Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wedding Photos!!!

www.portlandphotographer.net/cyndaian

Roma

This is a bit late in the posting (like, a few weeks), but I had the pleasure and blessing of going to Rome for Spring Break. And it was amazing. I don't know what more to say, so I'll leave it at that.

...yeah, just joking. Ben might kill me.

I only had the tiniest amount of time to be in this fantastic city, in that awesome country, so I can only say a little bit. Somebody who's been there for, say, a semester (e.g., Jeff) would have some pretty cool stories to tell about it.

I'd been pining for Europe for a long time. Even being in the nation's capital, there's something so...young about it. There's something awesome being in the Pacific NW at any time of year, but especially in the spring or summer when life is abundant and you can just feel the pulse of something bigger than yourself. The pulse of old European cities is a bit different, as it's less the life of the trees or wildlife and more the life of human history that's so suddenly and inexplicably tangible and sensible to you. I had experienced that in Paris (not so much in Berlin; it's a young city) and was eager for it in Rome. And Rome did not disappoint.

Everywhere you go in Rome, you will find a) a Piazza, b) a Church, and/or c) ruins that have an aura of awesomeness exuding from them. The alleys (comprising a rather large portion of downtown Rome's streets) are all made of cobblestone. You feel connected to so many centuries of history and humankind merely by walking down the street. If you have a history professor or an archaeologist telling you about the history of the city, you start wondering how many ruins are actually directly beneath your feet at any given moment; the city has layers to it. You are walking on thousands of years of history with every step. I might just be weird, but it was so incredible...there was a never-before-experienced connection with humankind going on during that trip (slightly exaggerated? perhaps, but not much).

Being a Catholic kid from the Catholic University of America, I can't get away with not mentioning the churches. There were lots of them. Several of them don't look all that different from the other ancient buildings surrounding them. In fact, if it weren't for the little Vatican insignia on the facade of the building, I doubt that I would have known they were churches. Some of them don't really display their insignia all that prominently. You could very well walk into what you thought was an apartment and, whoa, jeez, it's a church. But they're beautiful inside. They're not the places I'd pick to have a quiet moment to pray or reflect or go to Mass. They're a little much for that...maybe? Maybe it's just that I got more out of being a "pilgrim", in a sense: Connection to humankind, once again, on the Christian and Catholic front in a special way this time. Walking in the parishes where saints celebrated Masses, trekking along paths that St. Paul might have been dragged along before his martyrdom, going up the stairs (imported from Jesusalem) that are apparently the stairs Jesus ascended when brought before Pilate. Hard to explain, I guess. It was a good experience for the faith, too, suffice it to say.

Speaking of which, got to see the Pope twice. I swear they just like to show off how many languages they know. He's gonna be coming to Catholic in mid-April, too, so it's been a semester chock-full of Benedict XVI.

We were at a hotel near a small square called Campo di Fiori...the place becomes an awesome marketplace during the morning, selling spices and fruits and pasta and various other comestibles (and Grappa...which I hated). It was awesome to be able to go to a pastry shop, buy a croissant-like thing with Nutella in it, and then go buy a blood orange and/or some other piece of fruit and have the total cost not exceed 5 Euro. That was awesome.

The first half of the week was spectacular, weather-wise. You could wake up to a pleasantly brisk morning breeze and by noon it would be in the 60's. Wednesday marked a huge change in weather, with rain and cold (and all the weather typical for winter in the mediterranean) making an appearance.

I saw some of the major sights during that week: The Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Victor Immanuel I Memorial, Sts. John Lateran, Peter, and Mary Major, Villa Borghese, Piazza Garibaldi, the Arch of Titus, the Forum, the Vatican Museum...other things, too. A lot, a lot, a lot, but there is so much more to see. I will just have to go back and spend a few weeks there.

I went to Assisi on Friday. It was a bit crazy, because we had to be back by 8 PM to go to dinner with the group, so we woke up rather early to get to the train station. We switched trains in Foligno without a hitch, and got to Assisi mid-morning. It was so beautiful. The city is essentially built on a hill, and you take a bus up to the main part of it. The Roca Maggiore (a castle) is perched on the top of the hill, and watching the mist parting to reveal the castle and the rest of the amazing town was breathtaking. The grass was greener than Dublin pubs on St. Patrick's day. We had the privilege of snow and sleet and rain while there, but it was beautiful. The town and countryside is just so...pure. I can't describe it. Photographs are pending...one of my friends who is without facebook took the majority of pictures there. But it was so awesome to be in the city in which St. Claire and St. Francis once lived and where their bodies now rest...yeah. Just really cool.

