Voted Si Si for Catalunyan Independence


Today I voted in the Catalunya independence voluntary non-binding consultation and I voted Si Si.

I had been unsure what to vote and have spoken to many people to try to work out what is best.  As I said in my previous post on the topic  I was unsure on the question because unlike the Scotland referendum it seemed to be all about national identity and money rather than political differences.  There are very strong passions here on the topic, just read the 20+ comments on my post above and compare it to my post on Scotland  which got zero comments.  Unfortunately most of the comments are again about national identity, quibbing about whether Catalunya was ever independent from Spain or not, which is really just ancient history.

Several people objected, quite rightly, to the comment about Andaluthians working only in the summer and claiming benefits the rest of the year, but this wasn’t my comment it was what several Catalan people had told me when I asked why I should vote Si.  This is the sort of nationalism that is a bit scary and objectionable.  When I asked at the rally before the vote the lady told me the reasons for voting yes were because she could not speak Catalan in school in the 70s and they gave away all the money to the rest of Spain.  There will be some truth in that but that can also an unhealthy sort of nationalism.  And it’s hardly a reason for me to vote yes since I don’t speak Catalan and I don’t pay taxes here.

So why vote yes?  I finally found someone who gave me some political reasons.  The Catalan government wanted to impose a transaction tax on banks to help pay for the crisis they caused, but this was rejected by Madrid.  They wanted to ban electricity companies from cutting off customers who could not pay, also rejected by Madrid.  Catalunya wanted to prevent banks repossessing  your home because you could not pay for your mortgage but that was rejected.  There is a plan for a Mediterranean Railway Corridor which would connect Medierranian ports with the rest of Europe by rail but the Spanish government insists it needs to go to Madrid rather than Barcelona.  Similarly the half public half private company which owns both Barcelona and Madrid airports keeps stopping new Barcelona routes and making them go to Madrid.  And then there are detention centres for immigrants which the Catalan government wanted to shut down but could not.

And the politics of Spain doesn’t get any more friendly.  There are reports of Catalan friendly judges being followed by the central police and the Catalan president is being prosecuted for running the referendum.

And there’s my personal experience of government here, I’ve been welcomed by the Generalitat when I registered to live here but both me and my girlfriend have been completely unable to get an ID number from the bureaucratic Spanish government needed to work and pay taxes.  So I don’t pay taxes to Spain.  No wonder they’re in crisis.

None of this matters much, most people didn’t even know the vote was ongoing (finishes tonight, 25th November).  And I nearly voted no at the last minute when a TV crew interviewed me to ask why I was voting when I wasn’t Catalunyan.  So I voted yes in the hope of becoming a Catalan in a new state.  Good luck.

Blog Move, Bug Squashing Party in Munich

Welcome to my blog on the updated, now featuring my personal blog (which has existed for about 15 years or at least before the word blog existed) together with my developer blog previously on

I’m at the Bug Squashing Party in Munich, the home of KDE and Plasma and Kubuntu rollouts in the public sector. There’s a bunch of Kubuntu people here too as well as folks from Debian, KDE PIM and LibreOffice.

So far Christian and Aaron (yes that Aaron) have presented their idea for re-writing Akonadi.

And I’ve sat down with the guys from LibreOffice and worked out why Qt4 themeing isn’t working under Plasma 5, I’m about to submit my first bugfix to Libreoffice! Next step Breeze icon theme then Qt 5 support, scary.

IMG 20141121 224006 Kubuntu People
IMG 20141121 225014 It can only be Harald
IMG 20141121 172556Akonadi: Lots of Bad
IMG 20141121 172609 Let’s re-write Akonadi!

Ratchet Screwdriver

Copied over from the previous version of my website..

According to Google, there is no reference to Ratchet Screwdriver,
the legendary game played by young
the world over (and, as far as I can tell, nobody else).
How it can be that Quakers from Edinburgh to California all play the
same game without ever having met is a remarkable achievement of
nature of proportions similar to the the near identical shapes of
sharks and dolphins despite their evolutionary separation.

Some people mistake Ratchet Screwdriver as being violent. Some
people mistake it as being rather too intimate. Technically it is
both of these but mostly it’s just great fun.

