I had to wake up really early and since I went to sleep very late the previous evening… and couldn’t sleep… I got like 1.5h of sleep. Fortunately, I didn’t have any unfortunate events because of that, everything went fine. I ate my nutella sandwich and took two ham sandwiches to eat later. Got through the luggage control, then other luggage control – weighing and checking boarding passes. The flight was delightful and beautiful – I’ve taken so many photos!
The flight started in a very clear, sunny air over Warsaw, but ended in a cloudy Amsterdam. The layer of clouds was so thick that before the plane started landing, buildings were still super small beneath us; and then the plane started to lower its altitude and flied into the clouds, and when the clouds started clearing up, the ground was so close – I’m sure there was less than 100 meters or something. We were basically just over the landing strip – not a minute later we touched the ground. (I remember I was curious about our altitude earlier because the plane started braking (slowing down using its wings) in the middle of the thick white milk soup we were in, and there is no reason to brake in the air unless you are preparing to get onto a landing strip, right?).
Amsterdam airport is huge. Fortunately since I was there earlier with my boyfriend, I knew the exact path – I could even recall the stores that I was passing by. I got to the Plaza, where the train platforms were located. I bought an apple juice – it’s so weird, Dutch people don’t really have 0.5l bottles of juice, it’s either water or soft/soda drinks or some “sports” drinks (there are some but not a huge variety like in Poland) (well, except for this dreg-filled “healthy” varieties that were available in a fridge next to the eating-ready sandwiches). Even weirder was the cash desk: there was a display for the customers, but the cash desk wasn’t self-service at all – there was a terribly bored and uninterested in anything that was going on around her lady standing on the other side of the desk. Also the credit card reader wanted me to do some stuff, not just take my money – I think I was supposed to tell it whether I want a receipt or not. The bored lady finally helped me with that, though.
I found the correct train and Boud fetched me from the Deventer station. I am always terribly shy the first day, so the whole journey from the station to his house was completely dead silent. My brain wasn’t silent, but I usually don’t see a good reason to voice anything when I’m at that state.
When we entered the house, Irina and Wolthera were already there, waiting for us.
Fast-forward, because the rest was probably boring since I don’t remember anything. I got a new laptop. It’s pretty – all shiny and metallish – quite powerful, has HDR and a stylus to draw on the screen. Which means I have everything I need to develop Krita. I can check how well Windows Ink is doing. Also Windows put all the HDR on its head in some recent updates and everything I learned about Windows settings and their relationships to HDR in Krita is reversed now. It made sense before, but I guess Windows guys wanted to make it smarter and bind the standard brightness slider to the SDR brightness, and they did it… by binding it to the reported maximum number of nits… which obviously causes trouble in Krita if you use any brightness setting except for the lowest one. I still need to test it on my home HDR setup since Dmitry claims that it’s all caused by brightness buttons on the keyboard. I strongly disagree, but without the facts, I cannot say for sure.
Windows sneakily forced me to use the Microsoft account – I am so used to Linux Mint LiveUSB installers needing network to download everything that I didn’t think twice before I put the WiFi password in the textbox in Windows installer, and then it wouldn’t allow me to make a local account no matter what we did – turn off the WiFi, hard reboot the laptop, try to undo…
Somewhere at that point everyone was eating lunch: not sure what everyone had, but I remember Wolthera eating those weird things with liquid minced meat. A Dutch special, no doubt. No idea how they make it liquid; it looks a bit as if they were making some kind of bechamel sauce with minced meat and using it as stuffing for various foods. I just ate my boring ham sandwich I had made the previous day for myself.
Then Dmitry arrived. He brought gingerbread cookies for comparison, so naturally Irina and I took our cookies out as well. My cookies were very dark, thin and crunchy, cut into normal cookie cutter shapes (cats, pigs and hearts bought in OpenLucht Museum in Netherlands, spaceships that haters say are Christmas bells, snowmen, and some little humanoids) (recipe here: Gingerbread cookies); Dmitry’s were the most beautiful, cut into various shapes relevant to painting and Krita: pens, pencils, styli, Linux’s penguins and Kiki’s faces with her famous ears (same recipe, but he mixed his spices himself and he made them thicker and with more baking soda). Irina had made ginger cookies, not gingerbread ones, cut into circles (recipe here: Irina’s Ginger cookies).
There was lasagna for dinner. I don’t think I’ve seen any layers in it and the meat was in liquid form again (although different! not bechamel this time), but it was tasty, so I won’t complain 😉
To finish off the culinary stuff, the whole evening I was exploring Dutch “lemonades” that have nothing to do with lemons. There was anis seed lemonade and pear lemonade, both which I tried, there was also citron something and mint ones, which I haven’t. There was also Irina’s handmade lemon lemonade, very sweet and sour at the same time, very tasty. All the other “lemonades” were more like a syrup that you need to dilute with water. We have something like that in Poland too, but it’s usually raspberry or briar (wild rose) which basically looks like coke, but it’s incredibly more healthy (although they still have a lot of sugar inside).
