I slept with a bevvy of middle-aged married women while I was in Barcelona. FiFi here was the first, but definitely not the last. You think I’m jealous of your luck with the BALLENA, Jonny? Forget about it!

I met my friend Stef by way of staring. I stared at the dude because I kept seeing him everywhere. Then his board went into the fountain at Sants and when he walked by me trying to dry it with his t-shirt I made a joke about how long he figured it would take to dry in Spanish. He answered in a sort of congenial broken Spanish and then I elaborated on what I had just said in English. Once he responded, I could tell by his accent that he was French, so we switched languages again and I started speaking to him in French. We chatted about girls (in particular how much he misses his girlfriend back in France) and skating and how great Barcelona is, and then pretty soon, the dude and I were straight-up pals. I was very lucky to meet Stef. He’s golden, I don’t think he has bad bones in his body; very down to earth guy with a winning smile and an always sunny demeanor except for those few occasions that he gets pitched when he’s trying a trick or if anyone mentions the Catalan language, which he finds excessive and essentially valueless because it’s so specialized to fit the population of such a relatively small part of the world (we disagree on this, but I find it humorous). I didn’t get to meet up with him as much as I would have liked while I was there, but we put in some good time, mostly skating, and I think we enjoyed having conversations with each other most. He’s still in Barcelona now, but if he leaves any time soon, he’ll probably go back to being a math teacher in his hometown, a beautiful but cold place nestled up in the mountains near the Swiss border.

My mom is a work of art after all.

If you aren’t already aware, since returning from Europe, I have become a never-nude. This is a picture of my new eternal outfit right before I bought it on the Passeig de Gracia. I haven’t taken it off since I left Spain. I think it looks good on me, but it’s a bit tight, to tell you the truth. It’s hard to do epic dance moves like “The Sweeper” in it, but this is the price we all have to pay for high fashion.

No offense to anyone else’s moms, but my mom is the best mom ever. She went on a run one morning and brought me home this box as a surprise.

This is what was inside.

It’s called Crema Catalana.

And it’s so good.

Like kill your neighbor and/ or sell your soul for it good.

You know when people are describing something they really like, and they say “oh my god, it’s like better than sex, yadda, yadda, yadda”? I would have to say that I disagree with these kinds of statements across the board, (come on, it’s sex, dude) but if I had to make one exception, this pastry would probably be at the top of the list, right next to “I’m on a beach, I’m on an ATV.”

On the right here is Sagrada Familia and on the left is this phallic bullet building that you can see poking up into the sky from pretty much anywhere in the city. This building was a popular conversation topic with most of the people I saw in Barcelona, because it is impossible to figure out what it is, why anyone built it, and why the municipal authorities allowed such a blight to descend upon their city. The only affinity I have for the bullet is that it was a recognizable landmark for remembering where I would meet Paul and Zoe at the beach (down the way in front of the Macky D’s).

This piece is on a huge wall below the skate spot Fondo. I thought it was bad-ass and it reminded me of this one cover of the magazine that comes with the Sunday Chronicle (Parade or something?) featuring this kid with stunners on and the American flag reflected in them: very tribal. I ran and I sweated so that I could go back to Fondo on my last day and hop the fence to take this photo. Even though it caused some extra anxiety to pack it in, it was very pleasant because the penultimate time I went to skate Fondo a few days before, this chunky kid on a mountain bike wouldn’t leave me alone as he wanted me to find him friends his age, ten to fourteen if you’re interested, to go on weekend mountain biking expeditions with him. He was very distressed that every adolescent with a bicycle is into BMX these days and has left the soul glow of mountain biking behind in the dustbin of history. He kept starting every sentence with “mira, …” (look) to show me how much of an idiot I am and how absurdly inexhaustible my idiocy is. I don’t know how you feel about this expression in English, but I always feel like it’s kind of rude, an equivalent of “listen buddy,” or “honey,…” I should have told him that this isn’t my first rodeo and then maybe he would have left me in peace.

