Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Eve (Why We Celebrate)




It's New Years Eve. I like this holiday. At the surface, it's just a chance to get into a big group of people and shout and drink and kiss each other. The true essence of the holiday, as is the case with most holidays, is so quickly lost in the actualization of the celebration of that holiday. I saw it a lot in Spain. Whatever was being celebrated was not overtly expressed or revered, for the most part. We need to celebrate, I think. it's so natural to get lost in it. Nochevieja Universitara was such a silly premise: a New Year's Eve style celebration for the end of finals for the semester. It had the feeling of being a celebration for celebration's sake. The San Fermin festival in Pamplona, though I never saw it first hand, seemed less about celebrating the accomplishments of San Fermin that the ceremonies commemorate, and more about getting into a crowded street and running away from bulls. Christmas, Thanksgiving, all seem so hype-driven; so much more about being part of the experience of what the celebration of the holiday looks like, and less about the birth of Christ or the acknowledgement of what we're thankful for. I don't mean to condemn this pattern at all. I think it makes a lot of sense, given the make up of our souls and our understanding of the world around us. We crave family, we crave friends, we crave being surrounded by people and forgetting the haunting reality of our failures and fears. I mean, we mourn a lot over the course of the year, what with our broken relationships and our inconsistencies and the feeling that the world is slowly dying. So, of course we are going to take our opportunities to celebrate. There's beauty in that idea. And, i don't think that it diminishes those events or people that we are setting out to honor and commemorate. Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington, Veterans, Mothers, Fathers, the pilgrim's landing at Plymouth Rock, the Declaration of Independence; they are all immortalized in our celebrations of them. They are assigned a greater value than the ones inherent. For, they give us a chance to find equilibrium. They give us an opportunity to hold hands with one another, to embrace strangers, to tell family that we love them. They represent the actualization of the balance that we are all searching for; death to life, darkness to light. Through our celebrations, we can actively participate in being made right. And, as the hours count down to January 1st, 2012, I want to participate in that actualization myself. For there is plenty of darkness and death that I've participated in this year. There is plenty of failure and regret. But tonight, we celebrate things becoming new. We celebrate, in our awkward and primitive customs, that there is hope. 2012 will know plenty of hope and regret, life and death, truth and lies, just as 2011 did. But our hearts cry out for that blank rap sheet, for that being made new. And tonight, we will celebrate our being made new.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why I Love Atlanta

Micah Dalton with the ATL Collective:

"Over here at the ATL Collective, we got some ideas we're hoping will get some traction this year. For starters, we're really focusing on pulling in new media partners so that we can garner more exposure for our clan of songwriters and our idea of 'experiencing the album'. We're also figuring out how to record these albums collectively and release them, which I'm particularly interested in. All in all, people can expect 2012 to be a year where we work harder to highlight Atlanta's songwriting scene by setting up great shows with great food, slowing down the way we listen, and using the idea of a music scene to pick up where the traditional record labels can't."

-from local dream warriors, Scoutmob

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Album Roundup (yee-haw)



I'm back in one of the most familiar places in my world: Dr. Bombay's Underwater Teaparty. It's been a long journey back, after three months in Spain, three months in Colorado, and a month or two in between. But, I'm back. Back in Atlanta, where I'm settling into an understanding of what it means to belong somewhere. It's a good feeling, to think that I don't have to leave for an indefinite amount of time. Don't get me wrong, I do love the road; the adventure, the people, the stories. But, perhaps because I'm growing old or because I've begun to see the merit in applying my ever-developing understanding of home to one specific place that my heart agrees with; I'm ready to stay put. So, Atlanta it is.

But, that is not why I'm writing (I could stretch that paragraph into a three hundred page book if I sat down long enough.) No, I'm here to talk about music. It's been a year of self-discovery for me. And, the music that I've found along the way has been a huge part of the process. I must first make the statement, however: I spent much of this year away from conventional exposure to new music. So, there are a good number of albums that I just completely missed, unfortunately. That being said, I did enjoy some some terrific albums in 2011, from artists that I admire a good bit. Here are my favorite 10*:

10. Dawes: Nothing is Wrong
I saw Dawes open for Bright Eyes in May, and they remain one of the best openers I've ever seen. They evoke memories of Jackson Browne, and that is enough to make me love it. They've done well with this one.