Dmitry “fixed” two bugs that day. The first bug was mentioned by Wolthera, about a brush delay – she showed the same brushes in Krita and SAI and how much slower those in Krita are. It turned out that of course there was a stabilizer turned on…
The second one was mine, about HDR. I turned it on on my laptop and some time later, my laptop went to sleep and when it woke up, it was all white – every bright color became white, every not bright color became brighter. It had still constrained nits according to what SDR should show, but the colors were all wrong. And here, too, Dmitry figured it out – it turns out my laptop turned off HDR when unplugged, and since it’s all new etc., it went crazy during sleep. I unchecked the “disable HDR while unplugged” and put my laptop to sleep again and it all fixed itself.
Another terribly important and incredibly nice thing that happened to me that day was that I got two duvets to sleep under. Of course I had my hot water bottle in the suitcase as a last resort, but it’s always better not to need it. The room was also nice – the bed was higher up under the ceiling, with a ladder, and the view outside the window was quite surreal. There was a big flat roof of a tenant with grass on it, and around it there were triangular rooves of other tenants, one floor higher than the flat roof tenant. On the right there was additionally a big tree, a bit higher than all the tenants.
Unfortunately I forgot to make a proper photo of it when it wasn’t way too dark or raining. That’s a shame – considering the next Krita Sprint will be in Rennes, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to fix that terrible mistake. Oh well, that’s what painting is for – recreating all untaken photos.
Next day I woke up quite early just to run head-first into another cultural shock. It turns out that the typical Dutch breakfast is… sweet. Which means their typical breakfast sandwich is a piece of bread, butter and chocolate sprinkles (btw chocolate sprinkles were different from the Polish ones, too: ours are smaller and more crunchy, theirs were, I think, actually made out of chocolate and they melted in my mouth instantly). There was also weird Nutella-like cream, quite light in color but with darker cookie bits mixed in. I don’t remember all the choices, but I know there was also honey and some other weird sweet paste. All of it was to be put on Irina’s hand baked bread.
(Me having Nutella sandwiches the previous day is not being a hypocrite, but a very notable exception caused by both a lack of sleep and early getting up – it’s hard to eat anything at that hour. Also I’m talking about general trends in society, in Poland, the general trend in society is to eat ham sandwiches or fried eggs, or something similar, definitely savory, not sweet).
We went for a walk and, since the lunch time started to creep in, we bought some lunch items in the Tea Room. Other people took pastries with cheese or this weird liquid minced meat inside, I chose a bread roll with some vegetables and cheese on it. The bread roll was phenomenal, if they had only fixed the ratio between a very intense tasting vegetables/bacon topping and the bread roll, it would have been perfect – but since there was more topping than bread, it was a bit too intense for me.
Dinner was simple but fashionable – halves of peppers with minced meat inside (the solid one, not liquid, fortunately). It was tasty, and the bread roll that was served alongside it was quite interesting – a huge flat surface, surprisingly soft, especially if someone saw this kind of shape only in Georgian bread.
I got a cup of hot chocolate. This is remarkable because I’d got a promise to get a hot chocolate from Boud long time ago, in April or March, and from now on, we’re even. (At least for hot chocolate. Someone promised me pancakes from cast iron pan for breakfast… 😉 ). The hot chocolate was nice, although it kind of seemed more similar to just a standard cocoa drink (milk + cocoa powder + sugar) both in taste and consistency than I expected. It did have however this cozy feeling to it that proper hot chocolate should.
I found another bug that Dmitry later “fixed” just as easily as all the previous ones. So as I said about Windows, it messed up all the HDR settings, or at least they were different from before. After some time, I noticed artifacts in my Small Color Selector (the only HDR-enabled color selector). I also noticed that Dmitry’s color selector looked different for the same nits and hue values – but I brushed it off. The artifacts were important though. It turned out that Windows reports different maximum nits values for different brightness levels, which messes up Krita completely (and is contrary to/not mentioned in specification). To fix the artifacts, one just needs to lower the brightness to minimum… (Dmitry says it’s probably a bug in IntelHD drivers that was exposed by Windows doing weird things).
Later in the evening we had a very nice discussion with Dmitry about Russian and Polish translations of various books and movies – Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh etc., especially the translations of names and gender. In the meantime, Boud, Irina and Wolthera were mysteriously whispering in Dutch behind a closed door… gossiping about us, no doubt 😉
I haven’t eaten anything for breakfast that day. As soon as I went downstairs, there were new people in the living room – they were expected, of course, but I didn’t expect them so early. I tried to both follow the conversation and do my own things. But as soon as Wolthera came downstairs, we went for lunch.
