Monday, November 29, 2004

A Series of Unrelated Anecdotes Because I'm Bored and No One's On AIM

Also, it's better than writing about artistas y mecenas. That paper is going to be the cause of a major breakdown. I predict it.

The first day I was in Spain, I slept through lunch. You can hardly blame me, seeing as how I didn't get any nappage on the plane (for future reference, 19B is the absolute worst seat assignment ever. Run away). So when dinner rolled around, I was a cross between groggy and STARVING. STARVING won, so I dragged myself into the kitchen to eat. There was a salad for me. It looked good.

In Southern Europe and most crappy Southern European restaurants the world over, your salad dressing choices include:
oil and vinegar.
The options were sitting on the table, and I went to liberally vinegarizate my Romaine when I saw a little brown speck floating in the cruet. A little brown...swimming...speck.

I turned to Pilar. "Umm, there's something in the vinegar."

"Oh, that's just the mother of the vinegar. It comes when the stuff's aged a little bit."

"The mother of the vinegar?"

"Yeah. It's nothing bad, but I'll strain it out for you if you don't like it." She did.

After dinner, I put my dishes in the sink. The strainer, little brown specks intact, was on the drainboard. I bent over to examine what exactly a vinegar's mother looked like.

Mother of the Vinegar = Red eyed wildtype female.

The scariest part is that I could sex it without checking.

Yay AP Bio.


This anecdote has been removed because it's hard to translate into text. Oops.


I thought this week was going to pass unbearably slowly, seeing as how it's the last full week of classes, precedes break this weekend, etc. Take a look at my Tuesday/Wednesday schedule and tell me how absolutely wrong I was:

Tuesday, November 30

10-11am: class
1:30-3pm: makeup class, resulting in early lunchtime (I will be hungry later, boo)
3:30-5pm: class
5-7:30pm: WRITE PAPER LIKE WOAH (I promise to never use that phrase again.)
8-10pm: choir

Wednesday, December 1

12am: say White Rabbit, as bedtime/waking up time is going to be very messed up
2:30am: start wandering around Madrid randomly trying to find O'Connell's
3am: Michigan State (#9 ESPN) at Duke (#10 ESPN), Big Ten/ACC Challenge viewing at O'Connell's
5:30am: end of game (approx.)
6am-11amish: sleep
11am-1:30pm: write more paper, do research for parts of paper that still suck
3:30-5pm: class
5-7:30pm: guess (hint: same as this time period yesterday and it's taking up all my free time ever and ahhhhh)
8pm: choir
9pm: try to sneak out of choir without anyone noticing to go to
10:15pm: flamenco show (free!)
12am: CRASH except

Thursday, December 2

8am: CLASS.

The good part is that by the time I come out of my stupor it should be Friday. Boo-yah.


Yeah, I'm out of anecdotes. 40 days left.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Bassett Love

I had Mexican for lunch today with Josh, whom I haven't seen since freshman year or so. It was a lot of fun. We spent most of the meal trying to figure out the logistics of smuggling.

While we were waiting for our food, a man came up to us with a slightly crazed look in his eye. "Servicios de caballeros?" I shrugged and half-raised my hands, which is the universal symbol for don't-ask-me-I-am-an-ignorant-white-devil.

Josh turned to me after the man walked away. "Did he just ask us for beers of the horsemen? Because I was about to be like no, we're out of those."


Sometimes it is very hard not to hate everyone on earth forever and ever and ever.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Allison's Brand-Spanking New Conclusion

You PEOPLE need to start BLOGGING more so I can have something to DO when I'm BORED. Dammit.

Only one more week until break. One week...break...argh...vacation in other countries...hellllllp...

Friday, November 26, 2004

I'm Sorry, WHO Are We Sending These To?

So about once every semester I hit a wall. Last semester, it was when I sat up in the middle of the paper I was writing for Aspects of Renaissance Culture (topic: misogyny in the English Renaissance, as shown particularly through the Malleus Maleficarum and some play I don't remember the name of) and realized hey, wait. This paper is boring, sucks, and no matter how much I work on it I won't get higher than a B because I don't care. All of these intuitions were true. (I got a B+ in the class and counted myself lucky.)

I'm at the wall again, but this time it's a different wall. It's built of overconfidence (it's half done and I've got a week to finish it!) instead of desperation (it's only half done and in Spanish and I've only got a week to finish it!). So instead of getting out of class at 9am today and heading straight to the library to finish researching Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and their respective patron-artist relationships, I am blogging. This time, the thought process is more like Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease caaaaaaaaaaaaaan't anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 *sob sob sob beg whine plead sob*

I've promised myself that I'll get up early tomorrow and go to the library. 9am. Saturday. AHAHAHA I am so funny. Then on Sunday I'm going to get up and go to the Prado at 9 because it's free from 9-2 and I really, really need to go back and stare at the Garden of Earthly Delights for a while. AHAHAHAHA again. Yay for self-deception.

