Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hace mucho, ¿no?

Well, it certainly has been a long time since our last post, and for those of you still regularly checking the blog for updates, kudos!

It has been a busy 6 weeks here in BCN. Jake took a 10-day trip to St. Louis to see his youngest brother graduate and spend time with his family. I had to stay here because the program was ending and there were many loose ends to tie up with the end of the school year. The students all returned to the US (well, almost all, a few stayed behind to aprovechar of Barcelona), so the days have been lonely in the Knox office with no one to visit me.

The English lessons that Jake and I have been teaching are also ending as the school year ends, so we will soon find ourselves with much more free time on our hands. I, for one, am advocating spending said free time at the beach.

Summer officially begins next week, and here in Spain the occasion is celebrated with St. John's Day, which actually is an all-night party that includes such exciting events as midnight swims in the Mediterranean, spontaneous bonfires, and copious amounts of fireworks. The summer looks to be a good one for us, as Jake's youngest brother will be visiting us for 8 days, I am planning on making a trip to the US for three weeks (although if this law firm job pans out, my travel plans may be placed on hold....), we will celebrate our second wedding anniversary on August 11, and then we will wrap up the summer with a huge 10 day festival in our neighborhood at the end of August. September will be here before we know it!

But for now, enjoy the beautiful summer weather, wherever you are (except if you're in the Southern Hemisphere. If so, enjoy winter! Ha, fools!)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Best Worst Sentence

From an AFP article discussing a theory that Neanderthal is a separate species from Homo Sapiens:
Various species of Homo have been put up for the crown of being our direct ancestor, only to find themselves dismissed by critics as failed branches of the Homo tree.
Yes, I'm a mental twelve-year-old.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Things I Have Eaten This Week

  • Home-made fried rice
  • Sushi
  • Home-made tortilla
  • Patatas bravas
  • Tuna steaks (twice)
  • Susie's risotto
  • Mussels
  • Granatizada (twice)
  • Mousse with sea salt and olive oil

Along with the usual pizza, paninis, etc. that are a regular part of my diet.

Monday, April 28, 2008

In Need of a Patron

So I just found out that I'm a groomsman in my best friend's wedding in September. Good news, right? Well, it turns out there's a problem. Before finding out about my groomsman duties, Susie and I had mapped out our summer travel. I was coming home for my brother's graduation and a July return to Chicago/St. Louis, in which much would take place. Plane tickets being as expensive as they are, this was pretty much our summer travel budget. So, I'm faced with a conundrum.

The obvious choice seems to be to skip the July trip or the wedding. Both are totally unfair. On one hand, I don't want to miss my friend's wedding. We've known each other for half our lives, and he stood in my wedding. On the other hand, skipping out on three weeks with Susie, seeing our respective families, and missing things like the Cardinals, Fire, Lollapalooza, etc. for what will be a "get in, get out" trip (the wedding is after school starts, so I'll be teaching) seems unfair to the people mentioned in this scenario. Not to mention I'll be begging off a family trip I promised Susie I'd make three times and have begged off of three times. This would be time number four.

So, being one who likes creative solutions to everything, I figure I have two options that have not yet hit the table.

Option 1 - Get a patron. It worked for Descartes, Leibniz, Brahe, and Mozart. Said patron would buy me a ticket to get to St. Louis for my friend's wedding. In return, I would (I don't know) do philosophy for this person, and when I make my lasting mark on academia, my patron will be remembered for their support.

Option 2 - Do something crazy for money. Did you ever watch I Bet You Will? Ever see the Million Dollar Webpage? I'm willing to get a group of people to chip in money for me to do something crazy (but safe, non-scarring, etc.), provided the money raised will allow me to cover my travel plans for the summer.

Here's what I want from you: either let me know that you'll just straight up be my patron, throw me some ideas regarding what I can do, or let me know that you'll sponsor me in whatever crazy endeavor I go after. I'm counting on you, internets!

And... We're Back

Sorry for dropping off the face of the Earth there, but it's been a busy month. Few things to update you on, though. First, Susie was sick for two weeks, so her sickness and my care duties prevented us from posting.

Also, random articles that I posted on the blog have a new home:, also known as It Came From the Interweb! Posting here has been non-existent, but posting there is fairly steady.

Barça is playing the second leg of their Champions League Semi-Final tomorrow against Manchester United at Old Trafford. The first game was a 0-0 tie, so Man U can only advance with a win. Barça automatically advances with a win, any draw but 0-0, or a penalty shoot-out victory. Since Barcelona was eliminated from winning the Liga championship, this match is huge with a capital HUGE.

More soon, but I wanted to let you know... we're not dead!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rediscovering Octavio Paz

One of the most enjoyable musical experiences I had with the Knox College Choir was singing Eric Whitacre's choral works. They're very contemporary tone poems that typically draw from preexisting texts. Frequently, Whitacre found inspiration in the poems of Mexican poet Octavio Paz.

When I was at Knox, I remember searching for a Paz collection in the library, and I was fortunate enough to find a bilingual collection (Paz wrote exclusively in Spanish). I'm usually not a poetry person. I don't understand it. But something about Paz clicked for me, and there was one poem in particular that struck me. It was beautiful in so many ways. Its images were beautiful. Its language was beautiful. And it was heartbreakingly sad.

This poem fell by the wayside until I saw the Knox College Choir in Castello d'Empuries this past Sunday and bought the CD from their 2006 Spain tour. Laura dipped into the Whitacre well again, and Whitacre dipped into the Paz well, also. Track #11 is the poem I found back in Galesburg, "A Boy And A Girl."

[Los Novios]

Tendidos en la yerba
una muchacha y un muchacho.
Comen naranjas, cambian besos
como las olas cambian sus espumas.

Tendido en la playa
una muchacha y un muchacho.
Comen limones, cambian besos
como las nubes cambian espumas.

Tendidos bajo tierra
una muchacha y un muchacho.
No dicen nada, no se besan,
cambian silencio por silencio.

[A Boy and a Girl]

Stretched out on the grass,
a boy and a girl.
Savoring their oranges, giving their kisses
like waves exchanging foam.

Stretched out on the beach,
a boy and a girl.
Savoring their limes, giving their kisses
like clouds exchanging foam.

Stretched out underground,
a boy and a girl.
Saying nothing, never kissing,
giving silence for silence.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Quick Quiz

What do Star Trek: Voyager, DeGrassi Jr. High, Lost, and Hangin' With Mr. Cooper all have in common?

They all took place in an autistic boy's head!

What?! According to this guy, who obviously has too much time on his hands but is awesome nonetheless, they all take place in Tommy Westphall's head. So who's Tommy Westphall? He's the surprise twist ending in the final episode of St. Elsewhere, when it was revealed that the whole series was nothing but a daydream that took place in Tommy's autistic mind. So how do we get from there to the United Federation of Planets/Canada/The Island/Oakland?

The logic goes like this. At some point, there was a crossover episode between St. Elsewhere and Homicide: Life on the Streets where one of the docs was investigated for murder. Therefore, since Homicide characters interacted with fictional St. Elsewhere characters, it also took place in Tommy Westphall's head. But Homicide had crossovers, too. Those crossovers had crossovers. And before you know it, there are 282 shows existing within the same fictional sphere, all of which are figments of Tommy's imagination. Some are obvious (e.g. all those TGIF shows on ABC that did crossovers all the time), some are less so (e.g. the connection between The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which involves a fictional cigarette brand). It's like a cracked-out version of Three Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

For example:
St. Elsewhere to Lost (Four Steps)
St. Elsewhere's aforementioned doctor was investigated for murder on Homicide.
John Munch from Homicide questions the Lone Gunmen from The X-Files.
The mugshot from the X-Files episode "Titonus" can be seen in the Veronica Mars episode "Leave it to Beaver"
In another episode, the lucky numbers in Veronica's fortune cookie are the Numbers from Lost.

Crazy, huh?
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