Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Real Alcazar redux

The paper submission process is slowly converging. Got most of the auxiliary material ready for submission. Laura's willing to have another pass at the draft. Once that's done, I'll pull the trigger. I'm confident it'll be in by the end of the week.


I picked up All of Statistics again. There are computational exercises at the ends of the chapters. Today I spent some time doing those exercises in jupyter. I'm pretty comfortable with that platform now. I'm really interested in trying to get it into the classroom.


We went to the Real Alcazar today with Marge. I think this is the 4th time for me, but it was Marge and Laura's first time. The weather was clear and warm. I took a lot of the usual pictures, but used the GoPro this time. I learned that you can't just leave the camera on, because it burns through the battery disappointingly quickly. At around 38%, I started turning it off and on between shots. That helped a lot. It's annoying that the camera can't do this on its own between shots.

The GoPro's stills are pretty good, but not enough better than my phone to make it worth dealing with. Its real niche is in timelapse and slo-mo. Here's what made the cut for the blog:

Here I tried the wide angle lens:

In general, I think in these circumstances, the linear view is better. At least the palm trees are straight, haha:

These climbing flowers were pretty distinctive, though I think they were just some variant on a Morning Glory:

This trellised gazebo in the large garden is probably the most peaceful place to just sit and relax in the garden there:

Obligatory jamón man:

Here's a slo-mo of the spout. This is 1080p at 240fps slowed to 24fps:


My long-lived and trusty bluetooth speaker finally gave out on me yesterday. If I were home, I'd probably have taken it apart and tried to repair it since the only problem it had was a faulty power switch. I don't have a soldering iron here though. So I tossed old faithful and bought this one today at Fnac:

I like it. The sound is much superior to the previous--especially in the low-frequencies.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Journal bureaucracy

In Spanish class today, we studied phrases of prohibition, obligation and permission. With May 1st on Wed and feria next week, I don't have class again for two weeks. Another gap to let my Spanish rust.


Walking home from the gym I noticed this pretty neighborhood church with some activity in front of it. I've probably walked by this church 500 times, literally, but the route to the gym had me far enough away to see it whole instead of walking right next to it:


I've finished the big edits on the paper. I started going through the instructions for authors at the journal I'm submitting to. Sheesh, they're as intense as writing the paper. Separate figure files, weird bibliography style, cover letter, conflict of interest disclosure, etc. I guess if you successfully traverse the gauntlet of publisher bureaucracy, they know you're not a crank.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Cathedral Redux

A visit to the Cathedral is a pretty standard trip for us when entertaining visitors. I like going with so much familiarity. I'm not awed and distracted and it allows me to find details I missed before.

First, I gotta say, Christian iconography is not for the faint of heart. This  17th century sculpture of St. John the Baptist's severed head is pretty darn graphic (gotta love that esophagus):

I found a convenient pillar to do some long-exposure shots of Christopher Columbus' tomb:

The sky light in this old Moorish ablutions room was open to the sky for the first time in any of my visits. The brilliant sunshine really changed the character of the normally dark room:

On a whim, I camped in front of this entrance to one of the receiving chambers in the Cathedral and did a timelapse of visitors. I was struck how, if you pay attention, there a little vignettes of stories as each guest passes through the frame:


Laura made a Greek inspired lunch of grilled chicken, hummus, veggies on pita with tiziki. Wonderful! Especially good because she managed to do it with only a Carrefour Express grocery store available (everything else is close because... Sunday). For dinner, we went to 100 Monteditos, pretty good. It's like the White Castle of small sandwiches. Bonus, on Sunday, all of the tiny sandwiches are 1 euro. The three of us managed to eat dinner for about 11 euros, haha.


Today is election day in Spain. The big issue this time around is how the far-right VOX party fares. So far the voter turn out is high, which is always good I suppose.

Saturday, April 27, 2019


We got up "muy temprano" to begin our day trip to Cádiz. We started by taking the tram to the train station:

Ninety minutes later, we exited the train station at Cádiz:

The first thing we noticed was a cruise ship that was the size of a city block in port:

We wandered into a plaza and had breakfast in a cafe in the sun:

Laura paid the bill entirely with euro coins she's been collecting:

In another park I found this guy expounding about the moon:

Just playing with snapseed filters on this photo of a statue in one of the parks:

The Atlantic Ocean was remarkably calm:

We went up into a tower that housed a "cámara oscura". This is the cathedral in Cádiz:

From here you could see the line of Calle Sacramento as it cuts across the old part of the city:

Obligatory tower selfie:

This theater with an odd name, Gran Teatro Falla (The Big Theater Failur):

Another calm view of the Atlantic:

The weather  was beautiful. I also saw this sailboat being "rescued" by a coast guard ship:

After a while, escaping the sun became a priority. This beautiful magnolia tree along the beach provided welcome shade:

Even the monk parakeets enjoyed the shade:

I was entertained by this girl's struggle to "walk" her dog which was substantially bigger than her:

In the search for a public restroom, I went into a fort on the beach and took this photo of a couple of boats through this "embrasure" or "loophole" (I looked up fortification terminology, haha):

We visited the Plaza de Espana of Cádiz. In Sevilla, the Plaza de Espana is a semi-circular, ornate building. Here in Cádiz, it is a semi-circular memorial sculpture/statue:

I guess the semi-circular-ness is the theme. We wandered to the finish line of a triathlon:

We re-traced our steps back to the train station, back to Sevilla, and back to our flat. We got home around 10:30pm walking back through streets crowded with the usual Saturday night gatherings in bar/cafes.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Plaza de Espana

As we do with most of our guests, we went over to the Plaza de Espana with Marge today. It is an impressive building and grounds. I don't really get tired of it. On this tree on the way in hung a sign that said "Te doy oxigeno y sombra, cuidame."

Translated, it says, "I give you oxygen and shade, care for me." The air was clear and dry--a good day for photographs:

After the Plaza, we walked through the nearby Parque de Maria Luisa. Here are a couple of the new ducks:


I finished up implementing some new, better, more general notation in my paper. I also have an idea on how to simplify the currently very long proof near the end of the paper. Laura's comments have made the paper better. Today I feel good about its chances of getting accepted.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Marge visits.

Not Homer's wife. A friend of Laura's from the community college back in Walla Walla retired this year and is on a several-week trip to Europe. She's visiting Sevilla this week and staying with us. I took the bus out to the airport this morning to meet her and escort her back to our flat.

She took a bit of time to rest. Laura went to class and I went to the gym. We met Laura after class and went out for tapas. Along the way, we ran into another small procession:

We also were able to peek inside a church and see the dismantling of a couple of pasos:

We shared a few tapas on the Alameda:

and headed home.

On our main street, we saw a crew hauling another partially dismantled paso out to storage for another year:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


We've been doing the imperative form in Spanish, so I spent some time today reading and practicing. My Spanish class doesn't use a textbook. We we cover a topic, I usually go home and scrape together my own resources on the Internet, or from a Spanish textbook pdf I found on-line. Of course, after all that preparation, we didn't do imperative today, but rather all the other ways to express obligation like: tener + que, hay+que, necesitar, es necesito, debes etc.


It was cold and rainy today. I moved my office out of the guest room and back into the space off of the kitchen in preparation for a sequence of guests starting tomorrow and extending into the middle of May. I also did a load of laundry which is currently on the drying rack in the living room (rain) and vacuumed a bit.


After class, I went to the gym. On the way home, I took this picture of a building I pass frequently on our street, but whose tile work is particularly photo worthy:


One of the Italian students in my class recommended the Italian restaurant Al Solito Posto here in Sevilla on the Alameda. Maybe we'll try it with our house guests.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Laura and I noticed a posting in foyer this morning:

Apparently it's normal to have inspections of all gas appliances and connections in all flats. As this notice indicates, our inspection will be between 10am and 1pm on April 26.


This thank you note/postcard I sent to the Simon family this morning is the first time I ever mailed something that didn't either go to or come from the United States:


The tear down of the common part of the procession routes continues apace in Plaza de San Francisco:

Gotta get all this stuff out of the way before feria starts in 2 weeks.


At Rachel's recommendation, I've been reading Shortest Way Home by Pete Buttigieg (boot-a-judge), the mayor of South Bend, IN. He's also a democratic presidential candidate. It's been an ok read so far, but today he got into the value of AI, data, and machine learning in running a city. His understanding of the strengths and limitations of these new techniques is impressive. His ability to articulate those ideas to a lay audience--even better. I'm thinking of using some excerpts of this section in my machine learning class. Also, I'd vote for him, if he made it that far. Of course, I'd vote for a warm sack of shit if Donald Trump was the alternative, so I guess that's not saying much. Buttigieg certainly epitomizes what I'd like to see in a President, mayor, or any public servant.

Monday, April 22, 2019


The day after Easter and things are returning to normal. This morning I watched the replay of the Mariners losing to the Angels. I re-read my paper. I did a lot of Spanish to get ready for the resumption of my Spanish class today. We hit the grocery store. I did a load of laundry. I went to class. There was one new person from Italy in class. A good group. We reviewed the imperative verb form. I went to the gym. Laura went to Costco. I worked on statistics.


Lacking photos of anything else today, here's a random photo of our main street:

It was warm and breezy today. I think the wind is blowing in some rain for tomorrow and the next day.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter!

Things were pretty quiet here in Sevilla today. I think with all of the energy poured into the semana santa activities leading up to Easter, there's not much left in the gas tanks of the average resident today. Streets are pretty empty:

There's a little more litter on the streets as the city workers have had a couple of days off:

I like my new gym. I can let myself in anytime, even Easter:

I talked to a few people on the phone today: Rachel, Betty, Jo-Anne and Emily. I did a load of laundry. Tomorrow it's back to Spanish class and math.