People On My Facebook

16 May

People on my Facebook surprise me, sometimes they amaze me. Some of them make me very proud, some make me laugh.

I have artists and craftists on my Facebook. They sing, they play, they take pictures, they write, they sew, they paint, they draw, they do stand up. They are a bunch of coolies that I’ve met in squares, in schools and through other people. I normally appreciate their dedication and I smile when I see their passions grow. Especially when I remember how we shared more or less embarrassing moments or how I saw them outgrow their insecurities as years went by.

I have haters on my Facebook. The object of their hate varies from babies to religion, from Obama to healthcare, from vaccinations to non organic food. Sometimes I wonder how what they loathe became so incredibly impossible to overcome that they have to share their indignation with the world multiple times a day. Surely they must have spent 12 hours on a plane with a screaming infant, or maybe the said infant assaulted them in the middle of the street. Maybe Obama ruined their life and stole their dog.

I have runners on my Facebook. By the time I’ve kept up with their last half marathon, they already went all the way around the world and back. I have fitness fans who remind me every day of how lazy I am and how some day I will die miserable and alone, all because I haven’t done those 200 squats that are going to make my butt fly.

People on my Facebook complain a lot, but mostly, they consider themselves blessed. I certainly know how blessed they are because they spend a good amount of their days counting their blessings. Blessing number one, blessing number two, blessing number three. I can picture them writing down every single reason why they are so blessed. The way I see it, trips often bless them, so do kids, so does that hour of cardio or the fact they’re breathing.

I have girls on my Facebook. They take tons of pictures and they make sure we always see them. At times they wear make up, at times they don’t, but they never forget to keep their mouth closed and very tight, in any new shot.

People on my Facebook can be nice, sometimes.

 

The TV Show Paradox

6 May

The main problem with tv-shows is that you grow old while you’re watching fake people grow old themselves, in the bodies of the actors who portray them, that is.

In the boredom represented by this place and in the wonderful exhaustion of these motherly days, I’ve gone metaphorically back to those grey days when all I did was translate pieces of ancient Greek into an Italian that nobody really speaks (because the golden rule of learning how to translate from a dead language to one that is alive is to keep the shit real and to transpose everything into its literal meaning, that’s a rule that can never be applied anywhere else, both in life and in languages: end of parenthesis).

As I was saying, I went back to watching a shameful amount of tv crap, because by the time my daughter is finally taking her afternoon nap, I’m ready to turn my brain off and drool in the nothingness of a 20 minute episode of whatever I can put my eyes on (not every show is a waste of time, mind you. Scrubs opened some hidden door of perception to me, when I was young).

So I started thinking about how your skin really loses its smoothness by the time you’re done with a series. Seven, eight, nine years later you’re a different person and you’re still watching the same crap running on a screen. Then, finally, it ends. Normally, the series finale is never up to your expectations (Gilmore Girls, anyone?) so you think, “Shit, I’ve wasted eight years of my life and they couldn’t even give me closure, they couldn’t even tell me if those two actually get together.”

Sometimes you find something meaningful, like United States of Tara. You find it on Netflix when it’s already over and you discover it was actually cancelled by the third season. You still can’t stop yourself from watching it, because it’s so good. It’s so good that you have to binge on it like you did with that vanilla ice cream or that spinach pizza (and you know it, you absolutely know what happens when you eat too much ice cream or too much pizza), but you’re conscious of the fact your mouth will be dry and you will feel completely unsatisfied by the end of it. You’re never going to have an ending. You’ll be left abruptly waiting for something that will never come.

Next thing you know, you get mad. How is it possible nobody could relate to this piece of genius? People are stupid and deserve what they get, you deserve The Bachelor. There, I said it.

So all you can do is catching up with Mad Men, which is good and it’s going to end soon. Leaving a void only Tara could fulfill, if only it didn’t get cancelled, dammit.

About Time

1 Apr

Last time I checked I was a kid, seriously! I was 10 years old, walking down a cafeteria, with a full tray in my hands, when I stumbled upon some feet and ended up on my face, among general laughs and amusement. Last time I checked, I didn’t know how to drive and, when I finally learned, I ended up into a wall that seemed so much further than it actually was, every time I had seen it right in front of my house. Last time I took a look at my bedroom, there was a poster of a young Kurt Cobain above my head, with his eyes towards my future.

