Stand By.

October 26th, 2o1o


You.
'Kishpike! Where in the Darmha Protector's name is your San Sebastián update? It has been like three whole days since you got back, and I'm dying for an update. I would totally tell you if I've accepted your proposition if you had posted two days after, but now? Now it is too late. I will keep making you wait, and you aren't helping your case by delaying posts! I can't marry a Kishpike who delays posts, what sort of character does that show?' You are probably thinking.
Tranquilo.
My San Jean de Luz and San Sebastián update will be delayed just a few days more, until I have my camera returned to me.
You see I fell asleep on the return bus and almost missed my stop. I woke up as the last person was getting off.
So I scrambled off the bus.
And forgot my camera.
Fortunately It's chartered through the USAC program frequently enough that I should have the damnable device back tomorrow, and you'll have your update complete with those a-cursed photos.
Besides, I gave you that Sidería update, didn't I?
Don't I deserve just a hint as to the answer to my proposition?
Maybe?
No?
Fine.
I'm going to proceed with a normal day-to-day update then.
See what you make me do!?!

Swing.
So I've been SUPERdown lately.
Loneliness, life confusion, general day-to-day confusion, difficulty in my classes, and basically feeling like I'm not smart because I didn't like a book. ( I realized today that I don't like a lot of things in English that are supposed to be 'good'. Having a strong opinion about what is sad and what isn't doesn't make me stupid. It makes me Me. Short stories by Pío Baroja if you must Know.)
In fact the depression has been pretty low for a bit.
And then it struck.
An Emotional High.
It began with what I called a 'vacation,' I dug out my earphones and MP3 player and plugged into the music. 'Fuck it,' thought I, 'I'm going on vacation from all this nonsense.'
First song up was perfect. Blue October.
It captured exactly how I was feeling, and then let it go. Washed out all the sadness with a little bit of anger and good music.
Great. But now I'm angry a little.
Next Song?
'We are all connected' the Symphony of Science.
[If you haven't heard these, click the link and listen to a few. They're great. Autotuned combinations of popular scientists explaining the Universe, and such. Carl Sagan, Bill Nye, even Hawking throws down some dope jams. I can say that right? Dope jams? Well I just did. Twice.]
This song set me into a very zen, calm and happy mood. I was set.
I was on my way to Basque Traditional Dance.
A class I happen to love.
And like the forgetful little Kishpike I am, I return to class, a smile on my face and begin to stretch out...

Downswing.
I did write out a paragraph about how I feel about this class, and some emotional responses to situations that won't change any time soon. I've decided to shorten it.
Today I didin't care that sad kid sad, because sad kid won't talk being sad with me, and always pretends he's not. I'm not his counselor and I just don't have it in me to give a toss.
Fake kid was fake. This pissed me off. I tried not to let it piss me off, but Fake kid was also holding back the class. Why take an art class and hold it back if you don't like it? Because you are Fake kid, apparently. (Am I the only one who notices how fake he is? Well I guess it helps that everyone else who surrounds him aren't struggling to rip off their social masks like I am.)
That's it isn't it? I'm surrounded by people who are content with the social mask.
Me?
I'm trying balance tact and honesty.
Not mutually exclusive, I know, but one makes the other difficult to uphold.
I find myself fading into the background.
Returning to my old habits of Lone-wolfishnes.
Not necessarily a bad thing, just so long as I don't let it get in the way of expression.
By the lotus I need some sort outlet beyond this blog.

However.
I am going to Venice this weekend.
There was a cheap perused whim.
Internet and European Flights? I love them.
Not more than you, clearly, as my future fiance.
But enough that you should be a little jealous, and bring it up when we're fighting and you're feeling like being petty.
Tickets to Venice aren't the only thing I bought today.
I also bought the following

  • 1 Wine Glass1 Abriador (Corkscrew!)
  • 1 Plug for my bathroom sink, yay shaving!
  • 1 small thing of small nails. (Maybe I can fix my boots?)
  • 2 Pens
  • 3 Pairs of socks (Because they came in a pack and one was purpel Argyle. Hell yes.)
  • 1 Box of Matches

    and, drumroll please....

  • 2 Cubans.
Not people mind you.
The Cigar kind.
I'm planning on having one on New Year's and saving the other for a Rainy Day. (Which is great because that is all of winter here.)

Most of that stuff was bought at what is the equivalent of the Dollar store, Chinese stores. They sell amazing amounts of things, for cheap. The quality is much higher than a dollar store and about the same price. [.90e for most of the things on that list.] The only thing they say not to buy are Umbrellas. Buy good Umbrellas in Spain.
For now I think Umbrellas are for Chumps.
Perhaps later in the Rainy season I will allow myself to be counted among such Chumps, but for now, I more or less laugh when other people call the light drizzles sloughing their way out of the clouds 'Rain.'

Well I do have a paper to right, and then write.
(B.T.W. I picked up my camera before hopping online to post this, so now I have that. Yay!)


Kishpike Out.

Only I won’t say Fudge.

October, 21st 2010


Becket tonight.
Samuel Becket, a post-war absurdist Irish writer, who I have a tendency to love. The whole absurdist movement speaks to me in a way I struggle to capture.
A simplified description is that after the war there was a whole lot of questioning going on, and from all this questioning arose absurdist artists.
So tonight I figured I would go to see the play.
Buying the ticket was a funny experience.
I still don't remember which word for ticket I'm supposed to use for theatre stuff, so I struggled asking for it, after which the man working the ticket booth warned me in spanish 'The plays are all in Castellano' (Which is Spanish for Spanish in Spain)
I was sort of shocked by the metalinguistics of telling me that the play was entirely in spanish, by using a very spanish specific word for spanish.
I responded by saying 'Bueno.' ('Bueno' isn't as aggressive as the word 'Good.' It means okay, yeah, great, right all that sorta stuff.)
He responded with 'Bueno? Bueno.'


