Pictures and Updates.

December 30th, 2010

I'm going to hate January 9th.
I'm going to Ireland for the 1st-8th.
Expect a huge blog filled new camera photos, and Ireland photos.
Dublin, Cork, Tulsk, I dunno where else.
I fully intend to sample what a true Irish pub has to offer.


Mele Kalikimaka!

December 25, 2010

I’m dreaming of a blue Christmas.
Well really more grey than blue. But the day has been chock-full of Blue October, Jason Webley, American Movies dubbed in Spanish, and silly writing projects that don’t really amount to anything. Today hasn’t been very, special, I guess.
No great loss, it has been relaxing and lunch was very good.
I did give Carmen a small gift, that she seemed to like, nothing too serious, but I did think it would be a nice gesture since I’ve been living in her house and eating her food, and she does do my laundry and all.
It seems in Spain, “The Good Night” is a larger celebration

Good Night
Last night Carmen, Antonio, and I all went over to Carmen’s to John’s, her oldest son, flat for dinner. The dinner was very, very large with multiple courses, plenty of jámon and that fantastic lightly cooked salmon they have here.
John’s family is great, his wife is a doctor, but insists on being called a “Medica” which seems to be a humility thing, not something I’d expect in Spain.
His oldest son, Joshu I think, is 19 and uncertain with what he wants to do with his life, but he is a clever young man, and quite friendly. His parents give him a hard time about his long hair, which is somewhere between a mullet and an afro. They told him he couldn’t be full basque until he cut his hair (because John, Joshu’s father is half Mexican, as that Carmen is Mexican.)
John’s youngest daughter was nice, and could speak English, but was too embarrassed to talk with me directly, which is fine, she’s seven and can sing quite well.
John’s wife’s (I can’t recall her name to save my life, I’m so bad with basque names...Okay names in general) aunt was at dinner as well. She was very nice, but insisted that I should speak english with her, even though she didn’t quite follow anything I said. She was a little bit older, and very sweet, but a touch senile I fear. She had me translate the ‘menu’ of the meal to her in English, and ‘corrected’ me several times. She also kept touching the back of my head, which is a very basque thing to do, I tried not to show it when she accidentally bumped my new ear piercings.

The dinner was fabulous. Pâté, jámon, the salmon, bread, fancy salads that were made of their own lettuce bowls and contained avocado, white asparagus with mayonnaise, those little lobster/shrimp guys that are so popular here, the family spent a good 15 minutes teaching me how to eat them. Everyone here keeps telling me ‘Tranquillo’ but I never feel like I’m stressing out when people tell me this, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m a stresser, but I feel like I can be rather calm and easy going at times, and when I’m told to chill when I’m already chilling… I get confused.
Anyhow, after the shellfish, of which I must have had five, there was “caldo” a traditional spanish broth.
John’s wife insisted that it was a very traditional part of Christmas eve’s dinner, and was upset to see how many people didn’t want any. I, not wishing to miss out on anything, had a bowl of this as well. It wasn’t bad, broth with some hard-boiled egg bits mixed in.
After caldo snails were brought in, covered in a meaty-tomato sauce.
John asked me if I’d ever tried snails ‘caracoles’ before. I admitted that I had at a festival, and that I had not enjoyed them particularly, but I also mentioned that I’d be willing to try his.
He assured me that his would be better.
The sauce alone was very good, and the family, swifter this time, taught me how to remove the snail from its shell. These snails were better than the ones at the festival, which were, as my father expertly put it, like shoeleather. These were tender, and covered in meaty tomato sauce.
After caracoles we moved on the main course. I elected to try both the fish and the meat, which was heavily encouraged.
The basque love eaters.
I love eating.
It works out well.
A white soft flaky fish cooked in some mixture of vinegar and other…cooking… things, it was nice but I have a personal preference for the fish prepared by my grandmother.

The meat was as Antonio put it ‘very bloody’ and quite fantastic.
Now something I don’t think people stateside really get, is what ‘bread’ means here.
When I say I had bread with dinner, I don’t mean I had one or two slices of garlic or french bread.
I mean that there are several large loaves of freshly made European, Spanish to be exact, bread, that is softer and more delicious than any ‘french’ bread I’ve had back stateside. This food item is not a food item here, no, it’s a utensil (funny, not “an utensil”). Everything is eaten with a slice of bread. I could have easily eaten a foot of bread, if not more.
After dinner there was ice cream, chocolates, dried fruits and coffee.
Then we pulled out a computer, hooked up to skype, and conference called Carmen’s sister and mother, who live in Mexico. That was really cool.
Afterward we all stayed up late talking about what must have been a thousand odd things.
I’m really excited because I could keep up with a massive amount of the conversation, and could express some fairly complicated ideas with some proficiency.
Go go Spanish language improvement!

