#9 – Go to Bharma in Barcelona. Check.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the television series, LOST. (The only person I know who might be a bigger fan is my friend, Kylene, who named her son Sawyer. That’s right. She did that.) Beyond binge watching the show over and over, I’ve integrated pretty legit lessons into my own classroom (my former 6th graders could analyze and deconstruct literary themes in key LOST episodes as if they were college grads).

You can whine all you want about the last episode not being the epic masterpiece you had hoped for, but realistically I feel like the show gave me years of enjoyment and it really changed the culture of how we watch TV. It was the first show to really cultivate Reddit fan theories and did a lot to incorporate teasers outside of just a typical commercial. LOST even pulled a few stunts to give fans their own twists by sending out fake casting calls and leaking fake episode synopses. You can blame LOST for the reason that no one was surprised William was the Man in Black last year in Westworld. We watch TV differently now. It made us more attuned to plot lines, and pay more attention to foreshadowing and character building.

It’s been seven whole years since LOST ended, and you’ve probably forgotten how great it was. Let me take you down memory lane:

Remember Jack crying in virtually every episode?

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Or Sawyer’s sarcastic quips?

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How about Kate’s inner turmoil?

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And who could forget Hurley and Charlie’s bromance?

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Remember how Sayid could snap a man’s neck with his hands tied behind his back?

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Or how blown your mind was when they found the hatch?

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How about when Sun traveled through space and time to get back to Jin?

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I bet you also forgot that Michael played alongside DiCaprio in Romeo and Juliet.

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So blah blah blah you didn’t like the way LOST ended? Get over yourself already. It was (and still is) a great show.

Now that I’ve gotten that part out of the way, let’s talk about the LOST-themed bar in Barcelona, Bharma, which I have put on my bucket list this year.

First off, I didn’t do a lot of research, for fear of getting my hopes too high. Instead, I knew a LOST-themed bar existed and that I would be traveling to Barcelona, so put two and two together.

Bharma is located somewhat away from the touristy parts of the city (though we still took a meandering walk to find it so it wasn’t terribly out of the way). Straight off, it looks cool.

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And that’s mostly where the fun ended. The hours on Yelp showed that Bharma is open typically from 8:30am – 5pm, and then again from 11pm-3am. As we showed up at 12:30, you would think it was a safe bet. Instead, the place was empty and the waitress seemed annoyed with our entry. She also let us know that the kitchen was closed until 1:00.

Okkkk…we sat to have a drink and wait it out. When I asked for a menu, she said they didn’t have one. Riiiight. The guy behind the bar seemed equally unenthused with our presence. It is literally the only place in Barcelona where we have experienced crappy service.

I spent some time checking out the decor and memorabilia, which was fun but also not mind blowing.

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40 minutes later it was clear that the kitchen was not going to be opening for us and we decided to pay our check and peace out for a lunch elsewhere. Hey Bharma, we traveled 5,500 miles and you are going to roll your eyes at us? No thanks!

Bharma wasn’t a total bust because we still had an adventure and can say we went, but frankly I wouldn’t recommend it – even for someone who is super into LOST. Instead, just come over to my house and let’s marathon a season together; I’ll order some official Dharma logo’d snacks and show you some show memorabilia that I own.

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My Marital Obligation

I think most people would call my husband, Thor, and me a little competitive (maybe a lot competitive). We make a lot of bets or are frequently challenging each other on trivial items. I think our biggest fight was the time we were playing the new Super Mario Bros and I kept (unintentionally) dying on a certain level. He accused me of “not taking it seriously” and we may or may not have given each other the silent treatment for 24 hours.

Flashback to 2008: He kept telling me how amazing the HBO series The Wire was, but for some reason I just wasn’t interested. Meanwhile, CBS had just finished a season of Swingtown and I was totally hooked. We made a deal. I would watch the first season of “The Wire” if he would watch the first season of Swingtown. While he held up his end of the bet, I only made it through about five episodes of The Wire and just sort of trailed off… It’s almost like The Wire is just too real, too gritty for me. I need escapism.

