Como me le va?

Medellin Taxi
Medellin Taxi

This was originally posted on my old blog, ngmarleyDOTnet, on Jul 12, 2009 @ 15:00 CST. That blog is now defunct and the content is slowly being absorbed into this one. This is one of a few posts I wrote when traveling Latin America during the summer of 2k9.

As I entered a taxi a couple of days ago, the driver said to me “¿Cómo me le va?”, which I took to mean “Como le va?” (how are you), but he added an extra “me” in there, which perplexed me. In all my time studying/speaking Spanish, I’ve never heard it worded this way before (with the extra 1st person personal pronoun thrown in). I asked the taxista to repeat the question, and he clarified for me with a slowly-spoken “¿Cómo estás?”.

That’s been bugging me for a couple of days, so I had to look it up. Apparently my taxista was employing the ethic dative (dativo ético), which according to wiktionary is “the use of the dative case of a pronoun to signify that the person (or thing) being referred to is regarded with interest”.

Here are a couple of sites I’ve dug up (in Spanish) with information on the Spanish ethic dative.

This one is geared more specifically to my question.

This page has a ton of info on superfluous datives.

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Medellin, Colombia

A Typical Paisa
A Typical Paisa

This was originally posted on my old blog, ngmarleyDOTnet, on Jul 10, 2009 @ 21:48 CST. That blog is now defunct and the content is slowly being absorbed into this one. This is one of a few posts I wrote when traveling Latin America during the summer of 2k9.

I’ve been in Colombia for a week now. I was in Cartagena for 4 days, and I’ve been in Medellín for 3. Cartagena is nice to visit, but has too much of a tourist vibe for me. But Medellín… this has got to be one of the greatest cities to which I’ve ever been in my entire life. For one thing, there aren’t many foreigners here because this isn’t a touristy place. Also, compared to all the other cities I’ve been in Latin America, it seems a lot more tranquil and safe. And it’s surrounded my mountains on every side. But the biggest reason is… the women. They are all gorgeous here. Derek’s post on Colombian women sums it up perfectly. This is one of the few cities in which I would consider spending the rest of my life. Maybe. I would at least consider finding my wife here.

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Stilt House in Bocas del Toro, Isla Colon, Panama
Stilt House in Bocas del Toro, Isla Colon, Panama

This was originally posted on my old blog, ngmarleyDOTnet, on Jun 30, 2009 @ 09:45 CST. That blog is now defunct and the content is slowly being absorbed into this one. This is one of a few posts I wrote when traveling Latin America during the summer of 2k9.

Rudi Gunn: What’s a Panama?
Al Giordino: It’s a Navy thing.
Rudi Gunn: I didn’t know you were in Panama.
Al Giordino: We weren’t in Panama, we were in Nicaragua.
Rudi Gunn: So why do you call it a Panama?
Al Giordino: Because we thought we were in Panama!

I’ve noticed several main differences between Panama and Costa Rica. I’m really only comparing my experiences between the capital city of San José, Costa Rica and David, Panamá, which is Panama’s 2nd largest city.

  1. Costa Rican drivers will run you over. Panama drivers will stop for you in the road.
  2. The infrastructure here in Panama is generally a bit better than that of Costa Rica. Roads, electricity, internet, etc.
  3. In David, Panamá, it’s safe to walk the streets, and even safer on the sidewalks. Even at night. Not so much in San José, Costa Rica.
  4. They have a lot of air conditioning in Panama, and it’s actually cool/cold. In Costa Rica, when there is air conditioning, it’s not that great. And it’s not often that you’ll find it there at all.
  5. The supermarkets here (the big ones) in Pamana are like home. I stayed in one for 1/2 hour just looking around and being reminded of all the American products. They have Latin-American branded products too, but also quite a lot of the same stuff that the local Bentonville Wal-Mart sells (American labels and all). I don’t recall seeing that in Costa Rica. Also, in Panama, they are air-conditioned.

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Costa Rica

Sunset in Guanacaste
Sunset in Guanacaste

This was originally posted on my old blog, ngmarleyDOTnet, on Jun 22, 2009 @ 09:37 CST. That blog is now defunct and the content is slowly being absorbed into this one. This is one of a few posts I wrote when traveling Latin America during the summer of 2k9.

So, I’ve been in Costa Rica for almost a month now and not posted anything here yet. I hope to break that trend soon.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve:

  • Lived in 2 different houses in 2 different suburbs of San José, the capital of Costa Rica.
  • Attended the Costa Rica-USA football (soccer) match.
  • Done volunteer work at the Food for the Hungry office in Costa Rica (computer stuff).
  • Met several people from all over the world, most of whom are not Ticos (people from Costa Rica call themselves Ticos).

