29 April 2008

the darkness spreads

This makes me sad and angry:
On Monday night, the area around Rome's city hall rang to chants of "Duce! Duce!", the term adopted by Italy's dictator, Benito Mussolini, equivalent to the German "Führer". Supporters of the new mayor gave the fascist Roman straight-arm salutes.

Maybe Italy hasn't changed that much since my grandfather fled in 1921. Or, just maybe, I let my hopes cloud my judgment.

And this country's one terror attack away from a wave of repression that would make even Umberto Bossi look like a wuss.

Poor, poor Italy. Poor America.

28 April 2008

This my first test of...

This my first test of blogging from my cell phone. I may end up using this as I am traveling around after May, so I wanted to give it a shot. Hope it sounds good. listen

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Requiem for a dream?

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross described seven stages of grief. I would say that I went through a grieving process the "death" of my Italy dream. I'm not sure if I'm ready to move on yet, but I definitely feel less like I'm at an Irish wake if you catch my meaning and I'm sure you do.

The seven (some list five) stages of grief go like this: Shock or Disbelief, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Guilt, Depression, Acceptance and Hope.
  1. Shock or Disbelief. When I opened the email from my aunt, my breath literally began to come in little pants, and my mouth went dry as my heart banged away in my chest. I don't think I've ever experienced a more palpably physical shock from just reading something.
  2. Denial. I remember thinking it was like a mistranslation, or something a friend wrote for them in English. That was before I got the letter directly from my aunt, in all its Italianate melodramatic glory.
  3. Anger. Denise got angry for me, as I recall, and then I got mad at her for rushing me through the Seven Stages when I had just settled into Denial...
  4. Bargaining. I wrote perhaps the best off-the-cuff composition I've ever written in Italian. straight through from beginning to end without recourse to dictionary or conjugation lists. I gave it my all, though I held back from reminding her what our branch of the family did for their branch of the family after the war.
  5. Guilt. I blamed myself, beyond what was reasonable, for the misunderstanding. I chalked it up to cultural differences, my own assholishness, anythibng other than a cranky old aunt who more than once had the ovaries to suggest we weren't really related.
  6. Depression. And many bottles of wine.
  7. Acceptance and Hope. Am I there yet? I don't really know. I still have pangs when I read Italian, and I'm still not comfortable writing more than a few words in the language. I blame Berlusconi for Totti's injury and my aunt for Berlusconi.
In short, I'm bitter at a whole nation of fifty million because of a disagreement with relatives. That is, pretty much, what passes for Acceptance in my family, and I'm OK with it. For now.

20 April 2008


Definitely one of the worst weeks of my adult life... and I've had some hum-fracking-dingers over the years. I had huge amounts of responsibility dumped on me at work, learned belatedly about an enormous crisis my best friend just passed through and a truly horrible, toxic, shocking letter from my Italian aunt basically disowning me and telling me never to speak to her or the family again... it's a wonder I didn't drink San Diego dry.

Fortunately I've grown out of drinking my way through problems, and I have to say I've never passed through a crisis without turning it into an opportunity of some sort. I always view my life as a story - probably something having to do with spending my childhood with my nose in one book after another - and I am sure there will turn out to have been a reason for all this angst.

Just don't know what it is yet...

12 April 2008

The power of positive drinking

After a week of pure hell flying solo at work, I was ready to get out and burn off some steam last night. Actually, I got talked into it... I have been in shock since the tax bill came in and spending money causes me actual, physical pain lately. But DJ Mark Farina from San Francisco was spinning at a club very nearby, so I went for it. His set was surprisingly uninspiring, but it had been a while since I've stayed out late, so I am totally glad I did it. Thinking in euro helps too... €12.63 isn't a lot for a live set!

The inevitable (mild) hangover had me pensive today. I've been kind of resigned to the idea that I'm just going to have to work in Milano, even though I really don't want to. At a given point in my semi-dazed state today, a small still voice inside wopped me upside the head and screamed "Perchè?" Sure, it's true that most of the jobs are in the North, but I have no reason, other than pure defeatism, to assume that I'm not going to find good work in the capital of the Italian Republic and fourth-largest city in the European Union? That pays well. Near a metro station. With flexible hours and a sensible dress code.

Shoot the moon, right?