A Basque in Boise

Every douche has a silver lining

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Yes, I went ahead and responded to one of those Men seeking Women ads on Craigslist, hoping that maybe this time we’d hit it off and go on to have the best FWB relationship ever – every other week. Opening up to someone hasn’t worked out for me the way I’d hoped, so I thought I try the easy stuff. That way, when we part ways, he won’t be taking a part of me.

The guy sounded nice; not too graphic but to the point. A nicely worded ad with no spelling errors, which in itself is a rare find on that site. He turned out to be German (the Jewish side, I’m afraid, from the looks of him), but I’m no Claudia Schiffer, so we were even.

I was already on guard following our short email exchange. After a few back and forth messages he asked if I had time to meet tonight. Sure, I was at the Starbucks on Franklin with at least a half hour to spare. His response? “Let’s meet somewhere off Broadway better, it’s closer to where I live.” Oh, good for you! But “The mall area is closer to where I live,” I said, and so to the Starbucks he came.

I had to make a quick run to TJ Maxx before our meeting because I hadn’t planned on coloring my hair until tomorrow and I needed some sort of hat to cover my gray .

At least he was punctual. But that was the extent of this guy’s charm. I don’t know, maybe he was still jet-lagged from his 2-week trip to Germany and forgot his good manners and basic respect towards another human being. Who starts texting in front of a date? It is one thing if a friend of mine does it, but are you seriously going to stare at your phone while talking to me the first time we meet? C’mon, how much less of an effort can you put into a first date? Especially considering the type of outcome you’re trying to achieve!

Against my best judgement, I give this guy the benefit of the doubt and try to make small talk. I mention I was in Ludwigshafen once. Obviously, I butcher the name so I have to show him how it’s written. His face lights up with recognition and says, “Ah! Ludwigshafen!”, in perfect German. “Isn’t that what just I said?”, I joke. He looks at me dead serious and says, “No, maybe you think that’s what you said, but you didn’t.” Are you fucking kidding me? A tomato is funnier than this guy. I would have blamed this on his being German, but I  happen to have a few German friends and I know they are a riot.

So anyway, about five minutes into the meeting I already know there is no chance in hell this is going to work. But polite as I am, I wait at least 15 more minutes to tell him. Why waste our time when the chemistry is clearly not there. Unfazed, he looks at me and says, “Ok, can I call my friend now, then?”

On the flip side, I got a cute Ralph Lauren beanie out of the ordeal, which I’m sure I’ll put to good use this winter. What’s even even better, he made me write on the blog again! That’s how much he sucked.


Upcoming Basque events in Boise

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From the Basque Museum, here is a list of interesting events planned for the next couple of months. We hope you can check out one or two of these events that help preserve, promote and perpetuate Basque history and culture in the Treasure Valley and beyond! Enjoy!

October 18, 2014 (Saturday) 6pm – Oinkari Basque Dancer’s Sagardotegi (Ciderhouse) Dinner & Fundraiser.  Help Oinkari Basque Dancers raise money for travel expenses to the Seattle Foklife Festival and other events in 2015.  Cost is $50 per person ($90 for 2!) and seats are limited so get on it! Click here for more information and to purchase your tickets  – TXOTX!

October 25, 2014 (Saturday) 5pm – Txoko Ona in Homedale will be holding their “Udazken Afaria”, or Fall Dinner.  Chef Jesus Alcelay will be preparing  potato & leek soup, Onati salad, roasted red potatoes, Alaskan cod Romana, roast beef with mushroom sauce, bread, wine & rice pudding.  There will be a no-host social hour beginning at 5pm and dinner will be served at 6:30pm.  The cost is $20 per person, children 6-12 $10 and under 6 are free.  If you would like to join us in supporting Txoko Ona and enjoy an amazing meal, call John Lejardi at 208.337.3840 for tickets.

October 28 – November 1, 2014 (Tuesday-Saturday) – Euzkaldunak, the Basque Center, will be making mortzilas, or blood sausage for the Annual Mortzila Dinner & Bingo on November 1.  If you are interested in learning more about mortzilas, helping with the process (it’s a great time with great people), or if you would just like to attend the dinner, click here to find out more – ON EGIN!

