ITALY

June 1, 2015 at 9:51 pm (Uncategorized)

entering italy

Well folks, sorry about that long break between posts. You can all stop calling the embassy now, they’ve gotten in touch with me and told me to update my blog.

As I write this, I am in Genova in a lovely two star hotel near the train station with plans to go to Nice tomorrow. So far my journey through Italy has been amazing. I started in the East, rolling down into the beautiful port of Trieste where I stayed for about a day and a half with an American named Erin. After that, a short ride to Staranzzano, a village near Monfalcone, where I was received by wonderful host, Marco and Luca, who introduced me to their friends and shared dinner with me. After that it was down to Lido di Jesolo and Venice and then a train from Venice to Ferrara where I followed the Po river for a while until I more or less got to Parma. From there, I went south along the Taro river and was delighted to see mountains again (Mountains, Gandalf, I want to see mountains!). I was even more delighted to run into Tibor and Anna who took me to their Eco village, Granara, up in the mountains to enjoy a barbecue and trip recommendations. After that, it was one of the best bike rides of my life up to the Passo di Bocco followed by a terrifying descent into Chiavari and then a train trip to Genova.

All in all, it’s been nearly a week of cycling through Italy. It’s been more fun than I could have imagined and I’ll remember the people I’ve met for the rest of my life. There have been so many strangers who have been kind to me that I am already feeling a bit sad to be leaving. Not to say it hasn’t been difficult (let’s just say the train system and I are not friends), but I hope to come back some day again, and hopefully with more time and in better shape than I am now.

I’ll post again as soon as I can.

trieste view 1 trieste port trieste main square trieste castle grand canal in trieste Other Trieste castle Marco and Tax staranzzano bookstore bike path cyclist divebomb statue bike along the po carpi cool writing Taro River Granara Friends! Taro Lagoon Taro River 2 Tibor and Anna's House View from Granara village NEVER BRING YOUR BIKE TO VENICE Venice Genova

So in lieu of trying to explain each photo, I’ve titled them. I hope it’s clear what I’m trying to title things. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!

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Belgrade – Day 1

May 20, 2015 at 5:02 am (Uncategorized)

IMG_0004Alex was able to rent a bike from the hostel and we took off to see Belgrade by bike. After a failed attempt to get a front rack for my travels, we followed the bike path along the Sava river. There are ships and floating restaurants docked all along the river. We stopped at a park called Ada Ciganlija and had some snacks and then rode around the Savsko Jezero. There were tons of people on the path riding bikes; there must have been some sort of event. trying on hats

bike trail with so many peopleAfter that, we went to the Museum of Yugoslavia history and saw a wonderful exhibit Art as Resistance to Fascism, which showcased the Yugoslavian struggle against the Nazis and other fascists in the second world war. Then we saw Tito’s grave and some of the stuff they had on display. It was a very beautiful museum, really pleasant and peaceful, though I would have loved it if the Old Museum was opened as well. tito broz

After that we rode up by the Danube and took a fancy bike elevator to get back on a bridge to take us over the Sava. We had dinner at a lovely restaurant called Salt and Pepper, and I ate some broiled fish that tasted like it was caught an hour or so before it was cooked.

Alex packed his bags and we walked around, trying not to be tempted into going to McDonalds or something. Now I’m waiting to head over to the bus station to pick up my ticket for Zagreb and where I can finally start riding some distance.

It’s sad to see Alex go, he and I are great travelling partners. He does all of the planning and looking at maps and I do all of the asking for directions and slowing things down. He’s going back home to Wisconsin though where he’ll meet his lovely family for dinner on Wednesday. I’ll miss him. on the banks of the sava

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Cake Smugglers

March 24, 2010 at 1:06 am (Uncategorized)

the ships

We could offload the boats very quickly. So quickly that people’s heads spun. It was a dangerous place to be, many would walk backwards off the pier. The cakes were exquisite. The government wouldn’t allow us to keep them at home, nor would the rest of the free world if they knew what we had. It was difficult enough for us to defer satisfaction and wait until we were each served our pieces, hunched on the docks each man eating two 11×9 panloads of sweet yellow heaven. The captain would watch over us and laugh quietly to himself.

