Skip to main content

Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.

am very dis­tract­ed when I walk down the street. Or rather, I am pay­ing a lot of at­ten­tion, but it's spread over a whole lot of dif­fer­ent things.


Her name is Faith Pop­corn. Seen on Mar del Pla­ta.

My favourite, since I am a com­pul­sive read­er, is read­ing street sign­s. There is al­ways some­thing off about signs in a for­eign coun­try. They are ei­ther about things oth­er coun­tries don't care about, or are writ­ten in a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent style.


Fixed hair braid­ing prices in Ba­hamas

And some­times you run in­to things you just have nev­er seen be­fore. Those things can be found any­where, and can be any­thing, since ... well, you have nev­er seen them be­fore.

And now, a hy­drant wear­ing a sweater in Bu­da­pest.

It does­n't have to be some­thing re­al­ly strange, it may just be some­thing you have not seen be­fore by chance.

Street sweep­ers get OCD too. Seen on San Isidro.

Or maybe you just fig­ure some­thing out right there and then.

So that's why sug­ar cubes are bet­ter. Seen in Bu­da­pest.

Or ... you don't know what to say.

Seen at Ti­gre. I have no idea.

Or things you don't have where you come from.

Blimp! Seen in Lon­don.

Or they are just so po­lite to ask.


Or you don't un­der­stand at first.

How did that kid get there?

And then you do.

It's a trick foun­tain! Seen in Bu­da­pest.

Or maybe it's some­thing you see ev­ery day, out of con­tex­t.

A typ­i­cal ar­gen­tini­an mi­lane­sa sand­wich. Bought on the street in Bu­da­pest.

A DI­A% su­per­mar­ket, like the one near my home. In Is­tan­bul.

And some­times it's some­thing you nev­er sus­pect­ed even ex­ist­ed, or how it could ex­ist.

This is a chap­ter in a turk­ish book. It takes place at my wed­ding.

Or out of con­tex­t.

Seen around the cor­ner of my house.

Or alien.


Ho­tel tow­el, seen in Or­lan­do, Flor­i­da.



Yes, I did get a hair­cut. Seen in Lon­don.



Fer­ry in Is­tan­bul



True TV Re­mote seen in a ho­tel in Aveni­da de May­o, Buenos Aires, in 2004.

this, ex­cept for that TV re­mote, is just a small sam­ple of what I have seen in the last 12 month­s. These have been a re­al­ly cool 12 month­s.

Caption contest!


Yes, that's my son drink­ing mate out of Don­ald Duck­'s skul­l. Cap­tion?


Cover for Outies


This book is a mess. There are some good ideas in there but:

1) It des­per­ate­ly needs an ed­i­tor (ex­am­ple: it us­es "com­pos­ite com­pound" as the de­scrip­tion of a ma­te­ri­al)

2) Char­ac­ters ap­pear out of nowhere, and dis­ap­pear 20 pages lat­er, to nev­er be seen again.

3) The ac­tion scenes are so con­fus­ing they would make Michael Bay blush.

4) The pub­lish­er should put the au­thor's full name in the cov­er so noone con­fus­es her with her fa­ther.

Alfajor: theory and practices


An al­fa­jor is, in the­o­ry, a sim­ple thing. It's a dessert sand­wich. The ar­gen­tini­an al­fa­jor is usu­al­ly filled with dulce de leche, which means you just can't screw it up. Even a bad al­fa­jor is go­ing to be good.

Yes, there are some re­gion­al al­fa­jores filled with oth­er stuff. Don't pay any at­ten­tion to those im­pos­tors. They are hip­sters wear­ing fake glass­es they don't need. What you want is dulce de leche.

alfajor heaven

But the fill­ing is on­ly half of a sand­wich, and a third of an al­fa­jor. There is al­so the things that sur­round, hold and con­tain the no­to­ri­ous­ly sticky dul­ce: cook­ies. Some vari­ants have tried to im­prove on the cook­ie by ei­ther go­ing soft (cake!) or hard (Mil­ka Mousse), but the re­al deal is a soft­-ish cook­ie, not too soft (so the al­fa­jor does­n't desin­te­grate) and not too hard (so it does­n't feel like eat­ing a hock­ey puck­).

