Tuesday, December 25, 2007

feliz navidad: a post which is not only boring but also cranky

Merry Christmas from Madrid!

I am stuck in the negative feedback loop where you have low blood sugar from not eating, which makes you too tired to go out foraging for food. Also, I am waiting for my parents to get ready next door.

All the cafes are closed anyway for Christmas Day. I have visions of a delightful Spanish breakfast with eggs broken over potatoes, but instead in thirty minutes I will become so desperate that I will eat this large can of pineapple I bought yesterday.

The Prado is closed as well. Yesterday we checked its web site. The museum is closed Mondays, but open 9am to 2pm on Dec 24. Tom said "the more specific rule" should trump the Monday rule, so we took the subway over there. Of course it was closed.

Christmas is so inconvenient!

Bah humbug.

On the positive side, this morning Tom presented me with a lovely pig calendar, as a Christmas present. It features pigs in rose petals, pigs lying on fluffy pillows, pigs eating grapes. Tom said he felt strange walking up to the register to buy a calendar called "Pigs -- pretty in pink".

I love it, of course.

I haven't gotten him anything yet, because I'm lame.

Far and away the best Christmas present of all is that my parents are super relaxed during this trip. Six months ago, a turning of the tide occurred when they paid the last installment of my brother's tuition. With that worry out of the way, they've turned into happy-go-lucky versions of themselves.

It's the holy grail from my childhood that I never thought I'd actually see.

Yesterday I bought four coffees at a little sandwich shop. My mother insisted on sharing a sugar packet with my dad, so she could save her own sugar for later. You know, in case an emergency sweetening procedure is required later in the day, and there is no other sugar on hand, she would be able to pull out this packet.

My dad opened his mouth, and I cringed a little inwardly, expecting a jab about the ridiculousness of carrying a sugar packet around Madrid. But instead he offered a tip on how to carry the sugar so it would have least chance of spilling out.

Life is great.

Even if I'm cranky.

That pineapple is looking pretty good now.


Pedro said...

I am not sure if you know where are you going, but...

"I have visions of a delightful Spanish breakfast with eggs broken over potatoes"

Ive never ever have that for breakfast, and i doubt that you can get those in a normal bar or restaurant XDDD

Instead of that ask for "churros" or "porras" to eat with hot chocolate as drink

And if you go near Atocha, im sure you are, i you gone to prado (on christmas???), ask for a "bocadillo de calamares", there are "restaurants" specialized only in that!!! XD

Feliz Navidad to you from Barcelona!

Anonymous said...

Thanx for taking the time to blog during your trip -- fortunately for us, you really are that compulsive of a writer!! I hope you have an enjoyable vacation. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Are there any Asian men in Madrid?

John Mueller said...

Post some pictures! Have a great time in Europe :-)

Anonymous said...

Go to a Catholic country and complain of their Holiday closing the restaurants?

You stink badly :-)

I'd be the same way if hungry.

Anonymous said...


Do you celebrate Christmas?


Anonymous said...

A pig calendar - what a perfect gift!

Hey troll, of course there are Asian men in Madrid.

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

You parents paid for your brothers education?

What kind of a man allows that?

Sissy sissy pee in pants!!!

Anonymous said...

Huh? Stanford tuition is over $34,000 per year. What 18-21 year old has that kind of money?


Anonymous said...

Most of my friends who have done the best for themselves paid for their own tuition.

Yes, even to the likes of Stanford and other places like it.

The othere are late starters in how the real world works.

But Niniane is probably a brilliant exception. Though luck played some part in the Google winfall I am sure.

But hard work gave her a better chance to get lucky.

Anonymous said...

It should be easy to pay your own tuition in California.

What's minimun wage there now?
$ 50 per hour?

Oh yeah, but then you have to pay $10,000 per week rent for a studio.

So I retract my first statment.

Anonymous said...

Minimum wage in California will be $8/hr on January 1st, 2008. It is currently $7.50.


Let's say that a Stanford student can get an on-campus job paying $10/hr. In order to pay for the $34k/year tuition, that comes to 3,400 hours in a year, divide by 52 weeks and you get about 65 hours a week...

Of course, if a student is financially independent from his parents, he would probably get some financial aid from Stanford, as well as hopefully find some scholarship money.

And remember, $34k is just tuition, not living expenses (room, board).

Most successful people I know had help from their parents to pay for college, as I am sure most in Silicon Valley. Larry & Sergey probably didn't even have to pay tuition because they went to public university systems where their professor fathers taught.

There was once a time where people could pay for their own college education (back in the 50s, 60s?), but with college tuition outpacing inflation 2:1 consistently over the past 30 years, this is getting more and more impossible, especially at the "private, elite" ones.

As for renting a 1 BR / studio, probably around $1,500 to $2,500 per month in Palo Alto depending on what you are looking for:


Anonymous said...

You forgot that in order to
have $ 34,000 for tuition you would have to make over $ 40,000 because of income tax...

Where did you learn
simple economics?

Did mommy and daddy pay everything for you too?



Anonymous said...

Ever hear of financial aid?

Anonymous said...

Here is what bugs the shit out of me.

I living in San Francisco for over 15 years never cease to run in to sooo many "disadvantaged" immigrants
(Mostly female (as men are not as flexible)) that have gotten Masters and PHD's in California.

First they have to buckle down and learn how to pass the courses in the English language.
(not the mother tongue, try it sometime if you are a smart ass mono lingual jackass...)

That in itself is not unbelievable but what freaks me out is that they do it with no support from parents, no financial aid, working as waitresses in ethnic restaurants. setting up booths at street festivals selling food.

Their only "in" is being given a student visa to this country.
(many other countries have the same success stories)

Their indomitable sprit will never be broken. This is one of the things that makes the U.S.A. great.

That being said... When Mommy and Daddy pay for your education you will generally kick their asses.

While they work.... you study and get better marks,
While they work hard to pay tuition.... you fuck off and your maid cleans you room,
While they learn the language.... you party with other rich kids in which later life the connections prove invaluable.

The interesting thing that I see from my experience.. (We all have a unique perspective)

First generation works hard..
Second generation tries hard to realize expectations.
Third generation are major fuck ups.

Many of my closest blue blood, silver spooned cohorts have proven this to be correct.

Look around and see if it is true.

Great sucess and prosperity generally skips a generation.

Those that have it easy, seldom excel.


Anonymous said...

I was not including taxes. And no, I paid for my share of tuition with my on-campus job, summer jobs, and $17k in loans in 1993 dollars.

The point of the exercise was that paying for a $34k tuition without financial aid and working at the same time is quite difficult.