PyConAR 2016 Days 1, 2 and 3

The first day we were quite busy handling the admission and all that stuff at Club Emprendedores Bahía Blanca, so no pictures (at least from me, there are others from the official photographer)

The following days were at Complejo Palihue. It’s a lovely campus at the outside of the city within very wealthy neighborhoods.

The lecture rooms and amphitheaters are ample and well stocked and the view is lovely:

I also spent a while at our booth

And attended to a couple of talks. This one is about MicroPython running on the EDU-CIAA

A small detour on my way to PyConAR 2016

It’s that time of the year (again) when I rent a car and hit the route.

This time I’m heading to Bahía Blanca in order to help a bit and attend to PyConAR.

At the side of Ruta 51 on Coronel Pringles, a bit after the crossing with Ruta 72 there’s a wonderful lake.
Even if there were about 60 kms left I had to stop to enjoy the day and stretch a bit my legs.

Butterfly at night

The other day walking back home I spotted this butterfly resting on the sidewalk. I watched quietly as the wings moved slowly for a bit, to take off a little while and disappear into a bush.

Emptiness

Yesterday I went to see Patricia Sosa at the Playón Municipal.

She used to move me, make me cry, laugh. But I was like, meh, nothing. All the people around cheering and singing and nothing.

All I had in my head was that old Rilo Kiley song (Paint’s peeling)

And i feel nothing, not safe
It’s a hard day for dreaming again

Tristeza

(from https://sites.google.com/a/unc.edu.pe/laurabazan/desarrollo-personal/mi-querida-tristeza , not sure where did she find it)

Mi querida tristeza
De ti he aprendido que sentirme triste NO es malo; es inevitable. Es necesario. En la vida hay momentos maravillosos y momentos terribles; …tú has aparecido con los segundos. Perdí a personas, dejé atrás etapas, abandoné sueños. Me has acompañado cuando tuve que despedirme de todo aquello que se fue de mi vida. Por ello, te doy las gracias.

Tú me retuviste mientras no podía hacer otra cosa más que llorar y, cuando estuve preparada, dejaste que siguiera mi camino. Aprendí que las cosas llevan su tiempo; aprendí a ir más despacio, más tranquila, más reflexiva.

En cada momento de dolor, luché para salir adelante. Y así supe que la tristeza no implica debilidad; cuánto daño ha hecho la expresión “llorar es de débiles”; al contrario, las personas más débiles son aquellas que no son capaces de afrontar sus sentimientos. Hay que ser muy fuerte para mirar a nuestro dolor a los ojos y dejar que fluya. Hay que ser muy fuerte para superar la tristeza y recuperar la alegría. Eso sí que es de personas fuertes.

Aprendí que eres un sentimiento intransferible; que el camino que se recorre junto a ti, nadie podía recorrerlo por mí. Nadie.

Pero también aprendí que el dolor compartido, duele menos; que aunque hay caminos que debes recorrer tú mismo, hay gente te quiere y que está dispuesta a acompañarte. Qué compartir alegrías es la sal de la vida, pero que compartir las penas llena el alma.

Es en los momentos de tristeza cuando aprendes a distinguir las relaciones auténticas de las superficiales. En lo bueno está todo el mundo, pero en lo malo, sólo unos pocos se quedan.

Y un día supe que debías irte, tristeza. Aunque agradezco tu ayuda, sé que no quiero convivir siempre contigo . No quiero una vida llena de tristezas y pesares, sino todo lo contrario.

Aprendí que si permaneces durante demasiado tiempo con la tristeza, corres el riesgo de acostumbrarte a ella. Sé que debes ser una visita breve y que debo invitarte a marchar antes de que te sientas demasiado cómoda.

Así que he aprendido a valorar la vida. Que la felicidad está en los instantes que saben apreciarse y agradecerse. Los pequeños detalles, las sorpresas agradables. La familia. Compartir unas risas con amigos. En realidad, compartir cualquier cosa. Leer un buen libro. Una comida rica. Aceptar a las personas como son. Ser capaz de querer y de dejarme querer… Si sabes apreciar los pequeños momentos de la vida, la felicidad siempre te rondará.

Y lo más importante, aprendí que ser feliz no significa vivir sin sentimientos angustiosos. No se puede. Debemos tomar conciencia de todas y cada una de nuestras emociones, agradecer su ayuda y despedirnos de ellas cuando su momento haya pasado.

Y es que vivir es sentir. Y hay que aprender a sentir…

La Falda Winter 2016: Redux

During these days I walked and biked a lot.

I switched my dietary habits and even tough I made many times more physical exercise than usual I didn’t feel weak.

I maxed out the hotel breakfast and then for the rest of the day I had fruit and dried seeds (they are way cheaper than here). I reconciled myself with feeling hungry, with an empty stomach, but now weak. That was liberating.