Ratchet Screwdriver was banned by BYM’s Children’s and Young
Person’s Committee. There is no way of knowing when this happened or
who was consulted about the forced destruction of our heritage because
BYM’s committees do not make their minutes generally available.
However an explanation can be found at this
thread on u19s qboard
(search for `co-clerks’). An anonymous reply explains the fault in
their logic:

Unfortunately what you have done is to drive it underground, to make
it more popular than ever. Meaning it now happens without proper
supervision, it has become something cooler.

The first rule of Ratchet Screwdriver is: don’t talk about
Ratchet Screwdriver.

The Game

First, remove all footwear, jewelry, watches, and especially
glasses. I’ve never known a pair of glasses to come out of Ratchet
Screwdriver intact.

Ratchet Screwdriver requires an odd number of people to play,
usually numbering at least 11. One person sits on their own while the others
pair up and sit in a circle one member of the pair behind the other.
Those sitting behind their partner may not touch the person infront,
but can otherwise sit as closely as possible.


One player sits on their own, the others sit in pairs one behind the

The odd one out calls the names of two people sitting in the front,
and those two people must compete to be the first to kiss the odd one
out. The partners of the two that were called have to hold them

The one who kisses the caller first is the winner and now sits
behind the person they managed to reach, the partner they left behind
becomes the new odd one out. The other pair swap places to let the
person at the back have a chance at the front.

Oh the questions

But where did this game come from? Why is it thus called Will CYPC
see the error of their ways? If you have the answers to any of these,
any more interesting nuggets of information or tales of Ratchet
Screwdriver please do e-mail me.

And apparently some of them call it wink. That
page explains it quite well.

2 Paddler Training for Canoe Polo in Barcelona

Recently I had the privilege of meeting Marc Van Der HS (or as I like to call him, Marco Polo, because everyone here is called either Marc or Jordi) in Barcelona. Despite this being a prosperous city on the sea front where people do a range of sports from bike polo to long boarding there’s only him doing canoe polo. So we do training a couple of times a week in Port Olympic. There’s a limited amount you can do with two people and no goals in what should be a game with two teams of five people but Marc has found a range of useful exercises to do. Here’s some of them for my own notes and anyone else who’s interested.

Warm up:

  • Paddle forwards over a length about 50m long
  • Paddle backwards over the length
  • Paddle forwards dipping the nose on each paddle stroke
  • Paddle touching your blade onto the sterm of your boat with each stroke
  • Paddle with a bow rudder on each stroke so you zig-zag
  • Slide the paddle so your hands are at the extreme left and right of the shaft and you are paddling with an extended shaft on each stroke

Ball thowing on the move, paddle side-by-side over a length of about 50m

  • Throw a ball to each other while paddling infront of the partner’s boat
  • Throw a ball to your partner’s body
  • Throw ball to the front of your partner’s boat so they can bat it forwards with their paddle blade
  • Before each throw do a fake throw forwards, for bonus points don’t look at your partner

Passing between two people

  • Pass with two hands facing each other
  • Pass with two hands throwing the ball up in the air, the thrower should keep eye contact on the person they are throwing to
  • Pass with 1 hand from right hand to right hand or left hand to left hand, the elbow should be kept high and the ball should be thrown above the head, use the middle and ring finger to throw, rotate the shoulder backwards
  • Same thing up in the air
  • Passing over a long distance
  • Passing sideways while boats are parallel to each other
  • Pass to your partner’s paddle blade on the left and right sides
  • Pass above your partner’s head to catch with paddle blade
  • Pass to the front of your partner’s boat to be caught with paddle blade


  • Paddle forward gently, one person shouting “go” means you do two paddle strokes forward hard
  • Ten strong strokes followed by ten short strokes

Other Bits

  • timed races zig-zagging over a floating chain
  • piggy in the middle with one person in the middle and three others all of who’s boats must touch the centre boat
  • with helmets: two boats next to each other parallel, one person uses a strong reverse sweet and edge to slide the tail of their boat under their partner’s then paddle back some strokes
  • play defence/attack where one person tries to get the ball from another person
  • do short laps with a 180 degree turn at each end, on the turn move both hands to the end of the paddle blade so you have an extended paddle shaft, use a reverse sweet and edge away from the paddle side to raise the front of the boat