Sunday, September 30, 2007


What do they have in store for us this time?

New Radiohead.

October 10.

In Rainbows.

Best. Band. Ever.


Few new pictures up on Flickr. Mostly the view from our balcony. Hope you like 'em.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Talk About Propaganda

Major League Soccer is expanding again. Ives Galarcep reported earlier this week that the Seattle Sounders, who currently play in the USL, will join (be promoted to?) MLS as the 15th team in 2009. But what I find interesting is this article, which found its way to my Google Reader:


Okay, rumors and innuendo. That's cool. But who published the story? The MLS official website! It includes the gem, "The league would not confirm or deny any impending accouncement [sic] on a Seattle franchise." Well that may be, but it won't stop them from all but "accouncing" it on their website. This is like:


So I'm "accouncing" a contest. Best stupid rumor propaganda headline. Winner gets an MLS-style press release written by yours truly to be posted for posterity on J&S. Your entry has to be sports-related, true, and (above all) HILLARIOUS. Submit your entry via the comments. Multiple entries are okay, as long as they are funny.

Also, I don't know if MLS can handle this torrid expansion pace (Toronto F.C. joined the league this year and San Jose hits the pitch next year) - it doesn't even seem to know how many teams are in the league. The sub-headline states, "Pacific Northwest reportedly targeted for 14th franchise" and there's mention of Seattle as 14th franchise in the first paragraph. BUT... the league currently has 13 teams (RBNY, New England, Columbus, D.C. United, Toronto F.C., Chicago, F.C. Dallas, Houston, L.A., Chivas USA, Colorado, Real Salt Lake, and Kansas City, all of which I sadly named from memory) and San Jose (re)joins the league next year, making the Sounders the fifteenth MLS team.

Also, San Jose, the real 14th team, isn't in the Pacific Northwest (last I checked). Maybe I need remedial math and geography classes. Or, the person who wrote the press release is a referee.

Don't forget the contest!

Barça Update: Hats Off

Wanna see a trick?

Tonight was one of those games that was never in doubt, with a streaking, in-form Barcelona taking on last place Levante. How bad is Levante this year? Going into tonight's game, they had scored two goals through five games, while conceding ten for a league worst -8 goal differential. It got worse for the Frogs (where do they come up with these nicknames...) as Thierry Henry decided to show everyone why he makes all those euros by scoring a natural hat trick on 4 shots.

In other news, Barça officially got their captain back from injury, with defender Carles Puyol coming on as a halftime substitute. In addition to being a world class defender, Puyol may be the ugliest man on the planet. Fortunately, the captaincy isn't a beauty contest and the armband, which had jumped from alternate captain Ronadinho to second alternate Victor Valdes to Xavi, finally came back to number 5. The only remaining significant injuries are Ronnie, who's expected back on Wednesday (unless he spends Monday night in da club), and Eto'o, expected back in about a month.

Barça now have a break in league play until next Sunday, when they take on Atlético Madrid in what has the potential to be an upper-table clash at the Camp Nou. Before that, it's off to Germany to take on VfB Stuttgart in Champions League group play Wednesday. A win there would give Barcelona a commanding position for the remainder of group play. But for now, the standings:

1) F.C. Barcelona / 4-0-2 / 14 points / +9
2) Real Madrid / 4-0-1 / 13 points / +10
3) Villareal / 4-1-0 / 12 points / +3
4) Valencia / 4-1-0 / 12 points / +1
5) Atlético Madrid / 2-1-2 / 8 points / +5

Pelé Sez: Barcelona sits atop the table for the first time this season, but don't get excited. There were only two Saturday games, so sixteen teams are in action tomorrow, including three that can pass Barça in the standings. I say they finish the weekend in third.

By the way, since they played Barcelona, Sevilla have absolutely tanked. They went into the match tied for second and have since lost to Barça, lost at home against Espanyol, and lost tonight at Zaragoza (the team Messi singlehandedly throttled on Wednesday). Depending on how tomorrow's games work out, Sevilla could see themselves drop to sixteenth place, or fourteen spots in ten days. Sure it's early, but wow. I never did that with Santos. Maybe it's the crazy pink uniforms. Mathematically, the best they can hope for is to start October in 11th place. Given the games tomorrow, I figure they drop to 13th. And I'm Pelé, so you should listen to me. Love! Love! Love!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Up Yours, American Broadcasting Company

Grey's Season 4: With McDreamy, McSteamy, & McABCsucks

There are certain things about American life that I miss, mostly food related. But being in Barcelona also means a big, fat no to a lot of television. Not that this is a real problem, in most cases. My viewing habits pretty much consisted of the occasionally available Cardinals game, Fire away games, Lost, Grey's Anatomy, and whatever was on Discovery.

