David Bowie is Dead

I am devastated.

Learn to surf quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Learn to surf You can't stop the waves but you can learn to surf. —Jon Kabat-Zinn


Driftwood by Andrea DeMers

Galiano Island, BC, Canada

Notes from my 2006 Trip to Spain

casa-mila-la-pedrera-antoni-gaudi-barcelona-spain Chimneys on rooftop of Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Milà (La Pedrera), taken in Barcelona, Spain in 2006.

This is a brain dump of the pencil and paper notes I took during my visit to Spain in November 2006.

This is a brain dump of the pencil and paper notes I took during my visit to Spain in November 2006.


  • May 11th, 2015: Added Barcelona section.
  • May 13th, 2015: Added links to Madrid and Toledo sections.
  • May 18th, 2015: Updated and added links to Granada section.
  • May 19th, 2015: Updated Figueres section and added Resources section.
  • May 20th, 2015: Added links to Sevilla section.
  • May 26th, 2015: Added links to Córdoba section.


November 14th, 2006.

Flew from Munich to Madrid on Condor. They had a cockpit cam so was able to see crew’s eye view of the takeoff and landing.

Stayed at Hostal Puerta del Sol.

What to see & do

Prado Highlights

All day, from 10:30 AM to 6:00 PM. So much to see.


November 18, 2006. Day trip by train from Madrid.

Thirty minutes on renfe train. Walked up the hill, through the city walls and to Plaza Zocodover.

Wandered narrow cobblestone streets.

What to see & do


November 19, 2006. Flew from Madrid to Granada with Vueling.

Stayed at Hotel Casa de los Migueletes in the Albayzín. What a treat. Moorish architecture with tile floors, white stucco walls with dark wooden trim, courtyard and wine cellar. Some rooms have a view of the Alhambra.

Eclectic mix of people. Dreadlocked nouveau-hippies, old men in caps, Roma etc.

What to see & do


Official website.

November 20th, 2006. All day.

Las Alpujarras

November 22, 2006. Day trip by bus from Granada.

Took bus to Capileira, then walked to Bubión and Pampaneira.

Dramatic scenery. Hills, cliffs, gorges, ravines, whitewashed buildings on hillsides, narrow streets.


November 23-25, 2006. Via bus from Granada.

Stayed at Hotel Mezquita, which is very close to the Mezquita (Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba).

Lots of restaurants & tabernas in courtyards for al fresco dining.

What to see & do


November 26-30, 2006.

Tapas, tapas, tapas! Fun & lively atmosphere.

What to see & do

Jerez de la Frontera

November 28th, 2006. Day trip from Sevilla.

What to see & do

  • Tour of House of Sandeman with Porto & Sherry (Xeres, Jerez) tasting
  • Tour of González Byass Sherry bodegas
  • Alcázar
    • Palacio Villavicencio: Camera Obscura. Offers a live, real-time, 360° view of the city. Very cool!


November 29th, 2006. Afternoon trip by bus from Sevilla.

According to its Wikipedia entry, Cádiz is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe.

What to see & do

  • Walk along coastal route
  • Tapas and cerveza/vino
  • Playa Victoria
  • Torre Tavira with camera obscura
  • Parc Genoves


November 30th, 2006. Bus from Sevilla.

What to see & do


December 1-7, 2006. Flew from Sevilla with Vueling Airlines.

Stayed at the Hotel California. Such a lovely place…

The official languages are Catalan and Spanish. The former sounds like a mix of Spanish and French.

What to see & do

Antoni Gaudí. A genius.


December 4th, 2006. Day trip from Barcelona via commuter train.

What to see & do

  • Take cable car or cremallara
  • Sant Jeroni peak
  • Walking/hiking trails
  • Amazing rock formations
  • Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey
  • Cathedral


December 5th or 6th, 2006. Day trip from Barcelona by train.

Figueres means fig trees in Catalan.

What to see & do


People are friendly and generally pretty chill. Friendly service.

Jamón, jamón! The Spaniards love ham.

  • Lots of olive groves
  • Wind turbines
  • Churros con chocolate
  • Rioja wine
  • Tío Pepe is everywhere
  • Wine
    • Rioja
    • Priorat
    • Sherry
    • Brandy
  • Tapas


Books and websites about visiting Spain.



Quote on darkness by Marcus Aurelius

What doesn't transmit light creates its own darkness.

Marcus Aurelius

Wall of Instagram

Wall of Instagram, Toronto, Canada

Wall of Instagram, Toronto, Canada

The Great Teacher Inspires

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.

William Arthur Ward

It is always now

It is always now.

Sam Harris

The best time to plant a tree

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

Chinese Proverb

When you arise in the morning

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.

Marcus Aurelius

Trans-Canadian Train Trip

sneebly-via-rail-canadian Photo by Sneebly licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

On April 5th, 2014, I took the train across Canada from Montreal to Vancouver.

Route Map

Here is a Google Map of most of the 30+ stops from Montreal to Vancouver.


April 5th: Montreal to Toronto


I arrived at the station well ahead of the 3:40 PM departure time to sort out my luggage and pick up some food for the trip.

When I got to the baggage counter, the Via Rail staff couldn’t agree whether or not to charge me for my snowboard. After a 10 minute discussion, they finally decided to let me keep my money, and carried my suitcase and snowboard bag onto the train while I went to get some take out.


Train #67 entered Union Station at 8:35 PM. After checking in my suitcase and snowboard, I went to the business lounge and checked myself in. For tomorrow’s meals, I chose the third of three seatings. Lunch at 1:30 PM and dinner at 8:00 PM. Breakfast is FCFS, from 6:30 to 8:30 AM.

While waiting in line, I chatted with a lady from England. She and her husband had flown in from London at 3:00 PM. She told me about their plans to go heli skiing in the BC interior after visiting relatives in Vancouver. She had taken the Canadian® from Vancouver to Montreal in 1967 when she was 17 years old. One night, there was “an international group of teenagers singing Beatles songs in the dome car.”

We left Toronto at around 10:45 PM, forty five minutes later than sheduled. After putting all my gear in my upper berth, I enjoyed Toronto’s industrial parks under the crescent moon and stars from the dome car.

April 6th: Ontario

With all the rattling and bouncing, it took me forever to fall asleep. Once I finaly did, it seems like I woke up every 15 mins. I feel like I only got a total of 2 hours sleep. At 8:00 AM, I zombie walked into the dining car for breakfast. The choice is eggs & bacon, omelette of the day or oatmeal porridge. Coffee bad (not more than caffeine delivery mechanism), but I drank it anyways solely for the caffeine.

Unless you’re one of those people who can fall asleep anywhere at the drop of a hat, bring eyeshades and earplugs, and don’t expect to sleep well the first night.

After breakfast, we stopped in Capreol, Ontario for about 10 mins. I got out and walked the platform to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. It was sunny and not too cold.

There’s a ton of snow in Northern Ontario. On the ground and trees.

At 1:00 PM-ish, we were offered a complimentary bon voyage glass of Champagne. It was supposed to be last night, but we left Toronto too late.

We arrived in Hornepayne at 5:00 PM. First cellular reception since Capreol. Once againg, went out to take a walk and get some fresh air.

April 7th: Manitoba & Saskatchewan


Unlike the first night, I fell asleep fairly quickly and woke up feeling rested.

We arrived late (11:30 AM) in Winnipeg, so the city tour ($30.00 for 2.5 hrs) that I had reserved the day before, was cancelled. Too bad, because I really wanted to explore Winnipeg.

We were told that we had 30 mins. in Winnipeg, so I exited Union Station on Main St. and walked towards Portage, hoping the take a photo of the famous Portage and Main intersection. Two blocks away, I turned back fearing that I may miss the train. They will leave you behind. Turns out I would have had enough time, since we only left at 1:30 PM.


Short stop in Melville.

A quick stop in Saskatoon at around 11:30 PM. However, I had gone to bed by then. They put me in the lower berth. The window was nice to have, but I find the upper berth mattress larger and more comfortable. There are also more places to hang stuff. Also, the mesh storage thingy that looks like a hammock is handy for storing stuff that you may want in the night or, like a water bottle, eyeshades, or phone.

