Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the end.

i dont live outside of the usa. i will probably move out of the country again, but i dont know when or where (hopefully south america).
so, this is the thing. i dont live in spain anymore. i started this blog, at the suggestion of ben trimble, to update folks on my time in spain. but i am not in spain anymore...

that means friends can call me on phones and eat lunches with me. and for that, for the living of life in true colour, i am ending this blog. let's live life together, in real time.

im moving up to seattle in august. if you are california, get your kicks out and see some of me. if you are eastern usa, wait for mid-july. ill come over your way soon.


Life is made of ever so many partings welded together - dickens

Friday, May 22, 2009


i am in a hostel in barcelona. it's a sticky hot outside, and im sunburnt.
im gonna be in san luis soon. june 2.

how about thoughts on clarity? lack of clarity fuels my curiosity, and so maybe i ought to be thankful; but that ain't nothing to be easily appreciated. curiosity is hard. i was talking to a friend last night and she told me, "i just dont think. it is easier that way." i can see the attraction of that point. one day i'll get to clarity, but i refuse to let it be a letting go... i am stubborn. my clarity will be realization, not exhaustion. thinking about that day is a sweet thought. below is a quote from dicken's Great Expectations. notice the contrast of morning and evening, and the contrast of mist and tranquil light. sounds good, doesnt it?

"I took her hand in mine and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw the shadow of no parting from her."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

san luis special #2

i mean honestly... we are from san luis. these quotes should move you. not everyone is in love with this sort of stuff. sierra, have you got another one to add? and guys, just look at erin's blog. its been a month since i looked, but i remember seeing a theme in the content of the poetry.

Like most of the others, I was a seeker, a mover, a malcontent, and at times a stupid hell-raiser. I was never idle long enough to do much thinking, but I felt somehow that my instincts were right. I shared a vagrant optimism that some of us were making real progress, that we had taken an honest road, and that the best of us would inevitably make it over the top. At the same time, I shared a dark suspicion that the life we were leading was a lost cause, that we were all actors, kidding ourselves along on a senseless odyssey. It was the tension between these two poles - a restless idealism on one hand and a sense of impending doom on the other - that kept me going. (hunter thompson)

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!” (Kerouac)

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own.And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go.” (dr seuss)

Scrubby & Lloyds

i never followed up on that promised blog... and ive been doing a lot lately. ive got plenty to catch up on. i am no longer a university student (in either continent), i went to paris (painted, loved new friends, etc)... and im about to go back to living with my backpack. goodbyes are hard. my heart is tired today.
i was thinking about san luis obispo people today. we are weird. i mean, i talk to nyu kids and they dont really get me the way people do in san luis obispo. we dont do "the grind" too well out there. as an example, here are some of my good friends:
casy - livin in nashville
sierrha - always hatchin something new
jon & beth - livin in illinois
erin - makin plans to head to seattle
anicia and drew - i know you guys think about it... probably every day
dan griv - philly
my mom - always jealous of me and ready to go 

i dont know.. i mean, i dont even really know where all my san luis obispo friends are. they scatter and spread like folks from the valley. but when we talk about san luis, it is heaven (an obvious separation from bako or the like). right? i mean... i spend half my life making a case for san luis obispo being the best city there could possibly be, and the other half of my life i spend figuring out where im headed next. what is it? what makes us san luis kids end up in the appalachians, in the rough neighborhoods of northeastern cities or out in the nowhere-towns of middle america.... and all the while, we sit spinning tales of our home. it's like this new sort of slo-evangelism, all the zeal but none of the confidence of why we left. at the least, i sure dont know why i've said so many goodbyes (if someone else gets it, tell me). for now, i am guessing that's the legacy which has been left to us by kerouac, miller, steinbeck and all the vibe falling down from frisco. it could be the ocean breeze; just thinking of that cayucus breeze on a sunny day draws me north up the 1. we are weird. . so discontentedly disappointed with what we do not know, and so over sufficiently curious to not allow ourselves to be appeased in apathy. maybe my thoughts are not for all the folks from san luis, but they make me think about the ones i care deepest for.
if any of you have thoughts, write them so we can talk about how weird we are. also, i forgot to add paul to the list. paul, you are an odd exception. you love atascadero (few people can claim that)... but i think you still didnt manage to escape the san luis fire that get's people moving. that's why we canoed together in north carolina, why you can say (with extreme passion), "i hate arkansas; it is the devil's wasteland," and maybe that's why you went on some random solo road trip up north. and paul, i dont think you are finished.
sierra, please talk. 'ol jack, jean wants to hear your thoughts. drew, i dont think i know anyone who has explored more of the county than you. you have a family in san luis, work, life... thing that are not easy to move, but i cant help thinking about how youve walked the tracks near the grade, climbed obscure hills, and breathed big sur. you also got the slo itch. you an anicia both; i am already sure about her.
so, i want to hear your thoughts, friends. not saying we got to do anything about it... itd just be nice to know how some other people in the world think the thoughts goin on in my head.

who can tell me why i chose that title? 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

del polvo

of the dust

"the men who came with the dust, and were gone with the wind" (W. Guthrie)

this week has been eventful, present and future. I have only 6 technical days of school left, and preparations for the United States is beginning. Im moving to seattle, right? yeah, but where in seattle? and also, where am i going to school again?
just some questions i am currently working on.

But i have some good stories about the past 5 days. here is a rough outline, a few words, and one story. to preface, valerie's two parisienne cousins came into town (Boris & Ania) and we showed them around. 

Thursday - Joy Eslava (baroque theatre, converted one of the "hottest" nightclubs in madrid). i danced from 9 to 5:30, made it home by 6:30, and in bed by 7. that's a nine to five alright. Roommate valerie commented that my dancing was everything she hoped it could be.
Friday - Malasana! the heart of the aternative cultural movement of madrid. Malasana included a bar dedicated to the ramones, a club called tupperware (indie music club), a basement club called "El Perro" (looks like a brick dungeon, creepy and great), and doner alip (for kebabs at 4 in the morning). i made it to sleep at about 6 o' clock, very tired and grateful for my bed.
Saturday - el chapandaz (full story in the next post)
Sunday - after a desert filled evening at Jardin Secreto (madrid's response to NYC's serendipity, a cafe specializing in very delicious desserts), we headed to pent house. located on the top roof of one of madrid's finest hotel's (where penelope cruz had her birthday party, and yes, she is spanish), pent house had these little outdoor rooms (like wooden platforms on stilts, with canvas roofs and canvas walls seperating each other) with a sea of pillows in them. 6 of us crawled beneath the pillows, and boy, did it feel like a very lush, luxurious, and sanitary ball pit. we stayed until 4, when we were kicked out...

that is a little about the weekend. interspersed were picnics with good views, museums with picasso paintings, good eats, and new friends from paris. C'est la vie magnifique!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

hunter thompson

Like most of the others, I was a seeker, a mover, a malcontent, and at times a stupid hell-raiser. I was never idle long enough to do much thinking, but I felt somehow that my instincts were right. I shared a vagrant optimism that some of us were making real progress, that we had taken an honest road, and that the best of us would inevitably make it over the top. At the same time, I shared a dark suspicion that the life we were leading was a lost cause, that we were all actors, kidding ourselves along on a senseless odyssey. It was the tension between these two poles - a restless idealism on one hand and a sense of impending doom on the other - that kept me going.

(i read "Rum Diaries" while i was in france, this is an excerpt)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

the farm 1

more or less, this an email i just wrote to anicia. so, i just copied it onto here.

the farm? wow, how do i describe it? i lived for two weeks with a bostoner/honduran (gregorio) and a puerto rican (celeste). the three of us had travelled together from the NYU program. ill have pictures up soon, i just need to steal them from celeste first. the house was a 1500 year old, and fully restored, farmhouse. the owners were two gay millionaires (english and german, jeremy and michael). they didnt have a farm, just tons of grounds/gardens. so i worked in their orchard, rose garden, vegetable patch.. etc. Gay englishmen love their gardens. apparently they got over ambitious and they had more beauty on their hands than they could manage... also, i am sure they enjoy the influx of new blood to stimulate conversation/soical movement. next to the house was a waterfall, huge and beautiful. the house itself was an hour and a half walk from the nearest village (so, fairly remote). most afternoons were spent meandering through the woods.. if you find the french town Amelie (in the french pyrenees, not farm from Perpignan) then you can be about a 45 minute - an hour drive from where i was. the dinners were the highlight. good food, 3 glasses of wine, and long conversations every night. the hosts were sooo good at talking and moving the conversation. Jeremy had studied history and history of art at cambridge (went on to make a software company), and michael was a lawyer in germany. apparently jeremy used to be buddy buddy with a duchess who had been the 3rd richest person in england, but then she died. Jeremy had one of those, "oh yes, i dare say..." accents. and michael, well.. he showed us how to play a german board game called Carcasonne (the equivalent of german-Risk). it was a really good time. the conversations had good depth to them, we explored nearby cities on the weekends, and the whole trip cost me 200 euro (would have been just 100, but i rushed back to madrid to see the padre). i enjoyed it so much. now, i am back in madrid. gettin into the final flow.
ill have pictures up soon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