ANYway, so I mentioned something in the last post about name-dropping privileges, and it's a pretty funny story if you haven't already heard it. If you have, go grab a sandwich; you're going to be very bored.

It's the first day of my freshman year of college. I could tell you I was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and eager to learn, but it would be a lie. I was TIRED and intimidated and scared out of my wits (9:10 classes with evil Spanish quasi-professors will do that to you). The second class of the day was Writing 20 - for you non-Dukies, every freshman has to take a Writing 20 class at some point, though we get to choose the subject (sort of). Mine was a FOCUS class, so the topic was chosen for us: Writing in Science and Biotechnology (or some such grossness - ACES is down so I can't check the real course name.)

The professor walks in and sits down. He reminds me a little bit of David (not Jessie's dad, nor my Uncle Davey, but Lissa and James' Uncle Davey), in a completely irrational and baseless way. He welcomes us to the class, tells us that since we're FOCUS kids we're expected to be at least five notches smarter than the average Duke student, and starts explaining the assignments we'd be doing over the course of the semester.

"Since this is a program that focuses on the sciences, the purpose of my class is to teach you to mine meanings from technical articles and address those meanings in an organized manner."

Ten freshman heads are bobbing enthusiastically, each of us slightly psyched up about Being In College and Doing Smart Things.

"Professional journals are, obviously, an important part of scientific investigation. Equally important is the way you respond to articles in these journals. However, since it's the beginning of the year, we're going to work our way up to (something that can be interpreted as 'obnoxious technical jargon'). We'll start out with a publication geared a little more towards the general public."

He gets up and starts passing out handouts.

"Your homework for tonight is to read these sheets, all of which have to do with pros and cons of the addition of flouride to drinking water. The eventual goal of the assignment is to write a letter to the editor of the Earth Island Journal, the source of many of the articles I'm giving you here, which evaluates the soundness of the argument that flouridated water (something that can be interpreted as 'sucks')."

The wheels in Allison's head start turning. They make an audible clicking noise. Earth Island Journal...the name sounds awfully familiar, doesn't it? Why would I know that...waaaaaait a second.

I raise my hand.

"We're not actually going to send these in to the editor, are we?"


"He's my uncle. I think."

The professor gives me a weird look - my first weird look of college! "Really?"

"Well, he just switched jobs, so I'm not sure if that's the one he started or the one he left, but yeah."

By now the whole class is staring at me with a You Are A Name-Dropping Prostitute type look. Not the last time I've been on the receiving end of that one, either. The professor looks away.

"All right, so read these handouts for tomorrow and write a page about (something that can be interpreted as 'useless')..."

I stop to talk to him quickly after the class was over. "So, we're not sending these in, right? because I would feel really dumb if we did."

He raises his eyebrows at me, basically telling me that he doesn't care how dumb I would feel without even opening his mouth. "No. We're not."

"Thank you," earns me a look that says This Has Nothing To Do With You, So Don't Thank Me.

And that, my friends, is how having relatives in high places garnered me my first elitism point (as well as my first hated by the masses point, which has reproduced at the approximate rate of a bacterium) in college. I hope you enjoyed the story - I did, because telling it filled about half an hour that I should have spent researching. Oh, well.

***completely off-topic edit: now with links!***

If you know me well, you know my no-longer-secret life yearning is to buy a cabin in some completely rural area, create a farm, and spend a couple of years trying to be self-sufficient (by "farm" I mean "very large vegetable garden with chickens", and by "self-sufficient" I mean "in terms of everything except the stuff like flour, sugar, and maxi pads"). I got this idea after reading The Stand, and therefore it has remained an unreasonable possibility...until now. Provided that I live.


Christmas present (link changed). From me to me, since you are all exempt from buying me anything. Thank you again for my compy, because I love it. I will stop cluttering your life with useless things now (except wait, Mom, I thought of more stocking stuffers: guitar pick(s) and/or teach yourself to play you idiot book, hair things with really thick elastic that won't stretch out after I use them twice but are not scrunchies or any such 1980s rejects. Thank you.)

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Oh My Goodness I Am So Trite and Poserish

It's fun to be trite and poserish, actually. I never have to think anything up for myself and no one has to look at me. Whee.

Things I Am Thankful For:

Ten wiggly fingers, ten wiggly toes, the limbs they're attached to and a brain to run the joint.

The people of Immanuel Baptist Church, Nooree and the Aycockers, the Lewis family, Rick and Dalene, the Cobb family and all the people who have welcomed me into their homes every Thanksgiving and taken care of me just as if I belonged. Oh, and Hungry Man brand by Swanson.

Duke. From the top of the Chapel to the bottom of the tunnels, from Science Drive to Markham, it's my home and I love it with all of my heart, despite the grief it gives me.

