the rhone.

hey kids! so sorry about the lack of posts. i was…being lazy. last weekend i went to the rhone with my dad and a couple of his friends to taste wine and eat incredibly bimodal-y distributed food (this place was fantastic. do not–DO NOT–go here, not least because their website has music similar to a four-level ibizan club playing on it.) anyway, good times were had by all. we ate too much roquefort. pics are below.

also, the following posts are coming up, when i get around to them:

(1) thoughts on the goldman lawsuit, and why it’s potentially not a very big deal at all.

(2) in which i get fined €150 for throwing out my trash improperly; or, an ongoing lesson in dublin bureaucracy.

(3) cabs. really. i am going to write about this. i am.

pics:

(by the way, you may want to click through a couple times on some of these pics so see more clearly how expansive the southern rhone feels.)

Continue reading ‘the rhone.’

home!

wow, is it nice in philly right now. plus i got a new camera! it took this:

and this:

i am pleased.

gaudi porn.

gaudi is really someone you have to see in person. the facade of sagrada familia that he actually got to do before he died is spectacular; so much more outstanding than in pictures. i think it’s fair to say that gaudi went overboard sometimes, but even if–occasionally–i didn’t like it, i never felt like his eccentricity was contrived. and the apartment in casa mila (la padrera) is not only a logical extension of horta-type art nouveau, it struck me as a perfection of it. the juxtaposition of horta’s studio and apartment with la padrera is pretty cool, and i’m glad i got to see both only a couple weeks apart. i don’t really have the vocabulary to talk about architecture, so that’s as good as i can do. i do think that barcelona is worth going to if only to see gaudi. (parc guell is really cool too, and well worth it.) i should also note that the most amazing thing about sagrada familia is that it really is still fucking being built (there are over 100 people who work there full time building it). it’s scheduled for completion in the mid-2020s–i’ll believe it when i see it.

ok, so basically i just took a ton of pictures everywhere. first was sagrada familia, second was casa mila, and third was parc guell. it should be pretty clear what is what. also, the door to casa mila is probably my favorite thing in here. it’s phenomenal, and imposing, and beautiful.

lots of pics below. i’m not going to go through and title them..

Continue reading ‘gaudi porn.’

barcelona.

barcelona feels really, really big. it’s way bigger than i thought, and every day we just sort of discovered completely different parts of the city. very cool in that way. it was vibrant, full of people and art. the mercat off of las ramblas is a-ma-zing. and, obviously, there’s gaudi. barcelona really benefits, i think, from having committed very publicly to art and design. there’s interesting architecture everywhere (beyond gaudi), and i think the most beautiful parts of barcelona were almost as beautiful as most of paris.  barcelona, and the coast of spain north of it towards france, definitely seems like a place you could easily spend ten days or so. i’m going to throw some pictures on this post, and then post all the gaudi pics in the next one.

oh and one more thing happened while i was in barcelona:

woot.

more pics below the jump.

Continue reading ‘barcelona.’

it’s not over for dems.

if you’ll permit the political interlude, on friday a couple of blogs picked up on this thought. but i thought of it first! i just didn’t post it until today, because i couldn’t really decide if i wanted to post something completely unrelated to being over here. but whatever, here goes.

there is, i think, a narrative developing (potentially) that is being completely overlooked by the mainstream media. consider: the following things should be happening by October/November:

(1) healthcare reform passes. It continues to get more popular. people start to learn about the good things it will do right away–for those playing at home, that would be “no more donut hole, dependent children covered until 26, insurance access for those with pre-existing conditions” and more, as a democratic staffer put it in a memo.

(2) the economy starts adding jobs. most estimates i’ve seen hover around 200,000 jobs a month. from now till election day, we should get eight jobs numbers. so we’ve added 1.8 million jobs (factoring in a little extra for the april number). (“almost two million jobs since march” is not a bad talking point.) being conservative, let’s say the unemployment number goes down a percent, so it will have gone from over 10% to under 9%. i have no proof of this, but i’d bet that people start feeling better about the economy when people they know get jobs, even if they don’t get jobs themselves, so there’s some sort of multiplicative effect.

(3) more stimulus has been spent, and three more positive GDP numbers, which will by that point be 5 consecutive quarters of growth.

(4) more and more troops coming home from iraq–the combat mission in iraq is scheduled to end this august.

and,

(5) a whole 6 months more to take control of afghanistan, and of seriousness about al-qaeda on the af-pak border. (i don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that we are getting close to osama, since we are finally taking it seriously. maybe there’s a 2-5% chance we capture or kill him this summer. not big, but not nothing.)

anyway, the point is, this won’t just energize the democratic base, it will convince independents that republican nihilism is really damaging and a waste of everybody’s time. and none of this is crazy, either. i don’t think the narrative for the dems is that hard to create, and it’s hard for me to see what the argument is from republicans given that they’ve opposed every one of these policies every step of the way. maybe my head is in the clouds here, and of course these things might not happen, but if they do (which, again, I don’t think is all that unreasonable to expect), it’s hard for me to see how dems take massive losses.

this weekend i’ll be in barcelona…then next week home for pesach!!!

brussels pics.

here are a bunch more pics from brussels. (putting them below the fold….)

Continue reading ‘brussels pics.’

brussels two.

my buddy @rolbui–who is from brussels and still owes me pictures of sunday’s dinner–said that brussels is to paris as philly is to new york. i think there’s a lot of truth to this. brussels has some of all of the best things of paris: great museums, food, public squares, etc., but not as much as paris does. it’s also sort of a gritty (i guess if you didn’t like brussels you could say “dirty”) city in the same way that philly is. but it also has got its own identity, its own cuisine, its own art (a whole room of bruegels!!), its own vibe.

i don’t think recounting exactly what i did is particularly interesting, but the grand’ place (i have no idea why there’s an apostrophe) is really spectacular. it is probably the most impressive square i’ve seen in europe. it’s very baroque–gilded in gold–and i think really intelligently used. there are a couple of restaurants and bars with outdoor seating, but it is mostly wide open.

also amazing was the Victor Horta museum. they’re fond, in brussels, of saying that Horta invented art nouveau. i think it’s probably more accurate to say that Horta brought art nouveau to brussels. either way, he really brought art nouveau to brussels. it is all over the place. they don’t let you take pictures inside the museum (which is his house and studio) but it, by itself, is almost worth a day-trip if you’re in paris (two hours on the TGV..high speed rail is cool). one other example of it though is the musical instrument museum, which i didn’t go into, and should have:

the combination of the food and beer in brussels, obviously, is without parallel. i would like to highlight two things: first, eating a freshly made waffle, with freshly melted belgian chocolate on top of it, while standing in the grand’ place in brussels is seriously fantastic. i only ate half the waffle, because i was afraid i was going to die on the spot, but the crispy, warm waffle and the chocolate OMFG. amazing. really. amazing. second: brussels is CHEAP! the beer is SO CHEAP. roland took me to a sort of more modern beer/charcuterie place (it was sort of tria-ish). we each had, you know, a bunch of specialty drafts, and a pretty good sized charcuterie and cheese plate (which was awesome). the bill was €51. that’s it. no tip, no more tax. even in philly, this probably would have been $80. in dublin, easily €100.

so, really, i think you should go to brussels. especially if you like architecture. or art. or food. or beer. or chocolate.

tomorrow i’ll post some more pics.


confirmed trips.

march 5-8: brussels
march 20-22: barcelona
march 27-april 4: philly
april 8-10: the rhone

may 5-16: japan
may 28-june 6: philly

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