Review: (Warning Opinions ahead)
I haven't read Endgame in English (Or any other language for that matter, it was originally written in French, by an Irishman, that is cool just to think about, especially while seeing it in Spanish as an American), but not wanting to go to a play in a foreign (to my mind, not to where it was performed) language without knowing the basics of the story. Particularly a story like one of Becket’s. (Tell me that he doesn't have story, and I'll tell you that you are wrong and why.)
Here are the things I understand from my basic internet research.
1) Clov cannot sit down, Hamm cannot stand up.
2) The world outside is dark, grim, and no-one really knows if the things outside are real anymore.
3) Hamm's Parents live in rubbish bins, and cannot use their legs.
4) Becket hates (ed) when people screw with his stage directions.
5) Endgame in English refers to Chess, but in French it isn't so limited.
6) Facebook is fun.
With five of six relevant facts, or at least ideas, in mind I am about to critique the production.


The waiting area.
The theater (er = Building. re= art, concept) was FAH-HANCY.
Like more FAH-HANCY than fancy pantsy in francey.
I felt like a yankee-doodle walking around looking at all the things, statues, carvings, red velvet, new upholstery, professional ushers who weren't texting, huge posters, the works. Bathrooms like greek baths, and couatl decorations in the chandeliers. Wow.


Scene Design: The First thing the audience sees.
The Scene Design was, for 9/10 parts, was fantastic.
Basic underground room, with heavy stone walls, dissected so the audience could see in, with a big red spray painted square that surrounds the dissection. It was very evocative and very well designed, but there were two things that failed I felt.

1) Liquid Scenery: The windows had liquid scenery behind them, which at first was the perfect use of this technique, non evasive and vibrant. Vibrantly gray. They pulled off vibrantly gray! How amazing!
And then? Then the colors changed throughout the play.
No! Bad-designer! I know liquid scenery has 'so much potential,' but for fuck's sake it's a play not a ride at Disneyland.
Becket's 'world outside' does not strike me as a livid azure dream, or a cottoncandy-sunset.
(Both of these were colors used. Vibrantly as well.)
No.
I somehow doubt Becket wrote in the stage directions 'Outside should become a bright cheery place.'
Even if he did, this was the wrong way to execute it.
We should be filled with doubt, when Clov says that (s)he sees things outside, we should question H(er)im.
Also, on risk of sounding like Uta Hagen, the spectacle of this over powered the other aspects of the play.

2) Magic steam vent: Spectacle is great and all.
No really, I like me some earned spectacle.
Magic Steam vent 3/4 of the way through the show?
Again, could be called for in the blocking. If it is, it wasn't earned or made relevant to the story.
The effect was distraction from what was going on stage in general.
You want magic steam vents? Make them part of the story, make them add, not subtract.


Costumes: Meh.
The Costumes worked (for the most part).
That's about all I could say for them.
If I were talking about lighting design I'd say it were a compliment, because the lighting design is a ninja. (See Below)
However costume design, in my mind, is a pirate.
The audience is going to notice the costumes. They just will. They are the clothing of the people talking. We always put on clothing everyday, then figure out what looks good to us and not.
So the audience is going to notice.
With such a spectacular scene design, the costumes cannot simply work.
In a black-box, ‘is it a room or is it not’ sort of world, yes simple costumes are perfect.
In a scene-design that I will never have the money to even conceive? No.

There was one thing, and it was lost on me.
Our Clov was a girl. Maybe that's normal. Maybe it's not.
I'm inclined to think it's not.
She was dressed gender neutral and was just another guy in a room that is crippled by something.
Fine, gender neutral is fine.
Now I wouldn't be surprised if Clov's clothing are supposed to change, but going from baggy pants, beat-to-shit tennies, worn-down P-coat and beanie to a Green hot-date dress was not what the play calls for. I hope.
I really, really, really hope the ending blocking of this play is not 'Clov returns dressed to kill, in 3 inch heels and a smoking green dress.'
- Yes I was complaining about the lack of spectacle in the performance, but for fuck sake, not without reason!
This felt like it could of been 2 things.

Thing 1) Look she's a battered woman! Hamm is the husband and Clov is the wife! Or Girlfriend! She can't leave! This is clearly the meaning of the play so let’s highlight it with a big vibrant green marker! The Audience might not get it! We can't possibly increase are ability to communicate to them, so let’s just shout louder and slower, with this! Hey! She’s a Woman! This is what the play is about right here! Look! LOOKIT! LOOOKATIT!

2) 'I dunno frank, why don't we have her reenter in a dress.' 'Well I don't see why not, it’s not like this play fucking means anything in the first place.'

Both of these are wrong. Oh yes, wrong.
Of course I can see how Clov is the unfortunate lover who cannot leave an abusive partner.
But if you reduce Clov’s role to just that, you lose a healthy portion of what this play is about.
It’s about people, not specific situations.

Hair? The Hair was fan-fuckingtastic. Nothing special, but Nam had the best old-irish man hair I have ever seen! (This fit in well with the ‘Autobiographical’ approach the director wrote in the pamphlet about her vision of the play. And really the only other place that I saw her ‘vision.’)


Philosophy of Pirates as Costumes and Ninjas as Light Design.
Ninjas are stealthy, effective, and to the point.
If a lighting design does its job well 9/10 (or more) the audience never even realizes there was a lighting design. (They are however strongly moved by the subtle subconscious cues dropped like crazy by Light Designers, and by no means do I wish to undermine their job, theirs I believe to be the most subtle part of theatre.) There are, of course, exceptions. Audiences will notice red lights, and sometimes that’s effective. But even so, the audience will hardly ever leave the theatre speaking of the lights.

Costumes are not going to be able to hide, but they can choose to do two things. Slap the audience so hard across the face, they can’t help but accept the costumes. (Good for comedies) or simply blend into the world by looking like everything else. (Good for shows with low budgets and for those with little scenery.) A good costume design fits into the world, and speaks about the characters.


Light Design: Almost Perfect.
One complaint, one comment, and they are both short.
Complaint) The light was a bit strong, made it kind of hard to pick up fine details.
Comment) I noticed an effect, that was meant to be subtle. (A super nit-pick) The redspray paint square got brighter and darker with the action of the play. This was cool to notice, because it's supposed to be a subtle subconscious cue, but I picked up on it. (Then again, I'm a critical analyzer.)
Otherwise, the lighting design did two things, Light the actor's faces, and created a world without letting us know what it did.

Execution: Acting, Blocking, and general non-sense.
Let's go over this quickly, so I can get to the fierce opinions.
The play started perfectly, Clov's inaction at the beginning of the play was filled with intention and inner dialogue. We could see her arguing with herself with every action, and the general feeling of doubt within her.
The pauses at the top were full, and not terribly air filled.
About 30 minutes into the play, this ended.
We began to have pauses like the kind Stephanie Meyer uses.
Blank and stupid. (Really 16 blank pages? Really?)
Ugh.
The actors stopped filling the pauses with anything but 'oh I can't say my line yet, it's a Becket.'
If every line is precious none of them will be.
The play lasted 2 hours. I think it's supposed to be a 90 minute play.
Adding 30 minutes to a Becket is akin to adding 30 minutes to LOTR or a Chekhov.
You don't do it. They are slow enough as it.
(For those of you that watched the extended versions of LOTR and loved it, I somehow doubt it had to do with the quality added by the extra time, and more to do with the loving LOTR. Which I have strong opinions on as well, but those are best saved for another time, one where I particularly want to lose most of my friends.)

Clov sat down. Middle of the play.
Without any focus on it.
She just didn't have any lines, and someone else was talking.
Talk about premature tension relief!
It'd be like the pie-man kissing her in the first episode of Pushing Daises. (Watch that show damnit, it's good for you.)
If one is going to shit on Becket's head like that, maybe there ought to be a half decent reason.
(I'm assuming it wasn't written that Clov should sit down, especially in such a non-focused manner)

Acting: Meh.
Yes the words were all in Spanish, which is hard to grasp at times, but I had a sharpened awareness of intention and pursuit of goals.
Hamm and Clov started full of internal movement, and then slumped off. Maybe they were trying to be boring.
That's great.
They succeeded, and I don't think in a way they wanted.
But Nam. Oh Nam. This guy had it going on.
Moved to tears by this guy, I knew Nam, I was Nam. He brought me in. He sat me down in his world and told me, 'I live in Rubbish, I hate my Son, I miss the touch of my wife, and she's not five measly fucking feet away from me. I'm desperate, I need. I need!'
Such passions derived from direct attempts to succeed.
This man? This man knew the acting game. I could have watched him do the whole play for hours upon hours.


The Rant.
Okay now for my favorite part, let me get out my soap box...

I've been to a few shows since I've graduated from the U of I, and I've been to a few shows during my studies, and I've found that a lot of shows fail to speak to the audience. The story-teller has stopped trying to reach its listeners.
A lot just seem to focus on other things, spectacle, intricate complex details, obscure 'concepts' (Buddha give us our daily opinions and deliver us from Gangs of New York Othello), and being right.
(Please note, this complaint is not about all of the shows I've seen at the U of I, but rather a few of those and almost every show since.)

Ever See the painting on the Sistine Chapel? (Not the real one obviously, if you have, well...fine then!) God is reaching towards Adam, fully outstretched.
Adam? His hand is waving in God's general direction, an afterthought really.
Theatre? Theatre needs to be God and not Adam, because the audience will only reach out for so long, and that length is getting shorter every day.

What I mean to say?
I mean to say the theatre has stopped trying to reach its audience. To tell them the fucking story.
What? Are we afraid it's not good enough?
Are we afraid that 'if the common man understands the ancient texts he might see the flaws?'
Since when did we translate all the plays into Latin?
Yes, being clever is good.
Yes, being complex is great.
Yes, having nuance is ideal.
Yes, meaning is absurd. (Especially in an Absurdist piece)
BUT, that doesn't mean that meaning is non-existent!
If the audience doesn't laugh at the jokes in an Absurdist play it's not because they aren't refined enough to not get it.
When the audience doesn't 'get' your Shakespeare, it's not the general lack of education in the populace.
When people walk away from a play saying 'I'm glad that's over, I think I've finally scored enough culture points to cover me for that time I farted in the bathtub.' it's not because people don't care about the theatre.
It's because the theatre has stopped caring about the goddamn audience.
Question: How does one tell a story?
Answer: With fucking words.
The Listener's fucking words.
That's why animals speak in English in American movies, that's why aliens all conveniently speak Spanish in Spain.

Funny story, the theatre is a struggling art.
It needs more ticket sales.
Any theatre you go to, except maybe a few, will be desperately trying to sell tickets and complaining about the lack of audience members.
What weird complaint when the theatre is a big-ol'-inside joke bukkake.
I'm so pissed about this.

Language Barriar?
Language Barriar!?
You might be thinking 'Oh little Kishpike, you're just frustrated because you didn't understand things in another language.'
Nope.
After seeing Nam's desperate performance, and feeling so moved by it, I may cry just thinking about, even though I couldn't understand a fucking word the poor old man said. (Well actually I understood half of them, but try reading a paragraph of every other word, not so easy, eh?)
I was frustrated about the costume change towards the end of the play which didn't speak to me at all (to be honest I haven't read it, and maybe Clove is supposed to go from hobo to hot date, or something similar.)
What I'm frustrated about is the unearned pauses.
'Oh Kishpike you want to rush Becket.'
Again, nope.
I want Becket's unbearable silence to penetrate the audiences desire to be handed the play.
I want the silence between short phrases to be violent, pregnant, and full of action.
I want silence so loud the audience's ears bleed, and they all lean forward in hopes they can hear it better.
This silence was just too quiet for me.
Silence for the sake of script or traditional is bullshit.
I noticed, while walking out of that theatre, that me and maybe five other people had any idea what was going on. Of those four I think two were actors. (Not so great considering there are four characters.)
Not a good sign when the house is at least 3/4 full. (How many people must be going to rack up culture points!)


The Audience: Uninterested. [The Image is from Slings & Arrows]
And The coughing, oh the coughing, followed by the shrill hiss of whispers, the checking of watches, the shifting in seats. This wasn't creative boredom, this wasn't 'Ascribing meaning to things and the way people behave is absurd boredom', this was genuine, 'when will the play end boredom'.
And that my friends, is a failure.

I'm starting to think that Chekhov isn't too far off from Becket. Sure Chekhov plays are a bit more... grounded in what we understand to be 'real,' but fuck, it's goddamn hilarious that Ham wants to be center, exactly, and can't be an inch or so off, and it's equally hilarious when any Checkhov character sets out to do anything.
Yes it's sad.
You ever watch cartoons?
If the Coyote wasn't upset about his failure we wouldn't laugh.
But it's funny! The Coyote fails at every attempt.

I guess I'm really disappointed because the Director seemed to have such a good grasp on the play, and a beautiful idea of what she thought it was about, and what elements were inside the play. The problem is she chose to communicate this in a pamphlet and not on stage. What a waste.

Well I have wine to drink and opinions to yell at other people.


Kishpike Out.

Mind has been murdered, Opinions will be late.

October 22ndish 2010

Apples, mostly.

An apple I climbed a tree for.

So Last night I went to a cideria.
I have no words for how awesome this event was.


Look, it's trying to run away!


Be jealous.



This is where they keep the good stuff.


Time to sample The Secret Stash.


Some people like cider more than others.

That is why you don't have strong opinions about theatre right now.
They will be coming shortly.
This Kishpike needs water and some strong (Irish) coffee
That is all.


Kishpike Out.

Autobus not Autobot.

October, 19 2010


The wrongest Autobus of them all.
A reoccurring theme? Perhaps.
I've written about getting on the wrong bus before, and how often it works out all right.
Not this morning.
Nope.
This morning I left for school with two hours till class (as I usually do) and found myself lost, lost, lost.
Because I read on the bus, I didn't notice until the bus was on the highway...
Yeah, it was one of those mornings.
After getting off the bus, cursing more than anyone really needs to, and wandering around on foot for more time than I'd like to admit I finally found a metro stop.
I love the metro.
I was very far away from school.
'But littlest Kishpike of them all, if you love the metro and could take it to get unlost, why I didn't you take it in the first place?' You are probably thinking right now.
And first of all, I am also the Biggest Kishpike of them all, being the only one that exists.
I just think you should know that.
Also, I don't take the metro because from the stop, it takes 40 minutes of hustling to get to the school. (I know this because I was checking my phone frequently.)
I made it to class only fifteen minutes late.
Did I mention I hadn't slept the night before?
I was twitching rather frequently in class, and then I noticed something... peculiar.
My twitch was manifesting in my eyes.
I was blinking.
I don't know if you know Rob Caisley, but I do know Rob Caisley, and I also know he has Tourret's (like me). And it's usually in the form of the same blink.
Weird.
Needless to say after class I was done.
Sleep. And then I slept some more.


October, 20 2010

Of shoulds and shouldn'ts.
I shouldn't have spent so much money today.
However, I did get a haircut, and two more piercings.


Dashing young man, with an AWESOME hair cut.
Of course my name has the same root base as AWESOME.


Tricky to see, but there are two beads above the lower ring.

The hair looks great, and was only a little difficult to get. There was some confusion about cleaning of hair. I didn't realize it was free.
That was awesome.
(Which is how I look with my new haircut.)

The piercings were done by the same lady who did my other one, and she speaks a little english. (I speak so much spanglish over here.)
My favorite thing she said to me was 'I remember you, you don't blood.'
'Nope', I thought to myself, 'I don't blood, not even twice.'

Today was a day to wear purple in memory and in pride.
So I was dressed in mostly black, with my purple tie, and any other purple accessories that I could find. I also drew a heart on either hand with purple ink.
(I was acutally rather proud of my right hand one, which was drawn by my left hand, because I'm not that nimble. Yet.)
I noticed as I was checking out my new piercings that I looked like a Saint.


I don't have any purple shirts with me, but I have this tie!


Whattayalookinat?

Tonight.
I also purchased some bomb gifts from a international bazar/open air market.
I also picked up a new bag for my laptop.
I'll admit, at the time I didn't know what the symbol was, and I don't recall the stand but it seemed out of place.
The bag has these two eyes embroidered on it.

I thought they might have been Indra's Eyes, and I was fairly certain they were a Hindu symbol.
I hoped for Indra, because of her infamous net, and its influence on Buddhism.
Not wanting to be mugging around a bag with a symbol I don't understand (The entirety of the eyes are blue, like my laptop, and I really like eyes) I did a google search for 'Indra's Eyes.'
Nothing.
Again, I tried Shiva's Eyes.
Nothing.
Hindu Eyes?
Nope.
Deviant art.
Deviant art is great.
I typed in Hindu eyes, and found the symbol.
Turns out they're called the Eyes of Wisdom.
Googled that, and found my symbol.
Buddha's eyes.
So prevalent in Nepal, they've become a national symbol.
Awesome that my bag is super appropriate.
Not awesome? Being kind of ignorant to my own philosophical background.
They represent more of a Buddha as a demigod sorta thing, which (until now, literally I guess) never really was my bag.
Literally speaking? Buddha's dead.
Metaphorically speaking (and any good Buddhist will gladly admit the whole philosophy, stories, and teaching are STEEPED in metaphor and parable (( And any buddhist worth her or his salt would say there is no such thing as good or bad, and thus there are no good buddhists ((( and most zen buddhists hate being labeled in general. ))) )) )
Budha is simply the state of a mind that is present and aware. Thus the eyes.
You see, Buddha meditated with eyes open. Metaphorical. All of it.
Hell, one of the most important buddhist teaching is that the past is a bunch of lies and stories told to explain how the present came to be.
Enough of this, this blog isn't 'Buddhism with a short opinionated kid', on with the Spanish experiences!

Play.
Actually, three plays.
A theatre here is putting on the following three plays.


El Arvo (A Moliere)


'Endgame' Play by Becket (A Becket)


'Dolls House' (An Ibsen)


Today in Art class we watched this.
I liked it, and thought I'd share it with you.
Enjoy

Parthenon

I sat down to write my paper tonight, and within half an hour I had busted out 134 words, and was only on my first paragraph. The Subject? Optional, but non-opinionated. Why is this going so fast? 8:00am Junior year, Theatre History.
With only 5 points of focus I think I'm going to have more than 400 words.
My five points of focus are:
1) Greek
2) Moralplays+Mysteries
3) The Golden Age(s)
4) Absurdism and postwar
5) Realism and magical realism
Alright, Rob, that's 13.
... 483 words, and I paired it down considerably.
You know papers aren't so hard to write if you actually give a damn about the subject.

Well I have another blog to write with fiery fierce opinions about Theatre in general, and Cider to drink. I'm going to enjoy this!

Grrr my mousepad acts stupid when my computer gets too hot...


Kishpike Out

That post was a monster.

October 17th, 2010


Stuff.
The other day I was at a park, sitting under a thing. (I have no idea how to call it, it was like a giant circle-awning, that didn't come out of any building, with a hole in the center. Park-benches conviniently placed under the rain-shield donut.
I was doing internet stuffs. (Binzuru Harada forgive me but I've become rather addicted to the magic tubes of web-connection)
I was approached by a single youth from a group of multiple youths. He sat beside me, and greeted me in an oddly friendly manner, and asked if I had a cigarette, which I didn't.
The other youths watched him, intently...
Now I don't know what was going on, but I started to feel my stomach turn, and I instinctively placed a firm hand on my lap-top.
I told him I didn't have one, and he stood up and told his friends that I was crazy. (Funny thing about being really bad at speaking a language, people think you can't understand it.) Another one of the gentlemen approached me, and started talking about the bench I was at. (They had all been at another perfectly good bench, not five meters away.)
At this point, I stood up, closed my lap-top, pointed an open hand at the bench and left.
Maybe there was something mundane and innocent going one, and maybe they were having a bit of fun with a foreigner. (I had decided to wear my baseball cap out that day, not something I'm going to do again.)
Maybe they needed the bench to meet someone else.
Paranoid? I don't rightly know.
What I do rightly know is that I trusted my gut, and lost nothing by leaving politely.

Honduras.
Carmén had two guests over today, and before I even met them, I knew one was Mexican, and the other was not Spanish. I heard them in the den, and I could make out a distinct Mexican accent and a very not Spanish accent. It turns out the two gentlemen are from Honduras. The younger was born and raised in Mexico, and the other, his father in law, was Honduran. The younger gentleman is a doctor in a hospital in Mexico where one of Carmén's sons works as an Anesthesiologist. I had a very long lunch with these two gentlemen, Carmén, Toni (Carmén's youngest, in his late twenties), Mary (Carmén's daughter) and John (her husband). It was fantastic, a huge conversation, and, as always,
fantastic food. They spoke of many things, and occasionally I said something, mostly in response.
John is a big man, big by Spanish standards at least. He's six foot something, and broad shouldered, and friendly as all get out. He is also very Basque. He recounted some of the adventures he went on in Mexico.
Because he is larger, and looks very Basque, he was mistaken for an American frequently and had trouble with smaller chairs, spaces, and accommodations. People would frequently speak English to him before he explained he was Spanish, all of this was very amusing to me.
The young doctor (who's name I never picked up) explained that he enjoyed doctor television shows, and explained how ER was the closest to his real life experiences, and how he knew a few doctors like House.
The doctor's father in law was a very friendly man, the sort who patted me on the should every time he spoke to me, but I never felt talked down to or irritated by it, very genuine.
He had a fantastic laugh, and an even more fantastic pair of eyebrows. (I'm glad he uses them gor good and not evil)
The young doctor was surprised how much Spanish I understood, and as was I. (However I have noticed that there is a huge disconnect between what I understand, and what I can say. This is normal I think, being that toddles understand a lot, but can't say much. Yay being a Language-Toddler.)
After dinner we had some Sardas, which is a very sweet liquor (Licour? Lic-cooer... that word that means fancy Likker.)
Carmén explained how it wasn't very strong, it's sweet. (This stuff is 140 proof.)
True'nuff doesn't taste strong. But I definitely found myself checking out of the conversations afterwards more often that I was before.

Forgot.
I forgot to go to the open air market today.
I instead decided to sleep.
Bollocks. Next Sunday I swear.
Speaking of things I need to remember to do, I still need to book a plane/bus to Madrid, and one to Budapest. I'm thinking about traveling for Christmas, and don't rightly know where to spend the holiday. Cork or Killarney are obvious choices, do you have any ideas? I mean as my potential future spouse you {might} have to listen to the stories of the time I spent Christmas in X place, a few billion times, might be in your best interest to have some input on how that story will go, mah? [I've taken to saying mah instead of 'yes?' or 'no?'at the end of sentences. It's a very slurred version of Vale, or 'Right?' very Spanish, or possibly basque, it seems.]


Lastnight.
Saturday night, everyone goes out.
I went out.
I went on a genuine walk.
No computer, no destination, no real desires.
I wandered the opposite direction I normally go, following the river, until there wasn't any safe place to walk (The road is super close to that thing! What if someone goes just 5 mph too fast?)
I was, of course, sad.
I struggled figuring out what exactly has been making me sad, and what has been disabling me from expressing or fully grasping it.
I figured it out I think.
I'm homesick, but I don't really have a home.
I mean, don't get me wrong, my parents are Saints, and Pop is always letting me know that I can come to their house and live there for however long I need (Which is greatly appreciated). But that's not home for me.
Was living in Olympia Home?
Was university Home?
All these other USACers, they have homes to return to at the end of this.
Me?
I have a home to make.
And while that last sentence sounds fantastic and adventurous, it is also depressing.
Having grasped why I'm sad has made dealing with it easier, which is nice.
Also on my walk I had ice-cream, and wrote random crap on the beach with a stick.
Those parts were fun.

Homework.
So tonight I have desmasiado homework.
Look if you don't like Spanish words thrown in every now and again, I don't know why you are reading (and reading rather intensively, I might add, this things are huge) a blog about a young opinionated wereweasel's travels in Spain.
Yes. Wereweasel.
Shutup, we're real. And I am one.
Desmasiado homework.
Of what variety? Reading, and responding.
Defining words in Spanish.
Did you know that Precipicio is Spanish for 'Precipice?' or that 'Gazpacho' is Spanish for 'Gazpacho.'
If you knew what either of those words are in English without using Google or a dictionary, ten points to you for outsmarting this kid.
(Steep Rock face/Cliff, and Fancy Spanish Tomato Soup, respectively)
And they say I don't need the internet for homework.
I suppose if I had been savvy enough to bring an English dictionary and an encyclopedia with me I would be fine. Sadly I did neither.
Bollocks.
Something I've noticed about myself? When doing homework I hate people who use big words. Why are they complicating my homework and process of understanding with unnecessarily confusing and complicated words?
But when I'm not doing homework?
I'm reading Shakespeare.
In spanish.
And I'm musing over the choice of translation...

Disclaimer.
For those of you who are only here for the Spanish experience (do you exist?) that's all you need to read. The rest is opinions and thoughts.

Wiff on me.
I once was in a directing scene, where I was to play a cocaine addict, and a writer. I think I will always remember this one moment of working on the process when the director tried to explain what being on coke was like.
He said it was like one's mind races so quickly that one attempts to express ideas before they are fully formed, for fear of losing them to the next.
This? This is how I feel all the time.
Except instead of saying them, I want to write them down.
I don't fancy myself a writer, of any sort, but I do write things. Blogs. Story-lines for roleplaying games (I've got three on the back burner right now, one I already ran, but am rewriting, and the world based on two passed. Avalokiteśvara, but I do miss the Kings/Emperors campaign.)
I always feel naked without my moleskin and pencil anymore.
Why am I telling you this?
I don't know.
A better question is, 'Why are you reading all this'.
Probably to get to know me better before you accept to my proposal. And that's just fine by me.
Anywhat, because I haven't got any real new to report to ya'll, here comes these scratchets from my moleskin and various other writing devices.
* 'Sometimes I forget that I am lucky enough to live in a world with a moon'.
* Various examples of perfect comedic acting executed by my Spanish teacher.
* 'Theatre [and art in general] *needs* to be accessible.'
* 'Prepositions in Spanish, as well as English, never come at the end.'
* 'Of course I'm a director. I love sandwiches.'
* 'A lack of personality' I still don't know what this note means.
* 'Curse you European Coke-cans and your weighted bottoms, you always trick me!'


Well that's enough wasting both your and my time.
I figure these things get so long because I don't have 24 access to facebook, twitter, or people who speak English, and all my thoughts kinda pile up over time. Back to homework.


Kishpike Out.

Two Posts, One Night.

October 15th, 2010.

School.
Kicked it up about seven notches.
My first assignment? A non-argumentative paper about importance. (Specifically the importance of Spanish.)
To begin with, this concept of a non-argumentative paper about the 'importance' of something.
The concept still hurts my mind.
I asked the teacher in rather broken Spanish, like I do, how one writes a non-argumentative paper, over something like this.
The difference?
Facts apparently.
Non-argumentative papers, have facts.
Argumentative papers have opinions. (And generally boil down to 'Morals, which are Bollocks, but that's another rant.)
I don't know about you English majors out there (What do you do with that major? Explain things like this to people like me?) but as someone who loves to argue, I can't tell the difference.
I have to lie to myself, and tell myself the difference between the two papers is an argumentative paper tackles a subject with a lot of controversy, and a non-argumentative one covers something most people would say 'Okay, I guess.' to.
The importance of an entire language, is pretty easy to argue for, sure, especially the fourth most common language in the world, but immediately my mind starts arguing against it. Which is more fun.
Anyhow I never finished the paper.

More pour choices.
My intercambio and I had set up a meeting, to go out for a couple of beers on Thursday night, and at the time (Tuesday or so) it sounded like a good idea. I forgot this was one of the weeks where we'd have school on a Friday.
Not only that, but I had a paper to be working on.
A frustrating and difficult paper, where I was trying far to hard to follow construction rules.
I got to the area where we were to meet early, so I could pregame the meeting with a pint. (I figured it would loosen me up, stop worrying about speaking grammatically correct, and focus more on expressing ideas.) Like I mean to imply with the short title, these aren't my greatest choices.
What was a great choice was a new addition to my surgical steel collection. (This was before the drinking, and before the bad choice making, though there are those who would disagree with me. I'm sure the next time I see my Grandpa Tim he'll tell me how stupid it is. He does so with every piercing I get.)



Subtle, no?


Hardly even noticeable with that silly scarf and hat. Also, this kid needs to shave!


A little bead of light.


If you haven't found it yet, here it is.

I like it, and it was cheaper than anything I've gotten state-side. I may go back for more...
It was a cold day, and my ears were not exactly covered by hair or hat, so they were getting chilly, and a dull pain was setting in.
Solution?
Shot of vodka.
After that and a few beers, and an interesting night of hanging out with two other USACers and all of our intercambios (These are like Study-abroad buddies, who we get assigned if we want to, so we can hang out with locals.)
I arrived at my flat, and sat down to write my paper, and it simply was not going to happen four to five drinks in, (One pint, One shot, and two glasses of beer) so I made the same stupid choice I always fall for. I went to sleep, and set my alarm for 4:00am.
This time, however I did wake up.
I tackled the paper, and actually finished it in word.
What I didn't finish was transcribing it to paper.
Bollocks.


Today.
After a very slow and tired day in class (Friday classes are always slow and tired here) we went to have a tour of the local futbol stadium.
'The Cathedral' where the Lions play.
The Athletic Club. (Team Atleti)
In case you are wondering, they are the Lions because San Mames was supposed to be fed to the Lions like your average christian joe back in the day.
Strange these romanticized things, like torture devices and barbaric crowd pleasers.
Speaking of romanticized things, (Don't tell me I wasn't!) the all Basque futbol team hasn't been doing so well as of late, even though they were an amazing team back in the day. Reason being, they are stubborn, and kind of interestingly so. The Athletic Club only hires Basque futbol players. Not only do they not scout outside of Spain, but they won't take anyone who isn't Basque.
That is actually really cool, and considering where they rank it is actually a really good team, but they cannot keep up with most of the other teams in Spain. Lately they've been losing often, but not badly.
Strange things, pride and the results.



Official old-school futbol hats!


Mister Pentland was one of the first coaches in Bilbao.
The first famous coach. His hat and cigar were his insignia.
Coaches in Spain are called Mister, because they were
originally all from England.


The official Lion.


This guy, whose name escapes me now, was one of the first Club Athletic players, he was really great, and now whenever a new player joins this particular team, they give flowers to this bust.


The official trashcan of Club Athletic.



This man is the true hero.


Club Athletic's response to not having a wide variety of players to choose from.



This is going to be an extension of the current field.


Goodbye Futbol stadium, it's been fun!

Afterwards me and 'That Boy,' for Siddhartha's sake lets give him a name, a fake name of course, can we call him 'Jack.' (I don't know any Jacks, I do know a Jackson, but he's in Olympia. Funny story, Austin Nichols and Jackson Daniels living in the same house. Pity Dani isn't named after alcohol. Ah digression, I shall miss you when I am married to my faithful readers.)
So me and Jack went to get some pastries, and to go shopping. (I am such a sucker for pastries.) We wanted something they call Churros and Chocolate. Supposedly Hot Chocolate and semi-sweet fried dough (not like the American/Mexican kind with cinnamon, but similar idea).

Oh no.
No.
Hot Chocolate is a poor translation.
Hot Chocolate is a milk based (Don't put water in that! What are you doing!?!? You are ruining Christmas! I swear I will un-propose to you so fast!) drink that you make by mixing powder and marshmallows to hot milk. (I said no water! I'm sorry I threatened to un-propose to you, but you really hurt me with all your talk of water and hot-chocolate. I promise I will try and express these things before I let myself fly off the handle again, but I need you to promise me you won't insult the idea of delicious cocoa with the idea of water.)
This? This was more along the lines of Hot Fudge.
In a cup.


Looks like a beverage to me.


So smooth!


Uhm.... what?


OH MY GOLDEN BUDDHA ITS HOT FUDGE!!!


Yeah, I like 'em cream-filled.


Apparently, they actually are pretty tart.

They had no churros, but we made do with sweet croissants, and I had a few more pastries... cheap as dirt these. Well, cheaper than you'd think.
I spent 5€ all told. Not bad.
Oh.
And they serve Gelado based Helado.
I didn't get any because I gorged myself on pastries, but next time.
Helado+'Hot Chocolate?' = Win.

The rest of my day was spent in bed sleeping, and updating this blog. This kid's got more sleep to catch up on, so you all enjoy the strong opinions, pictures, and have a fantastic weekend.


Kishpike Out.

Late is better than... well it's better than a lot of things.

October 8th 2010.


Godsend.
Today I met with the Lovely Miss Heather Laura at Crear, Crecer, Creer. And we spent the entire day wandering about Bilbao and checking out the Gugg, I was not excited to revist the Gugg, what with me and my fabulously strong opinions. But this time it would be with all of its exhibits on display and no shitty disco-tec.
Remember those Metal Mazes I complained about?
I retract my resentment. Beautiful.
If you listen to the Artist speak about his creation, about his medium, and his vision, his experimental shot in the dark at creating art that directly centers the observer as the subject, well... Its all rather interesting.
And, actually, rather successful.
Further, these mazes are balancing on their own. They are not planted into the ground, and neither are they supported by any other means. They are giant sheets of steel bent in such a means as to balance.
He speaks of Structural Sculpture or something akin to that, and expresses strong, and well argued opinions about what he sees as sculpture and what is not. I was convinced.
If you want more information on it, go Here.

Odd thing.
At the Gugg there were a bunch of what I would (mistakenly I'm sure) call classical. Landscapes and portraits and what have you. No I don't really know what time period they came from or what the proper names or style they were. I don't care.
Google it if you're curious.
What I do know is that I can only look at landscapes for so long. I start to pick them apart, look for 'hidden messages' commentary and the like. Its all there, of course, but after the seventh or so I lose interest, and then I start looking for the ones that stand out.
I guess I'm just not a Gargantuan Art geek, only a Huge one it turns out.
Something that helped me explain why I don't like Kapor's stupid red-wax exhibits was an exhibit on the old timey light box, the one that artists used to to paint people and landscapes.
A natural sort of projection technology.
I'd love to link an image, but I can't recall the name of it all.
You know what wasn't part of the Portraits?
This device.
Sure the devices used to create art are fascinating, and perhaps including them in the presentation can be interesting, but any time you take a step away from what is established one must have a good reason. Stepping away from the established is great and all, don't get me wrong, I love the idea of breaking the norm, and it should be done often.
But with reasons, with experimentation.
Not with the wild abandon of a young child with a new chemistry set.

Gossip.
Talking with Heather all day was nice.
Very nice. Someone from home to talk about home issues, people, and art.
Noble buddha's pants, I missed the discussions about art.
We had a few glasses of wine, and split the most delish pastry. (She had the camera today, and took some pictures.)


This is a mountain of Love.


Everyone needs Love in their life.


Sometimes Love isn't pretty.

Thanks to Heather for pictures!
It was a great day, all in all.

October 9th, 2010


While I may be going to San Sebastien later in they year with the USAC program, I figured it might be a fun (and economic) trip for me and Heather.
It was!
Here are some pictures that me and Heather took.




Another day of talking, and walking. Goodness did we walk. Heather did the math, and it turns out we may have walked over 11 Kilometers. (She told me over ten kilometers, but I promised her I'd exaggerate whatever she said by one.) Our legs were sore at the end of the day, and we had earned our ride back home. Which is where I left my dream-work book. (October 15th, still trying to get it back. So frustrating. Might have to buy another one).


This was a big'ol church.



Something definitely powerful about this. And phallic.


The pope isn't too popular these days...


To the left.


Al derecha.


Jesus on the hill.


Heather. She's lost. Don't worry! I'm right here.


These things are so cool.


Its a lady! With a thing!


Me trying to be 'artistic,' lame? Maybe, but I like it.


Ah the Lions. A big deal to the Basque and San Mames.


This bird? This bird was posing for me.


The ocean.


This carousel was awesome!


A car? They have cars in Spain?!?!


Monet!


This Guy!


OILIPHANT?!?!


Dolphins can't fly!


This was a thing. It was cool.


Me and this guy, we go back. (He's so creepy!)


When in Spain... drink all the wine before someone else does!


Uhm...what?


Cool buildings. Churches are so interesting.


This mural was huge!


Ah the ocean.


Chefs! With barrels! On Parade!


He, the police officer, was cute. But I couldn't get a face-shot.


The name of this train? The Txu-Txu. (Which is pronounced Choo-Choo.)



After taking this picture the most adorable old basque man (Nary but one tooth in his mouth) told me that it was a lovely building, he seemed very happy with life, and to see a foreigner/youth interested in this plaque.


Shot from a roof-top garden.


Rooftop garden and Church.


Parade part two, Punk Drummers in the middle of the town.


A dread Gazebo waits in hiding.


Why do I fear Gazebos? Why do you not fear the foul beasts?


Adorable little girls playing with chairs.



Me and Heather in the Sebastien!


Another shot of me and Heather.



October 11th, 2010

Departing.
Heather headed out yesterday,but not before we wandered about Getxo and Bilbao. Again, more talk, and more fun. I've discovered a lot of things about my own town by wandering around with Heather, all in all it was great to see a friendly face, and have a real conversation.


Prettiest flowers ever. Officially my favorite. Purple and green? Awesome.

Today.
Today I am depressed.
Super depressed. (Turns out this will last a few days.)
After a weekend of being spoiled by good conversation and fun, I returned to the struggle.
Boy who has a crush on me, but is still too timid to bring it up, or really speak for himself at all asked me to check out part of Las Arenas with him...
I forgot how frustrating it is to not be on the same page as someone. I guess I'm getting lonely.
Weird.
The fact that my Dreams are covering the topic of loneliness isn't helping.
Technically I shouldn't get lonely, but technicalities be damned, I've got emotions and I'm gunna go ahead and feel them.


October 12, 2010

'The truth is only one.'
And if you believe that, you clearly have never studied history. Or studied foolishly.
I forget who told me this, but I really wanted to say something about it being a really closed off point of view, but I don't speak good enough Spanish to make my point.

I'm starting to speak Spanish before I really think about it. That's cool, its not good spanish, but it gets the idea across. I said 'Es bien por la salud' with a quick thump to my chest, as if I were sayin' 's'good fer ya.'

Better, a bit.
Also, I had a good conversation with Carmen over modern art, and our favorite 'works' of art.
Interesting thing. Carmén was trying to explain to me about where the fantastic cheese I was eating came from. I thought she might of been saying goats, so I asked if it was like the animal from the old story with the three little ones and the monster under the bridge. Yeah my Spanish was good enough to say all that. (Three Billy Goats Gruff, I figured was a Grimm's fairytale, and therefor would have most likely been told in Spain.) Turns out I was right twice today.

In your face multiverse!

Apologies about the size of the images, I can't get the ones I stole from Heather's blog to shrink down... ah well. I'm going to go gloat over the multiverse more.


Kishpike Out.