I can follow the Cards online (and am advocating for's season pass for Christmas), same with the Fire. MythBusters, et al. are surreptitiously available on YouTube - the parts worth watching, at least. But I need my Grey's and I really need my Lost. In that heroin-addict-needs-his-fix sort of way. You can take away man points for liking Grey's if you want, but I need to know what happens, and so does Susie. They're showing it in Spanish (on Fox, no less), but Anatomia de Grey is 1) starting with season 1, which I've seen, and 2) is in Spanish, which I don't understand. Though the "penis in a cooler" episode would no doubt be funny in Spanish even if you don't speak the language, I'm not interested.

But I had a plan.

Remember how at the end of every episode of every ABC show they say something along the lines of, "watch the episode again on"? Even the bad ones like October Road or Six Degrees? I thought to myself, "I know! I'll watch the episode on"

So this morning, I went to to see how the whole endeavor works (knowing anything online not owned by Google has a reasonable chance of being overly complicated) and have the whole thing ready to go when Susie gets back. I was greeted by the following message:

Only viewers within the United States can watch these full-length episodes.

WHAT?! Why?! Who's idea was this? I can buy (read: choose to ignore) your damned Dove body wash and whatever other products are being pushed on the ads just as easily over here as back home. Unfortunately, ABC's Executive Vice-President of Online Suckitude has spoken, so I'm left with few options.

Basically, I see my options as this:
1) Wait for the Season 4 DVD for like $35, get high-def quality, watch at leisure, but wait until everyone else I know has been discussing the season ad nauseum. Face social ostracization. ABC gets a portion of my purchase price as a direct result of their sucking.
2) Sign up for the iTunes Season Pass for the same $35, get what has been described as VCR-ish resolution, get now, and watch at leisure. Then purchase DVD set for (inexplicably) the same amount. ABC gets a portion of my purchase price as a direct result of their sucking. Twice.
4) Move back to America at a price several hundred times the cost of the iTunes pass and the DVDs combined and give up everything good about life in Barcelona for a television show. Still miss season premiere and episodes up to his return. ABC gets nothing.
3) Download episodes from LimeWire for free, get varying quality, watch at leisure, keep reasonably up to date, possibly miss an episode here or there, face potential wraith of the man (or el joven). ABC again gets no money for their douchetude, though I'd likely purchase the DVD set later anyway. Extras and all.

So what to do? I'm initiating the first ever Jake and Susie in Spain blogpoll. I want your input. What should I do? I can't boycott a show I can't watch (that would show them), and I need to know what to do soon, as I'm already falling behind. Also, missing an episode of Lost is simply not an option.

You killed off my two favorite characters, but I need to know what happens.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

YouTube Greatness

What do you get when you combine two of the internet's most popular phenomena - Will It Blend? and Chuck Norris?

Greatness. That's what.

26 Things

Well, it's not September 28th yet where you are, perhaps, but it is here in Barcelona. For those of you that don't have Facebook (and its handy reminders), today is Susie's 26th birthday. Unfortunately, she's en route to Chicago without me for a wedding, so we can't celebrate properly until she's back and recovered from jet lag.

So, in the meantime, here are 26 things I love about Susie:

1) Her reasoning process has two settings - "Cold Logic" and "No Logic"
2) Her smile
3) She's a dork, but an awesome dork
4) She sings like no one is listening (cause sometimes she forgets I'm there)
5) She takes care of me when I'm sick or having a bad day
6) She gets nervous before she flies
8) She gets embarrassed when you compliment her
9) She makes a mean quesadilla
10) Refuses to purchase a belt
11) She speaks Spanish
12) She's cute when she sleeps (as long as you don't try to wake her up!)
13) Was willing to pack up and move to Barcelona
14) Her funny story voices
15) Takes photos of herself
16) She's a vegetarian, but doesn't cringe when I eat raw meat
18) Calls Catalan streets by their Spanish names
19) Has rockin' musical taste
20) Puts up with my online poker
21) Learned to play online poker (and might be better than me)
22) Puts up with my endless, profanity-laced tirades at Fire games
23) Dislikes Chad Barrett
24) Participates in theme roadtrips each October and March*
25) Has started letting the boys in on said get togethers
26) Inexplicably married me

Happy birthday, Susie!

