Monday, October 22, 2018

Bullet Points


  • There are a lot of small children in our building. They make a lot of fun sounds. Laura and I love the sound of our building in the evenings. Happy families.
  • Spanish class was good today. I met a guy named Martin from Berlin that moved to Sevilla to do a two-year post doc in genetics. He knows less Spanish than I do and was having a bad day. I hope our conversation afterwards cheered him up a bit.
  • The weather was sunny and warm today.
  • The workers continue to work on painting the building.
  • I managed to create a github repository for the project I'm working on. This in spite of the fact that poor github was having major technical difficulties today.
  • Emily is struggling with getting back on the right time zone. Definitely not conducive to studying for her qualifying exam on Fri. Somehow she'll make it work tho.
  • I watched workers deconstructing the lane buoys on the river this morning after the weekend's boat racing. Very efficient.
  • We went to the Primark (think Target for Europe). I needed another pair of pants since one of the pairs I brought with me to Spain has a tear. We also bought some towels for the various house guests we'll be having over the next couple of months.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Now Is The New Later

The title of this post is from a t-shirt Laura and I saw on our travels today. For whatever reason, the wearing of t-shirts with random English phrases on them is a thing here. Usually, they're pretty inane phrases, but we both liked this one--in spite of the fact that it is also inane.

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Emily made it back to Santa Barbara in one piece and reunited with her pet bunny Benjamin. She's exhausted and dealing with a 10 hour time change, but she's young, she'll deal, haha. She has her final PhD qualifying oral exam on Fri, so it'll be a stressful week for her.

Talked to Rachel today. She's getting her first PhD prelim paper together, already cleaning up a draft. She's also working on a "citizen science" project in one of her classes this semester (actually her only class this semester). We had some fun chatting about it today. It's actually based on an idea that Laura came up with a couple of weeks ago.

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Sunny today. Managed to do two loads of laundry using the clotheslines on the roof to dry the clothes. During the week, when the workers are about, we have to use our indoor clothes rack. Clothes usually take most of the day to dry when indoors. When they're on the roof though, they usually get dry in about 90 minutes. Since we didn't get the second load up there until around 6:30pm, we kind of ran out of daylight and had to take them in early and a bit damp. Also, there was this random swarm of insects that decided to occupy the roof. They were kind of "flying ants". There were thousands of them up there. We had to spend a bit of time making sure we didn't bring any back into the flat when we brought in the second load. A couple did make it in, but it could've been worse.

All the clothes are mostly dry now. Even the sheets on the bed. The bed's made and just waiting for me to jump in.

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We went to a Mexican tapas place on the Alameda this evening. The tapas were basically just varieties of corn tortilla tacos.



But, they were all good. The walk over and back was nice. It was pretty mild today. The expected rain never really showed up. The Alameda is kind of off the beaten path for mainline tourists. It has a couple of actual Roman columns at one end of the plaza:


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The sky was lovely this evening as we took down that second, still damp, load of laundry from the roof:


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Spanish Migrants

With the Italian gov't taking a hard turn to the right, Spain is now one of the last places for refugees from north Africa to land as they cross the Mediterranean Sea. Spain is also one of the last progressive gov'ts on the continent still showing some compassion for refugees. Even here, there are right wing politicians attempting to use the refugees as a wedge issue. What's interesting is that the flow of refugees from the middle-east and Africa is not really any higher than historical averages, but the number of politicians willing to stoke the worst parts of human nature against these unfortunate immigrants to gain a political advantage in their countries does seem to be at historic highs.

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I saw a few boat races this morning during my walk. I would have went down and watched more, but it rained all day. Luckily, it's a two-day event and tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and 75 degrees.


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It's Balloon Stampede time back in Walla Walla. Mick sent me a picture of the balloons taking off this morning.


Looks like the weather was perfect.

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I got this picture of the center of Sevilla this evening during my trash run:


Still kind of damp and foggy out there. Speaking of which, finally had to put the heavier blanket on the bed yesterday. It's getting down into the 50's at night now!

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Did some math, read a bit, watched a bit of Netflix, practiced some Spanish. Pretty ordinary day. Thought about Emily on her 24-hour plus trip from Ethiopia back to Santa Barbara. As I write this she's about an hour from landing at LAX. Then, it's the shuttle up to Santa Barbara. If nothing else, this PhD program has given her the iron butt needed to be a long-distance flyer.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Sevici Load Balancing

The bike share program here is called Sevici, a portmanteau of Sevilla and "bici" the Spanish word for "bike". The bike station nearest us is always empty in the morning. The next nearest one is also typically pretty depleted in the morning. I've always wondered how the service handled load imbalances like this and suspected that there had to be some way of shifting bikes around to balance the load. This morning I saw that load balancing in action as a worker was replenishing our depleted station:


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All week there have been workers on the river setting up lanes for what appears to be an imminent boat race. This morning I saw that they had the "starting line" set up in the water:


I went home and googled "sevilla regatta" and found 2nd Sevilla International Rowing Masters Regatta – October 20-21, 2018 Spain. Hoping to see a few races this weekend. If nothing else, the splash videos at the race web site are fun to watch.

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Almost got something worth calling a draft paper today. This paper has some accompanying python/jupyter worksheets. Next on the agenda is to set up a github page. Apparently github satisfies some kind of data archive standard so that you can put data and programs on the site and get DOI numbers for use in journal article references.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Test the Face

I tagged along on the "cultural activity" at Laura's school again this week. The teacher that organizes this weekly event is very kind. I like her focus on the local art scene. This week we went to a gallery at yet another branch of the Universidad de Sevilla. The exhibit poster:


I also like interactive art. In this case, the public is offered a blank face and a number of magnetic eyes, noses, mouths, and eyebrows to place on the face (a kind of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey exercise).


In this video, we see Laura's version of the face. Here's my version of the face:


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We had rain here most of the day, but it cleared out in the evening. I took a time-lapse of the river as the clouds moved past and the boaters crowded the river: