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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pump your brakes

Surprise surprise, Blogger loves Portugal. About a month ago, last year even, Blogger had the opportunity to grab the last place on one of two buses going to Portugal with some of his closest friends from Barcelona. Not being one to shy away from last-second plans, Blogger jumped at the chance, and signed up for a 12 hour drive. He even volunteered to drive, which was quite an adventure given the necessity to follow our trips leader, native Portuguese Ricardo "The Original Kahn" Montalbán, (names changed to protect the innocent) who drives like a crackhead, on crack.
Despite being a Despot at heart, Ricardo was an amazing host, taking the group to some of his favorite spots in Lisboa, up the coast to Sintra (below) and to his home town of Cascais, where Blogger ate one of the best chili dogs of his life. He even brought the group to his Great Uncle's Vinyard in the country for one of the best meals and most relaxing country days Blogger has ever had (sorry, no pictures yet).

A highlight of the trip was our stop at a little restaurant south of Cascais, perched on a cliff over the western most point of the Iberian Peninsula. Blogger had to be restrained from jumping over the Atlantic to England, which he could totally do if he wanted to.
There's much more to tell about the trip and the wonderful time Blogger had with his friends, but he's sick of this particular post and wants to get back to his new book, Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Holy shit it's good.

So here's one last jumping picture, from the outer terrace of the King's vacation palace in the hills of Sintra, Portugal.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

House of Cosbys

Many of Blogger's friends have already seen this little animated jewel, and for that, well, Blogger doesn't apologize at all because Curiosity Cosby is the funniest thing going. This was an independent animation created by a Justin Roiland and a group of other hilarious people, producing 5 episodes. Unfortunately they were halted in their tracks by a group lawyers thrust upon them by the evidently quite litigious Bill Cosby. But thanks to the beauty of the internet, they cannot take from us what has already been given. Foiled Again Cosby! Foiled Again!
For those viewers not familiar with the Cosby Show, or Bill Cosby's mannerisms, well, you'll just think this is weird. Well you know what? That's what Blogger thinks of you. So there.

This is episode one of the House of Cosbys, the first and best. If you are interested in seeing more, check out this link. But as far as this Blogger is concerned, there is no need to go beyond Curiosity Cosby.
Exploration Rudyyyyyyy!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dgypt en Vivo!

Blogger's buddy Jesse put together an amazing video of their recent exploits in Egypt.
Check it out (audio is a must, especially for the Camel scenes)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Ducati Dreams

Blogger is obsessed with buying a Ducati. Those cynics at IESE invariably say two things when they hear this: a) A typical Investment Banker, spending money he doesn't have on frivolous toys. b) You just want one because of the Competitive Strategy case we did on Ducati , you jackass.
As compelling as those arguments may sound, Blogger's deep seeded obsession with owning a Ducati goes back further than any tangible reality of being an Investment Banker, and most definitely the case study read at IESE business school. Just ask Blogger's girlfriend, Medora, and she will testify to his oogling and fawning over said machine in the lobby of a coffee shop on Northwest 23rd in Portland, OR some three years ago. Granted, Blogger had no idea what a Ducati actually was at that point, let alone how to ride one (the latter still being true), but he knew that he wanted one.
Now that Blogger has reached a level of appropriate indebtedness, in that 7 or 8,000 euros more doesn't really make that much of a difference in how screwed he is, the time has come to realize that dream. He spent the latter half of this morning in the showroom itself, before being kicked out for dry humping a red Monster 695 (see above picture taken from the store's surveillance cameras capturing Blogger's torrid ride). Now he just has to pull the trigger, write the check, and make the dream come true. Oh, and get a license....and, uh, learn how to drive a motorcycle....but let's not get bogged down in details.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Pain de Pie

Blogger's foot hurts, and is thus preventing him from effective blogging.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lame Duck

One branch of government down, two to go.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Denmark's Full of Shit

No seriously, Denmark has a shitty problem, too much pig poo. According to the Economist and the BBC, pigs outnumber humans in Denmark by 5 to 1. That is 5.4 million Danes compared to between 24 and 26 million pigs, depending on the time of day as an average pig factory kills up to 750 pigs per hour.
Leading Economic indicators suggest that up to 97% of Denmark's economy is directly or indirectly related to pigs.
The garment and textile industry is dedicated solely to pig clothing and pig clothing accessories.
Large mountain pigs are the preferred form of public transportation (thank you Anders for the childhood picture, Blogger owes you buddy).
Denmark is the world's largest exporter of BLT sandwiches.

