Beware the Chalkblock

Now that the school year is over, Gillian Brassil is just a freelance transcriber and theme party aficionado. 

Notes From a Cat Show in Madrid

- The show is held on the second floor of a hotel whose ambiance is basically "the kind of place you think would host a minor cat show." Admission is €4. If you get hungry, you can buy a piece of homemade empanada or cake to eat off a napkin. You can also buy cat beds, cat brushes, cat clippers, cat carriers, and cat eye-goo-removal products. The vendors have surprisingly elaborate set-ups. You might wonder if these vendors make their living this way, traveling the world working the cat-show circuit, a cottage industry for a cottage industry. You wonder if anyone has bought anything today. READ MORE

The Best Renditions of "American Gothic" by Spanish Teenagers

I work in a high school just outside Madrid. When I realized that my students couldn't name a single American artist, I decided to give them a crash course in the biggies. (I've never been a huge Rothko fan, but let me tell you, I started to come around in the process of explaining to a room of sullen teens why he matters. I ended up closing my eyes and grabbing at my heart a lot, and I definitely said at one point: "Being surrounded by his paintings is like reading a poem." What??? They weren't convinced.) READ MORE

Servicio Técnico

“Hi, good morning. So, the problem is that every afternoon I have cuts. There are cuts. The internet works, and then it doesn’t, and then it does again. Every two minutes. It falls and then returns. The red light blinks. Blinks? It is like this for one hour in the afternoon, every afternoon. I called the last week and they told me if the problem was not resulted, uh, uh, resolved in 72 hours, I should call again. Also, can you please speak slowly? I obviously don’t speak Spanish well.” READ MORE

The First Time I Heard the Term "Helicopter Parents"

The summer after my junior year of high school, my parents decided it was time for me to get a job. I agreed, actually, but fun fact about the labor market: no one wants to hire 16-year-olds. There are lots of restrictions about the number of hours they can work, they have no experience, and they're very hormonal. So despite hours of trudging around submitting applications in my favorite short-alls (#1 in Outfits That Will Guarantee Unemployment), I was jobless. READ MORE