9. The Civil Wars: Barton Hollow
I have a complicated relationship with this band and album. But, all of my being weirded out by the sexual tension aside, this is a great album.

8. Tom Waits: Bad as Me
I've just begun a relationship with Tom Waits over the last few months. I can't decide if he's a genius or a maniac. He treads the line between the two pretty well, I think.

7. Jill Andrews: The Mirror
Jill Andrews, formerly of "The Everybodyfields," put out an album that is a joy to listen to, and has the right blend of folky wisdom and vocal swagger.

6. The Decemberists: The King is Dead
The Decemberists finally put out an album that has more value to me than the standard "genius-reduced-to-novelty-due-to-its-obscurity" tag. This one is good and, more importantly, accessible.

5. Noah and the Whale: Last Night on Earth
Frontman Charlie Fink has begun a journey of discovery. He's slowly finding liberation from the broken relationship that provided inspiration for their first two albums. This album is a step in that journey, and shows a tremendous amount of maturity in its song writing.

4. Gillian Welch: The Harrow and the Harvest
"The great destroyer sleeps in every man" Gillian Welch is one of those artist. Anytime she puts something out, it's good. Plain and simple. She didn't disappoint with her first studio album in eight years.

3. The Head and the Heart: The Head and the Heart
THATH was my most-played album this summer, as I was climbing mountains in Colorado for the better part of three months. It fit perfectly into the style of things out there.

2. Blind Pilot: We Are the Tide
This album grabbed me from it's first track, Half Moon. I'm surprised that there hasn't been more attention paid to this great album. It's wonderful.

1. Bon Iver: Bon Iver
This album transcends the context in which I understand and enjoy music. It was ethereal, entirely other-worldly. I loved it. Anyone who summarizes music in 2011 and doesn't mention this album loses all credibility in my eyes.

*There are, of course, honorable mentions aplenty. Ask me sometime...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Figures



I need to use some discretion when it comes to campaigning for my favorite candidate, Ron Paul, as I'm aware that over-doing it could potentially turn off the folks that read this. I don't want to be written off as extremist in my support for Dr. Paul, but here is the most encouraging graphic that I've seen so far. Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Even if it were desirable, America is not strong enough to police the world by military force. If that attempt is made, the blessings of liberty will be replaced by coercion and tyranny at home. Our Christian ideals cannot be exported to other lands by dollars and guns. Persuasion and example are the methods taught by the Carpenter of Nazareth, and if we believe in Christianity we should try to advance our ideals by his methods. We cannot practice might and force abroad and retain freedom at home. We cannot talk world cooperation and practice power politics."

- Howard Buffet, US Congressman 1943-1949

The Blessed Angels Sing

A Make-shift Christmas Album or all you lovers out there.

The Blessed Angels Sing

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

An Inconsequential Part of this Great Big Whole

As I’ve gotten older, I feel more and more that I’m just an inconsequential part of this great big whole on one level, but on another level, it’s important what each little cog does. Justice can emerge from millions of little actions, or injustice can emerge from millions of little actions. In that sense, I do have a responsibility; it’s not of no consequence, but I don’t feel particularly important in the scheme of things.


- David Bazan

David Bazan is one of my all-time favorite songwriters. Here's an incredible interview that he did with thegreatdiscontent.com. It's an excellent read.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

