And not Bilbao's Ugly Side.

Wednesday September 29th, 2010 (But let us be honest and admit it's all the time between the last blog and this one.)


Wine, Men, and Philosophy.
The other day I went to a grocery store and bought two bottles of wine. ("bella regaza don't tell my wife" Jason Webley.)
I sort of refuse to buy 'Box Wine' while I'm here, because I can buy all sorts of cheap and terrible wine when I'm back stateside.
For now I'm in Spain, and I should be trying delicious things and new things only. (Box wine here is different than it is back stateside. Milk, Juice, and most beverages come in a cardboard box similar to the kind that Soy Milk comes in back in the U.S.)

The First was bottom shelf, 'Señorio Del Condestable, Monastrell' Bottled in Jurmilla Spain. No year listed. Made from wild-berries, none in specific it seems. 12.5% 1.50€
It's a bit more sour than a lot of the wines I've had here, but it actually tastes pretty good. A lot better than anything you can get back home for less than $6.

The Second was middle shelf, 'Ramón Bilbao, Crianza' Bottled in Bilbao, 2007. With 14 months in the barrel. Made from blackberries and blackcurrents. (Bottle reads: Balsamic Aromas, with subtle backgrounds of vanilla, pepper, and bay leaf.) 13.5% 4.50€
This stuff is fantastic. Darker than the other one with a much more complex and subtle taste. It's very mild at first, but the after taste is wonderful.

After sampling a little of both, I received the call about class being canceled, and decided to sample some more.
Them a friend from the program called me to see if I would like to hang out.
We had spoken of it earlier, but I was doubtful of it happening as that the Metro would close before he'd get on, and he'd have to walk home. (However far that was.)
But he did.
So we went on a walk, and spoke of many things.
Talking with him is tricky, because he's very introverted, and very conditioned by his conservative mother. However he is honest when he doesn't care about a subject, and frequently the things that interest me have little interest in him.
Actually, this problem is quite common stateside, but I am used to people ignoring me when I begin to go on about something fascinating, rather than being told that the subject is uninteresting.
Anyhow, the kid is always apologizing for anything that happens.
Reminds me of some short kid I once knew.
He recently came out of the closet, and is still really uncomfortable with the subject, (thus the lack of name so far) so I'm not entirely certain why he enjoys spending time with me. (Well I have few guesses)
Particularly because of my irreverence towards 'the closet.' I often forget that when a person is out of the closet, this does not mean that they are all the way out of the closet.
Some people play halvsies, and are pussyfooting-about-the-closet, opposed to actually out of it. Other people are in the closet, but have told just three or four people about it.
Keeping it from conservative parents I guess I can understand, but I accuse any parents that person should be afraid of telling this to, I accuse them of bad parenting.
Other friends and strangers?
That makes no sense to me.
Strangers like: 'Don't say the G word right now, there's people about.'
Not: 'Hey Random Person, I'm GAY!'
That sort of approach irratates the hell out of me.
With any subject. I'll return to this thought later.
Don't bother trying to explain 'the closet' to me, I don't care.
I think 'the closet' supports an anti-gay mentality.
Anyone supporting the secrecy of a completely natural part of life is almost as bad as the people attacking it.
There are, of course, exceptions to this blunt and angry opinion, such as when a life is on the line.
Yet I digress, again.
My friend, I think may have a crush on me.
He might just be seeking friendship as that the other gay boy in the USAC program is more irritating and put on than any other gay man I have ever met. (Remember how I said I'd return to the Thought? I'm about to do that.)
I don't announce loudly in a put on accent to people that I'm short.
I don't announce irritatingly that 'I just want to go meditate all over that park over there, it looks so serene.'
I don't flaunt my passion for ice-cream like it's the defining factor of my life.
Granted I do talk about these things, and I've been known to make jokes about, or express strongly that they are true, but not like a siren at every moment of my life. (At least I hope not.)
Why then, do so many, (and don't tell me I'm being stereotypical, I have names)gay men let that little detail, define who they are? Maybe its just something I don't get, maybe I'm too set in my ways, or some psychological wall prevents me from not getting angry around these sort of people. Maybe there is no reason for it, but it does bug me. And it seems to bug other people.
That being said, and lifted from my chest, I will return to my friend.
If your confused right now I don't blame you. My mind is rather scattered.
Right. Friend. Not the irritating boy, the other boy.
(Be damn convenient right now to use names.)
I feel like I'm stringing him along, because it's very nice to have someone to listen to, but I'm not interested in him.
He's cute enough, but his personality comes off to me as 'Friend' and not 'Boyfriend.' Probably has to do with his high maintenance and lack of any strong artistic interest or passion... at least that he'll talk about.
Also, I'm a bit of flirt, well maybe more of a 'caradura.'
Funny thing about that word 'Caradura,' I don't really know how to express that in English, but I think that's a good sign for my Spanish. It has a meaning similar to Cocky Inconsiderate Asshole, way less harsh.
I figure as long as I'm honest about my intentions, and what have you, there shouldn't be a problem.
However, if this were easily done, and had a 100% success rate, there wouldn't be theatre.
And I love theatre.

An old castle-tower like building, and the Spanish Sea.

Today, in Spain, there was a nation-wide strike.
Peaceful protest against generally low pay, which has been down for a while.
Times are hard in Spain.
So class was canceled, due to complications with the bus system.
Instead of class, we took a hike.
And, my loving and adoring fans, I did not forget you, no, I have provided pictures for you on this very blog.
Yes, I'll post a few here in this Blog, and the rest on Facebook.
'But Kishpike, I don't have facebook/you as a friend on facebook!'
Well, that is a problem, dear reader, and I'm not particularly certain I'm comfortable having proposed to you not knowing that you didn't have facebook/me as a friend on facebook. I will gladly email you my pictures if you request it, but I wish you would have told me sooner about this. Don't worry, I still love you. And I still want you to consider our marriage. But no stress, we still have a whole year.

The hike was along the sea, so there are a lot shots like th

The Hike was fantastic, and far more beautiful than any of these pictures could have captured. The day was lovely, and warm and Bilbao's coast is breath-taking.
There was a distinct smell coming from the flowers as I walked along the path, that struck me with memories of living in Spokane when I was even smaller than I am now. It was quite fascinating.

A city by the sea.

Spaniards have no fear. They have zero time for it.
They have benches four inches from the side of the street, driving in the wrong lane is a national sport, and I'm pretty certain that I watched a child box a boar with one hand tied behind his back, he didn't win, but he didn't cry either.
On one of these perilous cliff sides there was a bicyclist.
This bicyclist was hauling ass not half a foot away from the ledge.
There were other paths to be on, but that's the one he chose.
Fortunately he was wearing a plastic helmet, so if he did hit an odd rock he'd have that between his skull and the jagged rocks below. The fall probably wouldn't be lethal, if he happened to be Wolverine or Link.
Another fearless soldier can be seen below.
This brave man was clearly on patrol at one of those famous 'Nudist' beaches they have here.
This beach, we quickly found had a 'Old Men Only' rule.
There were several women at this beach, all wearing everyday clothing or wet-suites.
I'm certain this brave soul was keeping the 'Only Old Men get to be Naked' rule in check.

Hain't no Wimin folk all'ad ta be nekid her'.

Spanish for the day:
In a similar vein to 'Make like the Swiss'
The Spanish phrase for playing hookie, or skipping class, is 'To Make Like You're Lost' or 'Pretending to be Lost'

These Rocks, they rule.

Pour Decision.
If you are ever in Spain, and you would like to order a drink, I recommend avoiding the mixed drinks.
They are expensive, and they are expensive for a good reason.
A mixed drink here is about 5 shots worth of alcohol.
(Okay maybe more like 3, but they're strong.)
Normally I can have a mixed drink, or two, and still keep my wits about me.
Not the case here.
After the hike a bunch of USACers went to a Bar, and I went with them.
(USAC is the program that I'm in, so these are all American Students studying in Spain. Well, we do have one Finnish Student, who speaks English really well, and somehow got into this program. I still don't know why or how.)
I ordered a Vodka+Naranja, which is five billion shots of Vodka, and a Bottle of Orange Fanta poured into a glass.
Oh, and whoever told me that there isn't ice in Spainish Bars is a Filfthy Liar. They put ice in everything here. Even the wine has ice in it.
After that, we went to another bar, and I was feeling quite... distant.
At this bar their were Pintxos (Basque for Tapas, which is Spanish for Delicious snacks).
Another mistake? I think so.
I had three Pintxos, each of which came with a side of bread, and a Red Martini. (Still not sure exactly what it is.)
They were all fantastic.
All you bacon-lovers out there are chumps. Jamon is where it's at.
After that we hoped the metro and I headed home.
When I arrived home, Carmén was waiting for me, with a whole bunch of food.
Not wishing to be rude, or let her know that I had been drinking a bit more than my share, I greeted her, and we talked a bit.
And then she asked me the dreaded question 'Are you hungry?'
I responded as I always do 'A little' because to be honest I am always a little hungry, I forget that 'a little' hungry translates to 'Feed me all the food now!'
She smiled and shot back her usual response of 'Boys are always hungry!' and proceeded to place three plates of food in front of me.
They were, of course, fantastic.
However, my stomach felt like it was going to burst, and my mind was far to foggy for 2:00pm, fortunately for me there is a tradition of passing out at just such a time.
Huzzah Siesta!

I found a place on Monday that does half-off haircuts on Wednesdays.
So I decided to wait until Wednesday to get my hair shortened.
I forgot that today, Wednesday, was the national strike.

And now to do the homework I've been putting off.

I swear to you this says 'Austin' in Basque.

This is a pirates flag, torn asunder by the wild Spanish winds.

almost mounted up my horse and lance, but the group was getting ahead of me.

Sea and Sky, and on that note...

Kishpike Out.

The Wrong Bus.

September 27, 2010, Sitting on a Bench that is four inches from where people drive, and missing his siesta.

Today, after being stood up, (or possibly there was confusion) by my Spanish exchange student, I went to the bus station at my school. Today is one of those painfully bright days, and my stomach was starting to hurt, so I got onto the bus as soon as they opened the doors. An oddly large number of people were waiting, and when I got on, I found the bus to be oddly large as well. Then, as I looked back at the line of people still filing onto the bus (with little chance of squeezing out) that I was on the wrong bus. I watched my bus take off, and decided to stay on, I've already paid the inflated bus fee, and this could lead to an adventure of wild proportions. Anyhow, so long as I can find a metro I can get home. By the Great Buddha's pants I do love the metro.

Architecture and understanding.
So today in my art class we moved on from paintings to architecture.
As any of my friends can tell you, I know so little about architecture it's painful.
So listening to its history and basics in Spanish was about as easy for me to comprehend as if the class were in basque.
I wasn't the only one lost, in fact at one point I noticed a fascinating sound. The silence created by five minds completely checked out of the room is deafening. This complete lack of presence filled my ears so strongly I could barely hear the teaching speaking, granted I wasn't much listening to her, but hearing and listening are different.
The teacher, who is Eddie Izzard in woman form, asked me to identify the and image of a 'polilobulado' arch structure and locate its origin. I did not have a color photograph, which is all google is offering me right now, what I did have was a draft of the arch (and only the arch) with the swiss-cheese hole design.

Cake, I'm sure, for a student who has had an architecture class of any kind. But for this kid? No, This kid took a wild stab at 'Mayan structure.'
The next student guessed 'Prague.'
Turns out its Spanish, and rather popular in Sevilla.

I couldn't help but wonder if my past co-apartment inhabitant Laura G. would understand any of this, and if she would be able to translate any of the things currently flying over my head at speeds I'm certain allowed that low to the ground.
You see is a student of Architecture, actually a really good student of Architecture as I understand it.
However, I'm mighty certain she speaks french and not Spanish, but I imagine with the knowledge of subject matter she'd have an easier time understanding this hour and thirty minute lecture.
This lead me to a thought process about translation as an art form, and my mind drifted from there.

Returning to the bus.
Okay I'm lost now, I live in the west side of Getxo, and now we are going to the east side of Bilbao.
Bilbao is east of Getxo. I think finding my way home
will be a bit more tricky than I thought, but I just saw a sign for 'Indatxu' which has a metro station that I go to rather frequently.
Fingers crossed people.

The Bus dropped me off in front of a metro. Hot piss! Speaking of which, public restrooms here, lacking.
Lacking heavily, my bladder is most displeased.
I almost caught the train as I walked in, but there were people chilling on the stairs like they were a 'Totally Loiter Here Zone' and the girl in front of me was walking with a casual saunter.
Saunter when there's a beach to admire, or food smells to smell, or beautiful Spanish Urban sprawl to wonder at, but not when there is a Train!
Dharma protector's blood!
I can't wait four minutes for the next one, you have no public restrooms here!

Uhm, Wrong number, but congratulations?
Yesterday I received a text in Spanish, here’s my translation:
‘Julieta was born Sunday the 26th, the birth went well, and she is a healthy weight, 3.20. Her mother is healthy and well, and her father is very happy and very emotional. :-D’
This phone is new, and I don’t know any pregnant people in Spain.
However I am glad to hear that Julieta was born healthy. Happy 0th birthday Julieta.

I got back my first midterm today.
I'm not entirely certain how it was graded, because while I am certain I answered less than 70% of the questions with any sort of accuracy, I still managed to get a 78.2%. Now a C isn't anything to run off and write a blog about, unless you happen to have believed you had failed the test. Honestly I only wrote three sentences in the first (Yeah first) essay bit, and in the second essay bit five. The test was timed, and I didn't know that. And I like to save essays for last.
Homework tonight? Here's a trick: In Spanish define 'Hole.'
Hell defining ‘Hole’ in English without using synonyms isn't exactly a short or very concise thought.
I went with ‘The lack of earth/ground.’

Now I have a list of movies to watch in Spanish (Apparently 'My Fair Lady' has a fantastic translation, and all the Disney Movies are good too.) and a list of books. This consumption/habit will never be sated. But I have almost finished Mamet's True and False and Yoshi Oida's Invisible Actor. Mamet is tricky, because half the time I think he's right, and the other half of the time my book is on the other side of the room as if someone with strong opinions had thrown it. Oida I also disagree with a lot, but for some reason I think there is something to be mined from the things I disagree with, exercises that can benefit my own philosophy of approach. However after these two books, I'm going to have to finish 'Dreamwork for the Actor, and turn around and start tackling Lope De Vega, and Spanish Shakespeare. My reading in Spanish has improved a lot, and I feel, with confidence that I am at least a 10 year old reading level. Which doesn't quite makeup for a 3 year old speaking level, and a 2 year old listening level. But average that out, and you get 5, which is one half year more than the amount of time I've been taking Spanish. Sit and meditate on that all you other 4 and half year old Spanish kids, in your respective faces!

Now I am off to buy wine, cookies, and try and get a hair-cut.
The hair-cut part is the 'Do something that scares you everyday.'

Kishpike Out.

What a pity, but, Adios!

Sometime floating in and out between September 25th and September 26th, 2010

Spanish for the Day:

When you ignore someone, particularly when you hear them and don’t wish to respond (like with cat-calling) the Spanish say ‘To make like the Swiss’

This comes from when the Swiss moved into Spain in a rather large group, and the Spanish men would chase the Swiss women about trying to get their attention, because the Spanish men love tall blonde women. However the Swiss women for the most part would ignore them.

So next time someone’s bugging you, make like the Swiss and ignore them.


So I was sitting in a café at 6:30pm, when I received a text about Nachos in Algorta (which is a short metro ride from Areeta, where I am staying). These Nachos were to be had around 8:00pm.

No problem, thought I, I’ll just tag my computer along.


We got to nachos at 8:30, and after I had a second helping and two or three slices of pizza after (and I hadn’t missed lunch, I’ve been eating a lot recently) we decided to swing by a sports-bar to catch a bit of the futbol game.

No problem, it’s a bit inconvenient, but I’ll tag my computer along. It’ll be what two hours in a bar? I can hold on to it for that long.


At the bar I met three or four rather enthusiastic women who I began to converse with, they are locals, and a few of them were hard-core fans of the local team and we were talking about the game itself, it was a rough one. And then I told them I was into directing, and they told me that they were actors. They asked where I was from, I told them Idaho, they didn’t know and I used the second response I’ve learned to use ‘It’s close to California.’

They love California.

They want me to show them L.A. sometime.

They want to know if I know their friends in New York.

They want me to direct them in Hollywood.

I tried to explain that I am a stage sorta guy, and not a film guy, and that I don’t I really have a gig directing yet, but they were a few Kalimotxo in, and I don’t think they got the point.

They took me and a few of my friends out for a night on the town.

This was wild, among my friends, Paul and Brianne, my Spanish is the best.

This is not saying much, because my Spanish is ‘Fatal’ (Not deadly, but very bad.)

So there was a good deal of translating on both parts for me.

That was actually very fun. But I still have this damn lap-top.

Now it is four oh fucking four in the AM and we are still out.

I’ve been toting this ‘Comfortably Light’ netbook to every bar on the way.

It’s raining tonight and the bars are stupid crowded. (They normally are usually C-student crowded, but not tonight. Tonight stupid crowded.)

As such, I have stepped outside to enjoy a whole 2ft radius to myself and decided to update my blog.

A lot of people keep asking me what I am doing, or what I am writing or where I am from.

It’s rather interesting and nice. Someone just tried to speak Basque to me, for a bit.

Um, interesting thing about the language, written it looks very harsh, but spoken it sounds like melted butter. Very mumbly and slurry. And now I am being accosted a bit, but there are some kind girls standing up for me, or at least distracting the accosting party.

Now allow me to be clear about something for those of you who are not familiar with Spanish Culture. It is now 4:40 in the morning, and there is no threat of the city going to sleep.

There are as many people out milling about, still bar-hopping, as there are a 11:30pm on a Thrusday night in Moscow.

This next message is brought to you by ‘Rachel, The Sister of the Princess’


The self proclaimed sister of the Princess is one of the girls who is more or less protecting me right now. Kind of. She asked if she could help, and I figured there wouldn’t be any harm.
It wasn’t and she told me I needed to keep that very important message in my work. Shortly after she departed but not before initiating that terrifying kissing ritual, that I need to get over.

However, by my reckoning a sister of a princess must be a princess too, and so I have been kissed by a princess. Ain’t that good luck, or a sign for getting three wishes or something?

Maybe I’ll turn into a prince.

I have attracted quite the crowd now.

I also have met a Young Philosophy Teacher at the local Highschool, who is very friendly, but a little disappointed that I don’t study philosophy. A compliment I reckon. I believed his story about being a philosophy teacher, because he had the composed teacher sort of look going on, and the wild sort of hair that only young philosophers (and a few older ones too) like to wear.

Another person is a young radical Basque punk, with the Mullet. He insisted that I was staying in Basque country and not Spain. He was actually rather nice, and not at all aggressive or angry or what-have you, so no one needs to worry about me. They’re just really proud out here, and honestly I’m safer from a Basque attack in Basque country than anywhere else. (Don’t bomb where you eat, and they love to eat.)


To be fair it rained today/tonight, so all the pubs were over crowded.

I don’t know if any of you have been to that dance club in Pullman, but there is a spot on the dance floor where dancing doesn’t happen so much as people awkwardly trying to move to the music as other people shove their way through.

This has been every dance club I’ve been to tonight.

My back has become sore long before my feet or legs have even warmed up.

Now I am a little guy, even in Spain I’m rather short, and usually it’s not a problem for me.

But in these environments I have a tendency to get pushed around a lot. A lot.

Sometimes, particularly after drinking, I will try and stand my ground.

It’s a bit rude, I know, but a short skinny kid can only take so much pushing around.

Usually when I stand my ground, however, I get pushed even harder by a particularly aggressive larger man. This sort of situation never ends well for me. Fortunately the club is crowded enough that I have some time to breath.

And they call this dancing.

At 6:30 Am...I just found a live action Asterix show.
This might be the best night here so far.

This kid needs sleep.

Now I just was on my way to a cafe to update my Blog, and drink some fine Spanish coffee, no wine after last night, thank you, when I ran into the Festival of Snails. A big basque street food festival where one can eat all the snails they like for tips. I didn't really know how to go about asking, or buying these snails. So I was terrified to try. It looked like everyone was closing up, and the festival was winding down, so I began to walk away.

Then something struck me.

I was literally walking away from a cultural experience, a life experience, because I was afraid ask someone 'Can I buy your snails.'

So I turned around, walked up to the nearest little stand, and tried to get someone's attention.

My stomach turned, I'm still terrified to interrupt people particularly if I can't speak their first language (Basque) or even their second language very well.

But I did it, and it turns out their for tips.

I ate three snails, which were not particularly tasty, but like clams, the little ones are better.

Between this and last night, I've taken quite the hammer to that wall of fear I think.

And I've got a year more to take more pieces down.

How exciting and absolutely terrifying.


Kishpike Out.

Getxo Homework On.

Sometime between Sept. 22-23rd 2010.

20 Euro.
So there is an interesting sort of beggar here, it's a well off looking middle aged woman, who approaches people at a cafe', and this alone is striking, with a little piece of paper with some chicken scratch on it. I'm not entirely certain what it says, because my reading skills are lacking, not that I couldn't read it if it was sitting still and in clear print, but small factors add up. Anyhow she approached me with a terribly fake 'crying' noise, and asked me for money, because she needed to buy milk for a baby. A baby, mind you, that was not present. In these sort of situations, I tend to blank out, so I reached into my pocket, grabbed what change I had, and gave it to her. Fortunately for me this was less than a Euro.
This is the incredible part, she took the change, and then asked for 20 euro.
I told her that the change was all I had.
She then insisted that I should give her 20 euro, and reminded me of her baby.
I had to tell her twice more that the change I had on me was all the money I had at the time.
Finally she sneered at me and moved on.
I should have asked for my change back.
Seriously there are more skilled pan-handlers here, who don't wear nice jeans and carry a decent looking purse, this woman looked better off than most college students I know.
By skilled pan-handlers I am referring to street performers.
Sure not anyone can be good at something, but certainly everyone has something they can offer in exchange for pan-handling. There are street performers everywhere here, and they don't seem to do so well, but I can't imagine they do worse than this lady.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying 'Are there no work houses, no jails?'
I do think there should be organizations, and what have you, to help the poor, and god knows I'm going to be among them soon enough, but I am of the opinion that many people pan-handling are doing so out of a lack of motivation or pride. The desire for an easy fix.
It's a delicate subject, and there are many exemptions from this broad generalization.
There are even buddhist monks who insist on living off of begging, what people will give them, and there are people who find themselves in a really shitty situation with no ability to even street-perform for money.
But demanding 20 Euro of a stranger is a bit audacious, isn't it?
Inappropriate at least.

So if there's anything I'm going to take back with me from this year from Spain, this really life effecting experience, it's going to be how to live in constant struggle. Not financial struggle, that'll come next year or so, but rather constant mental struggle. Everything is in a different here language, even my classes.
I took a midterm yesterday (I will be tackling three classes per semester, so I will have 3 midterms and 3 finals every semester.) I'm waiting to get the results to post anything definite, but I floundered on it, hard.
I become very frustrated because communicating what I want to communicate is quickly ditched for writing a structurally correct sentences.
It could be, that this Class-Room 'accuracy over intention' mentality is one of the major contributing factors to my fear of speaking in Spanish.That and my absolute knee-knocking fear of being wrong.
I hate being wrong just a little less than knowing I'm wrong.
A lot of the time, in Spanish, I forgo saying what I'd like to say, in order to say something that is structured well, and accurate in the use of language, which seems to have a less mailable quality to it than English does, or perhaps like all art, one must know the rules before one can learn when to break them.
Speaking of art, and this time I know I was, I bought some translated literature and am excited to pick it apart.
But, returning to struggling, even if I don't do so hot in my classes, and I am right back to floundering, I will learn what it's like to fuck up everyday, every moment, all the time, and keep trying.
Life should be a struggle, shouldn't it?
Maybe, I think so.
Either way as a ambitious and (currently) young director, mine will be.
Art class is particularly difficult, primarily because the Spanish is fast and advanced, and secondarily because I don't like much in the way of 'Question Art' as I'm sure you've all read in my post about the Gugg.
Or didn't read in the Gugg post.
But if you've read this far on this one, I bet you read that other one.
(Still mulling over my proposition? Take your time, we have a year.)
I am trying very hard not to stress out about being right, or doing well in class.
But letting go of that stress is difficult, especially when considering financial implications of failing, though it is comforting at times to remember I already have a degree.
I am a certified Bachelor.
Mmm, would you look at that, I just realized I had a composition due the tomorrow, and it's just after 9:00pm.

It is 1:46 Am here, and my paper is lacking 80 words, and sound general construction, but it is in process.
I have paused from this labor to share with you all a revelation that just occurred to me.
The reason this might be hard for me, is that I am not actually a Spanish Major, nor have I ever really been a student of Spanish.
I have only ever taken the classes. Which does by no means make me a student of the subject.
My passion for the language is amusement at best, intrigue in the reflection it offers into English.
I cannot image someone diving face first into the Theatre department, and expecting to be able to swim at 3rd-year level because they 'took four classes' of theatre in high school.
I'd expect them to struggle a lot, and I would be surprised if they did well.
Same with Math, Science, or really any major.
Particularly if they had been doing something else for the last four years.
Why then, do I expect myself to be on the same level as the students who clearly have devoted most of their college time to learning this language?
I should not be hard on myself, this is going to be difficult enough as it is.
But this is most certainly not an excuse to slack off or fall behind, in fact it's a reason to try to stay on top.
It's a crazy thing to try and do, fortunately I'm a crazy thing trying to do it.

I've finished the paper's first draft (on computer that spell checks for me, and adds in those irritating accent marks) and will soon be transcribing it to paper. Go me! I only have to be out of bed in 2.5 hours! Fortunately Thursday is a fine day to sleep all day after class.

Double Going.
I've got a Spanish Dopple-ganger.
I came from over the sea.
I hang around doing Tourist things, and the blame is getting pinned on he, the blame is getting pinned on he.
Or him. Whatever. He rhymes with sea.
A quick (poorly chosen) reference to Momus's 'Pervert Doppleganger.'
Moral of the story is: I look like someone who lives here.
The other day a man stopped me, began speaking to me, and then balked, and when I asked him what he had said, 'Como?' he looked at me, and waved me away, and then asked if I spoke English. He then explained that I dressed and looked like someone he knew.
At another occasion I was walking and a woman I don't know waved at me, smiled, and then squinted and looked promptly away.
I think there's another short dark-haired kid who walks around wearing hats and glasses, with a little chin beard-thingy.
I should try and meet this guy.
But I do think I blend in here, a lot. People keep asking me stuff way to fast, and about local things too. They always seem surprised when I bust out the U.S. accent with a slow and broken pronunciation.
Yay fitting in!
It helps that the youth here look a lot like they do in the states.
Only more mullets.
Did I mention that? Mullets.
Apparently it's a political statement.
I don't care if it'd bring about the Universal Buddha (A loosely held belief that the next Buddha will be an entire Society rather than an individual, which is largely debatable, and mostly metaphorical, and largely a discussion for another time) I am not growing a mullet.
There are other ways to express things.
Mullets express bad taste.
Not even if Amanda Palmer and NPH would marry me at the same time.
Throw Johnny Depp and Alyson Hannigan into the mix, and I might be convinced.

Today I contacted my school appointed local friend.
Her name is Eider, she lives in Spain, and goes to UPV.
That is all I know about her.
I am lead to believe she can read, and is interested in meeting someone like me.
I sent her an email, which was kind of awkward actually. I'm not used to asking people to go to coffee with me before I know anything more than their name. However, she signed up for this program, so I image an informal meeting is not uncalled for, as my facebook name would suggest.

Holy Mole.
'Mo-Lay' it's Spanish for OH-MY-GAUTAMA-BUDDHA-SAUCE.
Mole is a traditional Mexican dish, and I am the envy of my USACing friends, for they are beginning to miss Mexican food, I on the other hand, live with Carmén. Who is Mexican, and in case you haven't been reading along, a damn good cook.
Today she made Chicken Mole.
This is chicken that is sauteed in fantastic for about 24 hours, and becomes as tender as my pride.
This stuff is amazing.
I know I said this about everything else she's made, but the Mole wins.
Sorry Dani.
Sorry Sarah.
It just wins.
Well... nothing beats Pop's cooking, but that just goes without saying.

Spanish for the Day:
Un día u otra había de morir.
Hubiese habido un tiempo para tales palabras...
El día de mañana, y de mañana, y de mañana
se desliza, paso a paso, día a día,
hasta la sílaba final con que el tiempo es escribe.
Y todo nuestro ayer iluminó a los necios
la senda de cenizas de la muerte. ¡Extínguete, fugaz antorcha!
La vida es una sombra tan sólo, que transcurre; un pobre actor
que, orgulloso, consume su turno sobre el escenario
para jamás volver a ser oído. Es una historia
contada por un necio, llena de ruido y furia,
que nada significa.

Translation by Manuel Ángel Conejero Dionís-Bayer. (I think)

Anyhow, Homework calls.

Kishpike Out.


September 21, 2010

Spanish for the Day:
Contraer is a verb that used primarily in two instances:
1) When getting married.
2) When catching a disease.

Internet and 2 glasses of wine?
2.40 E.
I finally found a cafe close to my house that has free internets, and apparently cheap and good wine.
Wine, Bread, and Coffee I think will be the things I miss the most when I go back home.
Than and the people of course.
Loosened me up good too, the wine that is, easier to speak Spanish after a glass or two of wine. I stop trying to sound 'right' and focus more on communicating. Also I lose some of my fears of sounding 'wrong.'

Carmén made the most delicious dinner for me tonight out of the following ingredients:
Olives (Green and tasty)
Fine Spanish Olive Oil (Fancy shtuff)
Italian Vinegar
a touch of salt.
And a side of bread.
Bread here, is like baguettes, and delicious always.

This was fantastic, she's always so accommodating and nice to me, and she's always making really good food.
The strange thing, and I just realized this, is that she doesn't use butter in her cooking.
I thought cooking was named after some crazy alternate spelling for 'Melting Butter,' or after the guy who invented butter, or something like that. But she does use onions in almost everything. I'm fairly certain onions are the second most important ingredient next to butter.

Warning: Strong Opinions ahead, also complete Digression from Spanish culture.

Two years ago, I remember there was a big movement at the U of I to eradicate 'Guys' from the common vernacular.
Particularly the romantic gender agreement aspect, where an adjective or noun describing multiple females and any number (even one) of males will be treated as a masculine.
This isn't normal in English, but as far as language goes it's rather status quo.
I wish I had spoken a little more assertively about my opinion that 'Guy' in the Pacific North West dialect is a Androgynous term, referring to a human regardless of sex, gender, orientation, political sway, or color of shoes they happen to be wearing. Of this sort of noun for describing singular people which we have few, and even less that are simple. (Person, Human, I'm struggling to come up with anything else.) I felt that attacking the use of this noun at all to be counter productive for those of use interested in gender equality and balance, but I have found that gender equality is not always the priority of the feminist's agenda.
This is all very nice and cute, but ultimately no better that absent minded philosophy.
Should we say 'guys' or not.
I was watching the news today, and with Carmén's help I learned that In Spain, in the last 9 months, 50 women have been murdered. Mostly, as I understand it, either by lovers or because they were lesbians. (That bit was a bit muddy)
Consider, then, in some of the more extreme traditions, a father would rather kill his daughter for shame, than allow her to live and offer her comfort and counsel after she has been raped.
Now, I realize Idaho is a fair distance away from most of this, and it has its own issues, but things can be done. Awareness can be raised.
Don't get me wrong, many feminists were involved in actual, real-life, causes that need addressing.
I just think that perhaps there are some issues that are more pertinent than others.
More pertinent than a bunch of freshmen boys who think the word boob is funny
more pertinent than the strange aspects of English's ragtag grammar (Where regular verbs seem far and few between)
more pertinent than uncomfortable shoes, that don't necessarily need to be worn
and perhaps a little more pertinent than the vagina monologues.
But this is what pops into my mind, when I begin to wonder how the hell 50 women could be killed in 9 months in a small European culture, and the first I hear of it is watching the news inside of that country.
Did anyone else know about this?

Well I have a test in 10 minutes I probably should study for.

Kishpike Out.

What are these tiny people?

September 19th, 2010

In Spanish, a small child running away from their parents screaming 'No!' sounds exactly like it does in English.
And it's equally funny.
Children are so committed to communicating that single thought, 'no', committed to negating what is going on around them, with no other interferences like trying to push for an emotional response, or creating an image, or doing it right, or looking proper, or anything. They have one simple goal, that they believe is achievable, and they pursue it like it's life an death.
Their tactic? Screaming . Screaming that one word at seven octaves higher than their normal voice as loud as they can.
I think there is a Stanislavski like metaphor in that somewhere. Or maybe a Mamet one, but only if you say something really shocking or pro-playwright first.

A small child chasing his mother shouting 'Mama,' also sounds exactly the same in Spanish as it does in English, but sometimes the child will say 'Mire' and not 'Look'.

A small child whining loudly, unable to properly speak through his tears sounds exactly the same as well.

Carmén's daughter came to visit this weekend, and so did her husband and their son.
They are very nice, and their son is very cute and young.
I don't think he knows how bad my Spanish is, and he rather enjoys talking with me.
It's nice because he doesn't mind repeating himself, at all, and will often do so without my prompting.
He asks me a lot of questions that I'm not cerain the answer to, but more because I don't even think I'd know them in English. (Why is your ceiling light new? What is this Blanket? Why is that your hat? and the Like.)

And then out in the street, hunting my precious internets, I ran into another small child and made another discovery.
Creepy blond children that get really close to you and don't ever say anything are extra creepy when their parents are 10 feet off, not really doing anything.

This Kid was standing less than a foot away from where I was sitting, staring at me.
This lasted for 15 minutes, but it was the longest fifteen minutes of my life.
Except maybe 15 of the minutes I spent getting my first tattoo, or any 15 minutes spent reading 'Drums.'
Boy, I sure am bashing all sorts of art lately.
His mother was ten maybe fifteen feet away, and standing there fussing with her other child, and she would occasionally say something at the creepy blond boy. But it was never anything like 'Hey maybe that stranger doesn't want to be stared at' or 'Don't get to close to the foreigner, he might be a rabid were-weasel, and he may just bite you because you are totally up in his area of defense.' and certainly nothing sounding like 'We're going to leave soon, my creepy blond child.'

Speaking of children, The night before, at the Guggenheim,
there were these two rather drunk USAC-ers who insisting on speaking in shitty British accents. Not because they are English, no because they thought it would be novel.
These two girls were both dressed to go out, and were wearing heels.
It was a healthy walk from the Metro to the Gugg, and I couldn't figure out which bothered me more, the terrible accents, or the 'CLOMP CLOMP CLOMP' of one of the girl's inability to walk in high-heels.
Her feet were screaming, yelling 'CLOMP' as if they were a small child trying to negate something.
Okay, I don't want to bring the wrath of the Feminist Radical Army down on my head, but I'm certain that's going to happen anyway one of these days, but High Heels aren't that hard to work with.
They get uncomfortable, sure, and I wouldn't want to wear them to a standing up sort of job, and luckily for me I don't think I will ever have to.
However they aren't difficult to work with.
Put on feet, walk on balls of feet, with light support in the rest of the foot.
Honestly, I have no idea why these girls thought they needed heels ,in the first place.
They are both very tall to begin with, or am I just short?
Regardless, my opinion still stands, if you can't walk in heels, get some sensible shoes.

And now I must be off to watch a rowing race in the river near my house.

Kishpike Out.

Discoteca at the Guggenheim

September 17th, 2010

You can't spell Party without 'Art.'
I don't know why, but the Guggenheim had a DJ, drinks and some of their exhibits on show the other night, Friday night.The DJ, like much of the so called 'art' found here, was skippable.
The drinks were expensive, but they are like that everywhere here. I think it's a lack of cheap well drinks.
For example the well vodka here is Absolute.
Vodka, in spanish, is 'Vodka.'
The Dancing was lacking, and the light show was cute at best.
What was cool was that it was like a lame party in a museum.Even a lame party is novel when it's in a museum.
You could dance a little, have a drink or two, and then go tour some of the exhibits.Absurd.It's funny how much I love Absurdism, but cannot stand abstractism and Dada like spin offs.

Jeff Koons
had some of his 'sculptures' on show.
Supposedly it was supposed to be a bunch of heavy metal objects trying to be balloons, commentary on trying to be something one is not.
Bullshit.It is a pile of multicolored sperm, and I know it.
Yay, shock value.
One of the USAC-ers (USAC is the program I'm studying with) explained to me how 'Koons is a fuck.'
Aparently, Koons does not actually sculpt his work, but a slew of workers in a warehouse do, Coonts designs the sculptures. Drafts them out, and has the warehouse build them.
Honestly, I don't know how to feel about this aspect of his work, because design is certainly art.
But if it is the truth, I don't think that makes him a sculptor at all, but rather a Designer of Mutlicolored Wank.

Anish Kapoor is a rather interesting designer of similar wank.
However I think he actually participates in his 'work'.
Speaking of Shock value, and I know I was at one point:
Firing gallon cans of red wax at a wall, that ain't art.
Its interesting, and immediately striking.
It has some clear and powerful invocations.
But really its a lot of money wasted on Jerking off the 'Is this art' button.
At first it looks kind of interesting. But the longer you look at it, the more you realize this guy loaded a cannon with wax and shot it at a wall. Clearly that qualifies as art.
Look, I don't go out in the street and cut people and call it surgery.
I don't yell 'Get a life' at someone and call it counseling.
I don't call toast and jam pastry.
I don't write a blog about my travels in Spain and call it journalism.
I don't write down all my opinions about trivial and abstract concepts and call it truth.
And I certainly don't shit all over a concept and smugly stand back and say 'Prove that I'm not doing it right.'
I'd appreciate it if other people had the common freaking courtesy to admit that while something may be cool or interesting, it's not art.

Anish Kapoor had his new 3-D laser printer made cement sculptures on display here.
They were concrete houses made to look like piles of shit.
Or piles of concrete shit made to look like houses.
But it really did look like shit.
His mirrors though, with enough time, wine, and little pushing on my interpretive side, actually started to make some sense, and may have actually passed the ever so important Kispike brand 'Is this Art?' test.
Saint Thomas's Healing.
It's a big ol' cut in the wall painted red on the inside.
Another jerking off of the 'Is this art' and 'Whooooo Perspective' button.

There were also these giant mazes.They were interesting, and moving through them definately was intriguing as that the way they were built they felt to have no end, and the amount of space between the walls created dizzying effects.
This one might of actually been art, if it didn't seem like such a waste of money.
Bodhisattvas preserve us, but I get frustrated when the value of the art isn't worth the cost of it's creation.

What is the Value of art?
There is something to be said for the number of people it reaches, I mean that are really effected by it.There is something to be said for the quality of the emotional responses it inspires.
For the record, pissing people off or confusing them smugly is not a quality response, Dadaists I'm looking at you.
There is also something to be said about a message, but a message isn't needed, there just is something to be said for having a message in the art.
There is of course something to be said for skillful effort, creativity, and pushing the limits.
PUSHING, not running naked screaming random obsenities way past the limits and laughing at the 'fools' behind.This culmination is something akin to the Value of art.

In the Rough.
Now there is something to be said for interpretation.
A lot of this so called 'art', smugly, sits back and says 'OHHH what do you think I am?' 'OH?' 'Really?' 'That's cute, you're trying to define art. You clearly don't catch on do you? Poor little human condition. All confused and trying to define things. If only you were in. If only you understood that there is nothing to understand. Well have fun with your little interpretation, and your little life.' And I want to punch it in the face.
The security guards, however, frown on this.
But there was something magical.
I found a Rothko.
The painting was a lot bigger than I thought it would be.
It was huge. I imagine the whole 'Rothko Room' would be terrifying by size alone.
Now, if I hadn't been in the play 'The Rothko Room' as directed by James W. Johnson, I'd think it was just another stupid painting.
Although, the paintings I have a tendency to like.
But having done the play, having mined the meaning from the paintings, the implications, the history of the artist, these things made that painting hit me like a bag of concrete shit.
Maybe it was just me projecting, but the thing really seemed vibrant, like I could almost see the glowing.
You see, they're doors, and windows, the Rothko paintings, to the other side, specifically to death.
Or they are supposed to be.
This one, I believe, was one of the windows.

All in all, it was a pretty good night.
Examining even poorly executed attempts at art can reveal much. Even people who are wrong most of the time are right some of the time, you just have to look for it. I take a little comfort in that, knowing how often I happen to be wrong.
Likewise, people who are right most of the time can be wrong, and you have to watch out for those occasions.

Kishpike Out.


Septmber 16th, 2010

I am feeling better.
I'm doing fine in my class.
My dance instructor is a leprechaun.
(He even sings like one when we dance)
I have my own cookies and chocolate.
I just felt the Spanish Rain fall all over me, briefly.
Oh yes, I am doing well.

