Friday I woke up at 6am due to the jet lag. I took it as a great opportunity for an early promenade on the beach. It was great. People jogging, a nice fruit market improvised on the walkway, and nice weather. After work, we had dinner at Ipanema and then walked to Copacabana. Lots of people were walking, chatting, drinking agua de coco, having beer and caipirinhas, playing soccer on the beach, strolling through the souvenir market.
Several workers where busy preparing kiosks, towers and stages for the reveillon, the big new year’s eve party on the beach. There’s going to be a concert by Black eyed peas on Ipanema beach, for free. And 24.3 tons of fireworks. 1M people are expected to gather on the beach for this event.
The strange thing about Rio de Janerio is that even in the most elegant and wealthier place, you always have a direct view to a favela on the nearest hill. Very rich and very poor people live side-by-side, as nowhere else. The crime rate here is very high, but you don’t really feel it. Besides, our hotel is in Barra da Tijuca, a very calm place far from the touristic hot spots. To get to Copacabana we need a 40 mins taxi ride.
Yesterday morning I went jogging and then soaking sun on the beach. It was really crowded. Few people were swimming (maybe scared by the strong waves) but there were lots of surfers. And girls. Nice girls. I got burnt. By the sun, I mean Carioca girls believe that tissue is ugly, so they try to wear the least possible amount of it when they are on the beach. They have no shame: ugly women wear the same minimal bikini than stunning beautiful bodies do. None the less, nobody was topless. They have a strange sense of decency.
Then we spent the afternoon on a trip to Corcovado, the rock with the big Christ Redeemer statue on top. It’s really big and from there you can enjoy amazing sights in every direction.
For dinner we’ve been to Porcão, a huge all-you-can-eat steakhouse chain where you pay 59R$ (20 EUR) and you can eat everything as much as you want, until you explode. At the end of the day we were so tired that we slept on the taxi on our way back.
So I finally landed in Rio De Janeiro this morning. 27 degrees and cloudy, not bad for Christmas time. People here have cocoa trees decorated with xmas lights and Santa sledges near pools and girls in bikini. For lunch I have been to a place where you can pick any kind of meal and you pay by total weight, 29 reais (slightly more than 10 EUR) per kilo. They told us this place was expensive. After work we’ve been on the seaside drinking cocoa water directly from coconuts opened using a machete. Everybody told us we should be careful when walking or taking a bus in Rio. Meanwhile 18 where killed today. Our hotel is very nice, with all the comforts and view to Tijuca beach.
A merry Christmas to all of my friends!
I don’t usually waste my time on java, but today I was in the right mood and tried to write a very simple network daemon, just to learn how hard it was. After some quick google I found that java can’t daemonize itself (it has no access to relevant native system calls) and therefore the Apache guys developed a nice component called org.apache.commons.daemon. I though Apache guys are smart, after all they developed the Apache web server, Subversion and more interesting stuff, so they have to know very well how a network daemon works. So I happily started with the test app, SimpleDaemon, bundled in the commons tar file, just to prove it works.
Unfortunately at the 1st attempt I got:
pioppo@roentgen ~/sandbox/daemon $ jsvc -verbose SimpleDaemon.class SimpleDaemon
24/12/2006 00:32:53 32525 jsvc error: Cannot execute JSVC executor process
Gosh, what is this? Read the rest of this entry »
So Christmas is coming. This golden rain picture has been taken in Florence, walking to Piazza della Signoria. I’m used to associate Christmas with cold, snow, winter, Santa, deers, but this just because I’m European. People living in the southern half of the planet have copletely different experience. This year I’m flying to Rio de Janeiro and will spend my new years eve on Copacabana beach. I’ll keep you posted, promise!
Fortana is a relatively unknown grape variety typical of sand soil in north east of Italy. Growing vines in this kind of extreme terrains is very difficult and fortana is one of the few varieties that makes it possible. Its low vineyards survived attacks from phylloxera and therefore still today are grown self-rooted (e.g. no grafting). Mattarelli makes 500k bottles/yr of Bosco Eliceo DOC, but also has a small higher quality production (just 3k bottles/yr) using barriques and named Baba.
