When we bought the seeds we were indeed promised a marvelous display of colored stalks. But this is way more impressive than I expected. There were white, red, yellow and even some orange ones. Hope they are as tasty as they look; they will be sautéed in a few minutes!
Monday, 28 May 2012
Friday, 25 May 2012
This one requires a bit of an explanation, if you're not a Hitchhiker's fan. A Towel is, according to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or HHGG, the most useful thing interstellar travelers can carry with them. HHGG is perhaps the best-known book by Douglas Adams, and there have been radio series, a TV series and a movie based on it. One of my favorite books by DNA is Last Chance to See, about endangered species. A must-read!
The date was picked by fans two weeks after Douglas Adams died, May 11th 2001, and has been observed ever since. I became a fan a few years before he passed away; it's too bad we won't get any more genius works by him. Even The Salmon of Doubt, posthumously published, is brilliant, although it's unfinished and doesn't make a great deal of sense.
I'm not saying that the rest does, either. But it is absolute genius!
I'm pretty sure this is an Easter cactus; the timing is right, and the shape of the flowers matches what I have read. These have radial symmetry, as opposed to Christmas cacti, which show bilateral symmetry.
Anyway, the flowers are gorgeous. You can see the similarity with "traditional" cacti; I posted a picture of Mammillaria a few days ago, and the flowers look almost the same, except for the size.
These are healthy AND look really nice! I like the color (and taste) combination ;)
Green ones are mustard, purple ones are cabbage. Have been sprouting these at home for a few years now, and we recently started saving the water from the daily rinses and also from the final rinse, just before eating them. Not rinsing properly and often can lead to bacteria growth and all sorts of unpleasant situations.
The problem is that this is a lot of water; saving it and using it to water the plants is working great. The plants love it, and we do our bit for the environment. Win-win!
Next batch will probably be watercress and mungo beans. Looking forward to it!
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
I went for an old look with this one. I pass by this building at least a couple of days a week, on my way to/from classes. It had never occurred to me to find out what is in there.
Yesterday I took this picture, and after posting, decided to look it up. It turns out it is now a Clinic (Clínica Creu Blanca), but couldn't find further information about its history.
But still, it is a nice building!
Lately, the posts have become all about flowers and skies. But seriously, isn't this amazing?
It's the season, so I guess I'll roll with it. Maybe tomorrow we will have something different? ;)
As in flowers, not coffee. More specifically, Petunias.
I had vowed not to buy any more Petunias, as they are taking over the balconies, but I saw these and couldn't resist. I mean, WHAT color is THIS?
Apparently, it's Cappuccino.
I couldn't describe this color to my mother; the best I could do was compare it to a car we used to own (yes, I know). Weird color for both a car and a flower, but it worked/works somehow. What do you think?
These were inherited from a friend that recently moved to Germany. For a long time I thought I disliked Gazanias. Yellow flowers, black rings, greyish leaves left me cold. Until I saw this one, that is.
Friday, 18 May 2012
I just noticed that this one already has a fruit, bottom/center of the picture, just above the Asparagus that is growing there. It looks like it's trying to take over the balcony, this one. I removed at least 7 yesterday alone. It's not that we don't like it, but one is more than enough. They tend to "eat" the soil and at least on one occasion one of them has broken the pot. So they have to be kept under control!
Her expression is priceless!
We got this one as a gift for a friend we hadn't seen for at least a year and a half, which is a shame, as we live in the same city. But you know how it is.
The plant flowered the next day; I wasn't expecting it, and for a few seconds couldn't figure out what was that thing on the plant. Further inspection revealed a nice purple flower (which here shows as blue-ish, for some reason. I guess CCD sensitivity to blue or something techy).
Today I discovered a second flower; supposedly they last a long time, and we should expect more where these came from. Apparently, bromeliads die after blooming, after having produced pups to perpetuate the species, but I have found several sources that say otherwise. In particular, Mr. Subjunctive says that this is not always the case, and I trust what he says. (He writes an amazingly entertaining blog, where I have learned lots about houseplants). So I will keep you posted on any further developments.
Boy, were we in for a surprise.
The label showed the usual (for me) six-petal flower, so that was what I was expecting. Not THIS show. I didn't think that white-on-white was going to work, but this must be my favourite flower-themed picture so far (and you know there are a lot of those!).
Sadly, it seems the season is over; I haven't been able to find other colors, but if things work as planned, these bulbs should put on quite a show again next year!
I love the geometry here; the flowers are perfect six-point stars, so the whole thing screams of hexagons. I suspect that a fuller flower (we weren't that lucky, or maybe this is the best this variety does) would resemble a geodesic dome.
I know; I'm a geek.