November 2, 2014 (Sunday) 2:30pm – Omenaldia Memorial Mass at Sacred Heart Church 2:30pm  Join the Basque Museum & Cultural Center and Biotzetik Basque Choir for a remembrance Mass for those that have passed away in the past year.  If you would like a name added to the list, please contact Patty Miller at 208.343.2671

November 10, 2014 6:30pm“Hammer of Witches” at Ontario Basque Center.  You are invited to explore an intriguing but dark chapter of Basque history through film and literature. We will begin our journey into XVII century Basque witch hysteria on Monday, November 10 at 6:30 pm. Lisa Corcostegui will present a brief introduction on the sociocultural context in which these events unfolded. We will then view the film Akelarre (1984). (This film is not appropriate for children.)  We will then schedule a discussion of Begoña Echeverria’s historical novel, Hammer of Witches (2014). Book orders will be taken at picnic and at Monday meeting. The book is also available online.

November 13, 2014 5:30pm“Mapping Basque Sheep Ranching and Raising in Idaho.” Iker Saitua, PhD candidate at University of Nevada and intern at the Basque Museum will be presenting on his research about Basque sheepherders in Nevada as well as information on those that he has collected in Idaho.  For more information, click here.


Boise Basque Studies 2015 Symposium Call for Papers

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BasqueStudiesOnati2

Joan-Etorri: Going forth and going back

2015 marks two 40th anniversary events: the inaugural Boise State Basque Studies Abroad program in Oñati and the publication of the seminal book Amerikanuak in 1975. Together, these events provide a broad spectrum of topics for the sessions, including identity, immigration, international contacts, etc. It also illustrates the back and forth (between the homeland and Diaspora) of the Basque experience. Submissions may be directly or indirectly related to these, but there will be consideration of outside topics as well.

Submission directions. Please copy the section below and paste the information in an email message. Send it to boga@boisestate.edu.

SUBMISSION FORM FOR PRESENTERS
“JOAN ETORRI” BASQUE STUDIES 2015 SYMPOSIUM
BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY | JULY 27-30, 2015

Name(s):

Institution/Organization/University:

Email address:

Your education level:   __Undergraduate/public scholarship     __MA    __PhD

Biographical details (3 sentences maximum):

 

Type of presentation: ___ Paper     ___Poster

Title of paper/presentation:

Abstract (200 words max):

Notes: Review of submissions begins Nov. 1, 2014, and the sessions will close when we have enough presenters. The crowded schedule during Jaialdi* week constrains the number of sessions. There is limited funding for this so applicants should be prepared to cover all their own expenses while in Boise. Send comments or questions to boga@boisestate.edu.

SCHEDULE DATES: The final schedule will not be determined until 1) after submissions determine the sessions and 2) whether or not Boise State Basque Studies is able to bring over the Basque Country soccer club Athletic Bilbao to play a friendly match against an MLS Soccer team at Albertsons (Bronco) Stadium. Look for a schedule update here the first of January 2015, but the tentative dates are July 27-30, 2015 during Jaialdi* week. All symposium events will be on the campus of Boise State University, featuring various sessions for undergraduates/public scholarship and graduate presentations. If desired submissions will be considered for publication in BOGA Basque Studies.

For more information please visit the Basque Studies page for the 2015 Symposium.


Ocho apellidos vascos: Discover your roots: An amazing trip organized by Basque Destination

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Last month we talked about how the successful Spanish Affair’s (Ocho Apellidos vascos) movie had inspired software magazine Softonic to make a list of the top 8 Basque mobile apps.

This month, Lorea Uranga, from Basque Destination, got in touch with A Basque in Boise and told us about another great and very exciting initiative, also based on the the movie. Now, you can explore many of the sites featured in the film, while discovering your family roots.

Discover your roots

Ocho apellidos vascos: Discover your roots

The trip is composed like a menu with three components for you to enjoy a unique and unforgettable experience:

Starters – Discover the main and most breathtaking locations where the film was shot

First dish – Discover the way to your family roots

Main course – Fill up on unforgettable experiences

Desert – You will have experienced the best trip of your life!

The itinerary will be as follows:

Day 1: Zumaia
Day 2: Getaria-Zarauz
Day 3: Leitza
Day 4: Donostia-San Sebastian
Day 5: Discover the Ignatian land
Days 6 and 7: Discover the land of your ancestors

(*) GROUP MINIMUM: At least 12 people.

For more information about what you can expect of each day, visit their website and browse through the menu. On egin!

