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...