We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Spain. It was the first place on our trip that we’d strongly consider living here again in the future. Felt very much at home in the neighborhood of Triana in Sevilla and got in the flow going to the local market every couple of days for very good food. Mostly a lot of olives, cheese, bread and wine with some spanish tortilla (egg and potato concoction) mixed in.


triana bridge at night man telling story


relaxing view of the Alhambra veganism is love


man telling story

There are certainly more things to be said here and perhaps i’ll be back in the habit of blogging a bit more and filling in some of these gaps…


The Algarve

The south of Portugal is stunningly beautiful. My favorite beaches of the trip so far.

water rock arch

I didn’t take these since we didn’t bring the phone to this island in a natural reserve in Faro, but they give the idea reasonably well. The waves of the atlantic were great :)

faro bay desert island beach


We haven’t really explored Lisbon that much, mostly we’ve just been recovering from a month of traveling. Very hilly, movies aren’t dubbed, easy to get peanut butter and seitan is surprisingly cheap. Will have more to say after we go out and about a bit more.


I was tremendously spoiled by the first books I read on the trip. And I mostly want to take back anything bad I said about any of them. These were mostly small complaints comparing great books to each other. I say this because the next several books I read were very much just middling to ok.

  • Neuromancer – started strong, but really gets lost along the way, wasn’t able to finish

  • Snow Crash – starts very strangely, this was my third attempt to read it, finally got into it enough to read it. Didn’t end up really working for me.

  • Armada – only read this because I enjoyed Ready Player One so much and my expectations were appropriately lower but still a bit meh

  • The Black Cloud – of these 4, i probably enjoyed this the most even though the writing is noticeably and objectionably bad. The dialogue is painful. However, the ideas are quite interesting and in a way it feels like a celebration of the scientific method. Evidence -> Hypothesis -> Experiment or Observation -> new Hypothesis … etc.

I also tried to start the Wreck of the River of Stars (twice), but at least for now its just not for me. I also tried to start Plato at the Googleplex, which has some promise and I expect to come back to, but it just didn’t take this time through.

So I’ve acquired some new books to help with the issue –

  • The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss (sequel to the Name of the Wind)
  • The Rising – Ian Tregillis (sequel to the Mechanical)
  • Listen, Liberal – Thomas Frank

Overall, I’ve been reading a lot less. This is partially due to struggling to find a book that I really connected with and partially due to playing and thinking about magic a lot. Getting new books will hopefully help re-kindle this habit.


The good news is that after sustained investigation and a lot of playing, I’m still quite interested and engaged with the game and I think the skill cap and potential skill differential might be even higher than I expected. So, it continues to seem like a worthwhile endeavor to be interested in.
I haven’t consistently lost this much at anything since back when I was younger and lost pretty much everything, all the time, to my brother. It is really nice to have the experience to fall back on, because it reminds me to look for ways to learn and focus on getting better rather than being results and outcome oriented. Also it helped create my love of winning rather than being motivated by not losing, which overall just seems better, but is particularly useful when one is doing a whole lot of losing.


I continue to experience depression symptoms every 3 weeks or so on average. The good news continues to be that these episodes are in general less severe and also don’t last as long as they used to. I think largely from continued mindfulness practice and yoga, I keep getting better at understanding how my body feels and am thereby able to notice the onset of a depressive episode. Not feeling as caught by surprise has quite a bit of value and allows me to take better care of myself.

At a very fundamental level, the main difference between my pre-depressive self and now is a dramatically reduced energy capacity. Running out of energy seems to be the primary trigger for depressive episodes. One of the reasons that I’m doing so much better on the trip is being engaged in fewer activities that demand I expend energy on them. In particular, working part time instead of working full time seems particularly beneficial for me. So much so, that I intend to give serious consideration to the idea of continuing to work part time after the trip. Its not that working causes me to be depressed. I’m lucky enough to generally enjoy the work that I do – problem solving and learning new things are great. But it just uses up a lot of my somewhat small amount of energy that I currently have access to.


We’re currently on a 9 days in a row yoga streak, which is part of our larger goal of doing yoga 25 of the 26 full days we’re in Lisbon. Feels really good to be able to do this again after nearly a month off while traveling a lot.