We went to that really nice Dutch restaurant where my favourite-Dutch-person-that-I-don’t-know-a-name-of was a waitress. (I’m not sure what I like about her, but I think it’s her wide smile and a generally expressive manner). I ordered three eggs with cheese and ham. It was two slices of bread put together on the plate so that they made a circle, then on top of that slices of ham, then three eggs, then slices of cheese, all fried together on a small frying pan so it was shaped into a circle, too. Unfortunately, this amount of ham and cheese took all of the flavour of eggs away and the dish was overall a bit too greasy for my taste. The bread was delicious, though.
I left all of the talking to talking professionals. (My boyfriend said I can’t write “I left talking to professionals” because that would be diminishing myself, as if I wasn’t a professional. In Polish the phrase is used so frequently, often as a half-joke, that it wouldn’t be considered dismissive towards one, I think). I was listening to the bits about neural networks, but that’s all. Fortunately Dmitry is much more interested than me in using special super powerful CPU instructions to make Krita even better in terms of performance.
Dinner was in an Indian restaurant. I ordered my most beloved chicken biryani and made sure that garlic naans were ordered (ok, Wolthera made sure. Her memory is not terrifying, it’s useful). Naans were delicious, different from most of those I’ve eaten (they are usually less soft and have less sugar – I could clearly taste sugar in those), but great. Biryani, however, was… mediocre. They put peas and carrots in it. I’m not against vegetables in general, but those peas tasted as if they weren’t fried or anything, so their raw taste didn’t match the rest of the biryani at all. If they wanted to make it more healthy, they could have made vegetables go into a side dish… but I got a side dish too, with eggplant in some sauce. I will never understand what cooks see in eggplants. Every time you want to use an eggplant, you should take courgette (zucchini) instead – it has a milder, sweeter taste and doesn’t have this bitterness to it.
People that we met were really, really nice. One of them constantly tried to hire me to paint a family portrait for them. I have a job and since art industry is very competitive, I guess it would be better if I wasn’t stealing their jobs all the time 😉 And the next day the plot twist happened, it turned out that we had been talking about oil or acrylic painting. Well, I’m definitely not the right person to go to, then.
For breakfast I ate a slice of bread that Irina baked with butter. It was too early for real breakfast and way too early for a Dutch one (we had to be outside of Boud’s house at 7:15 am – I had full 4h of deep sleep, which is enough for me to be operational). On the train I found a sweet bread roll in my backpack that I had forgot about. I had been given it on the airplane – a real traditional Polish sweet bread roll with sweet pudding filling. I love them. There was unfortunately only one, quite small and squeezed from being in my backpack, so I couldn’t share and show my companions they should love them, too.
There was catering for lunch. Quite different from what I’ve seen in Poland – there was Indian food, for example. I took some chicken in sauce with rice. It was great and the chicken was softer that I thought possible (the exact opposite of what we can get from the Indian restaurant next to my house – it’s all tasty, but the chicken is always bone-dry). It looks like Indian cuisine that doesn’t include spiciness is always delicious. I also liked the way it was served – there were those little bowls, I could take rice and chicken in all the proportions I wanted, and since the bowl was small, when I took only a bit to taste it, I looked stylish and fashionable, not picky 😉
After lunch I noticed Wolthera holding a cup with some yogurt and stuff. It turns out that dessert was being given out by a mysterious magical lady walking around. She’d appeared out of nowhere, had given Wolthera the cup and disappeared just as quickly. Fortunately some time later I found the magical lady on the other end of the corridor, caught her and took my prey. I think it might’ve been a frozen yogurt with a meringue on top, or maybe just yogurt with meringue, hard to tell, but it was yogurt (forest fruit flavour) and it was cold. And tasty.
Around 3 pm Boud decided to come back home. Dmitry wanted to stay to attend one more talk, Wolthera was as tired as Boud if not more, and I started to feel bored next to our booth and not rested enough to try to keep up with talks. It was a bit unfortunate because I didn’t find time to talk with The Smiliest Dev – well, she calls herself The Littlest, but I usually just assume I’m littler than others, so I think she might be wrong in her assessment. Or I am wrong. I should’ve asked her what height she is. My description is based more on my own perception, and what I was seeing was mostly her wide smile and beautiful hair. Ehh, well. Maybe another time.
When we were coming back from the conference, me leading two zombies or, alternatively, me being led by two zombies – how did we arrive safely that day, honestly – I was bravely fending off accusations of not having anything to eat. My backpack is nearly as magical as that lady, it always has something to eat. Wolthera was merciless, though. It turned out a package of M&M’s is not food. Cookies type 1 are not food, muesli bar is not food, chocolate bar is not food, cookies type 2 aren’t food, and basically I didn’t have any food, according to her. I wonder if my sweet roll would be considered food. Since Wolthera is Dutch, I don’t take her judgement in that department too seriously – I mean, they have liquid meat after all. (When Indians rant about mild food, I can smile and tell them I just prefer when my delicious food doesn’t cause pain; for Dutch I can only have some kind of ethnographic curiosity).
