Well I'm back home in Barcelona, having spent 4 days in London working in the office. I caught up with Fiona, one of our neighbours from Greenwich, and Andy, who was living in Barcelona last year.
I've not done an update for a while, which - despite not being entirely true - I'm blaming on the lack of an internet connection at home. Well we now have internet, in fact apparently it started working a few hours after I left on Sunday, typical.
I was up before four this morning and arrived back home about an hour ago, I've eaten and shortly I'll be putting on some clean clothes and heading to uni - first class of the semester. So I'm going to finish my coffee and then do my best to remain awake for a few hours, wish me luck.
Today I made 50 laps (1k) in the pool, a might step up from my huffing and puffing 10 on the first day. Walking, drinking, playing is pretty much fine, but get in the pool and by god you feel the altitude.
Cool things have happened. My hut-neighbour composer and I were privy to the St Lawrence String Quartet's rehearsal of a new work, with the composer. Inspired, we spent the next day walking between our huts discussing, changing, adding to the piece so much that I've started colouring in bits in order to distinguish them. So I have my very own solo flute piece! Can't wait to perform it in a couple of weeks.
We went hiking last weekend at the stunning Lake Moraine. It was so damn gorgeous we sat for hours just watching the sun rise over the lake. Eventually we ventured further into the forest where I had my first sighting of a grizzly bear!!
It was very special.
Other than that, getting down to inventing weird ensemble combinations - going to try my hand at playing Piazzolla with flute and electric guitar (forcing 'band-boy' to read classical music), the Bolling Jazz suite with drums 'n bass, and Villa-Lobos for almost all the instruments we have here - flute, oboe, cello, alto sax, guitar, celeste and harp. No harpist in sight, but might try and translate it for Catherine's Cora
which she's been building here!
Weather: 8º and windy
Nice: Family of deer walked past my window.
There are these nasty-looking purple clouds threatening to dump ice on my little hut. I'm struggling to stay outside more than 5 minutes now, and locals assure me winter hasn't hit yet.
Thank god for the church (never thought I'd say that...) who had a charity clothing sale, where I managed to score 3 snow-proof jackets, snow boots and a Gruff Rhys
style jumper for 20 bucks! Now all I need is an electric blanket, heated towel rack and full-time masseur.
Things are moving along steadily. Got my teeth into the nigh on impossible Rodrigo concerto, and a new work for solo flute being composed by my hut-neighbor Craig Day. The social scene is picking up slowly too - managed to round some musos up for a drink last night, there's photos here
There was a concert of Aboriginal Innuit Throat Singing last night, which completely blew me away. Mind, it took me a shamefully long time to figure out that Canadian Aborigines are Eskimos!
Weather: 7º with sporadic icy rain
Danger: Grizzly bear spotted downtown Banff last night!
Me: So when does it start to snow round here?
Person: What do you mean? It snowed already 2 weeks ago.
It's my first day back at the Banff Centre, and I'm very happy. It seems set up so that lots of different things are possible, and people will work to make it happen. I'm excited about the artists and concerts coming up, notably Pinchas Zuckerman and some serious names in Jazz.
The other residents are lovely - I've already found some Mexicans with which to keep the Spanish going, and everyone seems equally nerdy and excited about weird "collaborations", including visual artists involved in a cosmic rays
project, and sound engineers comparing musical recordings to animal sounds from the forest.......................
Also cool are the people from the Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery
who float around campus with brightly coloured maths equations on their pullovers and CERN handbags. Eeh! I love it!
I've been working on the road today, since we still don't have internet at home I've had to be a bit inventive about where to work from. I started this morning in Parc del Turonet
and now I'm in La Clandestina
. I think I'll just head in to uni tomorrow and work from there, it's easier.
Of course I've had time to spare since I can't waste it online, and I've finished the 2nd and 3rd Night Watch books since Elisse
left on Friday. She's safe and sound in Canada now, well as safe as she can be with Bears about looking for food for winter.
I'd like to point out that there are at least 6 other people here with laptops (50/50 mac to pc split), I'm not the only geek in Barcelona.
We've left Gràcia. Which isn't really a happy state, but that's okay, we have left behind a house full of broken toilets, showers and washing machines. Actually that's a lie, it only had one of each.
Anyway, I'm now sitting on the balcony of my new 9th floor apartment in Cerdanyola. Unfortunately we don't have an internet connection yet, but that's coming. In the mean time I'm out here making use of gods know whose free internet. Thank-you.
Current temperatures, in order of preference:
Barcelona - sunny 26º
London - cloudy 16º
Melbourne - cloudy 7º
Banff - 2º
Current plan of cold damnation:
London - friday
Banff - sunday night
London - early 2009
Melbourne - later in 2009
I'm proud to say that Don't Rush
Elisse, Jordi and I are now sitting around the kitchen table with a bottle of cava, enjoying ourselves immensely. And talking about improvements of course.
I just spent most of today making Don't Rush
work on Windows. Of course IE was the biggest challenge, but both Firefox and Safari had issues I had to work out that didn't effect the other two browsers.
One thing struck me towards the end of the day though, and it wasn't anything about not following standards, I knew all that. The web looks dreadful on Windows. It's not IE, it's just Windows. The fonts aren't rendered as nicely, the buttons all look horrible - it's just not as pretty.
I know I'm suppose to be writing code, well that or a post about Andorra. This is more interesting though, I promise.
After more or less no days of looking I've found a new place to live. I'm moving out to Cerdanyola, which is somewhere around here
. It's not in Barcelona (the city - it is in the Region Barcelona) and it's much closer to uni, walking distance I believe.
I'm moving in with Alexandre, one of the PhD students at uni, which will be great, hopefully I'll be able to stick to my Spanish, and forget as much English as possible while Elisse
[edit: I can spell Cerdanyola properly now!]