And of course, Legos. Don't tell Blogger that you didn't know the primary ingredient to the famous Danish toy is pig. In fact, Lego comes from the Danish words "Leg" meaning Play and "Godt" meaning Piggishly.
Having trouble picturing the amount of doo doo produced by 25 million pigs? Let Blogger help you out. Danish pig slurry would fill over 90,000 average sized swimming pools a year. So with all those pigs, what to do with all the excrement? Great Dane Jens Vigh Riis has an answer. Turn it into drinking water!
Vigh Riis company, Funki Manure, essentially distills the liquified manure in the same process used to produce Whiskey or Bourbon, creating an equally dangerous final product: liquid nitrogen , liquid NPK, and of course humus, a high concentrate fertilizer not to be confused with hummus. Oh, and local drinking water. Delicious, piggy poo drinking water.

Leave it to the Danes to turn 90,000 swimming pools of pig crap into liquid gold. And Legos, don't forget about the Legos.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saddam, We bid you Adieu

Breaking News! Saddam Hussein was sentenced to be hanged (not to be confused with hung, which only God can sentence a man to be) by the Iraqi Tribunal today (full story)

Blogger is seldom shocked, but feels like he just stuck a paper clip in the light socket, again.
It will be quite interesting to see the international response to the US Governor of Texas, George W. Bush, sentencing another dictator to the gallows. Texas is famous for handing out the death penalty to the mentally ill, countless minorities and the occasional teenager not yet old enough to vote. But to Blogger's extensive knowledge, this is the first Head of State on Texas Death Row.
True, it was not really the US doing the sentencing, but there is certainly a general perception, whether right or wrong, that all courts and political bodies in Iraq exist due to the will and guidance of American puppeteers. Its shocking to think that the puppeteers' hands stuck up the bum of another sovereign country's politicians are those of US politicians with their heads stuck up the same orifice.
This should do wonders for the US Brand.
But on the bright side, that's one less Yankees fan out there. And as a Mets fan, Blogger will definitely take a slice of that silver lined pie.

Fit to be Tie

All gumption to leave the house socially is slowly creeping out of Blogger's bones. This would be less appalling if the energy thus not applied to drinking and cavorting resulted in an increase in productive stamina. For instance, more climbing, more studying, more jumping over national treasures. But it hasn't. There is no net benefit, only gross loss.

Perhaps the chin up bar craftily installed in the laundry shaft, crammed between a sewage effluent pipe and the outer shower window will increase free time accomplishment, and in so doing, increase forearm width. But even that is doomed as Blogger has to crawl behind the washing machine to get to it.
Sometimes life is so frustrating, but then we remember that it includes pink shirts and thin white ties, so how bad could it be?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Jumping Over Egypt

Blogger recently took a trip to the other side of the Mediterranean tracks, onto the Dark Continent, and into the bosom of the fertile Nile Valley. His oldest friend Jesse and lovely wife Kindra, both employees of two of the top creative advertising agencies in the world, recently moved to the Netherlands. As it would be a shame not to take advantage of the geographical coincidence, Jess convinced Blogger to take a trip while the trippins good.
Blogger arrived in Cairo at around 2am, and as is the custom in most developing countries frequented by tourists, was immediately pounced on by would be taxi drivers and "representatives" from the ministry of tourism. Now Blogger likes to think of himself as a very progressive and worldly individual, who is far above making the type of cultural stereotypes attributed to other, less sophisticated western tourists. But he would be lying if he did not admit to the fact that getting into a taxi by himself in a Muslim country at 2am filled him with thoughts of kidnappings, disappearances and beheadings, the unfortunate repercussions of a televised Global War on Terror gone horribly wrong that has made such occurrences common place in parts of the same region. Fortunately, it only took five minutes talking to the cab driver (going 100 mph incidentally) to realize that any such notions were completely retarded, and that the Egyptian people are some of the kindest and friendliest in the world. By 9am that same morning, Blogger and friend were in a car headed to Giza to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx, which Blogger jumped over.
It is the first time that a monument has actually been bigger than Blogger expected. For instance, the Statue of Liberty, one of the classic icons of American scale and grandeur is absolutely tiny when you see it for the first time in person, at least compared to the impression given by Ghostbusters II.

