Thursday, November 30, 2006

Technology stinks

Last night someone, someone whose name I didn't even catch because the minute I heard from what company he was from I started to see red and bright white stars and I heard a high-pitched beeping noise with my conscience weakly wailing "DON'T DO IT AAAAADRIAAAAANE!" called me on my cell phone while I was studying for today's final.

Today's final was oral, in which I had to pull two slips of paper a
nd talk about them for 20 minutes. One would be a reading, the other would be a site visit. Site visits I'm ok with. It was only the reading part of the oral I was worried about, because I realized last night at around 8 how woefully much I was supposed to know. By the morning I had narrowed down my survival options to a couple of different escape routes:

1. Right when I walked into the test room, I could eat all the slips of paper, thereby saving myself and all the people who would test after me
2. I could eat the slip of paper after I had chosen it, and tell her it was on a reading I was mildly familiar with
3. I could jump in front of a car on the way to the test and only get mildly injured

So last night while I was turning over what was more appealing, studying or tweezing my arm hairs one by one, Piccell Wireless called me. This man called to tell me that I had an outstanding balance on my phone and that they had texted me to inform me of this. Which, it makes sense, my credit card expired last month, but what really set me off is the way he said it.

He had texted me.

I had to enlighten him that my cell phone screen varies between looking like this:


and this:

Even though he probably didn't care, I got to tell him that the phone I was sent was the worst investment that I could conceivably think of because they charged an arm and a leg for something that didn't even work. I was able to tell him that this cell phone was the biggest source of frustration for me, even including the time I didn't have a passport and was stuck in a foreign country for time: indefinite! and that if I had my way, that cell phone would have been put through a coffee grinder, been sprinkled with gasoline, then ceremoniously burnt to a crisp in the middle of a forest with a large group of my friends dancing around the bonfire.

And then he informed that I could have sent the phone back to get another one which, duh. I am not a martyr of technology for kicks. He didn't know, though, that I am a creature of habit. I have been eating salad with tomato sauce for dinner for 3 weeks now, and before that I was eating tuna and tomatoes for about 3 weeks straight. I've got a carefully planned out daily schedule, and no where in that schedule does "going to the post office that's open daily between 1:30 PM and 1:32 PM" figure. My cell phone is strictly functional. I ask for no bells and whistles, for no color screen or a camera. My cell phone is there to get the job done, and not to make it more enjoyable. If my cell phone doesn't work for me, then I am not willing to lift a finger for it because it was the one that let me down, and not the other way around. Besides, every time I reconciled myself to the idea that maaaaaybe I should send the cell phone back today, its screen started to flicker and I decided it was on its way to recovery.

Oh, and then anyhow, it took me 3 weeks to pick up the phone in July because, as typical of Rome, the "system was down" that evidently was integral in the whole cell phone handing out system. Piccell had to send me a second cell phone to be picked up in a different place where the "system" was functional. So, if they HAD sent me the phone, I'm guessing that I would have run into similiar difficulties, not have had the cell phone for 3 weeks, and then I'd be at the end of the program anyhow. So while Diana cowered in a corner to save herself from my fury that knows no bounds, I told this man that this company was the most useless thing on the face of the planet, even if they do happen to send out cell phones that are supposed to facilitate communication between people.

Tomorrow I have to send back the cell phone to a company based somewhere in the United States. I plan on enclosing a scathing note directed towards Piccell Wireless, which I will have great joy writing tonight.

But anyway, after my relieving conversation, I've never felt better, and my final was ok. Obviously, I have some anger issues I have to deal with.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Bye bye baby

We’ve had an empty box of Baci chocolates sitting on an unused shelf in my house for the past several years. Every year I go home, I check that box of chocolates to see if it’s magically regenerated the chocolate I ate ages ago. It’s kind of like the college student writing an essay phenomenon: she’ll look in the fridge about 16 times before the first paragraph is finished knowing full well that the only edible thing in the fridge is a half-eaten spoiled fruit salad and some cheese that’s not supposed to be THAT moldy, but MAYBE since the last time she’s looked someone’s slipped a rotisserie chicken with her name on it onto the 3rd shelf. And if that’s not the case, then that withered celery stick and stale Doritos kind of start to look appetizing, after all.

