cmay in the bay

So, about three months ago, Christa was in town, and I took a bunch of pictures, in and around getting sick at the worst possible moment (having a houseguest). We did a day of touristy things; for some reason it was stupidly hard to get into the city but once we’d managed that it was a lot of fun. Then I got some sort of cold that I foolishly tried to power through and failed, so sat at home for a day.

I did get better in time to visit the de Young with her and our mutual friend Allyson. Then we went to the mission for drinks and then late burritos. I mobile-posted those photos, which means that they’re out of order (or the whole blog has gone nonlinear, possibly). I don’t remember the name of the beardy-glasses dude, just that he had a backpack full of art magazines and a sketchbook which he actually used.

Posted by Matt on 2017-05-22 07:09:43 +0000

magmaconf 2017

So this was, what, a month and a half ago? Long enough, anyway, that I feel bad for taking this long to get to the pictures. They’ve been in my loose edit folder since the plane ride home, and have just sat there this whole time.

Magmaconf is this wild conference that happens sort of semi-regularly in the town of Manzanillo, on the western coast of Mexico, in the state of Colima. It’s a language and even tech-agnostic conference; the two times I’ve been, and spoken, were both about my hardware adventures, and not about software. Somehow, the group that gets together there is always really remarkable. Not just people that are brilliant at what they do, and I mean the audience as well as the speakers, but really friendly.

The conference organizers do as much as they can to foster that environment, with really amazing events and surprises; The mariachi band on the last day, after the last talk, was a complete surprise. I think the luchadores were planned, but the spontaneous mock weddings were a surprise. I’m pretty sure this was the last incarnation of Magma, and I’m glad I was there.

So, in roughly chronological order, here are the photos.

this was the AirBnB I stayed at the first couple days. I sat and worked on my talk for 12 hours on the balcony of the room. And I still wasn’t done! I finished it the morning of, sitting in the audience, being rude. The venue, on the left, was a local University. Beautiful area, all volcanic soil and dense forest. To open the proceedings, there were native dancers, local to the area. The idea being that so many times, you go to foreign locales and all you see is the conference venue and don’t get any of the culture; this was the first of several moments where the culture was put front and center. Beach Games. This was after everyone had met and eaten and drank together; a capital-e Experience. It’s hard to tell because this is a still, but that guy actually held the hoop there for several seconds. Just walking through the market. One of the famous things in Manzanillo: this giant fish sculpture. Which is funny, because it’s not a fishing hub, but Mexico’s largest container port. Sign says stop, but I wasn’t driving. Shot from a moving car. The aforementioned mock wedding, this was one of several. The audience had fun picking odd couples out (the ‘couples’, by the look of it, were also having fun) Pinata Action. Along with the Mariachi band, there was a group of dancers. Really entertaining to watch; all of the dances told stories. The male half of the dance troupe. It was quite elaborate, with costume changes between dances and props and intricate choreography. Obie playing DJ before the band went on. The first set of luchadores. There were three different bouts, with a fourth between amateurs from the audience. Watching the fight. The point in the fight where the rudo (heel) has the técnico beat, just before the dramatic turn in which the técnico wins. The amateurs have a go. Everyone, thankfully, was fine in the aftermath. Later, in the club. This was the night I didn’t sleep, made my plane, and it didn’t matter anyway, due to a scheduling issue on the part of the airline.

Posted by Matt on 2017-05-19 00:43:30 +0000

the things I wish I carried

End of trip packing knoll

There comes a time in every trip when you have to empty out your luggage and sort the absolute necessities from the garbage you’ve re-packed in three different motels and not used once. I just did it for my suitcase, and it’s got me thinking about packing, and lists; what I forgot, and what I could have left behind.

First is the list of stuff I wish I’d remembered. I forgot my travel towel (don’t know where it is, in fact) and it’s super useful, even if the hotel/hostel/cabin/tent (etc) has a towel for every person. I especially miss mine when doing sink laundry. I also forgot to re-stock some of the consumables in my Dopp kit, notably the cotton pads I use for my face (I’m 32 years old and still have acne like a teenager; after a couple golden years in my 20s of low maintenance skin, it’s a wash and moisturize twice a day or I break out). That’s about it for things I miss. Total cost of about 6 oz. I also sort of wish I’d brought a water filter, but I haven’t been uncomfortable without it; the steripen has worked the one time I needed it, but the water still tasted pretty bad.

I also wish, just a bit, that I’d brought the larger camera bag. It fits my iPad and keyboard, and also a water bottle and a bunch of other stuff. The little bag isn’t the worst thing to happen, but I wish I had both options. That would also have bumped me up to my larger carry on, which would have meant I need packing cubes… etc. Oh: I also wished, several times, for a 10L dry bag to stash my camera gear in. And a non-GoPro waterproof camera. Again, I would have needed the larger backpack; I’m in a 30L daypack from Topo similar to this one; the big one is max-carryon sized, about 45L, from MEI.

Things I could have left at home: Binoculars, brought on the off chance that there would be clear skies and less light pollution. Neither of these things are true. Jeans: This was a guess on my part that I would be comfortable in them. The heat down here is way too much for pants. The tropics are an exception to my no shorts rule. Also: the 50mm lens; I haven’t bothered to carry it at all.

A few items I’ve picked up here that I’ll be bringing on my next trip to the tropics: A rash guard, made of wicking fabric, long sleeved. Gives about 30 SPF, very cooling when it’s wet, perfect for going in the water. Medication: I ran out of my prescriptions for blood pressure, and had to get them refilled here. The local pharmacy had two of the four, enough to prevent me from having an embolism or stroke or whatever.

Posted by Matt on 2017-04-27 21:08:54 +0000

beach walk Roatan

Two days ago now, I decided to go for a long walk down the beach. Adam, my friend that grew up here, said that the beach was contiguous, that you could walk the whole way to West Bay (not to be confused with west end, where we’re staying).

So, having decided against scuba instruction, I figured the walk would be a good afternoon’s entertainment. I could get a feel for the island and see what there was to see. I also managed to get mild heat exhaustion and a slight sunburn. Lesson learned (for probably the fifth time): when you go for a walk in the tropics, wear sunscreen and take a bottle of water.

From where we’re staying, it’s about a 10 minute walk to the end of half moon bay (no relation to the one in cali). There’s a point where the paved road stops, and the beach is the only way forward. I walked about 2/3rds of the way to the far tip of the island, and turned back because I didn’t have any water and I was tired. After all, this is a vacation, not a death march.

A note about the photos: I’m getting a little more used to the phone-only workflow. It’s still clunky, just because switching between apps is not as fast as it is on the desktop, and because I use 4 different apps to get them ready to upload (currently: camera+, ps mobile, photos, and flickr). Hopefully I’ve sorted the ordering; editing this way, over ssh, I have to publish the post before I can see.

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Posted by Matt on 2017-04-24 17:10:23 +0000