Fiat Lux (take 2)

June 25, 2012

There’s a new blog in town. Well, there has been one, for four years now. It’s just, you know, five posts in four years…  …just don’t cut it.

Hence a new incarnation of Fosco and His Imaginary Friends, resuscitated, refurbished, revamped, revved up, and some other word starting with r. Or “Fished from the disposal, wiped off, painted over the ugly parts and recycled for more than it’s worth” somebody would say.

The imaginary friends have run for the hills, leaving me, myself, and my to-be-written dissertation here waiting for Godot. Luckily, ‘here’ is just not any ‘here’. Here is Hana-bi, Spiaggia 72, Marina di Ravenna.

Lulled by the hope this could be to me what Rio has been to Stephen Smale, rather than what the fictional Caribbean island has been to Robinson Crusoe – I realize that if it’s true that “90% of your long term happiness is predicted not by the external world but by the way the brain process this world” then the remaining 10% must definitely depend on the fact “me being at the beach.”

So here I am, living the slow-paced life of the South. (Ravenna is the same latitude of Portland, OR – not really South, at least for American standards – but I hope you catch my drift.)

I won’t try to lay out a presumptuous manifesto this time, I’ll abide by what the sage says. This time, I won’t try.

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SB through European eyes

August 12, 2009

So, you had your reiterated last supper with your Italian friends. You would brag about the ocean, the route 66 and the American dream you are about to embrace and they are toasting to the yummy food that you are going to miss, concealing in their mind the unclear understanding of where Santa Barbara exactly is.

OK, here it is  Santa Barbara then, on a silver plate, viewed through the magnifying glass of someone who has spent there enough time to get to know what he has not yet forgotten he would have loved someone to have told him [crowd cheering the first useful post of this under* blog].
Tidbits are scattered all over the place, didn’t have time (??) to wrap them up nicely and in a proper format.

Food

As opposite to what the average Italian thinks, you *can* find a variety of cheap and delicious food in SB. All my wisdom here comes from http://www.santabarbara.com/dining/. Check out the “best of 200x” to find new entries, or stick to the following list for exceptional good food:

  • Mexican: La super cuca and los gallos: cheap, tasty, authentic. Runners-up in my personal ranking are Los arroyos and Left at Albuquerque (try their margaritas!). When quality is at a premium and all you care about is just to stuff you stomach: Freebirds.
  • Burgers: Chili’s: juicy burgers and loaded margaritas. Dargan’s (Irish pub)  good for live music and bar hopping, they also serve great meat and fries.
  • Thai: Meun Fan Thai Cafe: try their curries!
  • Indian: Spice avenue: recommended by my Indian friends as “OK quality, but for sure the best you can find around if you don’t want to drive to LA”. Go for lunch for their amazing buffet (warning: it could seriously jeopardize your health if you don’t strive to control that “I can’t get enough” feeling you get passing by the buffet)
  • Sushi: California is the best place in the world to have good sushi after… guess what? 😀 Santa Barbara has plenty of good sushi places. Best quality vs price ratio: Ichiban. Best sushi (unrestricted): Arigato. Best cheap stuff, open till late: Edomasa.
  • Cajun Food: Palace grill: delicious cajun food New Orleans style, at a price: noise, waiting times and price.
  • Steak: Ehm, I shamefully reckon I did not do much investigation on this front, The brewhouse has excellent meat (and beer) but this is as far as I can go.
  • Brunch: Cajun kitchen
  • Pastries: Danish Bakery
  • By the Beach: Shoreline cafe (try the ahi tuna tacos)

Must see

The Cold Spring Tavern. 10 minutes from SB the 154, on Sunday afternoons the serve an awesome sandwich whose price is going through the roof (8$ last time I checked) but it is totally worth it. Pretty decent live music played on Sundays, bikers’ place, and out-of-this-world location on the mountains. You can find several vista points on the way there

Beaches

  • Eastbeach: best beachvolley in the central coast. Everyday at noon you’ll find someone who can kick your ass. Warning: don’t mess around with the players. They are friendly and everything if you can give them good games but will easily turn into passive-aggressive if you spoil their plans.
  • Westbeach: shallow, hard floor, it’s jumpers’ beach. Your self esteem will rise boosted by your renewed vertical, until you try East Beach again 😉
  • Arroyo Burro (Hendry’s beach): beautiful landscape, go for a walk during the sunset with a guitar and some booze. There you can bonfire (don’t know if legal or not, but everybody does it) or just be amused by the coastline.