I lived like a vagrant (or a hobo sometimes) and everything was fine and dandy.

I slept on parks and the streets when the sun was nice.

I walked barefoot a lot.

I skinny dipped sometimes.

I was one with Nature.

I also learned that people listen to Nickelback on purpose there. Who’d a thunk it?

A couple of days I worked. I’d like to say that I had an epiphany and built a masterpiece but it was anything but that, quite mundane tasks. On the other paw, my office was a quiet spot on the mountain with a small river and birds singing just in front of me.

I’m back at the concrete maze, but my only consolation is that I still have a jungle and river near.

La Falda Winter 2016: Day 7

Today I woke up early as I had to make the trip back in one day.

I stopped at Córdoba to visit friends and eat some niceties from La Pugliese.

Went to Museum Emiliio Caraffa and tried to reach the ferris wheel at the zoo but the fare ($125) was too high for just a few moments, I was tight on time and the guard said that I wasn’t allowed to enter or look at it.

On the perimeter of the zoo near it there are many spots where people sleep and the fences are broken but there were many people around and I didn’t try to break in.

After that I did the remaining ~700Km on one long stretch. That killed my back.

La Falda Winter 2016: Day 6

Today I saw the sunrise from Cerro El Dragón and then went back to Vaquerías to follow the trail that goes to Cascada del Ángel.

On my way back I visited Museum Camín Cosquín. The owner was very generous, he opened it just for me and played the Blade Runner soundtrack. He was a bit intimidating turning on and off the lights from the console station, overlooking every step I did.

Sadly he was very strict in not letting me take any pictures inside, the minerals are breath taking, so wonderful.

Outside, I saw for the first time some insects besides mosquitoes. A wasp carrying a spider into her nest.


I woke up early and after a quick breakfast headed up Avenida Edén, ended again at Los Patos and disappeared into a small corridor among trees.

After a while I emerged at a road with an incredible view of the city.
Slowly the shadow becomes smaller and the city starts appearing (the sun is at my back on most of the pictures, it can not be seen, the mountain hides it)

There was another path leading to a higher point, I went there and then rode back to pick the car and go to Vaquerías again.

Today I could see that tower from another vantage point, it looks so small. It was quite a wonderful morning

Upon arriving the guard was nowhere to be seen so I took chance to look at some forbidden places.

There’s a barrier and a small road that goes down into a very quiet and abandoned river with spots to camp and make fire. A bit more downstream there’s a dam and rests of an old pumping station.

It was a bit difficult but I managed to get to the bottom of it, the air and water are really cold there and the rocks have a very slippery surface.

The view is amazing and totally worth it.

I crossed to the other side and took a look into the tubing, following it along until it disappeared. I almost fall after a false step.

Before going back to the main trail I took a quick dive. It was really, really cold and not very deep. It wasn’t that safe to jump from the top.

The road to Cascada del Ángel crosses through very nice water streams

The trail that returns to the stations has a lovely view of the mountains

I went to Plaza General Manuel Belgrano to rest a bit and eat.

Then I went to Museo Camín Cosquín.
It’s a mysterious place at the side of the route with a commendable collection of gemstones and fossils.

The owner was very kind. When I arrived he was quietly sitting at the shadow of a tree and opened it just for me, did all the dance of setting up the ticket booth and then walked me to the entrance.

On the middle of the exhibition there’s a U shaped table with lot’s of things for sale, he sat there looking at everything I did. As I moved from room to room he switched the lights and stared at me in silence. It was a bit creepy and the music (Blade Runner end by Vangelis) helped to create a mystic atmosphere.

It’s quite sad that he didn’t let me take a single picture of the insides.

At the stairs I saw the first couple of insects besides some flies, a wasp carrying a (not yet) dead spider into her nest. After managed to pull the body through a very small hole in the rocks.

The rest of the pictures are at https://www.flickr.com/photos/40523294@N08/sets/72157672030812902/with/29164319222/

La Falda Winter 2016: Day 5

Today I woke up early and went to Plaza San Martín to have breakfast there.

The church (Parroquia Santísimo Sacramento) was open so I went inside for a peek. The stained glass panels look gorgeous with the morning sun. On a locked room behind bars and lots of furniture there’s an old computer running what appears to be a DOS program.

I like to think that someone set it up twenty years ago and locked there, she kept churning holy data. I wasn’t able to identify what was it running from the distance.

I headed to Cosquín and at a side of the route was this semi abandoned place, so naturally I had to take a look.

Some of the storage rooms upstairs seem to be used from time to time. The view from there is really nice, you can also peep at some other peoples backyards. On the stairs there’s a leather bag with clothes hidden among the steps.

Back again at the main level there was a very nice pair of gloves, I didn’t take them.

On another room there was quite a party. Lots of underwear and lingerie (mostly feminine) and lubed condom sachets. Safety first.

