Monday, May 26, 2008

Joshua Tree.

Spent a couple days in jtree to boulder on the monzogranite, which felt very similar to the Buttermilks in Bishop. The video is a problem called White Rastafarian, which is kind of tall.

The Outback:
White Rastafarian V3 R ***** Flash.
Hobbit Hole Offwidth V0- *** Flash.
Pinhead V1 Flash.
Little Sister V3 * Flash.
Pigskin V1 Flash.

Barker's Dam:
High Noon V5 **** 2nd Try.
The Chube V2 *** Flash.
Native Arete V0 ** Flash.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Torero cheeks.

I saw this graffiti outside the one of Sevilla's bus stations the morning of the bullfight. I had no clue what it meant. Later, during the bullfight, I was reminded again of the derriere. Yet another reason to attend a bullfight - a great view of the behinds of svelte toreros. I wonder if american football carries a similar side benefit for those so inclined. However, american football lacks the life and death component which in my mind would detract from the eroticism. But then again, americans aren't very erotic, as they tend to err on the side of pornographic due to their puritanical roots (i.e. one extreme breeds the other.)
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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Third Act: the "Faena", or the "Act of the Kill".

You'll notice that the last two photos above have the matador and bull in different directions. That's because the matador didn't make a clean stab from the set up in photo 2. In photo 3 he tries again, but I don't think he got it in either. The sword or "espada" is supposed to go between the shoulder blades and, if done perfectly severs a major artery like the carotid and the bull dies quite quickly thereafter. More often than not, the sword goes in but misses any major artery and the bull can stay alive. In those instances, the second resource is for the matador to stab the bull directly in the back of the head and sever its spinal cord. If that doesn't work because the matador sucks, then the trumpets blast a time warning and the final shameful end is where one of the peones comes out and just stabs the bull in the back of the head with a short dagger after the matador has left the scene. This happened for 4 or 5 out of the 6 bulls that were killed in this corrida. So the success rate for the perfect graceful kill seems pretty low as it depends on many factors, including luck.


Here's an impressive black bull weighing in at close to 500 kilograms. The banderillero runs up to it and leaps in the air before piercing his morrillo (the muscle on the back of his neck) with the Banderilla. Even with all the funny business they pull with the bull to weaken it prior to entering the ring, it's still a terrifying experience and some banderilleros do get gored and possibly killed during the execution of this, the second act of the corrida, known as the "Suerte de Banderillas."
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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Corrida en La Maestranza de Sevilla.

Finally, my first bullfight in Spain! My father-in-law was gracious enough to get three tickets "en la sombra" i.e. "in the shade". This is the desirable side of the stadium for obvious reasons. The sunny-side, although cheaper, leaves you baking in the sun, but also with a farther view because the action tends to happen in the shady part of the ring. This is because the President's box and all the rich people with their fancy cigars sit in the shady section, as can be seen from the photo below. Naturally, the matador and his people want to entertain the most people, and the most important people at that.

I went with my mother-in-law Petri and my brother-in-law Paco. My wife could not make it because she contracted a horrible fever from our flight over, to which I would later succumb after the corrida, and which would cut short and eviscerate my vacation.

The seats are basically just sections of cement. You can rent a flimsy cushion at the entrance of the maestranza, but we opted to spend our hard earned euros instead on kikas (sunflower seeds.) The design of the seating contained no design. You had your feet up the ass of the person in front of you and you sat on the feet of the person behind you, with their knees ungraciously digging into your back. Fortunately, we were sort of high up so nobody ended up behind us. The one drawback was that our view was consistently blocked by the columns.
In the photo above, you see the bull has just entered through the toril or the "Gate of Fear" and has chased some banderilleros (also known as peones) behind the "barrera". The matador studies the bull alone while holding the "Capote de brega" the gaudily colored cape used for the primary passes with the bull prior to the picadores and the banderilleros having their way with the toro. One thing I didn't notice but was pointed out to me afterwards was the utter lack of sponsors anywhere as in most sporting events. I would like to think it's because it's not really a sport. It's somewhere inbetween a gladiator event and some blend of pagan animal sacrifice mixed with auto-da-fe overtones. Plus it just wouldn't look right if the matador were decked out in a suit of sponsorship tags like racecar drivers are. Although anything is possible.
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Saturday, May 10, 2008


Some of my favorite stuff. Cruzcampo here resembles budweiser in the states in its ubiquity but it's infinitely better (it's a pilsener). Fragata is a very light white wine, perfect for an afternoon snack of shrimp, jamon, and picos. Neither of these fine beverages are available in the US of A. Day 1 in an outer suburb (ex-urb?) of Sevilla named Castilleja de la Cuesta. They have an IKEA, which even Las Vegas doesn't have.
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Las Vegas to Seville, Spain.

The Grand Canyon as we leave the southwest.
A view of Atlanta right after takeoff.
This is Madrid right before touchdown. I think.

This is Sevilla right before touchdown.