Mom and Grandpa, for being the first and best parents (or surrogate-parent-figures)ever and my rocks. Uncle Craig, for introducing me to video games, teaching me how to have fun, and making me that much less of a lonely only child. Aunt Carrie and Uncle Bob, for all the times I was sick and miserable and you took care of me (also "tookies"), and the girls for being awesome and letting me pretend to be a big kid while we babysat. You get negative points for not living here anymore, though (kidding). Uncle Chris and Becky, for being incredible beyond my power to describe (also for giving me Editor of Earth Island Journal Writing 20 namedropping privileges - will explain someday). Grandma, for all the trips you've made to be with us over the past couple of decades. And, of course, the munchkins for providing me with something to mold into my own image (muahahaha) and still looking up to me despite being kicked out of my room millions and billions of times. Also for letting me twirl them around until we get dizzy.

My East Aurora friends, who got me through the most mind-bogglingly terrible six years of my short life. Cam, Billy, Shorty, Faye, Marcy, and everyone I haven't talked to in forever, I could write you each pages on how much I love you. Thank you.

My Duke friends, who helped move my life from darkness into day. Jeannie, Deirdre, (and Jeannie and Deirdre again) Aaron, Jon, Chris, and everyone else (especially the Class of 05 Brownies and the Class of 06 Bassetteers), don't you dare graduate until I do. Except for Chris, because he did already.

Mighty Taco with loganberry, Long John Silver's and the fried crap in the bottom of the basket, linguine and clam sauce, and shrimp and broccoli stirfry without the shrimp - Chicken Finger Granwiches, barbeque wings, pints of Ben & Jerry's, subs from Avenue, and Sweet Tooth - dried cherry scones, Chez Panisse (even though I am such an uncultured swine I should never have been allowed in), lemon meringue pie, and, let's face it, everything Becky ever put her hands to - Cosmic veggie quesadillas, eggplant parmesan from Francesca's, portabella burgers from The Loop, Papa John's at midnight, and OF COURSE Cafe Au Lait brownies. (Also, thank you for not making me the only one to include an entire section on food.)

Summers at Kent State Falls, Chestnut Ridge, Girl Scout Camp, Muir Woods, and everything that made me realize (despite years of paternal propaganda) how not a city person I am.

The kindness of the Peruvian lady in choir this week who told me she had to stop and listen to realize I was American and my professor this morning who told me that I looked pretty. Next request: less kindness from the middle-aged women and more from the 18-24 year old male demographic. Please.

The capacity and willingness to work, and the luck of having found something I love to do even when it's about Italian Renaissance patronage with specific emphasis on the status of the genius and is MAKING ME INSANE.

Singing. Especially Handel's Messiah.

I am in Spain, and have a place I want to go home to (45 days!). Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you.

High technology and all the electronic little gidgety gadgets that make me happy.

The Daily Show, America: The Book, Conan O'Brien, Family Guy, the Simpsons, Jon Pugh, Homestar Runner, and all those things that make me shake with laughter. Included in this is being young and immature enough for it to be ok to laugh at these things without people shaking their heads and wondering what is wrong with me.

Last summer, especially the last six weeks, and the first time in my life I have felt that I was in the right place at the right time doing exactly the right thing.

Having fallen in love and therefore knowing that I am capable of doing so (I was worried for about 19 years there). Also, having fallen out of love and realizing that it is not the end of the world. In general, the wonderful happenstance of having a window opened every time a door is closed.

Lists, for allowing me to enumerate and reason through all the reasons why my life and the people in it (well, most of them - I could do without everyone at AT&T Wireless) are amazing.

Endings, for allowing me to demonstrate my high level of easily distractive behavior.


Also thankful for one finished 10-page paper and one paper with 7.5/15 pages written. Thank you, oh thank you, thank you. Oh, and for sweet potato casserole, which is ridiculously good and the nice church people let me have seconds. And stuffing. And mashed potatoes, and pecan pie and potato pie and apple pie and green bean casserole and Waldorf Salad and holy crap, I love Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2004


According to this survey, I have ADD. But you could have figured that out already by the way I end my blog entr-

Sunday, November 21, 2004


jakitojsr: super greca

Yes, as a matter of fact, I am.

I've been thinking lately that I should just drop out of school and become a writer. Murder mysteries. I could be the next Agatha Christie or something. So I write a line, something like "John Avery had never been in Peace, Nebraska, but the sight of a solitary crow flying over his head to the nearest plane tree - the only living beings in sight - told him he might not have been missing anything."