Merry Christmas Kishpike.
So I went ahead and spent a little more money after doing my Christmas shopping on a few things for my favorite weasel.
I sorely miss second hand stores, for their super (when I say super like this, I throw my head back and close my eyes) reasonable prices, and their odd assortment of clothing items that are unique and interesting. Not that spain is lacking interesting clothing items.

So here’s the Santa Swag:
~A Lilac Samsung ST60 camera.
Because I had lost my previous camera in Madrid, I purchased a new one. Cameras in Europe are painfully expensive. Don’t lose one while you’re here.

~ A pair of boomerang ‘speedmaster’ inline skates.
These were fairly… ‘reasonably’ priced. I’m overly spoiled with my $12 second hand rollerblades.

~ My first movie ticket in Spain. “Tron Legacies”
No spoilers here, but I was relatively disappointed with the movie. I was excited that I understood most of it, as that it was already dubbed over in spanish.

~ 1 spanish scarf. And only 1. I may purchase a Team ‘Athletic Club’ scarf and go see a football game next semester but for now this scarf helps me with blending in.

So merry Christmas to me!

I would have liked to do more traveling to some more exotic locations, but I’m afraid I don’t trust myself traveling alone too much anymore. Hopefully next semester I will get some friends to want to go to Morocco, or Venice with me.

So rollerblades. Something I should have invested in from the start.
There is so much freedom, so much expression of movement, so much I love about being able to rollerblade.
The faster pace makes it easier to travel about, and I feel less like I am unable to ‘get places’ when I have my rollerblades.
I look forward to the next dry day, so that I can try out the local skate park.

The next dry day.
So… thing about a skate park.
Filled with young skaters.
Children, who are everywhere, and teenagers, who have something to prove.
I’m not certain what, but I recall the feeling fine. (Or still feel it, or whatever.)
Other thing about a skate park.
I have never really skated in one.
After falling down three or four times, and making an ass out of myself even more, I decided for the (benefit of my own feeble pride) safety of the children, it’d be best to learn when there were less people about.

So my poor computer is dying. Slowly.
Every day it can only charge up to 1-2% less than it could the day before.
Right now I’m at 67% when she’s fully charged.
Running at low power consumption, I can squeeze 5 hours out of it before it goes south, which isn’t so bad, but the continual loss of “fully charged percent” does concern me.
I fear soon I shall have a lightweight desktop instead of a netbook.

Dead Horse.
So, I know by now it’s pretty much a dead horse on your side of things, but this is my blog, so I’m gunna write about it anyway, because I just can’t kill the beast.
There’s still lots of it.
I realize that that’s not going to change anytime sooner than my state of being foreign.
But it would certainly make leaving the house a lot easier.
A lot easier.
Maybe I’m just reading it wrong.
Maybe the scowl and the knitted eyebrows doesn’t mean “What the fuck is that kid doing here,” perhaps it’s a cultural greeting.
I mean I know smiling is a very American greeting, maybe I’m in the wrong here.
Mmm very pirate. I’ll toss in an “Arrr” next time I see someone scowling at me, and see if that works. (No, I won’t.)

Merry Christmas!


Christmas Vacation, dubbed over in Spanish

December 19th, 2010

All's well.
Not much to report. Thus the lack of any recent blogs. My apologies if this entry is rather bland, things haven't been too crazy lately.

Finals went fairly well, and I'm in vacation until January 10th.
I was going to travel to Morocco during this period of time, but after my experiences with traveling alone, I've decided to cut back on that practice, especially outside of the EU proper. I got into enough trouble in 'Venice,' I don't want to push this little weasel's luck. (Hopefully next semester I can grab a friend to go with me to Morocco because I really want to see it really badly. I may even tempt fate and travel it alone if I have to.)
Instead I will be going to Ireland, thanks to the suggestion of Damien, who will be staying there for a bit. I think I may try and see Dublin and Cork, as well as the Small town where Damien is staying. (Which had 1.5 pubs, but rumor is they've expanded to two now.)

Like Christmas.
Today we put up the Christmas tree. By we I mean Me, Carmén, and Antonio, Carmén's son. It is a little rubber tree, that is cute in its own sense, and we decorated it simply with lights, red and gold balls, and some ribbon. There were a few other decorations, but for the most part the simple stuff. It's missing a star, or a topper really, and that sort of bothers me a little, the crowning jewel is missing, as it were. Carmén says she'll buy a star and an extension cord at Corte Íngles tomorrow, so I'm not too concerned about it. It was fun to put up the tree, but I am beginning to miss the smells that I seem to remember being strongly tied to Christmas. Ginger, Cinnamon, Pine, the like. It’s been ages since I've had any apple pie at all, let alone my father's famous creations.

More in the sense of Senoritis than in the sense of the inflammation of the pank. No, this pank is not inflaming; he has just fallen behind on his Christmas responsibilities. Christmas-post cards will be late. Apologies.
Gifts will probably be delivered upon arrive stateside, because mailing is a mad house right now, and super expensive.