These Baci chocolates are Italian. They’ve started to make regular appearances in my life since coffee’s become the new black. Once a day, I grab one of these 1 cm x 1 cm chocolates at the check-out counter and eat it in three short, lethal bites, because I want to make it last. And, joy of all joys! each chocolate has adorable little quotations on a piece of wax paper wrapped around it. At least, I used to think they were adorable. I seem to remember thinking each must have been inspired by unicorn breath and fairy footsteps because I’d say “Awww, isn’t that SWEET?” to each one while imagining a cottage, a white picket fence, a bun in the oven, and the smell of apple pie.

I’ve noticed that these quotations assume a decidedly different tone in Italy. For one, I’ve started to suspect that I’ve unknowingly been talking to selectors of these verses, because nearly every day I read the quotation, I realize I’ve been talking about the same topic. And another, those that I haven’t (and most of the times that I have) talked about are delightfully depressing. Take for instance the following:

Love is like the measles; we all have to go through it.

Love is like a bad cough.

Marriage does not exist in heaven. Perhaps because it would upset the general felicity? (Double-whammy – given to me the day I had an extended conversation about how marriage is not the best option for happy couples)

A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.

A kiss strikes like lightning; love passes like a storm.

Are they not miserable? Desolate? Ruinous? Absolutely PERFECT?

Because these chocolates ooze delightful quotations of sunshine and I think that Italians are so thin because all they do is eat one of these chocolates as breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Italians, too, sound just as negative as these chocolates. Last night I was watching the “All Music” tv station in the hotel which has about 15 minutes of personal ads after each song. The people who are usually advertising themselves are on the last leg of desperation. It’s the step they take before actually making a music video to go on this channel, which is just about the most desperate you can get.

Anyway, these personal ads have 2 sides. On the right side, the male or female is interviewed, while on the left side there is a shot of him or her doing whatever it is they want to do. This is usually:

  1. Girls squeezed into tight midriffs or lounging on the beach in a bathing suit in their most flattering position, and then flapping (rather, I mean DANCING) awkwardly alone to some music
  2. Guys dressed in some godawful clothes, dancing, and making that shooting pistol thing with their hands at least once because “You dig me, no?”

The interviewer asks several questions from the eligible, sometimes single person, that are usually the same. How old are you (they always blatantly lie about that), what do you do, describe yourself in three words, yadda yadda, and one of the questions usually is “Do you believe in eternal love?” And nine times out of ten, the person says no. I guess it figures, because, after all, they ARE giving their phone numbers out on public television to people who like to watch Christina Aguilera’s “Hurt” or Evanescence’s “Call Me When You’re Sober,” so they probably had some pretty serious revelations in their life.

That, or they've just been eating a ton of chocolate.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm going to miss Rome

So I’ve recently been hanging out on my friends’ web albums because
  1. They are there for a reason
  2. My goodness, is my nose really THAT big?

I was in yearbook during high school. In addition to learning the crucial skill of looking busy when I'm actually doing nothing, I learned that captions are kind of hard to write. Write something that is “witty,” and you risk looking like lame among a group of losers (since it WAS high school and outside my very exclusive group of friends, everyone was mean) and if you write something that is “informative,” then that’s just BORING. Caption writing was a delicate blend of the two that I never, ever mastered. Just like title writing. I SUCKED at titles. My titles would be something like:

A Large Log


Silly Seniors.

You know. A mélange of subtle alliteration and complex allusions.
(I did not actually write any of those titles for the yearbook. Or did I…)
So I was looking through my friends’ pictures, and golly, did their captions ever keep me entertained. It was about as good as looking at pictures on facebook. Let’s take for instance the following:

Original caption: "French Architecture"

Original caption: "I like this one"

and then there is a caption that says "Wa-la," which I understand is supposed to say "Voila."
Granted, I realize there are some pictures that are hard to write captions for. It’s like a picture of a tree. What on earth are you supposed to caption about a tree? That’s when I just throw up my hands in the air and say “Well, I’m just not going to caption you!”

Then, there are those pictures that are begging for captions. For lame or informative captions. Any sort of caption, because you can’t just leave them bare.
Let me introduce you to Linda Muzere. Yes, I know I’ve done introductions before, but I did not know Linda at the time, as she is a woman of many mysteries. She might be last, but by no means least.

Linda Muzere practices her seductive gaze.

She is not like most people. Most people, when they see me haul forth my mighty camera, do the following, like Arwyn:

They wither. They cower in fear. I can’t really blame them, since I do the same thing.

Linda Muzere, however, positively preens when the camera is out. She lights up like a 6000 watt light bulb and sidles into the range of my viewfinder.

Linda Muzere wonders "Does that thing really work?"

I just blatantly point my camera, and she never churns out a disappointing picture.

Linda Muzere displays her domestic housewife side.

