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DOC_MAX_FILENAME_LENGTH+1 … [βale] … Joe Cabot 1st of May, 2006 POST·MERIDIEM 11:08

I know that K&R et al. had other things going on in their lives, that it wasn’t necessarily clear when they were writing it that Unix and C would go on to be so widely used and emulated, but Jesus fuсk, I could do without having the weak points of C and its standard APIs in my life. The language has an operator specifically to determine the size of a buffer allocated globally, statically or on the stack; and the standard file reading APIs choose a measure other than the actual size of the buffer as the way to specify the size of the buffer to be read into.

Anyway. Back to random diary details. A couple gets on the S-Bahn. They’re in their twenties, how she looks says Spanish, with flared jeans and a dark grey loose wool sweater, hippie bracelets, the sallow skin of someone who grew up with Mediterranean sun but has been living with overcast skies for the last half-year.

How he looks doesn’t say Spanish at all, though—he’s dressed as W.B. Yeats would be, were he still around, velvet suit jacket, white shirt, wool sweater, smart trousers and shoes. And his face is the colour of someone from my part of the world; pasty white, pink edges, you get the impression he’d singe pretty quickly in any sort of sun. Shortish black hair, you would expect him to come up with an informed opinion on why the critical reception of « En attendant Godot » changed as it did without much trouble, if you came across him on the fourth floor of the TCD arts block.

But then he starts making more sheep-eyes at her than I’ve ever seen any Irish man do, with a woman in her league; more so even than I could imagine that one fellow who is scrupulously progressive enough to rule out a church wedding; to a level I suspect Irish women would find a bit emasculated.

I can’t hear them speak; there’s lots of announcements, sirens saying the door is closing, the door closing, the engine moving. It dies down, and I catch a [ð] and a ‘vale’ from her in context. Okay, so chances are she is Spanish, and because the Spaniards here are a pretty closed circle, chances are he’s Spanish too. (Yes, I still don’t know, but I enjoy guessing.)

This stuff is hard in Western Europe, eh? I mean, in the US, it is often impossible to guess a person’s family background from how they look, but that mostly doesn’t matter, because if they dress the part you can treat them as being comfortable with wider US culture, and they probably are. But I come across Lawrence Tierney to my right in a movie (thanks for the copy of Reservoir Dogs, M&E!), and even without learning his name, I see that type of Irishman in him that reached adulthood in the forties and fifties, that spent heroic amounts of time in the pub and in the bookies. I know the sort of banter that I would try first in talking to him, I know in his company I would order Jameson or Guinness, I would not propose getting coffee or a meal without being very sure of myself. And I had thought that sort of judgement would be possible with Europe in general; but it’s not.

Word of the day: ‘vale’ is Spanish for “okay” or “sure”; it seems to be more used in Spain than in the Spanish-speaking Americas.


Word of the day: ‘vale’ is Spanish for “okay” or “sure”; it seems to be more used in Spain than in the Spanish-speaking Americas.

Aye. I didn’t hear it once in South America, but hear it regularly from Spaniards.

It translates in my head as "grand".

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