A Dissection Of The American Bladder

A blog that reaches deep into the bowels of America.

15 February 2007

Firenze: Volume II, Part II

Day Two Blog: A sense of no direction.

I'm thinking a few quick updates before I delve into anything too philosophically heavy:

Florence weather right now is amazing; whilst the East Coast has been raped and pillaged by snow, I have been gropping some insane February weather--it was 63 yesterday.

I am having more and more respek for sketch Italian guys. They sit at bars and wait for girls to pass so they can stare at them when they pass, they stalk any girl who flashes the slightest glance or most innocent gesture, and, most classy, if a girl wheres a skirt out--forget about it--a hand will be up that skirt faster than the self-destruction of Britney Spears.

Respek, not respect.

Italian fashion, I must say, is light years ahead of anything I've ever seen. Note to self: buy off colored dark jeans, take huge pins and pin the bottom so it is extremely, uncomfortably tight on my ankles. Next, huge multicolored scarf. Next, buy big puffy jacket with animal fur. Next, huge glasses. Finally, remember to wait a few years and then wear it in the States so I'll be on the first to wear the trend.

Fiorentina has officially closed their gates until they step up their security. Curva Fiesole sails farther and father away. Upon asking Etorre (my host brother) what he thought, he responded in a mix of Englian/Italish, "I don't really cara, I am still goin to da stadium to cheer outside, da poliz cannot do a ding." A true warrior, he automatically gains main-points for this. Though the fact that he wakes me up at seven in the morning with his loud, ranting, Italian curse words directed at his alarm clock. I hate waking up too, so I'll let it slide. Ettore, you da man.

If you read nothing else, read this:

When you think of European, what do you think of? Well, take that times it by infinity, and you have MegaReview's (Florentine's free magazine) owner, my intership boss: Lorenzo. Let me give you the quick facts about Lorenzo.

I walked into his dark office (they never turn on lights in office buildings: too expensive). He's a 6'3 husky looking fellow with tar-stained vocal chords that make him sound like James Earl Jones with a rope around his neck and, the best part, a lisp. When I met him, he rubbed his freshly shaved bald head (Dibello-ish for all you Yinzers) and didn't look at me for ten minutes. Instead, he said 'Mi scusi" and AIMed on his apple powerbook with a gentlemen caller, or so I assumed.

No matter, this gave me time to take in where I would be interning for the next three months. Lorenzo wore all black this day. I'm talking tight black turtle neck. Tight black, stretchy jeans. Black buckle shoes. Black sunglasses on his bald head, even though it was overcast. I was in his office for ten minutes, he smoked three consecutive cigarettes. Too top it off? He had man boobs. Then it hit me: Lorenzo was the inspiration for the SNL skit Sprockets. I was waiting for him to say, "I simply adore Lego. They are like a thousand toys in one."

So what did we talk about? I can't really say it was much about anything. I couldn't understand his accent, so I nodded my head and told him I wanted to write reviews of anything and travel around Toscana. He nodded in approval and said, "mm, I see, vell ve see va ve can doo." It was creepy. I had a nightmare about the following night.

I was then whisked away by the sole graphic designer in the company. He complained about Fiorentina shutting down the stadium because of the riots and told me his friends were going to the stadium to cheer. Man-points.

It turns out though, I can't work for Lorenzo because 1. He scares me. 2. He wants me to work Fridays 3. It's nearly a 40 minute walk to work.

Instead, I got a Monday night DJ job at Faces...and the owner of that place is a whole other blog.



05 February 2007

Firenze: Volume II

I realize I haven't blogged anything yet. So right now I'm beginning a two-day process in which the past two weeks events will be summed up in a slideshow mess of short stories, random thoughts, and, of course, ridiculous pictures. They are in no relevant order, but hopefully will be able to give you a sense of what's been going on and my first impressions (apart from the first post on drive-by ejaculators):

For you calcio (soccer for you dumb Americani) enthusiasts, I went to a Fiorentina-Livorno match and sat opposite the crazed lunatics with the senior citizen-discount/slightly-retarded section. I'm not sure I heard one clap, scream, cheer from our ungracefully-aged/mentally-deficient section. I was about to burst. It has now become my semester's sole goal to sit in the Curva Fiesole. This is the section that has flags constantly moving, drums contantly beating, and cheers constantly...well, er, cheering. This is the section that flips birds to the 200 brave and demented souls from Livorno who came to scream and cheer for their club. This is the section that would take a motorcycle crash to the face for Luca Toni (i.e. The Florence version of Big Ben). And not to mention the ubiquitous gas bombs following Fiorentine goals and M-80 explosions after opposing goals.

And this was only a friendly match.

When Fiorentina suits up against hated Roma in March, I hope to find myself flipping birds, beating drums, and praying for my life in Curva Fiesole.

