Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Looking Forward to Loving You" and Giving Thanks, all in Mp3

First, here is a new and original song. I am very nervous to share it. It is longer than most things I write, but it is a story-song and thus merits it. I hope.

Today is Thanksgiving and I would love to be in the United States. But here are some things I am thankful for:

-Talking to my mother, father, and grandmother on Skype today.
-Having such a loving and beautiful family.
-Talking to Hannah on it, as well
-Having the Bible in English.
-Claire, Kristin, and Sha'lon.
-Getting to see Greg (one of my best friends since High School) and Marie tomorrow in Toledo.
-My students applauding me today after a very fun class
-Receiving a package from the United States with gifts from Shelby, Hannah, Jared, and others (one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me, and the hardest I've laughed in a while)

I hope you all are with loved ones today. If you read this, chances are that I love you, and I am thankful for you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Eyes Are Dry

Today I am dehydrated.

My contacts make sticky noises when I blink. I feel lethargic. I cannot clear my throat. I am nothing more than chapped lips and fingertips cracking from the cold wind. I am that and nothing more.

The hard thing about making a decision is the questions after: "Was that the best thing to do?" "Was that correct?" "What if I had done more?" "Is it too late to turn back?"

But then I think of the things she said: "what could never be again." Or to explain our entire relationship: "I didn't think."

There is no more water within me, and so I think back to downpour days in Searcy and watching the sheets of rain run over my windshield. I think of sitting there in my car and wondering when it would take me out of that drainage-challenged town. Now I look up at planes carving paths across sky and I wonder when I will return to the States, and what I will return to.

There, what could be?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


". . .is difficult," is how the title should continue.

Yesterday began with a bright sun and I left to buy bread in a T-shirt with no jacket. Later that night I went to school and returned home shivering on my bike so violently I feared I would jerk the handlebars and be bucked into a tree. I dismounted to walk under my umbrella when rain started, and after five steps pea-sized hail fell so hard that the ground was covered in half a minute. Then it all stopped.

And as I walked through the village today, the smells change quickly, too. From diesel fumes to barbecued meat, to rotting peaches on the outskirts of abandoned and nearly fallow fields. From sweet baked goods to the local and low-quality wine, to green olives, to manure. All of these as I walk and think and pray to forget what I am thinking.

Yes, how quickly things change.

People change. Much. But with no fault, as there is nothing inherently wrong in it. Why, just a year ago I was. . .disheartened over a failed relationship and wondering when that stage of life would be over. And look at me now?

In the face of all this change, what I wrestle with is what to trust. What to believe. When things change from beautiful to a nightmare, which do you trust? Which was real? How can love and hate coexist? What do I trust? What is the What?

One more change, though: I will not let my stupid heart be broken again.

On the other side of this, I noticed that several people have been leaving encouraging comments on here. It really means the world to me, knowing that people still remember that I'm alive even though I graduated and left the country. It is good to see people make the effort to show me that I am loved. Because love is hard, and it is easier not to try. But you do. So thank you.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda, Here I am at Camp Granada, or "Worst Post Title Ever"

It is Thanksgiving break back home, so I doubt many people are reading this. That is fine, as I haven't much to say.

This weekend I went to Granada, in Andalucia. It was beautiful and smelled like Kentucky at times and looked like heaven. I walked much, ran some, saw lovely things and felt romantic feelings in my heart. The Alhambra had roses and oranges and pomegranates and a setting sun behind it. The paths were lined on either side with gentle but constantly flowing rivulets, turning trees, and golden leaves gliding to rest.

More importantly, I made a decision. A decision that is good - and good for me, for a change. It is hard, but the die is cast. The Rubicon has been crossed. Well, just insert whatever trite, overdramatic expression you want. And it's that.

No one pays for what they get for free. And no one will respect what they can take advantage of. So no more.

