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January 16th, 2008

Prado

Just got back to the apartment after my trip to Madrid.

I'll post much more about the trip tomorrow - including tales of cocaine abuse with a fellow pornographer, Australian soldiers who had to fight their way out of a Paris strip club, pint sized gin and tonics and other tales from the dark side.

But, first...

My revelation at the Prado.

In general I like most art forms. I dig poetry, literature, sculptures, modern art, ballet, et al...

But, I tend to hate old paintings in Europe museums. I always go, because you are supposed to go, but after about a half hour I get tired of seeing yet another painting of Jesus on the Cross or San Sebastian getting acupuncture.

One painting at the Prado in Madrid, however, changed my mind.

Now, I should be clear, I had never, ever heard about this painting before, or the artist, named Hieronymus Bosch. So, it wasn't like I was looking to be impressed.

In fact, until I talked to Rome Girl the next day I had no idea that this was a famous painting, since the Prado doesn't exactly go out of it's way to play it up and there were no tourists looking at it with me.

But, whatever. When I saw "The Garden of Earthly Delights" I was transfixed.

I've never had a painting move me the way it did. I think I spent close to an hour looking at it. It's just so fucking fucking right.

The best way I can describe it is that it looks like what really good rock and roll would look like if it was somehow turned into oil and canvas. And it soothes, angers, delights and titalates all at the same time.

I've tried to find a decent google image of it - but the one here is the best I can find, even though it doesn't even begin to do it justice.Collapse ) All I can say is that this painting, and the other Bosch ones near it completely changed my feeling about classical art.

I feel like a better person just for having seen it.



P.S. Less surprisingly I was also impressed by the Botticelli exhibition.

What's Up With You All?

I haven't been on the computer for six days now which means that there are many, many blog posts I've missed.

I really like everyone on my friend's list but there is no way I can go back and read five days worth of entries.

So, can I ask a quick favor?

Can everyone send me a link to their best/most intersting/sexiest/most can't miss blog entry from the last week?

That way I can catch up!

I miss you people!

Madrid

I think I have most of the dates and times right here, but sometimes things are a little blurry so assume that I may at some point confuse a Sunday event with a Saturday one or vice versa.


Thursday: I had to take a train to Marseille at 5 a.m. Fuck me! Then I had to negotiate my way from the train station to the airport and kill about three hours worth of time. Finally, around noon my flight took off. In what was to be a sign of things to come my flight actually landed about 30 minutes early! The downside is that RyanAir charges four euros for the worst tasting Bavarian beer I have ever smelled. Through a series of buses and cabs I found my way to my hotel in the Plaza Mayor. The dudes there were way nice and my room had a great view. The only odd part of it was that on the wall they had a list of what it would cost if you broke shit. It started off normal with "Broken Glass - 1 Euro" but eventually escalated to "Mattress 300 Euro." Who breaks a mattress? And how?

After taking a shower and unpacking I made my way out and walked around the square and eventually found a nice tapas place down a small side street in Puerto del Sol. Ate tons of pork based products. On the way back to the square, I noticed an expat bar and figured I'd pop in there and ask them there where the cool places to hang out/eat were. I told the guy that I didn't want to hang in tourist bars, but I also wanted to avoid places where the only other people would be 70 year old Spanish men talking about Franco. He suggested Cava Baja, a long, rambling nearby street with about 20 or more bars where hip Spanish people go and that is pretty much off the tourist radar. That sounded fine to me. I had a couple beers and then walked back to my hotel for a much needed nap. Woke up around 8 or 9, took another shower and hit Cava Baja. Managed to hit about five bars and eat awesome epinadas in this cool lesbian joint. The place across the street from the lesbian joint was clearly the best of the bars on the street - with everyone looking young, cool and dressed in expensive black threads. Got home around 2 a.m.

Friday: I'd promised Rome Girl I'd buy myself some new clothes on this trip and figured I'd get it out of the way before I got too lazy. So I managed to find Plaza Colon where the decent stores are. After wandering a bit I made my way over to H&M and spent an hour or so trying on clothes until I found three black shirts, some black boxers and some black socks I liked. As I left the store it started to rain like a motherfucker so I ran into the nearest restaurant which happened to be the Hard Rock Cafe. Ate a pulled pork sandwhich. Noticed that they had a lot of Judy Garland memorabilia, which for some reason was right next to Megadeth mementos. I wonder why the fuck The Hard Rock bought Judy Garland stuff. When it finished raining I went back to my hotel and took a nap. A couple hours later I emerged and spent some time just walking randomly around town until I got hungry/thirsty. Made my way back to Cava Baja and explored a bunch of new bars, plus went back to the cool one with everyone dressed in black. Around midnight it was too packed for comfort so I went back to Plaza Mayor and stopped by the ex pat bar to thank them for their good directions. Started talking to people there including one guy who said he was a freelance writer. After a couple drinks we admitted we both mostly wrote porn for money. He then mentioned that he had some "bolivian pride." We went into the men's room where he then gave me some of the best cocaine I've ever had in my life. It fucking blew my head off.

