29 May 2007

bullshit blog post

i stayed in a whole 24 hours after that last post. then i spent the rest of the weekend walking around the city - through rain and shine. it's hard for me to really be a hermit.

the other night i saw pirates of the caribbean. man, i was just in the mood for pure entertainment, swashbuckling, etc. and this movie paid off. i sat with wide eyes for three hours, laughing and enjoying the spectacle. when i read any bad reviews for the movie i think: what a bunch of cranky pretentious mouth breathers. seriously.

meanwhile, spain had its local elections yesterday and there was a move toward conservatism, echoing a general trend across europe. i think it's interesting that in a county that is ninety-something percent catholic they vote on sunday (day off), causing me to wonder why we vote on tuesday (work day) in the u.s. it's because they want to discourage voting, right? most of the spanish people i spoke to said they usually go vote with their families then have a lunch. those of us who live here know that that is so typically spanish it's practically spain itself.

in other news, i've taken the first actual steps in a project that has been swishing around in my mind for some time now. i've been inspired by certain friends of mine who lately have grabbed their lives by the reigns and started steering themselves in productive directions. so i've decided to follow suit by putting some plans into actions. and wouldn't you know, it's super fun to have a new project to work on. details to come...

i suppose that may excuse this rambly disorganized and decentralized blog post, the type that i have tried to steer away from. coherence will return tomorrow.

happy memorial day.

25 May 2007

precipitation frustration

ok i admit it, i like to bitch about the weather. i believe it affects my moods, i let it affect my moods. i take it personally. any therapist or sane person would tell me this isn't healthy. irregardless.

the weather sucks right now, it's been raining forever, and - as previously noted - we don't need the rain. the other day it rained so hard my plants suffered holes in their leaves. the forecast shows rainy clouds until saturday and i've decided to have a vigil. i'm staying in my house until the sun comes out. i dare you to lure me out.

i have a book, i have my internet, i have dvds. i have a new yorker. i have 3 economists. i'll be good for a few days at least. i refuse to spend one more minute trudging around the city with wet feet, being sprayed by passing cars. bah.

meanwhile, what a lovely moment for the morning news to post their annual awards for online excellence. lots of fun new sites to play with, hours of rainy day entertainment. and here is my first annual list of what i consider the best of their list to be:
  • indexed. as they put it, simply brilliant. and hilarious. i only wish i could be half as clever and spot on. check it out immediately!
ok. that's totally the best site they linked to. the others i'm still exploring, but i'm sure there are tons of gems. also, they link to mindy kaling's site. this girl went to dartmouth with me and now she is not only on the office, but her blog is being linked to by the morning news -- under the header of "celebrity" blog. sigh. my blog is content to simply mention her blog. she writes about things she bought, like a mini cooper and a $1000 handbag. did i mention it's raining?

other links of late:
  • not overrated, not underrated. the ten most accurately rated artists in rock history. (via amy's robot)
  • the top five tv shows of my youth. you know i like lists. i agree, mostly, but shouldn't JEM be #1?? (props on the bitchslap to rio two-timing jem and jerrica)
  • if you could check out one classic rocker live in concert, who would it be? well, here's your chance: wolfgang's vault has tons of vintage concerts streamed for free. (thanks dad)
  • recordreviews is disappointed with the new wilco album. "father’s day is right around the corner: are you buying this for somebody or is somebody buying it for you?

23 May 2007

the dreamlife of me

lately i have been having vivid and strange dreams in the mornings; i wake up disoriented and puzzled, having spent the last few minutes in my head under the strangest circumstances with friends and other people who i would never have expected to have conjured.

this morning i was riding around new york city on a magic carpet type contraption, flying through the streets and avenues, trying to make my way to the beach where i was sure there was a party. eventually an ex-boyfriend joined me, and we ended up underwater going through a plastic tube in the river.

i hesitate to read into dreams like this, partly because i have no idea but also because it would seem to be too easy to make it mean something convenient, what i might want it to mean. however, there are some recurring themes or events in my dreams and i often wonder why.

when i was traveling in 2000-2001 i had many dreams about my teeth falling out. the teeth would crumble into small pieces and i would end up spitting them out. i sometimes still dream about this, and i know it is a classic dream with probably a classic interpretation. i remember tony soprano once had a similar dream.

a form of nightmare, or unsettling dream, that i have had many times involves the friends i lived with in college. usually i come back from being away and they are all living in a large and strange house, sometimes labyrinthine, sometimes resembling a house where we actually lived, sometimes like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie. i walk around, wondering where my room is, lost and confused. everybody else acts like everything is normal. i've had versions of this dream dozens of times.

the worst nightmares i've ever had used to occur when i was a child, usually when i was sick. i would dream of large imposing masses in space, closing in on me, dwarfing me. sometimes there would be large spheres spinning slightly off their axes and this would scare me more than anything.

any amateur psychologists out there?

