A little bit about now

FAM, Leganés

Given the content of my last few posts, I thought that it was about time for a new post that discusses a bit about what I am up to these days. I must say, that if the past two weeks are any indication of what a Masters degree is all about, then I’m not so sure why I was so apprehensive. But I feel that reality is about to catch up with me and that is always a bit of a downer.


Personally I’m feeling pretty darn good. Mostly because for the first time in my life I have finally gotten serious about my health. I have been to the gym six times in the past week or so, and starting today, Nenad was showing me some of the correct exercises for building certain muscle groups. For me this isn’t about building muscle per se, it is about losing a bit of weight and gaining more energy, but if I emerge a bit stronger as a result, who am I to argue with that.

Most of what I have been doing up to this point is a bit of the stationary bike for my legs and a bit of cardio, along with sit-ups, stair climbing, and a bit of weight work here and there with no real aim in mind. But today I was pressing some weights, and really working my chest and shoulders, and let me tell you, I can feel it. Might be feeling it for a while. Nenad and I even bought a small set of speakers that are perfect for bringing down to the gym to plug into my iPod for a bit of music.

But wait, that isn’t all, I am also going to the pool. We went on Wednesday because it was a holiday and we will be going again tomorrow. The nice thing is that for students in the residence, the pool is free on weekends (and holidays) which makes it all that more convenient to go. I even bought a pair of goggles to make the experience all the more pleasant, and an extra towel so I can have a separate pool towel. The plan at this point is to go once a week either Saturday or Sunday, and hopefully over the term increase my swimming endurance.

There is also talk among the three of us here (Nenad, Pablo and I) to start running or jogging as well. This would a nice addition to this already ambitious (by my standards) routine. Jogging however is not that kind to your joints, and I’m slightly concerned about it since I have had some trouble with my knees before. But it would likely only be once a week as well. This in addition to the daily walks to a from school should really start to make a difference in my energy levels and general fitness.

Other than the exercise routine, little else has been happening personally – there was a rather large fair that was taking place outside the residence that I guess I should mention. Last Wednesday was a holiday to honour San Nicasio, who is the patron saint of Leganés. And so in celebration, a fair arrived. They spent the better part of a week setting up: rides, concession stands and a large tent which turned out to be for a stage. For the most part there wasn’t a whole lot there I was interested in, but I went over a couple of times to soak in the atmosphere. And to buy a hot dog. The only down side to having this large fair across the street was that on certain nights, they liked to keep partying until the not-so-small hours of the morning. And since they had enough equipment to require two large generators to power, they cranked out a bit of sound. Sound which had the effect of pissing off some of the people trying to sleep at this time, like Nenad. Myself, I didn’t find it too much of a problem, because I sleep with music playing anyway… it is something I’m used to. In any case, they have started packing up now, and I suspect that by the middle of next week everything will be gone.


The funny thing is, that despite the fact that I am here for school, this section doesn’t have a lot going for it at the moment. I think I might have found a topic for my Masters project which is a bit more focused, but I will wait until after I get a chance to talk with my supervisor before I go too deeply into that. Basically I want to look at Atom (an XML format) as a possibility for interacting with e-commerce sites. Not going to say more than that until I have more to say really. :)

Although not specifically academic, I am going to Brussels on Wednesday (the 18th) to attend a conference for the Erasmus Mundus Alumni Association Launch Committee. Should prove to be interesting, and while I’m not normally big on meetings like this (especially after witnessing the debacle of last time), I think this will get me more into the whole thing. It should be a fun trip, I certainly do enjoy a chance to do a bit of networking (the human kind).


Perhaps the most consuming part of this past week or so has been the work I have been putting into this website. The sad thing is that if everything works as expected, then no one should be able to see the results of my work. In an attempt to join the rest of the blogging software providers, with their “features”, I have added XML-RPC support using the metaWeblog API.

What this allows is for me to edit my weblog (or add new posts) from a remote application running on my computer instead of using the web browser. For this site, I had been adding and editing posts for a while from my text editor TextMate. I was using my own customized scripts and for a while it was good. And I guess it is still good, only a recent Bundle was added to TextMate which supported blogging on a wider scale. It has some nice features that are different than what I had and I was wondering what it would take to implement the interface it required.

I have known about the existence of a more-or-less standard interface for manipulating weblogs remotely for a while, but chose not to implement it because frankly I didn’t need it. But since I am striving to make this system as complete as possible and there are other people using this software now, I figured it was time. Plus I was looking for something like this and it has peaked my interest in web services, which is good, because that is what my Masters project relates to. Enough rambling (I am getting tired now) – the thing to take away from this is, if you are using my weblog software for your site then this feature can be added once I’m finished making sure everything will work all right. There are only about three or four people this applies to, but if you don’t have a weblog and you would like one, then let me know because I might be able to set you up with one fairly easily and now it is metaWeblog-compatible.

So now you are caught up on what I am up to these days. Sorry I don’t have much in the way of photos to show you, I haven’t really gotten out much. I didn’t even take any photos of the fair. Pretty inconsiderate of me I know. I will let you know that there might be some more of my photos available online at some point soon, but not necessarily on this site. More info to follow on that.