Pubs

  • Dargan’s (pool, people),
  • Elsie’s (the closest thing to a “centro sociale” in the US, as per friends’ statement)
  • Mercury Lounge (in Goleta, pool, quite),
  • James Joyce (music,darts, peanuts).

None of the gets me utterly excited, though.

Dance
Clubs play crappy music here, period. Must be drunk to dance that hip-hop-ish-house s*it.  Narrow minded? Might be.

Move around

  • Rent a car:
    • Usave (california based, no one-way rental, plus some other headaches, but super cheap)
    • enoleggio.it: still can’t believe how they do but they have the best price.
  • Bus: mtd.org

Grocery

This would deserve a blog on its own…. Nevertheless… Well, will do (ahah). For now:

  • Vons can be enough if you live alone and have no particular needs (members card gets you huge discounts)
  • Costco might allow cheaper solution for some items.
  • Trader Joe’s for quality on a budged,
  • ralph’s for the meat.

Electronics

Not much until a few months ago, now we have a best buy and a Apple store on State street!

Shopping
Two words: Camarillo outlets! Prices that in Europe we will never see for brands that we use in Europe only. Check it out.

Roadtrippin’ around

Uhm, don’t feel like talking about it now.

Sports

Ditto. There are plenty, though.

Jeez, this is boring me to death, more to come…


Amnesia of childhood solitude.

June 12, 2009

Catch the moment, nail it down spread it fast, and clasp it by its ends, spread it fast before it rolls back and folds you in. A year has passed, 4 posts, embarrassing silence like when you sit in a club and watch the captioned Japanese movie on the tv screens behind the sweaty bar tender. How interesting. You are nothing without your work, slave to the slavery itself, slave for the sake of being a slave, because it’s easier. Jaded to the extent that you want to run only to see what’s next, no matter what’s next. And everything looks the same, the thousand quotations that fill your day dance in a orgy of flatness, just to collapse in the single credo that nihilism is the answer but, wait a minute, what was the question. Complaining is pointless but above all inefficient. be productive, leave a mark, fitter healthier, until you roll your eyes back in your head, for pleasure or for ever.

Amen.


Duck living

November 3, 2008

Oh, yeah. The manifesto thing, a fruitful future for this blog envisioned by all my friends, the race with Giuseppe’s blog and all that.

Then I disappear for 4 months. I’m not new to this kind of things, I’m better at talking that at doing, and, in particular, better at giving my word than at keeping it. Whatever.

Duck living. What is that? The dream of every lazy programmer.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I would call it a duck.

It means that you don’t really care, when programming, whether you object derives from surfboards, then has the paddle() method or derives from volleyballs, then has the ding() method. If it looks like a surfboard, short or long, you can paddle on it, whatever the shape is. On the other hand, if it is striped, round and soft you can ding it. (Uhm, usually vague denotations like that always lead to terrible, as in hilarious, word plays, but I cannot think of anyone right now for this one…)

OK, duck typing then. You’d like to have something like that in real life, uh? In real life if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it’s definitely a damn seagull snatching your pancake in front of your nose while you are enjoying a mild Californian morning on some shoreline cafe.

Also, when it behaves like a checking account, it is featured by the same bank of your checking account but it is called credit account then it is definitely not like a checking account. You cannot transfer too much money on it, say, from your checking account, if you need to use your credit card for a big payment right away. Should you exceed your credit line with that transfer you’ll get rebuked by the bank, threatened of closure of your credit account and the withdrawn will clear your checking account 2-3 days before it gets reverted and never show up in the credit account, leaving your money in some limbo somewhere you cannot know about.

Also, even if all your beloved personal info have been scanned and indexed by your pathological geeky mind and stored in at least 3 different machines, still, when you lose you damn wallet you cannot grep for that. Well, maybe this one is too much of asking to our age and it is also a little bit off-topic here. Maybe I should just pay more attention and get more sleep.

But I’d like to talk about “tech-inducted pavlovian reflex”. Don’t you have developed built-in associations like “I lost my keys” -> “What pattern should I grep for?” or, when writing in chat/email/free text you try to tab-complete words as typing as if bash could come and help fleshing out your thoughts?

