As my Vodka gently weeps.

November 28th, 2010

Last Day in Madrid.
I woke up on time today, and met Heather to hit up The Rastro, the HUGE flee market that happens every Sunday in Madrid.
This was Awesome.
I wish I had scheduled more time to shop at this place.
However!
However, I did finally realize a short paragraph I wrote over 6 years ago.
You see in Spanish Class, in High school, Sophomore year, I wrote that I would go to this flea market, and buy a thong.
My friends, family, enemies, potential fiances, and readers, I have that thong.
It cost me nothing more than 1 euro.
Dear Past Kishpike, you're welcome, now I have no idea what to do with this thing.
Restart the Jungle?
Well other Past Kishpike cerca College age, I think that may actually be a great idea. You are also welcome.
If you don't know what "The Jungle" was, or will be, then its probably better that you don't ask.
But if you must, I'll email you the answer.
I also went to Haggle on an AWESOME jacket.
I went to do so, and chickened out.
Chickened out hard.
Balls.
I did however buy it.

After the Market we did more window shopping on the way to the Prado. I love gossip and window shopping.
However, I do not love huge lines.
The line for the Prado wrapped around the bloody museum.
So we skipped it.
I've seen the Prado, I've seen Madrid, and while it's all stuff I've seen before, I really enjoyed my stay.
After this Heather did some purse shopping, we sadly didn't find anything quite perfect.
And I hopped the metro to get to my flight, which I thought was at 8:20.
Nope, 18:55.
Different times, those.
So I called Heather, and she helped me find the Bus station.
And I hopped the 8:00 bus to Bilbao with relative ease, and low cost.
My friends, if you are in Spain, and if you can, take the bus.
The bus is more comfy, allows for wine transporting, and much more comfortable than a planel.
It is slower, but much better.
At the rest stop I bought wine.
I am currently at the rest stop now, having written for the last 2.5 hours.
My Battery is low and my Vodka now calls to me.

I got home fine, and now am homework swamped.


Agur!

Sometimes, Irish I had slept.

November 27th, 2010

Still in Madrid.
Sleep.
I sleep in, but thankfully, Heather is super chill, and we meet 30 minutes after we had agreed on. (My hostel is less than a stone's throw from her apartment.)
Yesterday was long.
We go for breakfast first, because I had missed the complimentary Breakfast, or rather I ducked in at the last minute for a cup of coffee. (The Waitstaff told me, in English 'I'm gunna Kick your ass you come in so late.' I found it amusing.)
At breakfast I have Bailey's and Coffee, expecting Bilbao's small coffee cup (they give you a smaller cup for this usually) with about 1/2 coffee and 1/2 Bailey's.
Nope!
They gave me a full 16 or so cup, that I swear was a Mocha, only instead of milk, they used ALL Baily's,
It kicked.
I felt better after that.
Me and Heather then wandered around some more, this time buying some dulces. Spanish Macaroons. Less good than french ones, and lacking coconut. (Apparently they do this in France as well.)
In the world of a Kishpike, this a lesser sin.

Heather!
I don't think I've mentioned it, but it was fantastic to meet with Heather, and have another Idaho Theatre Student to speak with. While I've started to develop friends here in Spain, it was super awesome to get to talk to Heather. A luxury I will not have next semester, but I think I will be able to manage without it (Really it has been a huge stress reliever, both times we met) since I am starting to make some good Spanish friends.

Cristina,
I think that was her name.
I knew her as Machda for about three or four hours, so I struggle to remember her real name.
However, Cristina and I met at 12:30 to go over her script, sadly we didn't have enough time, but we did photocopy it, and I have a copy. I'm going to read it an email her my thoughts.
Tell that isn't awesome.
You're wrong.

The Fallen.
Me and Heather then went to the Park, and more shopping, of course.
We talked. A lot, which was great.
We also saw the statue of 'The fallen angel.'
If you have strong christian views, you may skip this paragraph, or suffer from thinking less of me.
I have identified with the character of Lucifer for sometime now.
I've had several dreams where I am the first of the fallen, and have explored his character in various mythos(es?)...Stories.
Lucifer is fascinating.
The idea that he fell because he did not want humans to have free will is even more fascinating.
He either fell because he wanted us to be perfect, or because he was jealous of the inability to have free will.
The second being even more fascinating, because if Lucifer lacked free will, he was completely incapable of not falling.
Now here's the question that haunts me, most people agree that the Son of Light's primary sin is pride. Pride to challenge God. Pride that freezes his wings in hell. Pride that removes him from God's presence.
What would happen if he asked for forgiveness?
Can he?
Hmmm.
I think the thing I identify with the most is sacrificing that which you love most of all, for the wrong reasons. Or the idea of even God for what you believe is right.
Needless to say I loved the statue.
It captured the fall very well.
I love sculpture.

Safe To Read.
Well.
Let's be honest, reading is dangerous in general.
It may make you think.
After the Park, Me and Heather went for Mcflurries, she had assured me that they were better than they were in the States.
I had promised myself I wouldn't do Mcdonald's in Europe.
I made an exception, and Heather was quite right.
Fantastic.
(I had broken this promise in Italy for a bottle of water, which I feel isn't really a breach of my self-contract.)
We had had Thai food for lunch, so I was a well fed little weasel.
When I returned to my hostel, I wanted to sleep at 8, but decided to internet it up.
Around 10:00 I decided to sleep.
The Amsterdamians, however, were not keen on this idea.
Around... Oh I don't recall, 11 or 12, I got out of bed and walked down stairs to check out the Hostel Bar.
I did not know that they served FREE pallela, and 'small' Beers.
This 'small' beer? It was about as much as you'd get at your average bar.
The Large beer, however, lived up to its title.
I only needed the small one.
After an hour or so I went back to my room.
The Amsterdamins were still fucking about, but I was beer-cozy, and decided to sit it out.
After an hour the beer-cozy wore off, but the Amsterdamians finally left.
Two American girls were talking in the sleeping quarters, but quietly and with the lights off.
One of their comments made me laugh, and they learned I could speak English, and I asked them what they were doing.
Apparently studying in Greece.
I asked what brought them to Madrid.
One responded 'The Men.'
I aksed 'Why Spain? I'd figure Italy would be better.'
...
This is moment in my life that I failed.
Brace yourself.
She responded with 'Naw, they're too Faggy there. With their well manicured eyebrows.'
How did I respond? '...oh.'
What didn't I do?
Tell the bitch that this word was a fucking stupid way to describe someone.
Chew her out royally.
Explain to her that her use of that word was promoting of a huge misunderstanding that drastically affects many lives.
Nope.
I just said '...oh.'
But it's okay.
She apologized.
'Oh, uh, Sorry if you're...'
What should have come next? The word 'Gay.'
That should have been what the bitch said.
'...originally from Italy or whatever.'
I didn't respond.
I rolled over and went to sleep.
It was like 2 in the morning, and I was tired, and pissed.


Agur!

A long day with an even longer night

November 26th, 2010

Madrid, still.
Heather had a doctors appointment in the Morning so I had to fend for myself, fortunately my Spanish is somewhere between wildly awesome and jodidamente Fatal (Effing Terrible).
But Churros con Chocolate is the best breakfast in the world.
Shut your face.
Best.
In.
The.
World.
This time, I poured the remaining Hot-Fudge "Chocolate" (Not Hot-Chocolate my potential Fiance, Melted Milk Chocolate) into my Coffee. Best Idea ever.
I said BEST!
Afterward, I met with Heather, who wasn't going to die from her sickness, which is a good thing.
We walked around, and here my days get fuzzy and start blending together a little bit. (Could also be the Vodka that I Scherbatskied into my Iced Tea for this bus ride. To Scherbatsky Alcohol is to pour a serving into a container, pause for a moment, and then empty the alcohol into the serving container.)
Heather wasn't feeling too hot, but we got to talk a lot, and did some window shopping.
Well... I did some shopping shopping, I bought a fantastic jacket from H+M. (Men's clothes in that store are far more expensive than women's it turns out.)
Window Shopping in 'Sol is fantastic, obviously.
Heather had to bail, to nap a bit, so I again fended for myself.
I decided I'd do lunch, wander, and then go to the Reina Sofia Museum and look at the art, then wander the bars until I wanted to sleep.
Little did I know.

First.
The Lunch.
I caved and bought a cafe burger (NOT a Mcburger!), because it was 6 euros for a burger, papas fritas (french fries) and a coke. Probably the cheapest non breakfast meal I had all weekend.
I walked into the Cafe, and asked for the "Menu de Hamburguesa" (The Hamburger Meal-Deal), which is one of my favorite words in Castellano. Hamburguesa.
The lovely woman at the counter told me, pretty frankly, that they were out of Hamburgers.
I say 'Vale' (Okay) and turn to leave.
She tells me to wait, that she'll call her friend to come make more.
This time I say 'Uh...' before I say 'Vale.'
So I sat down, she called her friend, and about 15 minutes later someone showed up, greeted her, and ducked back into the Kitchen.
5 minutes later, she came out and said something was lacking... missing. Whatever.
So the first lovely lady ducks out of the store.
5 minutes later, not only am I very amused, she returns with hamburger buns.
Not 5 mintues more I eat one of the best Hamburguesas I've ever had in a long time.
Worth it?
Hell yes.