may my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living whatever they sing is better than to know and if men should not hear them men are old     may my mind stroll about hungry and fearless and thirsty and supple and even if it's sunday may i be wrong for whenever men are right they are not young     and may myself do nothing usefully and love yourself so more than truly there's never been quite such a fool who could fail pulling all the sky over him with one smile
-ee cummings

my mother and the farm.

my mother never heard about how i spent my birthday, and i love her.

it was a pretty quiet day. beginning at midnight, my roommates woke me up with donuts and to sing happy birthday for me.
the following day, i went to school as usual, and then went through most of the day until someone realized it was my birthday, and people sang. into the third class i found the gummy worms that valerie had snuck into my bag last night, and so i shared them with everyone in the class.
i came back to the house after school, took a nap, and watched an episode of the office.
Christy and Hilary called me and happened to be in my neighborhood, so we all met for some kebabs down the street. about 2/3s of the way through the dinner, i randomly looked up from my food and said, "hey, did you know it's my birthday today?" they were a little surprised and possibly mad that i hadnt said anything beforehand.
anyhow, they had stuff to do in the city and so off they went, and i went back home. at the house, my roommates where all in the kitchen cooking dinner for me (each cooking a different specialty). so we all ate together, enjoyed the conversation, i had some wine, they did the dishes, and then i went off to bed and slept earlier than i had for a very long time.
it was one of the slowest days of my life here in spain, but it was everything i wanted. an introvert's recharge paradise.

and now, the farm portion.
i wont be blogging for a couple weeks. i just had cousin timmy here, and i love spending time with him, so i know its been a while since i wrote something.  but also, my spring break started today, and i am headed off to work on a farm in france for two weeks. so, i wont be intentionally bringing any electronics but my phone and a camera. ill put up pictures when i return.
mother, i love you. thank you for being my most dedicated audience.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things—
   For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow;
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                                          Praise him.

                  Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

my hair.

and again,  this is my hair. you better believe it. that picture in the middle, yeah, that is val wishing she had my hair... actually, that is her combing it in the other two pictures... that creepy french/kenyan/southafrican/haitian roommate... she can't be 20, i am convinced she is a young 36.


timmy-tiger and erin-emu have bought tickets to europe. dang kids! get on the road.


yes, these are three of my lovely roommates. Greg is the only other guy, nneka has pizza again, and ann-valerie let us play with her hair again.
this is a good group we've got going.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

my birthday.

yes, the third was my birthday. i was a bit close-lipped about all of it, so sorry if i didnt give anyone a heads up. so, some of you (especially my lovely mother) would like to know what i did, right? well, this is supposed to be a very important age, and so i will give you an entire run down.
however, you will have to wait. i am headed to sevilla in an hour and a half. that is right, i am hopping a bus south into warmer weather.
this is where sevilla is:

i am leaving from madrid, and the ride will be several hours. i return on sunday, and at that point, i will give you guys a run down. ok? bueno. mother, i love you.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Today, I get the impression that you are a pretty pivotal part of my blog audience. How often do you read this, nitzche? and yes, i just called you nitzsche.
and who saw erin's post about wanting to just come to spain? i did. wazzup america! bam!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

song of the open road

it's been a while since i lived in san luis obispo.. and i wont be back for a couple more years. moving can wear you down at times. whitman is my boy.

You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all 
that is here, 
I believe that much unseen is also here. 

Here the profound lesson of reception, nor preference nor denial, 
The black with his woolly head, the felon, the diseas'd, the 
illiterate person, are not denied; 
The birth, the hasting after the physician, the beggar's tramp, the 
drunkard's stagger, the laughing party of mechanics, 
The escaped youth, the rich person's carriage, the fop, the eloping couple, 
The early market-man, the hearse, the moving of furniture into the 
town, the return back from the town, 
They pass, I also pass, any thing passes, none can be interdicted, 
None but are accepted, none but shall be dear to me.

winners drink alcohol.

