Tag: spain

The World Cup

There was a large sporting event happening in South Africa, you may have heard about it. I’ve been really good and, despite watching almost every game, I’ve not really mentioned it here and I’ve tried not to be too boring about it on Twitter (I feel sorry for my followers at times, I really do).

Spain won. I yelled and punched the air when this happened. I was most pleased. Mainly because Holland seemed to think the best way to stop Spain was to kick them (in the chest at one point).

And here endeth the football.

Home again, home again

I’m currently operating on about 4.5hrs sleep having landed earlier this morning and suffering the return of the 6.30 alarm.

Spain was warm, sunny for the most part, a little misty some mornings, blowing a gale for two of the days and we saw a beautiful lightning storm rage over the Mediterranean.

I read books (more on those later), drank beer, sang at the karaoke (a rare event, I was quite spectacularly drunk mind you), sunbathed and did pretty much bugger all for the entire week.

I couldn’t half do with a siesta right now though.

Aside from a vigorous can of cider erupting all over my sister on the plane on the way there, and my sister-in-law deciding to get herself a tattoo there isn’t a huge amount to report. Like I said, the sky was mostly blue, the sun was mostly hot, the beer was always cold. Same as it always is.

It was good to get back to my bed last night though, and I’m REALLY looking forward to spending a bit longer in it tonight! Only a few thousands RSS feeds to read, a handful of photos to upload and, if I can be bothered, I’ll jot down my thoughts on the books I read.

Enough about me though, how are you? Aside from the political goings-on (anyone want to own up to voting in the BNP? No I didn’t think so), what did I miss?

Lengua española

Para el momento en que usted leyera esto, I’ el ll se esté asoleando en España.

Apologies for my butchery of the Spanish language for, despite visiting my father-in-law once or twice a year, I’ve yet to pick up much of the language. It’s lazy of me I guess, and if I’m honest I’m surprised that I’m not more interested.

But, considering language and grammar are fundamental to my job perhaps there is a small part of my brain that would really just like to switch off from all of that for a while.

So I’m jetting off to Spain for a week of sun, reading novels, drinking cold beer and generally doing not a whole lot. I’ll be trying NOT to think about the remaining 600-odd Author-it topics that still need tidied up, the entity definitions I’ll need to write when I return, the Javahelp landing pages which are still to be designed and build, Word template hacks, architectural overviews and more.

Back in a bit!

Panic!

There is a sense of mild, but controlled, panic in the air.

I’ve only just realised that, a week today, we’ll be flying to Spain for a week in the sun. Don’t quite know how this has taken me by surprise but there you have it. All of a sudden I’m in the “pre-holiday zone” where every choice of t-shirt needs to be carefully considered, and the locating of cables, chargers and other sundry essentials starts in earnest.

That said, we are taking hand luggage only, and all I’ll need are:

  • 7 Books – already stacked and ready to go.
  • 5 t-shirts – I have so many t-shirts that I’ll just take whatever I pick up on Monday morning
  • 4 pairs of shorts – 2 longer ones for the evenings, 2 shorter ones for the sunbathing
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 5 pairs of boxer shorts
  • 1 iPhone + cable
  • Speakers for iPhone
  • 1 Camera + battery charger
  • Mains USB socket
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Passport + Money
  • Toothbrush

Thankfully I’m pretty well organised to I can leave all of my packing until Monday morning. So the only real panic is deciding what music and movies to put on my iPhone. I mean, I’ve only got a week!!

Nota Bene

Just a quick note to say that there is nothing of note to note here because, like everyone, I’m pretty busy at the moment.

I’m heading into a period of 6 day work weeks, from now until the end of June.
I’m close to finishing off a website for a client despite a fairly snag ridden build. Something I’ll need to invest some time in to investigate a better way of working.
I’ve started going to the gym. Aiming for 3 times a week.
I’m also off to Spain for the first week in June.
We are getting quotes to get a new bathroom fitted.
I really must get the car booked in for a service soon, MOT is due soon as well.
I’ve got a presentation to write for a conference in September (about blogging!).