Here we go, ZeroEntropy n. 3!


Metapost

June 20, 2008

Albeit its fancy title, you shall not mistake this writeup to talk about any of the magic of Knuth‘s brainchild. This is a post talking about future posts, hence is a meta-post. A sort of manifesto or program… …if I’ll ever get the chance to wrap it up…

The set up is always the same. I got some not-so-exciting work to get done. But it’s late, so I feel kind of justified to take it easy. But not that easy though! If I didn’t get the chance to have any of this work done during the day, I’m not legitimate to waste precious time on something frivolous like a blog during the night, right? Then I start endlessly fiddling with my email, I round robin through the tasks I have to get done, allocating to each of them a CPU time barely enough to allow my mind a context switch to that task and then a switch back to the next in queue. In a geeky way (should the previous passage be not enough) I’m stuck in a livelock.

Then what? Let’s write something on that blog. Giuseppe is already outnumbering me by six posts (if this one gets through, only five… pheeew), i can’t give in (thanks Teri for your insightful remarks on this phrasal verb :D) that easy.

But then the words of the Poet come to my mind, all in a sudden:

Benedetto Croce diceva che fino a diciotto anni tutti scrivono poesie e che, da quest’età in poi, ci sono due categorie di persone che continuano a scrivere: i poeti e i cretini.
Fabrizio de André

[roughly: Benedetto Croce said that everyone writes poetry until they are 18, after that, two kinds of people persist in writing: poets and idiots]. For this exact reason, Faber argued that he took refuge in writing songs, for which, not being poetry, Croce’s statement would not apply.

With a similar argument, then, I can feel relieved I’m not an idiot just because I’m far from teenage (at least, my I.D. says that) and I write a blog, which is no way close to poetry. (Well, this last statement sounds kind of idiotic per se…)

Never mind. I just realized that the quotation above is indeed a meta-quotation. Therefore, given the late time in the night and the fact that the meta-quotation has already fulfilled thoroughly the reason of being of this meta-post… I quit. Just created the second ZeroEntropy post.

Is this going to be just another ZeroEntropy blog?


Fiat Lux

June 15, 2008

Sloth. I’ve just learnt this word looking for the translation of “Accidia” (Italian).

How can this word be used to denote both the well known deadly sin and the funny and goofy beast that we all got to know thanks to the Ice Age movie?

Shrug. Sloth (the bad one) happens to be my best friend these days and she reclaims a new and shining way for wasting my time. Here it is my gift for her. This blog.
Unfortunately, http://sloth.wordpress.com/ is already taken. Damn.
Well I’ll call it another way.
Oh, no: http://anotherway.wordpress.com/.
Fine, yet another way, then.

To techies: You don’t really wanna read this. I’ll post tech-related trivialities every once in a while, with unprecedented sloppiness, in both concepts and presentation. This contravenes many of the rules to be a good hacker, and you’ll soon get pissed. Plus, I’ll be using a strongly teen-biased lingo, which you won’t like. U know what I mean?

To scientists
: I’ll occasionally be posting some not-so-mind-boggling stories about my Ph.D. research. I aim at becoming a good link hub to people who speak much more wisdom than me. And don’t worry: properly used tags will help you filter out those useless personal messages.

To skanks: I feel so cool because I can slang. I learnt this term just a few minutes ago. Whatever. Whoever you are, stay away from here. And also to zombies: we don’t want you to spend your non-life reading these pages.

To Giuseppe: We’ve kept on saying for months that we should start a blog to log our we-think-really-ingenious ideas we are used to gchat about.
Finally, we end up starting not only one, but two blogs, in the very same day. Funny. Sipping the GMTA motto, I would say that your first post covers much of what my first post should. The language dilemma, motivations for blogging and everything. Thanks for that.

Per gli italiani: scrivero’ in inglese perche’ in una lingua straniera le minchiate stridono meno e ogni frase insolita sembra automaticamente intelligente.

I write in English also because it still does not flow in my head all the time. Therefore, a new post will be created only during the contemporaneous onset of my [limited] writing skills in English AND a flood of my stream of consciousness. The need for those two requirements to be simultaneously satisfied should keep the growth of posts bounded, and hopefully increment their quality.

Well, I think that’s pretty much it for a first post.