29 Mar 2010

Monthly Reading: February'10

Oh my! March is almost over and I haven't posted February's Monthly Reading yet!!! :o(
It's the Not A Single Word In English (unless it's in a scientific publication or on a blog, lol!) month!

So this means books read either in French or in Spanish, but not just authors from those two countries, there's also a bit of Sweden (via a Spanish translation). A little literary globe-trotting if you will. ;o)
Stories of children inspired by "grandparently" figures in Paris, tales of contraband and pirates in the Spanish Caribbean, mysterious murders of polemic Swedish religious figures... Ready to come travel with me? :o)

28 Mar 2010

Coming soon: Semana Santa Española

a.k.a. Holy Week, which in Spain = the faithful carrying out the statues of Saints through the streets of the towns, kind of putting on a Passion Play over the course of the week with these figures on their thrones.

And I'll start by enticing you with a few shots I've been fiddling with (luv iphoto!) from today's Palm Sunday procession in Elche where people brought their Palms (frequently palms they've made into true works of Art!) to be blessed and then followed Christ's entrance into Jerusalem (or in this case the Basilica of Sta Maria):

looking through a bell

27 Mar 2010

Earth Hour

It's time to shut off the lights (for an hour) and symbolically stake a claim in the future of our planet!

Earth Hour 2010 is upon us! Today, Saturday March 27th millions of people across the globe will be switching their lights off for an hour as a statement about Climate Change.

I'll be turning my lights of between 20h30 and 21h30 tonight, will you? Check the website linked to above for your local times! :o)

(I just wish I was mobile enough to get myself -and my foot- downtown to see what will be going on at City Hall tonight for this. Oh, and I'd better dig out some candles from somewhere!).

Update March 28th: well that was disappointing! I went up to the roof to look across the bay at the city and observe the effects of the "apagón", and other than a few apartments going dark here and there, the only noticeable result was the castle going dark:

The WWF and City Hall will have to do a better job at getting the word out next year. :s 

20 Mar 2010

Fallas en Valencia!

So yesterday, San José a.k.a. March 19th, was the culmination of one of the biggest fiestas in Spain: las Fallas in Valencia. You remember my posts last June about the Hogueras (introductory post here)? The big carton-cardboard-wood-painted sculptures displayed all over town depicting (often satirically) the current events of the past year that are then burnt down on the night of the feast of Saint John? Ok, well think pretty much the same thing... but BIGGER! The budget for the Fallas in Valencia is much higher than that in Alicante, and they don't have a limitation on height... The style is different too. Where the Hogueras are like cartoons based on simplified characteristics of the figures (kind of streamlined, more geometric shapes), the Fallas have a tendency to exaggerate characteristics (sometimes a bit bufoonish, and curvier). Am I explaining myself right? Does that make sense to you? Maybe a few pictures will help:

Hogueras 2009, Alicante

Fallas 2008, Valencia

19 Mar 2010

Happy Father's Day!

What's that? I've got my dates wrong? It's not 'till June?! HA! Not here!!! In Spain father's day is TODAY!!! Saint Joseph's Day (which I find pretty ironic). And it's actually a holiday in most of the country!

from http://www.remerascopadas.com.ar/remera.php?wid=879&id=104

So I'm taking my dad out to lunch and a movie (well, technically he's taking me -cause of my whole lack of mobility issue- and I'm paying). How 'bout you, got any plans for today? ;o)

PS: I'm afraid I have to put Fishy Fridays on hold again, until I can find enough time to write a proper entry! The next one is going to be really good, but I need time to do the research, go through my photos and videos of the fishy in question, and write it al up! And I'm kind of in the middle of trying to rewrite a research paper on a scary deadline so... I'm afraid my responsibilities are taking over on my procrastination activities! But as the Governator was famous for saying: I'll be back! (sorry, I couldn't helo myself, lol!)
PPS: Only one person ventured a guess as to the subject of the next FF post... the clues are there and another one has been added in this post.

16 Mar 2010

Escalation in security threats around the world.

My dad received this from an American friend in Panama (who in turn got it from a friend in India... ain't e-mail grand?)... he called it an "interesting examination of stereotype ethnic and historical images", and I just had to share it!

Warning: DO NOT under any circumstances read this while consuming liquids. There is a high risk of aforementioned liquids spouting out through your nostrils! Consider yourselves warned. ;o)

15 Mar 2010

And this is why I'm grateful I went to University in Europe instead of the US...

