White Christmas

Pretty white Christmas this year for me, with a week of holidays in the mountain (in Cerler) skiing, and a return home to an icy landscape.

The week skiing was great, as always, only bad thing is that this year we went totally unfit for the 6/7 hours of exercise needed for skiing (it’s been 7/8 months without doing much exercise, apart from walking on the countryside), so, the first day, both Yolanda and I were exhausted and pleading to return to the hotel for some rest. The following days, fortunately, things went better, and, while still tired, much more than other times, we weren’t as exhausted as the 1st day. This was a call for us to do more exercise during the non-ski months.

The weather was great, cold enough for the snow to be in good condition, but with sunny days.


The surprise was when we came back, finding the whole road, from Graus (100s of meters below the Cerler mountains), in the province of Huesca, to Peralta, totally covered with ice, looking more like Siberia than what many people think about Spain (sunny and hot all year).

Fortunately, the roads were pretty ok, so there was no risk driving around. Since we were in a hurry (family waiting for us for Christmas’ Day lunch), we didn’t stop to take some better photos, so the ones I took were taken from the car, without stopping, which makes them not reflect how beautiful the landscape we saw was. The best photos are the ones taken already in Peralta, with the car stopped ­čÖé

Disapointing polititians

When the PSOE, the party that is governing Extremadura, won the general elections last year, the Free Software community in Spain had the feeling that the dream of having a country-wide law for the use of Free Software in public administrations was going to become true.

After more than a year waiting, with no significant changes, all our nightmares are becoming true, after the refusal of a project for that law by the two big parties, PSOE and PP, yesterday in the Congress. As always, our polititians just disapoint us, prefering the benefits offered by the big companies (which surely have been offered) over the general interest.

As Felipe Gonz├ílez, former President of Spain, said once: “they are all the same shit”.

Boycott to Catalunya from Peralta!

The political climate in Spain is a bit disturbing in the last few weeks, with Spanish nationalists acusing Catalans of being anti-Spanish, and Catalan nationalists accusing Spaniards of being anti-Catalan. There is even a plan, from the Spanish nationalist camp, about boycotting Catalan products during the Christmas, as there were some calls from the Catalan nationalist camp about boycotting Madrid’s candidacy for the 2012 Olympic Games. Normal crazy nationalist craps, yeah, but today I learnt a bit more about how crappy these polititians can be: the Major of the place where I live, Sagrario Guindul├íin, is an active participant of the boycott. I guess she’ll deserve, once again, the crowd booing at her when she talks in next year’s festival (as it happened the last two years).

As for me, I’ll continue eating “fuet”, “pan tumaca” and other Catalan products for the rest of my life. As for nationalisms, there was someone who said “nationalism is a disease that only gets cured by travelling” (or something similar, sorry for the bad translation).

Women ‘blamed for being raped’

Wow, so a survey shows that “1/3 of people believe a woman is partially or completely responsible for being raped if she has behaved flirtatiously“.

I remember once, in a taxi in Madrid, the taxi driver trying to convince me about this same thing, talking about a woman in the are where he lives that “dressed flirtatiously” (“like a bitch” he said a couple of times) and that “was calling for someone to rape her”, and also the guide we had while in Egypt saying something similar (“that woman was raped because she dressed like a bitch”).

So, is there not hope for men to behave like real men and not like troglodytes? Not sure about the statistics a few years ago (when machism, at least in Spain, was more spread than it is now), but a 3rd looks like a lot to me. I wonder what those people would say if I stole their car because “they left the door open and so was calling for someone to steal it”.

Long time no blog

Not many exciting things have happened since I last bloged, but some of them are worth mentioning.

University: I talked some time ago with Javier Ros, from the Universidad P├║blica de Navarra about doing Free Software-related tutorials with the students. A few weeks ago, he told me some students were interested in a GTK course, so asked me if I could do it, which, of course, I accepted. So, since then, an evening per week, I’ve got 17/18 pupils (10 from the University, the rest being teachers in High Schools and Free Software lovers) and so far it seems to go ok, with people really interested in learning GTK.

Films: I’ve been getting up to date with some films I hadn’t watched yet, like Dark City (very good), The 6th day (not bad, good beginning, but, as with all Arnold’s films, with an expected end), Deathwatch and The Last Samurai (which indeed I didn’t watch till the end, since I didn’t like much the beginning, or my mood wasn’t very good, can’t remember exactly). I’ve been also rewatching one of my favorites TV comedies, Red Dwarf, from the BBC, which I suggest everyone to watch, if not already. Still left some films to watch, like Kill Bill 1 & 2 and Star Wars III (yeah, I know I’m one of the few humans not having watched them yet).

Linux in bars: I know, like most people involved in Free Software, how it’s been penetrating in the markets in the last few years, so finding people use it should not be a surprise. But still, when I see it “live”, I can’t stand becoming surprised and excited, like last Monday, when I saw, in a bar where I use to go, which was closed due to reforms for a few weeks, the new OS (they used Windows before) they were using in the PC that plays the music in the bar. Yeah, it was Linux, running XFCE, but don’t worry, I know the owners so I’ll be pushing for a switch to GNOME ­čÖé

Health: I’ve been visiting the dentist 3 times in the last 10 days or so, and will be going a couple times more in the next few weeks ­čÖü So, yeah, not exciting at all.