From My Freetime Above the Atlantic Ocean, The Non-Redemptive Story Ar



I'm here on the flight that is taking me back to the United States. My time in Spain has concluded, and I'm walking away having enjoyed the experience of it. It's a beautiful place with beautiful people and a culture that I should have liked to been further immersed into. But, as life goes, I am taking my leave.
I've mentioned in previous posts this idea of the "non-redemptive story arc" that to some degree effects a lot of aspects of Spanish culture. It's been a journey to formulate it, but here goes. What I mean by that phrase is that we in the United States have a very redemptive story arc, as a nation. Since the Industrial Resolution, (save for the hiccup of the Great Depression) we've always understood ourselves in a positive light. World Wars I and II saw us going in and fighting apparent evil, liberating nations. Vietnam, while ultimately unsuccessful, and Desert Storm were the effort to free the world from tyrants and dictatorship and communism. We've always been the good guys in our own eyes (until recently.) American production and research have far bypassed all other nations historically. We were the first to put men on the moon for goodness' sake. Our Civil Rights movement, women's suffrage, emancipation of slaves, all have taken place before other nations. We've lead. Because of that, I was raised to respect America, to fight for American principles and to see myself as "American." My upbringing wasn't an indoctrination or totalitarian in this regard, but the United States of America has been something to respect and admire and we were taught to be proud to be a part of it. I still hold to that. I believe that we're headed in some dangerous directions in the way of our economic, consumptive, and military thinking. But, I still believe it to be a real blessing to be American, as I think it's the greatest nation from which to hail.
Now, I say all of this as a precursor to the following explanation of the climate of Spain as a nation. I had a wonderful conversation with my (Spanish) friend Miriam, which helped me to understand their background a bit more. Spain, as a nation, has a non-redemptive story arc. Inquisitions, crusades, invasions, bad kings, totalitarian dictators, fascist regimes, civil war, etc., have given Spaniards a very plausible reason to not trust their government, to not proudly participate in the Spanish nationalism (it's faux pax to wear Spanish flag clothing or to say "Viva España" or anything of the sort.) It's understandable. And, historically, it holds true that Spaniards don't primarily identify themselves as Spaniards. They identify themselves first with their family. The family you come from is the most important characteristic by which one is identified. It is why Spanish women don't change their names when they get married so as to preserve their own family name. In addition to their family is their friends, their boyfriends/girlfriends, and their community as a whole. Basically, they identify themselves by their relationships. Second is by Comunidad Autonomo, which is the equivalent of our States; all of which are very distinct, some of which having their own language, and were originally their own autonomous kingdoms. Thirdly is as citizens of the nation of Spain. It comes very far down the list. The argument can be made that Americans still identify with their family over their nation, but no one would call themselves a "Missourian" or a "Virginian" before they called themselves an "American."
This point might not be too surprising, but it is the implications of which that i am primarily concerned. The one thing that is inevitably noticed after time living in Spain is the lower productivity. I do not at all mean that in a negative way, it's just to say that we in the United States are entirely more productive. Too productive, I'd say. Our lives are committed to work; not to relationships, not to the advancement of society, but to work. Take the siesta for example. First off, it is no untrue stereotype, this "siesta." Spaniards take at least two hours in the middle of their day for lunch, coffee, meet-ups with friends, etc. The city shuts down from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm, give or take. That would never happen in the United States, simply because of the lack of productivity of it. But, as my friend Miriam put it, no where in the States will a barista at a cafe know the entire family history of all of their clients. That is the emphasis; conversation and relationship. There is not a strong sense of obligation for contribution to the overall wealth and productivity of Spanish industry. Spaniards don't look at work as an opportunity to be a part of a big, successful national production system. And it's felt by the lack of customer conveniences. It's reflected in standard business hours. It's reflected in how long it takes to buy something at the corner stores. For example, there this beautiful Cloister near the San Martin Catholic Church in Salamanca. The nuns there are famous for their baking of traditional Spanish cookies. I went in to the storefront that they run during the very specific hours of 10:30am to 12:30 pm and from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm to buy some Mazapan to bring back with me. I was there for fifteen minutes, talking to an older Nun about my studies, about my Spanish, about my experience in Salamanca. She looked about in her 70's and used the "usted" form and was infinitely interested in the details of my life. It was pleasant. Usually, that interaction in the States is to walk in to the store, grab what you want, pay, and walk out, all the while hoping there's no lull in the business transaction where you have to make boring conversation about the weather or Tim Tebow or something.
But, it's a alternatively placed identity that makes Spain stand out. And, no. It's not productive. Spain will never be a major industrial leader in the world. But, when compared to the stifling loneliness of a entirely productive, yet relationally devoid and individualistic lifestyle, why should they be? There are certainly economic problems that come from the system in place, especially when competing with nations like Germany or China or the U.S. So, Spain has not found the answer by any means. This national non-redemptive story arc weaves its way through different aspects of Spanish life, we shall see where it takes them. I, for one, am rooting for Spain.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nochevieja Universitaria Salamanca