Second.
The Museum.
Well at 7:00 the museum is free, so I waited an hour or so outside the museum, after wandering around doing some personal shopping.
While I waited I watched a group of lunatics with futbols come out and start playing.
They were acting like different things, Pregnant women, a child, other things. Mostly loonies.
They were talking to people, confronting them, actually trying to get a reaction.
Me, practicing my honesty talked with them, and reacted.
I played soccer 'for' one of the 'pregnant' ladies.
They were also handing out flyer postcards.
"La Katarsis del Tomatazo."
They were a theatre school, advertising their performance, that was that night.
Que suerte, I began talking with them, and made sure that I promised I'd go and gave me general directions.
One of the males got a touch jealous of the female attention I was getting, but nothing came of it.
They eventually left, and I went into the Museum.

This so called 'Art'
Don't get me wrong, Picasso and Dali intrigue me, and there were works in there that deeply struck me.
But for the most part, the paintings and collages (I'm sorry, but 9 of 10 collages I've seen are bullshit) just frustrated me, that they had received this placement in a popular museum.
Paintings that made no attempt to communicate anything.
Oh, and 'The World At War' exibit was absolute bullshit.
Don't get me wrong, The U.S. government fucks up a bunch (and I do love being able to say that openly and publicly, in any medium I so choose) but a constant blame for War in the world being placed solely on The Union of States' shoulders is rather ignorant.
We aren't the only ones making war.
We aren't the only ones with War-hawk political leaders.
We didn't invent the kill.
We didn't start the fire. (It's been burning since the world stated turning...)
We certainly haven't been the greatest and most benivelent nation, but then again... I couldn't tell you which has. (However, I'm not political history/science major, so U'm rather ignorant in this field.)
Still, There *are* others.
You want to blame someone for War?
Great. Do it.
But realize that pointing big angry blaming fingers doesn't really change anything, does it?
Grrr.
This weasel's fur is on end, and its teeth are bared.
Also, there were a lot of bullshit paintings of Dada-istic bullshit.
I grow ever so weary of people making stupid meaningless paintings, sculptures, and sitting back with a smirk and telling me that my new cloths look absolutely fabulous, when I am wearing nothing at all.
No.
Not weary, I grow ever so righteously agitated.
You want to tell people that meaning is meaningless?
Fine. Absurdity have been hammering that out for ages.
You want to fuck with people, and feel superior?
Fine. Be a General Practitioner of Medicine. (I don't like doctors. Can you tell?)
You want to do little work and become famous?
Youtube.
But don't call yourself an Artist.
Artists peruse truth.
Those who make this kind of 'Art' do no such thing.
But, hey, at least they can enjoy their smug sense of being a part of the 'Out-In-Out-In crowd.'
Which is just as masturbatory as the name would imply.
Somehow I think I've said this all before.
Ah well, I feel pretty damn strong about it.

Third.
I left the Museum without going to look at Gernika.
Sin?
Probably.
But I've seen Gernika, both the painting, and the place,
I saw the painting 6 years ago, and I just wanted to leave the museum for some fresh air.
I found a little cafe, down the general direction that the actors had pointed me, and decided to have a glass of wine.
This cafe?
Coolest cafe, ever.
Beats the Sunbean hands down (my previous favorite ex-cafe.)
This cafe sells used books, coffee, wine, and puts its proceeds to the education of Ethiopian families. Buying a book pays for 3 students. (For how long I don't know.)
I should have bought a book, but they were rather expensive. Great person, I, huh?
I did buy a glass of red tea after the wine, because it was cheaper than the books, and interested me more than the books they had.
This place?
They played Fur Elsie and other... instrumental heavy calming... old timey...music. (I'd rather not say Classical, because I have music major friends who may kill me for thinking that anything that happened before jazz was 'classical music')
Fur Elsie is, hands down, my favorite bit of work by the Ludwig Vahn.
Kitche?
A'yup.
Sue me, I still like it.

Fourth.
The theatre.
Well... the show was... crazy.
Before the show, the actors came out in various characters, and interacted with the audience in character. (Ah, the misunderstandings of the what "Stan the Man Станиславский" was saying, you are so... archaic.) One girl was putting on a 'Sad Act' and to be honest it seemed fake, but I couldn't be too sure, so I started talking to her.
She continued to seek me out and talk to me at both intermissions (Well talk about the 'great idea' two intermissions is after I get this out of my system.)
She and I talked a lot, and I wasn't sure what was real and what was fake.
But DLP's voice rang in my head "Stay Honest, Young Man, what have you got to lose?" I love it when DLP is inside my ear/head.
So I stay honest.
She tells me I have the most lovely eyes, and asks me if I will let her live in my house.
I tell her I don't have a house, but she's more than welcome to crash on the ground/couch of whatever I'm living in when I get to N.Y.
She tells me to come to Madrid, and go to school there, and live with her.
She flirts heavily with me.
My mind races, but I stay honest.
She asks me if I believe in Love at First sight.
I tell her, honestly, that I don't.
But I do believe in immediate attraction, that may turn into something more.
Naturally, I'm excited.
She's interesting.
I ask her about her philosophy in theatre.
She tells me that a play is a dream.
I don't know if you actually know this weasel of a Kishpike, but that response put me at 100.
She then explained that a show can make a person think, or it can entertain, but it is always like a dream.
This was all in Spanish.
I think my language is improving.
At the end of the whole thing, it turns out she was practicing a character for a scene she's doing later this year.
Heartbroken? Not quite, but definitely an aftertaste akin to it.
I'll return to this subject, but I want to talk about the Play that was on the Stage.

The 'Play' had 3 acts, 2 intermissions, and one too many 'Lead Actors'

A) 2 intermissions is BULLSHIT.
This theatre is about immersion.
They like to get the audience's participation in the show, they don't want the audience checking out, and they get right up in your face, and make sure you aren't sleeping.
And they have 2 intermissions.
Cognitive Dissonance much?
Intermission is a break.
An excuse to lose this immersion.
Uhg.
I hate intermissions in general.
Two? Two is too much to have.

B) On The Lead Actor Role.
So... I think, here in Spain, they have the concept of the Lead Actor. The concept that the 'Biggest Part' the protagonist, the character who the show belongs to, is given to an actor/director, who is very important. They Lead and Act.
This concept in my learning, is mildly present in 'The Flag-bearer'
(The Flag-bearer isn't always the protagonist, or even the best actor present, but they are the one actor who rallies the crowd, and helps the director to get a grasp on the group of actors, and gets everyone under on flag.)
These Lead Actors always love themselves far, far, far too much.
And it shows.
They play the action of 'Look at me Audience, I'm the best.'
Which reads.
They tend to not listen.
They tend to be terrible, and hammy.
This production had one.
She was a perfect example of all this.

C) Act i, Sketch Comedy has been done better.
The play started with a poorly costumed dance number of 'The Time Warp.' It was Lip Sync. sunk. The choreography? Not super original. Big surprise. I thought I had somehow managed to come in to see a production of 'Rocky Horror,' but no.
Scene 2 was a man who shot another man who asked for a cigarette. 'Smoking Kills,' with a wink at the audience.
The gun shot? Terrible.
The Death? Worse.
Continue on of more of the same for about 30 minutes.

D) Act ii, The Catharsis of the Tomato.
While this was not theatre, it certainly was performance art.
Maybe performance 'art,' but it was experimental, it was treading dangerous grounds. It was an exercise in examining stereotypes, tropes, and human reactions.
If there must be bad theatre and art in the world, the let it be said that all bad art is executed with the intention to create something new, with an atmosphere of experimentation. Let it be said, at the end of this bad art 'Well that sucked, but at least we tried something new, and learned from it.'
The first 45 minutes (by the time I tell this story again it will be 2 hours) there were three 'Inmates' from a women's prison, (Lead Actress here) making jokes about the intelligence levels of these gangster-dancer 'You Just Got Served' girls. Very Jersey Gangster Thug who suffers from Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
It was also completely actionless.
45 minutes of words.
A brief history on theatre.
Quit telling me, and show me.
(This is a blog, its job is to tell. I can't rightly show you these things can I?)
After this, Tomatoes were handed out to the audience, and Sketches were put on.
The audience was encouraged to either throw the tomatoes or applaud.
The sketches, purposely horrible.
However, it did make me think.
A lot.
Uhg.
Fakey Fake Crying and uncommitted acting are sins on par with Talking or Texting in a theatre.
I should have texted.
There would be catharsis in that.
It seems, however, the expiremental nature of this show has been tapped, it's been playing for a while, same concept, different actors, different bad scenes.
Lame.

E) Act iii, More of the Same.
Bad sketches.
A few decent dances.
More lead actor loving herself.
And then it came.
The thing I loved.
After bowing, each group of actors approached the audience, and shook a few hands.
Now there is a break in tradition to strengthen the honoring that bowing is supposed to be.
A bow is a sign of respect, is it not?
But that's been forgotten, it's now expected. It tells us when we can stop clapping.
Shaking our hands? That shows that they actually do appreciate us being there.
Further all the actors lined the exit, and each personally thanked as many people as they could.
This?
Consider it stolen, and something gained.