*on an unrelated note, I propose [vulgar title of March trip] III: Crema Catalana!

Take That, Freedom Haters!


"The [Justice Department] here is asking this court to, in essence, amend the Bill of Rights by giving it an interpretation that would deprive it of any real meaning. This court declines to do so."

-U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken

courtesy Reuters

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Barça Update: Messi SMASH!

Did you know they have a Soccer Fan application on Facebook? I only have one favorite player listed right now, and he was averaging a goal every seven minutes for a glorious 28 minute span (the last 17 minutes of Saturday's game and the first eleven of tonight's). Who is this man among boys? I'll give you a hint: His name starts with "L" and ends with "eo Messi".

Messi 2 - Zaragoza 1.
Oh, and Barça scored two more, too.

Sadly, I didn't get to watch the game. Susie's going back to the states for a friend's wedding, and we decided to spend time together in a non-bar setting. It's a safe bet I'll be hanging around YouTube in the near future.

What I was able to figure out from ESPN GameCast and the shouting out our window was that this game was over right quick, and again it came with only two of the Fantastic Four on the pitch - Ronaldinho's expected back Wednesday for the Champions League tilt against VfB Stuttgart and Eto'o expected back... sometime. When that happens, look out! But for now, here are the standings:

1) Villareal / 4-1-0 / 12 points / +3*
2) Valencia / 4-1-0 / 12 points / +1
3) F.C. Barcelona / 3-0-2 / 11 points / +6
4) Real Madrid / 3-0-1 / 10 points / +8
5)Atlético Madrid 2-1-2 / 8 points / +5

* Pelé Sez: Congratulations to Villareal! The Submarine top the Spanish Primera table for the first time in their 84 year history. Incredibly, the could keep this position for only 24 hours, as a torrid Real Madrid play a struggling Real Betis tomorrow at the Bernabéu. As for Barça, expect them to find themselves back in fourth this time tomorrow. The only way they can stay in third is if Real Madrid loses, since Madrid have the better goal differential. I don't see them losing, and I'm Pelé, so you should listen to me. Love! Love! Love!

For You RSS Readers Out There

Come check the website (blogsite?) for our new header! Graphic Identity! Woo!

Maybe someday we'll be all custom-like. Until then, we made a header.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's Just Too Good...


"It is incredible to see firsthand what you brave men and women do every day," Bush said to rousing applause. "You are all heroes."

-The Onion

Problems? What Problems?

So Susie and I had an interesting meta-discussion earlier this evening about President Bush's speech before the United Nations regarding Burma (or Myanmar, or whatever it's called this week). She mentioned how the only reason world leaders are paying attention to it is because of the monks protesting in the capital* against the junta, when there are far worse atrocities committed every day by America's "friends and allies". Not to excuse what's going on with all of the junta tomfoolery, but worse goes on every day by countries America has sworn to protect.

Meanwhile, back in the hallowed, have-nothing-better-to-do-today, photo-op land that is Congress, the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee had hearings on degrading lyrics in rap music, rather than trying to balance the budget or try and find this guy. They have two rappers testify - Da Last Don himself, Master P (there's a name I haven't heard in a while) and Levell Crump a/k/a David Banner. While Master P was falling all over himself apologizing for past transgressions, David Banner (in what the New York Times described as "testimony laced with swear words") spoke truth to power. Here's some DB food for thought.

"Change the situation in my neighborhood and maybe I'll get better. . . If by some stroke of the pen hip-hop was silenced, the issues would still be present in our communities. Drugs, violence, sexism and the criminal element were around long before hip-hop existed.''

Hova's not saying nice things, but it's art. And it's true.

*Jake and Susie in Spain's official editorial position: Go Monks!

Also, we like the First Amendment.

Monday, September 24, 2007

What's cooler than being cool?

