Monday, May 30, 2011

Winging It To/Through Lisbon

So...I'm here. And it took me no time at all to find an awesome monument:

I didn't write down what it's for, but it was in the Praça da Estrela (Star Square) where I took a nap on a bench while I was looking for a place to sleep. Throw in not being able to sleep on a plane and the backpack I've got with me, and I was a pretty awesome homeless-looking travelling scholar

The trip over was pretty uneventful. I spent four hours in the always-beautiful Philadelphia International Airport and seven hours later I was in Lisbon. It was 8a.m. Sunday morning. I decided to go to church. I took the airport-to-Lisbon bus as far as it would go and walked a mile or three. Inside I met William, who gave me a tour of the chapel and introduced me to Paulo, who introduced me to Cleber, who helped me look for a place to sleep after the meeting.

Cleber is pretty cool, just got a new job, is roughly my age, and helped me till we found one place. It was a crappy hostel that cost too much. The only room smelled like smoke, had no view, and was on the top floor in the far corner of an unlit hallway. Don't get me wrong: I'm no wuss (I survived undeveloped Brazil for two years), but I figured I could do better. So I let Cleber be on his way, pretending that I liked the place so he wouldn't feel bad, and set off on my own. I got to know

I didn't find anything I like, but I did find an awesome restaurant:

It was closed. So I met up with Paulo near the church and he and I bartered with an old lady named Rita. We couldn't get her down to €12/night for three weeks, so I hitched a ride to another church member's home. So I'll be sleeping in the at Francisco and Fátima Bettencourt Tavares's house for the next three or four weeks. They offered it for €40/week and I offered them €50. They accepted.

Both Francisco and Fátima are both from Cabo Verde (Cape Verde, which is an island country off the Northwest coast of Africa). He was born in Praia on the island of Santiago and she was born on the island of Fogo. Here:

The reason they speak Portuguese in Cabo Verde is because the Portuguese took over and used the country as a port while sailing around Africa. On an unrelated note, shout-out to my cousin, Kyle, who is there right now. For you to get a feel for what it's like there, the capital is Praia, which means Beach, and three islands go by the names Fire, Salt, and Angry. Pretty awesome.

She's in her late 30s, he in his early 40s (I think); they are both talkers, which is nice because I'm still getting back into thinking in the language; she works keeping house for a doctor/lawyer couple and he works at a furniture place; they've been married for about three years; they make sure to keep up on their soap operas; and, in short, they're both very accomodating and I love them already.

After walking and walking all day I was pretty beat. So I went to sleep. Woke up today at noon, still tired. I translated about 40 pages of Alberto de Lacerda's book Palace, which I brought with me, checked out options for what I'm going to do during/after Lisbon (all up in the air still, except for a certain festival in Spain the second week in July that is still very much in order), and headed out to get to know the part of the city where I live.

Oh, I live at Calçada dos Barbadinhos (Sidewalk of the Little Bearded Ones...fitting) #70. I don't know what neighborhood I'm actually in, but I'm somewhere in between Alfama and Bairro Lopes. Here's a link to a map for you:

The river you can see on the map is the Tejo. All I know is that it's really pretty and Lacerda wrote a number of poems about it. My neighborhood is pretty cool. I tried going to the Cemitério do Alto de São João, but it was closed, so I decided to walk off the map. Literally, I walked until I was off of the Lisbon map that I have. Here's what the end of my world currently looks like:

Looks like a great and spacious building to me. After walking back onto the map the only place I could find was a Chinese Restaurant whose name I won't even pretend to remember (Hun something?). I got the Massa Chinesa com Três Sabores (What three flavors you ask? I don't know. One was chicken, though). If nothing else, the setting was worth seeing:

 I hope you like pandas.

Portuguese Coca-Cola. Not as good as American and definitely not as good as Mexican. 

So my first un-completely-lost night in Lisbon was a success. And to top it all off, INT beat PAL 3-1 in the Italian Cup. Take that, PAL. Next time try not wearing pink jerseys.