While I was there, we went to several pubs run by Irishmen. This is because hard liquor was something that other nations introduced to Italy: Italy is known for wine, not for stout or whiskey. I found myself speaking with a passable brogue on numerous occasions, leading some other tourists to ask me which part of Ireland I'm from. These people were Italians, so it wasn't like authentic Irish people thought I was from Ireland, but that's okay. I also spoke in the brogue without the influence of alcohol. I don't need alcohol to do strange things. But man, some good chianti with some good pasta while looking at the Tiber River...yeah, hits the spot.

I was also introduced to fried artichokes and oxtail stew. The former was fantastic. The latter was interesting, at least.

so that's what I was doing for the first week of March. It's a bummer I didn't get to see those of you folks who were in Oregon for the Machuca's wedding...I raised my glass to all of you (especially Ian and Cynda) as we flew back to the US of A. The cherry blossoms are in bloom here in the District and I'm thinking of you all. I didn't really take great pictures while in Rome...but several pictures were taken of me.

This is us atop the hotel...it was pretty sweet, especially during the non-cold mornings and nights:


This one is at the bottom of the Spanish Steps...as you can tell, we are very cool:



This is at Scholar's Irish Pub. Not my fav, but it was cool to hear some live music:




Mmmmkay. time to go be preemptive in my schoolwork so that the last two weeks of school don't slaughter me. Take it easy, champs. Peace!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Poor bunnies...

Moral of the story: Don't mess around with people who have irons and purple arms...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thought I'd join in

The Onion Always Makes Me Laugh






Anonymous Philanthropist Donates 200 Human Kidneys To Hospital

Here Are Some Lame Jokes so That You Enjoy My Puns More, You Ungrateful Bastards

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two-tired.

If you don't pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.

If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes?

If you take an Oriental person and spin him around several times, does he become disoriented?

Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?

What hair colour do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?

Last night I played a blank tape at full blast. The mime next door went nuts.

Patrick, I Forgot You Were a Business Major. My Apologies

Also, when I called Santa Clara 'High School 2.0', it was just to see Martha's eyes get big.

I Have Momentarily Run Out of Things to Talk About

No one is on AIM anymore. Douglas, you need to post about Guatamala or whichever Latin American country you were sunbathing in. Colonel, I know I can count on you. The rest of you: practice your lying!

In Addition to Road Trip Movie and Baby Movie and Treehouse Movie, Let Us Buy a Typewriter and Begin a Coming-of-Age Screenplay

(While we still remember what it is like to be young.)

(I want to go to the Oscars.)

To These Lend Your Ears

Here are some new (at least to me) albums to which you should listen (you liked the Hold Steady didn't you? I'm right sometimes!):

Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago (Skinny Love is perfect)
Yeasayer: All Hour Cymbals (2080 is my newest favorite song)
Caribou: Andorra
Dirty on Purpose: Hallelujah Sirens
Castanets: Cathedral
Vetiver: To Find Me Gone(I love Maureen)
Two Gallants: S/T (My Baby's Gone)
The Helio Sequence: Keep Your Eyes Ahyead (No Regrets) (From Beaverton)(How was the show Magda?)
Elvis Perkins: Ash Wednesday(While You Were Sleeping)
Townes Van Zant: S/T, anything you can get
A Place to Bury Strangers: S/T (Dave, this is hard enough for you)
Deer Tick: War Elephant

Okay, that's all I can think of for now.

[Hurry Sufjan, hurry!]

Perchance Would You Forgive My Youthful Indiscretions?

I am a reforming asshole (gross image!) and if I added to the pain and anxiety of your teens or early twenties- trying enough times- I hope that you know I am aware and apologetic and would be so in person if you promise not to buffet my face with slaps (because it really has gotten better looking in the last few years.)

This Site Hilariously and Accurately Mocks Urban/Hipster Youth 'Culture'

Movie Fans Should Go Here and Watch Their Favorite Movies Summarized by Adorable Bunnies

Well, If March is Gonna Be All Mine, I Might As Well Say Something Interesting/Fill it With Nonsense/I Have Many Exams Rapidly Approaching

In addition to the summer plans I so carefully illustrated at Christmastime (which should always be one word), I would like one evening where we have a board game championship lasting all night and into the morning, ending with a trip to Pittock Mansion to watch the sunrise, perhaps followed by a longer hike in Forest Park, which would be quite beautiful at dawn.

I HATE Business Majors

they should not be in college. they should not be given a degree.