This is my bottle of alcohol.. and that is my winning stare.

Monday, February 23, 2009

continuation of of confession...

as long as i can half-way pretend that these two stories can be related to thievery confession...
1) i've managed to recruit 5 NYU students to play "Age of Empires" with me on the internet. a housemate downloaded the spanish version, we spread it around... and now world domination will begin.
2) a brazilean gave me a whole unopened bottle of hard liquor yesterday. our eyes met on the metro... the classic spanish staring duel ensued (it's all the rave here; i stare people down on the metro every day). after several minutes, he approached and gave me the hard liquor. it now sits upon my armoir in the attitude of a trophy. 


for the sake of clarification, and a tinge of catholic guilt.. i admit that every picture on my blog has been stolen from somebody else. all of em.

immature poets imitate. mature poets steal. - ts eliot

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

i feel pressured to perform for my newfound audience... 6 people following my blog, and 17 views... a record turn-out.

here is the update on life in madrid.
I have had a lot of energy and anxiety lately, and in the absence of books, guitars, or the mountains, i have poured myself into wilderness survival training. apparently, i now theoretically know 6 different ways to provide fresh water for myself, 5 different fire-starting methods, 3 different types of shelter, and a handful of basic foraging principles. i am most proud of my newly learned directional skills; i've got 4 or 5 different ways of finding true-north in the northern hemisphere.
now, this post would suck if it was only me bragging... in that case, i am including a few pointers about eating the pine trees native to madrid (same goes for most of the states), and also one of the ways you can find true north in the states. it's easy!
first, the trees.
the inner bark of a pine tree can be cut into strips and then roasted on a hot rock (hobo skillet), sauteed in a pan with oil, or dry roasted and ground into a flour. it's best to use the inner bark closest to the hard woody part of the tree (or furthest from the outer bark). the bark is a living thing (the floem, carries nutrients up and down the tree) and so you have to harvest it fast.
also, pine needles can be eaten by crushing them in your hand, or by making a tea out of them. there a good source of vitamin c.
ok, as for finding true north, my favorite way is with an analog watch. if you dont have an analog watch, you can just draw the current time in analog form on a piece paper and it'll work just as well as if you had a watch.
1)ok, so first make sure you have the correct time of day on your watch/paper... 
2)then you point the hour (short) hand of the watch at the sun. 
3)draw two imaginary lines from the middle of the watch, one along the hour hand towards the sun, the other towards the 12 at the top of the watch. what you end up having is a simple angle that will change in size depending on the hour hand of your watch (you are only concerned with the smaller angle). 
4)lastly, cut the imaginary angle in half with a third line that comes from the center of the watch (or the corner of the angle). that line is pointing at south... just reverse the direction to find north.

if nothing else, at midday when the sun is "directly overhead"... walk towards it and you are roughly headed south. otherwise, without using other tools and stuff similar, remember the horizon sets in the west.

yeah. so tomorrow i am going out to the woods all day to practice this stuff. you should too.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

San Luis Obispo, CA (Longfellow)

Often I think of the beautiful town
That is seated by the sea;
Often in thought go up and down
The pleasant streets of that dear old town,
And my youth comes back to me.
And a verse of a Lapland song
Is haunting my memory still:
"A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

I can see the shadowy lines of its trees,
And catch, in sudden gleams,
The sheen of the far-surrounding seas,
And islands that were the Hesperides
Of all my boyish dreams.
And the burden of that old song,
It murmurs and whispers still:
"A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

(skip some of the poem)

I remember the gleams and glooms that dart
Across the school-boy's brain;
The song and the silence in the heart,
That in part are prophecies, and in part
Are longings wild and vain.
And the voice of that fitful song
Sings on, and is never still:
"A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

There are things of which I may not speak;
There are dreams that cannot die;
There are thoughts that make the strong heart weak,
And bring a pallor into the cheek,
And a mist before the eye.
And the words of that fatal song
Come over me like a chill:
"A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

Strange to me now are the forms I meet
When I visit the dear old town;
But the native air is pure and sweet,
And the trees that o'ershadow each well-known street,
As they balance up and down,
Are singing the beautiful song,
Are sighing and whispering still:
"A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

And Deering's Woods are fresh and fair,
And with joy that is almost pain
My heart goes back to wander there,
And among the dreams of the days that were,
I find my lost youth again.
And the strange and beautiful song,
The groves are repeating it still:
"A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

Monday, February 9, 2009

arabic poetry.

why have i not seen the beauty till now? even in english it is powerful...

The Talisman's poem (Ilya Abu Madhi)

I came not knowing from where, but I came.
And I saw a pathway in front of me, so I walked.
And I will remain walking, whether I want this or not.
How did I come? How did I see my pathway?
I do not know!

Am I new or am I old in this existence?
Am I free and unrestrained, or do I walk in chains?
Do I lead myself in my life, or am I being led?
I wish I know, but…
I do not know!

And my path, oh what is my path? Is it long or is it short?
Am I ascending in it, or am I going down and sinking?
Am I the one who is walking on the road,
or is it the road that is moving?
Or are we both standing, but it is the time that is running?
I do not know!

Before I became a full human, do you see
if I were nothing, impossible? Or do you see that I was something?
Is there an answer to this puzzle, or will it remain eternal?
I do not know ... and why do I not know??
I do not know!


sooo.. I went to Granada and, yep, it was just for the weekend, and now i hate madrid. What can beat gypsy bars called "La Tortuga," Gypsy caves en la sagrada montana (sacred mountain), and just gypsies in general? gitanos en todos lugares... con guitarras y perros.. so good.
In addition, the alhambra and la mezquita de cordoba caught my attention. Seeing such a clash of muslim/christian/jewish culture has left me desiring more... and i have begun to search for plane tickets to turkey. my world is small.
the picture: gypsy flamenco dancing, gypsy cave, two pictures of the alhambra (palace and capital of the muslim kingdom in spain), and the crew eating sandwiches outside a mosque (cullen looks photoshopped, celeste looks like a performer, i am trying to be tough, and lindsey looks oddly normal).

Thursday, February 5, 2009


oops.. the posts didnt come up. here they are.

also, if you are interested in seeing what my school is, just search "NYU Madrid" and you'll see stuff.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!")
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

    For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a 

below, i posted some cool madrid sites and part of a TS Eliot poem i am really liking...

also, i just heard that wilco and beirut will be playing here in the spring, and im interested. that's all that i am really up to.. that and learning spanish/travelling to granada & cordoba this weekend. you'll see pictures soon.

Monday, February 2, 2009


do you guys ever wonder who i hang out with in spain? well, in descending order, these are a few friends. lindsey has the coffee, and i steal most of my pictures from her facebook. next, is the obama inauguration event with (from the left) chris, lindsey, celeste, becky, and kevin. the third picture is in plaza mayor (where bull fights and the inquisition went on in madrid) with luanna (brasil) and celeste (puerto rico). the picture of becky making an odd face is after she ate the second half of the pig penis in Segovia. lastly, celeste is giving a thumbs up for inauguration day (im not sure if she is excited about obama, but at least she was happy to be interviewed on TeleMadrid)... unfortunately, the rest of us weren't interviewed because we can't speak spanish. ha. i don't have pictures yet of my housemates, or of cullen/sagan/or other folks. but i will steal them once i find them on someone's facebook.

this is a day trip to segovia. hopefully, i look pretty disgusting in that picture. the girl to my left, lindsey ( with the camera), is excited that i am about to eat the penis from her suckling pig. uh, yeah.
the other stuff are pretty explanatory. there is a really big cathedral, a really old roman aqueduct that still works, and the inspiration for the disney castle. did you know that walt disney is cryogenically frozen? does that creep you out? it creeps me out. it gives me the heebee-geebees.

settle down

life in madrid has begun to settle down. I am studying more, spending less money, and feeling eerily normal. Should i feel comfortable?
Thanks to casy meikle, my house eats an unbelievably large amount of fried rice (bacon, egg, and onion). Otherwise, yes.. this is slowing down. i continue to have the occasional adventure that comes with a.) living in a different country and b.) living in a big city.... but it is not over pronounced. Two days ago i grew restless of the towering edifices; too much gray and car noise for me. I headed west, hit la casa al campo (the wilderness just outside madrid) and wandered. At some point, i and an accompanying friend stumbled out of the woods, a bottle of cider in hand, to find an amusement park. i mean really... an amusement park out in the woods. it had rollercoasters that do corkscrews, loops, and twists... it had 1000 foot drops.... it had a zoo and aquarium attached to it. what a find.
even better is the adjacent bull ring. we were walking around the park, having a good look at the perimeter (not ruling out the possibility of a hole in the fence, and thus, a free rollercoaster ride), and somewhere behind the tigers was an abandoned bull pen and ring. after a thorough search, we have hatched a plan to go back with a camera and take a couple of good pictures. as soon as i get them i will put em up. i think the sign on the gate said the city had shut it down due to sanitation issues... but then again, i dont really speak spanish... i like to imagine that spain had become like rome, dangerously drawn to a bloodlust for live action (dote on the collesuem), and to prevent the degeneration of a nation, the city closed the bull pin and opened 5 new H&Ms downtown. people really dress nice here...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

el presidente y madrid

so, i was on telemadrid, the main news channel in madrid. also, i ditched a conference on urbanism in madrid so that i could watch the inauguration. NYU threatened some sort of punishment for ditching the conference, but i havent heard anything from them. i'll just say i got lost on the way to class (seriously, it might work. i am like in the special ed spanish class that plays hot potato, hangman, and memory search all day). the inauguration was like the only day when i could say, "soy estadounidense!" and madrilenos would be stoked about it.. hopefully things get better.
it was a pretty fun time. the guy who worked the camera shared his cheetos with us, and becky told him he was "the sacred bread of life" in spanish. that is really funny if you consider how neither becky nor i really speak spanish... we are like robots that regurgitate what our other friends tell us. 
an exciting night in madrid.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


dinner doesn't come cheap here... but 10 euro between two folks ain't bad.
Greg, the new roommate, and I baked a whole chicken and cooked up some onion/peppers rice last night.
the interesting part is that our friends becky, celeste, and linsey all came over to eat and hang out with us... and once they were done, we wanted to make sure they got home safe.

linsey ended up on a bus going the wrong direction, and was on it for about as far as you can go.
we walked celeste past 7 transvestites down the road... big intimidating ones with major male features.
i think becky made it home alright, but then again her phone is out of credit.

getting home is never easy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

skitch. canadians?

oh yeah, i promised a story in another post. this the quest for the chateau d'if.

the chateau d'if is a fortress set upon a small island in the mediterranean. the weather is clear, the ferry is quick from the marseille harbor and the view stuns. how did it get to look so dark and gloomy in the count of monte cristo?
eric and i bought a bottle of vin de rouge (red wine), and were kicking our feet over the water of the marseille harbor. the crowd attracted beside the pier is what drew us. they were tourists, clearly, and we didn't want to miss out on our right to tourism. so hey, why not hop a boat to the chateau d'if for only 7 euro? improvisation oiled the gears, and i ditched an empty bottle of wine. any of you guys remember my water bottle from nashville? one of those reusable, re-ethical, resave-world-able type of bottle? well, it was our new wine skin.
we elbowed to a front seat in the ferry, perched and content, and drank wine. well, it just so happened that we missed the port for the chateau d'if.
we got off on the next island, found some random deserted ruins on a mountain, and watched the sun over the mediterranean.
we hopped the 7 o'clock ferry back to the harbor, chagrinned for having missed the chateau. you hear so many stories of escape, or at least attempted escape... and all we wanted to do was get inside.
no worries... i was pretty content once we arrived at the harbor. the wine was not the cause of my smile (though it undoubtedly helped). The harbor was filled with hundred of palestinians chanting, yelling, and standing on cars. i slipped my bandana on, and eric flipped his hat backwards.
i gathered from the little french i knew, and mostly from eric's perfect proficiency, that the palestinians were denouncing france, the USA, the UK, and germany for doing nothing about the hundreds of palestinians being killed by israelis. i mentioned to eric,"good thing we are canadian, right?" it was an old joke, but i thought it fit the moment. eric, with a grin, replied, "yeah... oh! did you hear that? i guess they also got canada on their list." 

i mean, who has got a problem with canadians? apparently the palestinian flag kid who is hanging, yelling, and pointing from the top of a lamp post (that is 25 feet up) does...


it's about time this got movin'