I can’t make this stuff up. As of right now, roughly 15 teenage boys and girls are drinking champagne and listening to Elvis Presley at an extremely high volume and doing a terrible job at it. The door bell buzzes every ten minutes with a new member to the party. I was one of those members. I came in and was greeted with blank stares and concerned faces. I said, “Ciao,” to unresponsive faces - save the “americano” comment I heard in the background. A minority and a foreigner at a high school party. I love feeling at home!

Elvis says Love me tender, Love me true. I am getting no love right now. I think what I need to do is somehow transform myself into the "questionably retarded foreign exchange student" into "the fuckin' sweet foreign exchange student." I think it has something to do with learning Italian and yelling at strangers, but I could be wrong.

The Number One Question asked to me: How's the food? All right, how do you think it is? It's incredible. The pasta is fresh, you can't find better (or cheaper) wine, and a caldo panino (hot sandwhich) is a slice of heaven. Nothing is fried, oil is extra virgin and only used sparingly on salad, and water is always served at room temperature. Don't get me started on gelato (ice cream, focused on cream and not ice) or pizza -- because I probably gained a freshman fifteen thinking about it. All in all, being in a homestay with traditional home cooking is the best thing someone could do abroad in Italy. I'll never complain as long as I come home to these meals.
Just a little taste of what I've had: 1 octopus, 1/2 cow stomach, 50 oranges, 14 artichoke, 20 pounds of pasta, 6 pounds of salame or prosciutto, and some other things that I either can't pronounce or can't explain.

We stumbled across a few solid bars and discotheques already, but a special little bar across the historic Ponte Vecchio called Faces has earned my money and my puke. The most obvious is the 10 euro cover charge for a 10-midnight all you can drink special. And it is special. Apart from this deal there are more subtle nicieties that make this bar a little slice of America in Italia. For starters, the bathroom does not have a light (save the two candles on the sink) and has not been cleaned since 2002. The bar and floor is lit a little better, but anything you can make out in the room is usually cancelled out by the speakers pumping out 50 decibals of bass. Further, the owner wears shmediums (a tight shirt), loves Jeager shots, and bumps bumpin beats. Finally, they have a shrine to "DJ Monday Mike" Chapman to which they pray five times a day and wait for the Second Coming of their personal Messiah.

It's not classy, but it's special place where you can escape the awkwardness of being a foreigner, the homesickness, and soberness for a few hours.
Good news report: I may have landed an internship with the Megareview magazine in Firenze. If things work out, I'll be reviewing bars, cafes, theatres, restaurants, events, and the peripheries for the magazine (hopefully on their budget, too).

What's Happening in Italy

-President Bush is still the most despised person outside of the South, particularly in Italia where he is trying to pull a fast one and throw a military base in Northern Italia. Smooth. As if Italy didn't have enough reasons. I swear Bush is doing this just to spite my efforts to hold a coversation with an Italian woman.

-Crazed Catania calcio fans turned their animosity from the opposing team and their fans to the 1500 police officers surrounding the stadium. Polizia were literally chasing crowds away by playing chicken with their police cars and the crowds. Usually the crowds blinked first and scattered. Sadly, in the melee an officer was killed. His death prompted the Italian president to indefintely suspend all leagues in Italia. From Series A to youth leagues, calchio will not be played in Italia for at least one week. I'm still set on Fiesole, but I think if a riot breaks out, I'll pass on playing chicken with the polizia.

(And my personal favorite)
The ex-Prime Minister of Italia, Berlusconi, is more of a playboy than Clinton and politically dumber than Bush, which is why the Italians loved him in the late-90s and early Os. Here are a few of his highlights:

-In March 2006, Berlusconi defended accusations he made that the "Chinese communists used to eat children", by responding with claims that "...read the Black Book of Communism and you will discover that in the China of Mao, they did not eat children, but had them boiled to fertilise the fields". Berlusconi claimed that he had to "dust off my English-language playboy arts" with the Finnish president, Tarja Halonen, to convince her to locate the EFSA in Parma.
Before that, speaking to a group of Wall Street traders, he listed a series of reasons to invest in Italy. The first of them was that "we have the most beautiful secretaries in the world."

-Berlusconi replied, "Mister Schulz, I know a movie-producer in Italy who is making a movie about Nazi concentration camps. I will suggest you to play the Role of a Kopa (concentration-camp inmate appointed as supervisor). You are perfect!"

-Berlusconi was quoted as saying : "If I wasn't already married I would marry you right away" and "With you I'd go anywhere" to Mara Carfagna, a representative of Forza Italia. These flirtatious comments prompted his wife to demand an apology in a front-page letter to an Italian newspaper.
In a statement released via his political party he begged for forgiveness.