Girls.
So, back to the girl.
She told me that she would talk to me after the show.
Aparently she thought I knew she was in character the whole time.
I didn't, I suspected, but I didn't know.
And part of me, a large part of me believed her.
Because why not?
Why not take the risk?
Ah well, she was surprised to see me after the show, I had waited 30 minutes, in the cold with little more than a suit jacket to keep me warm.
She had asked me what I had done in character, and I told her I was a Director, because I am, dammit.
So she asked about how I took her character.
Uhg, I kept trying to stay honest, but I felt hurt.
But, I explained to her that her 'trying to be sad' at first wasn't very convincing, because she was trying to 'be' something, and not 'do' something.
She listened to me, and we talked about her rehearsal process and her 'Deseos' or Goals. (Yay Spanish Theatre Knowledge) and that she would be a lot more believable when actively pursuing goals.
She told me that she actually believed I knew what I was talking about, and had never thought of it in that regard. That she really wanted to hear more, so we continued to talk.
The other actors went out to drink more, and she invited me to go with them. So I did.
We talked a lot me and her.
All the bars were closed, so we found a concrete park, and the Actors drank what they had brought, but I wasn't drinking. I wanted to be thinking clearly.
Then we all played futbol for a few hours.
I got to talking with the other actors, about casual things.
Someone told me I didn't look like an American. I took that as a compliment.
Another girl got very drunk and called me 'America' all night.
This was fine.
I walked the first girl, home, and she asked if we could go out to coffee so we could go over her script.
She wanted more advise.
How exciting?
Not because a girl is interested in me, I don't think she really was, but that I can do actor-coaching across a language barrier!
Of course, she spoke pretty good English, but a lot of our conversation was in Spanish.
This gives me confidence in my ability as a Director.
See, it seemed the man playing her opposite suffers from self-love, and won't listen to her.
I told her that the rehearsal process was time to play... so if she had to break blocking, script, or whatever to GET her goal (which was conveniently this man's attention) that she should do it. If her director gets upset, well, then probably don't do it again, and find another director.
I also told her that she wasn't advocating for her character. She told me she didn't realize that this was important, and that she loved the idea.
Of course, this could all be lies.
But, fuck it, it all could be.
I'm a cynic, not a pessimist.
I'm going to keep taking risks, and believing in myself.
(For the record, I'm a sucker for those who compliment my eyes.)

Return.
So, I get to the Hostel at 6:30 AM.
I didn't get lost, I found my way home.
I brush my teeth and go to sleep.


Agur!

Flying to Madrid

November 25th, 2010

Madrid, Day 1.
Time aint' the only thing.
So flying is still gives me the heebiejeebies a little.
The Sensation is fantastic, and knowing that Ryanair uses Bowing 747s is pretty reassuring. However, there's always that chance. Higher chance on the road, but I interact on the road, therefor the chance to interaction ratio is worse for planes.
Yay over analysis. (Wait, analyzation isn't a word?)
But its always good practice for meditation, and breathing, and being at peace with things.

Arrival.
Buddha forgive the word, but I *hate* the Spanish gait.
This is a plane station, not a Sunday afternoon at the park.
I missed a metro by 1 person, who had decided that walking at the pace of a heart beat may be to fast. That or he was super healthy. (I've heard somewhere that we tend to walk at the rate of our heartbeat.)
In the end it doesn't matter much, but after a long day I just wanted to crash in my Hostal.
Managed to navigate the Metro pretty good with Heather's help, and I met with her outside of the theater where they were producing 'Avenue Q.'
After meeting her, we searched high and low for my hostal, which was supposedly near by.
Turns out it had been covered by scaffolding.
This is a common issue in Spain.
And lack of Street names posted.
I found it. Checked in, and decided to find a bar for some food and call it a Night.
Sadly Heather was rather ill, and couldn't stay up too late, Fortunately I hadn't slept the night before, and all I wanted to do was sleep.
I was going to go to a Donner Kebab, but I opted to have "Tapas" and wine.
Thanksgiving dinner was Tortilla Llena (An egg-potato omelet cake, with 2 layers, and jamon and mayonasa between the two. Be jealous.)
'pie' was a glass of wine, I rather liked this pie, so I went ahead and had another slice. (Didn't want to break the tradition, now did I?)
Truth be told, this pie was pretty good, but not quite as good as my Pop's Apple Pie, which I assume was fantastic this year.
After this fine Dinner with all Me, Myself, I, and angry glares, (Angry Glares was invited because he and I have been so frequently encountering each-other here, and it would be awkward to have Thanksgiving dinner without him.)
As per usual, after Thanksgiving Dinner all I wanted to do was fall asleep. So I went to my Hostal, and crawled into bed.
Except I was in a room with Amsterdamians.
Who see the sleeping quarters of a Hostal as the commons area.
This is not the case.
There was a Bar, A Commons Area, and an awesome Turkish style sitting room. The sleeping rooms have a light, lockers, and bunk-beds.
Where I wished to sleep.
They had other plans.
I conked out around 12sh, but was woken up several times by them.
Lovely

Oh and I lost my camera.
Awesome.


Agur!

Thanks To You!

November 28th, 2010

Yes you!
Thanksgiving was this weekend and I am thankful for my friends, family, enemies, Blog Readers (of either Blog), and various fiances. I'll be praying to the Noblest of Buddhas give unto you all enlightenment and $250 (I figured Euros would be a bad idea, since most of you are in the E.E.U.U. Also, more than $250 is really just asking to much of the Buddha. Man's (Or "Woman's", if the Noblest of them was a female.) gatta work.)


Now for the Spanish Stuff.
Because this Blog would be a Monster the Likes Sephiroth or the three Primary Weapons couldn't even manage to over come, I have decided to post it day by day.


Agur!

Radio and Haro

November 22, 2010

I can't believe it's almost over, first semester.
It seems like nothing has happened, but almost half my time is here. And yet another four months may just be enough to break me.
I can't say I've been feeling terribly well this past couple days, and I couldn't quite tell you why.

However.
I did have a fantastic Friday, this past weekend.
After class we took a trip to Eitb, the local Basque broadcasting center, that does most of the Radio work, and News for the Basque Country.
All in all the trip was mildly interesting except for two occasions. Both of which called for volunteers. You can guess which excited little weasel of a Kishpike jumped at those opportunities.
First: there was the Recording Booth, were they temporarily recorded my voice, and a few other student's voices.
I said something along the lines of 'You'd think I'd have a monologue prepared or something, but, eh, I never do.'
The play back was very clear, and very eerie, because it sounded like me without the Machine like noise that usually comes out of a recording of my voice. It sounded like another Kishpike was in the room, talking to me.
Second: They called it 'The Inocent Hand.' I sat in during a brief scrap of a radio show, and was to select a number, I wasn't sure when, I wasn't sure out of what set, and they were speaking SUPER fast SUPER colloquial Spanish. I was terrified.


Er... Care to run that by me...again?

It came down to the time, and I was clearly addressed, and they asked me to select any number between 1-203, any single number.
I chose seven.



"Uhm....Seven?"

That girl won a Wii.
It was a facebook-radio competition.
Later, Ibon, the USAC General Director guy here asked me why I chose seven. I smiled awkwardly and said 'I couldn't think of how to say thirteen.'
Have I mentioned that my ability to speak Spanish is still a joke?
Well it is.

You Can find the Radio Show Here.
My voice can't be heard until 13:40 in the recording.

I come on not too long after 'Spider Pig' you should be able to recognize that. (If you don't know what Spider-Pig is, our engagement might require some reconsideration, and you may consider googling it. I just don't know if I can share my life with someone who does not know the amazing powers of Spider-Pig.)


There we are! In front of anything you can edit into a green screen.


Group Photo!


Haro.
While in Class on Friday, or really, after class, due to my previous feelings of not taking advantage of living in Spain, asked my teacher if she knew any good cities or towns nearby to take a day trip to. She told me Haro was pretty good, and gave some other suggestions.
I went Haro.
I fell in love with Haro.
I only have six or so hours in the town, but I got lost, and found myself before I could really worry.
I drank the wine, the wine was good, and cheaper than cheap.
I bought some fantastic wine that when I asked the bill, I wasn't surprised when I thought I heard the man say 8€, no. He said .80€.
This was after my third or fourth glass.
Because I traveled by bus, I had no problems sampling the wine.
The buildings in Haro are gorgeous.
The sort of thing I wanted to see when I came to Spain.
Check!
The Pintxos were absolutely fantastic and a bit cheaper than here.
There is a place called 'The Horseshoe' its a curved road with Bars on it, and it is the place to go for the Haro wine tour!
Oh the wine my friends. Oh the wine.
And the church was pretty cool too.


Awesome Outfit? Check.



Good Siddhartha, that sky is lovely!



Vega's Fountain.



Vega...your fountain is a bit dry.



A park!?! They have parks here?



Ooh trees!



Hey! This rose wasn't painted at all!



Pretty things are EVERYWHERE in Haro.



THIS IS WHAT I MEAN!!!



It's made of gold!



Gold, I tell you, gold!



You should have heard him play.



It's a thing! And it's cool!


This guy? He'd do better work if he wasn't so damn cocky all the time.



I was going to ask this guy for directions, but he looked like he was doing something important.


This guy was so devoted, didn't even notice when I stole his shoes. I gave them back...



The details are fantastic!



I saw the bird. It ate my camera, so I couldn't take a picture of it, but it was huge.
...My camera? ... It got better.



Ooooooooh.


It's a foot bridge! They have feet here!


They kinda like wine out here. If you couldn't guess.



Mmmm, me gusta.



The lights in this town seemed, brighter than others... or was that the wine?



Wine Store!



