September 22, 2009

This Must Be Incredibly Annoying When Americans Do It

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:04 am by Ian

A Parisian man just attempted to ask me… something about my computer. I replied that I don’t speak French (in French. One of the few things I know how to say). He then spoke more loudly and slowly.

Sorry, dude, I don’t speak loud slow French either.


September 9, 2009

To My Great Credit…

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:54 am by Ian

This morning, I was sitting in the lobby doing computery things, and I struck up a conversation with Veronique, a Quebecoise who had just arrived at the hostel and was planning her day out on a big map of Madrid while waiting for check-in time. It turned out that we were both planning to go see the Museo de Arte Reina Sofia, a Spanish modern art museum, so we went together. It was a great museum, with lots of Picasso, including Guernica, which is so impressive that I took a picture of it, even though I think taking pictures of art in museums is silly. But before that (for this is not really a post about high culture), as we were about to leave the hostel for the museum, I put on some sunscreen and offered it to her. She declined, saying that we would be inside, and

“…besides, I don’t like the cream, on my skin.”

She continued.

“I’m not sure how I manage to not burn yesterday with all the outside, but I only creamed myself once.”

…I did not laugh.

A Moment of Pathos

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:11 am by Ian

For a moment, the bull quieted.

He stood stock still in the dust of the arena, his sides heaving with the residuals of his exertion. The matador shook his cape to capture the bull’s attention, but he was far enough away that the bull did not charge. The bull lowered his head to sniff at the ground where it was damp with pools of his blood.

He sniffed cautiously, raised his head quickly to check that none of the toreros had advanced, then sniffed another pool. He raised his head and looked all around in bewilderment, and at that moment the pretense of the bull as primal aggressive force fell away, and he was just a confused and frightened animal.

Then the matador drew closer and the bull lowered his head and charged.

September 6, 2009

First Culture Shock

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:37 am by Ian

In Barajas Airport, an announcement comes on over the PA system, first in Spanish, then in English

The law requires that we remind you that smoking is permitted in Barajas Airport. Out of consideration of others, please use the designated smoking areas.

Not only is smoking allowed in the airports, they’re apparently required by law to tell you it’s allowed.

September 2, 2009

Google Voice Has a Sense of Humor

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:08 pm by Ian

Typing an SMS on Google Voice’s website, there’s a little counter that displays how many characters you have remaining. If you go over the 160 character limit, it starts counting down again, but prepends the number of the message you’re on, like this:


If you go over the limit a second time, the display just changes to this: