Cucuhouse blog

Stories from cucurulla street in Barcelona district 01 and the continuation of the killed blog "Güten tag rhine"

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Presenting...cuchaus cinema

Because watching any movie in tv with advertising every 15 min more than sucks, because David was going to buy a projector and there were some wood rectangles at home, because we have a big enough living room, and because now we can enjoy Tony Soprano's face as big as it should be.
Home cinema....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fast update and comming back to the roots

Time seems to fly lately. Trips, work, small holidays, MBAreunion, and well, the new cinema screen that we have installed at cucuhaus (that, however, for the next post). For this reasons, and because my writing creativity has become a nulity for some time now, this long blog update will focus only in the facts during this last month, starting in the air, on my way to Zurich to visit Marek.

It was nice to be in Switzerland again, especially in Zurich. As always when I visit switzerland, weather was beautiful. I am starting to think that the bad weather there is a myth. However, I said that also in Amsterdam, and the day after (Lena put that sentence right) I was "facing reality" riding my bicicle under the heavy rain. Anyway, lots of sun in Zurich.

Afternoon barbecue with Zurich crowd close to the lake. Here Gloria, my temporary Italian cousin enjoying some sun.

Great afternoon that starts to become crazy night when we have a conversation about Eurovision in Till's terrace. I am trying to explain everybody the rationale behind Spain sending such a freak to the contest thsi year. If you are not European, probably you do not know what the hell is Eurovision. Believe me, it is no great deal if you continue to live without knowing about it. However, to us europeans Eurovision brings child memories, and we are so proud of participating in this music contest that every year we send the best of the best of each nationality there, to show everybody things like.....THIS.

Surprisingly, our Italian representative in Zurich, Gloria, says she does not know what Eurovision is. (it may not sound so strange, but if you are, lets say a Spanish with less than 100 years old, you know what is Eurovision of course). After sending sms to half of her phone list in desperate help, she got the answer. Apparently, Italy organized the event once, and they lost a lot of money with the organization, so the contest has not been very popular in the country at all after that. buh??! I have not x-checked this information though. Any research on the issue is welcome.

Here below Marek and Catherine after watching the 2008 Eurovision Spain representative singing the chiki chiki song.

After that we decided to go to Hive club for a bit of crazy party.

Water and sun. Perfect combination for a sunday after Hive. Thanks Marek and Gloria for a great weekend!
Another week. IESE reunion. MBa folks get together in Barcelona. Same people, same place, one year older...
On saturday we could enjoy a class from Pedro Videla, and a visit to the Ramon Roqueta winery, close to Manresa, where I completed my masters in wine this year after the trips to LaRioja and Valladolid.
Since we were going to have dinner later at the winery, and we knew that Pablo Royo was going to sit on the same table, whith nobody watching, Lamberto decided to extract a bit of liquid from a barrel that contained wine of more than 300 years old, and pour it into Pablo Royo's cup during the dinner. Suddenly, Pablo got very takative, and some kind of energy with wine smell emanated from him. Awesome

Saying goodbye at the very end of the reunion...
After all this movement I needed some rest, and the best choice was to take couple of days off for a long weekend in the green and beautiful Asturias. 25% of my blood comes from there actually. After 10 years it was great to be there again and enjoy once more landsapes like this one.


Asturias can be very dangerous for your weight if you like eating, because literally, everything is delicious. Jabalí, corzo, perdiz, chorizo, potajes, fabada, cecina, bollo preñao, cabrales, sidra, huevos revueltos con gambas, marisco, queso la peral......I am sweating again....

And to finish...Univeristy reunion. Rebeca comes from Andorra to stay at cuchaus and we have a dinner at Francesc place to celebrate we have annother wedding this summer. Albert is getting married.
Romina Power

Having the mobile always ready allowed me to cpature this amazing dance by the king of the club that night:

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Chema nos ha dejado

Yesterday, while I was in the gym doing the minimum exercise in order to go asap into the sauna, in the subtitles of the news I read that "Chema", the baker of the Spanish version of Sesame Street (Barrio Sesamo) had died. I thought that as a dedicatory to Chema, at least I should dedicate a few lines again to Espinete, Chema and their friends of Barrio Sesamo.
For the non-Spaniards: Inside the Spanish version of Sesame street, there was a mini-series with a hedgehog called Espinete as the star (see pic below); a friendly, pink, asexual, with female voice, who lived in Barrio sesamo mainly with lots of kids, another strange character called Don pin-pon, a girl whose name I do not remember and of course, Chema, the (dead) baker.

By looking backwards, I think that Espinete was a good character for that kind of TV program. Of undefined nature, all kids liked him (her), and that I think this is not easy. For example, his successor in TV after Barrio sesamo ended was an awful orange alien called Yupi that nobody liked, just as Muzzy, another alien of the time (from a BBC program) who was supposed to teach english to the Spanish children by just saying "Hello, I am Muzzy" all the time!! All the time same sentence: Hello, I am Muzzy...again and again...
Espinete looks quite strange now once we left the childhood, but still I think even though one could accuse him of being a bit of a faggott (just a bit) nowadays, he would have never received the same accusations that falled over that purple teletubby by one famous American conservationist priest some years ago.
I think that with the permission of 'Bola de Cristal', Chema and the barrio sesamo crew were a good program for children. A good point in between the too naive Marco (the guy with the little monkey Amedio), Heidi and the thousands of shitty series and tv programs that children enjoyed in the following years after.
Below: Don Pin Pon, Espinete, Chema, and the girl whose name I do not remember.
And here, by far, the best character of Barrio Sesamo...

Chema, rest in peace, and many thanks!!

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

New inhabitant at cucuhaus

We have new inhabitant at cucuhaus. He is grey, does not speak much....and unfortunately does not belong to me. However, I have tried some functionalities, and I like it. Presenting...

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Holy week at cucuhaus

Good Friday evening in the sofa, recovering a bit from the long Holy Thursday night and watching Ben-Hur one more time, when we comment on the unusual high level of the noise outside in the street. I was thinking about another shopping madness evening in Portal de l'Angel. However, the noise was of a different kind.

Via crucis down the street

Organized by the house of Extremadura in Barcelona, which is in front of our place, we followed from the terrace the procession. In Spain, the people participating in the processions are from different cofradías (confraternities), and each of them wears the typical penitential robe of Nazareno.

At the pass of the virgin, it is common, especially in the south of Spain, that a person sings a song called saeta. This kind of song, of religious origin and that the influence of flamenco transformed, is usually singed by the people in the street, as a pray to the virgin or the Christ that goes in the procession.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Amstedaaaaaaam weekend. Blog is back

First of all, sorry for the long blog absence. I lost my camera in a ski trip some weeks ago, and I have been very sad since then (in reality I did not lost it, but it would be very unpolite to write here that a friend of mine lost it when she left my poor camera abandoned inside a bag in front of the hotel). I loved that camera, and this blog has lived from its pictures since it was born. Anyway, just a weekend in Amsterdam has been enough to solve the camera situation (Schipol Airport offer, got a new Sony Cyber-shot with 950,000 megapixels and 2 milion hours battery for 120 eur), the bogging absence, and other things such as not seeing the people from iese that I met there for some time.


Projection Bias definition: Think that future preferences/views will be similar or the same than current preferences/views.

I did not think about this when I talked to Lena some weeks ago, and she told me that Pablo, Oriol and Vlad would be going to Amsterdam for a weekend to meet her and Ryan, and that I should join them in the mini-IESE reunion. Well, at that moment I thought it would be good to go, but I had other things in mind which were upwards in the list, so I said to Lena that I would love to see them again but it was not going to be the 14th of March in Amsterdam.

2 weeks later I find myself flying to Breda for work, and a few hours later, while having lunch with a Belgium colleague (if eating a tuna-mayo sandwich at 12:00 in a meeting room is considered lunch) who was complainig about the Dutch habit of drinking milk during lunchtime in the office, I start to receive emails from my friends who would be meeting in Amsterdam the next day for the weekend. Suddenly, an impulse that I did not feel until that mid-day makes me type "vuelos barcelona amsterdam" on my laptop keyboard several times. 10 minutes later a phone operator from KLM mentions that I have to pay more than 800 eur to go to Amsterdam. Damn it!! Once more, my intuition has proved wrong, and 2 weeks after the phone conversation with Lena, I am valuing much higher the fact of being in Amsterdam with her, Pablo, Ryan, Oriol and Vlad for 3 days (ok, not 800 eur, but a lot higher than two weeks before). At least I still haven't heard that suffering from Projection Bias is a very very bad thing with no remedy.

Anyway, I managed to get a "not so ridiculously expensive" flight for the day after, and finishing work earlier on friday, there I was eating my friday night KLM sandwich. Another good sentence from our decision analyis class: The later a task is completed, the higher the cost (especially true when buying flights and dish-washing).

Around 12:30 I make it to Ryan's place, where everybody is waiting, and then I realize how stupid I was when thinking about not going to Amsterdam. Some beers on friday night and go to sleep not very late to be ready for the touristic day.

Lena, my host in Amsterdam.

After breakfast and a mini-bike tour, we go to a bike rental place so that everybody is full-equiped to go around the city day and night.

Racing in the canal while hearing Vlad shouting to Pablo "vamos Indrain!!!" (for Miguel Indurain) was quite an experience, especially for the people walking, who were a bit in danger because of Pablo Royo's ability of braking with a pedal-braking bike.
Pablo: Groot Problem!!!

Afternoon in Amsterdam terraces and then, of course, we are tourists, we had to go to the red light district.
We ask the Indian guy running a strange bar with no alcohol if the juices in the menu are natural, and the answer is "Yes, of course, everything is natural, very good juice". So we start ordering juices and Vlad asks for a juice of two tastes. The guy says that combinations of flavours are not possible, only what is in the menu ? ? ? Ok well, then just an apple juice.
Here myself enjoying one of those home-made "natural" juices. If you have to work in a place with "not very clean" air the whole day, one of the results may be that you end up confusing the concepts natural and "completely artificial with no taste" when talking with your about to be customers.
Vlad: Look at that girl man! uhhaaaa!!
me: Vlad, that is not a girl
Vlad: What do you mean, not a girl??
me: I am telling you that almost half of those girls in the windows are not exactly what they look like.
Vlad: What? This is onlybecause the afternoon shift is not so good as the night shift.
Ryan: Of course! There are no men here, no way
me: It does not matter. I am telling you that the girl there was not a girl, that was definetely a man.
Vlad: Shut up! you are sick!
Sunday: Rain and cold. My initial saturday thoughts abbout living in Amterdam are changing a bit after facing weather reality. However, I get up early and go to see if I can visit at least the Rijksmuseum while the rest of the group prefers to stay warm in front of Ryan's Wii. The 100m cue of people holding their umbrellas in front of the museum and my headache make me reassess my cultual needs of the day, so I change plans and join the group again for a recovering coffee. After all, that was not supposed to be a museum weekend at all.

We would like to thank:
- Lena Perepelova and Ryan Kern for their hospitality in Amsterdam
- Olga Espinosa (lo de la camera no anava amb mala intenció jeje no te m'enfadis ;-)
- Franz Heukamp for his lessons about perception of time and decision making


Saturday, January 26, 2008

More blood of Christ

It has been a long week of work in La Rioja, but at the same time we had the opportunity to continue expanding our wine knowledge and visiting some of the best wineries in the world (if not the best). Inside, centuries of knowledge about the dark liquid, and very interesting explanations and stories about land, grapes, people, culture and tradition.

Bodegas RODA. Visiting of primary fermentation space.

Once the yeast has done its job in converting the grape juice into ethanol, wine is transferred into oak barrels. Here a man preparing the tasting of some of the wines in the middle of the ageing process.
After asting some of the best RODA's wines, we haeded towards Bodegas Marques de Riscal. Here the 5star hotel that they built some years ago in front of the winery. Designed by Frank Gehry.

Our visit to the second winery of the day offred a different perspective compared to what we saw in the other wineries, and it was curious to see the contrast between the small and traditional wineries as compared to the marketing anb business orientation of Marques de Riscal. A girl that talked like a robot and looked as if she was repeating the same words 100 times a day accomapined us in a rapid tour around the hotel, followed by the visit to the winery (which, to be fair, was quite interesting too) and of course the final wine tasting.

Since hundreds of years ago, in the room below they store some of the best bottles produced every year. It is a very humid place, with no light and zero movement or noise of any kind (except the visits like ours ?). A room like this one is the real proof that wine has no expiring date (you can die from drinking water, not wine....well, depending on the quantity). These bottles are only opened in very special ocasions or purchased in auctions, and they have to be opened with an incandescent iron to cut the fragile old glass and treated with the softest movements.
In the winery they say that Frank Gehry was convinced to design the hotel building in this room. They opened a bottle from the year the architect was borned, and as soon as he tried it the magic of wine made its presence in the mouth of the architect convincing him to design the hotel. Maybe they added at the same time one or two zeros to the contract figures, but the convincing factor, of course, was the wine.

Final Bottling and labelling process.

The last winery of the day, and the best one in my opinion was Muga. The explanations of the grandson of one of the founders about the winemaking process were really interesting.
In the pic below, the group listening carefully to the "fining" process. In Muga and in most wineries, this process is done by adding about 300 egg whites to each of these huge vessels, and albumin does the rest.
The fact that is the electric charge of the albumin protein that produces the desired effect of removing unwanted particles in the fining process has been discovered not so far ago. There was a Spanish saying for describing the taste of good wine: "sabe a francés" (tastes French). Well, as you may know, your blood contain also lots of albumin to transport oxygen. The story tells that during the war against the French in the beggining of 19th century, some people from the region decided that the recipients and the fermentation environment of wine were a good place to hide some dead french bodies. It happened that wine comming from those turned out to be really good, and here you had the saying "it tastes french". True? First it was discovered that meat had a good fining effect on wine, and then that it was in fact the blood of that meat which produced the effect. Now we rely more on Albumin....not such a mess as blood! Although using different kinds of blood is still legal and used.
Muga is the only winery where they produce their own barrels from the wood of the best French oak woods.
More of Muga

Now I feel like drinking another good cup of wine so lets finish this post here

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