20 May 2007

happy bday katie

today is also my sister katie's birthday. katie is officially half my age: today she turns 15.

katie has that rare combination of intelligence, beauty and humor yet she pulls it off with modesty and charm. she is girly, sporty, silly and most of all tons of fun.

she makes up for her small stature with a big personality, and it has been such a pleasure spending half my life knowing her.

so happy birthday katie! can't wait to celebrate for real at six flags this summer.

happy bday kim

today is my "cousin" kim's 30th birthday. kim is a smart lady, she has always impressed me with her intelligence wit and humor. of all my friends, she has the most religious presence in her life yet she represents this part of herself in the way that is generous, non-judgmental and enviable. i wish all christians were just like her.

her friendship has been a wonderful example to me of how two people who have so many superficial differences can have so much in common where it matters.

so happy 30th kim. hope your day is full of red sox, karaoke and jon stewart.

16 May 2007

100th post!

in lieu of words, i present a photo essay of the painting of a wall on my terrace by some very talented and artistic friends.

a question of etiquette

yesterday was lovely: a madrid holiday spent barbecuing, painting and appreciating the artistic genius of my friends. but there was one stain on the day, one situation that has left me with a bad feeling, as if i didn't handle something properly, as if i was not a proper hostess. after much reflection, i can safely say that it won't happen again, but i'm wondering, what do you do in a case like this?

what do you do when a friend brings her new boyfriend who is perfectly friendly, helpful at the grill and gracious...until he removes his t-shirt to reveal a swastika tattoo on his arm? what do you do?

my first instinct was to kick him out. nazis are, plainly, not welcome in my house. but, saying something might create a scene, might force a for-the-moment benign nazi to say something really offensive, raising the stakes, upsetting the sunny fun of my party.

so instead i said nothing, did nothing. went about my business, ignoring him, whispering to other friends, being appalled. a very polite simon told me that kicking him out would only fuel his hatred, would equate to coming down to his level. and what did i expect to change? it's true that while his tattoo said one thing, his behavior was quite the opposite: there were many gay people and lots of non-aryans (not to mention jews) around and he was hanging out with everybody.

what i should have done is pulled my friend aside and asked her to ask her guest to put his shirt back on because his tattoo is offensive. safe to say, future incidents of the sort will be prevented.

although at the time i felt justified in not confronting the problem, today i feel guilty, as if i didn't do enough, didn't do my duty. what do you think? what do you do when a nazi comes to your bbq?

12 May 2007

i heart murakami

you probably already know about my love for the writing of haruki murakami. his book the wind-up bird chronicle is probably my favorite book, and i've read it at least three times. it is at once a mystery, a love story, a coming-of-age story, and a fantasy. he creates characters that are magical and strange and unbelievably ordinary, but who are as fully developed as characters in a good television drama and who have stayed with me over the years like old friends.

his other books have been hits or miss for me, but there are common themes throughout. he likes to write about average guys who are loners or misfits without being socially awkward, they are just outside of japanese mainstream society. he loves disappearing women, this often forms the central theme of his novels. he is fascinated by only children, animals, jazz music and american culture. he writes about a japan that i have not often seen portrayed in other media: absent is the hurriedness, the business-is-war mentality, the thirst for pop culture. murakami's japan is more easy going, mixing elements of foreign culture unconsciously, yet with a sense of alienation at its core. i would like to study his fiction in a class with a professor. i want to read and write essays about it.

although none of his books have moved me as much as wind-up bird, other notable mentions are hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world - which is his novel that is the most different from the rest - and south of the border, west of the sun - which is more formulaic but still lovely. his newest novel after dark came out in hardcover last week, and here is an excerpt (thanks emily). from a glance, it seems like vintage murakami, but intriguing. its events take place over the course of a night in a tokyo denny's. if anybody had read it i would love to know what you think, and i would love to borrow your copy this summer!

