Friday, June 29, 2007

La Renta

Today I've had a last chance to send my Spanish tax declaration, but what a week of nightmares. First of all, I hadn't received the certificate of my income, it must have got lost somewhere. I have to admit that I should have taken care of it a long time ago, but well... one can make mistakes, can't one? I tried to get the document through the CSIC intranet but somehow I wasn't able to finish my registration process. I thought it might be because of the Macintosh peculiarities, so I opened the website in virtualized Windows on the same computer. I got the same result, with only half of the form showing up. Totally desperate, we called a CSIC computer guru and apparently, one can access the CSIC intranet only from a computer that runs Windows and a web browser that are both SPANISH localized! I haven't heard about such a stupid excuse before, for me it just doesn't make any sense. Then I experienced a classic Mac vs. Win clash, as the software that I had to use to fill the declaration forms was only for Windows. Fortunately, the virtualized version worked well (with some manageable quirks), so I could bring my tax papers to the bank in the morning. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I feel like a sponge, constantly absorbing new music. Antonio told me about The Ark, a truly amazing band from Sweden. The following song, 'It takes a fool to remain sane', is so fabulously glamorous that it's giving me creeps:

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More quirks

As the EU row over Polish demands quiets, there are other full members of the EU with similar oddities that go unnoticed in the media. Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said in April that the Soviet soldiers buried on Tõnismägi Hill in the center of Tallinn had, under one version, “been drunk and got run over by their own tank”; under another, they had been “looters shot dead”; and under yet another, “deceased patients of a nearby hospital.” Similar alarming case is the "Monument of Lihula" installation, yet another example of revisionism in modern Estonian/Baltic history. The Baltic SS-Legions, glorified on the site as fighters against Bolshevism, were directly responsible for such actions as deportations of children from the occupied Soviet territories and their deaths after "medical" experiments at a concentration camp in Salaspils, Latvia.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Someone new

Sometimes a little stupid thing changes one's mood significantly. I haven't seen or spoken to El Pintor for a LONG time. I know I shouldn't care, we have nothing in common - except the drinks in the bar, but still... I would like to know what I did wrong so I can be smarter in the future. It's even worse as the big Chueca event approaches... Well, at least one cute song from the Scandinavian breed.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Le Pavillon de la Tchécoslovaquie

Jaromír Krejcar (architect)
Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne Paris 1937

The Twins strike again

Jarosław Kaczyński, the Polish prime minister, complained that Poland would have a far bigger population on which to base its EU voting power if it had not been for the Nazi invasion in September 1939 which started the war. "We are only demanding that we get back what was taken from us," he told Polish national radio. "If Poland had not had to live through the years of 1939-45, Poland would be today looking at the demographics of a country of 66 million."

Oh my, what will come next? I still cannot digest the fact that bigot and reactionary country is a member of the EU. Well, I will have to live with all the quirks that are coming from there. Analyzing such a challenge, I can ask the Czech prime minister to demand justice at the current EU meeting: If the Swedish army didn't invade the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1630s, the Czech lands would have 30 million inhabitants by now. Maybe it would be still a Kingdom, welcoming millions of monarchy-loving tourists to spend their drachmas and tollars there! And just between us, I know who to blame for the plague.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A case study

AUSTIN, Texas - An angry crowd beat a man to death after a vehicle he was riding in struck and injured a young girl.

Police believe 2,000 to 3,000 people were in the area for a Juneteenth celebration when the attack occurred Tuesday night.

The driver had stopped to check on the little girl at the entrance to an apartment complex when a group of men attacked him, authorities said. The passenger, David Rivas Morales, 40, got out to try to help the driver, but the crowd turned on him.

Morales was beaten to death by as many as 20 men and left lying in a parking lot, police Commander Harold Piatt said.

The little girl, 3 or 4 years old, was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Soundtrack of my life

Today, a friend of mine posted a Myspace bulletin. Here is how the game works:
1. Open your music library
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button