So... can I have this town. For Chirstmas? Like, to keep?



Just outside of town.


She was real nice, but the pastries were a bit tough on the teeth.


Oh no! A town so beautiful would have one of these terrible beasts...


TWO!?!?! No wonder Haro is such a well kept secret.



I'm a sucker for the moon.


This is a statue of grapes. I love this town.


Si.


Bastante Feliz.



Ah the Bus-station, I suppose I must be headed back at some point... Oh well...

Upon returning I have found myself in a funk, again.
There are things I wish to express, some I know not how, others I have no means, and others still, I lack the full freedom from responsibility to express.
Here is something I have always struggled with, secrets.
Secrets that, in part, belong to me, and are secret because they, in part, belong to someone else who wishes them to be secret.
It is easier when a person expresses that they wish it to be kept on the DL, (yeah I did) but I still dislike these sorts of situations.
Actions or experiences that I am a part of are even more difficult still to keep within this realm of shared secrets.
I am not a terribly secretive person, in some situations more than others, and I feel that secrets are a burden. But I've collected more than a few since I've arrived here.

On that cheery note, I'm going to go stare at my homework until it does itself.


November 25th, 2o1o.

I'm going to Madrid today!
I will be visiting the lovely Miss X from Y
I'm excited!
And I still hate photos!


Agur.

Of Being Wrong.

November 17th, 2010

No!
I was wrong.
It does matter if I just wind up staying in all the time. More and more I'm growing bored with myself, I have all of Spain to discover! So today, I decided to toss my homework to the wind. (That's right 'Track 4' to the wind!)
I went for a walk, to buy stamps, and decided I'd go to Casco Viejo to check out the piercing parlor.
On the way I saw an Ice-cream shop, and had to stop by.
Before that? Accordion Busker.But he was cheating.
I then wandered around, and found myself in FNAC, which is Spanish for 'Better than Hastings.'
I got lost in their book section for half an hour or so. (Harder to get lost in books in a language you have a 3 year old comprehension of. And not a genius three year old.)
Tonight I need to read a book.
So I'm going to take it over to the ocean and read it there.

Buskers can cheat?
I give the cheaters less money than the 'True Busker's' in my eyes.
See a lot of Buskers here have a sound system that plays backup music.
LAME.
Especially if the recorded sounds are trumping your live sounds.
The guy I saw? His backup music had another accordion playing over the top of it.
Double lame.
I want authenticism. I want live street music that is unique and derived from the very heartstrings of the person willing to stand out on the corner and play for what people pay.
This recorded bullshit?
Its bullshit.

More Piercings?
Naw, I just wanted to buy a micro-dermal.
You see, I lost one that weekend I got sick from drinking too much.
I bought 2 new black gem dermals, that look alright, but I'd prefer the clear.
Sadly they didn't have those.
They did have a super sketch jewelry handling policy.
And a not very strong comprehension of Micro-dermals. (How they work, not what they are.)
But they did have 2 stars I might go back for.
I'm getting pretty Steal hungry though.
Might be looking at an Industrial soon...

'Art History' Class.
UHG.
More Architecture today.
No surprise there.
I don't have a problem with Architecture, but there is SO MUCH more to Art than it.
'Welcome to Baskin Robins. All we have is Cookie Dough flavor today.'
Don't get me wrong, cookie dough is awesome, but I was hoping to get some Chocolate Peanut-butter, some Mousse Royal, Vanilla? Nope. Cookie Dough.
And if you haven't studied it before, that's tough cookies. (Yeah I did.)
I'm certain half the things we talk about would be lost on me if it were in English.
So, today, most of the class left early.
So it was me, and a student who NEVER talks.
And she asked that fantastic question, and looked dead at me.
'Os gustan ----'
And I did something stupid.
I hesitated.
I lied.
I hesitated then I lied.
The hesitation was stupid because it revealed the lie.
The lie was stupid because I'm trying to be an artist and lies do not become us (artists).
I received another lecture.
Not on Lying, Buddha shield us, that would be appropriate.
No, I received a lecture on the importance of Arabic Architecture.
Which I don't doubt.
And it is cool to look at, and it is very different that what I am used to seeing.
But I do grow weary of Columns.
Always COLUMNS.
SO MANY COLUMNS.
FOR SO LONG.
My future house is going to have no supports what so ever. The ceilingwill simply hover, the walls will be made out of magic, and therefor not really there.
Because I may gouge my eyes out to overcome my Column boredom.
I think I would feel the same way if I were in a Theatre History Class that only did Chekhov. Or Shakespeare.
I mean... I was in a Shakespeare class, but it wasn't called 'The Plays of Theatre' class.

Life?
So, I've been thinking about life when I finish this Spanish Vacation, because, let's be honest, this ain't for learning things in books and school. This is about learning things about life, and having a great time.
But, like all things, it must end.
And when this ends, so too do my college years.
For now.
This means stepping into the role of an adult.
This means stepping out of the role of a student. (Though I must remain an eternal student of life and theatre.)
This means stepping into the beginning of my Directing Career.
This means a lot.
I've been giving it some thought, and New York is the obvious choice.
It's the most terrifying choice as well.
It's also an expensive choice.
Most importantly its MY choice.
I'm moving to New York.
Here's my dilemma.
Money will be TIGHT when I get done with this Spanish Affair.
(Both meanings here apply, 'Not in Abundance' and 'Really Awesome.' I however, in this instance, am referring to the former.)
I have, exactly enough to get by in a suitcase and a backpack.
Flying to Washington (not D.C.) and then moving to New York seems wasteful.
It seems that it would be a decent idea to fly into New York, and hop on the 'Getting My Career Started' train.
However, a lot of my personal effects are in Washington.
A lot of personal effects I'd like to have access to.
Books, more clothing of a less formal variety, random things, books, and books.
Also it'd be nice to see people before I leave.
I've got half a year to think it over, I don't really know what the best choice it.
Mom'll know.
Moms always know.

I've got a book to read.


Agur!

Old Blog

November 13th, 2010


Not much in the way of adventures, I've been working on studying and took the last weekend to myself.
Sometimes I worry that I'm not taking enough advantage of living in Spain, and then I think to myself, I'm LIVING in Spain, I'm not missing anything if I don't go out for one night.

So... here are some random thoughts.

Been re-reading Hamlet. In English. After I give it a 'quick' re-cap in English I'm going to tackle the Spanish Translation. After that I'm hitting up a straight Lopez play. By straight, I mean no translation or manipulation. Wish me luck!

Some nights I would kill for a booth at the Garden.
See the bars here, they don't work like that.
You go in, buy your drink, and stand outside, or in the bar. And then after a half an hour or so, you move to the next bar. The dance bars are full, and even in bars with chairs, the chair are rare. I miss conversation bars.
And house parties, where I could put my bag down, empty my pockets and let loose.
And run amuck.
Here its all in public.
I never even get a chance to take my shirt off!
There is no team skins!

I have found myself in a truly Chekhovian situation that for lack of full 'rights' of disclosure I will not be explaining the situation in full on this particular blog. Suffice to say, I'm starting to get an even stronger grasp on that Old Russian's sick sense of humor.

Hamlet III.ii 371.
That is all.

We were speaking in my Art History Class and a word was dropped that means Hooligan, but only for soccer. I don't remember the word, and frankly it gives me equal. But it did make me realize that I am a Theatre Hooligan. Deal with it.

So much of 'classical' and 'neoclassical' paintings look as if the painter him or her self did not enjoy painting it.
The subjects painted look bored.
The painter is bored.
I'm bored.
This is boring.
Academically mastrabatory and boring.

Also, more complaints about an art 'teacher.'
If you wish to teach artistic analysis, you cannot teach it in the realm of 'is' and 'means.' As in 'This Painting IS X, or this song MEANS Y.'
That isn't teaching, that's pressing your opinions on your students, not teaching them to form their own.
(Don't worry I'm not going to be a teacher.)

Spanish for the Day:
Suena como una patada "It sounds like a kick [In the head/ear]"
Quien con niños se acuesta, mojado se levanta. "Children ruin everything"
Él que no llora no mama " The babe that cries not sucks not [The squeaky wheel gets the grease]



Él que se casa, por todo pasa


Apparently proverbs are more common in Español, more in English.
Which is awesome because I love proverbs.
I love screwing with proverbs.
Dirty jokes with proverbs.
I should read 'proverbs'
I imagine it would be full of them.
When I write my Not-Book for my Radical Zen Buddhist Not-Church of Nonviolent Yet Aggressive Denial of All That We Believe Exists Even the Denial of such Existences, I'll include a chapter named Proverbs and one named Parables. Proverbs will be filled with parables, and Parables will be filled with allegories, and the Chapter Labeled 'There is No Third Chapter' will be filled with proverbs.
Chapter 5 will be the Q2 version of Hamlet, in Rot 13.
It will not be, and not be, excellent.
This grows tedious.


Agur.

Excuse me, have you seen my free time?

November 13th, 2010


What happened to all my time?
And when the hell do these Vascos sleep?
I was out until 7:00 am last night.
Not drinking too much because:
A) Last weekend I was terribly ill.
B) I danced too heavily in a very smoky club, and made myself terribly ill, but clear of mind.
I think I'd rather be ill from drink than Dehydration and Second Hand Smoke.
But the recovery period is shorter.

Of Cheeses.
I have been eating so many delicious freaking cheeses I think my head might explode.
Or, worse, I may become french.

