatwick was chaotic, there were people filling all the space right after the UK border control. It seems they were waiting for their baggage belt to be announced but it hadn’t happened and there were the people from two or three planes waiting in a place which isn’t ready for so many people.

And do not forget the kids – because this is such a family holiday, there were kids everywhere. There were zombie kids which didn’t notice they had stumbled upon you, then the kids which tried to get underneath oneself (very bad idea if you ask me, my legs are quite short), and the best of all: the kids riding the handrail in the escalators and the ones which blocked the exit at the top of the escalator.

There was even a woman saying whose child is this? where are their parents?. Total confusion!

Fortunately my suitcase came quite early again (it might be the sticker influx – it has a smile legend on it) and I could escape to Victoria – which even felt relaxed after all this crazy confusion!

Merry comments to you!

By popular demand, comments are here for the blog posts, pictures and songs! :-)

I have also been changing some things in the songs section (mainly the songs list which is nicer to browse now).

By the way, I found some lost songs in old cd’s and will add them here as I clean them up (putting titles, converting to MP3 and so on). Isn’t it exciting? I thought they were lost forever and unexpectedly they are still there!

Next time you feel undecided about making backups, remember about this ;-)

Barbaritat Valenciana

Normalment quan parlo amb la gent d’ací i troben d’on sóc, se’ls dibuixa un somriure ràpidament (aahh, Velènsie!), com recordant els cels blaus, els colors vius, l’intensitat de la llum, i probablement també el pedal que es van agafar, amb sangría o potser servesa a la espanyola (barata i potent).

I jo, potser per punyetera, potser perquè no puc escoltar una mentida sense tindre el desig de desmentir-la, perque no m’agraden gens les mentides, em disposo quasi immediatament a desmuntar aquesta imatge que se’ls ha format gràcies a haver viscut en la nostra terreta només un parell de dies. Almes càndides…

Per exemple, als que només coneixen la València de la ciutat de les arts i de les ciències, m’agrada adreçar-los a unes fotos que vaig fer els díes que vaig estar aquest passat Setembre. Per a mí, una metàfora claríssima1: com es deixa morir l’interior mentre maquillem l’exterior per a que tot semble molt bonico.

També m’agrada parlar-los del soroll. Als que viuen en Espanya els pareix que estic parlant de coses d’altre planeta. Soroll? No tinc cap problema d’aquestos jo!

Ja! Només tindrien que viure una setmana fora per saber el que és el silenci, el respecte pels demés. El civisme.

No puc deixar de recordar aqueixa nit de dimecres en que em va tocar aguantar el festival de rock del barri, des de les sis de la vesprada fins les dues de la matinada ben pasades, tenint un examen al dia següent. Em vaig enrecordar de molta gent aqueixa nit. Em vaig tornar a recordar al 2005, quan ja vivia a Londres, concretament just a un dels carrers pels que passa el Carnaval de Notting Hill. Eren les 22:00 hores i no es sentien només que els xiu-xiu’s dels que netejaven el carrer. I em preguntava, amb no certa pena, per què no és acò posible a València?

I vas fent memòria: pasdobles a les 6 del matí, traques a les 7, petardos per ací i per allí, soroll d’obres (tot está sempre en obres, tan bona és la qualitat que ho tenen que refer tot a totes hores), festes populars que es converteixen en martiri generalitzat amb el consentiment tàcit de les autoritats (eh, és que són festes, que nem a fer nosaltres?).

El tema de la llengua és prou complicat d’explicar, bàsicament per la estupidesa del plantejament. És molt divertit perquè quan els expliques que a Espanya hi han províncies i cada una pot tindre el seu llenguatge pero totes pertanyen a Espanya, et diuen: i aixo no és como el Regne Unit? I tu penses, doncs sí, es una bona comparació. Amb la diferència de que el govern d’Anglaterra no es dedica a llençar verí contra el govern de Escòcia a la primera ocasió amb l’argument de que parlen un anglés que no els agrada, i coses així.

Per supost que hi ha diferències, però no llegeixes a propòsit d’elles tots els dies al periòdic. Potser, als acudits. I ja podriem fer el mateix a València, en compte de trobar enemistats ón no hi ha res més que diferències culturals, podriem acceptar-les i apreciar-les, i si cal, riure de elles sanament.