Linda Muzere recovers from a tack attack: her wallet matches her shirt.

What else is so special about Linda Muzere is that she makes anyone who she likes who talks to her feel like a million dollars. If I should (surprisingly!) say something self-deprecating about my looks, she would tell me to stop being ridiculous and pull myself together, then would proceed to compliment me in such ways that I would feel as if I could beat Catherine Zeta-Jones in any beauty competition.

Linda Muzere: Profile

Linda Muzere: Odd Profile

Linda Muzere: she eats too, just like us!

Caught offguard while rummaging in her purse, Linda Muzere gives her patented surprised look.

Linda Muzere celebrates reaching the summit of Mt. Vesuvius by boogie-ing.

And then we talk about boobs. Every morning we anxiously enquire about the other’s friends’ well-being, appearance, and buoyancy. The ego of my mammary glands have been inflated to about a size DD. Which, actually, might not be so healthy for them when they have to face the real world again, but they’ll just revel in the glow for a while longer.
Linda Muzere, small and mighty, sets another trend by tucking her shirt into her underwear.

Linda Muzere, although she is joining the Marine Corps next summer, exerts no unnecessary actions. She takes the elevator to go two floors down, takes the tram to school 10 minutes away walking, and you can usually find her at the end of the group during excursions.

Linda Muzere stays stylishly cool.

Last week I was plagued with a huge sore on my mouth that comes out periodically when I don’t sleep enough, when I’m stressed, and evidently when I mix chapsticks. Or when I look at my mouth the wrong way. In any case, it was pretty obvious. Actually, it seemed like it took up my mouth plus my chin, the way it was throbbing. It was like a giant red bloody beacon of light emanating from my mouth. I was avoiding pictures and looking at people in the face like the plague until, you know, the pus stopped flowing free and my mouth stopped looking like a cesspool or a peetree dish with some sort of a fungus bacteria culture. So Linda sort of noticed my mouth after several people had asked what on earth is wrong with me and GOD, is it airborne? And after our daily complimenting of each other, she ended it with “If you stand far enough away and at the right angle, you can’t even see that thing on your lip!”

And the way she said it, I almost believed her.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A new level of lazy

A fly was sitting on the screen of the computer and I tried scaring it off by wiggling my mouse cursor really fast on the screen.

Yeah, that doesn't work.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


So it's been, what, 8 days since I last wrote? It seems like much longer. During this time, I wish I could say I did any number of the following:

1. win lots of money
2. find an accordion
3. make a new friend
4. lose about 20 pounds
5. get someone to do my laundry for me
6. get someone to organize all my stuff for me
7. get discovered by any sort of talent-seeking whiz

But instead, I did one or more of the listed items:

1. Read
2. Sleep
3. Eat
4. Avoid witing emails I should have done in, oh, June.
5. Avoid sending postcards I should have sent in July
6. Breathe

Basically, the highlight of the past 8 days has been receiving an email from someone (Stacy) who should beat me over the head with a dead animal because I haven't written to her, and she selflessly, unprompted-ly, decided to take it upon herself to make the very move I'm too lazy to do. The best part of the email was the following:
My mom said that your mom was in chicago visiting you, i figured my mom
was confused and there was a bit of a miscommunication. So here are my
theories of where your mom is...
1. In chicago chilling by herself
2. In Rome actually visiting you
3. In Boston visiting your sister
4. Out on a drug run in Compton and doesn't want my mom to know

So I would like to hear what you did on your birthday but I will let
know what I did on your birthday. I got home from class at 6
(ridiculously dark already) and took the bus home to hurry and pass out
candy to the kids. Got off a stop too early...because it was so damn
dark and i couldn't see. So, I walked 10 minutes to get home and then
dressed the dogs up as pumpkins and lucy up as a horse but not all at
same time because i only had one pumpkin costume.

The first image that is so entertaining is the very idea of my mom "chilling." My mom does not "chill." When she talks about "relaxing" during a trip, that usually involves heavy duty cleaning supplies that could fill a suburban pool, a sledgehammer, a drill, a hammer, and one large, healthy dose of "DAMNITIWILLFINISHTHISEVENIFITISTHEENDOFME." People born in the month of December in my family don't "chill." I chill, but I chill at home. It's recently been brought to my attention that I don't chill when I go to a new city, but I could be wrong.