Anyways, I leave you with two pics I took on my walk home:

Random street. Actual color (I didn't shoot it in Sepia). 

Random government building.

I forgot to buy toothpaste.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Master Calvin

So, I graduated on Sunday. It was pretty awesome. I didn't feel like going to Commencement, but I did go to the English department Convocation. Pretty straight forward. Walked in, sat down, listened, crossed a stage, shook a hand, sat down, listened, ate, and left.

Only six of the Master's degree candidates walked: three of us poets (Ashley, Lisa, and Yours Truly) and three of the MA students. We got first-row seating and when we originally came into the Metcalf Auditorium Ashley (who was leading everyone) took a wrong turn for a second. It was hilarious.

So, yeah, I have a master's degree. Pretty crazy. Pics:

We did a lot of clapping.

As Lisa put it, "Mormon boy meets Jewish girl.The rest is history."

Couldn't resist.

The random man we asked to take our picture has a hard time with point-and-shoot cameras from Walmart.

An amazing, terrible, and amazingly terrible picture of me and Ross. We have hat hair. Master's hat hair.

The traditional Olsen heel-click pic. I love me some 236 Bay State Road.

Trying to figure out how to wear one's master's hood. And still don't get the danglies on the arms.

I figured it out. They don't call me Master Calvin for nothing. Harry Potter, anyone?

Monday, May 16, 2011

I Googled Me

My pet dinosaur, Morgan, in a pic you'll find by following the links I've included.

So my friend Jenne the other day said that she Googles herself from time to time. She said that she does it to make sure she doesn't need to "do any damage control."

Honestly, I have no idea what she means. But I Googled myself anyways. Not a whole lot comes up unless you know what you're looking for (which, surprisingly, I do). So I thought I'd take a second to share with the world a few places I've carved out a niche for myself on the internet.

Here's what I'll be doing in about two weeks (click on me, bottom left):

Here's the collaborative blog I'm part of. (You can ask what days I'm not a big fan of).

Here's my hilarious bio for the first poetry reading I ever gave (I'm at the bottom. Best for last):

Here's the first poem I ever published. (Two disclaimers: (1) it sucked in the first place and has become beautiful, and (2) they screwed with my line breaks [To use an understatement, Inscape is a joke].)

Here's a dating blog contest I took 3rd place in. (Shoulda won. Politics.) Julia now writes full-time for the website, and I'll admit that her stuff is good.

I wonder if any of these will be around forever. Probably.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chad is Married.

Nuff said. Pics:


 Yay, Aunt Tammy!

 Chad and Kristy Olsen. I may never get used to saying that.

 I got the pre-kiss but saved you from the actual thing.

 Kristy made that dress herself. And, um, I made Chad's suit.

 Baby brother hug. Kid is huge.

 Lee likes to rock the party. And if none of y'all have eaten Hmong egg rolls, you haven't lived.

 Sacramento LDS Temple

 I can't tell you how happy we were when pictures were done.

KC, Gage, Chase, and Lee. All still single. For some reason.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Esto Perpetua: An Olsen/Anger Production

 A book I helped make. Read on.

Over the course of the semester each of us poets were randomly assigned an artist from the visual art MFA program. We all made collaborative projects with our artists, and last Monday (May...9th) they unveiled their final projects and we got to see them.

My artist was Kyle Anger. How about that for the coolest name in the freaking world? Here's a very poor picture of both of us:

Kyle decided to use a few of my Idaho poems and he responded to them with ink prints that illustrated/interpreted/made awesome the subject matter I had chosen to include in my work. He made the cover out of dirt (dirt! so rad) and each of the poems is followed by one or two of his ink prints. Anyways, here's the pics I took of it.


 "Amalgamated Sugar Company"




Esto perpetua, my beloved Idaho.

Low Brow, High Brow

 Layover in the Denver airport. Time for today's second update.

Last Thursday (May…7th) was my low-brow/high-brow entertainment day in Boston.

In the morning, I was bored and sick of thesis-ing, so I sent out a mass text to see if anybody wanted to go to the Red Sox game with me. Two church friends answered the call/begging for company: Brad Huggins and Mary Nielson, two of my favorite people.

 My boy Dustin Pedroia

I wanted to hit up games for all of the professional sports teams before leaving. I’ve been to a Celtics game and a Bruins game, but not a Sox game. Technically the Patriots are New England and not Boston, so they don’t count. Which is good, because ticket prices are through the roof and their stadium is built in the middle of nowhere.

I bought a flat-bill hat (my first) and Brad and I got some $7 Polish sausages (so good) while we waited for Mary. Mary decided it was a good idea to drive (it’s not) and had walked in the wrong direction for about half a mile, but she we got in just in time.

Polish dog in a flat-bill

Our tickets were legit. We were behind home plate about, oh, 25 or 30 rows back, which meant that we were under the overhang. Being under the overhang is a great idea, especially when the game has a two-hour rain delay after the second inning. Lucky for us, it didn’t get rained out completely. Anyhew, we beat the Minnesota Twins 4-0 and it was a grand afternoon.

 An easy reason to make fun of baseball

The game was over at 6pm, then it rained pretty hard. I took the T home, showered, changed into my dress clothes, and headed to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I probably should have taken a date, but it was easier to take TJ, who is prettier than most girls anyway. We met there.

 Warming up

So I guess a cool rich dude decided it would be philanthropically assertive to subsidize Boston Symphony Orchestra ticket prices for patrons under 40 years of age. I decided to take the cool rich dude up on his offer, so our seats were $20 and legit. They played Berlioz’s Romeo et Juliette. The music was beautiful, with a full orchestra and a solid 80 or 90 person choir. I’m glad I remember some French, because the English translation they had in the program sucked (TJ thought so, too, I’m not just uppity).

 My surroundings at the Symphony

Anyways. We were in like the third row, but since the stage curves we were just about as close as you can get. I could have stood up and bit the violinist playing in front of us, and I made a game of staring angrily at the second-chair cello-ist (is that a word?) who could just barely see me out of the corner of his eye. I don’t know if I threw him off, but he noticed me a few times. Hilarious.

 Random old dude who did nothing but came out and got some flowers anyways.

After that we went next door to the Symphony Eat to watch the Celtics game and, well, eat. Then I went home and went to sleep.

Good day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Friend Tiff and My Baby (No Relation, Fortunately and Unfortunately)

It happened a few weeks ago (April...19th I believe), but my dear friend Tiffany Jones came to see me for a day. I took her to a few sweet places, including the Holocaust Memorial near Quincy Market—powerful to say the least—and as usual, the freedom trail. Here's my favorite picture from the trip:

So that post has been waiting to happen for a while. Tiff's on her mission in Washington, D.C. now and who knows when the next time I'll see her is? Not too worried about her, though. I’ve been so busy lately it’s not even funny. Ok, it’s kind of funny now that it’s passed.

Who would have thought that finishing up your one-year masters program early would be so much work? Not this guy. Here’s the beautiful thing I created over the last eight months:

 I swear it looks just like me.

So, yeah, my thesis has been approved by two of the most (perhaps the two most) famous and decorated living poets in America and is officially in the hands of the Boston University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Took a lot out of me, but I’m done.

I turned the thesis in on Monday, and yesterday I didn’t really know what to do with myself, so I went to campus after waking up and compiled all of the translations I did. For my translation course I needed to translate five to seven poems for my final project. When all was said and done, my translation of Alberto de Lacerda’s poetry collection, Exile, weighed in at 91 pages. That’s a little more than twice as big as my thesis. Talk about a project. I loved doing it, and I’ll spend a lot of my time in Europe translating the other book of his that I was able to get my hand on.

So I’m done with my first shot at grad school. Getting good vibes that my grades will rock, and I’m off to Europe on the 28th.