For dinner I had another Indian rice and chicken in sauce. Irina’s home made though, not catering. A different kind, still tasty, and I could put some crunchy stuff on top so it had a bit of a different texture. There were also slices of raw cucumber. It isn’t a combination I would make – see, Dutch are weird in terms of food – but it wasn’t bad at all. And at least it wasn’t inside the rice meal as they did in the Indian restaurant with peas and my biryani.
I got some Dutch waffles to take home. Those round flat waffles with caramel inside. They are quite nice; moister than the regular ones that my mom sometimes makes.
As sprint days go, this one was very quiet. Boud was meant to talk with me about my TODO list, but looked super busy with his keyboard, and at 11 am he and Irina went out not to come back until after I went to the airport. Dmitry was quietly working with his new laptop at first as well, although later he convinced me that using Ninja would be a great idea, which it wasn’t. So I volunteerily broke my build (well, technically, install. It was complaining about some missing libraries). Wolthera woke up (or at least went downstairs) after, I think, Boud and Irina went out, not a problem since she was staying there anyway, and was – as you can guess – quietly doing something on her laptop as well.
Dmitry went home around 1 pm, that left only me and Wolthera in the house. She offered to bring some lunch for us. And coffee beans (I think it was beans), because the express run out of coffee and there is no way for Wolthera to start a day properly without coffee. Lunch was nice, two different kinds of pastries.We wanted to heat it up in the oven, but all of our attempts to turn the oven on failed miserably (it’s worth noting that my participation was mostly looking at the oven with an understanding smile and “oh, yeah, so that piece of technology, that’s the oven, that’s how you call it, okay, I see it has some buttons and knobs, oh yes, just as ovens should”). The pastries were good even cold, though. One of them was a thing that looked like a hotdog, but it was minced meat inside a thin, but layered multiple times, weird dough that looked like it was fried (and the minced meat wasn’t liquid!); and a pizza-like dough with pizza-like tomato based stuffing.
Much more interesting is what Wolthera brought for dessert. She said those are cookies that are made or sold around this time of the year, typical for Dutch and seasonal. Of course I had to try them – little chance I will be in the same country around the same time of the year, unless Krita employment really requires a yearly EU flights ticket.
They were delicious. I’m including a photo of the package just in case you have a chance to be in Netherlands in autumn. Those are very little, perfectly round and rounded cookies with some spices (Wolthera said later that you can buy the spices mix in Netherlands, but I didn’t know at that time and didn’t buy it). Tastes a bit like gingerbread cookies, but differently. Hard to tell, because those cookies were additionally covered in white chocolate and a generous amount of cocoa powder. Spices in the cookies, sweetness of the white chocolate and bitterness of the cocoa powder create a unique and incredibly good taste. (Of course I decided to steal the idea and try to make them at home, I already bought white chocolate).
On the airport I went to the same Albert Heijn store I had been to on Monday. I looked through all the sweets shelves (they have 1kg M&M’s packages!) and finally found one with something similar to the cookies Wolthera had showed me, I had no idea you could buy them without chocolate and cocoa powder… It turned out you can. There were other kinds, too: just cookies; cookies with white chocolate; cookies with milk chocolate; and then, finally, at the very end of the shelf (I had to reach deep inside) I found the white chocolate + cocoa powder (“Truffel”) ones. I was already worried about the weight of my luggage, but 250g more wouldn’t hurt, would it?
After a quick and very unhealthy dinner I went to the check-in. I was pleasantly surprised when they told me not to unpack my stuff – neither electronics nor liquids. I was much less pleasantly surprised when it turned out that every luggage with a laptop is stopped to be manually checked. Not unpacking didn’t save me any time after all… After I dealt with check-in, I only had 10 minutes until the gate was supposed to be opened.
Supposed to, because planes aren’t the most punctual in the world. I had to wait 40 minutes more. And the plane was different from what it supposed to be, so I didn’t get the seat next to the window. I wasn’t that disappointed because it was already dark outside. Landing in Warsaw was beautiful though – very thick fog with lights and industrial structures looked really amazing, mysterious – just like this indie game called “Inside”.
On the plane I was mostly drawing on my new laptop – I noticed one flaw of our HDR demos, basically there was nothing that would show both super bright and super dark colors so that the dark areas still had details in them. I decided to fix it immediately. Some kind of an intermediate result below (the tree is way too big for the little river I started painting in the valley, but it is bad in more ways than one so it’s gonna be deleted as soon as I open this image to continue painting):