Unfortunately for the boys from Oregon, the camel drivers had already headed home by the time they reached the desert, so dreams of a shot on a camel in front of the Sphinx went unrealized. By 8pm that evening, the scenery of the Northern Nile Valley was whizzing by as the two headed south to Aswan and a boat that would take them north to Luxor. It was a sleeping car, and a dream come true for Blogger who has always harbored a soft spot for the romantic mode of travel since he first saw White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kay. Needless to say, the Egyptian Sleeper with Jesse is a bit less romantic than the New York to Vermont Steamer with Rosemary Clooney. It served its purpose, and by 6am the next morning, the two found themselves in the idyllic city of Aswan, where Pharoahs, Kings and Egyptian Soap Opera Stars have come for centuries to enjoy the clear water of the Nile.
After a wild time finding a guide and a boat to sleep on, the frenetic touring was on. The first stop was the Unfinished Obelisk, which Blogger jumped over.

Next on the list was the fulfillment of another life long dream; riding in a camel caravan across the desert to explore anancient temple like Indiana Jones. Here's are the two adventurers on their camels, which Blogger jumped over.

Unfortunately for Jess, bouncing on a camel for about an hour did not bode well for the old butt cheeks, which rebelled against him for the remainder of the trip, making even the smallest movements torture, let alone those of the bowel persuasion.
Next stop on the Aswan tour was the Temple of Isis, built during the rule of Alexander the Great in honor of Isis, the most beautiful of all Egyptian Goddesses, who Blogger jumped over.

The day ended with a relaxing ride up the Nile on the Faluka, the same style of sailing vessel and sail employed by the Ancient Egyptians to transport goods up and down the river 5000 years ago.
Settling into the boat, the HMS Jasmin, Blogger and Jess enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the top deck before hitting the sack for an exciting day upriver.

Here are the highlights of the rest of the journey.
The Temple at Kom Ombo, which Blogger jumped over.

The Temple at Edfu, which Jess jumped over.

The Valley of the Kings, a truly unbelievable place which Blogger recommends highly,
and jumped over.

The Temple of the Female King, Hathsepsut, which Blogger jumped over....

The Temple of Karnak, the largest temple in the world,
which Blogger jumped over....

And finally, the Avenue of the Sphinxes in front of the Temple of Luxor.
And yes, Blogger jumped over it.

Overall, it was a fantastic trip, and overwhelming in its historic significance. Returning to Barcelona, where the lineage of the ancient buildings in El Borne had once inspired awe, Blogger now finds himself nonplussed by anything less than 1000 years old. Egypt truly puts things in perspective, and Blogger thanks its gracious people, as well as his oldest friend Jesse for an amazing 6 days.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Leisure Suicide

Everyone has heard the phrase "career suicide". There are many ways to commit career suicide, such as getting caught sleeping with the boss's husband, or falling over backwards into a stack of boxes while presenting your new product to a key client after staying up all night using recreational drugs, as happened to a friend of Blogger's who will remain nameless.
But what happens when you do something that is fundamental
to the beginning or furthering of your career, such
as signing a contract to work at an Investment Bank, and in
so doing, kiss any and all freetime that you might have counted on during the next
X years goodbye?
Is there such a thing as Leisure Suicide?
If so, Blogger just jumped off the leisure cliff, handed in his leisure suit for
a pin striped Zegna, swapped the golden brown skin of a day on the beach for dark rings under his eyes from a night at the office.
Maybe Blogger is exaggerating, perhaps corporate life ain't so bad.
At the very least, there are 8 more months of leisure to be had before
he hits the ground.
In truth, like any transition to the unknown,
Blogger is strangely excited to see what's waiting on the other side.
And though it is not possible to come back from the dead,
there's a million ways to committ suicide at the office Christmas Party.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Billy's Back Baby!