This one was crazy. A quick background, "Nochevieja" is the New Year's Eve celebration here in Spain. It is celebrated much like ours is in the States, except that when the clock strikes 12, with every chime of the clock everyone tries and eats one grape. Any leftover grapes mean bad luck for the coming year. Now, there is this thing called "Nochevieja Universitaria" here in Salamanca that is only a few years old, to my understanding. But, it marks the end of the semester and takes place on December 15th. It's a huge production, with tens of thousands of students coming from all over the country to count down to midnight and to celebrate the end of the semester. There's the background. I went out after my cafe-concert at En Vivo, which was amazing on several levels. Tangent: the highlight of which was concluding by singing "Silent Night" and asking everyone there to sing it with me in their own languages, which included German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, English, Chinese, Swiss, etc. It was absolutely amazing, and one of the closest moments in my life to what I think heaven will look like. Anyway. I went out with a group of folks and surprisingly enjoyed myself. My assumption, going into the night, was of course that it was going to be a debaucherous night full of young kids doing stupid things. I was mostly correct. But, it was such a festive feeling, I really enjoyed it. The plaza was full and the kids were drinking like crazy. The marketers made good use of the situation. I kept thinking to myself how much I would have liked to be live blogging what I was seeing. So, here. A retrospective live blog:

Pinchos at Cuarto Gatos. A quick pork loin sandwich and a Grimbergen to set the mood.
Everyone is wearing santa hats. This celebration is confused.
Just got to the plaza entrance. We show up at the exact moment that they stop handing out the free gummy bears.
Got a santa hat finally. When in Rome...
It's wall to wall in here, and pretty dark which makes pictures a challenge.
Girls love being in pictures.
I keep running into friends. When European guys are drunk, they get really emotional and touchy.
Friends Ale and Adriano decided to put me on their shoulders. Once I get there, I'm not really sure what to do with my hands.
There's a guy on stage shredding on an electric violin while LMFAO plays in the background...
Coca-Cola has the advertising for this thing on lock: giant inflatable Coke cans that are being bounced around the crowd like beach balls.
The hype team gets on stage to say something about how great the sponsors are and various things to get the crowd to yell (which isn't hard - everyone's drunk).
And the countdown begins, though I missed the first few chimes due to a distracting presentation. So much for good luck.
We get to twelve! Happy December 16th!
More pictures, planning things out, saying goodbye. More drunk friends being really touchy.
My hat gets knocked off and is immediately covered in beer or piss or wine or whatever the ground is soaked in. So much for that souvenir...

And, I eventually take my leave, kiss cheeks, take a few final pictures, and head out. The streets are a mess and there are people everywhere. I wouldn't want to be part of the clean-up crew. But, I made it back home with a great memory and a unique experience if nothing else. This was a wonderful farewell night, to be sure.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Chronicles of Salamanca: Walking Away Part Two, "Social Nuances; I don't want to be your friend."