Todos Eran Mi Hijos.
This play, a translated version of 'All My Sons' by Senior Miller.
For those of you who don't know this is my second favorite play of his, only surpassed by After the Fall. The Crucible, was actually written by someone else. Because I love Miller, and I don't want to see is flaws. (No I will not Link that piece of garbage, you're better off if you don't know what it is.)
I stand by this opinion even if they threaten to burn me at the stake.
Enough bad jokes.
The Theatre Thoughts:
This Theater is Baroque.
('Kishpike, uhm' you might be thinking 'You just spelled theatre with an er... that's not very theatre-nerdy of you.' But you see, Theater means Building, or place where Theatre takes place. Follow?)
Baroque is ridiculous.
Its gorgeous, and gawdy.
You could spend hours staring at the random beautiful elements that all come together to make a hodge-podge of imagery to the point where your senses are overwhelmed and you don't know what the original art was meant to be. I don't like Baroque much.
First night (Yes I went twice.)
I was sat with, most literally, a decorative column in my lap.
This column was sprouting between my legs as if it were a bad phallic joke.
There was not one inch between my seat and it.
When the ushers closed the doors (and thus couldn't see me) I changed seats.
Remember how I was complaining about Spanish Audiences?
It gets worse.
There were three girls of fewer years behind me talking.
Talking.
Not whispering.
Not muttering.
Talking.
During the WHOLE show.
And laughing at the wrong points... okay, that's a healthy reaction, laughing when uncomfortable, or whatever, it's a true reaction, but it's goddamn immature. I can't recall the exact moment, or why they thought it was funny, but it was jarring to my experience. And made me angrier.
I shot a few glares at them, directly at them, as they were in the seats behind me, but nothing.
I couldn't help but notice that the people around me didn't seem to care, or notice. At all.
Leaving me with the responsibility to say something.
I can't inspire fear like a stage manager, and was struggling to cobble together a spanish sentence to the significance of 'Get the fuck out of this theatre.' With proper conjugations and accents as not to create more of scene than was already happening.
I over thought the situation, and left it alone.
-1 Awesome point for this weasel.

The second night I went, I was in the 4th Balcony, (Gross, That shouldn't exist) on the highest seat. The 4th story Balcony is double High. The Stage was on the second floor.
I WAS ON THE GODDAMNED 6TH FLOOR.
I wasn't pleased.
I couldn't see DSR.
At all.
I missed a good 1/3 of the play.
Pissed I was.

Part of the reason this theatre is so big, or as a result of it's bigness, is that these plays run 2-3 times.
Total.
Not a week, not a month.
Total.
Makes me want to puke.
How much work goes into that sort of rehearsal process? What kind of quality can be achieved?
I don't know, but I hate it.

So the show itself.
Good enough to get me to go again, that's pretty damn good.
I hate re-watching things, unless I was somehow involved with it.
The Lead Actor was PHENOMINAL. Joe played on my heart strings like I was a Kishpike-Fiddle, and him the very Johny of Georgia fame.
It wasn't until the second night that I realized he was Nagg from Endgame, who I had loved as well.
Such a sympathetic and nuanced approach to Joe, it was beautiful.
Everything he did seemed natural and inspired by the moment, he also was listening.
The buffoon character was floundering between physical acting and trying to be natural. It wasn't pretty. But he's a small part.
Chris and Ann, did well enough but lost energy on the second night.
And Kate was... well in love with herself.
What do I mean by that, I know what I mean, but it's not the same as loving oneself, which every healthy artist should do. Its more akin to being... aware of oneself and expecting the audience to love the wonderful performance one is giving them.
It's... gross, kind of. I can't really express it I don't think, but you've seen it.
Nick Bottom is a Parody of that sort of acting, I'm fairly certain.
(Anyone else think Shakespeare might of known some guy who pussy-footed around EVERY conversation, and it drove him mad. Mad to the point where its a common theme in all his plays?)

The Scene design passed, a corner of a house, backyard, small broken tree.
The Light design was... as the Sound design, a bit heavy handed.
Well The Sound design was way to heavy handed, marred the wood.
It started out nice appropriately sound 'Making Whoopie' that played on speakers like it was a period radio and bled into a live harmonica on stage.
It ended with melodramatic music over Chris's sobbings.
First night the Sobbings were enough.
Second night Chris had lost energy, and the music didn't help.
I hate heavy handed sound design, it's manipulative and obvious.

Anyhow I didn't come to Spain to post blogs.
I'm off to find more adventure.


Agur.

Cheese with your whine?

November 11th, 2010

Still Studying for a final tomorrow morning.
And I'm upset.
I'm very upset.
I'm struggling to 'control' my emotions, express them, then move on, dealing with them, sitting in them.
The reality is I need to study if i would like to do well.
The situation is that I'm not handling an instance well.
You see, I'm bad with, well Spanish in general.
Conjugation, and Irregular verbs kill me.
Also, the word pluscuamperfecto is enough to make my head spin without an arbitrary P in front of it, or the addition of de subjunctivo after it.
Our teacher was rather aggressive two days ago, with the students who were still struggling with conjugations, because we are supposed to be past that point in our learning.
'Your adults, in age and in class, you can't miss-conjugate.'
Honestly, with her aggression, which was expressed more in action than in words, and my struggles in this class was enough to make me want to cry in class. Of course I didn't.
Maybe I should have.
I hate crying in class.
I hate crying.
Usually.
Anyhow.
Trying to study I can't shake the voice of 'you should know this by now, what are you stupid?' from that day in class.

If I were in 'Track 2' Spanish, I'd be going over past-tense verbs, right now.
Which isn't difficult, it's something I did in high school.
I am currently in track 3 Spanish, and feel as if I have lied and cheated to get in, because my lack of understanding is second only to the student who isn't in class half the time.
I encountered the same problem in many classes at the U of I.
Class A was stupid easy, so easy in-fact that I'd do poorly in it because I couldn't be bothered.
Class B was ridiculously difficult, and many times I dropped out of a Class B to pick up a Class A, where I felt educationally cheated.
I want to know where the transition is.
Big words from a guy who was complaining about not wanting to use transitions in his essays (Transition sentences just seem masturbatory, 'Change of Subject Cliffhanger,' who gives a toss?)
But seriously, when was I supposed to have magically memorized all of these tenses?
'Oh Kishpike, all your education shouldn't happen in the class-room,' you might be thinking.
I've heard the lecture before, mostly by teachers, that the work has to be done by the students, and that outside of class-room work is more important than what the teacher assigns and offers in the class room.
My response to this statement, mentally of course, is 'Why the fuck am I paying you then? Do you have any idea how much these classes, where "most of my education shouldn't be happening" cost? What do they call you then, if your job isn't to TEACH? A LECTURER? Because I'm sick of getting lectured. Not Class Lectures, personal lectures.'
I have long responses to things.

Maybe its just me, but when an entire class struggles with something, I don't think the root cause is the students.
Maybe its just me, but when a play sucks, it is ALWAYS the directors fault. No questions asked.
Maybe its just me, but maybe, just maybe, education of educators should be something more.
I'm not saying my current teacher isn't apt to teach Spanish, she's doing a fine job (except for the aggressive behavior the other day), but way too often I've encountered shitty teachers.
Since...teachers... are responsible...for... teaching, I don't know, Brain Surgeons, Flight Repair Folk, actually everyone that does anything... you'd think... that maybe, the education, of teachers... would be, better.

Honestly I'm just upset because I have no idea how half of the grammar works for this test, and the book doesn't do a terribly good job of explaining it either. I hate failing, and I hate not understanding why I don't understand.
Uhg.

This Weasel's frustrated.


Agur.

Why not Ice and Brimstone?

November 10th, 2010

So... Opinions.
I bought a book in Italy, because there are a lot of used book vendors in Rome.
I found a Copy of 'Timon of Athens' in English, and figured I'd give it a spin, like I had originally intended to do before this summer, but never got around to.
So I start reading the script, ignoring the footnotes and the 'translations into modern English' bits, I want to enjoy my first go with it, and form my own thoughts.
Then I notice something off.
Stage Directions.
There's a metric shit-ton of them.
'Weird,' I think 'These are really specific. Maybe the rumors about the Bard being five different people are supported by the fact that this stage-directions is nothing like his other stuff that I've read.'
You see I love Shakespeare's simplicity of stage directions, you get most all you need from the text.
Some of the great Stage directions of Shakespeare are as follows

EXIT PURSUED BY BEAR
EXEUNT PIRATES
THEY FIGHT

When I cam across a page of stage directions I started to get more than curious, I was confused.
The suspicion came when the words didn't seem hard enough to follow.
Too easy.
So I flip to the front of the book.
'Timon of Athens' in Large fancy print.
'Edited by Some Jackass*' in small print.

You don't edit Shakespeare like that.
'Uhmmmm...,'you are most likely currently thinking 'Kishpike...weren't you a rabid were-weasel male witch in a version of Macbeth that was known for cutting the most famous line of the play?... Actually weren't you also Fleance the young lover of Prince(ss) Malcom? Since when have you ever been a purist.'
You're very clever, and savvy to my past, I must say, perhaps someone has been doing some matrimonial research? Hmmm?
Anyhow, yes.
Yes I have, and its true, I have less than the standard reverence for the words as staged.
However.
As written?
As written, you really think you have improved on Shakespeare's original works well enough to pass it off as the original script. To sell the script to random blokes and blokettes?
This isn't changes to service on performance, these are changes to service 'The Way it Should be.'
You don't edit Shakespeare's work and try and pass it off as Shakespeare's work.
You edit Shakespeare's work and pass it off as you own interpretation of the work.
ON THE STAGE.
NOT ON THE PAGE.
*H. J. Oliver you are on my bad list.