April 8th: Alberta & British Columbia

We crossed the Alberta border sometime in the night and arrived in Edmonton at about 9:00 AM. Once again, got out, got some air, stretched my legs, and took a couple of photos.

We arrived in Jasper at about 1:30 PM. I walked around the town for an hour or so.

After Jasper, it got windy, cloudy, and then it started raining. As a result, Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, was shrouded in clouds.

April 9th: British Columbia & Vancouver

We rolled into Vancouver’s Pacific Central station at 8:30 AM, ahead of schedule.

I spent the day walking around downtown Vancouver and Granville Island.

Thoughts? @reply to me on Twitter.

Chicago Theater

Chicago Theater by Andrea DeMers

The Chicago Theater in Chicago, IL, USA

Statamic Twitter Embed Plugin


I just wrote my very second plugin!

As described in the embedded tweet below, this plugin allows you to embed public tweets into the content of your Statamic website via a custom Statamic tag.

Download it on GitHub →

Thoughts? @reply to me on Twitter.

Statamic Facebook Embed Plugin


I just wrote my very first plugin!

It’s called Statamic Facebook Embed, and it allows you to quickly and easily embed public Facebook Posts, such as this one, into your Statamic-powered website.

Update: It stopped working, so I’ll have to investigate & fix.

Update: Nevermind! I fogot that I had changed the privacy setting for the post. #facepalm

Download it on GitHub →

Thoughts? @reply to me on Twitter.

Seven Things I Like About Statamic


Statamic is a dynamic flat-file content management system. Here are seven things I like about it.

It’s fast & easy to to installInstall Statamic by uploading its files via FTP or deploying them via version control (e.g. Git).

It’s even faster & easier to update. Update Statamic by replacing two folders.

Database not required.

  • One less thing to manage & backup
  • Your content lives in flat files & not in a database
  • Statamic’s settings also live in a flat file instead of a database
  • Because of the above, you can version control your content & Statamic itself

Control panel optional.

  • Publish content via a user-friendly & mobile-ready control panel, or

  • Make your favourite text editor your web publishing app. Write in Markdown syntax & publish to your Statamic-powered site

Control your markup.

  • You have full control over your markup
  • Statamic doesn’t generate any HTML tags or CSS styles for you

Multiple environments. Development, staging, production? Easily set up multiple environments.


Thoughts? @reply to me on Twitter.

Casa Milà


Chimneys on rooftop of Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Milà (La Pedrara), taken in Barcelona, Spain in 2006.



Cleat, Montreal, Canada



Bogner, New York



Croquet, Montreal



Tea, Montreal, Canada



Glight, Montreal, Canada



Blots, Montreal, Canada

Time Lapse Earth

Beautiful time-lapse of planet Earth.

All Time-lapse sequences were taken by the astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) (Thanks guys for making this available to the public for use!) All footage has been color graded, denoised, deflickered, slowed down and stabilized by myself. Clips were then complied and converted to 1080 HD at 24 frames/sec.

Red Head


Red Head, Montreal, Canada

Boston at Dusk


Boston at Dusk as viewed from BCEC, Boston, USA


Birchglen in Montreal, Canada by Andrea DeMers

Birchglen, Old Port, Montreal, Canada

Dark Side of the Lens

Beautiful cinematography and poetic narration.

Into the Mind – Official Teaser

This looks stunning.

Happy New Year!


Wishing everybody a Happy 2013!

Happy New Year! Bonne année! Guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Buon Anno Nuovo! Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! Честита Нова Година! Ευτυχισμένο το Νέο Έτος! سنة جديدة سعيدة! 新年快乐!Šťastný Nový Rok! Godt Nytår! Bonan Novjaron! Hyvää Uutta Vuotta! שנה טובה! नया साल मुबारक हो! Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh! 新年あけましておめでとうございます!해피 뉴 이어! Felix Novus Annus! سال نو مبارک! Feliz Ano Novo! С Новым Годом! Gott Nytt År! Yeni Yılınız Kutlu Olsun! Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! מזל ניו יאָר! DIS chu’ botIvjaj!