Ruin, Italy

January 2, 2011

When we arrived, a man told us that, ‘Rome isn’t just ruins and buildings falling apart.’  He was right, as Rome also had:

  1. An absurd amount of Roman Holiday and La Dolce Vita posters
  2. A dirty river
  3. St. Peter’s Basilica.  My mom would like the this Church, it had spectacular nativity scenes and lots of room for contemplative roaming, a Sue G. staple
  4. One night I had this pasta with this sauce that was so salty and good and it made me reconnect with the Almighty.  It was like Tilda Swinton in I am Love
  5. The Sistine Chapel was intricate.  It was painted by Renaissance man and celebrated Half-Shell Michelangelo.   There was a man screaming, ‘NO PHOTOS.’ I broke his law, but not God’s, by taking a few
  6. Ruins were excellent.  So much so that they infused themselves into my brain.  Everything began to get ruined.  ‘Wow I just ruined that dinner…’ ‘We’ll take two tickets to My Fair Ruin…’ ‘Man I really enjoyed Ruin, Italy…’
  7. There was one statue of a man nobly stabbing another man through the skull with what looked like an ancient axe
  8. We walked around a lot and got lost several times. As B mentioned, we got faked out by a fake Colosseum and also by a fake Parthenon. The real Colosseum was crazy and made you wonder who would fare well there in today’s NBA.  Kobe, potentially. For all his faults, he rarely gives up.  Tim Duncan, no, too sarcastic.  The champion would be KG
  9. I can’t inoffensively describe the way the Italians speak.  It will sound like I’m stereotyping.  Please trust me when I say  that their normal inflection always sounds like tears are about to flow.  A passionate and vibrant people.
  10. The metro was beautifully unkempt.  Years worth of dirt buildup made me connect with this train in a way I never quite can with the elitist and impeccable Madrid Metro

'i'm here, man.'


TV Phone Home

November 7, 2010

Recently we’ve watched a few network and non-network television programs.  Keeps us in the loop.

For anyone who can stomach amateur criticism:

1.  I’ve joined a fringe part of society that watches and enjoys Grey’s Anatomy.  They hooked me where this dude had a medical condition that made him look like a tree.  That was the funniest thing I’d ever seen on network television.

-We got a patient.

-What’s wrong with him?

-His arms are growing branches.

-gurgle hahaha spit milk gahhhh-  I started dying, only calming down when told that’s it’s a real condition.

Props to all people afflicted.

I have been hooked ever since. How about when Karev saved a little girl’s life, growing a homegrown trachea like it was 11th grade AP Biology. Who knew that a trachea looked a strawberry shortcake from Chelo’s?

I’m learning what it means to be a doctor.  Sandra Oh, in particular, has taught me so much: Be in a relationship with as many colleagues as possible, don’t be likable, and if your best friend’s husband gets shot, operate on him at gunpoint.   Also don’t be a good actress and make people wish your character didn’t survive.

2.  Avon Barksdale is the best.

B’s friend Courtney was in town for a week, with nine episodes of Season 3 of the Wire on the IPod Touch.   It can be sickening to read takes on The Wire.  ‘It’s so real’ I say, with no proof that it is, having never set foot on the west Baltimore beat.  It seems like the less dialogue I understand, the more authentic it becomes.

Still, its greatness inspires, especially when re-watching.  Heartbreaking in retrospect: when McNulty and Keema realize Avon it back on the streets after just a couple years.

‘Big f-ing joke,’ McNulty says. Cut to Keema throwing a trash can across the room, closing the episode.

‘Big f-ing joke.’  Who working in a (school, hospital, police station, government agency, non-profit, etc.) hasn’t heard or said that?

Also: the scene when String admits to Avon that he had D’Angelo killed is the least ‘real’ scene in a series predicated upon verisimilitude.  The sequence actually belongs in a museum.  It’s too beautiful.   The dialogue (‘I look at you and see a man without a country’) is better than anything in The Social Network, a film with handcuffs on the zeitgeist for reasons I don’t understand.

Watch that three minute scene and see the 135 minutes of The Social Network swallowed whole.  David Simon, pathological about remaining true to the street, lets himself go here.  There is nothing less real and more perfect, taking the hardened poetry of thug-life and making it sing.  Stringer saying that the detective ‘is not wrong about that.’  Kills me.

At its core is that longtime friendships and business partnerships are probably mutually exclusive.  Also that Avon’s minions are crafty with sutures.

3.  Mad Men did it this season.  Criticism for the impulsivity of Don’s marriage proposal seems warranted, but wasn’t it the best?  I mean, he proposed to Megan while he was still in the middle of a much more serious relationship with another woman.  It was an unhinged man doing something transcendently unhinged.

What made him do it?  I think the scene in the restaurant.  Don’s daughter spills a milkshake and Megan doesn’t flip out.  Don has never looked more impressed with anyone in his life.   Everyone knew his old wife Betty would’ve held her daughter at knifepoint if she’d been there.  So as wild and irrational as it was, maybe the man was just looking for something different.

Cue the hilarious engagement ring scene with Don at his sentimental best and Megan speaking French to her mother.

This season – and the series – had a much more cinematic feel than say, cinema.  I loved every part of that finale, including Joanie keeping it ‘Avon’ with the pregnancy.

Goodbye Michigan Ave.

July 17, 2010

The Transformers set is here until Monday.  Mayor Daley thinks it’s an injection to the local economy.  Mike Geraghty Jr. thinks it’s the end of cinema and the civilized world.  ‘It’s not a movie,’ Mike said.  ‘It’s a goddamn product.  You should sue.’

It’s a sight. Manufactured rubble and dozen car pile-ups.  Detours home and scores of rabid onlookers, hoping for Shia to just come out and, I don’t know, beat up a Transformer.  Puffed-up security detail and inured police.   My dream of arrest nearly came true.  We huddled and then sneakily tried to creep over a bridge, through the set.  Look behind us to see four John Laws, pieces drawn, telling us, ‘It’s best you come on back.’

Everyone on production seems to be wearing yellow.    They also seem young and not casually hip.  Some of the technicians look disengaged.  They sit in their giant trucks with walkie-talkies- heads buried in their hands- nostalgic for their once robust creative ambition.

This street has been closed before.  Oprah was here, with special guests Fergie and Michael Jordan.  Mike was dressed to kill.  Suit and fedora.  Designer shades.  Forty stylish pounds of post-Wizards weight.  They hugged and I think Mike put his hand on her knee.  Their banter felt different, like it was exclusive to moguls.  I thought of Stedman cooped up in the guest house, emasculated and resigned, trying to compose a compelling Evite.

Fergie was just getting married, I think.  Well, I know.  Oprah shouted, ‘It’s FERRRRGIE and she’s GETTTTTING MARRIED!’  She performed and the crowd danced.

Yeah it was fun and different.  That day was a win.

These days aren’t.