Teaching.
If you ever find yourself in a teaching position, (Don't do it) you may find yourself wishing your pupils would speak.
Communicate with you, so you can share ideas, and expand your teaching offerings to hungry minds.
I know it's frustrating to try and teach to a dead audience from my laughable work at the Nature H.Q. at Camp Grizzly, 'teaching' merit badges. I think I was teaching Weather. Or Clouds. Or something like that. Something else too, I think.
I digress.
A terrible way to encourage active participation of your students is to defensively-lecture them when then propose an opinion that is contrary to your view of the world. (A good thing to do here is open up the Socratic Method. Questions change ignorance into curiosity.)
In my 'Art History' Class, which would have been better named 'Architecture History' Class, (I'm sorry, I don't follow the more complicated art and design of architecture, I've been going to school for theatre for the past four years and havn't put much thought into Architecture, a sin I suppose, but a lesser one, I mean I did pretty well in Set-Design, but set-design has a lot more room for... emotional interpretation and non-structurally sound things. I can't keep my interest in something I really don't understand. I try, but I swear if we look at one more pillar I might explode like Lynnette. (( heh. ATF reference.)) Haven't even gotten to Grotesques and Gargoyles. Sculpture is my favorite non-theatre art I've found, while in Rome.)
Digress much?
Yeah.
Where was I?
Ah, yes, In my 'Art History' Class we just finished Rome.
Which was extra difficult to pay attention to, because I've been there.
And the little slides just don't compare.
The Teacher at the end of the section asked her usual question 'Os gustan los Romanos?' (Do y'all [formal style] like the Romans?)
I began to respond, and then realized I wasn't certain if I could full express my ire in Spanish (I couldn't), but having already started speaking, I wasn't going to get off the hook.
'I like the Romans, I don't like Rome.'
You'd think I had told Kelly that I thought Stanislavsky was full of shit. (Which I don't, but I do think his writing is sloppy and in need of some heavy editing.)
'Porque?' (Why?)
I knew that question was coming.
I dreaded both syllables.
It haunts me still.
I could explain myself in English, but the Class is Castellano only. (Well I suppose if you could speak Basque you could throw that in as well, the two are pretty mixed around here.)
So I tried to explain that I wish less of the art had been robbed by the Vatican.
I should have made the Earthquake of 1314 joke.
Robbed and Vatican in the same sentence was my downfall.
See... "The government can't rob from its own country, and really the Vatican was saving all the art." (A: A government can damn well rob it's own country, B: Well that's open to debate.)
A lecture on what stealing is and isn't followed, with little room for discussion.
I wasn't very encouraged to talk in class after that.
Yeah, accusing the Vatican of anything in a Catholic country wasn't a great choice, but I thought this was an Art class.
My mistake.

Honestly.
Truth be told I don't have enough information to back up my opinions on Rome, and it deserves another chance. Maybe when I'm not a traveling touring student. Maybe when I'm traveling on my own, and have done more research.
It is something, like all opinions should be, open to debate, even if I can be heavy handed with my opinions.
However.
However, I don't understand the self-sabotage of not being an open minded teacher.
I miss artists damnit.

Food
Sorry, Koll, no Pictures.
But I've been eating some freaking odd foods lately.
Here are some recent discoveries.
The Heladria (Ice Cream Shop) near my house has a Orangish-Brownish Ice Cream named Mañaga or something like that.
I figured it might be some sort of fruit flavor, because it had little chunks of more brownish-orangish things in it that could have easily been fruit.
Well.
They were.
At some point.
This was Rum 'Flavored' Ice-cream.
I'm not certain how they made Rum into Ice-cream, and I don't pretend to understand the miracles of science, but days like these that give me Sagan like Confidence in human-kind.

They have little trains, and booths, all around.
They sell chestnuts, roasted until they pop, like... well like street food vendors.
These chestnuts are supposed to be delicious, but I find them less than so.
However they are filling and cheap.

Cheesecakes.
Spanish.
Cheesecakes.
With a berry topping of some sort.
About the size of my fist.
Cheesecakes.
Say it with me. Cheesecakes.
The word alone is seductive enough to make my mouth water.
I don't know what the word is for them yet, except Riquisimo.

I was eating lunch, and Carmén busted out this Sausage looking thing.
She told me to peel off the skin and eat the inerds.
It tasted kind of bland, but meatyish.
She told me it was made with blood and rice.
'Cool' I thought. 'I like my steak as rare as a good american Chekhov performance.'
So I was eating my Blood-rice thing, perfectly content.
Until she told me it was pigs blood.
Suddenly it wasn't so cool.
My fortitude wavered, and my Bravado shrunk.
Then she began explaining how Spain uses, every. part. of. the. pig.
Except the eyes of course.
She was showing me by gesturing on her own body what parts of the pig made what things.
Watching a human, show me where what comes from, knowing that humans and pigs taste relatively similar (Why do you think they call it 'long pork.') with the taste of pig's blood in my mouth?
I got sick.
I love me some jamon, but I love me my jamon cooked and dry.
Just the phrase 'pig's blood' echoing around in my head.
Would of been better off thinking it was blood in general.
Bled out of a general beast.
Cow by default.
Because I'm from the States, where cows grow on trees.
Here it's pigs.
She tells me its very common around winter.
Awesome.

Well my stomach's turning.


Agur.

Hungover.

November 8th, 2010


So...
A good sign of having more than one's fill of chupitos (shots), is when one remains hungover a full 24 hours after drinking.

The Plan.
Friday Night with one of my intercambios I went out, and had a pretty good night with cheap cervezas, and more cheap cervezas. I stayed out drinking until 6 in the morning, and decided to call it an early night.
I am not, Toby Belchlike, playing on the fact that 6:00 A.M. is considered early in the morning, I am saying that going home at 6:00 A.M. is earlier than other people stop drinking here.
That was fine.
Saturday night?
Saturday night began with my good and nice friend Kalimotxo, and moved alarmingly rapidly towards chupitos.
And then it was Taquilla.
And more Taquilla.
And Jack.
Me and Jack? We aren't friends.
We have never been friends.
I am still not friends with Jack.
What can I say? Don't mix Wild Turkey and Jack. (The Joke here being that my name is Austin Nichols, the same as Wild Turkey brand Whiskey. Check it out.)
After that it was Vodka. I think.
This is about the point where my night 'browns out.'
Not quite a Black-out, but stuff fades in and out.
Sunday was spent in bed.
In bed and in the restroom.
Mostly in the bed.
Monday I woke up, and still feel not at my best.
But it's a mild sort of not at my best.
My clothes smell like smoke alcohol and regret.

Hypocrisy?
You bet.
I have been disgusted with my fellow american students who would go out and get drunk as lords here, and then tell the tales as if they were stories-of-honor.
Me? I'm embarrassed.
I can't believe I let myself get that drunk, again.
So here's a thought, no more shots.
I work so much better when I drink mixed drinks and beer.
Drinking it neat doesn't work for me, because I lose count, and that's a problem.

Spainish for the Day:

When the rain comes in small globuals, and the wind makes your umbrella (if you are debil enough to need one) completely useless, and the rain comes from all direction, the Spanish/Basque have a phrase for this.
Xiri Miri.
This is pronounced 'Shitty Mitty'
I don't think our professor understands why the class now loves this phrase.

Masks.
Not the kind you find in Venice (if you don't get lost on your way), but the kind we all have. I'm working on stripping mine away, that's the life work of an artist. So I shaved off my whispy sad little beard thing, in case I was trying to hide behind it. (I'm really bad at figuring what is a mask and what isn't, so I test everything by taking it away and seeing how I respond.)
Now I hope that this dislike of being clean-chinned isn't the response of fear of being something I am... I don't even rightly follow the logic, but I do know I think I look better with the whisker-whisps. Are they a mask? Maybe. Are they part of who I am? I like 'em. I like that there is red in em.
What does that mean?
I don't think it's significant.
I don't know.
I do know its easier to regress here, and without constant mask-challenges like DLP, Kelly, and close friends, I'm going to struggle to not revert back into a hidden holed up Weasel.
For this reason I'll keep testing waters like hats, glasses, speaking in English, speaking in Spanish, anything that feels like it could be an easy out must be tested.

Which brings me to my next thought.
I was SPO-YLED at the U of I with it's safe and encouraging environment to be honest and creative.
Here? At a business school? Not so much.
But.
But, that's no excuse.
I'm learning to either create an aura of goodwill to start my honesty and creativity from on my own, or to start my honesty and creativity without it.
Life lessons people.
While I wasn't sure what sort of artistic value this year was going to have for me, it's becoming more and more clear that I am learning to do what I need to do on my own.
Doing this with others will take some relearning when I get back stateside, but I think I'll be better off.

This weasel needs a nap.


Agur

A trip to 'Venice'

The days from October 28th to November 1rst Bleed together something foul.