ICE COLD! A'ight, a'ight, a'ight, a'ight, a'ight, a'ight, a'ight, a'ight, a'ight.

Seriously, I thought seeing fireworks on the beach last night was cool, but it could not compare with seeing fireworks from our balcony tonight. Wicked badass! Yeah, we basically have the best apartment ever.

The numerous fireworks shows were in celebration of La Mercè, the biggest holiday in Barcelona. It celebrates the Patron Saint of Barcelona, Santa Euralia, and the celebrations consist of a weekend-long party. There are fireworks shows, castellers (human towers), gigantes (giant paper mache characters), and even correfoc (which literally translates to running fire...there's a parade of "dragons" who shoot fire at you). There are mini carnivals all over the city, and, in my opinion the best part is that most of the museums are free! Jake and I went to the Music Museum yesterday and it was really interesting. The museum detailed the history of music and its importance in the world. There were exhibits that had instruments from different time periods and different countries. The last exhibit in the museum consisted of a room where you could play the instruments. There was a harp, cello, electric guitar, and organ (to only name a few). Though the museum wasn't on the top of my list of things to see in Barcelona, it was super cool.

In other news, I am headed to Chicago for the weekend. I don't exactly know how my body will handle the time change, but hopefully I won't be a walking zombie for the entire weekend.

...And Now, The Exciting Conclusion

Susie's finally finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as we speak. I gave up on interacting with her about two hours ago, but she asked for my help with a load of laundry.

When it was done, she sat down on the bed next to me, looked at me and said, "Okay, I gotta go," and turned to her book. Talk about being sucked into the world of fiction.

Okay, I gotta go.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

This is Awesome

The entire NOVA series The Elegant Universe is available on YouTube. I am a Nerd.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Barça Update: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Him Back

Bow down before me.

Imagine you have a football match tonight. Imagine further that it's against one of the most storied teams in the world. Now imagine that streaking down the left touchline is the future of football not just on this storied team, or in your league, but quite possibly the world. How do you contain him?

If you're Sevilla F.C. (who have the incomprehensable nickname palanganas, or washbowls), you do three things:

First, you bunker your entire team and play for a tie from the opening kick.

Second, you triple team this football wonder, leaving seven men to cover Barça's remaining nine field players.

Third, you foul him like it's going out of style.

On the other hand, if you're Lionel Messi, Argentine wünderkind, you look at all of this, shrug your shoulders, and score. Twice.

I thought Sevilla's bunker defense would keep Barcelona's open play scoreless streak going in La Liga, but Messi hammered home a cracker of a goal in the 77th minute and converted a penalty in the 79th. Apparently, the guy hugging Giovanni dos Santos in the box wasn't showing him love. He was keeping Giovanni from his first league goal and giving Messi his second of the match via the aforementioned penalty.

Sevilla got one back in stoppage time, but 2-1 was a fair result. A bunker defense against a better team is disgusting and gets no style points, but it's does the job. Kind of like Night Train.

La Liga Standings*

1) Real Madrid / 3-0-0 / 9 points / +8
2) F.C. Barcelona / 2-0-2 / 8 points / +3
3) Sevilla / 2-1-0 / 6 points/ +5
4) Valencia / 2-1-0 / 6 points / -1
5) Villareal / 2-1-0 / 6 points / -1

*Pelé Sez: Most of La Liga plays tomorrow, so Barça could be as low as fifth, depending on the outcome of the Valencia game, a win either way in the Murcia-Villareal tilt, and if Racing can hang three on Athletico. I say they finish the weekend in a solid third, and I'm Pelé, so you should listen to me. Love! Love! Love!

Friday, September 21, 2007

It's about time I gave this a listen

So what am I doing at 1:00 AM in Barcelona on a lovely Friday night? Besides recovering from our whirlwind Ikea trip (we totally rocked that trip, and even did it on public transportation)?

Well, I was playing internet poker, but a straight on the river bested my kings. So, I'm finally (read: six months after downloading) listening to The Kleptones' most recent album, 24 Hours. If you haven't heard of The Kleptones, you are seriously missing out. I think they are by FAR the most interesting and technically accomplished mash-up artists. Mash-ups are basically new songs that are composed entirely of old songs, like sampling in hip hop taken to the next level.