So, obviously, this evening I’m off out to the cinema. Angels & Demons apparently.

Anyway, if you are really bored feel free to scour my archives, they really are quite good.

Camtasia

Back from a week in Spain (weather was lovely, as was the cerveza and tapas!) I’ve taken some time to look into some suggestions for screen recording.

Part of the developer community website we have was always aimed at providing online video tutorials showing the latest features. However we’ve had acres of issues getting these produced. The recording usually goes ok but editing them and getting them into a format that is acceptable for the website seemed to be causing us problem after problem.

Having checked out all three suggestions, Wink, Demobuilder and Camtasia Studio I have to admit (and you’ve probably already guessed from the title of this post) that Camtasia Studio blew me away. It’s a very slick piece of software, brilliantly designed to lead you further into the complexities it CAN offer without dazzling you with options the frist time you fire it up.

One of the best features, the one that took me by surprise, is called SmartFocus. As you click around the screen it zooms in appropriately and only, rarely, missed a beat in the few demo recordings I took. It’s very impressive, and once you get into editing the recordings, splitting them up, adding transitions, captions, callouts… well I’m sold. As will my company very soon (the purchased order has been raised).

Thanks to all for their suggestions.

If you are looking for a very simple and quick way of recording a screen demonstration (I’ve run up to about 30 minutes without issue) then go download the Camtasia Studio demo copy. You can try it for 30 days and if you are in the market for software like this then definitely give it a look.

Hell, if you have 30 minutes free, download it, install it, record something and watch the playback. You’ll probably start to wonder what you COULD use it for in the future…

Note: I’m not being paid for this, just the opinion of a very impressed first time user.

There's nothing like a good book

We are off to Spain next week so there are some vital things to sort out. Namely what music to put on my iPhone (I’ve got Series 1 of The Wire on there already), and most importantly what books to take!

I’ve got a Jeffrey Deaver and an Ian Rankin on standby and have just ordered Casino Royale and Live and Let Die so that should get me through the week, in between trips to the pub and general lounging around of course.

I don’t really make time to read all that much these days, in fact I struggle to get through the two monthly magazine subscriptions I receive (Esquire and Runners World if you must know). Aside from that mostly everything I read is for work related purposes and even then I’ve got a backlog, it’s just never that high up my priority list to be honest. I’ve tried to ‘hack’ my habits to get back to reading more often but nothing has worked, my attention and thoughts continue to lie elsewhere and, if I’m honest I’m fairly happy with that at the moment. We’ll see if that changes any time soon but my take is that, if I was REALLY that bothered I’d have done something about it.

Obviously I’m not.

That said there is a part of me that is looking forward to getting away, purely to be able to completely zone out in a good book, or at the very least a trashy thriller. There is nothing quite like losing all sense of time whilst you frantically flip pages, desperate to get to the next part of the story, and the quiet sense of despair you feel when you reach the end and, just like that, it’s over. You don’t get that with every book, some just fizzle out and leave you somewhat deflated but others take you on such a journey that the temptation to re-read them immediately is almost overwhelming.

Go on then, what are you reading right now? (aside from this blog, obviously!).

The weekend that was

Friday was damp. Friday was wet. Friday was a pretty fucking good day mainly because a band called Radiohead was playing at Glasgow Green and, whilst it there was a light drizzle for most of the evening I really didn’t care. I was just happy to be there and listen to them blast their way through most of my favourites; 2+2=5, There There, Everything In Its Right Place, Paranoid Android, Just(!), Fake Plastic Trees, Jigsaw Falling Into Place, and more.

As usual there were several knobs who did their best to spoil it but it didn’t work. Why do these people go to gigs? Regardless a good time was had by all, even if by the end of the second encore we were all kind of huddled together and beginning to feel a little sorry for ourselves.