I used my 2G iPod nano with a limited number of songs (1/10th of my iTunes library, but it still turned out pretty well:
Opening Credits: There Is a Light That Never Goes Out - The Divine Comedy (the Smiths original is a song of my life, a good beginning)
Waking up: Que Voy a Hacer Con Mi Amor - Alejandro Fernández (I am sure we have listened to this one at least once with R., still in bed)
First Day At School: Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me - Sexy Sadie (weird choice)
Falling In Love: Vojáček - Bratrstvo (this is an anti-war song, so make love no war)
Fight Song: Defying Gravity - Wicked (The musical) (Elphaba was against them all)
Breaking Up: Enterlude - The Killers ('outside the sun is shining')
Depression: I Am Just a Patsy - Manic Street Preachers (this matches perfectly, it's amazing)
Recovery: Lyric - Zwan ('a road without end')
Prom: Do I Look Like a Slut? - Avenue D (actually, I didn't)
Life: Brass in Pocket - The Pretenders ('gonna use my style... gonna use my imagination')
Mental Breakdown: Promiscuous - Nelly Furtado (well, anything goes at such a time)
Flashback: Oceán - Oceán (high school)
Getting Back Together: Solo Quédate En Silencio - RBD (very kitschy, both the song and the idea)
Wedding: C'mere - Interpol ('you said today, you know exactly how I feel')
Birth of Child: One Love - Suede ('tomorrow in their eyes')
Final Battle: Shipbuilding - Robert Wyatt ('diving for dear life')
Death Scene: Life On Mars? - Seu Jorge ('take a look at the Lawman')
Funeral Song: Sudestada - Gustavo Cerati ('trataba de explicar que ya no hay vuelta atrás')
End Credits: The Space Between - Dave Matthews Band ('hope we don't take this ship down')

Italy vs. Helsinki

Laakso and Peter Jöback. The lyrics (and the video itself) cannot get more queer:

Oh, let's go to Milano, it's fashion week
and so am I
weak, in need of love, any love from anyone...
Oh no, come with me to Helsinki, where the streets are white
and so am I
wide open for love, any love from anyone...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

America reinvents the style

C'mon guys... Buy an airplane ticket and come to Europe and you will see there is nothing to reinvent. Milo Ventimiglia is pretty cute, though.
To balance the shallowness of this post, the following is from a classic Woody Allen's essay, My Address to the Graduates: ‘Today, we are at a crossroad. One road leads to hopelessness and despair; the other to total extinction. Let us pray we choose wisely.'

Monday, June 18, 2007


Yesterday, the Real Madrid team won the Spanish league. Later on, the streets were occupied by either drunk yelling supporters or the excited car drivers who couldn't stop honking. Today, the ADN newspaper put a big title: "Liga blanca" and I remembered a neonazi music band from the 90s who sang: "White league, white power". The same brain capacity, I am afraid.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Parties at the Autónoma

One thing that surprises me from time to time is the generosity of the UAM towards the student parties on campus. I spent few years in the US and I am sure that something like "San Canuto" simply wouldn't be possible there. Yesterday, there was another party on campus; drunk people sleeping on the benches, trash and broken glass everywhere and three destroyed check-out machines at the RENFE station. In the morning, the poor campus workers were already cleaning the mess that "the Future of Spain" left behind.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I tried hard to avoid him, as the wide buzz usually makes me careful, but at the end, I have to admit that I like some of his music a lot. Mika is pretentious, flamboyant, kitschy and one can use many similar adjectives to describe him. He openly steals/borrows from Queen, Elton John and Scissor Sisters, yet keeps some unique style, fortunately. My favourite songs are Any other world (with the old Lebanese lady at the end bringing tears to my eyes, pretty pathetic, huh?), glamorous My interpretation, chart-successful Relax (Take it easy) and closing Happy ending.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


Bratrstvo (Brotherhood in English) was a cult band in Brno in early 1990s, known for its sophisticated visual style. Through its members, the band was linked to an art movement with the same name. They released three albums and ceased in 1994. I have found a website of its former member, which contains videoclips to songs Bludička (Ignis fatuus in English) and Mária and other songs as mp3 files. (Yes, I'm struck by a reunion-triggered sentimentality).

Friday, June 8, 2007

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Dante's smile

Another excerpt from "The Dante Club" (slightly shortened):
>>"There is a story that Boccaccio tells of a woman in Verona where Dante was staying during his exile. She saw Dante and pointed him out to another woman, saying, 'That's Alighieri, the man who goes to Hell whenever he pleases and brings back news of the dead.' The other replied, 'Very likely. Don't you see what a dark face he has? Owing to the heat and smoke!' This made Dante smile. Do you know why I doubt the story's veracity?", Lowell continued. "Perhaps because this woman would not know of the contents of Dante's poem, " Sheldon postulated. "I do not for a second believe that Dante smiled", Lowell answered.<<

Monday, June 4, 2007


I am in the Czech Republic right now. Yesterday, we had a 15-years-after-highschool reunion. It was kind of funny, because everybody just simply stayed the same (just with wives/husbands/kids), with a similar tolerance to gin or vodka. I had a great time!