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Macs, Movies, Games, Books, etc. The Rants of a Mad Man.

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Bilbao: Chasing the Guggenheim

November 18th, 2010 by Raj

Not a city many would rank amongst Spain’s greats; a Barcelona or Madrid it is not and barring those of you whom are not architecture geeks I would happily wager you’re completely unaware of its existence. Hell, the Spanish news doesn’t even include it in it’s list of forecasted cities so who am I to expect you to have heard about it.

That said, it’s not a small place by any means, the population pushes upwards of 350,000 and hosts what is deemed to be one of Spain’s best universities, Duesto. Remnants of Bilbao’s shipping history line the central river, which acts as a natural division between the city’s historic hillside and its newly formed modern life.

The city’s division is personified by it’s uncontested crown jewel, the Gehry designed, Guggenheim museum which takes prize position upon the river’s banks in an almost directly opposite position to the original town hall.

Lonely Planet intro aside there is but one reason for someone to visit Bilbao and in case you hadn’t guessed already it’s for the giant-fuck-off-metal-distortion that is Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim. Old Gehry is one of my favourite architects and his work is admired by around the world. The last piece of his I visited was the Toronto art museum which opened whilst I was living there a couple of years ago and for anyone even remotely interested I highly suggest you watch one of Sidney Pollack’s last pieces of work, “Sketches of Frank Gehry”, a documentary of Gehry’s work.

There was another reason, beyond man-love, for me to see the Guggenheim; which is that simply I’ve never seen one… well not properly anyway. Each time (and it’s been three now) that I have been to visit the Lloyd Wright designed Guggenheim in New York I’ve been greeted with no more than a scaffolding clad structure obscuring any chance of appreciating it’s external facade first hand.

So what if it meant an hour long flight to the complete opposite side of Spain that I had flown in to, to a place most people had never heard of, I was doing it (and I’d checked there was no scaffolding on this one).

Excluding a hail ridden thunder storm and hideous grey skies that consistently haunted each photograph this Guggenheim reconnaissance mission was a success. I suppose. I could have sat and stared at the building for hours (should the weather have allowed it), its contents and exhibiting pieces bored me to tears, mostly, but I got what I came for.

As for Bilbao, well if you Google “things to do in Bilbao” every list I came across basically had the museum at number one and then quickly turned in to a random list of bars and cafes. It has a nice shopping mall that seems nice but never has anyone in it and they’re building a giant sky-scraper that sticks out a bit.

Yeah. Unless you’re an architecture or art buff I can’t recommend this one, but if I was ever nearby again I’d be back to Bilbao in a heart beat.

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Hamilton, Ontario: A time lapse

November 10th, 2010 by Raj

Two reasons behind the video above. Number one, I hadn’t gotten my camera out of its bag once since leaving on my trip and I felt rather guilty about that. Two, I wanted to try out doing a time lapse series with the remote I’d borrowed from a friend (Thanks JP) and the neutral density filter (ND8) I’d bought before getting to Bilbao and seeing the Guggenheim, of which I plan on doing the same.

This is the last one from Canada folks, flying to Barcelona via Frankfurt now (well actually yesterday as I wrote this and forgot to post it before I left).

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I ate a Double Down and survived

November 5th, 2010 by Raj

KFC Canada have recently introduced what would at first glance appear to be one of the least healthiest products in fast food history. The KFC Double Down does away with all that pesky bread replacing it with two KFC coated slabs of chicken breast and filling the centre with bacon, pepper jack cheese and the Colonel’s own special mustard/mayo sauce. Naturally I had to try one whilst visiting and did so only a few days ago, a picture of the adventure below. I was, of course, filled with a mass of “Dirty-bird-regret” having consumed what I’d considered to be a heart stopping mass of cholesterol and spent the next 24 hours with a rather unusual churning sickly feeling in my stomach.

Needless to say this morning when I read an article headlined “Eggs worse than KFC Double Down” I was a little surprised. It turns out that KFC’s creation contains a mere 150mg of cholesterol whilst a single egg yolk gives you 200mg! Shock, awe, horror! I’d always known egg yolks weren’t particularly high on coronary specialist’s lists but for it to be worse than this monster I was flabbergasted!

Cholesterol aside the Double Down does contain a massive 1400mg of Sodium (around your daily recommended intake) and is still considered a dietary disaster by specialists worldwide so I can hardly recommend it in any way; nor would I from the after effects I suffered but if they had a t-shirt for eating one surviving I’d no doubt wear it proudly.

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Your mum loves Halloween

November 2nd, 2010 by Raj

Halloween is, as with most celebrated events today, an over-commercialized event where it gives the populous of western society another excuse to spend money for a tradition that is now devoid of any of its original meaning whilst having the distinguishing factor that it does not exist out of Christianity, ala Christmas & Easter.

This is not to say that Halloween isn’t fun, far from it, in the two I’ve had the ability to witness first hand in Northern America it seems that it’s to be celebrated (as an adult) in one of two ways, each requiring some form of personal humiliation/enjoyment by being dressed in an outfit deemed “appropriate”.

Version 1: You get wasted. The very important difference to this being any other party or weekend boozer is that you’re getting wasted, via the poison of your choice, in a costume. Sure you could probably do that any weekend of the year with the odd look or ride in the back of a police van but on Halloween anything goes, and I do mean *anything*. It would seem that for women Halloween is somewhat of a topsy-turvy world the likes of which I can only compare to a Valentines where it was traditionally the only day a woman could propose to a man, because on Halloweens it’s perfectly acceptable to dress as slutty as one might feel without fear and unfortunately self-conscious. It what could be a reoccurring nightmare or Playboy fantasy Halloween doesn’t leave a lot to the imagination.

Version 2: You don’t get wasted. It may look like I’m saying one thing and it’s opposite but this little umbrella covers a few scenarios that I assure you have a little more to do with the title of the post. Unless of course you’d prefer to imagine your mother roaming city bars in a mini skirt and calling herself “Nemo“?
Walking around the suburbs of Hamilton, Ontario for a couple of hours last night (I got lost trying to find where I was staying) I passed home after home decked out in Halloween paraphernalia, some up to the nines complete with cobwebs, skeletons, tombstones, pumpkins and even giant snow domes filled with dancing scarecrows but what struck me was not so much the decorations and families walking the streets going house to house in search of “candy” but the people (majority of which were women) in these houses waiting longingly for the next round of children to run atop their stoops and scream “Trick or treat!”. For all the fanfare of parties and costumes it was seeing these people, proud of their homes’ spooky appearance, candy baskets at the ready beaming with smiles and open arms to hand out their wares that made the experience far more appealing to me, even if I was on the receiving end of an odd look from time to time as to why a grown man was walking around without costume or child in tow.

I remember being told years ago at Christmas that for the time between you’re a child until you have one of your own Christmas day is just that, another “day” and I guess you can easily apply the same logic to any child-centric event, Halloween example in point. So happy Halloween everyone and remember as I read on Twitter earlier today, Halloween is a day trannies call… Sunday.

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