Saturday: Slept on and off until about 3 p.m. or so when I dragged my lazy ass out of bed. Feeling guilty for drinking and drugging so much the night before I decided to be "good tourist" and wandered all around Puerto del Sol, window shopped, made my way all around the city center, saw the Palace, ate some Spanish food, drank lots of fruit juice and did my best to not feel that poisoned. Mastered the subway system and got my ass to Gran Via - which is essentially Madrid's Times Square. Napped a bit back at the hotel, hit a couple more Caba Baja bars but mostly had an early night. Went to sleep buzzed, but not insane.

Sunday: The Prado. The Prado is a full day. For one it took more than an hour in line just to buy a ticket. Then, the place is huge and not laid out very well, so you have to work to find stuff. Had a great time there but was exhausted by the time I was done. I'd walked a lot. Stopped back at the ex pat bar for a couple drinks and to find out if there were any important things I hadn't been to. They mentioned a few interesting side streets and I decided that would be my Monday project. After my now regular 6 p.m. nap I went back to Cava Baja, where the best thing ever happend! The cool spanish bar staff actually started talking to me. They said they were really flattered that I'd come back every night, they loved my "sense of style" but had not talked to me before because "we don't get tourists here. We didn't know what to do with you." They bought me a bunch of shots, let me take pictures with them and once I'd been accepted by them the cool customers started talking to me. So, I felt like I'd broken through to the Spanish. Clearly, I stayed until closing time.

Monday. Everything in Madrid is open on Sundays, but for some reason tons of shit is closed on Mondays. I wonder why? This limited my options on shit to do I so just kept going down random streets and looking at pretty buildings and stuff. Found the oldest bar in Madrid. It was built during the reign of Carlos III and is a historic landmark. Which means that the walls have frescos on them that are hundreds of years old, sitting right next to modern Guinness ads. Very, very strange. There were no cool Spanish bars open at all, and I hadn't spoken a word of English all day, so I went back to the ex pat bar to see if they could recommend anything cool.

Met these two Australian dudes who had just gotten out of the Army a couple months ago and were celebrating with an around the world tour. They'd had some trouble in Paris where a strip club tried to charged them 160 euros ($210) for two pints of beer. They'd literally had to fight their way out of the bar to avoid paying. There next stops had been Montpellier and Barcelona, two cities I'm fairly familiar with so we lots to talk about. They loved Montpellier. Since they are going to New York next month I recommended Karma and Coffee Shop Bar as places they'd have fun. Couldn't find any decent Spanish food (and I'd eaten a lot of tapas and epinadas by this point so I wasn't feeling Spanish deprived) so I hit the Hard Rock for a reliable bacon double cheeseburger. Eventually went to bed around midnight so I could get up at 10 a.m. Tuesday to start my journey home.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The Manny

The hotel I stayed at in Madrid had a collection of several dozen English language books in the lobby that had been left behind by previous travelers.

None of those people, apparently, had been male since it was all Chick Lit or Romance novels. Since I'll read almost anything I said "fuck it" and read about four Chick Lit books.

They all told essentially the same story - a young woman lives with a rich husband and a couple young children somewhere around Park Avenue and is bored by her friends, kills time by shopping and competes to get her little darlings into the most exclusive private schools possible. Her husband works so hard that he doesn't fuck her anymore.

Eventually she meets a "real man" be he a sculptor, gardener or whatever and desperately wants to fuck him. But what if she gets caught???? Can she really risk her lavish lifestyle? Why isn't her lawyer husband sensitive to her needs anymore? Is he having an affair?

By the end of the book the woman finds out that the object of her desire is secretly wealthy. This gives her the chance to tell her husband she wants a divorce and spend the rest of her life getting banged doggy style by the sensitive man while still remaining wealthy.

Interestingly the husbands, when they are depicted having sex are always depicted doing it missionary position, but when the "real men" finally get the girl they always do her from behind.

There is a great doctoral thesis waiting to be written about that.

If men wrote these books women would be screaming that the main theme is that women are essentially prostitutes. Since women write them, I think the theme is that women really hate women.

The best of the bunch, simply for pure silliness, was called "The Manny." It tells the story of a woman who hires a male nanny. She already has a regular nanny, but figures that she wants an extra male influence for her son, since her lawyer husband works all night and doesn't play catch with the boy or do any manly things. (Why the mom couldn't play catch with her son is never explained - expect perhaps rich women simply don't play catch.)

Of course she falls hard for the guy but restrains herself - until she finds out that he's writing software in his spare time. And then he sells it to Microsoft - for even more money than her husband makes.

The best scenes are when she tries to visit him in Williamsburg before she knows he's rich and she describes how terrified she is of the neighborhood. I love the concept of hipster kids being scary to anyone!

So, anyway, once she realizes the manny is rich and good to her son, they fuck like bunnies and ride off into the sunset together.

It's so perfect it's almost a parody, or something beyond parody.

Great For Blow And Blow Jobs

The ACLU is arguing that people have the inalienable right to have sex in public bathroom stalls without getting arrested or bothered by cops.

In other words, they want to make it legal to be in your mid 20s and living a normal life in New York.

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