I'm going to do my best to explain this. Though, the idea isn't perfectly formulated in my own mind, so it might be more difficult of a thing to do than I'm capable of. I'd like to try to describe the norms of social interaction among Spaniards. While everything I say is more or less a generalization and therefore inherently inaccurate, there are certain manners and expectations that are more or less standard among most relationships. I've had several conversations with other foreigners about this topic. Most I've spoken with have said the same sorts of things. There's an overall sense that I get that Spaniards find it difficult to be alone. Cafe culture is so prevalent, meaning that the locals spend a large amount of their free time in cafes, almost always interacting with someone else. I think back to the days at Dr. Bombay's Underwater Teaparty (my favorite coffee shop in ATL.) It was much more common for the people there to have been sitting alone, drinking coffee, reading, studying, using the internet, etc. But, it seems a consistent theme here that Spaniards don't spend time alone. It's a far more societal society. That is to say that they are far less individualized here. And, it's noticeable walking through the streets. Everyone walks with someone else. Everyone is always engaged in conversation. I admire this about Spanish culture, initially. And, this is where it gets difficult to explain. I feel as though the idea of happiness in the States is something that we're sold pretty relentlessly; it's a formula that we're sold from the time that we are children. It goes as such; work hard in school, get into a good University and get a degree in something that pays well, get a good-paying job, buy things, be attractive enough to attract a spouse, get married and be satisfied by love, buy more things, have kids, buy more things, work everyday diligently whether you like what you do or not, buy more things, and then when you're 65, you can retire and spend all your money on medicine and beach vacations. It's a very forward-moving American dream, in that the means by which we achieve "happiness" is by working to earn it. But, the reason that that's called the "American" dream is, I'm learning, that is more or less a uniquely American formula. It doesn't really exist here. Now, the people are no less materialistic nor consumer-minded. But the goal of happiness isn't a long term goal. Happiness is in the moment, in the given day in which one finds oneself. Marriage here is a villain, and no young person wants to be married until late into their 30's. It's a restriction and constraint that keeps you from participating in your social experience of going out every night. Work is a necessary evil, and the store hours are proof of that. There doesn't seem to be a lot of urgency in sticking to business hours or customer service or diligent production of goods and services, except for when it comes to "saving face" (for lack of a better term) or not straining a relationship between customer and provider. Things move slowly here. And, I can't help but notice the correlation between a non-individualized culture and a rejection of a "work hard to earn happiness" set of principles. Happiness is in family and friends and partying and sitting for hours on end eating cheap food. I admire that to some degree. But, it's indicative of their non-redemptive story arc that I'm still trying to piece together and am not yet prepared to explain. The future is not the goal here, the present is.

But, as I read this back to myself, I think that I have not communicated what I have set out to communicate. But, I like it. I would like to mention, along those lines, that Spain has a very image driven culture. Something that is hard to miss as an American upon arrival, is that everyone looks as though they spend several hours every morning getting themselves presentable in front of mirrors. It's an intimidating thing, almost. I wrote when I first arrived how beautiful the Spanish people are. I've come to realize over the last three months that they are so beautiful because they put that much effort into their appearance. Also, societally speaking, Spaniards are very closed. For us foreigners (and I've had this conversation with a lot of foreigners,) Spaniards put little effort into initiating new relationships. They have their bubble, their comfort zone, and they are hesitant to step outside of it. En Vivo is full every Tuesday with students. But, the number of Spanish students in attendance is far less than that of the students of a dozen other nationalities. It's a struggle to get Spaniards to open up their lives, unless there's some profitable function of the chance they have to take. But, in a nutshell, that's society here. It has been a very distinct experience, and I am not sure what I will ultimately take back with me and what I will leave here. It's still a beautiful place, and its cultural nuances make it all the more beautiful, I think. So, I now must run to class and take a test and continue to count down the hours until I must take my leave. Until next time.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Chronicles of Salamanca: Walking Away Part One, "A Summary of Church; It's Fading and Restitution"



So, I've entered my final week here in Salamanca, Spain. I have this plan for this week to type out a summary of one area of my experience every day, each day focusing on a different aspect of Spanish culture or life abroad or contextual understandings of things. I'd like to start with my experience of the church. I've been semi-consistently attending the "Evangelical Chapel" service on Sundays. It's only semi-consistent because I find myself traveling a lot of weekends. It's a humble place, sequestered beneath an apartment complex on the Northeast side of the city. There are usually anywhere from 100-200 people (as a rough estimate) in the pews every Sunday. The 12pm service (held so late because nothing here starts before 12pm) is a free-flowing time of sharing, wherein individuals stand up and share a verse or a prayer or request a certain song be sung by the congregation. It usually lasts about an hour and is always concluded with Communion and announcements. Like I said, it's humble and consistent, full of individuals that want to be there and entirely welcoming to anyone that walks through the door.
But, the religious climate of this city makes this place magical. Spain is not a church-going nation. I've now been to two Catholic Masses out here, in enormous and lavish Cathedrals older than the United States of America. They, too, are consistent. There's an entire procession, there's the reading of scripture and the holy incense (don't ask me what it's for) and the liturgy and the confessional booths. There are priests that seem as old as the Ribera-painted frescos behind them, and an eternity of un-explained standing and sitting and paintings of Mary. It's a system that has been in place for centuries. And, it has no intention of changing. But, the difference is who sits in the pews. There aren't many folks in attendance. The people that are all appear to be on the back half of fifty, with hardly any young people in attendance. It has a feeling of dying out, tragically so. There is a very negative sentiment about the church and organized religion. A lot of that has to do with the history of Spain, of Franco's dictatorship and religious oppression leading to wide-spread spiritual disinterest. But, it's noticeable in the streets, with the Spaniards that I've met; they are a spiritually-disinterested people, if I might utilize one generalization.
So, upon entering the Evangelical Chapel, it's an entirely fresh and inspiring thing. Christ is moving in that place, and the persistence of his grace and love shine through in the congregation's eagerness to gather and proclaim his truth to one another. The church here in Spain has a tremendously daunting up-hill battle to fight. But, I have come across many Spanish Christians that are putting forth an incredible effort to share Christ's redeeming love with the people that they know. Their faith is impressive, and stands out as being so unique and inspiring from the non-redemptive story arc that most Spaniards identify with in their history (more on that "non-redmeptive story arc" later, that's a huge theme thus far.) But, it's a long journey ahead and we must continue to pray for Spain to recover from the wounds that history has left. Christ is real and alive here in Europe, too. But, it's a tougher reality in which He exists. The Evangelical Chapel is in the fight.

A Sunday Post on my New Favorite Beer



It's called Grimbergen and it's magical. Originating from the Norbertine Monastery in the Brussels, Belgium suburb of the same name, the beer has been brewed for at least 400 years. Michael Jackson (the beer snob, not Thriller) explains

The abbey of Grimbergen was founded in 1128... After being secularised during the French Revolution, much of the abbey was rebuilt in the 1830s, and it was further restored in the 1920s.
The abbey almost certainly had a brewery from its earliest days, and there are mentions of one in the 1600s. In the 1700s, there are mentions of wheat beers and abbey hop garden. Brewing stopped at the time of the French Revolution. When the abbey was re-established, beer was supplied by a local brewer, now long-gone. In 1958, the monks asked the nearby Maes brewery to make beer for them. In 1982, production switched to Maes' subsidiary ale brewery in Jumet, Charleroi, in the South of the country.


read more here.

I'm loading up on it as I start to put together my packing list to come back to the states. If you're nice to me, there might be one for you in my tweed suitcase...

Monday, December 05, 2011

Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie by Bob Dylan

 Bob Dylan - Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine


"Where do you look for this candle that's glowing,
where do you look for this hope that you know is there and out there somewhere?
and your feel can only walk down two kinds of roads,
your eyes can only look through two kinds of windows
your nose can only smell two kinds of hallways
you can touch and twist and turn two kinds of door knobs

you can either go to the church of your choice
or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital
you find God in the church of your choice,
you find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital
and it's only my opinion, I may be right or wrong
but you'll find them both in the Grand Canyon at sundown."