…but I swear welching on that bet will be the end of our marriage. He will never forget it. Anytime we start to debate about things, it ends with, “Well you never finished The Wire!” Case closed.

As a teacher, I have a lot of down time in the summer to do whatever I want, including one of my traditions of rewatching an entire series while doing puzzles and crafting (ahhhh the life). One year it was the Sopranos, another year it was LOST, another year it was Roseanne…and so on. But I’ve never forgotten about that marital agreement I failed to deliver on: The Wire. And while technically I only have to watch the first season, I figure the only way to truly make it up is to watch ALL SIX SEASONS. I can do this.

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Cut to 2015: Summer has started and I’m officially done with the first season! and even midway through the second season! Go me. And I’ll admit, it’s getting more interesting. I know, I know – it’s supposedly one of the best shows ever made; I can appreciate that. But when I watch a show, I’m shallow. I want to see sexy people, explosions, and have massive cliffhangers where you can’t help but push play on the next episode (hence my undying love of LOST). But I’m doing it – no stopping now!

But seriously, people, Swingtown was a great show that CBS cancelled because they caved on the objections of religious conservatives who never even watched the show (for if they had, they would see it brought up a lot of questions about controversy of “swinging” and really focused on the culture of social change in the 70s). I’m not saying the writing was as carefully crafted as The Wire (apples and oranges), but if you’re looking for something entertaining to while away your summer hours, give it a shot! However, I will tell you it ends on a massive cliffhanger, and since the series got cancelled, it will leave you hanging forever.

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Here’s a link on Amazon: Swingtown episodes.

Book of April

March and February have been really uninspired months for me in terms of books. I started two different books and plowed through only to toss them aside midway because I just couldn’t get into them. Then I spent a lot of time playing Animal Crossing instead.

I just wanted to read something I knew I would enjoy; so I took the plunge and picked up George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones for a second time. It was just as good the second time around, but instead of feeling ripped up and down by all the twists, this time I savored it…like a fine vintage from the Summer Isles.

A-GAME-OF-THRONES-new-HCThis month, I’m going to change my format for this particular post (since normally I give a brief synopsis and “yay” or “nay”), and instead first judgingly point my finger at you if you’ve only watched the HBO show. Anyone who’s read the books can tell you they are SO MUCH BETTER than the show (not to say the show isn’t entertaining). Fundamentally, there is no way the series could cover all of the content of the books in 12 episodes a season, unless they went into 30 seasons or something. So when I had friends who were like, “OMG THEY KILLED ROBB!” the rest of us were rolling our eyes.

Recently a friend of mine complained, “But the books look so long!” and she’s not wrong, but if you enjoy the show – why wouldn’t you want to have more enjoyment that started the whole thing?

Anyway – I digress. Let me explain why you should also read more than the Ice & Fire series, if you’re already a fan.

During my first year of teaching, I was reading a lot of sci-fi and horror anthologies. I’m a fan of short stories because if it sucks, you only have a few more pages to go, and if it rules, you’ve just found a new author you can explore. I honestly don’t even remember where I first read Martin’s Meathouse Man (which has also been made into a graphic novel), but instantly I knew it was one of the best short stories I had ever read, and it totally resonated with me for weeks.

To which I discovered Game of Thrones

In the morning on the way to work, I would say to my carpool buddy, “So I’m reading this book…it’s like fantasy medieval, sort of, with knights and kings and wolves!” I distinctly remember her raising a super skeptical eyebrow. And while reading it before bed at night, I literally remember putting the book down in my lap simply to process it’s awesomeness.

Once I ripped my way through the books that were released, I moved back to his other short stories and novellas, like In the Lost Lands (which has recently been optioned for a movie starring Mila Jovovich!), and Fevre Dreams. The list goes on and on…

So basically what I’m saying is,

#1 – IF YOU LIKE THE SHOW, READ THE DAMNED BOOKS!

and

#2 – IF YOU”RE BITCHING THAT THE NEWEST GOT BOOK ISN’T RELEASED YET, PICK UP HIS OTHER AWESOME WORK.

However, I will end here, saying there is one special thing that the show did better than the books:

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swoooooooon