Monday, June 23, 2008


There's some big soccer tournament on now; all the Europeans seem particularly into it. I went to see part of the game last night with my housemate, and it was fun because we went to a bar (the Café Futbol, which is more a chocolate-and-churros kind of place than a bar, but they do, of course, serve beer and tapas there since it's Granada) and everyone there was pretty into it.

After I figured out that the Spanish team was wearing red, and Italy was wearing white, it was much easier to understand. The Spanish uniforms were pretty bad, with a really difficult-to-read font in a color that is too gold and not contrasty enough with the red color field. Anyhow, the game was tied 0-0. And then it went into overtime. And then it went into double overtime, or whatever it is that they call the part of the game (I'd never seen a soccer game go into this part [since I don't think I've ever watched so much of a soccer game before, on teevee anyway], and it certainly hasn't happened in any soccer game in which I've played [and I'm certain that my presence on the field would have something to do with such a situation, since I flee projectiles generally, and duck a lot, because who wants to hit that thing? I only really enjoy sports where I am the projectile]) and then Spain won 4-2.

And then Inga (my housemate) and I went on a run, and everyone was out in the streets in celebration mode, and it appeared that the proverbial fun was had by all.

A lot of people got into the Fuente de las Batallas; apparently, we missed the first round of people jumping into the drink, since there was water everywhere around the fountain and the fountain was off. A few minutes later, though, it got turned on again and people climbed it and splashed around a lot.

I like how, in this photo, a neon sign that isn't the Spanish flag looks like the Spanish flag. I also like how the kids in the photos look like turn-of-the-(20th)-century urchins.

There weren't many girls in the fountain; once in a while, one would go in but not stay very long.

Also, one thing that Spaniards do to celebrate soccer victories (or maybe it is to celebrate in general) is to yell "¡Olé! ¡Olé!" and pretend that they are bulls and bullfighters (done here with a Spanish flag.) There was a larger version of this going on in the street, where five or six people would run through the flag at once, pretending they were bulls.

The game was just yesterday; this is as close to live reporting that this blog'll ever get. There are things from weeks (and, um, months) ago that I keep meaning to write about, but then other things come up.
Vermiculture, Crop Failure

One of the things that I love about the balconies of my apartment is that I have compost bins on them. It took a really long time to find appropriate worms for them, however. I had asked at probably a dozen nurseries and florists, until I asked at a florist near my apartment, and she said that they had some in the compost at her house. In short: a few days and some worm-decorated cupcakes later, I had my own compost worms! (The nice red kind, that I believe they call California redworms, but I might be remembering incorrectly.)

Anyhow, that was months ago, and at some points in the meantime, I've been pretty concerned about the worm population (or seeming lack thereof) in the compost bins. Now, however, there are so many! They are very densely spread throughout one of the bins in particular, such that each trowelful turns up at least two of them.

This makes me happy to no end.

Also, I may have mentioned (way back when) that I was really excited about some tulip bulbs that I had bought. And, later on, I was thrilled with some chives that I had planted.

Did I mention that I went to CA for three weeks? And that, during those three weeks, the plants didn't really get watered? (Sigh.) To make a long story short, all of the plants on the balconies except those that would probably be thought of as weeds (spider plants, weird-looking spikey-curly succulents, gerania) either died or are very sad. And I was so excited about the tulips, and one of them was looking really healthy (the stalk, anyways; it hadn't bloomed yet) and two were looking alright, and only one or two of them looked DOA before I left.

And so now I am re-planting some chives, and I guess I'm done mourning the dead basil (except, of course, every time I want to use just a leaf or two of basil), and thinking twice about the prettiness of the weird succulents that, literally, tripled in size while I was gone.

But I still have my worms.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pros and Cons

I've gotten to the point at which I'm thinking I should be back in California for the next academic year. I don't really want to be, since I think I'm doing alright here (although I do miss having triceps.) And so I'm trying to reason things through. Please add to my list of Spain (Granada) and California (Bay Area) pros and cons.

I also keep seriously thinking about moving to Chicago, but haven't made a list for it yet. Chicagoans, please make suggestions!


Already here/inertia
In Europe
Best. Apartment. Ever.


Refrigerated tomatoes
No cafés
Everything closes at insane hours.
Granada is provincial.
The Euro
Earthquake denial
Spaniards are ridiculous/Spain is ridiculous
Lack of ethnic food


The gym
The Bay
Live music
People like me.
I like people.
No smoking
Cycling club
Sailing club (which I fully intend to join)
Swimming pools that are beautiful, so that I at least get to get water up my nose in an aesthetically pleasing environment.
In the US
Thai food
Indian food
Dozens of tomato varieties


Many of my friends have moved away.
In the US

Friday, June 13, 2008


As of last night, when I went to the supermarket again, some restocking seems to be taking place. Most of the things that were in stock and/or being re-stocked weren't exactly what I would classify as essential, however.

Also no baked goods (this shelf usually has fresh sliced bread and pastry-type things.) There were some baguettes on another bread shelf, though (unlike the case three days ago.)

No eggs. Not even quail (which are usually on the top shelf.) Weird soup concentrate stuff has been fully restocked (if, that is, it was ever out of stock.)

No fruit (this is where potatoes, garlic, bananas, and oranges usually are. There are some containers of bottled water, in case you're planning for the year 2000. Also, there does seem to be some garlic in the background.)

One (half) watermelon, a couple of (bad) ears of corn, and a box of something weird. In the background, note that soda has been fully restocked.

At least there are a few containers of soymilk (I bought two.) But that's a new development as of today. When I last attempted a supermarket trip (two days ago) there was not even soymilk.

The meat shelves are also empty. The junk food shelves immediately to the right had just been filled. (Two days ago, I believe there was nothing in the family of pre-made Spanish tortillas, frozen pizzas, and egg beaters, But those are the things that nobody wants! Right?!)

I will be so, so happy when there are things like bags of fresh spinach and eggs in the supermarket. Tomorrow, I'm going to go see if the vegetable market is open.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No Tapas For Now

Actually, the bars don´t seem to have run out of food yet, but the supermarket shelves here are empty empty empty. Photodocumentation to follow.

Luckily, we have lots of lentils at home. Unluckily, we don´t seem to have onions or anything else worth eating.

For those of you who have asked, the supermarkets are empty because truck drivers are striking to protest the high cost of diesel fuel (I believe that today is day three of said strike.)

Another strike that's currently happening, and which is predicted to make Spain a country with no fish to eat (both fresh and frozen) in about another five days is a fishing strike (that I believe has been going on for over a week already.) If my knowledge is correct on this, the fishing strike started in France and is also in effect in Portugal. This, as far as I can see, is the BEST thing that could possibly happen: Spain overfishes, and maybe even a couple of weeks of break from being fished will somehow positively affect world fish populations. A few months of Spain not fishing, though, would be much better.