After finishing my Homework, I went for a walk.
Here, going for a walk often includes a few stops for snacks and wine.
I found out the difference between 3.50 Euro Kalimotxa and 2.50 Euro kalimotxa
Also, Kalimatxa have ice. Sweet Ice, how I've missed you.
After two large glasses of wine and coke (that's kalimotxa), I managed to meander until I was good and lost, but I could find the sea and the river, so home wasn't too far away.
I decided to duck into one more bar for a night cap, feeling a little tipsy already, and saw a sign for 'Bar Amistad' Friendship Bar. Sure, okay.
I step in, and it's a mostly empty China bar.
This was the best place I've been all night. Because the bar tender spoke spanish as a second language, he spoke slowly, and clearly. He was confused by me, because I could speak Spanish, but not perfectly, he asked where I was from, but he didn't understand when I answered, but he was very friendly and the wine was cheap.
All in all, it was a fun night.

Kishpike Out.

All Weekend I'm Home, Sick.

September 10, 2010

This morning I woke up, and went to class.
I hadn't been feeling terribly well the day prior, so I fell asleep before finishing my homework, and oddly, this morning I struggled to get up early, as I had promised myself I would so I could finish my homework. For some reason this idea still appeals to me, even knowing how that worked out for the last four years.
Now normally I wake up at 5:00 am or 6:00 am without a problem here, but today was different.
I went to class but my mind and my body were not in it. Actually my class is very hard for me, having taken 3 or more years off from any Spanish besides the occasional heavy drinking.
For some reason I think speaking in Spanish is better when I can hardly speak English.
After this, I mean going to class, the USAC Bibao program went to the Beach.
So did I.
And for several hours I more or less stayed in constant sunlight.
When I left the Beach, my mind was clouded, and my body was being very moody.
Probably just heat exhaustion, I told my confused self, in words somewhere between two languages.
At home I found myself confused, tired, and very sick.
After a long sick passing of time in my personal bathroom here (I am so spoiled), I drank two or three glasses of water,
told Carmén I wasn't feeling too well, and went to lay down.
I was sure I'd be out like a business student on a Thursday night, but for some reason I couldn't sleep.
For three or four hours I laid down with my eyes closed.

At first my imagination ran wild, and I wrote down many notes on a nearby envelope. All of which I hope are coherent.
Then my imagination stopped making sense, and started repeating simple and rather boring things over and over.
I then decided if I couldn't sleep, and I was to be in such a strange and clouded state of mind, why not do some dream-studio work?
That was weird.
After that, staring at my ceiling, my entire childhood began to flash kinda before my mind. My eyes were strictly left out of this process.
I then thought 'Why the hell would one's life flash before one's eyes before they die? What good does it then?' I know its really more of a figure of speech any more, but what a silly concept.
A total life reflection with but milliseconds to digest?

Carmén, btw, is officially canonized into my Church of Radical Zen Buddhist's as a saint, she's up there with Kenny-Chan, Dani, and Peanut Butter. (I think when I was young I canonized the Power-Rangers, now how does one go about un-canonizing someone?)
She has made me tea, cleaned my room, made me tea again, she has reassured me several times that I will be okay, (one of my favorite things when I am sick or down is someone telling me that everything is going to be okay), made me more tea, re-organized my room, turned on the Tele, handed me the remote, did my laundry, and again reassured me, made me simple foods, and basically took very good care of me.
This woman is amazing.
The crazy thing is half of those things she does while I'm well too.
She really takes care of me, and wants to see me enjoy myself here. It's fantastic.

I was supposed to go to a football game tonight, that's soccer for you state's types. But honestly I only wanted to go to drink wine, in hopes that after I had stupified myself I would get along better with the other people in my program. It's not that I think I'm smarter than them, many of them know a great deal more than I do, it's simply the fact that what I know isn't appealing to them, not at least on a discussion level. I suppose there are a few people who, I think, use an air of unintelligence as a defense mechanism. There are also the people who cannot figure out military time (I wonder what sort of business work there is for someone who cannot subtract 12 from 13-24). Also, they seem to be enjoying their foolishness. The talk and laugh of getting plastered here, and some of their more ridiculous exploits. Sure, if houses could be made of glass I'd be living in one, considering my stateside behaviors, but here I can't imagine wanting to get so drunk you can't fully experience this change in culture. If I really wanted to party, I'd do it at $13 for 2 gallons of home-made wine (a fantastic experiment from the summer) and not at these high rates.
Maybe, just maybe I'm pompous, or maybe I'm old now, but none of this really appeals to me.
Why want to go to the game then, and drink with them?
It would be nice to have a niche in this group. My classes do not involve locals, so I don't much get to talk to or hang out with the Spaniards as much as I thought I would, and it is possible, I suppose, that I could try striking up a conversation at a bar, or cafe, but I still need to learn how to speak without allowing my fear to get in the way before that.

A younger business major named Paul actually seems to be interested in talking to me from time to time, he seems very nice, but also very closed off from his opinions and emotions. We got to talking about theatre, because he was curious about one thing, and I love the sound of my voice (and my fingers against keyboards it seems), and on a few occasions he seemed to have a contrary thought to something I had said, but would then drop it, and make an excuse. Maybe the excuses are real, and maybe I'm assuming he's cut off from himself, because he's not an artist. But it seems that way to me, that he's cut off that is.
He does want to own a hotel one day, and live in a castle though.
All in all It's a little depressing not being able to really talk about the art with someone. But next semester I should have an internship in a theatre (very exciting) after this class of Survey of Western Art in Spain (though it's mostly about painters) I should be able to speak a little bit of the lingo.

September 11th, 2010
Happy Birthday Levi and Dani.

So I am sick. With a fever.
And I feel like the Running of Bulls is going on in inside my stomach.

Carmén is still a saint, but I think I'm not gunna write much more.

I worry that my homework is suffer, and am upset that I have gotten so sick, and I've only had one glass of wine (really good wine though) since I've gotten here. I'm certain it wasn't the wine that made me sick, this was many days ago.

Septemeber 13th, 2010

Three things:
1) When did that happen?

2) The notes were coherent(ish) but redundant to things I've already written, for the most part.

3) I'm better now after a lot of bed-rest, some strange medicine that tastes like salt and Tang orange drink, and a lot of help from Carmén. I am kind of screwed for homework, and kind of not.
That is all.

Kishpike Out