membership, mentoring, and maina

Yesterday, I made some comments about liking American Express. Later that afternoon, sky mentioned that he, too, liked them and that he’d gotten the impression that many camelfolk are fans. We started talking about the various programs that AmEx offers and discussing what differs between UK and US service.

I had a serious “I am a Grown-Up” feeling during that, which was very odd.

I also thought I’d mention that as a result of that chat, I looked at the details of one of the programs to which I was recently invited: extended warranty. When I buy something that has a warranty, AmEx will double it, up to an extra year. This is good up to $10,000 or so. It doesn’t cover items destroyed by radioactive contamination (very unlikely) or problems that arise while I’m late on my bill (less unlikely). Still, an extra year of warranty on any hardware I buy? Not bad.

Last night, I’d meant to do more work on the rewrite of CPAN::Mini. It’s just sophisticated enough to produce a new index for just the latest dists. Since I’m using Parse::CPAN::Packages, this is not a lot of code, yet, but I’m happy with the direction it’s moving.

Instead, though, I decided to try to be more sociable. Jay is here in the states trying to learn how to program, and I invited him by for video games and have dinner. Gloria made some tasty salad and pasta, and we had some pumpkin pie – it blows my mind that there are people who must live their lives without easy access to this dish.

I made Jay try Rez, Bushido Blade, Katamari Damacy, and Smash Bothers. I meant to pull Amplitude off the shelf, but forgot. I also showed him Wario Ware and lent it to him, with a GBA, to try to keep him less bored at the hotel. We’ll also hopefully secure a laptop for him, today.

He’s working hard to pick up programming, Perl, and object-oriented programming (in Perl) in just a few weeks. Once he got through enough of Randal’s books to (in theory) have the knowledge I needed, I showed him how “prove” works and gave him a copy of the POD and tests for Math::Calculator, and set him to work reimplementing it. This is the second time I’ve done this, and it seems to be a decent way to do it. One nice thing is that the first set of tests (which I have expanded since uploading) are all one-stack and the second set is about multi-stack, so he can implement features in order.

Finally, a plug…

Some years ago, my father told me about his mother’s honeymoon to Spain. We called her “Maina,” which is what she called her mother. Maina and Papa were living in America, and wanted to go to Spain to see our family (both sides of which were there). While they were having a grand old time in Valencia, the Spanish Civil War broke out. It happened Out There somewhere and slowly closed in on the ancestral Signes home of Gata de Gorgos.

Maina and Papa fled through an increasingly Kafka-esque Spain while their guides were arrested and their family disappeared.

During all this, Maina wrote letters home to her parents, and dad transcribed them. They were mostly in Spanish, though, and a lot of the American branch of the family has grown soft in the head and can’t read them. (I am among these.) So, this year he published his first translation into English, and it’s really amazing stuff.

Today he lamented that Google still hadn’t indexed the Spanish translation, so I thought I’d do my part by linking to both. A number of people in #perl found the English translation of these letters interesting, and maybe you will, too.

Written on March 4, 2005