You ever notice how The Beatles' "Lady Madonna" and Sublime's "What I Got" have the same chord progression? No? Well then you're not a huge nerd like me. But take those songs, throw them in a digital mixer like Garage Band, play around a bit, and PRESTO! You have a mash-up. Bonus points for songs that you would never think go together, like George Michael's "Careless Whisper" and Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive" (not kidding - actual mash-up).

So why take so long to listen to an album I downloaded six months ago? Well, it's not the most accessible Kleptones album, and it's l-o-n-g. Most of their albums have a central thread holding them together, e.g. using Queen tracks in every song, but this album tries to simulate 24 hours of uninterrupted activity, mirroring the moods and situations the protagonist feels waking, working, partying hard, partying harder, and stumbling home. Definitely good stuff, but how often do you have three hours to devote to listening to an album? Right.

In the meantime, I suggest you give The Kleptones a shot, maybe with A Night at the Hip-Hopera or From Detroit to J.A.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wait, it gets better...

Bush: I Got a B in Econ 101.


For those of you that want pictures

I know some people have asked for pictures of our misadventures. Taking a cue from the ever-thoughtful Dan (who is a reference librarian, after all), I give you...

**trumpets sound**

My Flickr Account!

So far it's just pictures of our Park Güell trip with the students, but it's a start. BTW, why is it called Flickr? Was the "e" eliminated to save time? Brllnt!

Barça Update: Now THAT was convincing!

I'm not going to lie. Barça was a big draw for me to move here. I don't know about Susie, but I was sold. I mean, it's Barça for crying out loud. So, I'm going to provide F.C. Barcelona commentary as the season progresses, because I can. Unfortunately, their season hasn't exactly been the stuff of legend thus far - two nil-nil draws and a win off of a set piece & a penalty. Not even a goal from open play yet this season. The only highlight has been the Italian bar we've been watching the games at (more on that another time). Until last night.

Last night was the Champions League opener, and Barça decided to show up. Too bad for Lyon. After Barça went up 1-0 on a Lyon own-goal (read: colossal screw up), they tightened the screws and just straight up shelled the Lyon keeper until the final whistle. Final score 3-0. I don't even think Lyon recorded a shot on goal, so it was sporting of Barcelona to let them score, even if it was in the wrong net.

**Quick digression those who don't know - to qualify for the Champions League, you have to finish in the upper portion of your domestic league. Hence the Champions. Barça finished first second last year. 32 teams get sorted into random groups of four who play each other home and home. Hence the League. The best two from each group advance to a playoff tournament with the remaining teams until one team is the champion of Europe and, by popular acclaim, the world. End digression**

The bar was going nuts. It was so packed that I didn't get my salame pizza until the 80th minute, when I ordered it before half time. That's bad, because it's the best pizza ever. Period. Susie didn't get her slightly less delicious quatro queso pizza until the final whistle. This meant we had to stay and watch more futbol. Yeah, I know. Rough life.

So, in conclusion:

Pizza + Beer + Solid Barça performance = Good way to spend a Wednesday night.

Group E Standings
Barcelona / 3 Points / +3
Rangers / 3 Points / +2
Stuttgart/ 0 Points / -2
Lyon / 0 Points / -3

Monday, September 10, 2007

13 days later...

Well, we´ve arrived safe and sound. Things in the beginning we rough. It was VERY warm when we arrived and we had to wait 90 minutes for the person who had the keys to come to the apartment to let us in. But once we were in the apartment we were quite content. We had rented a piso (apartment) for 2 weeks from a woman who was travelling to the US. It was a great set up because it was furnished, had sheets and towels, all the appliances, and was in a great location. Basically, it felt like a home. Once we arrived we took care of the necessities (showering, finding food, getting cell phones, etc.) and then began the apartment search. We decided that we wanted to stay in the same area (the Gràcia neighborhood), and eventually we found a piso about 5 blocks from where we had been staying. We moved in this weekend and are qorking to make it feel like home.

I began work last week, and most of the work consisted of getting things ready for the students´arrival. Thet students arrive this week and then we have orientation. I am told orientation is busy, but is the most stressful time, so I´m glad to be getting the stress out early.

Overall, life in Spain is good. Or as they say here, la vida es chula.
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