I don’t know what exactly happened or how these past 28 years (last time I checked I was 17, I swear!) flew by bringing me love, memories, trips, runs, tests, and a daughter.

I don’t know if I’ve actually grown older or if my mind is trying to quickly catch up with my body, because it doesn’t want to be left behind. Although, last time I checked, I was playing a record by Arcade Fire for the first time and now that record is ten years old.

I really didn’t think I would, someday, be in a room full of 20 year olds and feel slightly odd. You know precisely what I’m talking about: that kind of feeling you get when you wake up in the morning in a hotel room and it takes you a couple seconds to realize that’s not home, so you get a little lost. Eventually you shake the sleepiness off and you find yourself again, only somewhere different than usual. I never thought I would sense a generational gap, because, last time I checked, I was swimming in that gap and my mom was yelling at me, for coming back home too late.

“I guess I’d better get used to it,” I tell myself, “It is only going to get worse, after all.”

They say youth is a state of mind. If that’s true, the moment you decide to leave that state and relocate into adulthood, you lose your golden spot at your life’s show. Growing old and grey is a matter of choice, apparently. As you collect experiences and you learn lessons, all you’re doing is reinventing yourself into someone older, unless you choose not to, despite the experiences and the life lessons. You could choose to stay young, to look at things with the surprised eyes of a child, to discover new interests or new things within your old interests with the same eagerness you had when you were 17.

That’s the reason why I’m now looking for the man who defeated time and stayed young until the end of his. So, you might think you’re the one! If that’s the case, please feel free to come forward and speak your mind. Let me know how you managed to stay forever young. I have a resolution for this year and the next sixty to come: I want to plant a permanent tent at this youth gig. As memories accumulate, I want to embrace the future with open arms and I want to be perpetually excited about finding out who is playing next, on my stage.

I was recently catching up with an old friend from high school. Ironically, I think I hadn’t talked to that friend in about ten years (even though, last time I checked, we were waiting for the next metro together). I couldn’t help but laugh and look at what I am now when my old friend went, “You know, these young kids nowadays, the ones who dress like that and act like that, they’re called hipsters.” I don’t think I’ve ever been perceived as older than that.

Red Flag Review

27 Feb

While waiting to hear about my recent virtual encounter with a very surreal team of online editors, enjoy my review of the movie Red Flag. http://nextprojection.com/2013/02/27/review-red-flag-2012/

5 Anti-Heroic Tales of Self-Discovery and Growth

21 Feb

You can read my favourite 5 Anti-Heroic Tales of Self-Discovery and Growth on Canadian cinezine “Next Projection”

From Starlet to Stage Frightened Target

11 Feb

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I was one of those annoying kids that are always in first line at every school performance. Basically I needed and wanted to be the super-star in any kind of dance, recital or gym demonstration because I liked to show off my talent (or lack thereof) and how I could this, that and the other without the slightest fear of being judged. I was confident and proud of it.

From being baby Jesus (please don’t be jealous because I was the big thing at 3 years old, despite being a little girl) in the live reenactment of the nativity in pre-school, to representing an essential component of a ribbon number in a gymnastics sketch a few years later, I always managed to get the best part as well as the hate of every single classmate.

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Please notice the resemblance between me…

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…And Baby Jesus, basically switched at birth.

In fourth grade my school organized an open air show consisting of the usual dancing and singing acts. Not only was I co-hosting the event, I was also in every single back choir of every song, in a bunch of dances and, of course, I had my solo singing act. That’s when things got complicated. The reality check began the first day of reharsal. At the time I was playing the piano like crazy and I actually thought I was going to go somewhere with it. On the first day of reharsal, the band of twenty-somethings that were accompanying our singing enlightments made me understand that I was as talented a singer as Beethoven probably was at the top of his excellence: I sang like a deaf person and there was no way anybody besides a deaf person could appreciate my performance.

