Day 31: The Most Precious Resource of All

by Eli Hodapp

Some news hit while I was recording our podcast this week regarding a Hunger Games iOS title hitting along side the movie this year. Normally movie tie-in games would find themselves securely affixed to my “do not care” list, but this game has a development team behind it that has some serious chops. In fact, knowing the people behind the game and the incredible things they’ve each created in their respective fields, I really want to read The Hunger Games.

I have these “I really want to read _______” a lot lately, especially as I’ve discovered just how much I like reading on my iPad over the last year. The immediate accessibility of eBooks allows for the instant gratification of hoarding books I want to read, all without that annoying problem of dealing with actual physical books that I have to haul around. These days, when I think I want to read something, I just load up iBooks and buy it. If it’s not on iBooks I’ll grab it off Amazon to be sent to the Kindle app.

Fortunately, this has allowed me to amass a crazy collection of great books. Unfortunately viewing my library of eBooks is the easiest way to come to the horrible realization that time is the one resource I will always truly lack. Actually, Barcelona has been pretty bad for that too. There’s so much I want to do here, and the days are just racing by. Seeing how effective of a teaching tool Rosetta Stone has been makes me want to learn all these languages. I can always make more money, and through that, I can always come up with whatever else I need that I don’t have enough of, except time.

That’s hard to come to terms with.

Speaking of time, I’m really glad I decided to spend so much of it in Barcelona. Previously, traveling around on a monthly basis seemed to allow just enough time to figure out where the great restaurants are, what the cool places to shop are, and how to have the highest quality of life wherever I happen to be… And then I leave to go somewhere else. I actually feel like I hit a similar stride here in Barcelona at some point over the last week and I love it.

I know the places I like, I’ve discovered bars that fit me perfectly, and I’ve gotten totally into Barcelona living. It’s all worked fabulously with my work schedule too. The only way this past month could have been better was if my Dad didn’t have so much medical drama, but I’m sure everyone involved would agree on that. Anyway, I’ve got two weeks left, and as much as I’m excited to get back home, I’m going to be really bummed to leave.

Today was a stupidly busy day. I got up, did my normal morning stuff, and then went for a nice long walk around Born while I waited for my 2:00 haircut appointment. I ran into some incredibly crazy Green Peace people who were very insistent that I sign some petition to protest some sort of construction project that’s endangering some birds. Or, at least, that’s what I think was happening. They spoke a weird mixture of Spanglish, and my Spanish vocabulary for political stuff is basically non-existent.

I arrived at my hair appointment at the barber shop ten minutes early, and I should have followed the advice of everyone I asked in that there’s no reason to show up to anything on time in Spain ever. They were running a good thirty minutes behind, which was OK as it’s actually sort of refreshing now to hang around and talk to people in English. Turns out Trainspotting-era Ewan McGregor the barber is actually Scottish not Irish. To my credit, being American, I don’t think I’m supposed to know these things.

The hair cut I got is actually pretty decent. It’s sort of a Spanish interpretation of what I was asking for, but I can make even the worst haircuts work as long as it’s shorter. It was €30,00 too, which is definitely on the pricy side for a haircut, especially at a barber shop, but, whatever. The barber explained to me the proper way to pour a Guinness from a bottle, so learning that was worth €30,00 by itself. His technique sounds totally crazy, and involves starting with the glass upside down on top of the bottle.

But, I figure, if anyone knows how to pour a proper Guinness, it’s a Scottish barber. Although, looking around on YouTube I can’t find anyone who does a similar pour so I suppose it’s entirely possible I’m being trolled. Either way, it’s on the to do list to try at some point, even if it turns out to be a disaster.

Afterwards, I went to a fantastic tapas place that looked a little touristy on first inspection but when I heard everyone inside speaking Spanish I did a U-turn and headed inside. When I get tapas here, I always get patatas bravas which is sort of the default tapas dish of Spain. It’s potatoes cut into chunks, boiled in brine to tenderize them, then deep fried to have a crispy outside. They’re then covered in some sort of sauce.

The cool part about ordering this same dish at so many different tapas places is that each place will have its own variation on it. For instance, the place I went yesterday had very standard sized potato chunks, absolutely slathered in a red pepper sauce. This place today instead served patatas bravas as potato slices which almost seemed like they were broiled instead of deep fried, accompanied by a sauce with a very smoky flavor. I think it’s so neat that it’s definitely the same dish, but always so different.

From there I’ll usually order one to two more plates depending on how hungry I am, and lately I’ve started just saying I’d like to order whatever they recommend. I figure this either will result in the food no one wants to eat that they’re giving to the American dumb enough to ask for whatever they feel like giving me, or, actual good choices that I wouldn’t order otherwise. Today seemed to be the latter, as I got a huge plate of manchego cheese and a pile of some sort of spicy sausage slices. Really great.

Following that I headed home to handle a whole bunch of TouchArcade stuff. Today was actually shockingly busy for a Friday. I broke the news to the world that we were officially booked up for GDC and wrote an editorial on how irritatingly useless iTunes reviews are:

Can you even imagine how different the purchase experience would be on the App Store if reading customer reviews was closer to reading product reviews on Amazon? Comparatively, just think for a second how much a wild west style review system like the App Store currently has would completely ruin sites like Amazon, Yelp, and others that are dependent on honest and thoughtful customer reviews for purchase decisions.

I had intended on going out to get a beer after I finished all that, but after such a full day, going out for beers and more tapas tomorrow sounded much more appealing. Bars seem to get kind of crazy around here on a Friday night. So, it’ll be an early night and an early morning tomorrow for my second to last Saturday in Barcelona.