Catchup

So it's been a while since I last blogged about anything. Life's been really busy. Here's a quick update...

New Job

I changed jobs in mid-May after having been with the great people at NetBox Blue for around 7 years (a long time in the IT world!). It wasn't an easy decision; I'd been with the company from right when the NetBox product was starting and I had invested so much time and effort into the project. The product and company has now become very successful and I'm proud to have been a part of it. Still, I needed to do something new, and working remotely from London was slowly driving me crazy.

My new employer is The pH Group. They do all sorts of interesting data mining and web-apps based around an impressive database they have. I'm working with a team developing rich web apps in Python (using Pylons and Paste). There's piles of JavaScript too. It's fun stretching the brain in new ways and working in an office environment again. Bouncing ideas of other people is important.

30th Birthday

I hit the big three-oh in May. I don't feel any different. Nor are there any walking sticks or wheelchairs in sight :)

Susanna organised a suprise trip to celebrate. On the night 2 days before my birthday I was told that I'm going on a flight the following day and not going to work like I thought. Susanna had organised leave for me with the pH Group before I had even started and my new boss didn't give anything away!

For added suspense, the destination wasn't revealed until we arrived at the airport. We ended up flying into Bilbao (Spain) and then travelling to San Sebastian where we had a self-contained apartment. The trip was truly memorable: friendly locals, fabulous food, beautiful coastlines and beaches.

Dinner on my birthday night at a 3 Michelin star rated restaurant called Arzak. San Sebastian is a true "foodie" destination and apparently has more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else in the world. Arzak is one of the many world class restaurnts on offer, and possibly one of the best. The meal we had is easily the finest restaurant meal I've ever had. The tastes and presentation were out of this world. Highly recommended.

Apart from the flashy restaurants, more cullinary delights can be found in the bars of San Sebastian. They all serve the Basque version of tapas known as pintxos (pronounced something like "pin-chos"). Most of the dishes available are literally sitting on the bar and are typically served on sliced stickbread. The protocol varies between venues but you typically ask for a plate and grab what you want, making sure the barman sees what you're taking so he can keep track of your bill. You eat standing up, while having a drink or two. Most bars give you complementary small glass of local white wine when you start. When you're finished (usually to move to the next bar!), you ask for the bill. Warning: the dishes are extremely more-ish and the temptation is to eat way more than you really should.

We also went to the awe inspiring Guggenheim in Bilbao. The architecture of the building and the art works inside are mind-warpingly good. Another highlight was the beautiful old town of Pamploma where the running of the bulls are held every year. What an awesome trip!

I have a bunch of photos to put online soon. Will blog about them when it happens.

posted: Sat, 07 Jul 2007 08:37 | permalink | comments