I mean, MAYBE Julia wasn't cowering in fear when I bounded off the train in Milano brandishing my Paris guide book and wearing a diabolical smile that said "You are at the mercy of my grueling schedule!" and I guess that I could have misinterpreted her when she said "You have to go easy this weekend, Adrianne." However, I do chill at home. I chill so hard in Rome, in fact, that for the past 2 weeks I've been using conditioner for body wash in the shower because I'm just too darn lazy to go to the store to buy actual body wash. Oh, yeah, and I've been too lazy to write those emails I keep on talking about doing, and to register for classes next quarter. Which, that is totally going to happen RIGHT NOW. I've even got the window open for it.

The second image that is hilarious is a couple of dogs vying to be a pumpkin.

Scrappy: No, IIII want to be the pumpkin now.
Anonymous dog 1: But IIII was the one who went on the carpet!
Anonymous dog 2: Hey, losers, I got into the pantry to eat the cornflakes!
Anonymous dog 3: IIIII tore up the bed sheet!
Anonymous dog 4: But IIIII gave the cat a conniption!

I don't know if you know Stacy, but at one point she had about a million dogs, and I don't think any of them would have been too keen on being a pumpkin, but Stacy, keep up the good work.

So my sister is coming into town. This is someone else who just can't "chill." She'll probably take one look at my room and go running for the nearest Container Store, even if my room might happen to be presentable.

And now I'm going to get going. I'll just requests courses later.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My life in pictures. Somewhat

Linda Muzere. Can you handle her?

St. Peter's through a keyhole

A few snazzy looking guys in costume.

No elaboration necessary

A lot of museums

A lot of waiting in line

A great subway ride

An Eiffel Tower + 3 girls

A green apple in class.

A Tina! AND a Mary Kate!

A teacher in a stylish green hat.

I will save everyone the trouble and point out the obvious. Yes, I am wearing a pink coat. I had to wear a pink jacket because

1. The store ran out of brown
2. I had to buy it last minute, because Mary Kate lied to me and told me it was warm in Paris
3. I have the sneaking suspicion I sort of, kind of, like pink

And yes, that is a beret. I was a tourist. Paris didn't even know what hit it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In which Adrianne wears a beret and says oui a lot

If nothing else, this weekend reminded me what it was like to be back in a place where lines do exist. Where one has enough room on public transportation to turn around. Where street signs are actually obeyed.

Julia and I arrived in Paris very late Wednesday night. The rest of the three full days I was there, I was constantly restraining myself from walking out into the middle of traffic, and when strolling down the street, from assuming the dodging/darting style of walking I’ve picked up here to avoid various obstacles in the street, such as dead animals and napping men. Everything in Paris was so…orderly. Clean. Basically sparkling (aside from our hostel’s bathroom). I met Mary Kate Slattery and Justine Robinett for dinner one night and when we were walking down to the subway stop, Mary Kate nearly passed out from the “bad smell” lingering in the hallway. Bad smell? OH, she must have meant that aroma I thought was the latest scent from Lancôme. Obviously, she was not in Naples when the trash people went on strike. Now THAT is stench.

Lacey, Julia, and I had a wonderful time. So wonderful, in fact, that when I thought about returning to Rome, I was very sad. Coupled with having to wake up at 4 AM to catch my flight, I became a murderous brat. I should have appreciated it more when a guard stopped someone from cutting in front of me in line at the Paris airport because that right there was the last bit of chivalry I’m getting for a good several weeks.

I got to Milano at around 10:30 AM, and my train ride to Rome didn’t leave until 3 PM. When buying the train ticket, I thought the deal was the same as it is in Hungary where you take a gun with you on a train, and whoever is quickest to the draw gets the seat. Turns out that reservations mean you are merely guaranteed breathing room, and I had to stand for about 4 hours of the train ride. By 9 PM, I was very, very close to administering catheters to everyone. I got to watch the train conductor get in 2 fighting matches with men squashed next to me over technicalities, and slugs race past the train on our way to Rome.

I had much time to contemplate over whether or not I would have rather studied in Paris or Rome. And the final verdict is Rome. Sure, it’s disorderly here. There’s the same residue of poo that’s been stuck in the cracks of the cobblestones in front of our hotel since the beginning of the program. I am accosted with foul smells wherever I go, and by now I am so sick of panini and pizza that I’ve developed an allergic reaction to the mere smell of them. However, there is an unmistakable Romanness about everything, and compared to what I’m used to, everything reeks of character. It’s small, compact, and bursting with stuff. And at this point in my life, it’s really extremely comforting to know that something is more disorganized and ready to fall apart than me, yet still has managed to keep it together for more than a thousand years. If Rome’s made it this far, I think I’ll be ok.