Here are two pictures from my trip, before editing.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Facing Fears and Shedding Tears, or Posted Test Song Number 2, in Mp3

Well, I haven't actually cried over posting this song. So that was a lie. (shame-faced) But here is another song, this time with guitar AND vocals. This is "Harvest" by my hero Neil Young, and you will probably hear more of his stuff on here in the future.

Let me know what you think, and thank you for having done so in the past already. It really does mean a lot to me.

And on a side note (but a very important note) a cell phone just went off here in the Teachers' Lounge and Irene unabashedly took her time in viewing who was calling, adjusting it in her hand, and finally answering it after some time. This was impressive, as the ring tone was "Take On Me" by A-Ha. Most people would jump to answer and hide that, but her anti-haste made me glad.

I hope you enjoy the song.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another Day

Today's classes were wild. One of them was my first time with the oldest group of students here. It was. . .awkward? The females quickly asked a succession of questions that typically are more spread out in conversation. "How old are you?" ("very young," they responded to my answer) "Do you have a girlfriend?" "Where do you live?" As I tried to decide between honesty and self-preservation, one girl nodded and said, "Yes, this is very important."

I cringed when the teacher announced that I offer private lessons, and that my phone number is on a flier in the main foyer. Then they asked to take a picture of me after class, which I declined. They asked if I prefer Spanish or American women but the bell rang, no doubt by the hand of God.

All this even after I grow a beard.

Thank you all for your comments about the song I posted. I will post another soon. The first was mainly to see if this set-up works, which it does. I will probably post a cover song, as I am working on my own and haven't set a deadline yet. Maybe one original song every two weeks? What do you think? I may put some covers up here and there, too, to try out different styles/ranges/etc. Requests are welcome.

My best friend told me that I am not easy to cast away. That I am not easy to forget, or easy to leave. In light of recent events, though, this couldn't seem farther from the truth. Could I have simply deceived everyone I know?

Monday, November 17, 2008

My First Song Posted as a Test, in Mp3

Here is a link to a test song. It is not much, mainly to hear from you if (1) it is easy enough to get to, (2) the volume is acceptable, (3) the sound quality is acceptable, and (4) anything you want to say.

Click here, and select to download the file. There is no danger of virus, because I copied that link and everything myself.

Feel free to leave comments here, or to write me on Facebook. I appreciate all honesty, as harsh as it may be. If I suck and need to stop, it would be better to find out from my friends than when I try out for American Idol.


Let's see if this works.

On the Way to Madrid

Yesterday I went to Madrid again in order to attend a Church of Christ that meets there. Mass is good and all, but no one talks to each other and they only sing one or two songs that people are supposed to just know. And of course I don't. So for the second time this weekend I awoke before the sun after a largely sleepless night. The bus was only late by fifteen minutes, and thus was on time.

While waiting, a man came over to a group of young men and shouted while gesturing wildly. He laughed a hysterical, exaggerated guffaw that brought stares from both sides of the street. In response to his histrionics, the boys laughed hard and exchanged knowing looks among themselves to say what couldn't be spoken in front of the man. Gradually they calmed down and I saw concern grow in their eyes.

The bus came and the man began chanting what sounded like "Royal Road," and I think that was his desired destination that the bus didn't serve. Or it was a drinking song. Whatever the case, the older folks crowded even more closely to the open bus door than normal, anxious to get away from the loud man before they were forced to interact with him. He stopped jumping and stood next to me, making obvious the smell of alcohol on his visible breath.

The boys he had entertained boarded the bus and I hung back to get on last, watching the man's eyes tear up as he said goodbye to us and apologized in slurred Romanian-Spanish for being "just a worthless old drunk." The boys reproached him for saying this and said, "we'll see you soon." He and I shared no words but I did not run from him or avert my eyes, and he gave me a loving clap on the shoulder as we nodded our goodbyes.

As the sun rose, fog from the River Tagus obscured Toledo and gave only faint glimpses of the empty cathedral and cranes anxious to make corrections and cover cracks. We have all got problems to hide, don't we?

This is a wonderful world. But it is a wounded world.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I went to Madrid yesterday, and it was a very good trip in spite of the fact that I had to get up at 7 to catch the bus to get to town in time to see the luthier about my crap guitar. My toes went numb before I even reached the bus stop (no pity expected, as I wear sandals all the time). A few hours later, I reached the store and found that the luthier comes on Mondays. I thought the man on the phone said Fridays, and I silently swore vengeance on Movistar for bad connections.

Rather than wait even longer for a guitar whose sight had begun to repulse me, I returned it and went to a guitar store just down the road. There, I heard some guys speaking English and talked to the backing band of Nick Lowe. I helped the guitarist talk to the clerk, and we chatted for a bit before I bought a much better guitar for not much more moneys (which is excellent, as I haven't got much moneys).

I left the shop with a big smile on my face, only to run into a comic book store. Feeling no doubt at the providence that brought me there (kidding), I went inside and bought a "Patrulla X" (x-men) comic. European reprints of US comics are worth nothing and cost only slightly more than that, which is nice. The clerk noticed my tastes as I looked over other titles, and asked if I liked Neal Adams. Then we talked nerdily about comic book creators and such and I was glad.

Needing a hat for the upcoming winter I stopped by a store called "The English Court," which has about fifteen or so locations in the city. I entered and was immediately overwhelmed by the nine floors of clothing, electronics, and groceries. I looked over the anoraks (as I might need one) and didn't quite know what to do with myself, looking at a price tag of 300 euros. It is a jacket! Sheesh. So I left.

So I went to the Plaza Mayor and watched street performers. I like seeing those living statue performers relax when they think no one is looking, adjusting their costumes while their Converse shoes and sweat pants peek out from under shiny robes. And a couple who were covered completely in mud sat with eyes closed near a Chinese violinist, adding a touch of sweet melancholy to their tiny dances and motions caused by a coin clinking in their cup. Occasionally (I imagined whenever they got lonely from being so close and yet unable to move until someone gave them money) they would lean in to kiss while shuffling their shoes.

Walking around, people asked in Spanish for me to take a picture of them and we made idle chatter. And a pretty lady asked me for the time, which had me singing Chicago the rest of the day. There were couples taking cell-phone pictures of monuments, or others hunched together over maps and guide books, or others teasing and swatting while we all walked along and narrowly avoided being crushed by buses.

It was a beautiful day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lucas "Kicks It Up A Notch," or "Bam."

And thus marks Lucas's inauspicious entry into the foray of topical humor contained in blog post titles.

And thus concludes the same.

Anyhoo, I wanted to share a discovery and a victory with you. Both are the same event: I am a terrific cook! I bought a bottle of sweet sherry, because I read about it in a book about Spain WAY back when I was a student in college. Long story short, I successfully did not vomit after drinking it.

So I cooked it. With a porkchop, potatoes, onions, and carrots (which more or less comprise the accompaniment to every dish I cook, using the term dish lightly). In a skillet. With. . . heat?

Long story slightly more brief, it was really good and now I am anxious to cook it for someone else. So if you come to Spain and visit me, there is a porkchop in it for you.

Also, thank you to everyone that responded to my last post. It is a scary thing to beg for comments, because if no one responded I would have been crushed and retreated into an indefinite blogging hiatus. Or at the very least I would start ending posts with self-deprecating addresses to "the no one that reads this anymore" like I used to on my old navel-gazing, angst-ridden, emo xanga. (Note: is there really any other type of xanga?) I am going to Madrid tomorrow because there is already a problem with my guitar (which is very frustrating) but I hope to have this settled quickly and then I will begin posting songs. Which is a scary thing, just like begging for comments.

But what is life without risk?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An Idea, and Begging

I went to Madrid yesterday in a hectic day trip after work. The bus ride was long and hot and smelly, just like always. I did some walking and talking and found a decent price on a trustworthy brand, and now I have a guitar. I am very, very relieved to have a guitar.