Feliz cumpleaños

There is an im­pos­si­ble trade­of­f, be­tween dulce de leche and the cook­ie. Too much cook­ie, you are eat­ing cook­ies. Too much dulce de leche, you may as well get a spoon and eat out of the jar (try it some­time). You want to bal­ance, but the al­fa­jor is walk­ing food, it has to be ed­i­ble by a 6-year old schoolkid while climb­ing a tree, it has to be sol­id enough, and not fall apart, and not cov­er him on melt­ed frost­ing. The child has to be able to pass in­spec­tion of his hands af­ter clean­ing with just the wrap­per and his own mouth.


The al­fa­jor santafesino has adopt­ed a min­i­max strat­e­gy, max­i­miz­ing the amount of dulce de leche per amount of cook­ie, by us­ing ex­tra-thin "cook­ies" that are more like crack­er­s, adding mul­ti­ple lay­er­s, and mak­ing the whole al­fa­jor thick­er. I love it, but it is not for ev­ery­one.

Alfajores Cordobes

The al­fa­jor de maice­na goes in a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion, hav­ing a tasty cook­ie that can hard­ly hold any dulce de leche be­cause it's too fri­able. Some­how that works won­der­ful­ly as well.

Alfajorcito de Maizena

Then there is the cov­er­ing. Choco­late, frost­ing, co­conut, or noth­ing. Choco­late is bad in sum­mer, melt­ing and mak­ing you eat the al­fa­jor from the wrap­per as if it were a ba­nana.

Ahora si... ya puedo empezar a trabajar...

But if you have no idea what an al­fa­jor is, which one should you have? I could point you to the most sub­lime al­fa­jores, which would be life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, but I will not. If you tried those, which you can on­ly get in out of the way places, known on­ly to ini­ti­ates, where could you go from there? It's like your first date be­ing with Sofía Ver­gara. That would be just lead­ing you in­to a life of dis­ap­point­men­t.


So get a choco­late Ha­van­na. Get a Cachafaz. Get a Capitán del Es­pa­cio. Get a tube of Jor­gi­tos. And when you have done your ap­pren­tice­ship, when you are an al­fa­jor­man, when you are ready. Then you will know.


PS: Thanks to Juan Ro­driguez Mon­ti for the idea for this post.

$HOME is where .bashrc is

I have a con­fes­sion to make. For the last year or so, my main op­er­at­ing sys­tem has been Win­dows 7. Yes, I know, it may come as a shock to some, spe­cial­ly if you have read this which is my post that had most hits in a day ev­er.

How did that hap­pen? What hap­pened to me? What was I think­ing? It's a bor­ing and un­in­ter­est­ing sto­ry.

I joined Canon­i­cal. My old note­book would­n't cut it. My new one would not take Ubun­tu with­out a fight. I said "hey, I will live in a VM!". The VM was dead­ly slow. I had to de­vel­op win­dows soft­ware (yes). Some stuff would not work right on the VM. And slow­ly, things just start­ed pil­ing up in the bare-met­al OS, which was, yes Win­dows 7 Home Pre­mi­um.

As a whole, Win­dows 7 is not hor­ri­ble. Most things work well. What it is, is a desert for a de­vel­op­er. Sure, you can get a plant to grow there, but you have to put a lot of ef­fort in­to it.

So, to­day I in­stalled Kubun­tu Oneir­ic (ab­so­lute­ly no prob­lem now!), gath­ered all the da­ta from the old note­book, the VM, the win­dows in­stal­la­tion, delet­ed win­dows, and moved in­to Lin­ux again, and made Win­dows the VM.

I missed it.

Contents © 2000-2023 Roberto Alsina