EU Crumbling: Part I

If you aren’t into, um, news, you probably won’t care much about this. Nonetheless, the Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, just vetoed an EU treaty. This is the first time a Prime Minister of Britain has ever vetoed an EU treaty. In all of time. Or at least since the EU was founded back in ’93.

Highlight from the article:

Jubilant Tory MPs hailed his decision as a massive step towards Britain’s EXIT from the European Union.

That was not my emphasis on the ‘exit.’ That was straight out of the article.

I get the feeling I’m going to be making a lot of posts like this.

Stuff you can read on any choice of news sites. Quoted here, so making posts doesn’t require actual content on my part. I’ll just throw out the excuse that this corroborates my latest megapost. Oh and trying to keep a respectable post rate while nothing interesting happens to me in particular.

What? You thought I was making a reference to the ongoing political volatility within my source of income, the European Union? No, no, no. My own laziness and boringness.

In that regard, I’ve made it a habit to close the window in the laundry room every time I’m in the hallway, just to spite the little Italian gremlins who open it constantly. I was seriously in the laundry room, out of it, and back in it again in less than five minutes yesterday, and in that time, someone I didn’t see opened the window that I had just closed. Definitely gremlins.

And there are honest-to-God roosters somewhere outside of my office, crowing every night to remind me when I’m up too late.

Remember, I’m not just boring. I’m boring in another country. With roosters.

Goodnight.


Rally Compact

These little Fiats are everywhere, but I haven't seen one quite like this.


“What have I been doing for the last month?” and My Thoughts on Everything Else

My Italian experience has continued it’s slide into the depths of mundanity – along the lines of go to class, go to work, eat, go to sleep. That isn’t really much to blog about, sadly. However, it has been a freaking month since my last post. Hopefully, if I can find interesting things, I can get back into once-a-week blogging, or better. Interesting things have happened. Work has also been happening. But screw apologizing or rationalizing, this is my blog, and this is my new post, so enjoy it.

In the weeks since my bike was stolen, I have indeed walked a great deal. It’s forty-five minutes from the campus to the mall on foot, and I’ve now walked that at least half a dozen times. This also has put a serious cramp on trying to see the weekly attractions the city puts on in the middle of town on weekends. I walked to another street fair a week or two ago specifically because the signs I found advertising it mentioned America, in terms of American goods or American-style goods or some such. Of course, at the bottom of the sign, literally in ellipses, it said something like, ‘along with normal goods of local origin.’ I walked to this street fair and found nothing particularly American at all, so I didn’t venture further. If there were American clothes or cars or whatever, I didn’t find them, and my backpack was loaded down with groceries. Besides that, the entire 1st world wears American clothes anyhow. I’m sorry, that’s just how it is.

Unless your vision of American clothing is embodied by “Why you so trashy? – Northern Carolina University.” Seriously, my father caught that on a shirt on display at the mall, as well as a guy wearing a shirt that said “Shut the F*ck Up,” asterisk and all. Combine this crap with punks tagging everything in Engrish, and one is reminded that America dominates the world culturally, if not militarily. I can live with that.

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I’m Angry – This Is My Post

The same researcher/translator who helped me out with my residence permit, along with numerous other things, helped me again tonight. It’s hard to refer to her without a name, but as a matter of internet etiquette, I won’t use her name without her knowing. She will be known here as M1951.

M1951 and I went to the train station tonight, to find what we could. We found the spot where I had locked it, right next to three taxis. M1951 talked to the taxi drivers, who knew everything. They had noticed my bike there for two days and thought it was odd that someone would leave such a nice bike at the train station for so long. On the second night, a short black kid was able to easily open the lock and pedal away with it. Of course, they noted the peculiarity of a short kid riding a big bike. (I’m every bit of 6’3″.)

With that, M1951 and I went to the Questura – the main provincial police station – and filed a report.

Somebody or another I work with may have a used bike I could buy for hopefully cheap. Getting something that looks like crap and runs well would be ideal, so I can actually use it without fear of it being stolen. Additionally, the combination of looking like crap and running well would be the exact opposite of what my last bike did. It couldn’t handle a couple of spills. I hope that parasite likes what he got.

It was, um, okay, while it lasted.

If I get another bike, used or new, while I am here, I am going to use the thickest gauge, biggest, meanest combination lock you ever saw.

Now for a brief musical interlude.

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At the end of this post, someone steals my bike.

I spent this last weekend in the suburbs of the city of Reggio Emilia, spending time with my boss’s in-laws and seeing the sights. I admit, it felt a little weird taking up an invite such as that, but maybe that is just the culture here. It seems to beat America’s culture in this regard. In any case, everyone was pleasant, and the cooking was incredible. One of the gatherings occurred at a family grape farm.