In a general environment of stubborness, I procedeed to go solo on stage anyway, with a wonderful ’90s haircut that looked like this

ImageAnd a great amount of stress that resulted in a nervous tic (yes, a nervous tic at 9 years old) that made me turn up my nose every 2 seconds, literally. What happened that night was recorded on a tape that is now somewhere at my parents’ house. The aforementioned tape meant the first real, horrible and traumatizing reality check of my childhood: my voice was a disaster and my nose was turning up in every sequence, maybe to sniff and capture the fragrance of the hairspray that I kept spreading around from the top of my naturally frizzy but straightened bob-cut.

That particular event, though, didn’t stop me from taking part in other wonderful activities like acting, dancing and performing with my piano whenever I could. Sure, I couldn’t sing, but there were another million things I could do to make myself look ridiculous in front of a big crowd and under the input of a handful of cynical teachers.

Then something happened: with junior high, the capability I had of showing off during any occasion I had…dissolved, less and less dancing moves were part of my daily routine and, above all, I couln’t stand the idea of anybody hearing me play the piano. By the time I reached high school, I wasn’t able to perform anymore. My hands twitched and my saliva disappeared every time someone asked me to play something.

The afternoon I found out one of my neighobors was secretely listening to me practicing, my day was ruined. I went on the balcony and the guy who lived across from us asked me to play Michael Nyman’s The Heart Asks Pleasure First, one more time. From that moment, I was never able to nail that piece, ever again, not even by my family or close friends, without making some stupid mistake that I normally didn’t do.

The reason why I actually stopped taking piano classes is not that I realized I was never going to be the next Chopin. It happened about 4 years ago, I was asked to perform some Chopin in my teacher’s living room for an afternoon tea with a bunch of strangers. Needless to say, I made a fool out of myself. Chopin turned into his grave and his name resounded on the lips of every single piano player in the world as I let my fingers slip over that F sharp and my saliva evaporated from my semi open mouth. Two weeks later I was supposed to execute that same piece again, this time in a famous musical building downtown, by an actual audience. Thank God my awkwardness helped me by making me fall on my hands in some bar three days before the humiliation. That was the last time I ever heard from my piano teacher. “I fell on my hands,” I claimed with satisfaction, “I won’t be able to play.” I added with a sigh of relief.

Customer Service Options

10 Feb

Sometimes you go out to eat and you just want to enjoy a nice dinner that will supposedely last more than 30 minutes, because you’re not at a fast-food, you’re actually at some place that claims to be a restaurant or a pub.

What usually happens when we go to have dinner out in this lovely town in the middle of rural Virginia is that waiters pressure us to leave the place even when the room is, in fact, half empty. The check always arrives (unrequired) as soon as I’m done eating my meal but I’m normally still sipping my drink. I find it irritating, especially after I’ve been interrupted at least twice while eating for no reason at all. I obviously don’t say anything to the unfortunate waiter because waiting is possibly the worst job in the world, so much so that any pop cultural reference that compares any other job (from paid sex to road-sweeping) to waiting tables always ends with the relieved exlamation of how “At least I’m not a waiter/waitress!” Having been there, I know the whole thing can be frustrating, tiring and mind consuming. Plus I don’t want the dude to spit in my food. Not to mention I’m very conscious of the differences between European and American customer service and, while the latter can be considered invasive and inappropriate by Europeans, the second can be found negligent and sloppy by Americans. To each their own.

What happened yesterday, though, was without doubt the most annoying, petulant, aggravating case of terror care that ever occurred in a restaurant.

I still had half my meal in front of me when the waitress asked us if we wanted dessert. How the heck am I supposed to know if I want dessert when I’m still finishing my french fries? Whenever we replied that no, we didn’t want any dessert, she said she was going to go on and bring us the check. Our drinks still completely full as well as half the plates.

As I was saying, we decided to go back to this place this morning, to have breakfast. “There’s no way we’re going to run into the same waitress,” we thought, “If she was working last night, she must not have the shift this morning.” We were wrong.

The situation got out of control. Not only did we get our check when the plates and the glasses were only half emptied, despite saying “Take your time,” she came back exactly 20 seconds later with a surprised face because the money was not on the bill yet.

So what should have I done? Should have I risked the spit in my food? Above all considering that 80% of the time I find some hair in it anyway? Please give me your required opinion like a check waiting to happen while you’re having brunch at the local organic restaurant on a Sunday morning.

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