Monday, 14 May 2012
Friday, 11 May 2012
Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Tuesday, 8 May 2012
The PLE Conference first became an idea back in 2009. A bunch of us got together for another conference, and at some point got fed up with it: same traditional format, people doing their thing and then disappearing (I know, we kind of did the same), the audience being basically the presenters themselves, no networking spaces, spotty WiFi and so on. It was not the only conference I had been to with those characteristics; 2009 was a very busy year for me in terms of conferences and events participation, and most of them failed to live up to my expectations.
Anyway; here we were, Graham, Cristina, Maria, Tobias and I. We also managed to kidnap Andrea, whom we had met after his presentation. We went to the seaside and a couple of drinks later, started talking about why conferences should be so, well, boring.
And then someone said "we should host our own conference".
After a couple of minutes of silence, everyone started talking at the same time, with lots of ideas and suggestions. Eventually, we settled on PLEs as the focus of the conference: that was the reason we first got together as a team, and a couple of searches on Google showed there had been no face-to-face conferences on that topic yet. The only reference we could find was a virtual event.
After this, it was a question of deciding where to host it. (This is where I got tricked). Everyone said "Barcelona, of course!". Called one of my supervisors at the time, who assured us we would have 100% support from the foundation (Citilab, where I worked between 2008 and 2011), and that was it. Barcelona would host The PLE Conference 2010.
What I didn't realise then was that of course I was also automatically being appointed local organiser. If I had known the implications! (well, to be honest, if I had known, I would still have done it).
A couple of months later, we met again, at (surprise) another conference. By this time we have had a few emails and Skype meetings, and were ready to start working. Ilona became part of the team, as well as Linda and Rafa. And the hard work began. It was a lot of work: issuing the call, having weekly meetings, deciding on budget, trying to find sponsors, simultaneous interpretation, keynotes, accommodation, getting the venue sorted out, WiFi, setting up social networks presence and disseminating the info, getting papers, finding reviewers, deciding the final programme, sending papers back for corrections and revision, logo, banner, programme, finding "volunteers" (some of my students: Aleksandra, Andrew, Alex, Cheng, Marina, Martin), catering, setting up a space for the posters session, for the wine & tapas, lunch... It is amazing what happens behind the scenes, and you learn to have some respect for the people that organise this things. I can understand why some of them just go for the tried and proved template: thinking outside the box and trying to be innovative is risky and creates even more work.
You cannot do it alone. Yes, I was in Barcelona and had to deal with a lot of things other members of the team simply could not do. I had a lot of help from Citilab and many of my colleagues there worked really hard on this. i2Cat were also very supportive and sponsored the interpretation and part of the keynotes accommodation expenses. Some of the teachers that were participating in the HortDigital project also helped and María José even offered to host Joyce! The organising committee did an outstanding job, and we had several people helping just because they wanted to. My only regret is that I couldn't participate in all the sessions, and that I had to completely miss some of them, as most of the time I was running up and down the building sorting things out.
second PLE Conference, I was still part of the organising committee, but with way less pressure; we had new members, and a great local team. Southampton was amazing, and kept the spirit alive. This year it has been harder for me to participate actively: lots of changes, both personal and professional, mean less time, but I have tried to keep the Twitter conversation going on, made it to a couple of meetings, did my reviews. I'm sure this year's conference will be great, and I know that both the Aveiro and Melbourne teams are working hard on it, day and night.
BUT. It is worth the effort. Gemma has already written about this, so I won't go over it again, but the unKeynotes, the backchannel, the networking, the participation... all this has made The PLE Conference an event that is fixed in my calendar. Even if I don't attend any other event, this is the one I won't miss. How long will it keep running? I don't know. Would the name still be appropriate in 3 or 5 years? Probably not. And that's actually a good thing, in my opinion. But if something will remain, it will be the spirit, the inspiration, the camaraderie. I am extremely proud of being a part of all this, and hope I can continue helping and participating for many more years.
Why are you still reading? Go mark July 11th to 13th in your calendar right now! You won't regret it ;)
Monday, 7 May 2012
Friday, 4 May 2012
By the way, I'm trying the direct connection from Flickr to Blogger. It works OK, although I don't think I get a lot to say on the post layout; maybe I need to explore a bit more. And then I have to log in to Blogger anyway if I want to add labels and such. Will try it for a few days and see whether I like it.
I also started to try the Pinterest function, which is pretty good. Managed to Pin all my 1picxday images to boards organised by month.
Thursday, 3 May 2012
| I was in a hurry, so I just took a picture and run to my next (and final) meeting of the day. It was afterwards that I realised the contrast was all wrong and had to play with filters to get some of the details back. Thus the weird glow on the top left corner. It had some nice comments on Facebook anyway, so I can't complain!|
I guessed this must had been listed somewhere, so after a bit of Googling found out it is called Cases Salvador Andreu; apparently, the style is more Eclectic than Modernist. More information on it may be found here.