So now, my idea. I don't normally beg for comments or anything, but I really would like your input on this. Since I have many songs begun but yet unfinished, I would like to end that and get in the habit of writing with deadlines. With my finished and unpolished demo tracks, I would like to share them so you can listen to them and give me some feedback (as in, what you like, what is awful, what reminds you of a song already written, what a certian song needs, stupid lyrics, decent lyrics, Etc).

Options: I am thinking about putting them on purevolume, or posting them on my blog with a link to where you can download the track. Which would you do? Would you prefer to listen to them online, or download them and take them with you? The only thing is that I REALLY WANT FEEDBACK. Will you do this?

If you have read this post, please tell me! Even if you say "I will not listen to anything and I will not post comments," just let me know. Thanks.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sonseca Life

I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the smaller details of life here that wouldn't show up in other posts. To add a bit more color to the picture. If it bores you, deal.

I live in a house with another teacher here, Arturo. It is a big house with reasonable rent, the main thing keeping me here in Sonseca instead of moving to Toledo. The floors are all tile, and the windows have the typical persiana shades which completely block out any outside light at night. My bed is a creaky nightmare, haha.

I cook for myself, usually one or two meals a day. I eat a lot of potatoes, carrots, rice, and lentils. Olive oil goes on everything, and is salad dressing here. Wine is cheap and plentiful, and I have enjoyed it in moderation (don't worry, youth groupers; I am responsible). In truth, when I am sad I turn to prayer and Nutella instead of alcohol.

I do not have internet at my house, and it is not possible to have a good connection at any price. Even getting a bad service costs too much, so I mainly use the internet in the mornings at work in between classes. On the weekends I travel and so don't get online very much if at all (this may explain my tardiness in writing some of you back). One weekend I was anxious to talk to someone online, so I hopped the fence at my school and hid in a doorway to use the wireless. Pathetic, no?

Travel is easy, and I have been to Toledo four or five times by now, and Madrid twice. I am going back to Madrid today after school to get a guitar, because my roommate is slow and ruined my chance to buy one on Saturday (he wanted a sandwich, the cad). I am getting a cheap one, because I do not have much money. Hence, the potatoes and rice all the time.

My dear friend Alberto loaned me a bike, which is helpful. Even though it is a small town, I like to explore it and take pictures now and then. It is rare that I do not run into some students from school on my excursions, or friends of friends. I am getting to know people here, and the students are entertained when they see me at Mass (they asked me, and were impressed that I have read the whole Bible).

So I have learned how to live with very little, and that is no problem. I am still surrounded by blessings and luxuries, and indeed material-wise I have everything I need (save the guitar). I miss my church, though, in all of my states. Colorado is a good place to be, and I have never been loved so thoroughly by such a large group of people. Harding is a miracle that I never appreciated enough, densely packed with saints. Kentucky is less of a home to me these days, but I miss my parents desperately. They are two of the best people I know, and I love them.

But it is already part-way through November, and soon I will be traveling for Christmas and then I will be picking fresh flowers to press in my Bible and then I will be back in the States. So I will enjoy this while I am here. I guess I just get tired of forming so many memories by myself.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Yesterday was awkward.

I talked with some potential students about my private lessons, and their parents told me that they all refused to pay my asking price of ten euros/hour. They said that any more than five is asking too much, because that is comparable to what locals charge for math lessons and the like.

I explained, for one, that my price is set and that it would be unfair to charge less when I am charging this from other students. Also, I am a native speaker of English, which is (to me) a little different than Physics in the local tongue. Moreover, every teacher in my school told me not to charge less than twelve an hour, and that fifteen would be reasonable.

The mother (in particular) continued, though, saying that other local English speakers don't charge as much. I explained again that I am a native speaker, and that it seems curious to me that she refused to pay even half of the advised minimum, which I already lowered. What is more, some of the professors here have spent up to four years in another country just to learn English, and one teacher paid a private instructor thirty euros per hour in Ireland.