September 20th, 1986, or as the people of Greater Thailand refer to it, Mauve Wednesday. For on this day in history, one William Michael Albert Broad, known to the world as Billy Idol, or to this Blogger simply as Vital, was carried across the Thai border by military and police escort, strapped to a hospital stretcher. On this day, Vital Idol was banned from Thailand, never to return............
Turn the clock forward 10 years to September 20th, 2006, and a new light shines on the Thai Peninsula. Bright eyes peer through the Mauve Gloom, as General Sonthi Boonyaratglin leads his victorious military faction through the streets of Bangkok, having just toppled the Anti Idol government in a coup d'etat, ending 10 years of what can only be accurately described as pure hell. Off in the distance, the chanting voices of millions can be heard, faintly at first, growing with confidence and hope..... Billy! Billy! Billy! Billy! Billy! Billy! Billy! Billy!

In those Halcyon days of 1986, after weeks of partying the likes of even Bangkok, infamous as a haven for the most depraved cravings had never experienced, Billy Idol was asked to leave the Presidential Suite of his posh Bangkok hotel. Though never officially documented, legend has it that Vital had employed a veritable harem of local talent, and inflicted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to the suite, having stayed well past his intended departure date. Upon the arrival of another hotel guest who had previously reserved the Presidential Suite, being an actual President of a neighboring country, Billy was again asked to leave. Refusing to vacate his unsanctuary, the local authorities were forced to intervene, subduing Billy in what I like to imagine as one of the epic hand to hand battles of all time. Picture Bruce Lee, on coke, with bleached blond hair, kicking like 80 Thai policemen's asses. Blogger does. Often.
It was only after Billy was shot with no less than 14 Ketamine darts (Ketamine, a Big Cat Tranquilizer is recreationally known as Special K, and considered an appetizer by Vital) that the authorities could subdue Billy, strap him to a stretcher and escort him out of the country. Despite the outcries and demonstrations from very likely every single Thai citizen, as Vital is HUGE in Thailand, the ban was enforced, depriving the Thais of Billy's angry British good looks and quick wit forever.

But sometimes there is a man. A man who's ear is so close to the heartbeat of his people, that the blood pumped to his brain by that heart carries the dreams and desires of an entire nation. That man is General Sonthi Boonyaratglin. That dream? End the dark times. End the Billy Ban!
Now some so called "experts", with "credentials" and who have more than a fourth grade "education" may tell you that the recent coup in Thailand was based on political turmoil and allegations of deeply rooted corruption under outgoing Prime Minister Thakskin Shinawatra.
Well, Blogger pities those people. We know what this coup is all about, and when Vital makes what can only be his imminent return to the land of the Pinching Dragon, takes his place upon the Golden Throne of Debauchery, the truth will not be denied.
The Mauve Curtain lifted, the days of dancing with themselves nothing but a bitter memory.
Billy Idol, Thailand salutes you.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

MBA Special Olympics

The MBA Olympics get all the glory, overshadowing the other MBA competitions that feature disadvantaged but equally courageous and skilled competitors. One such event, the MBA Special Olympics, took place this last weekend at Case Western Business School's European Campus in Silly, Belgium (see prior posting for more information about Silly).
IESE won this event for the 6th consecutive year, thanks in no small part to two super athletes pictured below. All around super "little person" athlete (and Blogger's cousin) Blidget, and former professional tennis player Bertrandito, who after a freak Petanque accident underwent emergency surgery to have his lower legs attached directly to his shirt.
Shine on you crazy diamonds! Also competing was IESE Banker Alvaro García, who competed valiently in the 100 meter freestyle. Unfortunately, Alvarito was unable to finish the race due to a severe muscle cramp which resulted in emergency extraction from the pool by competition Lifeguards. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Alvaro.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Fame may be Fleeting.....

...but obscurity is forever.