Sharing is not a crime

Given the recent campaign to associate the worst crimes with piracy, a lot of people are protesting in different ways against the people in that campaign. One of the the things to protest about is that the campaign mentions that sharing and downloading music and videos from Internet is a crime, which is just totally false, at least given the current Spanish law. So, one of the best protests is what some people in Bilbao have done, consisting in downloading music from Internet in front of the SGAE (ie, the people behind the campaign) office in that city. They even called the police before starting the download, so that they could be arrested while “committing the crime”. Of course, no one showed up to arrest them.

The best about it, the photos, which made me laugh quite a bit.

Made in China

People in the Basque country and Navarra have been enjoying the last few years “Vaya semanita”, a comedy TV show, conducted by Oscar Terol. It’s been one of the best humour programs I’ve seen in the last few years.

And now, all people in Spain can see them, in their new program, on TVE1, “Made in China”. Not sure if it would be as good as the one in ETB2, but if it’s just half as good, I suggest everyone who reads this to watch it. AFAIK, it’s on Fridays evening.

Nafarroa Oinez 2005

I attended last weekend, in Alsasua, the 2005 edition of Navarroa Oinez, a yearly festival organized by the “ikastolas” (schools in Basque language) in Navarra to get some funds for the schools (which are not public in Navarra).

It was a very nice day, even though we arrived quite late and missed most of the concerts. It was a 6/7 kms walk around Alsasua and other close villages, on the countryside, with bars, artisans, and, the best, concerts for all tastes.

As we arrived late, we could only attend the last concert, a death metal group (don’t know the name), which was ok.

So, we sat down with some very nice cider, and listened to the music for a little while.

Looking forward to go next year (in Vera, since the location is changed every year), hopefully much sooner, to not miss the concerts. Also, it is a pity it is only one day, it would be quite nice if it were the whole weekend, with concerts in the countryside at night.

Piracy and terrorism II

So, watched last night the show about piracy and terrorism, and, well, it was as pathetic as expected, with Mercedes Mil├í, one of the most pathetic “journalists” in Spanish TV, accompanied by Bustamante, one of the most pathetic “artists” ever borned in Spain. But that would be just as usual in Spanish TV, except for the “proofs” they showed up for demonstrating the relationship between piracy and terrorism. They used the clothes shop that belongs to the Chedadi brothers, arrested a few days after the March 11th attacks, and released a few days later with no charges at all, saying that the money they got from the shop “could be used to finance more terrorist attacks”. But as it happened with all the media, they forgot that last detail (“they were released with no charges”), which makes most people just believe the authors of the massacre are in jail, when the reality is that all of them, except one, are now free because the investigation couldn’t get any proof of their relationship with the attacks. And, IIRC, the one in jail, as for what the official documents say, is just there “because of the possible danger involved if he is released” (yeah, that’s justice!).

But, unfortunately, most people will believe what was said yesterday on that crappy TV show, so, don’t be surprised if people start treating piracy-related people (ie, the poor inmigrants with no papers selling CDs/DVDs on the street) as terrorists.

Ah, and the worst thing about the crappy TV show is that they, again, showed the images of the explosions in the Atocha station, images that the victims’ families asked to not be shown again on TV, for respecting their pain. But hey, reality shows need to impress the spectator, even if that is a lack o respect to the victims.

Piracy and terrorism

While trying to fight piracy in Spain, the powerful have tried to do lots of things, like trying to treat P2P users like criminals, getting an extra tax on blank CDs/DVDs (and even hard disks), etc. But what I just saw is just too much: Telecinco, a Spanish TV channel, is broadcasting tonight the Diario de… show, which this week will be about the “relationship between piracy and the March 11th terrorist attacks in Madrid”.

I haven’t seen it yet, so will comment on it later, but I have been following all the investigations about those terrorist attacks, and there are lots of other things to explain before we get to this sort of FUD, which, IMO, is just about getting people so ashamed of buying pirated CDs/DVDs that they will just stop doing it (remember Spain is one of the countries with more music piracy, there are lots of people selling pirated CDs in the streets). Also, since Mercedes Mil├í is conducting the show, even though I’ve never watched it, I am sure it will be just a reality show, with no base at all.

I am also against piracy, but there are many ways they can fight it (like selling the CDs/DVDs much cheaper) than just spreading FUD, which in fact, as with lots of other “official news”, just deviates the people from the real truth about those terrorist attacks. Please, fellow Spain habitants, don’t believe what is said there, if you really want to know about those horrible terrorist attacks we all suffered last year, I’d suggest a few books:

  • La jugada maestra, Bruno Carde├▒osa
  • 11-M – 14-M Onda expansiva, Rosa Mar├şa Artal
  • 11-M Claves de una conspiraci├│n, Bruno Carde├▒osa
  • C├│mplice inocente, Iv├ín Chirivella

I won’t comment on those books, since the last time I blogged about politics, some people got very angry, filling my inbox with lots of mails, so I promised I wouldn’t do it again. But this show, which I guess lots of people in Spain will watch, was important enough to just post some tips.