ghost station

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It all started on one of our many rides on the metro during the TtMadrid program. Between Bilbao and Iglesia, there exists a mysterious abandoned metro stop called “Chamberi.” It is only visible to those who look hard enough and, even then, the view is fleeting. This forgotten platform seems to be frozen in time, with original vintage advertisements and antiquated typefaces on its signage. I don’t ride the blue line as much as I did when I first got to Madrid, but after the metro intercom says, “Proxima estacion: Iglesia” I know to prepare my eyes for a brief moment of intense examination through the cloudy train windows. Maybe I’ll see the ghost of a long-gone train conductor, or a translucent crowd of 1960s-era commuters with their newspapers and fedoras. Maybe I just need to get reading on my latest Clive Cussler novel. Maybe I just need to write my own novel. Come to think of it, this abandoned metro station would be the perfect location to draft my soon-to-be award-winning adventure series. If you want to learn more about it, this guy’s blog seems to have a bit of insight into the mystery. I haven’t read it (and probably won’t) because I am perfectly content with believing that something lurks behind the dusty shadows.

shaving like a man

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If you’re the type who feels like you’ve been born into the wrong generation, then head over to An Affordable Wardrobe for a shot to win a straight-razor starter kit. It’s his first product giveaway, and it’s open until tonight (America time, not Spain time—it’s already nighttime here).

I made the jump into shaving the manly way almost two years ago, and my only regret was not doing it sooner. If I had the time, I would set up a booth at every high school and inform those kids who unknowingly assault their faces with cheap, triple-bladed pieces of garbage that there is a better, more manly, and less pain-ridden way. Little is more exhilarating than putting sharp, hospital-grade steel to your throat every morning. And, it’s significantly less expensive because the razor will probably outlast you (read: heirloom) and the blades cost pennies apiece. No more spending $20 for five cartridges. Look into it.

i shook the box

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You know that childish tendency to sneak into the family room (when no one else is around) to lightly shake that beautifully wrapped box emblazoned with your name? Well, it got the better of me…except for the “sneaking” part, since Janna is well aware that I know what my gift is. This pair of American-made Allen-Edmonds saddle shoes went on sale on Black Friday, and thanks to a tip from Dappered, the wife pounced on it.

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This company is one of America’s oldest and most respected footwear brands. Their 212-step process is tried and true, and their shoes are an investment that will amount to years of use, and even decades if properly treated.

if you need me…

I’ll be at J&J Bookstore. We met a friend for coffee, and I was hooked from the second I walked in. The bartender is a kindly fellow, and the years have softened the armchairs to perfection. But, the best part was when we descended the creaky staircase to the book emporium underneath this modest coffee shop. We were greeted by a labyrinth of shelves stocked with paperbacks, complete with the telltale sign of a great adventure: spines crinkled by eagerly impatient hands. I foresee many hours of musing and perusing in those wonderful armchairs. Plus, I picked up a new Dirk Pitt adventure, which I plan to read by candlelight for the next week. Cheers, mates. You’ll know where to find me.

Arctic Drift

Arctic Drift

It’s the holiday season…

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With a family like mine (immediate, extended, and in-law), being away for the holidays is something I try not to think about. Our (Janna’s and mine) family traditions form the basis of our fond holiday memories, from eating Dad’s famous stew after Mass on Christmas Eve, to listening to Janna’s dad read the Christmas story. Knowing that this year will mark the first that we won’t be home for Christmas is sobering. But, we’re starting new traditions of our own. We hosted our first annual Thanksgiving potluck dinner last week, and had a great turnout of new friends and familiar, American dishes.

But Christmas is here, and we’re trying to decide how we want to celebrate. Since our classes end on Friday the 23rd and won’t resume until January 9th, we have almost three weeks of off time. We have a few destinations in mind, and it’s pretty much between Switzerland, France, Morocco, or Italy. If we can’t be home for Christmas, then we’re definitely going to make some memories that will overshadow the feelings of longing for home!

Countdown to Iron Bowl 2011

After a year of waiting, the most anticipated day in SEC football is here. Auburn and Alabama will square off in exactly two and a half hours, and even as I sit in a crowded Starbucks with spotty internet and the occasional crying Spanish child, waiting to stream the game on my iPad, I am feeling more pumped up and impervious to these little annoyances. In this sea of dark jackets and sweaters, Janna and I stick out like soon-to-be victorious Auburn thumbs. I’m wearing my Dad’s vintage Harris tweed jacket (a Christmas gift to him from my mother 30 years ago), my orange North Face raincoat, and blue polo with the Auburn logo emblazoned on the breast pocket. Janna is decked out in jeans, tee, orange scarf, and Auburn-themed Mardi Gras beads. Yep, we definitely don’t fit in, but we’re stoked about the game. Unless a die-hard, classless Bammer prances into this Starbucks at the corner of Calle de Atocha in Madrid, Spain, my patience and excitement will not be broken. However, I can’t make any promises after the game starts…

This photo was taken this morning by Mr. T, an Auburn friend

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And here goes…

Finally!  After many months of scrawling anticipatory blog posts on my iPad, in my journal, and other less cool places, we’ve lifted off.  I’ve sectioned off this small corner of the internet with the intention of organizing and sharing my experiences in Spain (and wherever else the wind blows us) and other random bits of inspiration.  And here…we…go.

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