Let me pre-face this entry, by first explaining that a description to San Sebastion and France will not happen in my blog. I already explained my first trip to San Sebastion, and France was exactly how I've come to feel towards the country.
It was french.
The pictures will be posted on Face-book.
Allows me to pre-race this entry further by explaining something.
I accidentally booked my flight to Italy at the same time I was supposed to have class.
No big deal, if I managed to finish my third composition in one night. And do the extra homework.
So I did.
This took ALL night. I didn't sleep a wink.
No big deal for me. I'm used to this kind of abuse, and Siestas are my friend.
Thursday night was the only chance I had of seeing 'El Arvo' But also the night before a 9:50 flight to Italy, in another town, 1:30 hours away by bus. I wrestled with the idea of going or not. I had already found I disliked the theatre that was performing it, but it was super-cheap and a Molière farce, maybe they did comedy better than absurdity. (This was a foolish thought, as DLP always says 'Dying is Easy, Comedy is difficult' or something in that vein) So I went. Brief review, it was funny at parts, but in the end the Actor/Director/Lead character loved himself too much. Came on stage to explain his vision of the show after a forced five-six bowings. The show was cut a lot, and it was way too long to be so short. (If you don't understand I'll explain in fuller detail to anyone who is curios.)
That being said, I didn't sleep all of six hours (two of which being siesta) on Thursday after an all-nighter Wednesday.
I was tired.

Itinerary.
Metro to San Mamés (The Bus) opens at 6:00.
Bus to Santander leaves at 7:00.
Bus from Santander to Airport? 8:45.
Arrival at airport? 9:35.
Note about Ryanair. Don't rush.
By 9:50 (Gates Closed) the gates hadn't even opened.
Breath.

PIN.
My mobile has a pin that needs to be entered when you turn it on.
Not a problem because I don't normally turn mine off (I leave it at home when I go to the theatre).
Except when I get on a plane, because they ask me to.
I realize I don't have it's pin as the screen goes dark.
Well, then.
I breath.
Cave men survived without mobiles.
I should be fine.

Pisa.
I have two hours in Pisa.
'Screw it,' think I, 'I'll hit up the Tower.'
Hop a Taxi. Shoot photos of tower, and tourists.


So many Tourists.


I want to do this, only I want one of me pushing it over.


The Big Church Next to the Tower that no-one really cares about!


I have an evil plan...


...and it involves PIZZA!


And Coconut for Desert. Fresh Coconut.

Hop a Taxi to Train.
Don't figure out the Train system in time.
This is my train I literally got to the door as it snapped shut, so I popped out my camera in desperation.
Then I did something stupid.
I bought a new ticket.
Trains? Trains don't have time specific tickets.
I didn't learn this for a long and a lot of train fuck ups.
So what do I do?
I take a breath.
I'm in Pisa, and I have no idea when the next train will be.
I'm going to go eat pizza.
Yes I'm going to do it.
Yes I did it.
It was fantastic, and cheesy. (Not literally. I mean it had cheese, but less than american pizzas.)
Be jealous.

So I bought a ticket to the same place that I was told was venice when I bought the ticket through online.
No problem.
Now keep in mind I'm tired, lost, and frustrated.
Frenzia.
Frenzia, I remember a teacher calling it Venicia in Spanish, and noticed that places names have a tendency to change from language to language. Like Deutschland.
So I go to Frenzia.

Frenice.
I get off the train.
And want to get lost.
So I try, and find a lot of really cool statue 'replicas.'
I think to myself, 'How do I get to the canals? They must be a smaller part of Venice. Oh well I'll wander around a bit and then hop a taxi to that swell hostal I was reading about. I'm tired enough to pay for two at this point.'
So I get lost, have gelado, drink Cappuccino (I'm not terribly keen on it, but hell I'm in Italy right? Hudson Hawk[link] would kill me if I didn't), and take a lot of photos.


These? These are all locks.


What a naked fountain!


The buildings here sure are pretty, where's the water?


Venice? This. IS. FLORENCE!!!!!


A lovely Building. They have a lot of these.


Maybe if I follow this River I'll find the Canals?
Oh look a Gondola! I must be in Venice. They only have them there and nowhere else.
Stupid boy.


What a lovely wedding dress.


This thing actually was really beautiful, but you know what would perfect the outfit?


These shoes.


Boy, it's getting late. Where are those Venician Hostals I looked up?


This was my absolute favorite part of 'Venice,' and all of Italy. This Staute.
I could rant about it for hours. And I will, probably to you. Especially if we get married... just sayin'.

Night rolls around, my legs are crazy sore.
I have a Grappa and Cappuccino.
I wander around more.
I have wine.
I begin to worry.
I buy a lock at a €.99 store and lock my Backpack's zippers together.
I find a pair of guitar players and a whole group of Boheme-like youth.
So, I sit down.
I offer a girl who looks at me Kalimotxo.
She knows what it is, and we talk a little in spanish.
She thinks I'm spanish, and she is spanish.
Maybe she's had too much to drink? That's still bastante cool.
She leaves, and I wander on.
It's 3:00 am, I still haven't slept and I can't find a reasonably priced hotel. (65€ a night? That's obscene, thought I. Surely I can find a Hostal, Hostals aren't well advertised.)
This quickly becomes a bad idea.
Worried about self defense, as I often do when I've had a drink or two, I use my special ability to find odd weapons (Past discoveries of note: A Trailer hook and a broken dull sword) to pick a bit of ordinance.


Grappa and a Cappuccino


I have no idea what this thing is supposed to be, but it has to sharp ends and fits in my hand.

Around 4:00 am, I find an easy chair by a dumpster in an alley.
I tie my key chain to my backpack, put my wallet in my backpack, and set the backpack on my lap, and put my other hand under my jacket holding the bit of metal.
I'm cold, I'm tired, I'm making a TERRIBLE choice.
I sleep for half an hour.
I wake up, and decide moving is safer than sleeping.
At this point while I walk I stumble. Not from the drink (trust me that's not a worry anymore) but because my legs aren't exactly listening to me anymore.
It is around this time I start to think I'm in Florence.
Why? Because there's a few businesses called 'Florence X.'
In my wanders I found the Prostitute hot spot.
A park.
'Parks have benches! I can sitdown here', I think.
Nope, 'walked in' on a man receiving a blowjob.
In a park.
I didn't sit down.
I also didn't realize until I saw the girl look up.
Why do I assume she's a prostitute? I came across one on the corner before, and found a whole... what's the gathering word for prostitute? Brothel, I guess, I came across a whole Brothel of prostitutes in the surrounding area.
Awesome. I'll find another park.
So I look for internet, I have to steal an unsecured network because I don't have a mobile.
The way 'Free' internet works is it texts the password to your mobile.
I find out that the same train station that brought me here will take me to Venice.
So I go there.
At 7:30 am the service desk opens.
Yay!
I ask for a train to Venice.
'Lleno'
'The train's full?'
'Yes.'
'All day?'
'Yes. Tomorrow?'
'Yeah sure... no wait, tomorrow's too late, thanks anyway.'

How this transactions should of went?
I should of gotten on the train to Venice and not even asked.
Why?
Because you can buy tickets on the train, you just can't sit down.
In a seat.
You can however sit in the non-seat area.
I learned this on my train-ride to Rome, because I couldn't find my seat.
(I suspect the seats aren't assigned, however a young woman sat down next to me 9as in I was sitting there first) and a young man came up to me (I suspect they were together because of the way they acted together, and their similar ethnicity, which I could not place to be exact) and told me I was in his seat.
A woman in the 'standing' area bought her ticket on the train.
What I should have done?
I should have hopped the next train to Venice, even though it was 'full' and bought the ticket on the train.

'Screw it.'
I thought.
Carnival is in February. I know how the train system works, I get the Ryanair thing, I'll book my tickets way in advance, and book a freaking hostal before I go, and I'll be fine.
I'll go to Rome, See the Pantheon ('if that's in Rome', I think), hit up a tour bus, and get lost.