Lamentablement, hi ha prou gent que s’ha adonat de que la polèmica dona pasta, i ahi els tens fusant la merda sempre que ténen ocasió.

Ara li ha tocat a TV3. Benvolguda TV3! Què seria de mi sense TV3? No entendria ni una paraula de català. Gràcies a eixos repetidors pirates que Acció Nacionalista del País Valencià paga de la seua butxaca, TV3 es veu (o veia) a València, i jo vaig aprendre català2. No cal ni recordar que Canal 9, la televisió de tots els valencians, mai en la vida ha servit per ensenyar res – com a molt, merda populista als programes amb més audiència, és a dir, la Tòmbola i succedanis, on precisament no es parlava, i molt menys en valencià.

I com pareix que això de difondre punts de vista alternatius no els mola, doncs han decidit que TV3 no s’ha de veure a la Comunitat mai més. Així que s’han posat a tancar repetidors per a impedir la difusió d’aquestes idees malignes que els catalans tracten de difondre. No he seguit la història massa en detall, bàsicament perquè hui en dia no crec que la tele tinga tanta importància com abans, però hi ha un altre punt que m’agrada destacar: en les negociacions, van dir que no tancarien els repetidors “a canvi de que canal 9 es puguera veure en Catalunya“. JA JA JA! Quan vaig llegir aixó, no podia deixar de riure.

Però si Canal 9 no la volem ni nosaltres! És com el software que et ve quan compres un ordinador, una cosa anquilosada, imposada a la força que no serveix per a res més que per a molestar. És més: acceptaria amb molt de gust que per motius d’austeritat econòmica la tancaren.

I ja dic que hui en dia (anava a escriure nowadays!), la televisió no té tanta influència com podria tindre uns quants anys abans – per exemple, quan jo estava aprenent. Ara be, també dubto que la tecnologia estigui tan estesa com per a compensar aquesta desaparició, i parle des de la ignorància més absoluta en el que respecta a la implantació i oferta de la televisió digital a Espanya, que per a mi pareix la alternativa més òbvia a totes aquestes discusions irrelevants sobre antenes i repetidors.

Per a rematar, llegiu per què un tal Rambla, de la colla aquesta que es dedica a fusar la merda, s’ha mosquejat per què la TV3 ha tret una pancarta que llegia BARBARITAT VALENCIANA. Les veritats, quin mal que fan!

Us acompanye en el sentiment! I us invito també a no tindre televisió, tal i com nosaltres fem. Per al que fan…

Nota: foto de la pancarta treta del senyor Can Carrasca i la altra imatge dels comentaris en eixe post.

1 Potser ni tan sols metàfora, més be una bosinà en tota la cara.

2 I també vaig descobrir la existència de la meua amada Via Laietana!

Freesound needs your help

Freesound, the big samples database, has grown in size and popularity dramatically – and they require your help for keeping it up. So they are basically looking for mirrors. From their webpage:

The Music Technology Group of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona is seeking mirrors for the Freesound project. The Freesound project’s user base has grown to nearly a half million users, and the bandwidth requirements of the site have exceeded the capacity of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Therefore, we are seeking help from other public institutions or private enterprises who have available server space and excess bandwidth.

Although (unfortunately) I’m just an occasional user of Freesound I really think it’s a great project, and deserves to be supported. They just need a minimum of 50GB disk space, which for nowadays standards is quite cheap, plus some excess bandwidth. I would gladly lend them some space if I had a dedicated server, but since that’s not the case, this the best I can do.

Traxinspace

Has anybody noticed traxinspace is back?

I remember reading about the true story some years ago in some e-zine interview, and I found their website live again some months ago but it looks sooooooo uninviting!

They seem like desperately trying to hide their need for lots of new members (otherwise I can’t find a reason for that big space reserved to log in and register functions just right on the front page, instead of showing me their best artists in big gracious letters).

Anyway now that all we have our own hosting and all that, it feels a bit like there’s no need for yet another site where artists can share their music and get reviews and participate in the community and … (…yawns…).