Basque Destination
Camino de Mundaiz, 50
Universidad de Deusto
Garate Innogunea
20012 Donostia – San Sebastián
Gipuzkoa
943 326600 (Ext. 5174)
605 77 60 89


Don’t miss Oinkari’s 3rd Annual Sagardotegi Ciderhouse Dinner on Saturday, October 18

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Join the Oinkari Basque Dancers for a night of feasting, music and dancing, when we turn downtown Boise’s Basque Center into a traditional Basque sagardotegi (ciderhouse.) Ciderhouse fare is traditionally a menu of cod sautéed with onions, peppers and garlic and a cod revuelto (omelet), thick-cut steaks as the main course, and bread, walnuts and Basque cheese.

The highlight of the night, of course, will be the Basque hard cider, sagardoa, which will run freely from big wooden barrels, with periodic toasts of the cidermaster yelling “txotx!” to signal guests to refill their glasses.

Ticket prices are $50/person or $90/pair, which includes a family-style dinner of high-quality Basque ingredients, your fill of sagardoa (hard cider), and entertainment from Basque folk musicians. This is a fundraiser benefitting the Oinkari Basque dancers and the Basque music group Amuma Says No, who are raising money to travel back to the Basque region of Spain to showcase Boise culture and learn new dance repetoire.

When: Saturday, October 18 at 6:00pm
Where: Basque Center ( 611 W Grove St)
Tickets: Online at http://www.oinkari.org/sagardotegi, or email txotx@oinkari.org to send contact details.

Seating is limited, and only paid reservations will be honored. Reservation deadline is October 11th.

Sagardotegi


Boise’s Anduiza Fronton 100 Year Anniversary celebration on September 27

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A few days ago we sent out a short survey to get the public’s opinion on how to celebrate Boise’s fronton 100 Year Anniversary. Most of you preferred the dinner and entertainment option, and your wish is our command!

I will share more details as soon as they become available, but for now, please save a spot on your calendars for September 27, at 2 pm, at the Anduiza Fronton (619 Grove Street). The $15 admission ticket will let you enjoy light snacks and drinks for the afternoon, plus the opportunity to watch a few pala and pelota games.

100 year poster2

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The Guardian: What Athletic Bilbao can teach brands about risk and innovation

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There is no way I can pass the opportunity to share this article from The Guardian. It’s not just bias Athletic fans raving about our team’s philosophy anymore, the world is taking notice as well. I’d go on, but Simon James explains it way better than I ever could.

What Athletic Bilbao can teach brands about risk and innovation

Simon James, Guardian Professional

Athletic Bilbao's midfielder Ander Herrera (R) celebrates with Athletic Bilbao's forward Aritz Aduriz (L) after scoring during the Spanish league football match Athletic Club Bilbao vs Sevilla FC at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on April 27, 2014.  AFP PHOTO / RAFA RIVASRAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Athletic Bilbao’s midfielder Ander Herrera (R) celebrates with Athletic Bilbao’s forward Aritz Aduriz (L) after scoring against Sevilla at San Mames on April 27, 2014. AFP PHOTO / RAFA RIVASRAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Imagine a sports team from a city consisting entirely of players from that city, never trading or buying players from outside the city, consistently doing well, regularly selling their best players and then still doing well. The club refuses to pick anybody from any other city. Oh, and there is another popular club in the city that takes half of the available citizens to play for the arch rivals, depriving the club of half of the available talent pool.

That’s what happens at Athletic Bilbao, a Basque team competing in the Spanish La Liga competition. Athletic only field Basque players. There are 2.6m Basques in Spain – equivalent to the metropolitan area of Pittsburgh or Liverpool.

Athletic have never been relegated in their history (sharing the honour with Barcelona and Real Madrid), and this year, hidden behind the grand achievements of Atletico Madrid (containing two Belgian, two Uruguayans, four Brazilians, a Portuguese and a Turk) qualified for the European Champions League by finishing fourth in La Liga. This week they beat SSC Napoli to qualify for the group stages of the tournament for the very first time.

The best Basque players in the world – Alonso, Llorente, Martinez, Illarramendi and Azpilicueta play for the biggest teams in the world – Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Chelsea – paying fees and salaries well out of the reach of Athletic Club.

So how does Athletic Bilbao continue to win in an unfair game – that makes Moneyball look like a walk in the park? There are no drafts, or collective bargaining, or profit shares or luxury tax in football (sorry, soccer).

They built the world’s finest youth academy system. Without the best youth academy system (or ‘cantera’ as it is known in Spain) they would die. They do it, because it is their only choice. They say necessity is the mother of invention – but that doesn’t go halfway to convey the importance of Athletic Bilbao as a symbol of the Basque people.