It's down to negative degrees Celsius some nights here. Which isn't incredibly cold considering where I hail from, but that humidity will really get to you. You just can't shake the cold, and I find myself missing the dry cold nights of Idaho.
A lot of good cold nights remembered. A lot of bad cold nights forgotten.
Such is the memory, isn't it?

To aid with the cold, I've been drinking good wine. Last night I halved my bottle of "Itsas Mendi", and am steadily working on requiring a second bottle of it tonight. It is a fantastic Basque white wine that makes me think I could actually enjoy white wines later in life. It’s sweetened with honey has an ever so slight bubble to it. And it cost me less than cheap wine stateside does.
I have a wineskin now, for carrying such wine... and occasionally vodka, with me when I travel.
Or for the 16 hours a day that the heat isn't on inside my flat. You see heat is more expensive here, so it only comes on at night, and only until midnight. From 4 to midnight is when we have heat, give or take.
Makes drying my boots tricky.
Luckily we're on the 'second' floor, which means we're on the third floor for those of you unfamiliar with European floor labeling. (Get's me every time in the Corte Íngles. I go to what I think is the second floor and think "This is children’s clothing! This isn't at all electronics. Stupid sign said that electronics were on the...oh. Right.) Being on the 'second' floor means the heat from the lower level raises up to us. Yay other people's heat. But it’s still cold.

Too tired to be upset.
I tried to buy internet the other day, because it’s hard to type when my hands are numb, and the Cafe people really don't like me. Honestly being out in the freezing elements is a warmer climate than inside with the icy glares.
Turns out in order to buy internet you must be a resident.
It's for the best; it will get me out of the house more often.
On the topic of being addicted to the internet, and probably being on it more often than I should be, I would like to also point out that many of my obligations from school, loan management, travel, and my upcoming internship all require internet access. I'm not denying that I am an internet addict, but access to said internet is more important than just to feed the craving.
Ah well.
A second jacket and both my scarves will have to do for now.

Meeting the Theatre group I'll be interning for this Tuesday. I'd be excited if I hadn't already been disillusioned with what Spain calls theatre.
Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.
Maybe not.
But a chance to work inside my beloved theatre world is not something I'm going to pass up.

Is it just me or does this post seem to be lacking strong opinions, bad jokes, and silly references to a wedding proposition?
Like I said, not much to report.


Sick as a Weasel

December 12, 2010

I am sick.
I am behind in my homework.
I have three days of class and a final exam.

Christmas Party.
There was a brief house-party last night.
That was a godsend, but it ended prematurely, because house parties are not common in Spain and Neighbors get very, very, very angry.
I was drinking for a house party. Which is different than drinking for the streets.
For example: There were Jello Shots.
I was far too drunk for my own good when we left the house.
However my night was largely uneventful, without loss of memory.
So perhaps I wasn't terribly drunk, but I did have a bit of a headache this morning... which probably wasn't helped by my fierce cold.

Not much else to update.


Getting By

December 9th, 2010

So I've tried to write a few blogs in the past week, but for reasons best left divulged in private, I was unable to convince myself to post anything that I wrote.
Suffice to say I'm stressed for many reasons.
So, before returning to my wonderful homework, I'm going to go ahead write a quick review of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 'Conica de una muerte anunnciada.'

A translation/Paraphraisation of this Story:
Santiago Nasar is dead.
This was his fate.
This was his destiny.
This is back in the day when people couldn't change society, because it was too hard.
That is why today is exactly like yesteryear. Because no one could stand up and say 'I don't think this is right.'
That is why something like that has never happened, ever.
The Protagonist of this story is the author, and therefor any issues in the writing can be blamed on him and not Marquez.
The Character is just an unskilled writer from a little pueblo trying to get his facts straight, so Marquez just really wanted to capture this character's inability to create profound female characters. Nope shallow ones are probably the only one that this "character" understands.
Why is he dead? (repeat this question 1 billion times. Once more for good measure).
The he who I just asked is Santiago. (Writing obscurely is fun for the reader!)
Here's a bunch of people.
Wait a little bit more.
If your confused, that's because the author's clever.
Speaking of waiting, and we were, here's some interesting things shoved down your throat.
~Men Suck.
~Men suck because society makes them. Grabs their arms and twists them until the man decides he has to be macho.
~Women had a shitty lot back in the day. They couldn't change this.
~strong hints towards not just back in the day. (He's supposed to be seen as helpful to the feminist movement, but I don't think so.)
~Pride is a monster that will come into your house and eat your children.
~Pride is evil.
~Pride is evil.
~Why is he dead.
~Pride is evil.
~Destiny happens.
Here's why they're important.
They being that bunch of people you were introduced before you started waiting.
Intentionally Vague details about things.
In conclusion, nothing.
You be the jury!
1 gallon of "I'm a Clever writer with a clever device" mixed in with a heavy hand.
2 buckets of forced mystery poured over the lot.
Serve chilled.

I don't like this book.
And now I get to spend another 3 hours explaining these things in Spanish, and in detail.
I hope you're enjoying your night.