Sat, 30 Dec 2006


Yesterday Belén and I got confirmation from the travel agency: it's now official! We'll be going to Barcelona (third time this month for me) tomorrow, spend New Year's Eve with my cousin and early during the morning of January 1st we'll be taking a flight to Tunisia, to end up in Hammamet for a one week long trip around the country. Before this very late confirmation, the agency was only assuring one of us could come back; the other return ticket was missing, and I wasn't planning on staying there alone. :)

This is pretty exciting because I've never been anywhere in Africa, despite it's very close from where I live, so I'm really looking forward to discovering the cultures of the Islam in Northern Africa. We plan going to way too many places, but I think I'll most enjoy the different Roman buildings in a few of the important cities, specially in Dougga.

If you have any suggestions of things I can't miss in Tunisia, feel free to comment here. Have in mind I'll probably be moving around in louages (shared taxis) so maybe going to places too far away from Hammamet isn't that easy -yeah, I'm thinking about Matmata and the Skywalker's village ;)- and we don't want to spend lots of money.

Hopefully things will be normal at El Prat airport tomorrow, after the distressing news coming from Madrid this morning... More when I come back on January 8th!

Wed, 27 Dec 2006

At the crossroad

Two Fridays ago, on the 15th of December, I finished my support contract with Canonical. Last Wednesday, or just 5 days after leaving Canonical, was my last day working for LliureX, the Valencian Debian-based educational distro which is being developed by the Conselleria de Cultura, Educació i Esport. Definitely an intense week...

In both cases, terminating the contract was my decision. I was working for Canonical for a small amount of hours per month, and I enjoyed doing it as it allowed me to work along with the great people who are developing Launchpad in a unique company like Canonical, but at some point my stress started to pile up and freeing time for myself seemed a good thing to do. I also had been working at LliureX for 2.5 years and I was starting to feel I had to move on, as the project has changed a bit since I joined it and because I think I need to see new things and explore new challenges.

And the challenge is called ITI, a CS research institute in the Universitat Politècnica de València, where I'll start working in a pair of weeks thanks to ex-lliurex co-worker Sergio. My main task will be sysadmin work, but the ITI gets many interesting contracts every few months, and I suspect I'll be working with Debian and Ubuntu at work very soon.

The new job is pretty close to my house and the idea is that being in the University campus and having some more free time will allow me to retake a few activities like completing my studies, resuming some of my triathlon training (you've gotta see the awesome athletics ring and olympic swimming pool just 100 metres away from the institute!) and other stuff I have been neglecting for way too long.

I leave behind quite a few friends and many good people, and getting used to the idea of not speaking or chatting to them on a daily basis isn't that easy. To compensate, I'm sure I'll meet lots of cool people next year.

Bones festes!

Mon, 11 Dec 2006

Toni Cucarella abandons his writing activities

There were more shocking news for me when I got back home yesterday.

Via Toni Hermoso, I learned that Toni Cucarella, a Valencian writer I recently discovered, just announced that he has abandoned his writing activities, just a little bit after announcing he wouldn't further update his blog.

I learned about Toni Cucarella's literature aproximately one year ago, when I heard about a new novel, Quina lenta agonia, la dels ametlers perduts, on the radio, which sounded interesting. The book fascinated me as soon as I started reading. Describing the life of a group of children in the outskirts of Xàtiva, a small city south of València, in the late 1960s, Cucarella managed to transmit some feelings about my childhood during the summers of the early 80s around my town in the inner province of Castelló.

It wasn't anything in particular what did this, but the way the book was written, which managed to describe how these kids lived happily and in freedom around their houses, regardless their economic status and the difficulties their families went through. All of this reminded me of my sister, cousins and friends running around the streets and fields, away from our parents or any adults, in a time when nobody thought this was dangerous or irresponsible. The only two sins were to play on the road or to get back home a lot after the sunset.

Toni Cucarella has been very vocal against the Language Authorities in València regarding the unity of the Catalan language, and specifically against the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, a recently created institution which now has competence over the "Valencian language", something that was previously in the hands of a scientific institution like the Universitat de València. He has finally burned out, not only due to the bad situation Catalan literature is in the Valencian Country, but also because leaving aside two very prominent exceptions, Valencian authors are basically ignored in Catalunya, making their subsistence quite difficult.

I hope Toni can build some new motivations after some time and the public can enjoy new novels written by him in the future, as well as more of those very interesting blog entries we had got used to reading every few days.

In the meanwhile, thanks for your writings, Toni, and good luck with your new activities!

Hasta la vista, Pinocho

Last night, when we got home after the long weekend up around the awesome Terres de l'Ebre, first thing I learned from the news is that Augusto Pinochet had finally died while we were driving back. It is too bad that once again he managed to avoid a trial that would have made him officially guilty of all the horrible happenings of Chile during his military coup and his bloody dictatorship.

But he's gone now, and this will be a great relief for the thousands of Chileans who survived his regime, and for those who lost family members or friends just because they defended some ideals. The world will associate his surname to torture, murder and corruption; he surely won't be remembered for the image of the old, calm man surrounded by family members that an ever-shrinking minority tried to transmit.

Last night, I raised my cup to celebrate Pinochet's death. ¡Viva Chile!