Oh boy do I get lost.
I hate Rome today.
Why?
Because it's full of old things that aren't hotels with beds.
I think to myself 'Only €100 for a bed sounds mighty reasonable at this point.'
I am stumbling a lot.
You know what's funny about Rome?
It's the Catholic Capital of the WORLD.
You know how many Catholics there are in the WORLD?
Lots.
You know what November 1rst is?
Hallowdi'.
The Day after Halloween. (Which is like saying the Day after Christmas Eve.)
All the Hallowed's Day.
All Saint's Day.
You know how many Saint's the Catholics got?
Enough to book every 2-3 star hotel in the business.
Booked.
I go to a hotel, ask for the price.
'When?'
'Tonight, maybe tomorrow night' (Maybe if they have internet I'll book a hostal.)
'Booked tonight, tomorrow-'
'Thanks.'
I don't care about tomorrow.
I haven't slept in so long I laugh as I wander.
I laugh violently.
I laugh until I cry.
I cry hard.
I'm lost in a place that doesn't speak English very well, and no one speaks Spanish, and Italian is not close enough to make the difference. (However after this I am determined to learn italian and live here if I retire. And Direct 7 plays her, they will all be masterpieces. I will be Sainted, against my approval, and they'll build a bunch of stupid statues of me from stolen marble. Strong opions on that later.)
I am so sore, upset, and alone that I sit down in a secluded place and completly fill my hankerchief. (It's a big one too. With crying oozes. You know the like.)
I can't spend another night like I did the one before.
I can't keep walking. I just can't.
I've been asking everyone that will talk to me, tourist shop owners, venders, taxi drivers, anyone.
'Where's a near by hostal?'
I still don't know the Italian word for Hostal.
I sit down on a bench and fall asleep for ten mintues.
I'm devistated.
I cry more.
I keep walking (what other choice do I have?)
I run into a kid, who I can't tell what language is his first, and ask him if he knows of a nearby Hostal.
He does, but he can't recall, so he calls a friend, yeah, for a random stranger like me (I had my sunglasses on even), he calls an Italian friend, speaks with him, in itallian, and tells me to go to Termini and look for CTS.
He has me write it down and everything.
Then asks if I know where Termini is, I tell him I'll hop a cab.
He tells me to take the metro, it will go right there, then points me in the direction of the metro.
This kid can't be more than 18, I don't why that's important for you to know, but it is.
I get to Termini. (Metro is AWESOME.)
I can't find CTS, but I do find a hotel.
'Can't hurt.'
I walk in, and wait 15-20 minutes while the desk manager talks on the phone.
'Standing up for this long to be told there won't be a room, I should go. No. I should stay. There's a chance.'
Guess what?
There's one room!
It's tiny.
It has no internet.
Two outlets.
A bed.
A closet.
A shower.
It's perfect.
65€ a night? I'll take two. (nights.)
Free breakfast too.
Around 6:00pm on October 29th I fall asleep.
After 37 hours without it, I sleep. I sleep until 8:30 am.
I shower. I have my own room, with a lock.
I have the BIGGEST breakfast of toast, crossiants and tea.
I wash my cloths.
I clean my wrist-piercings.
As I put on my shirt, the right piercing pops a foot out, not a problem. I alcohol up the hands, unscrew the jewl, drop it in the right side of my contacts container with saline solution, rinse the piercing, deftly pop the foot back, rinse, dry (careful to avoid touching the actual area), and throw on a band-aid, I brought a bunch just in case.
I'm on top of things.
I head out. It's a brand new day, and I'm not lugging around my backpack!

The guy at the desk was amazing.
Funny, nice, and really helpful.
Capital Hotel, Termini Rome.
A block away from Hotel California.

Rome.
Today I hate Rome again.
Why? For the reasons you love, and don't pretend you don't, because I have strong opinions.
I'll get to those. Keep reading.
(Not fun to be teased is it? Well maybe you should think about my proposal, hm?)
First thing I did was buy a 24 hour ticket on 'Rome Tour' bus. This was a bad idea, because the bus is infrequent.
First stop, Collosium.
Why not?
It's integral to theatre history, and I want to see the inside and imagine it filled with water.
Lame.
Lame and covered in crosses.
And torn apart.
Ripped to shreds.
On one hand, it is one of the 'wonders of the world' that only represents the sheer enjoyment of human death, no other culture really had a non-religious open killing monument before the Collosium. Built on Jewish slave-labor.
(Did you know they had Sailors raise the linen ceilings? Great idea!)
On the other hand, it was a gorgeous building, and perhaps could have been remodled into something else.
Nope. Robbed and profained.
'The difference between vandalism and remodoling is government funding.'

This sort of thing pisses me off.
Now there is some disagreence, and honestly I don't know the truth.
Supposedly christains were killed in mass for spectacle in a different ring.
I don't know.
What I do know is that I hate Constantine.

I paid 12 extra euro for my tour, because it came with a guide, and I got to skip the line.
This was worth it, today was the last day the collosium would be open for a day or two, and it's supposedly the bussiest day of the year. 2 hour line easy. (6€/hour? Hell yes!)
The guide was funny and educated.
And there was a free tour (and line skip) with the Palace thingy.
The old palace thingy.
I went there.
It was passable.
I have pictures.
They are on facebook. Actaully the whole trip is there.
Captions when I'm not exhausted.

After this I went to the Bus-stop.
4 times another bus went by (ten minute intervals) and no sign of my bus.
Oh, btw, don't buy from the Rome Food-Wagon Vendor things.
They are expensive and shitty food.
Shitty icecream really, the food's not bad.
Funny thing: A spanish man asked for a sandwich, and the vendor asked him if he wanted the salami one, and he responed in spanish 'What? No! I'm Spanish, I want the Jamon!'
He was my hero, obviously.
I laughed and smiled at him, he smiled back.
I love being pseudo-bilingiual.

'Roma Cristi' (or whatever the damn thing's called0 is 3€ cheaper than 'Rome Tour', more frequent, and stays open much longer. It's a tour bus line.
If you are in Rome, take this, buy this ticket, it's like a day bus pass with guided tour and great stops. Trust me.
So I bought the ticket for the bus. (still no sign of Tour Rome)
From here?
Pantheon.

The Pantheon...
Rome... oh rome.
I should have wikiapedia'd the Pantheon before going.
I only knew a little bit about it.
The Byrant Poem, the past.
Not the present.
Oh the present.
Ohhhhh the present.
Pop quiz: Where was Julias Cesar Assissinated?
A) In the Collosium, after he stabbed Russell Crowe in the Lungs. (No, that was Joaquin Phoenix)
B) The Forum. (No. But a funny thing did happen on his way to it.
C) Argentina. (No. But this is what history tells us.)
D) The Pantheon. (Yes, he was killed there with the rest of the Roman Gods.)
I'm not Catholic.
I'm not terribly christian, and to be honest, even if I am, I'm a very Buddhist christian.
But I do love the Roman and Greek gods.
They are stories so old, so long forgotten the orriginal meanings (which no doubt were simple) that they have evolved into infinitely complicated dead beings.
(Actually I have this thought about the third overthow, being Athena instead of Apollo... See scholars think Apollo would have been the next God to Overthrow his father, among other reasons because his name stayed the same when the Romans took over. But you see Athena (she would revert to the old names, obviously) was an accumulation of other goddesses. She started out pretty lame, but as the Romans... or Greeks, 'converted' smaller groups she amased more lesser goddesses. She became the God of Wisdom, War, Vigor, all sortsa stuff... another time I suppose.)
It's very sad to see it all removed for all these Catholic Saints.
I guess it would be more interesting if Catholicism ate Roman Gods like Romans ate the Greek gods.
But instead they castrated them, as Chrono did his father.

I don't know if you knew this, but there was a tragic Earthquake that struck Italy in 1314, they say all of Rome fell into the Vatican.

Rome is lucky though.
This righteous anger was quickly quelled.
How so?


Consider the Anger quelled. For now.

This gelado was the BEST ice-cream I have ever eaten.
1) Prelines and Chocolate.
2) Chocolate.
3) Strassvouche. (Stracciella)
4) Another type of Chocolate.
I kept the spoon.

After this I wandered about more.
I went to the Vatican.
And there it kicked in.
Hard.
What exactly?
My weird reverse fear of heights.
Not that I get the opposite of affraid at heights. (Although come to think of it...)
I get terrified under very high ceilings.
Sometimes.
This was one of those times.
I started twitching.
People looked at me funny. This is something I got used to a long time ago.
But the fear was gripping at me.
I tried to chill, but it wasn't helping.
My batteries died in my camera, and I was out...
but not before bottling some holy water when no one was looking.
Yeah.
I hope some undead have the decency to attack me now!


And I even got some back to Spain!

I hoped another bus, and found a gift shop.
I went in looking for something in particular, and tried explaining to the guy there what I was hunting for, she didn't quite follow and gave me the wrong thing (just handed it to me) I explained (all this in english) that it wasn't what I was looking for, and she helped me find it, and then gave me the orriginal thing as a 'gift' for not understanding what I was saying. I tried explaining that it was my fault for not being able to speak Italian in Italy, but she insisted.
Wild.

Back to the hotel, and to make with the Kalimotxo (My firstborn daughter's name is going to be Kali Mallory-Dani Nichols, I've decided. The initials don't spell anything fun, but I'm going to love calling her Kalimotxo. She's going to be a spanish little girl too, no matter who the mother is. Could be you, you know, with that proposal and all. If you don't like the name Kali Mallory-Dani Nichols, well... we can talk about it.)

After pregaming with italian wine (cheap of course) and cokecola, I went out to the bars.
'This is cool, there's fountains everywhere! It's like drunk paradise!' I thought drinking from my third fountain.
Then, 'Oh Dukkha, I'm gunna get Disentary from this. Or something. Stupid Drunk Kishpike.'
Note: You know what they say about shopping while you're hungry, it also applies to Drunk and Shopping in a Chinese Store.


This is called a Donner Kebab. When you are A) Drunk, B) Poor or C) Hungry they are your friend. They are three and a half pounds of meat in half-pound of bread. The Red-Bull, was among other things, a bad idea.

That was the rest of my night, until I got stomach ill and came home, rested for an hour or two, and then wrote the lion's share of this blog, which I will later feed with a christian's share. There will be post cards, a lot of them, but stamps are sold out, like crazy. Expect Spanish Stamps unless I have more luck tomorrow. (With the sort of luck I've been having they may get airmailed for free because a dog has peed on my leg... or something.)

My trip back was rather uneventful, I met some interesting people and made it home.
All in all? I learned a lot about myself, the world, and how these two interconnected beings function together.
I'm not certain if I'd use the word 'enjoy' for how this trip went, but the word I would use would have a similar connotaion. I'm ka-freaking tired, but alive. I also have 700 some photos to filter through.
Uy!

Agur.