Ever since the day Blogger read this on the wall of some Columbia dorm, it has been his favorite quote. Mostly because it is attributed to Napoleon, which if put in historical context is pretty damn hilarious. If that is the framework with which you live your life, or invade a country, completely disregarding inevitability of defeat with each new bold and dasterdly move, for the mere fact that whatever fame that it garners is much better than having never been known at all, then Blogger salutes you.
What started this frame of thinking was this weekend's MBA Olympics, where Blogger and his valiant IESE comrades placed 2nd overall, loosing for the first time in the event's 3 year history to arch rivals London Business School. The idea of an Olympics for European MBA students may sound rather silly, but in reality the competition was quite impressive. Oxford, who would beat IESE in the Rugby semi-finals featured players from the most recent Rugby World Cup. IESE's dominant tennis team boasted two former semi-professional players in Jorge and Bertrand, and all around athletics superstar and triathelete, Carolina, aka The Sao Paulo Stunna. IESE's futbol team sported a former pro player from European Champion Barcelona's youth team, and vanquished INSEAD in the final thanks to the cat like reflexes of goalie Pablo Royo (see earlier blog posting PABLO!) in the penalty shootout. And of course the IESE MBA Olympics Superhero, our very own Noelle who dominated in every sport her lovely James Spader bob entered, including futbol, cycling, track and field and Rugby. Here she's pictured competing in the semifinalsls of the Three Man Tickle Fight.

Last but not least Blogger, who more or less single handedly doused IESE's hopes of medalling in basketball, captained the climbing team to 6th place out of 7 teams, and placed fourth out of 30 in the long-jump, which sounds great if not for the fact that a Chinese student from Cambridge came in 3rd, without wearing shoes. Blogger did manage a gold medal in the 4 x 200 relay, thanks largely to the 50 meter lead handed to him
by Wondergirl Faye (below) though it must be said that the lead was increased by the time Blogger passed the baton to Jan-Erik.

And last but not least, IESE's world championship Naked Field Hockey team, captained by the Vietnagerman Madman, Huy Nguyen-Tuong. Here is a rare photo of Huy taking a break from his reckless demolision of the opposition.

Unfortunately, due to a wicked shot to the groin with a hockey stick, this was the last time Huy was able to sit down the entire weekend. It's truly a shame when after months of training an athlete suffers an injury off the field, in this case in Paris' redlight district, for 45 euros. Twice.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Aft Weekend Was Yarr

The MBA life in Europe sometimes seems absolutely ridiculous, especially for someone from a small po-dunk town in Oregon and an Agriculture background. Growing up, Blogger's typical answer to the questioin "What did you do last weekend" was "Well, I drove my truck down to Psycho's Gravel Pit with some friends, drank a six pack of Hamm's, threw some rocks at Old Man' Etzle's shack, set an abandoned car on fire and then eluded the police over the south field with my new kick ass thick tread tires".
This week, if someone asks Blogger what he did, the answer is "Well, Medora and I wandered up to the South of France to rendezvous with Andrew, who's over from Manhattan for a couple of weeks, and then sailed on Julien's new 34 ft. sailboat to Cannes to catch the film festival." Who knew the transition from White Trash to Euro Trash could be so seemless.

Captain J at the helm
Andrew enjoying one of the few moments that he wasn't being accosted by flying rigging. Man those were good times.

In the Harbor at Cannes where Blogger only saw one celebrity on the red carpet: Marilyn Manson, who 's continued relevance Blogger finds very hard to understand. Does he still make music? It seems like Blogger only see's Mr. Manson in teen and fashion magazines (which Blogger loves, so shut the hell up) on red carpets, a far cry from his original cutting edge Goth persona, though he still wears tons of makeup, which is pretty

First Mate Medora takes the helm while the clearly Homosexual Cabin Boy Blogger poses for the camera.

Sweet Medora admiring the lines of the French Coast while Blogger admires her's.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sinbad the Chef

Tonight, Blogger had the great pleasure of hosting the internationally renown chef, Sinbad Franscallion. Having stowed away on the Mexican Pirate Ship Captained by Dreaded Ina the Flavor Savor (see previous post for a rare photo of the scoundrel), Sinbad had made his way to Barcelona in order to introduce the West to his Exotic Eastern cuisine.

Famous for his eclectic combinations of ruffage and ground meat, with the masterful blend of Far Eastern spices brought straight from the Orient in mysterious prepackaged delight. On tonight's menu, CURRY!

At one point, Blogger attempted to sneak a peak of his secret ingredients. Bad Move. In a flash, Sinbad turned on Blogger like so much curdled milk. If not for some quick talking, and of course the tennis ball trick, Sinbad would have been adding another slab of meat to the night's dish. And that meat was named pork.
Aaarrgggg, I'll Cut Ye! Cut Ye Gooood!