Still, that was only part one of the evening, part two was a joint leaving night for my boss and our receptionist, both of which will be missed. Having joined the throngs of people leaving Glasgow Green, we all managed to cram onto the Underground for a quick spin round to The Loft in the west end of Glasgow. The first beer was a good one, and was soon followed by another and a couple of G&Ts. Then it was onto Boho for a wee boogie and then my lovely wife picked me up at 2.30 in the morning…

… which was mainly because on Saturday we were back out to spend the day socialising with friends and family in a late birthday celebration for Louise. We kicked off at 2pm, cocktails were involved and it was only the addition of a rather nice steak that stopped me being completely dead on Sunday. As it was we got home around 3am, quite glad we had no plans for the next day.

I won’t mention that my mother phoned and woke us up… it was 11am after all.

Sunday was spent dozing and munching, sofa-bound for the day, watching crap movies (hello Enemy Within and Jumper) and enjoying Spain’s win over Germany.

And this morning? This morning I ache, with all that standing around on Friday finally kicking in. I feel like I’ve been set on a rack and stretched by some infernal torture device or something, twisted and contorted in ways for which my body was not built. All that from standing about in the rain.. time marches on, eh…

Remember to live

It seems I can’t avoid this blog post so I may as well crack on and see what falls out of my head.

My father-in-law lives in small town in Spain and, as such, is part of a tight-knit ex-pat community over there. Early this week a man we’ve met a few times, and who was always friendly and welcoming, dropped dead. We saw him just last month. Quite a shock.

Then I read this post from Tom about a man who dropped dead in the street. Tom closes his post with some advice:

…live life to the full. Make yourself happy. Try to make those that you care for happy. Your life is the only thing that you truly own and you only get one – so don’t sweat the small stuff.

Sounds twee, sounds “new-age hippy crap” but he’s right. It’s not easy though, grabbing fragments of life during the bustle of your day, pausing long enough to breathe in a moment of beauty. But we must try, mustn’t we? If not, what else is there to this life?

We all face challenges, situations arise and every day we put off doing something simple and easy. Reality slips past unnoticed, our vision narrowed by repetition. There is always something beautiful and unique, always a moment to grasp.

Spain was Spain

Peggy enquired how we got on in Spain last week and I guess I should mention it.

Thing is it’s not really a holiday as such. It’s more a sojourn, or retreat, or… some other words that has the connotation of going somewhere warm and doing sweet fuck all.

On holiday I like to do things, visit places, learn about the area, sample the cuisine, the nightlife, the culture etc etc. But when we go to Spain we are there to visit my father-in-law and so we fall into his routine. We’ve seen the surrounding area and he’s not big on doing tourist stuff anyway… so our days were pretty straightforward:

  • Wake up around 9am, sometimes later, sometimes earlier.
  • Breakfast, coffee, then up onto the roof terrace for some sun.
  • Midday, lunch. Usually in the flat, sometimes out for tapas.
  • Either back to the roof terrace or out to the local shop for supplies.
  • 4pm, pub for a couple of hours. A couple of beers and a coffee or two (Dos cafe con leche, por favor)
  • Home for dinner.
  • Siesta at 7pm.
  • Back to pub at 8pm
  • Home around midnight for a nightcap and bed.

We did venture up into the mountains one day, and had dinner out a couple of nights but that is largely our schedule for the week.

Peter, my father-in-law, like other ex-pats in the area, tend to develop such a routine. We see the same people come and go in the pub(s, he visits more than one) whilst we are there, and if someone doesn’t appear on time a phone call is made to check up. It’s a very tight knit community out there, and it makes it much easier on Louise to know that her Dad is taken care of… not that he needs it of course, but his little girl does worry about him sometimes.

Louise and I occasionally walk along the beachfront and just to prove that I was in Spain, here I am trying to look nonchalant whilst the locals were walking past wearing jackets, hats and scarves.
Read More