Saturday, April 10, 2010

Incremental improvement- that's my goal!

I spy a keyhole. [True story]

Even though I generally try to avoid confronting such things, decision-time is coming soon. Decisions when it comes to work are something I've typically left to inertia and fate. In other words I don't make a decision and I sit back and wait for the next big thing to stumble upon me. I can't say this policy has been a total failure, but it's produced mixed results at best. I have to admit it's a tempting choice at this juncture of my life as well. This time it would mean hoping the aforementioned job at my friend's company comes through, with the status quo (teaching) as the alternative should the job not come through.
The alternative to not deciding is to start pounding the pavement and sending out resum├Ęs.

The Pro-decision case: Well, frankly the merits of being proactive and job-hunting are fairly obvious. Normal [people] do this kind of thing all the time.
The Pro-Leave-It-to-Fate case: This side usually has the day with me; but this time it can actually make a decent argument provided indecision doesn't mean inactivity.

What that means:
A) I feel this job at my friend's is worth waiting for. Honestly. It's the kind of position I was [already] looking for in the type of company I [already] wanted.
B) If I am still teaching next year, measures must be taken to improve my pay- i.e. organize private lessons outside my school.
This may be a passive choice (sitting back and hoping a job is foisted upon me) but it mustn't be a lazy choice. Private lessons pay 2x as much as my school pays me, so even a few hours a week on my own could make a big difference. And let's say there's even a:
C)I want to give some serious thought to an idea I hatched some time ago for creating a business. I know exactly what I'd like this business to offer: a tour of an Italian area doing what locals consider worth doing. Without getting to into it, let me explain it like this: Watch an episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations on the Travel Channel. He inevitably will have some local show him his idea of "the sights." I basically want to sell that experience. There are lots of issues about the feasibility of such an exercise, but I probably have enough contacts to find someone who can give me answers to the questions I have or at least give me enough info to make an informed decision. Like I said, it Decision-time.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

An updated update on things

Hasn't been much in the way of novelties lately out here. Dario's started to go to daycare in the afternoons, but he hasn't been there much as he inevitably picks up some illness after being there a few days. I'm still teaching, but I've gone from feast to famine in the number of hours I'm working. Well, famine may be a bit strong, let's call it "weight watchers," as the servings have been unsatisfyingly small lately and look likely to get even more meager over the next months.
[I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, and things have actually surprisingly perked up lately- albeit things will be slim come June or so.]
This gives both an opportunity, as well as a necessity to go job hunting. Carla's folks are still in the same house as us. In fact Carla's mom is already starting to find excuses not to move- meaning we'd have to move into the house that was chosen and decorated for them. Honestly, my guess is that it won't come to that. Carla's mom prefers to decide as little as possible, thus allowing her [the right] to complain about everything everyone else decided. [Update: In theory they move out next weekend- but Carla's mom is still complaining of course...]

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Devil's take on Youtube

[1st line continues from previous post]
Yeah. Ready to move on.

I forget why, but I was thinking about [the usage of] swear words on the internet- I believe it was Eugene who made a comment about not being a big fan in general of cyber-cussing. And I agree, in fact here I will cuss with great caution. Still, it's quite funny really. If, out of the millions of explosively offensive things on the internet you get offended because I drop an F-bomb or two in this space, well, that would seem odd. And yet, being offended by such language would be neither terribly uncommon or inappropriate. Such is the beauty of the written word that it has managed to maintain its purity and power even when floating adrift in the vast sea of filth (and not) that is the interwebs.
My favorite line from my favorite book is a short one: "Manuscripts don't burn." It was a doubly ironic line because both the author who penned it and the character being told this line had indeed burned manuscripts, and quite successfully at that (both to

avoid Stalin-era Russian censors). Both authors were afraid of the consequences their writings might bring. And yet, with some help from others, the words of the authors came to light- in the book the Devil himself recreates and publishes the book, whereas the book of the flesh-and-blood author only came to light [initially in censored form] some 25 years after the author's death. So now I put thse words out into the evanescent web of ether. I'm not so sure the Devil (the speaker of the aforementioned line in the book) would make a similar insinuation about the immortality of this medium. But what do I know? The interet gives me one of those feelings that feel wrong and hollow. At first glance, it feels quite permanent, but anyone who ever lost their data on their hard drive can tell you that a pile of 0's and 1's are easy to lose. I think that the illusion of permanence may be related to the novelty of the internet, and how revolutionary it has been in that short time. A kind of "THIS IS THE FUTURE!"-type feeling. [Never trust a message in all caps with exclamation points- the internet taught me this.]
Uh, perhaps I should just keep my suppositions of what the devil thinks to myself. Probably a good general rule.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A duck that aspires to be lame

Had a lovely birthweek. According to Carla I had 3 parties. While that may be an exaggeration I did finally have some time to relax as both Carla and I had a 5-day weekend because of Carnevale. That deserves a 5-day weekend, doesn't it? Even though my brithday was actually the day I went back to work after the vacation (not a fun day) between the fun I had here, as well as the numerous b-day greetings that arrived from the states [I had a good birthday].