I was living this life for at least 2 and a half years when we were challenged by a fellow group of cake smugglers. The events were simple tests of dexterity and willpower; hold on to a merry go round as one team member pushed it faster and faster, who could destroy a stranger’s ship the fastest and which group could lose the most weight in 2 weeks. My dog thought the last one was a trick, the other team were scrawny bastards with metabolisms comparable to the sun’s power to waste away hydrogen atoms on things like light and heat.

The day came to start the competition. I thought I would gain an edge by drinking sugar but I arrived at the piers parched and sweaty. My teammates looked at me with disgust. I had enough. I sat down on a field overlooking the piers and watched the teams duke it out for supremacy. They planned on staying overnight at the area so no one could cheat by cutting off a teammate’s leg or torso.

Observing from the hill for the first week, I realized how stupid it was. By the second week I was aching to become a part of something more than the dumb club I had started with the grasses around me. We were called “The Things That Like To Be In This Particular Spot” and I painted every member’s head a delicate red to indicate our collective passion. As I watched the other team declare themselves victors and throw our cakes into the lake I shouted from my perch. I shouted sounds I never knew I could make and I shouted math formulas that felt right. I sat back down and mumbled to my club members “The oranges for organs for the sickly. For me, for you. It’s what I gotta do. Gotta do.”

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A story.

February 24, 2010 at 12:14 am (Uncategorized)

So I was walking to the Krausers down the street yesterday and I saw this man doing this crazy dance on the middle of ocean avenue. He was red faced and smelly with this really weird beard. When I walked past him I kept my head down so that I wouldn’t attract his attention, but he looked over and started to shout at me… in some gibberish. I picked up the pace so that I wouldn’t have to deal with him long, and thought about the other routes I could take back home when I heard him getting closer to me. He ran out into the middle of the road into traffic still shouting but now I could tell he was saying something like “I need more fish!” I started to jog so that this crazy person wouldn’t like get me or anything. When I got to a corner though, the light changed and feeling like I’d rather deal with a person than a bunch of angry motorists I turned around to face the guy. It was then that I realized it was zoidberg. Fuck that guy.

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Going jogging.

February 2, 2010 at 2:17 am (Uncategorized)

I ran clumsy and giddy though my neighborhood. My sneakers flashed in the dark; I hobbled alone through the cold on broken sidewalks. All the cars passing showed their resentment with their headlights. My legs no longer work.

I’m not sure that my doppelganger will appreciate my planned weight loss.

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Home from NYC

January 30, 2010 at 9:11 pm (Uncategorized)

I just got home from NY after a reading at the awesome bookstore Bluestockings.

I bought Howard Zinn’s book and I want to go back and get more. I also walked over the Williamsburg Bridge and my legs are dying. I am terribly out of shape. Expect pictures sometime next month.

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Salinger and Zinn

January 29, 2010 at 12:16 am (Uncategorized)

Goodnight gentlemen. I have a tremendous amount of respect for you both for showing me different sides of the human experience.

Oddly enough, I finished reading Franny and Zooey this week and was wondering how I could work Zinn into my lessons.

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Tiffany’s Economy

January 18, 2010 at 1:12 pm (Uncategorized)

I’m thinking of a better title, any suggestions put in the comment box.

abreakin a fucking pumpkin

The world waited with bated breath as Tiffany stood in the grocery market aisle that housed the various kinds of fruit spreads for sandwiches and toast. She tapped her toe and nodded her head this way and that while she compared the qualities of two jars of strawberry jam from two competing companies. A company in the state of Massachusetts held its breath in unison. Tiffany made her choice and set it down in her cart. A California farm declared bankruptcy as its stock lowered into the Marianas Trench. Tiffany had an unusual control over the economy.

That is to say that she had complete control over it. Tiffany was single-handedly responsible for the airline crisis in the early 90’s when, as a small child, she pointed to an airplane and said “Me no likee”. Several Delta employees committed suicide when they heard the child’s pronouncement, so great was her power.

As she grew, Tiffany didn’t think much of her authority. For her it meant that she could get mostly what she wanted. Pretty much anything really. When she was in elementary school she had several countries’ GDP by the throat with her love for various kinds of ponies. By high school her friends on various social networking sites numbered in the thousands (most were businesses).

Tiffany had her father to thank for her grip on the market. Coming already from an already fairly wealthy family he had investments in major companies and did particularly well in accruing positions on the boards of most of the important corporations in the country. Eventually he concentrated the power of his investments into himself and then by extension his daughter. When he died, naturally his power transferred to her.

