Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Moving to my own domain

I was a bit tired of having adverts in my blog, and I wanted an email account with a domain of my own, so a few weeks ago I went ahead and registered a new domain, and migrated the contents of this blog over there. I’m now at http://cuevano.ca. I’ll stop posting here, and begin posting there, so please update your bookmarks/subscriptions/feeds!


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Recommendations from 2011

Happy New Year! Alright, 2011 is gone, and I wanted to share some of the books and things I discovered throughout it that got me excited.

For me, this was a good year for books. Among the new ones, I enjoyed “The Tragedy of Arthur”, by Arthur Phillips, which presents itself as a newly discovered Shakespeare tragedy, with a long introduction in which Phillips tries to convince the reader that the play that follows is not actually Shakespeare’s, but a forgery made by his father. Colson Whitehead’s “Zone One” is a good zombie novel—like in most zombie stories, the real villain is ourselves, though in this case it’s specifically the bullshitty, bureaucratic, superficial patterns we’ve grown so fond of. Patrick DeWitt’s “The Sisters Brothers” is fun and engaging: a Western that’s both literary and pulpy at the same time.  I also finished (and loved completely) Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time”, a novel that explained my own mind and soul to myself like no other book has, and in a way I did not believe was possible.

I also found several great books in Spanish. César Aira’s “Cómo me hice monja” and “Las curas milagrosas del Doctor Aira” are whimsical gems. Enrique Vila-Matas’ “Una casa para siempre” is a fascinating crime and guilt novella in which neither the crime nor the guilt are mentioned nor alluded to in the text whatsoever. On the other extreme, the confessions of the repugnant philosophy professor gone bad in Guillermo Fadanelli’s “Lodo” are told with a dirty, captivating voice, and they are a great read too.

As a new father, it was pretty hard to keep track of new movies in 2011. Val and I watched lots of older stuff though—among them, I liked Broken Flowers and Persona a lot. We’re currently caught up with Breaking Bad, a great TV show about a chemistry professor that is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and becomes a crystal meth manufacturer to leave money to his family. And if it was hard to keep track of new movies, it was practically impossible to try out new boardgames. I’m still playing a lot of Go, though, and I enjoy it even more as I peel out more of its layers.

I’ve been growing tired of most of the webcomics I usually read, but Zach Weiner’s Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is still frequently brilliant, and Nicholas Gurewitch’s Perry Bible Fellowship is again updated, now and then, with some great strips (Gurewitch’s collection of strips, “The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack”, is wonderful too).

For my computer, I used and liked f5 for transcribing interviews. Backblaze works great for backups; I don’t even need to think about it anymore. On my phone, after Scott Leslie‘s pointer, I’ve lately been using buddhify to help myself learn to meditate, and I’m really enjoying it.

That’s it, I think. Let me know if there’s something you found that I might enjoy, too!

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We made a baby!

It’s quite likely that all of you already know this, but anyway. Val and I have a baby daughter, Aurora, who is now a little over two months old. She’s beautiful, perceptive, and happy. We’re in love with her completely. She changed everything in our lives.

Celebrating Fathers' Day at Beacon Hill Park

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Birthday cake
I celebrated my first birthday here in Victoria a week and a half ago! We had lots and lots of good friends coming over, and it was heartwarming—even though it sometimes feels like we just moved into town, my party was a fantastic reminder of how many great friendships we’ve already made here. Thanks to everyone who made it!

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One month in Victoria

Yesterday, Val and I celebrated our first full month in Victoria. It feels like much more than a month since we arrived with our luggage, tired after sleeping only a couple of hours the night before (the last-minute rush to pack or dispose or clean everything out of our old apartment ate up the night), and carrying a dazed and frightened Mushi into our new home.

I guess it feels like much more than a month because we’ve done so much throughout: unpacking, figuring out places to shop, learning the bus and bike routes, familiarizing ourselves with the University of Victoria—nothing feels routine yet; every day is still new in some ways. Still, some patterns begin to form: I bike almost every weekday to the University (it’s a 20-25 minute ride uphill from our place), I arrive at my office between 9 and 10am and leave between 5 and 6pm (I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I’m still not used to 40-hour work weeks, but these seem to be standard for profs and students at the labs where I work). Val and I cook together when I get home; sometimes I do the cooking, when Val has evening lectures, a couple of days a week. Sometimes, not too often, we take a bus downtown and go to a restaurant, or walk to Fernwood Square or to Hillside-Quadra Village. During the weekends we clean up (it’s a bigger place, so there’s more to do!), do chores and shopping, and if it isn’t rainy I spend some time tending the garden, which is fun but frustrating: after hours of work, it looks just like it was when I started. Val has so much reading material she usually has to work during the weekends too. We’ve also started meeting people, and our agenda is now peppered with a couple of nights out with new friends each week. All in all, it doesn’t feel like we’ve been really exploring Victoria a lot yet; going downtown still feels like being a bit of a tourist, which I realize is probably OK for our first month in the city. However, I feel much more familiar with our neighbourhood, and with some areas of the University, and when I come home it does start to feel, little by little, and once again, like I’m coming home.

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Welcome to my shiny new personal blog!

As you may already know, I’ve been keeping another blog (Catenary) for a few years, and I intended to make that my one and only blog, to keep things simple for Our backyardeveryone. But I feel I’ve been restraining myself from posting stuff I wanted to post because the academic side of things kind of took over the blog—I know I have readers who don’t care about my research and others who don’t care about my personal life.

So I decided to split that blog in two. I’ll keep Catenary for work stuff, and this new blog for more personal stuff: our life in Victoria, photos, book or movie recommendations, games, whatever else comes up. I also decided to write some of my posts in Spanish here, now and then. If you want to comment, feel free to use either language. Thanks for reading!

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