Then I start thinking, gee, I wonder if there is really a place called Peace, Nebraska and if there is do they have plane trees and do they have crows in Nebraska or are they ravens and if they're ravens then what's their Latin name because wouldn't it be cool to have a Latin name in my book and what do plane trees look like and do crows like them in particular and do they have other plants in Nebraska and oh crap I used the word sight twice in the same sentence and I ALWAYS do that and will the tourist bureau of Peace try to sue me for putting a murderer in their town and what the hell is the plot of the book anyway, because I don't know anything about how to kill people or forensic science and I'll never as be as good as Elizabeth George, will I?

Then I realize that I am, in fact, good for no practical occupation. So I stop writing.

It's good to know one's limitations.

That's a nice sentence to end on.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Will Fill You In On This Shortly

If I haven't told you several times already, here's the news: I need to get out of the house. I need to get out of anyone's house, in fact. You could say that I need to start living alone before I go totally insane.


I've never had a mantra before. I don't really consider myself a mantra-type person, preferring to stereotype mantra-type people, along with astrology-type people and most Republicans (ie. Dad), as "nutsos". I like stereotyping. It means I don't have to think.

However, as that sentence was predictably leading up to, I now have a mantra. I didn't even have to make it up - it came prepackaged. And it is - drumroll, please -

There are no bad dogs. There are just bad owners.

If you think that's the most uninspiring Zen-type sentence you have ever heard, I'm with you. It's not inspiring. It's just necessary.

See, the thing is that I really like the dog. She's not a bad dog at heart. She's loving, very intelligent, and affectionate (her choice to display her affection by licking, and my reaction to the licking, we can chalk up to a small personal disagreement). However, she is the most ill-mannered bitch I have ever met in my entire life.

She begs, and this is no look of wistful longing cast from under the table that I'm talking about, either. This is full-on up-jumping scratching barking whining running pacing sneezing (yes, sneezing) barking barking and more barking for the entire meal period. In fact, the only thing whose noise level even rivals her barking is the radio, which is never off. Ever.

EXCEPT when I am at home alone eating, which is when the radio goes off and the dog wanders in for a quick look, only to promptly return to her couch when she realizes That Stingy Little Jerk will not give her any food. By using the wonderful healing powers of that thing known as science, this has lead me to conclude that the dog is perfectly capable of controlling herself when you are not simultaneously throwing her pieces of white bread soaked in chicken grease and threatening to beat the crap out of her if she doesn't stop barking. The powers of observation are wonderful things, you know.

It seems, however, that she is not capable of controlling herself insofar as not peeing right outside my bedroom door (or anywhere else in the house, for that matter) is concerned. Then again, neither is Pilar capable of controlling her...nor mopping up. So that leaves:
1. Happy dog, untroubled by worries of bladder.
2. Happy owner, saved from having to walk dog later.
3. Allison stepping in a warm present while walking down a lightless hallway. It's a present. I suppose I should be happy. But I'm NOT.

Coming soon: HAM!

Thursday, November 18, 2004


Ok, jeez, the next time I go off and disappear for a week I promise to leave a more interesting post for you to read. Maybe. If I feel like it.

Things I Got This Week:

10€ scarf and glove set from H&M (I feel all sophisticated and matchy now)
two bottles of apple cider (already starting to turn - though I was once told that I speak better Spanish after a beer, so hey)
pancakes with ice cream on top (twice)
a Ben & Jerry's car trip mug (free with the purchase of above pancake and a Hot Shake)
churros con chocolate (twice)(oh lord, heart attack)
sick (see above three items)
stamps for postcards (sent them too)(ahahaha fricking FINALLY)

Things I Did Not Get This Week:

a sword (sadness)
chicken wings
a million dollars

Things I Did This Week:

Segovia (again)
Toledo (again)
Arabic baths (not again)
the Madrid Community Symphony, featuring zero (0) violinists
walked. a lot. a lot a lot.
Thai food
Indian food
Italian food
much PANS & Company (YAY)


It is Tuesday afternoon, lunchtime. Allison and her mother exit the wonderful, incredibly awesome Arabic baths and decide to eat at the slightly expensive restaurant included in the same building. They sit on a bench covered with pillows as someone singing about their habib starts pumping through the sound system. The food comes, and Allison starts tucking into her couscous as her mother stares at the slab of meat that has been placed in front of her. She looks, um, bewildered.
Allison's Mother, Of Whom She Is Now Allowed to Make Fun: So...what kind of meat did you say this was again?
Allison: Some sort of cow. Veal maybe. I dunno.
AMOWSINATMF: Veal? Oh no, not baby cow! I can't eat baby cow! *stares at the plate for a minute* Wait. This is an Indian restaurant!
A: *incredulous stare* Mom. Look at the decor. Listen to the music. Where did we just come out of? I'm eating COUSCOUS, for God's sake! This is a Middle Eastern restaurant!
AMOWSINATMF: What? India's in the Middle East!