I really like these kids, but I can't let people take advantage of me because everyone else will hear about it in this tiny town. But I lowered my price AGAIN to eight, and they said it is not worth it. It became clear that it was now an issue of pride, and if one's pride is more important to someone than their child's education, they have more problems than not understanding English.

Oh, and their house is the biggest I've seen in all of Sonseca.

Vent vent vent. Sorry for a lame entry! I'm still doing well, just couldn't really sleep last night with this garbage on my mind. Ugh.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congrats, USA

I am pleased with the results of the election. I won't get very political in here, mainly because it is unnecessary at this point in the election and all. On my old xanga, I used to write about politics very often. The other kids in the youth group made fun of me for being a democrat, and openly denigrated me for my convictions. This didn't bother me as much as it could, though, because none of them knew anything about politics. I did not know everything, but I was reading books by members of cabinet. And I think the past eight years have vindicated me, to some degree.

Mainly, I'm just glad that Palin isn't VEEP. I have this crazy opinion that one should know the functions of the office they are running for. I know, right? Ridiculous!

To tell the truth, before it came down to only Bush and Gore in 2000, McCain was my first choice. Since then, though, I feel he compromised a lot of the integrity I admired in him to appear more Republican-friendly. And inviting Palin as VP totally undercut his main argument that Obama was a poor candidate due to lack of experience. Meanwhile Obama reaching out to Biden seemed a mature response to this same criticism.

That is all I will say, except the main reason I wanted Obama to win is that at the very least we needed to send some sort of message to President Bush. His tenure has been almost a disaster, and a change in party means a lot more to the rest of the world than it does in the U.S. In reality, not much is going to change. I just hope that Obama honors his office and his populace with honesty and integrity, and shows respect to the rest of the world like we haven't done for too long. I look forward to better cooperation with our neighbors around the planet.

Hope I didn't step on any toes. Just some thoughts. Feel free to disagree.

Monday, November 3, 2008


It is November, and so that means that I have been here for more than a month already. This is insane to me, haha. And now that my schedule has been chopped up into steady, predictable blocks of work, private lessons, and travel, the now-seven months that remain don't seem all that long.

It is November, and so that means that I received my first paycheck. it would be uncivilized to quote the amount here, but minus rent it is enough for 230 trips to or from Toledo. But instead I am going back to Madrid to buy a guitar. Oh, and I can't cash the check until tomorrow, because banks here run from 8:30-2. Yes, my friends. It is true.

It is November, and so that means that the Presidential election is soon. Tomorrow, in fact. It is all over the news here and people ask me about it all the time. The Spanish make no secret over whom they support, and I am glad that it happens to be the man for whom I voted weeks ago.

It is November, and I am going very well, thank you.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Very Special Hallowe'en Memory

Friends, this past Friday was Halloween. The kids here kept asking me about it, imagining extravagant parties and decadent celebrations for this fairly insignificant holiday, so I didn't know what to expect from here.

It turns out that the teens just get together and drink.

For my Halloween, it seemed a much better idea to stay in and relax for one weekend, taking a Sabbath. I stayed at home (except for brief outings followed by regret due to the rain) and read the Bible, and had a lovely evening. Especially since our living room has a table with a heater built into its base, and so it is the only reasonable place to spend any amount of time at our house.

I was reading about the conquest of Canaan when the doorbell rang. My roommate is out of town, so it fell to me and I went to the door, having forgotten that it was Halloween. There before me stood two 12-ish-year-olds holding sacks, who blurted "TRICK OR TREAT" (in Spanish, of course).

I thought for a second, remembered the day and my social obligation to provide them with tooth decay, and thought about how my pantry would yield merely potatoes and lentils. While thinking, the boy asked, "You're not from here, are you?"

I ran to the kitchen and grabbed the only sweet-ish type things I owned, yogurt. However, these were no ordinary yogurts. They were the leftovers from a multi-pack of several fruit flavors, banana and coconut. Both are terrible, but I brought them to the door and apologized for not having candy. They shrugged and said they liked yogurt, and then they left.

My friends, this is how you celebrate!