10 May 2007


"oh you fucking spanish people
makin' me smile
black-haired little cuties"
chan marshall a.k.a cat power


09 May 2007

we don't need the rain

spain is a country with a water shortage. water conservation is strongly encouraged by the government and, as far as i can tell, mostly observed by spaniards.

ever since i moved here, every rainstorm be it on a saturday afternoon or any other inconvenient time is met with knowing shrugs and the mantra "we need the rain." complaining about rain isn't allowed. spain needs the rain.

ok, well guess what? the reservoirs are now full. any more rain would have to be released into the rivers to prevent flooding. so we no longer need the rain. spain has enough water for two years. while this is great news, it belies how much rain we've actually had this year. tons.

granted, this is the time of year when the temperature crests the 90s and never looks back and rain isn't likely in the near future.

good, cuz we don't need it.

08 May 2007

points, bulleted (bulletted?)

today i present a few tidbits, in list formation:
  • bill clinton wrote a crossword for last weekend's new york times magazine (online only). i finished it, can you?
  • the new album turn the lights out by the ponys is the best thing since sliced bread. definitely the best new album i've heard since crane wife. asked to describe this music i was at a loss for comparisons. strong beats, heavy bass lines and extremely addictive.
  • if gwb wrote obama's book
  • france elected a new president: nicolas sarkozy. for a clue on who this guy is and what he stands for, check out this great new yorker article. then go around asking people what they think of the elections in france, and sound really smart. at least, that's what i do.
  • i've noticed advertisements in spain in portugal by the sides of the roads and on bus stops using the weak dollar to entice europeans to visit nyc. "the euro buys you more in new york." sure, once you get there. what they don't warn you about is that flights back to the us are now significantly higher than they have been in the last 2.5 years! and by hundreds of dollars. what up? anyway, any bright ideas out there? anybody work for the airlines or have some extra frequent flyer miles you don't need? private jets? i'm talking roughly jul2-aug 31 plus or minus a few days on either side....

02 May 2007

happy 30th raf

my buddy raf turns 30 today. i met raf on my bday, when i was turning the unfathomable age of 23. back then he had no road rage, but i changed all that.

years later, raf remains a friend, somebody who i'm always happy to see, someone who usually has a smile on his face and who can bring a smile to mine. so happy birthday raf!

and by the way, i was listening to tribe the other day and i still contend that midnight marauders is their best album.


i just got back from a great weekend in barcelona. this is my fifth time visiting the city, and definitely the best. rather than spending any time doing touristy stuff i saw friends, walked around neighborhoods i didn't know and relaxed. i sat on three beaches. i got a sunburn that was gone by the next morning.

to tell the truth, before this trip i often spoke a little disparagingly of barcelona. like boston, i would say, it is a nice place to visit but i wouldn't want to live there. or i had my big metaphor about barcelona being like one of those really good looking people who really doesn't have much personality.

but i admit when i'm wrong. sorry, barcelona, i just hadn't looked in the right places. i mean, you not only have a beach, but beaches that stretch for hundreds of kilometers in either direction. i like your wide sidewalks and flat streets. i like how every restaurant seems to think having organic food is a good idea. you're a totally fun place to hang out, plus lots of my friends live there. forget what i said before, my bad.

no crush for you!

i try not to complain about these things, especially here. however. it's not often that i meet somebody and actually find them crush-able. even the simplest crush can feel like a fresh breeze.

so, it was with considerable excitement that i realized last week that i had met one of these elusive fellas. and he walked me home!

fast forward a week, i have learned in a series of ever more disheartening pieces of gossip from friends that: 1. he has a long-term girlfriend 2. she's german and 3. actually, he left madrid. he lives somewhere else.

can a girl catch a break around here?

01 May 2007

cooking is meditative

i read a piece recently in the new yorker that mentioned cooking as a meditative practice. this is interesting. although i often say that i have a hard time shutting my mind off in attempts to actually meditate, while cooking i enter a kind of trance that must be close to what i'm aiming for.

i love cooking and right now i'm in the throes of a cooking phase. i get off on chopping vegetables, there is something extremely satisfying about it. also, cooking is one activity - like shopping and going to museums - that is quite lovely to do by yourself.

last night i made meatballs in chipotle sauce and veggie enchiladas. currently i'm making brownies (from scratch). now is a good time to try to score a dinner invite...