Next day, dinner at PANS. Allison is explaining why the word for Y in Spanish is "Greek I"
A: Anyway, I think - I'm not sure - but I don't think they have a Y in Latin, so they would have borrowed it from Greek. So it's a Greek I.
AMOWSIetc: Spanish is based on Latin?
A: *again with the incredulous stare* Spanish is a Romance language. They call them Romance languages because they're based on Latin. What are the Romance languages? There are five.
AMOWetc: Umm...I'm gonna assume Spanish is one?
A: *smacks self in face*
Aetc: and Italian...French?...and Portuguese?
A: and Romanian. How many continents are there?
Aetc: Um...I dunno. Five?
A: How many colors are there in the rainbow?
Aetc: ROY G BIV!

Ah, what good is it spending a week with a parent if you can't get some material out of it afterward?...and the chance to skip a week's worth of classes, and about fifty bucks, and some moisturizer. Mmmm. Take-advantagey.

But not as take-advantagey as it will be when I get back and have to replace all my clothes that Europe is ruining. Hello, Express on somebody else's credit card.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Choices, Choices.

Just got this in my inbox:

Dear Students:
I want to remind you that Thanksgiving is coming and to continue this tradition although we're far from home, we're organizing a dinner at one of the American restaurants in Madrid. If you're interested, please come to the office and let us know before Wednesday, November 10. The cost of the dinner will be approximately 21€ (which you would preferably pay when you sign up).
Get excited!

Let's see. I could haul down to the office RIGHTNOW and fork out $25 for a dinner that will probably not even be a reasonable approximation of American food...or I could go to KFC and get a meal for two for $8. HMMMM. WHAT DO YOU THINK.

(I'm just mad because I actually would pay about $20 just for stuffing. However, I doubt that they would give me enough to satisfy my jones, and I would thereby be left wandering down strange streets of Madrid, partially bloated and mumbling Spanish profanity in a carbohydrate-soaked haze.)


I actually did stab myself. In the tongue. It really hurts. I am an idiot.

You Needed Proof?

Allison Ruth Clarke: the only person on the planet capable of stabbing herself with a toothbrush and drawing blood.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Gusty, Heartfelt Sigh

Oh, man. *looks down at resume for Albright-Knox internship* I suck.

Why can't I put things down like "has friends"? That's an accomplishment! I actually have friends! "Managed to escape from college without any meaningful addictions" (SHUT UP, VIDEO GAMES DON'T COUNT [neither does Family Guy, be quiet be quiet be quiet]). "Likes puppy dogs". "Has not yet killed parents". etc.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

11/7 is 7\11 Backwards

Everyone wish Mom a happy birthday. She's,, th, thirty nine. Yeah, that's it. 39. Again. (See, you don't have to lie about your age. I'll do it for you.)

Is it odd that I have gone from missing Duke muchly to being horrified at the prospect of real life starting again in 6 weeks? Between RAing, Trinity, 6 classes (and maybe auditing another), trying to work with DUSDAC, and finding extracurrics to fill out my Paris-Hilton-skinny resume, and spending quality time with my friends before you all GRADUATE (bastards! no wait, that's me), I'm screwed. Oh, and studying for the GRE, though I don't think that will be too strenous. Right now we're going through arithmetic drills. Not kidding.

*sigh* stupid life. I want Ben & Jerry's.

Saturday, November 06, 2004


This is going to be a bad post, because I'm going to have forgotten everything we did. Oh well. First, a question: should I call the (relatively nice-and-not-psycho-seeming) guy who gave me his number on the subway and said we should grab a coffee and work on our respective language barriers?


The first thing I noticed was probably the heat. I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt (after all, it was raining and miserable in Madrid when we left and Barcelona is to the north), so I started to sweat buckets as soon as we stepped outside. As any halfway intelligent person (ie. not myself) could have told me, Barcelona is on the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean is warm. Duh. Dummy.

We got a double-decker bus, which meant we all screamed in adolescent excitement and started elbowing each other in soft parts to get the front seats on top. I lost. Sad sad. We did a little drivey bus tour around the Olympic Village while the tour guides explained to us how the city was Very Important and Not Like Madrid, because Cataluña has its Own Cultural Heritage which Madrid is trying to Suppress. I haven't felt so propagandized since reading all those college application brochures back in the day.

After checking into our extravagant four-star hotel (you know, I'd rather stay at like a two-star place and get the 50€ difference back), we went on another bus tour. I fell asleep, of course. Oops. Then we went to the Picasso Museum. I'm not the biggest Picasso fan ever, but it was cool because it showed all the work he did as a child prodigy (age 14ish) and it was hardcore good. Then we went to the BEST CHOCOLATE SHOP EVER and I got something that was kind of like a soft, sweet pita with chocolate cream inside. My knees buckled when I took the first bite and I almost passed out. It was amazing.