I’ve not:

  • Gone to any of the beaches.
  • Seen an active volcano.

My travel partner is Joel, an Englishman from a village south of London. We will be taking a bus to Panama this Thursday (25 Jun 2009). It’s been good to get to know the capital city of this country, but I’m ready to get out of Costa Rica for awhile. Or maybe forever.

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Mac OS X – madplay mp3 player

This was originally posted on my old blog, ngmarleyDOTnet, on May 8, 2009 @ 11:20 CST. That blog is now defunct and the content is slowly being absorbed into this one. I pretty much do use iTunes exclusively on my Macbook now, but wanted to preserve this for posterity.

I’m not a huge fan of iTunes. On my Linux systems, I use a command-line MP3 player. I simply type the names of the files I want to play as arguments.

By contrast, I have to click around about 17 different times to play the songs I want in iTunes, including clicking around in the “open file/folder” dialog box (because Apple apparently believes the average Mac user too stupid to be able to type the absolute path to the file(s) on disk, so they don’t offer that as an option). The UI is, to me, insufferable. All I want to do is play a few songs, quickly. Seriously, it should take less than 2 seconds to do this.

More stuff I hate about iTunes:

  • the iTunes store. Which can’t be disabled or hidden (not very well, anyway)
  • the Genius Sidebar (which can be hidden, but is nevertheless annoying)
  • I’m sure there’s more, but I’m getting irritated just thinking about iTunes

I attempted to compile the current source release of madplay, and was able to do so after patching audio_carbon.c, but didn’t get any audio output.

Finally I was able to install this using fink, but then received this error:

[root@lorien ~]# madplay
dyld: Library not loaded: /sw/lib/libintl.1.dylib
Referenced from: /sw/bin/madplay
Reason: image not found
Trace/BPT trap

At first glance it appears as though I need to install libintl, but I went poking around in the fink lib directory /sw/lib. Apparently I already had a couple of versions of libintl installed (both static and dynamic), but none to match the version above. Of course this was easily fixed with a symbolic link:

[root@lorien lib]# ln -s libintl.dylib libintl.1.dylib
[root@lorien lib]# logout
[ngmarle@lorien Mana]$ madplay
Usage: madplay [OPTIONS] FILE [...]
Try `madplay --help' for more information.

Now I have all the functionality of my favorite cmd-line mp3 player on my Macbook.

*note: I was able to compile/install mpg123 from source, but the pause function put on a 1-second infinite loop instead of actually pausing. I also had to modify the mpg123 source to be able to exit the player without having to kill the process from an external terminal window.

The below is other debugging I was using: “otool -L” is like “ldd” on Linux. This will list the dynamic dependencies (shared libraries on which an executable is dependent) for an executable.

[root@lorien ~]# otool -L /sw/bin/madplay
/System/Library/Frameworks/Carbon.framework/Versions/A/Carbon (compatibility version 2.0.0, current version 136.0.0)
/sw/lib/libintl.1.dylib (compatibility version 2.0.0, current version 2.1.0)
/sw/lib/libiconv.2.dylib (compatibility version 7.0.0, current version 7.0.0)
/sw/lib/libmad.0.dylib (compatibility version 3.0.0, current version 3.1.0)
/sw/lib/libid3tag.0.dylib (compatibility version 4.0.0, current version 4.0.0)
/usr/lib/libz.1.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 1.2.3)
/usr/lib/libgcc_s.1.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 1.0.0)
/usr/lib/libSystem.B.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 111.1.1)
/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/CoreServices (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 32.0.0)

Traveling vs. Living


I got back from a trip to south Texas at 4:20 am this morning. A trip in which I realized that I really don’t like traveling — at least not the “traveling” part. It was a lot of driving, and a lot of my car falling apart {it now has 227,000 miles on it and makes some awful scraping noises}.

I love seeing new cultures & spending time getting to know an area, a culture and a people, but hate the actual transport part of it. I arrive to my destination tired and dirty. I don’t like being tired. Or dirty. I also usually arrive hungry, which I also don’t like being.

New Zealand-bound

I don’t think I’ve written about it here yet, but I got approved for a New Zealand working holiday visa. Which means I can enter NZ and stay for a year. I can take up work, as long as it’s not considered permanent employment. My apartment lease here in Arkansas is up at the end of October. I’ve already given them my leave notice and paid rent through the end of October. So I’m here until then, after which I leave.

Before I’d thought about applying for an NZ WHV, my intentions were to go to Santiago, Chile and stay for a few months, then go to either NZ or Australia on a tourist visa.