I live in Spain now.. well, until June 2nd, and then I don't know where i'll settle. I've got college applications for transfer that I have neglected, and now the crunch is tightening.
I live in Madrid, on the edge of three neighborhoods (barrios): Malasana, Chueca, & Chamberi. Each takes about 5 or 10 minutes to walk to. Madrid is a city of 4 million people in city center, and about an extra 4 million in the city general. 8 million in all. i think this screwed me over when i went to see jeremy enigk play the other night... it had sold out before i even arrived. as partially conciliatory, i drank an irish coffee with friends and played card games till 2 am.
Malasana: the rock and roll district of madrid. When the dictatorship of franco train wrecked, malasana was the social liberation. Everything that is experience is to be lived; like kerouac, people burn brightly like fireworks... unfortunately, like kerouac the also run out of gun powder. I don't think the barrio ever made it out of this weird cultural revolution it had in the 80's. rock and roll kids, drugs, music... it's all here. Nothing opens till midnight, and nothing closes until 10. some of the nyu kids say it feels too much like brooklyn, and that bothers them. but i think i like it.
Chueca: used to be a really run down neighborhood until some gay businessmen took things to task. Narrow streets, weird people everywhere, and bars offering everything from dragqueens, servers in whitee-tightees, punk rock holes and even the average joe bar. chueca is great. vitality.
Chamberi: it's no chueca, and it's no malasana. it is a little quieter, but still has a reputation for bars, movies, and all sorts of shopping stuff. 

everyday is hard. If i manage to understand five things on a restaurant menu i start feeling big headed... that, or i just get overwhelmed by the wealth of choices. 
cerveca = beer. chepeta = shot. kebab = delicioso
hungry? just buy kebabs from the dirty turk shop down on the corner, i do this partly because they already know me by name, and mostly because it is the cheapest thing in town.

i was on the news last night. i went to an airing of obama's inauguration, and it came about (mainly through the sharing of cheetos with a camera man) that 5 nyu kids got interviewed by the local madrid news station. i just saw myself on the tv an hour ago. i think i need to shave.

i need to tell more stories... i was in barcelona. did you know that? i drank wine with brasilenos everyday until i only wanted water or ginger ale... and i ate the penis of a suckling pig in segovia (no joke). Tomorrow i am going to get a lecture about skipping class (there was no way that "Urbanism in Madrid" was going to prevent me from watching the inauguration with hundreds of crazy americans around). of course i took an obama shot... like many people, i am not yet fully in the obama camp; just waiting to see what will happen. the guy deserves a chepeta though.

this post is too scatterbrain. email me questions and i'll address them on this blog. apologies for errors... learning spanish and living in spain is really destroying my english. i think in spanish grammar, use the simplest of words, and mimic my instructors (who don't speak much english). consequently, i am starting to sound like a foreign five year old. ouch.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Paris, Marseille, Lyon

I've been moving about in France. At present, I occupy a table with another "youth hosteller" who is remarkably similar to Chris Martin (coldplay). He has no idea that my fingers are tapping and clicking about his face. ha.
I am en route to Madrid, where I hope to be enjoying myself june.

I'll tell a story from Lyon.

Last night a prostitute paraded herself before me, clothed in little more than her sensuality. Her hands followed the contour of exposed breasts, her lips puckering forth as she walked a straight line towards me. I was fresh meat, green and untested, little more than mere bait for a very hungry shark. But I, being the man of courage that I am, acted swift and sure. Pointing to my very recent acquaintance (Eric of Iowa, from my hostel), I shrugged, muttered something that vaguely resembled a sorrowful tone... in fact, I had never sounded so sorrowful in my whole life. I was sorrow. She saw that the sap that I was, slouched towards an unaware Eric, and I, breathing the magnificent midnight air, fled.
3 minutes past I was approached by eric ho, out of breath with excitement, exclaimed, "Did you see that sexual assault attempt?!" Once again, my courage broke forth in stunning glory, "I must have just missed it... crazy." Clearly, I had just lied to Eric. However, all was forgotten in mirth, as the accompanying Australian pleaded for me to stop sexually harassing Eric. Funny.
The laughs and the smell of alchoholic streets in Vieux Lyon are a step removed from my experience in nashville. I am told that stress and discomfort are the means of evolution. Perhaps my growth will come not from homeostasis, but from the midnight cold of foreign countries, being lost without communication, and from walks hand in hand with prostitutes and mirthful acquaintances.

Next, I promise to relate a story from Paris, marseille, or the quest for the Chateau d'If.

Favorite current song:
"My Oh My" - Casy Meikle
you can youtube it and see a video of him playing.