Is it necessary for the Yankees to have a good farm system, or Chelsea FC a good youth academy? No of course it’s not – because they can go out and buy any talent they need. Chelsea haven’t developed a regular first team player from their own academy since John Terry almost 20 years ago (and he joined from West Ham). The Yankees have generated only 38 home runs from 1st round draft picks since Derek Jeter in 1992 – and 32 of those were scored by one guy.

Innovation doesn’t need millions of dollars, or designer bearded boy-men drinking expensive coffee in designer sandals; it needs an authentic do or die situation. A lack of budget presents a greater sense of urgency than deep pockets. A burning platform is more likely to generate creative disruption than strong quarter on quarter growth trends. Steve Jobs’ return and subsequent turnaround of Apple was do or die.

So why is it that those with the least resources are most adept at innovation? Some of the companies with the biggest R&D budgets in the world have failed – Kodak, Blackberry, Nokia and Xerox to name a few from a very narrow sector. In 2009, Motorola spent more on R&D than Google. Unencumbered with former glories, or profitable business to defend, startups represent the major thrust of innovation because that is all they have. Yet, many big businesses seem to prefer slow, but terminal and inevitable decline. In recent months commentators have suggested that an increasingly diverse list of things is in terminal decline – Tesco, town centres, Manchester United and the UK – none of which are in a position to innovate their way out of trouble. That 6th century BC raconteur Sun Tzu once quipped: “A slow death is a death nonetheless”.

When you don’t have options, decision-making is taken off the table, and when decision-making is taken off the table, there is no fear that you might be making the wrong decisions. Accountants call that fear opportunity cost, and its consequences are called risk. Yet we ascribe far more risk to things that we have not done before than those things we have never done. It’s the human condition of familiarity bias.

To compound matters, due to the cognitive bias of loss aversion, where humans place much greater value on avoiding losses than generating gains, we favour the path of least risk. Risk aversion in marketing is a risky proposition. The primary role of marketing in a business is growth. So if your decision making is focused on minimizing risk, by definition you cannot be maximising growth.

It is inevitable that Athletic Bilbao have the best cantera in the world of football. It is the only path to success. It is equally inevitable that the Yankees or Chelsea are terrible at youth development. If you want to consistently and successfully innovate in marketing, you need to embrace innovation as your philosophy. Innovation is not the NPD department. It is not that top secret Project Phoenix Omega. It is a strategy designed to maximize growth by embracing the risk where others fear to tread. It is seeing that risk as the reason why returns are so high, not as a barrier to entry. For Athletic Bilbao there is no risk in their strategy because it is the only path open to them. There is no alternative. No opportunity cost. No fear.

Simon James is global lead for marketing performance analytics at SapientNitro

For the original article, click here.

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Random Monday walk down memory lane

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Saab_9-5_cupholder_detailI was invited to a birthday party last night for one of my oldest friends in Boise, so after a very productive day of home-making and organizing, I showered, packed a snack and a bottle of wine, and headed to her house. As I took a left on Cole towards the connector, I saw this dude taking his sweet time to cross the road a few yards ahead. As I got closer to the freeway entrance, I realized he was not only carrying a guitar, he was playing it as he strolled along.

All of a sudden, I found myself in Portugalete some 20 years, when I first started dating Mike. We were at the bus station going to (or coming from, I don’t remember) Algorta, and Mike was thirsty. We found a candy store where he bought a coke, which he proceeded to open and drink as soon as we got out to the street. I was like, what the heck is he doing? It guess it’s normal here, but I wasn’t used to seeing people drinking soda while taking a walk.

I felt the same way when I stepped into our first Saab, a white 900S. Mike had bought it in Boise and drove it to L.A. to pick me up. I was freshly arrived from Bilbao, suitcase in hand, $80 in cash. I was nervous, everything was new, different. The scenery, the sounds. I was overwhelmed. In the car, I noticed this round circle made of plastic sticking out of the center console, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what you’d put in there. These days, cars in Spain also come equipped with cup holders, but 20 years ago nobody thought of drinking coffee as they drove to work.

As it turns out, it didn’t take me long to make cup holders my dearest friends. However, I still won’t carry a beverage with me if I’m walking around town or use a drive-through if I can’t help it. I won’t deny their convenience, but I feel lazy and like a cheater in the rare occasions when I have used them. Not to mention the weirdness of talking through a metal pole with a teenager who always sounds like Darth Vader. The kids think it’s stupid that I make them get out of the car and into the Taco ‘Hell’ when we could simply keep out belts on and roll through.