An honest-to-God Ma and Pa operation.

As you can see, the area around Reggio Emilia is flat, in stark contrast to Savona. The whole area is agricultural. The street-fair I encountered here had a large wing of people show-casing the latest and greatest in farm equipment. Of course, the rest of the street-fair was much like any that I had seen in Savona. I had some excellent honey-roasted almonds and saw a display of classic scooters.

They actually shut down a piece of highway for this thing.

I guess the main improvement over the years was going from metal to plastic.

Later that day, I found further proof that Italian punks are poseurs after American culture.

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Zack, Meet Dorm

I moved in to university housing yesterday. I won’t have views like this anymore:

Yesterday's dawn, out my bedroom window.

In its place, I get this:

A view from my bed.

I haven’t actually figured the windows out, yet. There are some huge, angled, shutter-like things outside of them, so I can’t really look outside. I’ll figure those things out sooner or later. There really isn’t too much to look at, though.

My room is definitely a dorm room. After I get through a locked door, there are two bedrooms, each with two beds; a kitchen/living room; and a bathroom. Before I moved in, there was only one occupant, a Ghanaian who is studying to be a nurse. It’s obvious he’s been in the room for a while. I took the other bedroom and moved all my stuff in yesterday, with the help of a few coworkers.

Also accomplished yesterday:

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I got my wish.

I got soaked today, to the bone. I’m glad nobody else in the office was going to be in Savona today, because much of my clothing is drying on another desk. That is all.

Update: This storm, which dropped about two inches of rain on Savona – most of it in the span of two hours, as far as I could tell – killed at least nine people. Definitely not what I wished for.


Corso Italia Car Show: A PhotoDump

I’ve been hoping to make a post on Italian vehicles at some point. Today, a bunch of cars were on show on a pedestrians-only street. So, here’s about sixty-five pictures. You’re welcome.

If you’re not bored enough for this, the main gist is this: hatchbacks and station-wagons rein supreme, SUVs are here and there, and sedans are rare. A lot of roads are narrow, with corners and curves and things, which definitely favors hatchbacks.

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There are no doughnuts here.

But Italian croissants can do a lot of the same things.

Croissant with apple filling

Apple Filling

Croissant with Chocolate Filling

Chocolate Filling

Croissant with Strawberry Filling and a Light Sugar Glaze

A Mix of Strawberry Filling and Apple Filling

I actually found something doughnut-shaped in a sweet-shop a couple weeks ago. I was displeased to find it was but a thin bread shell surrounding over-sweet cream. I’m happy with croissants.


Mundane Events

I think I’ve found a great way to both cut down on the dis-jointedness of these posts and the amount of time it takes to make them. One-subject posts, created the instant I get an idea. And, go.

Sandwich

Behold!

My first self-made meal while in Italy. It’s pretty fantastic. It may look like a simple sandwich, but hidden between those unassuming slices of wheat bread are things unbeknownst to me before my intercontinental trek. Bresaola, for instance, is a blend of meat that I don’t really know what to make of, besides it being red and delicious. Salame Milano, one of many varieties of salami, each of which seems to be named after a different Italian city, is not as strongly-flavored as what I am used to, which I appreciate in a salame. Two different kinds of ham reside between those bread slices as well, prosciutto cotto, which seems like your garden variety ham, and prosciutto di Parma, which does not. It is a variety of prosciutto crudo – raw ham — and I’ve had enough of it to take a liking to it as well. And yes, Italians really eat raw ham. Supposedly, it’s cut off the pig, and aged for up to two years. In fact, I think the larger variety of sandwich meats I have found here result form varying forms of long-term curing of meats. Italians: wine and meats, both more art than science.

With meat so good, there’s got to be a catch, right? Well, there is. The packages they come in are not re-sealable, which caught me a bit off guard. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pick up some re-sealable bags tomorrow.

In the meantime, if there is one thing I don’t like about this Seminary, it’s the fact that the wifi has been on the fritz for the last three weeks (not like it had enough reach to get to my room anyway). So, people have been taking turns using the LAN in the office. Which is a great excuse for my normal routine of making all these posts at stupid-late times of night. I’m sitting in here with two other guys right now, trying to finish that which began in Word. I’m going to have to pick up an Ethernet cord tomorrow, so that nobody has to give up their connection for me to get one. I guess I should be thankful for this reminder of how much most everybody depends on the internet these days

Oh hey, first relatively heavy rain I’ve experienced here since before my father went back to the States. Hooray.