My mom wanted me to drop all of my hard-scrabble romances so she took me to the Bel Luna (beautiful moon) Jazz Club so that I could meet an upstanding, sophisticated lady twenty years my senior. One Caparinho and one Mojito later, Martha from Bloomfield Hills, MI looked like Barbara Streishand at her best, and I had a new special friend with a well-founded fear of cellulite. This was her first trip out of the states and she quickly explained to me that I was to be her chirpa. Needless to say, my mom had to walk home alone and I woke up in the morning with a feeling one could most easily describe as shame. Everything I just wrote was complete bullshit, but the drinks were good and I learned something!?!?! I learned that I will take my future wife (future wife, this is addressed to you) to places where you have to sit down in the dark and listen to music and clap at designated intervals without being able to get up and dance only a small percentage of the time in the avenir. Mostly we will get it crunk, and if you, future wife, are not in agreement about this, the tribe has spoken and I will relocate to a leper colony by myself because those people understand ME, they like ME for ME, and they bring new meaning to Andre 3000’s insistence that you shake it like a polaroid picture.

Because the Catalans are such lovely people, they know who the best gang in the entire world is, and they rep hard for the 2-2. Actually, despite my wildest fantasies, the ubiquity of signs like these are due to the fact that bomber/bombero is their word for fireman, and the signs point out water outlets and fire escapes for the rescue services in the case of a sudden attack of flying volcano vultures.

If you see these people any time soon, please report them to headquarters because they just party and kill trees.

This is what A. Gaudi looked like as a young man.

I thought the dude pictured here bore a striking resemblance to Andre “The Giant” Genovese, the Paulinho with the massive switch flip.

Rap Music

This is my friend Boody. Like Stein, his real name is Haldan Michael Blecher, but he will always be Boody to me. I don’t think Boody wore anything else but sweat pants and full sweat suits until he was at least fourteen years old. He would sweat alot during the summer and my mom would try and get him to change into lighter clothes because he looked uncomfortable, but he always said that he was fine and that he liked sweat pants better than anything else out on the market. When we were in Fifth Grade, Boody had me come visit him at his mom’s family’s summer house near Copenhagen. His mom, Lone, is the bomb, by the way. I love that lady. I love the whole family. Especially Boody’s big sister Lilly. She’s always been a cutie, except she smelled pretty bad when she was into riding freight trains cross country. Lilly’s now in Natural Medicine School in Oregon, and I think she knows alot about cracking backs. Anyways, Lone is a Dane and his dad, George, is an American Jew, and I think they met shortly after Lone moved to New York from Denmark. Lovely people, both. If you wanted to type them, she’s an artist and a schoolteacher, and he’s a writer and a playwright. They speak a lot of languages, both of them are translators I guess too. They are divorced now, Lone’s got a new hubby we like alot, and I imagine she will soon spend a lot of time painting and working with charcoal once she retires at the end of this year. I don’t know exactly what George is up to, I imagine he works alot, and I KNOW he wears a black leather jacket every day. He’s always looked good in a black leather jacket. Back to this trip to Denmark. When I arrived in Scandanvia with my righteous overbite, shorts and socks, and an ill-fated rat-tail attempt at a badass haircut, Boody and Lone rocked my world. It was like one of those poignant summers in dramatic movies, except no one died or got hit by a train at the end of it, and I don’t think Boody and I went fishing at all during our tenure there together. Hollywood summers always involve barefoot fishing, and we were wearing shoes for the greater part of said summer. Boody and I stayed up late and went to Legoland and got lost in fields, almost never came home while it was still light out, watched his older cousins get drunk and fight with their parents and relatives about familial skeletons in closets, ate frikadellas and ham and cheese sandwiches from the waffle iron, drank this weird soda you make from a machine in the kitchen using seltzer water and Lillebro blackcurrent juice, and took a trip to see his grandparents at their seaside retirement home in Vejle, a very pretty little joint in Jutland where the beaches are all made of pebbles the size of a quarter and beautiful topless Valkyries with breasts bigger than watermelons (and for that matter bigger than me, at the time, don’t worry I’m dealing with the Napoleon Complex) play volleyball and soccer right next to you like it’s no big deal that you are a mere mortal staring into the antechamber of Valhalla in disbelief. Sometimes they would even ask us to get the ball if it rolled too far away from them. Can you believe that? All non-chalant-like, as if we lived in the same magical world as them, not in the pleasant grey mire between heaven and earth. Since I’ve been in California, Boody’s been up to a bunch of different things like spending this or that New Years with Chloe Sevigny. I guess they used to carpool together because she lived across the street from his old apartment and he’s one of the friends she made in elementary school that she’d like to keep forevs. Now he makes rap music and dates girls he meets on trains. I went to see him in New York two winters ago and he didn’t wear sweatpants once the whole time.