We wandered around the city for a bit (by which I mean we got lost on the way back to the hotel) and had dinner, though it wasn't bunnies and snails (typical Barcelona food = bunnies and snails). It was PANS & CO - much better than bunnies. Kori and I, roomies for the night, tried to go out...we were looking for a Japanese/Mediterranean fusion restaurant/bar/club and couldn't find it. What we did find was a balcony full of inebriated Spanish men imploring us to come up. We tried to ask them where a good club was. Then they started peeing off the balcony. We took it as a sign.

The next day we didn't have anything planned with the group. Since Jessica had to leave early to go collect her parents (apparently I am not the only one with a field trip/parent problem), we decided to go look at Las Ramblas.

Las Ramblas is sort of what you would get if you took 1902 Paris, a maximum security prison, and a carnival and stuck them in a blender. It's a big parkway filled with street performers, flower stands, modernist cafes, and kiosk pet shops where you can get anything from a Korean squirrel to a chinchilla to a parrot (SO illegal, I bet). It is also the most dangerous place in Europe re: pickpockets. So that's cool. We wandered around for a bit looking at things and Jessica touristified herself gleefully by paying all the human statues and getting them to do things. I hung back, mortified, and searched the pet stores for bettas. Only found one. I was tempted. While we were wandering, I went and checked us (me, Issa, Gerst, and Will) into our hostel. This becomes important later.

We went to the Parc Guell, too, which was all designed by Gaudi and has the world's longest park bench. It was very well designed, ergonomically speaking. I could barely make myself get up.

Jess had to go to the airport, so I headed back to the hostel to settle. On the way there, I checked my phone and saw that I had a bunch of missed calls, one of which was from Issa. Huh, I thought. That's odd. I called Issa.

Pissed-Off Issa: Allison, we have a huge problem.
Allison: What?
POI: That hostel? It was disgusting. We were supposed to have a room for eight and it was a room for like 50, with only one bathroom.
A: Wait, what do you mean was disgusting?
POI: Well, I was going to stay there because we'd (ed. note: he means I'd, by which I mean me) paid already, but Gerst went off on this huge thing about how he'd traveled a lot of places and it was the worst hostel he'd ever seen, and he started screaming and we stormed out and now we've gotten a room in another hostel. You can come with us if you'd like.
A: Did you get my passport back? (the lady'd made me leave my passport when I checked in - sketchy.)
POI: Um, no.
A: Did you get my money back?
POI: Yeah, well, no. She said since the reservation was made on your credit card, you had to come back and she'd give it to you.
A: So let me get this straight. She still has our money and my passport and we still have a reservation there, but you guys decided it would be better to leave and pay for another place and not get me a spot?
POI: ...We tried to call you...
A: *sigh*I'll meet you at the hostel in fifteen minutes.

We got there, both a little pissed off now. We went in and talked to the lady behind the counter (a different person than the one I'd checked in with). I say that as if we didn't have to wait 20 minutes for her to get off a personal phone call. Which we did.

Mean Hostel Lady: You're Allison Clarke? *she read it off the credit card I'd plunked down on the counter*
A: Yep. We came to get our money back like you said we could.
MHL: Ok, give me your credit card.
A: Why do you need my credit card? I paid in cash. I thought you just wanted ID.
MHL: Right, we're going to give you your cash back and then charge your credit card.
A: ...That's not giving me my money back. You said you'd give me my money back.
MHL: No we didn't.
A: Yes, you did.
MHL: No we didn't.
A: Ok, before we get into this, can I just have my passport?
MHL: We never said we'd give you money back. That's not the rule.
A: Can I have my passport?
MHL: You're not going to get your money back.
A: I'd feel a lot better if I had my passport.
This is where Issa breaks in. "You did say you'd give us our money back. I was there."
A: passport...
MHL: We never said that. That's not the rule. You didn't cancel with 24 hours' notice.
POI: Of course we didn't cancel with 24 hours' notice, how were we supposed to give notice when we didn't see the rooms until we got here?
A: Listen, I'd really like my...
MHL: Well, you broke the rule and now you have to pay.
POI: That's stealing! You're stealing from us!
MHL: You come in here to my hostel and you call me a thief? You're a very rude man.
The MHL got me my passport, after many minutes of grumbled searching. Then she and Issa started screaming at each other again, throwing around accusations of theft, libel, slander, and American arrogance. At one point MHL told me that my boyfriend was very rude, to which I answered quickly "he is NOT my boyfriend". Maybe a little too quickly. Heh. Sorry, Issa.

The long and short of it is that there were many threats of summoning the police and I did not get my 54€ back. So we went to another hostel. It was bad. I was crying. I wanted my money back (the guys covered their shares, but still).

After the new hostel, we tried to go to a Gaudi house, but it was closed until October. Of 2006. Suck. Then we went to dinner at an all-you-can-eat pizza/pasta/salad buffet and I ate my weight. You think I'm kidding, but it was 2 dinner plates of salad + 2 plates of pasta + 2 pieces of pizza + cake + ice cream + fruit cocktail. Oh, and like 5 glasses of Diet Coke.


Then we went over to an apartment some of the girls had rented for the night and I watched everyone else play Kings and laughed at their drunken, stupid selves.

The next day I decided to do the Gaudi tour, because I'd missed it when everyone else went. So I went to the Casa Batlló and Sagrada Familia by myself, which was fun because I got to wander around and see things at random and climb to the top of the Sagrada Familia and not have to worry about stupid hungover boys. Then we went home.

Barcelona = (cheated by hostel owner + incredibly expensive + constant fear of pickpocketing)/(pretty architecture + yummy food) = disappointing, sort of.

And that is probably why I delayed blogging about it for so long.

Friday, November 05, 2004

It's The Little Things

I went to teach this morning. It's a bit of a hike up to the school, you know, with some up hills and some down hills and a little bit of round and round hills. So I was walking, and I got to the street that the school's on, and I start to walk down it when I see all these police vans and television vans and bystanders and POLICE LINE: DO NOT CROSS crowding around the garage with the big bulldog in it. I figured the bulldog had probably attacked someone and they were doing a feature on big mean evil dogs. Heck, I was about to volunteer myself to be interviewed.

Then, when all the TV people and cop people and POLICE LINE polymers were still there when I left an hour later, I figured it must have been a drug deal. A big drug deal. It's kind of a sketchy neighborhood.

Yeah, no. It was definitely a triple homicide. Because, you know, if you're going to kill a couple of kids under the age of 18, they should be married. And you should take care of their 9-month-old baby while you're at it. That's very nice. Wouldn't want anyone left to grieve or anything.

But you know, what I love the BEST is how all the news sources let you know that they were gypsies, so you won't feel as bad or anything. "Two underage gypsy parents? Oh. Well."

People are bad.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

TIP Into the Abyss

Last night I dreamed we had Ohio. My brain is mean.

Have mixed feelings about Gracie going to TIP (sorry, Aunt Carrie, I somehow managed to miss that post until about 5 minutes ago). The maturity level of the average 13-year-old TIP kid rounds out to about 5. I say this with utter certainty, having lived on a campus overrun by the little buggers all last summer. Obviously, Clarke genes make us more mature than the average person (HA! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHA! oh man, I crack me up.), so it might get kinda old kinda fast for her. Also, I won't be there this summer...unless I get an internship at the NC Museum of Art or somesuch.

Meh, don't listen to me. I'm just bitter because I hate large groups of preteens (and they're EVERYWHERE come summer). She'd have fun, and Duke is awesome. You could come visit and see campus. You'd have to come visit and see campus, come to think of it. Hurrah! And then she would be able to make up pennames and write to the New York Times!

Sounds like a plan.

I had more stuff to write about. I think I was going to complain about Republicans. Whee. Well, we all know how that was going to turn out, so I can forgo it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Election in Away Messages

The stupid people have spoken (look! look! I'm still an elitist!).

And now the smart people are speaking (well, typing, which is why their grammar sucks):

Jeannie: i just don't understand. what the hell happened to this country?

Jason: hot or not?
hot: idiocy! pollution! pat robertson! greed!
not: intelligence! honesty! sanity! homos!

Dmitri: (1) My firm's prez worked with bush in his i-banking days, and yes, he is as dumb as a doorknob
(2) the populace is full of idiots, that is the only way to explain the outrageous number of votes cast for a man with an iq of a snail and the honor of a chechen terrorist.

Victor: bush is NOT my president

Mona: It's a sad day for America and the world.Congratulations, you idiots, you just elected a neo-con ignorant zealot who has nothing to lose this time.Moral of the story: never underestimate the stupidity of the American people. NEVER. hell, they will probably vote to amend the constitution and elect him for a third term because of the "war on terror" or some shit.


Kim: we need you ohio...depressed and scared. the worst part of being naively idealistic is how much it hurts when reality hits you in the face.

John M Miller (more balanced reporting): Yeah South! Yeah Midwest! Yeah Southwest! Yeah Northern Wilderness!

John Gilbert (this one is my FAVE-o-rite): to all you bigoted, "moral values"-toting, bible-thumping, "fag"-hating evangelical protestants who turned out so overwhelmingly for Bush, I hope you burn for all eternity in the hell that you are so sure exists. you are the plague on this country that will in all likelihood allow the arrogance of the current White House administration to persist. so as you bugle the moral values of unity and brotherhood while at the same time condemning or subtly denigrating entire groups of individuals, i hope you revel in your hypocrisy like pigs in the mud, for your time is coming to an end. i fucking hate you and your entire falwellian ilk.

