Friday, November 09, 2012


it looks like I will be back in London during the Xmas break. Granted it'll just be for a short weekend, but this is still an occasion of momentous proportions. I'm so excited that I've already blown most of my tax refund on a winter coat, of which I'll have absolutely no use whatsoever in balmy Houston (high temperature today: 82°); I can't wait to have beer spilled on it at 2am in a semi-seedy Shoreditch pub. I think this is what they mean by Home Sweet Home.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

native tongues

For the longest time the only thing I knew how to say in Spanish was "la primera palabra est 'duuude'". All thanks to a catchy ad on MTV for a long-forgotten season of Road Rules. Sure, I knew a few words here and there, most of them situated on the Chipotle menu board, but for the major part I was as clueless to the hispanic language as conquistadors were to nice manners. Going to a good friend's wedding in Spain last summer (his wife is from there) I realized two things:
- Spaniards spoke much better English than I though they would
- I spoke 2 languages, none of which I had learned in the scholastic sense

Those two facts might present a mixed case for taking up Spanish, but I chose to view them as the expression of my over-reliance on comfort, which is something I often struggle with. So, this past January I started taking classes at Rice University, at a 3hr/week clip. After 6 months I can safely say this has been a success so far. I won't be fluent anytime soon, but I could foresee being on a conversational level by the end of the year, which was really the goal all along (btw, goals are much easier if you define them after the fact). We've just entered the phase where I just can't wing it and show up without having practiced/read the book, which means the actual work starts now, but I'm confident about the little I know to not feel lost when I have to write more than 1 sentence. And of course knowing French makes a universe of a difference, as they have tons in common. Oftentimes if I don't know a word I can just "hispanicize" the French one and it will work a good 72% of the time.
And this is just the start.
If I manage to get through the year in decent shape I am thinking of stopping Spanish classes and trying another language next year. Possibly one that doesnt have common roots with "latin languages", which would've sounded daunting 6 months ago, but which surprisingly is fairly appealing now. I'm still years away from being able to declare I speak more than 2 languages, but at least I'm trying. And now I know that "barbacoa" isn't just a type of meat you can get in your Chipotle taco, but also means barbecue. Increible.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Driving 1,000 miles in a 3-day weekend is a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Although an iPad with a 3G connection and an acceptance of one's place in nature do help a lot. Here are a few photographic testimonials from the road:

Friday, May 18, 2012


OK let's see what happened in the world since I last posted on here? Well I started tweeting more regularly, since the world was sorely lacking in self-absorbed people broadcasting their inane thoughts. What else? Other than that nothing that I can think of.
Oh come on you say, surely other things happened on this blueish planet of ours. OK you're right: I got my visa, moved back to Houston for a new job, house-sat a ridiculous house/mansion for a few months (I am the 99%...that lives in the house of the 1%), and after that moved to a cozy, aka dollhouse-small, apartment in the Museum District which doesn't have central AC and attracts regular visitors of the roachy persuasion (and yet which I love).
Oh you meant in that world, the one on CNN? Um, well I heard about Facebook being on the stock market, something about France finally getting a new prez, and apparently the world's gonna end this year, but I'm still trying to get a confirmation on that (I keep trying 1-800-MAYANS but no one picks up).

Here's to another 6-8 months of not posting.

Monday, September 12, 2011

TSC 6: The Depature (Skolimowski, 1967)

After being virtually unheard from for the past 20 years, legendary Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimoski has been enjoying a comeback of sorts recently, highlighted by the re-release of his landmark 1960s work in Paris theaters this year. The Departure tells the tale of Marc (a splendid Jean-Pierre LĂ©aud, as manic as ever), a young hairdresser's assistant who has 48 hours to "find" a Porsche for a big car race. The film is bursting with creativity, containing shots both playful and meaningful, while a great jazz score keeps up the tempo. Like a good driver, Skolimowski knows exactly where he's going, always staying close to the edge between speed and loss of control. And as such, he also knows when to slow down to allow for contemplation.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

TSC 5: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (Wyatt, 2011)

Like most red-blooded teenagers, I first got into movies by the way of the action genre. The Rock, Independence Day and Twister were some of the blockbusters that first got my thirst for the silver screen going. And while my tastes have since progressively evolved to more diversified fare, I still like to indulge in cheap thrills once in a while. So after a week filled with Iranian melodrama, psychedelic partying and tugs at the heartstrings, it seemed appropriate to cap things off with a good old Hollywood blockbuster.
Picking things up in a prequel setting, ROTPOTA (that title is so off, even the acronym is clunky) explains how said apes came to take over the planet, as seen in the 1960s sci-fi series of films. The explanation is fairly acceptable, but the acting so strangely wooden (James Franco bravely taking the lead in that department), that the CGI monkeys end up being the most believable characters. Not a bad thing per se, since the goal of the movie is to make us understand their progression, but overall not a great thing either if you're looking for an all-around solid flick. And if, like myself, you're not the biggest CGI fan, then you might want to go in with your irony meter at 0 and go along for the ride.