Moving on from WEBMU

The Whiny Expat Bloggers Meet-Up has been an annual treat for us, through which we’ve met fantastic people and explored areas (sometimes new, sometimes familiar) through a local’s eyes. In the last few years, we’ve taken on an organizational role, helping the hosts execute the event, lending guidance and fomenting discussion. However, this feels like the right time for us to step back.

We’re open to attending future meetups, but WEBMU needs a new driver if it is to continue. We’d be happy to hand over the existing resources (blog, FB and forums) to anyone who wants to carry on. Or maybe WEBMU will continue under someone else’s auspices, but in a different form. If you’d like to try giving WEBMU a facelift, go for it. Contact either of us via any of the methods listed here. And if there’s no interest, we’ll eventually shut down the meetup’s online presence.

It’s been a good run, and lots of fun, and we still have and value friends we made through WEBMU. Thanks to everyone who has participated and made it so special!

Available disk space shrinking on Mac OS X? Check your log files.

I have a Mac Book Air with 120 GB of storage built-in. I accumulate a fair amount of useless files through my normal usage, and I try to get rid of it periodically, storing the files I want to retain for the long-term elsewhere. Today I did my usual purge of videos, pictures, screenshots, documents and other assorted crap and found that my available disk space was still much less than I expected, and it was not immediately clear why. Turns out the culprits were some huge log files from the Apple Continue reading Available disk space shrinking on Mac OS X? Check your log files.

Escape from Winter 2015

This winter was dragging on and on and on. Fortunately we’d foreseen a need for a break from it far in advance and planned a trip to Mexico to visit mis padres.

Some highlights, in no particular order:

  • pal Rachel did her own escape from Boston’s relentless winter by meeting us down there
  • Sarah and my dad did a duet at the BVG Open Mic session
  • picked up a replacement stone for my ring (onyx had cracked; got a nice blue/green fire opal in there now)
  • tried out Sonora Grill Prime at Plaza Neptuno (it was a great meal!)
  • took in a live music concert downtown
  • saw folk dancing representing regions all over Mexico at a free outdoor exhibition (get downtown early if you want to snag a seat)
  • admired the requisite sunrises and sunsets
  • clocked some pool time, recharging our solar cells

My beard’s gone; bring on the Spring

I’m over this winter stuff!


A couple weeks ago, I departed for a business trip to Romania. Upon my return, I headed to a local barbershop for a shave and a haircut1. This was the longest and thickest and most luxurious my beard has ever become, and knowing we were about to leave Germany for a week of warmer climes, I thought a professional shave might be a good way to kick off a sunny vacation. Plus, thinking of all the border control measures, I look a lot more like the picture in my passport now.

This was my first-ever paid shave. A tiny Southeast Asian barber lady at the mall took good care of my face during the whole process.

  • multiple confirmations before we got started: yes, really, please shave it all off
  • lots of creams, oils, and salves before, during, and after
  • warm towels, hot towels, cool towels
  • gentle stretching of my face during the scrapey-scrape-scraping away of four and a half months of beard growth

I hold the record for the number of straight razor blades dulled during one shave job: 3 She never encountered a beard which dulled three razors before. I am oddly proud of that, somehow.

After the shave was completed, my skin was a little irritated, but she was very careful not to cut me, and after a few hours the redness disappeared.

On the way home, I noticed how cold the wind was for the first time this winter. I’m ready for Spring now.

  1. “Two bits!” []

More thoughts on consumer privacy and electronic communication

The Guardian and NDR are reporting allegations that Google handed over journalists’ private personal data en masse in response to “catch-all” warrants against WikiLeaks’ employees, and then was not allowed to inform its clients, the journalists, that it did so for more than two years. On the NDR article page you can watch an interview in English with Sarah Harrison, an editor at WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks’ founder asserts that Google was complicit in the USA’s violation of its own constitution. I am not a lawyer, journalist, spy, political agitator, or hacker1. But the slippery slope facilitating that hand-over of data, irrespective of its legality, creeps me out. Continue reading More thoughts on consumer privacy and electronic communication

  1. in the criminal sense. But I do try to make software do what I want it to do where I am allowed to, so I guess I am a hacker in that sense. []

Atmospheric Conditions

The weather has been mighty weird around here lately. We’re down in the South, so we’re not getting battered by hurricane-force storms like the North is, but we’re still feeling its effects. The clouds, when not sprinkling rain, freezing rain, or (less recently) dumping big soft fluffy snowflakes onto us, are racing across the sky, bringing dynamic shadows to our town. The Danube is overflowing its banks on the islands, but not quite yet on the city side. It’s not far off, either.

Once in a while, when the clouds and sun play nice together, we get a rosy sky at dusk around 16:45:
Pink Sky