Guernica


(I went to El Museo de Reina Sofia in Madrid yesterday, and saw Picasso's "Guernica" for the first time and it really got to me. More on that later, but here's the initial reaction.)

there's a lump that swells within me
as I curse pablo picasso
his enormous wall-sized canvas
and his melancholy paint
for the longer that I stand here
life fades deep beneath the shadows
of the mothers' helpless screaming
and the death that lies in wait

they are running toward freedom
but I don't think that they'll make it
all the candle light and horse shoes
and the bodies on the floor
say a prayer for dying mothers,
and their lifeless little babies
curse a God that says he loves us
just to give us up to war

And in my darkest moments,
I am there in Guernica
I am flailing as they cut me
cut me deep into my chest
with my arms outstretched to heaven
I will never see the morning
for the dark has overtaken
my inheritance is death

now I'm heading for the exit
with a heavy heart inside me
as the night has executed
the magnificent sunset
I can see it all so clearly
all the bodies that surround me
and the rush to flee the slaughter
that we've now come to expect

Now all I can seem to think of
are the bullets I must purchase
and the weapons I will brandish
when the next war comes along
not for justice, not for riches
not for peace nor for salvation
as I'm writing down the lyrics
to my war cry anthem song

you can call me a surrealist,
but this scene that I have painted
with my blood and my intention
can't be closer to the truth
let me touch the rim of heaven
as I'm crying for an answer
you have promised us solution
so, we wait to see it through

in the meantime, I can feel
waves of doubt that swell within me
as the factories are churning
out the instruments of war
we are counting down the hours
or just waiting for the insult
to set off annihilation
that we have been waiting for

and more grave than the destruction
of these silly human conflicts
is the darkness from within me
that my hands are covered by
for no matter how I'm running
from this imminent destruction
I can never find deliverance
from the civil war inside

dearest lord, I see the sunrise
though I'm not sure I have earned it
and I breathe the air around me
though I can't afford the loan
so, if you control the pieces
that have grabbed Pablo Picasso,
please come settle this monsoon
that pulses paltry in soul

and maybe when it's over
we can take this giant painting
this grave stage of Guernica
with its melancholy paint
and watch in joyful chorus
as you change the strokes and pallet
we will lay it down so softly
to its warm eternal grave

Saturday, December 03, 2011

"The Next breakthroughs in our productivity and growth aren't going to be about fueling mass. They're going to be relentlessly focused on amplifying the weird"

-Seth Godin, "We Are All Weird"

Thursday, December 01, 2011

This Week in "Why Spaniards are Nuts"



apparently, the crash at the end was supposed to happen.

Leaving London continued


I wanted to tell a quick story that I've yet to share with the blog readers. It's the story of how I got out of London, and it will be a quick one. I had a ticket to fly back with EasyJet on Sunday morning at 9:30am. I showed up more or less on time, and arrived to the desk with time to spare. There, the attendant informed me that the flight had been oversold and I wasn't going to be allowed on the flight. So, I went to an arduous process to piece together what EasyJet was going to do about their mistake. The eventually booked me on a flight that left at 5:30 pm from Luton Airport, an hour and a half away from Gatwick where I was originally supposed to fly out of. I took it all in stride, these things happen and it meant that I got another eight hours to hang out in London, which was fine by me. I got on the train and went back into town. I got coffee, walked around new neighborhoods, saw a Banksy, and started to head north to the train station that would get me to Luton. Everything went smoothly from there, I got checked in, boarded the flight and flew to Madrid. In Madrid, the story turns sour. Because of the delay, I had missed the last shuttle bus from Madrid to Salamanca, and therefore was forced to spend the night in Madrid. I walked around the neighborhood where the bus station was, looking for a hotel where I could stay. There weren't any. So, after an in depth search, I returned to the Bus Station where I would have to spend the night. There was no heat, and the cruel Spanish winter was relentless as I froze my ass off for the entire night. I think I caught a cold there, as I've been feeling less than healthy ever since. Finally, I got on the 7 am bus to Salamanca and arrived back at my apartment at 10 am, after 29 consecutive hours of traveling. To recap, my trip went like this:

walking to London metro - metro to train station - train station to airport - airport to train station - train to metro - metro to downtown - walked 2 miles, eventually arriving at another metro station - metro to train station - train station to airport shuttle bus - shuttle bus to airport - plane to Madrid airport - Madrid metro to bus station - walking in search of hotel - 6 hours in a cold bus station - shuttle bus to salamanca bus station - station to apartment

the "travel" part of traveling sucks sometimes.