Tag Archives: Travel


Okay so an emergency medical technician, a computer science Ph.D, an adjunct professor, and an olympic gold medalist baton twirler get on an airplane. “What is this?” Asks the snarky flight attendant, “some kind of joke?”

The EMT was a San Diego native getting an associate’s degree and on his second-ever plane flight. He was impressed when he learned that I had a PhD, but he just could not get over the professor who was sitting across the aisle from us. He just kept saying “wow, a professor.”

The reason we were all sharing so much about ourselves actually had to do with this EMT in training as well. Somehow within the first 5 minutes of the flight he had revealed that he was on a flight back from Baltimore where the long-distance girlfriend he was visiting avoided him for 7 days straight. This led to the medalist and the professor demanding more details, and soon we were all working together to advise this man on his relationship.

Meanwhile, and this is true, the snarky flight attendant would ask us to speak up when we spoke to him and then accuse us of yelling. The captain turned out to be snarky, too, and he told us to look out the window- no wait we missed it – wow you don’t see something like that every day. Then the flight attendant tried to offer me food off of the floor. When he came around with clean food, I politely declined, and the EMT was dumbfounded. This led to a lengthy discussion in which I tried to explain that I was not on a special diet beyond “free junk food is not a good enough reason to eat junk food.” The conversation was interrupted when the flight attendant threw the extra cookie the EMT had requested and succeeded at hitting him in the face.

The plane was noisy enough  that we could never understand each other when we tried to introduce ourselves. The professor wanted to keep calling me “Stan” but I wouldn’t let her. We compromised on “Stam.”

The flight attendant told us that he was from New York and his southern accent was from when he had an injury that impaired his speech and he learn to speak again from a Mississippi-based speech therapist.

The pilot was whispering unintelligibly into his intercom by the time we got off the plane. We all wished the EMT luck in love, and “Stam” bid farewell to his brief friends in the air between Baltimore and San Diego.

Besides the flight attendant asking if it was some kind of joke, the above is all true. The cover image is not related.

¡Fotografías estupendas de Madrid! : Comidas

Help yourself to a second serving of Spanish photographs! This time I’ll document some of the food of my trip! Click any photo to start a slideshow, and look at the captions for descriptions and interesting stories of my experiences!

¡Fotografías estupendas de Madrid!


As a small child it always confused me that Spanish was the language of Mexico. Despite being raised speaking English in the United States of America, it seemed disappointing that I would always see and hear the Spanish language, but never any Spanish people. Well, that all ended this week. Persona de España, árbol de España, restaurante chino de España, gato blanco de España, y más! I got to see them all! With all the experiencing I’m doing, I have very little time to document besides taking pictures, so this entry will be a collection of picture galleries. I’ll start with a few easy ones while I’m in Spain, and finish up with some more detailed storytelling after I’ve gotten back.

 ¡Graffiti de España!

The first thing you notice in Madrid, at least if you’re near the university instead of in the tourist area, is graffiti. There’s graffiti everywhere. Lots of colorful, artful graffiti, but also, especially on campus, simple messages in black paint. Most of these appear to be pro-communist or anti-fascist messages, but I also saw some that praised the prevalence of Catholicism in Spain. One graffiti was an elaborate full-color portrait of a woman surrounded by a bicycle chain. There were a few messages written around the edges as well, maybe some Spanish scholars reading my blog can translate them. One picture includes the proud artist, who told me in proficient English precisely what he was aiming for when he tore off the metro poster to reveal the poster beneath. “There is another face. Half man, half woman!” he beamed.

¡Flora y Fauna de España!

The Spanish foliage was generally beautiful. The birds were exciting, but difficult to capture on camera. The bright green birds were monk parakeets, I believe. There were also large black birds like ravens but with white spots that I dubbed “orca birds,” and small birds that always seemed to be flying around in swarms. They seldom stopped for long enough to clearly make out, let alone record, any features. One got trapped in a huge cathedral I visited and just flew around and around in wide circles the whole time I was there. The pigeons were docile, though. They seemed to be asleep on their roosts on top of the statues near the royal palace. The area that looks like an arboretum was on the way between our hotel, AC Hotel Los Vascos, and the university.