I work in the library. business majors don't know how to use the library, they have never wanted to know. this is why they are business majors. so usually i don't have to deal with them. this makes me happy. occassionally, one of their professors-really stop and ask yourself what kind of person is a business professor. it makes no sense- puts something on reserve. I can't tell if this is done ironically or not. i hope so. i hope these professors are just very disillusioned, self-hating people whose only joy in life is watching these 'students' jump through hoops and not realize what absurd jokes they are. the following is an excerpt from one of their 'readings', "Chapter 5 Cost Behavior: Analysis and Use":

'Memorize the elements of the equation Y=a+bX. You need to understand this equation to complete most of the homework exercises and problems.'

AAAAAHHHHHH! I hate them all. Notre Dame is regularly a top 20 school, and somehow our business school is supposed #3. (I am dubious of the former and disgusted by the latter.) This is for a 200-level accountancy course. They are learning something we all know from 6th grade. I hate them all. Really and truly. This is not a joke. I hate them.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!


Did you know only 76% of Americans believe in eating the ears first? Who are these other 24% I want them out of my goddamn country!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Year of the Potato!

I was never invited to join the potato blog, even though I'm the mostest Irish one of all of us, so I'm telling you all here and now that it is the year of the potato as deemed by the good folks at the United Nations. (Come now, they mean well.) I want a 21 potato-gun salute to honor the finest of the starches:

"It is the world's fourth-most-important food crop, after maize, wheat and rice. It provides more calories, more quickly, using less land and in a wider range of climates than any other plant. It is, of course, the potato." So says The Economist. So says I, greatest of all potato mashers.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A NEW PUN!- A Shakeer, Sean and Ben Joint Recently Uncovered From 2005! Have Your Own Copy For The Low Low Price of $19.99!

So its 1945 I'm driving the getaway car from the bank heist with Shakeer riding shotty and Sean scoping out the back. Everything looks good until the back of the sign truck in front of us rolls open and starts dropping big letter g's all over the road. I swerve, and all of the sudden I see an FBI car pull up along side us and the two agents spot us. I pull a quick U-ie, throwing Sean and Shakeer flat. Loose cash starts flying everywhere, a tornado of Benjamins. All three of us cry out 'Oh jeez!'


yeah count it! five levels of contrivance my friend, if you grant us the abbreviation of G's for G-man, a common nickname for FBI agents in WWII-era America.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

British Sea Power [live]

Alright so I finally got myself into the Doug Fir Lounge and its pretty cool I guess and I always always get to concerts too early and that's no fun when you're by yourself and suck at meditating so I sat through most of openers The XYZ Affair which I correctly remembered had something to do with the French (Colonel would have known that it started a started a quasi-war back in the day and that John Adams led us valiantly to victory and stylish britches) and they were good kind of like Fugazi if it was made up of guys who gave up on their barbershop quartet and started a garage band and they were done and the next band was taking forever and its a good thing i didn't leave and get something to eat because Colourmusic was effin' awesome man it was like your band had one song to play in front of the whole school and you put on your unis and took a few shots and played it and put everything, every shitty thing high school meant to you and made it triumphant because you finally had your moment and your buddies and you would pump your fists and showboat and sing all together and yeah their set was like that for pretty much 9 songs and then they left. no warning, like it should be.

XYZ Affair: MmGravy
Colourmusic: MMmGravy

British Sea Power have always seemed like they were from a different world, like our world split with theirs after the war and they did nothing but seem totally otherworldy last night. They don't tour much, and are generally kinda reticent with the media and such. With their lyrics and vocal styles, well it just doesn't feel, to me, like they are guys you can live next door to. They live on an island you've never heard of because everybody forgot about it one day. The six-piece came out in costumes like if you decided to play warship with all your street urchin friends and you kinda did your best to look like sailors but it was really just some of your big brother's clothes and a lot of imagination.

Their set was great for over an hour-played half-and-half old and new, blackout was a fucking phenom and drowning was pretty great too. Then it dissolved into feedback wankery. And i'm a man who appreciates good drone and feedback and noise and gets down when ira does it. the boys (and girl violinist cuz god forbid an indie band had a dude violinst besides mr. bird) just weren't great at it. for moments their songs would shine through and sound brilliant, but they were just a little too high and they definitely lost the crowd that was totally with them. at the end though, i wish you would have been there, the lead guitarist had cut his hand earlier and was bleeding forever and he finally gave his guitar to the trumpet/keyboard player who played his trumpet while spazzing out on the guitar and then the lead singer did a hand stand and the violinist was running around and the three-stringed bass kept everyone jamming and you definitely should have been there. sorry i didn't take any pictures. i need a partner for these things. oh and earplugs would have been nice. second row definitely cost me.

British Sea Power: MMGravy

post script
all hipster girls dance the same.