Paul: ...I voted for Kerry, but if you express your disappointment about this election to me in more than five words, I'm absolutely not talking to you until this weekend. The people chose; stop bitching. It's my opinion that you're mostly mad b/c your team lost; it's like bitching because UNC beat Duke.

Marcy (I like this one too, even though it's not right): maybe when I come back we won't have a dunderhead for president anymore??????? *crosses fingers*

Dave: I hope you're happy, worthless redneck nazis. (yeeouch.)


There is good news! (There is good news? Yes, there is, and it is that) Barack Obama CREAMED Alan Keyes (oh, Alan Keyes, you're funny in that YOU DON'T LIVE IN ILLINOIS, YOU F******* HYPOCRITE kind of way) and has moved to the top of my people-with-whom-to-engage-in-polygamy list. Barack Obama for President, 2012ish. More good news? Despite the fact that we lost (we lost. We really lost...sorry, I haven't come to terms with it yet), I'm really happy about the record voter turnout. No, I'm serious. Apparently I don't agree with the majority of people out there, but I have to respect their vote even as I'm working to change it.

They did their part, and now I've gotta do mine. I think this is the start of a new, politically active Allison.

Also, this isn't really good news, but it was really funny to watch CNN all night last night, mostly because Larry King got to show on national television (AGAIN) what an idiot he is. Wolf Blitzer helped. If you watched the reactions of Carlos Watson (also on the list) and Jeff Greenfield (he's Grandpa's age, so not on the list, ick) every time either Wolf or Larry opened their mouths, you could see their absolute disgust with the condition of news reporting in this country. It was a cross between a snide smirk and shock.

Larry King: So, Jeff, they have that stadium thing to think about in New York.
Jeff Greenfield (taken aback for a minute): Actually, Larry, that's not even on the ballot this year. And even if it were, I think it's safe to say that it wouldn't have a measurable effect on the results of the MOST POLEMICIZED PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN YEARS (emphasis mine).
Larry King: Oh.

Barack Obama for benevolent dictator!

Extend my student visa for as long as possible! (just kidding. New, proactive Allison does not run from the dummy in the White House.)


I just accessed my Hotmail, and it was in French. Here's why:

bludevlagain: "Bush's second-term plans to jettison liberals over to 'those snail-eating Frenchies' were announced to all those affected today through their Hotmail accounts. Those who do not subscribe to Hotmail were instead thrown into cargo holds of oil tankers and shipped to Iraq."
DeirdreRH: haha
DeirdreRH: once we get there, I'm sure we'll show him up, too
bludevlagain: "the outrage that might normally be expressed over Bush's decision to deport hundreds of law-abiding American citizens was addressed by the White House: 'We found a copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook in the house of every one of these people. Or maybe it was The American Cookbook. Or Martha Stewart Living. Or something.'"
DeirdreRH: is this you writing?
bludevlagain: yes
bludevlagain: it's amazing what I can rig up out of absolute depression and desperation
DeirdreRH: good stuff :-) blog it!


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Ain't Got Nothin' Better ta Do

If you haven't voted yet, go away. Go vote. Now. I'm serious. I'll wait.

Still waiting.

I've got all the time in the world, people.

I cut my USP class to study for Contemporary Painting midterm today. Therefore, I am blogging. Wheeeeee I love college. Well, I'm looking up paintings too, but forgive me for not being interested by incredibly obscure and not-that-interesting modern Spanish art. Still don't like modern art. Urgh. Grargh. Rar. Wait, I just found a painting I like. Well, that shoots that complaint to crap. Whoops.

I got into all the classes I wanted! Weehee! Here is my schedule for next semester, including the potential Spanish 142S (which I hope will not fill up before Drop/Add):

ARTHIST 296S Methodology of Art History (with Wharton, w00t) M 7:15-9:45pm
ARTHIST 125A Archaeology of Athenian Democracy (with Dillon, w00t w00t) WF 11:40am-12:55pm
GERMAN 66 Intermediate German II MWF 3:05-3:55pm
PHYSEDU 65 Yoga TuTh 11:40am-12:55pm
SPANISH 151 Literature of the Renaissance and Baroque TuTh 2:50-4:05pm
(SPANISH 142S Banality and Biopolitics [with Vilaros, slightly intimidating] TuTh 4:25-5:40pm...8/15 seats filled with 4 more days of junior registration...I think I'm screwed.)

So what we have here is a schedule that starts at noon every day except Monday and has substantial breaks for eating, studying, sleeping etc. I am happy. I might even take a morning Trinity shift (gasp).

I still owe you guys a Barcelona post. Crud. I will take care of that later.


Not being what I would consider a Vanity Fair girl, I have no idea who James Wolcott is. However, I may have to marry him. Right after I marry Jon Stewart, Conan O'Brian, and any other intelligent liberals who will have me. Founts of wealth not an academic, I can support the family. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA ouch, my self-esteem hurts.

for Kerry!