Then I went to Cosquín for a walk.

On a semaphore there were a couple of dudes juggling, I sat on the sidewalk to watch them and drink a bit. A nice old lady stopped by my side and gave me a $2 bill.

I continued my journey, after walking back and forth the main streets I bought some presents and went back to La Falda.

To complete the circle I fetched some food and had a quick dinner on a bench at Plaza San Martín.

There was a group of teens talking about their acid trips.

On the church is a very big banner talking about the ever growing drug situation.

The rest of the pictures are here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/40523294@N08/albums/72157673040128035

La Falda Winter 2016: Day 4

Today I went to Museo Municipal Capitán Juan de Cevallos at the old train station in Valle Hermoso visited the abandoned cinema (no pickable locks nor windows where I fit. The real estate agency wasn’t interested in touring me inside it.).

A couple of blocks away there’s a gemstone museum run by a very nice man that looks a bit like Victor Heredia. I bought some quartz, turmaline and malachite.

After that I headed to Reserva Natural Vaquerías.


I had a great time at the museum chatting with Luis about our collections, we traded cards. There is a very nice collection of old radios, cameras, medical equipment, coins and assorted minerals and fossils. However, the captions on many of those were redundant.

I didn’t take any pictures at the gemstone museum but the man there was really nice and chatty. After that I walked a bit towards an old cinema but wasn’t able to break into it.

Not very far from there there’s Reserva Natural Vaquerías. I went first to the road that leads to Cerro de la Cruz.

A bit before the trail to the Cerro de la Cruz there’s this old house.

I was able to climb to the roof thanks to a somewhat crumbling stairs on the back. This house also has a room with an inspection pit for cars.

On the front there’s a pile of old cans of bug poison (Shell and YPF).

According to a guy who was feeding horses nearby this house belonged to an old woman and the UNC took it from her.

Then I went to the top. I didn’t take many pictures. Just a bit before the end someone put wiring fences on the main trail.

From the wrecked house I was able to see what looks like a water tower, I descended towards it.

The same small corridor among the grass leads to the river. I walked back and headed to the Reserva. The heat and sun left me exhausted so I drove up to the top where there’s a forestal guard and another wrecked house.

There are two “approved” circuits, one that leads to Cascada del Ángel and another that goes to Cascada de los Helechos.
Given my situation and the impending sunset I chose the former.

It is a very nice trail that crosses lots of water streams. There were some horses drinking.

I started to walk with a group of people but let them go ahead for a while so I could take a bath alone. There’s this small cascade perfect for that.

This spot was wonderful to skinny dip. A group of teens and a woman that looked like their aunt caught me later. The woman smiled with a very naughty smirk.

( There are way too many naked pictures of me around if you care to look, so I won’t add more. )

A bit later I arrived at Cascada de los Helechos. The water is ice cold and the humid wind makes it more prominent.

On the way back I spotted more horses.

I arrived at the guard station with a bit of time left before sunset, but he said I better come back another day to go to Cascada del Ángel.

All the pictures are at https://www.flickr.com/photos/40523294@N08/albums/72157672940246946

La Falda Winter 2016: Day 3

Today I visited Valle Hermoso, its cemetery and old trains by the ConCiencia museum and the balneario Dique La Isla. Then I went back to La Falda, walked by some really nice abandoned houses and hotels, and cycled up ending at Dique La Falda and the municipal cemetery.

The first part of the ride was quite fast as it is mostly downhill. Before arriving at the cemtery I stopped by the ConCiencia museum. The guy in charge was closing it but gave me permission to look around the property, there are tons of abandoned trains and related machinery.

He then slowly disappeared on a small electric tramway towards his home. How cool is that?

A couple of them are ‘modern’ but most of the interesting stuff is from the steam era.

The trains blend nicely with a dense vegetation

After drifting at the train graveyard I went to the Valle Hermoso cemetery.

There were a couple of workers tending to the grass and building another alcove to house more coffins.

Some places are very well cared but others look like nobody was around in decades. I like that.

Some of the graves were open and you could walk away with the coffin, bones or old relics of yore.

In spite of the age the door locks held better and I wasn’t able to pick any (and having people come and go did not help).

Then I went to Capilla San Antonio. The view of the valley is great. It also had a spreadsheet detailing the church finances, it was a very nice touch, first time I see that kind of honesty on a church.

I walked by the minerals and gemstones museum but it was closed, so I headed to Dique La Isla. It was a bit more dirty than what I like but the water was very refreshing. I sat there playing the melodica for a while then I returned to the main route.

Back in La Falda I decided to visit the dique and municipal cemetery.

A couple of blocks from my hotel there’s this really big and abandoned hotel.

Almost all of the doors are locked, the windows chained and welded. There are signs of people living, according to the neighbors the owner is still there and from time to time allows people to wander inside.

I clapped to no avail (there was a very nice and expensive japanese car parked inside) but no one answered.

The park that borders Avenida Kennedy is very well maintained and people routinely uses it to walk animals.

Just around the bus station on the meeting of Maipú, Chubut and Río Negro there’s a wonderful antique store run by a nice lady called Mercedes.

The enameled sign reads (it’s an ad for a burlesque house, cvs means cents):

Tarifas de la Renombrada Casa de la Tolerancia de Madam Ivonne.

Bucal: 50 cvs
Normal: 90cvs
Media Hora 1.20 cvs
1 Hora Entera: 1.50 Pesos
C/2 Señoritas Juntas: 5.00 Pesos

Agua Jabón y Toalla

Aproveche las ofertas de la casa

I went to the other extreme from Valle Hermoso trying to reach the cemetery of La Falda, it’s past the entrance to Siete Cascadas, most of the way going up.

When I reached it it was past closing time, despite the nice pictures available online it looked a bit unkempt and it’s surrounded by a dumpster. I did not return again.

As of today google street view has pictures from 2013. It’s amazing how everything there decayed in only three years.

The view of the lake is wonderful.

On my way back from La Falda Cemetery I detoured because there was a spot with a wonderful view.

On the floor I found a lot of electronic scrap, computer power supplies, german tv chassis from the 80’s judging by the caps and ‘ausgang’. Chipped consoles. A Pinball table. Some joysticks.

I took some tv flybacks (the ones that look like a pancake and have an external tripler) and some ferrite cores that escaped the fire.

Digging a bit with a stick most of that place was electronic junk and dirt, underneath the grass there was more and more, progressively older the more I dug.

Then I painfully returned to the hotel. It was a short trip at 20Km but the slope of the road killed me. There’s an occupied Mansion at Guemes and Juan José Castro.

The rest of the pictures is here https://www.flickr.com/photos/40523294@N08/sets/72157671823845530/

La Falda Winter 2016: Day 2

(Day 1 I was a bit sick for the travel, just walked around, bought water and not much).

I had to buy a 15mm wrench (the other was waiting at home…) to put together the bike.

I drifted a while then I started to walk upwards on a small water stream that crosses the town and many houses.

It goes then into the mountain, surrounded by tall walls of soil and trees. Ends on the entrance gate to a very big house (looks like a hotel or something like that).

Back on the road there are many small corridors that disappear into the mountain, I took one of them.

From time to time the forest is less dense and there are signs of gatherings, like a love letter or a junkyard. Something curious about it was the vast amount of engine blocks, they are worth quite a bit of money (and really, nobody here asks for the papers if you try to sell them at a scrap dealer). Pity they were hard to get near the main road.

Reboot.

So this happened.

I’m again at this time of the year where I need something to pull me back into sanity. I rented a car and headed to La Falda for a week of biking, nature and relax. (I was going to participate on the Endurance Race but it was cancelled due to weather conditions)

The first day I took Ruta 6 and then Ruta 9, stopping at Villa María for a nap. During the day Ruta 6 is mostly empty and even though it’s a longer ride the time saved by avoiding Capital Federal more than makes up to it.

I slept at Hostel Girando and then very early the next day resumed the trip to La Falda.

The morning was very foggy and chilly. I had to stop at a side of the route for a while as I could barely see the front of the car. After that the temperature rose giving place to a wonderful day, and I took off most of my clothes.

I checked in at the hotel and went for a walk. My head and back where killing me and I needed to stretch, drink plenty of water and breath fresh. I like driving but this one hurted me really bad.

Fixing a microwave oven with a broken keypad

This is by far one of the most productive things I did this week outside of work (at least the one I can write about here).

A couple of months ago my ex gave it to me, it started with intermittent display issues and one day it stopped completely. I picked it up and stored it.

The other weekend I was in a bit of cleaning frenzy and I remembered that it was using valuable space on the shack doing nothing so I set to see if it had any hope of working again. Otherwise I’d take the transformer and dish motor, the magnetron would go to a friend and the rest sold as scrap.

This is the second time I fix a microwave oven and I’m amazed at the amount of grease and acid stench that accumulates inside them.

I bridged the safety interlock pads on the control board and powered it with an isolation transformer. It kinda turned on but was not responsive and only some digits were dimly lit. It was also very sticky.

After that I cleaned it using lukewarm water, detergent and a toothbrush, a scoop with a hair drier and then another bath with alcohol.

Now it works!

The keypad is a mess, besides being sticky and stenchy too the conductive traces were broken, like dissolved, on the connector side. For some models there are still replacements on the market but they aren’t cheap and also what’s the fun on that?

I peeled away the layers, traced it and make a replacement using tact switches. The decal will be glued on top of that. It works fine, there’s less waste (but I’m short of a spot welder) and off it goes to Radio Futura.