However, after getting approved for the NZ visa, I had a new idea. I decided it would be cool to take buses {and a boat!} through Mexico, Central America and South America to finally arrive at Santiago. I could revisit some countries {Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil} as well as see some new ones {Venezuela, Chile}.

I was really looking forward to Venezuela and Brazil. But now that I realize {remember?} how much I don’t like the actual transit aspect of travel, I’m reconsidering. I never made those plans public, so it’s not really a big deal either way.

I Can’t Do Everything… and that’s OK

I’m realizing once again that I can’t do everything. I’d probably spend all my money in South America anyway, and have run out before I realized it, and before they let me in to New Zealand. The NZ visa comes with a stipulation — I have to have proof of sufficient funds to purchase an onward ticket. Usually the immigration officials don’t ask for proof of funds/income if someone is from an affluent country like the USA, but if the particular official is in a bad mood or just feels like being a jerk… it can happen.

Once I admitted to myself this afternoon that I can’t do everything, I felt a lot more at peace about leaving. About the future in general. I’ll probably just fly to NZ from somewhere in the US. And I’ll probably start the journey to that place from XNA airport here in NWArk. And that’s ok.

I’ve got my whole life to do everything I want. I can take it easy, enjoy New Zealand. Really get into the culture. Get to know some people. Make some friends. Life is good. No rush, no hurry {no reason to!}. Just enjoy it. Already feeling about 110% less stressed than I was before.

Living the Culture

On the other hand, I love living in a culture. It allows you to get to know it better than any traveler just passing through. Getting to know the people. The language. And do all the stuff I said in the previous paragraph. Discover all the local hole-in-the-wall places. I think it really fits my personality well too. I’m more of an introverted person until I really get to know a person or group of people. Until that happens, I don’t really let go and start being myself. It’s just how I am {which is also ok}.

Settling down in a place allows me to really get to know people and be myself like constant traveling never will. For some this is still considered “traveling” but I’m going to spend a year of my life in a new country. At what point does it become more than just a “trip” to New Zealand? Not sure, but it’s not likely I’ll ever go back to living in the midwest/southern United States. I’m really looking for a home more than anything. One that’s more conducive to my lifestyle & values. So although I’m traveling to New Zealand, I can’t keep calling it “travel”. It’s more like “life”. Just in a new place.

I think I broke my car

This is really not related, but…

In other news, I’m considering purchasing a bicycle and just using it in place of an automobile. Cars are a lot of work with maintenance, insurance, gas money, etc. and I don’t really think they’re worth it if you don’t absolutely need one. If I lived in a city like San Francisco, I’d have gone the bike route long ago, but it’s more difficult in a place like Arkansas. Still, that’s an excuse. I guess the estimate on labor required to fix my car will help determine where I go with the bicycle idea.

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check gmail from command-line on Mac OS X

This was originally posted on my old blog, ngmarleyDOTnet, on Apr 19, 2009 @ 18:47 CST. That blog is now defunct and the content is slowly being absorbed into this one. I’ve rewritten this one just a bit to make it better.

I bought a new Macbook last week (several weeks ago, when this post was originally written) for my anticipated travels. I wanted something both lightweight and stable. For several reasons, I like to check my gmail using the mutt email client (command-line based).

  1. I don’t like the web interface.
  2. Command-line is faster.

Ok, maybe only 2 reasons.

I was able to compile mutt with imap, smtp, and SSL support and with header caching (had to install gdbm library as a prerequisite for header caching). Here’s the configure line I used:

./configure --enable-imap --enable-pop --with-gss --with-ssl --with-sasl --with-regex --enable-hcache --enable-smtp

The gmail connection info needs to be added to the ~/.muttrc config file:

set move = no
set quit = yes
set copy = no
set recall = no

set imap_user = ""
set imap_pass = "Sup3rS33krit"
set smtp_url = "smtp://"
set smtp_pass = "Sup3rS33krit"
set from = ""
set realname = "Nathan Marley"

set folder = "imaps://"
set spoolfile = "+INBOX"
set postponed = "+[Gmail]/Drafts"
set record = "+[Gmail]/Sent Mail"

set header_cache = ~/.mutt/cache/headers
set message_cachedir = ~/.mutt/cache/bodies
set certificate_file = ~/.mutt/certificates

set sort = 'threads'
set sort_aux = 'last-date-received'

hdr_order Date From To CC

Now I can just open terminal, type ‘mutt’, and I’m checking my email. What’s better — I have a script (written in Python) that I use to check whether or not I have any new messages, and if I do, list the sender and how many messages from each sender. So I don’t even have to spend the 2 extra seconds to fire up mutt if I don’t need to.