As she was rather young when he died, Tiffany didn’t really get a chance to know her dad. This lack of a father figure in her late teens manifested itself in a slew of lovers that she kept in, what she referred to as, her stables. “Oh, I feel like taking Eric out for the day” she would say to herself. And then her handlers would cart him out in a fancy Italian car. They would do their business wherever the mood struck; Tiffany paid off the Disney corporation weekly to have access to the Magic Mountain. A lady in a Mickey Mouse costume shooed away disappointed families.

Tiffany lost feeling in her legs one day and used her influence to build robot legs 3 years before futurists said they could be built. Turns out she had just been sitting funny one day and could still walk but Tiffany did not care. Her life was becoming dull. She started to think that her father’s death was possibly a suicide. Surely his pilot of thirty years didn’t suddenly decide to crash his private jumbo jet into the ocean on purpose? No one had investigated because Tiffany hadn’t asked but Tiffany, as she matured began to think her mother was behind it. Tiffany hated her mother. She sort of wanted her mother dead. But she still had laws to contend with. Money was power but not the legal kind. So she got elected (with economic threats and promises of free Jonas Brothers tickets to the entire United States) and passed a matricide law to kill her mother.

One day a race of extra-galactic beings came to her private country. Urgently they spoke in unison “ONLY YOU CAN SAVE THE WORLD!” Tiffany quietly asked them to turn off the CAPS LOCK.

“Only you can save the world Tiffany J—. There are forces on the way that are more powerful than us and much more evil”

“How evil?” Tiffany asked.

“They eat only the cutest puppies and kill animals that resemble the babies of your kind as a kind of sport”

“That’s evil I guess” Tiffany drawled. “Can we cut to the chase?” She started to tap her toe.

“But there’s a whole mythology behind these guys, it would be important to hear…” the beings pleaded and went down on what would be described by humans as their knees.

Tiffany looked at them over the sunglasses she was wearing.

“All right. Take these seeds, and plant them like regular tobacco plants are planted on your planet in a place suitable for them. But only YOU can plant them. YOU must tend to them, make sure that no one uses the plants and that YOU end up with a least a 90% yield.” And with that, the beings exited through a tear in the space time continuum with the sound of a fart.

Soon Tiffany, who could think of nothing better to do, planted the crops herself on a small plot of land in Virginia. A secretive person by nature she cordoned off the state, sent the residents to live in either neighboring West Virginia or the ocean while she lived in a small mansion on her farm. The plants required the most work she had ever done, digging holes in the ground, watering and generally looking out for living things that were not herself. She broke several hoes, and several nails but the thought of puppies being eaten in front of their horrified owners (namely herself) kept her going. Within a few weeks she had the plants on her hands (with a weak 91% yield) and the extra-galactic beings came back.

“Great job, thanks.”

“That’s it? What about that race? How will this stop them?!” Tiffany threw up her arms, now angry there was no explanation for the work she had just had to do.

“You didn’t care to hear about the mythology so we don’t have to tell you.”

“What the fuck? I worked my ass off for those!” Tiffany screamed

“There’s a saying on earth that could sum up your situation: life’s a bitch and then you die. Have a nice life.” The beings again made the sound of a fart and Tiffany was left alone her bedroom feeling a tad crazy.

Eventually Tiffany became an old woman and died leaving the earth a lot worse place than she came into it. Luckily she had a shit-ton of abortions so she couldn’t produce an heir. Most of the money was left to her cat that wiped out 17 species of fish. And life, which sucked before, sucked even harder.

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Oh My

January 17, 2010 at 5:02 am (Uncategorized)

It’s been quite a while since I rapped atcha wordpress. How I’ve missed you.

I am being paid to teach now. All of you that read this probably know that though, because there is one person that reads this: myself.I have written a bunch of things. You will see that I have improved. Hopefully. This is a picture of my friend Zack. I think that’s how he spells it. [Edit: That is not how he spells it, but it should be.]

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Light

June 28, 2009 at 1:56 am (Uncategorized)

I drove through bridges and tunnels,
alleyways and crowded streets
to meet You in a shady hotel
on the bad side of town;

an occurrence once repeated earlier
with two other girls.

Though this time was different.
I wasn’t lying when I said
“Because of You, I burn brightly”
and then You began to cry

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