And that's just for PUBLIC Universities! How can people afford a University education with prices like those?! Shall I scare you with my tuition fees? Less than 1000€ / year! (I don't remember the exact amount) I managed to pay for my Master's Degree in Belgium (which was even less since got a "low income" -thx to my dad having retired a few years before- reduction in fees) and cover my living expenses just by working part time teaching English and doing translations. And since I registered for the PhD programme in Belgium I've only been paying administrative fees after my initial full tuition... fees which rose to 30€ this year, oh my! I get that money back just on the student discounts I get at movie theatres throughout the year...

13 Mar 2010


Well, what do you think? Like the new look and layout? I DO!!! :o)

I should have switched to the "Blogger in Draft" dashboard months ago! They've just made new templates available. A pretty wide variety that are very easy to change as much as you'd like! Not just background colours and fonts, but photos, number of columns, widths... Me likes!!!

I also discovered the new "pages" option that appear like tabs at the top of the blog. "Non-changing" pages that are there to welcome people (or whatever you want). Check them out and tell me what you think!

I've pretty much spent my Saturday afternoon fiddling with this... good thing to do on a dreary day when one is still stuck inside (I want to go to the movies!!!). This template made me think of Spring. Maybe I'll try out a different one for summer...

If you want to play with it for yourself go here:

Have fun!

12 Mar 2010

The electronic book revolution

I've just read a very interesting article pleading the case of e-books. More than pleading, rejoicing over the advances in technology that many fear will lead to the "end of books as we know them". You know, the Kindle, the iPad etc...

I've been kind of divided on the subject since the Kindle hit the stores and the topic has become more and more frequent lately. 

10 Mar 2010

Foot update

Sorry if I appear to have pulled a disappearing act, this whole foot situation has gotten me so down I didn't really feel like writing anything! So haven't finished putting together Monthly Reading, Fishy Fridays or a couple of Oscar-related posts I had lined up. :s

If you ever get a bad sprain/break etc... don't think the pain in your foot is going to be the worst part. Nope, when that's over you have to deal with CRUTCHES!!! Hopping from here to there is exhausting, doing anything seems to take twice as much effort, your hands feel so sore that just pressing them against anything else makes them hurt and your back is going to start complaining about being unbalanced. Oh, and showers... showers are HELL! Trying balancing on a stool in the tub...

...with your foot & calf wrapped in saran wrap and dangling out of the tub just in case (so as not to get the bandages wet). 

Yeah, oodles of fun (voice dripping with sarcasm there). Well at least my abdominal muscles have been getting a workout holding that position. And my biceps. "Thanks" to the crutches I might actually have biceps by the time I'm through with all this! :p

Last Thursday when I woke up what little I could see of my foot sticking out of the bandages was all swollen and PURPLE! 

Kind of freaked me out seeing as how it hadn't been that colour the night before... Even tried washing it in case it was just dirty but wouldn't come off... so headed off for another trip to the ER (fuuuuun... fortunately had a book with me that time) and ended up getting told off by the Doc for not resting enough and keeping my foot up! Apparently the doctors and I have a different opinion on what "keeping my foot up" means. For me it was just not putting any weight on it and otherwise trying to keep doing normal routine stuff (like going to teach my English classes). For them it meant "reposo absoluto" as much as possible and with my foot UP as in above my waist up... Oops! Also more cold on it. So I spent as much of the weekend as possible lying on the sofa or bed, with my foot up on a pillow and a bag of frozen russian salad veggies on top. Brrrr!!! and BORING!!! Plus I can't very well sit at the computer and have my foot up... so not much time around here! :o(

Well, at least now I'm rid of that terribly itchy wrapping from my foot up my calf. Went to see the Traumatologist (is that the correct name in English for that kind of specialist?) yesterday and he released my foot from its dungeon, ordered up 10 sessions of rehab, and told me to use a removable ankle support thingy (like athletes!) during the day. Still can't use my foot (as in to walk, drive etc), so still stuck with the crutches and limited in the things I can actually do for myself, but man did it feel good this morning getting a shower without my foot dangling over the edge! Oh, plus washing it, definite bonus! :p

Still looks damn scary though:

But at least the Easter Egg is gone! ;o)

2 Mar 2010

Monthly Movies: February'10

Also known as the "preparing for the Oscars" edition! (with one notable exception) Three best picture nominees, one which should have been (imho), and one pure piece of fluff I wish I had seen something else instead of... ;o)