This wine has a very structured bouquet. At first you can feel a strong smell of minerals, paint, sage. Wait a while and you will see hints of asphalt and some black berry emerge from behind. Wait some more and it will turn in caramel and the hay. Wait even more and it will finally turn into tobacco. Taste is a little bitter, strong, with good balance between acidity and tannin and a sapid tail. Surprisingly, it disappears relatively quickly. Refreshing.
Microsoft finally figured it out: Vista could be their last operating system, at least in the way they meant it so far. From Times Online:
Yet already the knives are out for Vista, a system that Microsoft executives admit will be the last of its kind, as their company finally gets to grips with the internet age. Vista is meant to be slicker and safer than its predecessors, but even after a two-year delay it is “not really ready”, Michael Silver, an analyst at Gartner, said.
Now, this is a big step for them and for everybody (partners, customers) who accepted to be locked into their products. A very bitter medicine, but they eventually figured out there’s no choice:
The fear is that rivals will use the web to kill Windows. Google, a child of the online era, is the No 1 threat.
“Microsoft is way behind Google when it comes to the internet,” Rupert Godwins, the technology editor at ZDNet, the industry website, said. “Building Vista, Microsoft is still doing things the old way at the same time as it undergoes a big shift to catch up.”
Crucially, the Google word processor and spreadsheet package does not need Vista.
Well, it was about time they noticed. Welcome to the Internet.
You know those plots where half a dozen very different characters meet just by chance, talk, cross their lives, almost fall in love but actually never can create a stable relation because Destiny doesn’t want them to? Yes, this is one of those
Thierry is a real estate agent and is trying to find a good appartment for Nicole e Dan, a couple with a problematic relationship, never satisfied of Thierry proposals. Charlotte works in the same real estate agency, is a solid believer and likes to gift Thierry with videotapes of a TV show about religion, with a rather embarassing bonus track at the end. Thierry’s sister, Gaëlle, is looking for a partner by posting personals on newspapers. Dan spends his time confessing his problems to a barman, Lionel.
All of them are frustrated looking for love, escaping loneliness, including Nicole and Dan who are breaking their relation. In the round of random events, they got to meet in unexpected ways and help each other, but at the end of the day they are still alone. Oscillating among brilliant comedy, serious pathos and theater, Alain Resnais built a mysterious and fascinating atmosphere, light and candid as the snowflakes falling all the time on a cold Paris.
Sabine Azéma and Laura Morante both deserve a mention for their excellent interpretation.
Cœurs (aka Private Fears in Public Places),
France 2006, by Alain Resnais, Drama
with Sabine Azéma, Laura Morante, Isabelle Carré, André Dussollier, Lambert Wilson, Pierre Arditi
After nine hours night flight here I am back to Italy. Luckily enough the airplane was half empty and I’ve spent most of the night sleeping. I’ve been just a week in NYC and I’m a little sad already. Damn, I definitely like that place. People working in our local office are fun to deal with and, oh man! in SoHo you can see lots of gorgeous girls walking on the street all day long! I can’t stand it!
I learnt interesting new things about newyorkers. For example they love to keep in-house rooms very warm. I knew the winter is very cold there (and believe me, it’s the wind makes you lacrimate) so I brought heavy clothes, but at home or in office they proved way too heavy. I felt like in an oven: just a shirt was enough. When they feel the temperature is too high they don’t stop the heating system, they’d rather open the window or turn on some fan. Kyoto anyone? I also learnt new interesting idioms, such as it’s so whitebread (it’s boring) and heard through the grapevines (learnt from informal undisclosed contacts).
OK OK, time to return to my normal life
Yesterday night the few blocks between Rockfeller Center and Times Square were really crowded. People from all over the world were gathering there to see the recently lightened Christmas tree, buy very expensive fancy clothes, and feel like they are in the wealthiest place of the world. Rockfeller tower was beamed in blue and white gigantic snowflakes made of light were dropping down. A gorgeus effect. I felt like it was Christmas already. Times Square was a crazy circus of moving light, huge ads and traffic jam. By contrast, downtown in SoHo or in the Village you see no Christmas decorations at all, you feel like in a completely different space-time. Amazing.