Oh, by the way, I've taken to saying "The States" quite often. I actually rather dislike the name, but at the same time it has a certain ring to it that usually flows better within the sentence than the U.S. or America would.
Perhaps the most interesting development of this week was Saturday, when I had the only one of my 3 "parties" that was actually a party- a dinner with our best friends here in Lonigo. I made a rather improvised veal roast with citrus juice and zest. Fun, but not sure I'll revisit it. Anyway, the interesting thing... I cooked up this roast at my friend Gilberto's house, which is also where we had the dinner. A couple of you Americans met him in Fullerton. For example, Rachel [met him and] didn't want to sleep with him. So I did. True story.
Anyway Gilberto often travels to The States on business. He works in the family business, which is a pretty good size

business of about 700-800 employees in 3 countries. My friend may not be the boss (yet) but his Dad is. I'm getting to the interesting thing, I swear...
This summer shortly after arriving here in Italy, he had mentioned he would like me to work for his company. Of course, he also mentioned how nothing would be happening soon, they had been laying people off during the recession, not hiring. [But while cooking up a storm this night he brought up this subject again, only this time it was about a fairly specific position that he thinks might be available within a few months, and he'd like to see me get the job.]
And ever since we had this talk my satisfaction at my current job has begun to plummet. Turns out there's quite a bit of ass-busting to be done in this job, and the pay is quite mediocre. It hasn't helped my satisfaction levels that twice a week I travel to Thiene (30 minute drive) with another teacher [for only a 90 minutes of paid work]. This teacher has already given a notice of sorts (he's not sure when he's going back yet, but sometime in the next 3-4 months). So we have all sorts of lame duck conversations about past and future "other" jobs (read:not teaching).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The beauty of homemade blue jean bags

An important note to those whom I hold dear, yet I ignore to varying degrees:
Well, I've probably attempted to apologize to you before- although a select few I shamefully resisted for years giving this apology, as the apology itself meant breaking a silence that I suppose I was not yet ready to break. I still don't have a tidy explanation for why I was unable to reengage during
and after my Italian voyages. I know that after the first time I came back from Italy, I found myself unable to maintain the relationships I had just the year before. I essentially lopped off half the names on the list of people I considered friends. Those "lopped off" weren't at all those I considered less important. Basically, those who were geographically less convienent (read:not Fullertonians) were the ones whose friendship I allowed to expire; set aside like a once loved pair of jeans that no

longer fit. I still keep them around- but I never wear them, and probably won't ever again. Among [these neglected friends] who *might* read this are Nikki and Daniel (and Daniel: I certainly owe an apology to Stephi as well, who never understood that my selfish behavior in no way reflected on her or my opinion of her). I'm placing rather personal apologies in a rather public forum because I was often unable to make that first step in an exclusive and engaging
manner. The fact that even those [some of those who] shouldn't have befriended me in Facebook [did request to be my friend] gives me hope something can be resurrected in my new existence. To my Fullertonians who I've only been ignoring for a few months: Well, I suppose your used to this from me by now. The overarching point being: I actually hope this very blogthing can keep [me] somewhat engaged with my home

world. So I might not be able to [wear] those "old jeans" like I once did, but who knows, maybe I can find some new reason to pull them out of the closet. Make a bag out of them perhaps.

Middle School til you scream

[In the very small notation around the dashed line:]
A friend of mine asked for something like this [i.e. this blog]. I look for any excuse to write these days.

I'm about halfway through my hell month-and-a-half. Which sounds terrible that I include the time my folks were out here- their presence was a coincidence. I wish they were still here in fact, and their presence was, at worst, insanity-neutral. Sure having to spend all of my off time showing them around was a little tiring (though- I reiterate, still enjoyable), but their Dario-sitting services were wonderful, as was the fact that Carla's family had to be on their best behavior while my folks [were here] , they saved me headaches that way as well. The hellacious part is mainly the copious amounts of work I have right now. For example, on Monday I work from 8 am until about 9:15 pm with only about 90 minutes to myself. By the end of the month things will mellow out again as a lump of 21 hours/week of class will fall off [my schedule] all at once.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


****So this is going to be how my blog is going to work from now on, for now. Essentially my blog is done first on paper, then translated to digital paper (as seen above), then typewritten below, so as to make the whole thing legible. And yes, I know my handwriting is, well, infantile. ****

[Let's just say it starts with my equivalent of doodling]
A black baby bib with a rapper-style $ medallion. I believe a baby... well, I don't remember [when] Eugene gave it to us. Really who else would make that. I hope he won't despair to know that Dario's never used it, but rather should enjoy that it's hanging as more of an art piece now. I can't see from here, but it's hanging from [a]wire, protruding or otherwise, on a the, uh, it's not a box spring- it's like a metallic cot you put a mattress on. Here in Italy you do.

at least. It's really quite an uncomfortable juxtaposition, this wire spring thing, Eugene's bib, the odd hanger also dangling among the wire-springs. And then completing the image, two chairs under a mountain of clothes. I had yet to figure out what the bib was doing there until now- that corner is Carla's homage to Eugene. I'm not sure she meant the whole corner to be taken as being part of the scene. Indeed this work- which is really quite off-putting in a wonderfully interesting way- is now a co-authored piece. Carla putting that bib [in] a haphazard... a dark (dank?) dingy domestic type place. I'm tired. I was out of

[the] house for 12 hours today, even though I'm only going to get paid for 5 1/4 hours. Get up tomorrow at 7:30, which for me is my earliest day. Too early. Wouldn't that suck if what I hate makes me a better person? How horrible a choice would I have when summer vacation comes along?
Either I:
a) Relax and "feel good" doing jack shit
b) Wake up early and be productive.
[Editor's note- apparently Eugene didn't make it after all, but still, he did buy it for us. It's wonderfully tacky but highly useless, it weighs like 10 pounds.]