What can I say? Some people refuse to log onto Facebook from their mobile devices to reduce impersonal interactions as much as possible; I avoid drive-throughs.


Toy-filled chocolate eggs now legal in the US. YAY!

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You are probable as shocked as I was when I learned that Kinder Surprised Chocolate Eggs (from now on KSCE in this blog post, to save time and key strokes) had been finally legalized in the US after years of prohibition. Hey, at least you’re getting it from me and not from your 9-year old daughter, which was quite embarrassing. In my defense, growing up in Europe where KSCEs are sold in all the coffee shops and candy stores, I never even contemplated an alternative universe banning these little bundles of sweetness that have made thousands of children happy for the last few decades.

I don’t know if it was the shock or my close-mindedness, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, wrap my head around the news. What do you mean legalized? Doesn’t that imply they were illegal at some point? I just couldn’t figure out a reason why the US would place a ban on KSCE sales. Then, I ran into this other piece from the International Business Times, which talks a little bit more in depth about the ban and left me confused again, as it is dated June 2014 but it states that the ban remains – the previous article was from 2013. Lucky for you, nothing escapes my Google researching skills, and after a couple of minutes of additional surfing, I realized that Kinder Eggs are still banned. It is Choco Treasure Eggs that have managed to avoid the U.S. ban thanks to a new idiot-proof design.

Toy-filled chocolate egg with idiot-proof design

Toy-filled chocolate egg with idiot-proof design

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about the kids being idiots. Have you ever met a kid who wanted a KSCE because he was craving chocolate? (Sorry, rhetorical question for people who’ve have traveled abroad). In any case, and for your information, kids don’t give a crap about the chocolate, they just want to rip the egg apart and play with whatever toy is tucked inside. They are not called Kinder Surprise for nothing, surprise!

I can understand safeguarding our kids’ well being, but I’m pretty sure that the chances of a 9-old shooting her instructor with an Uzi, or a 5-year old accidentally killed by a gunshot at home, or an ISU professor almost ripping his nuts off with an unholstered gun inside a classroom are way higher than a kid choking on a toy-filled chocolate egg. But hey, what do I know? I’m just one of those Europeans with European views on gun control.

So yeah, let’s concentrate on banning the smuggling of hollow candy into the land of the free while teaching our babies to hold automatic assault rifles so they can go shopping at Kroger.


Athletic de Bilbao advances to Champions League with a 3-1 win over Napoli. Of course.

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Athletic to Champions

It’s Friday. The game was on Wednesday. I can’t imagine any real Athletic fan still clueless about our team’s win over Napoli, which got us into Champions League. But just in case you were in a coma, vacationing in the Sahara or something weird like that, Athletic Bilbao celebrated their first official game at the stunning new San Mames stadium by qualifying for the Champions League group stages with a 3-1 win over Napoli in their second-leg play-off clash.

Judging by the videos I’ve see so far, life stopped for for a few hours in Bilbao on Wednesday while the game was on. Hell, even Napoli fans were shocked by the good vibes and celebratory atmosphere surrounding the stadium before the game. Needless to say, emotion and cheering multiplied after the game, when players and fans celebrated the victory together.

According to The Bleacher Report, Athletic had never lost against Italian opposition at the old San Mames, and they continued their excellent home record at the upgraded venue with a brilliant performance against the Italians, which completed a 4-2 aggregate victory.

Aritz Aduriz scored a double and Ibai Gomez added a third in front of a vibrant home crowd after Marek Hamsik had put the Italians ahead against the run of play at the start of the second half.

For the winners and losers in this encounter, check out The Bleacher Report complete article, Athletic Bilbao vs. Napoli: Winners and Losers from Champions League Qualifier.

The official schedule for the Champions League has yet to be released, but the groups are already set. Athletic will play in Group H against Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Bate Borisov.

I was totally relieved when I saw that we avoided Ludogorets in the raffle. You might have never heard of them, but the Bulgarian team made history on Wednesday by defeating Steaua Bucuresti in the penalty kicks. Ludogorets’ goalkeeper was expelled from the game during overtime, and with all three substitutes already used, central defender Cosmin Moti was forced to go in goal for the resulting penalty shootout. He saved two goals and gave his team the victory and the pass to Champions League. I hope Real Madrid crashes and burns when they play against them.

For more information on Champion League groups, visit Washington Post’s The Champions League groups are out. Here are four must-see matches.

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