Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Rome, by all means, Rome." (Princess Ann, Roman Holiday)

According to my page-a-day History Channel calendar, today is the 56th anniversary of the release of Roman Holiday. By this point everyone should know my love of Audrey Hepburn and my belief that she is the epitome of class and grace. (Not to mention also strong, beautiful, a great mother and friend, and a wonderful humanitarian.)

This was the second Audrey movie I ever saw, after My Fair Lady. It's almost odd that I love it so much because for all my romantic cynicism -- and I have a lot -- I generally despise movies that don't have happy endings. (Life is hard enough, when I watch a movie, I want euphoria dammit!) But I think this film, ending and all, is perfect. All you need to know is captured in the look exchanged between Ann/Audrey and Joe/Gregory in the final scene.

When I went to Rome in June 2005 I set out to re-create a few of my favorite scenes from the movie...

Eat gelato on the Spanish Steps a la Princess Ann. (Also one of my official life goals.)

Place my hand in the Bocca della Verita (the Mouth of Truth)

Find a restaurant on the water like the one where they dance, kiss, and escape from her handlers.

Have a run-in with the Polizia. (Ok, so Ann and Joe got arrested, while me and my friend, Ashley, were merely two of about a dozen people soaking our feet in a fountain when we were politely asked to leave by the cops. It's not that different.)

Going through the movie tonite, and then my pictures, I realized just how truly timeless the city is. This isn't so much surprising, seeing as how the Coliseum has been around 2,000 years, just nice in a world I feel changes too much and moves too fast. Between Audrey in 1953 and me in 2005, it's the same.

The Vatican


Trevi Fountain

Bridge of Castel Sant Angelo


Castel Sant Angelo

Ruins at the Forum

I didn't get to do everything I wanted the first go around. I tried to cut all my hair off like Ann, but the few places I tried were too much. I also didn't get to ride a Vespa, smash someone with a guitar, or find my own Joe Bradley. (Or even Joe's apartment, Via Margetta 51.) But that's alright, "Rome, by all means, Rome," will still be there.

All color photos mine.
All black and white photos taken from the Paramount Pictures film Roman Holiday. Dear Paramount: I'm just a fan, please don't sue me.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Nobody ever gets over being a Tar Heel." (Bill Currie)

On Sunday, as a roundabout stop "on the way" to the airport, Mom and I stopped in Chapel Hill. I haven't been back since November and my heart was aching for it.

First we stopped in every Carolina store on Franklin in my quest for a new hoodie and water bottle. We grabbed a few other things too, of course, though I am proud to say I did not buy another t-shirt, as I realized my UNC t-shirt collection is out of control. (And I tend to rotate my favorites and only wear about five or so regularly anyway.)

We made a pit stop at Franklin Street Pizza and Pasta for some garlic knots.

We were in the last store when it started pouring. Mom decided to drive around campus to Student Stores while I trod the puddle-laden bricks for the thousandth time. And despite the fact that I have piles of campus pictures already, I still managed to take 60 more.
Eve Carson memorial bench:

The sky cleared a bit as we went to leave. First, a quick stop at the Bell Tower, as I realized that while I have pictures of me inside it and leaning out a window at the top, I don't have a picture in front of it.

And most fittingly, as we prepared to leave campus and head for A Southern Season, a quick pass by the Dean Dome, with Carolina blue skies all around.

As we were driving away Mom said it just makes her sick to have to leave. She doesn't have to tell me. Sometimes I still miss it so much my heart aches and I can't catch my breath. What can I say? At this point it's beyond a love or obsession, it's a way of life.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"The South is the only place in the world where nothing has to be explained to me." (Woodrow Wilson)

I returned Sunday from my mini-vacation to the beach, home, and Chapel Hill. While it was a good trip it was also a bit of a wash-out as it rained practically the entire time I was there.

I arrived Wednesday afternoon, having left DC by train to Baltimore, took a plane to Charlotte, and then another plane to Wilmington. (By the time the trip was done, I went through five airports in five days in three states.)

As soon as I reached North Carolina airspace it began to rain. Which it would continue to do the three days I was at the beach, stopping Saturday at home, before picking up again Sunday in Chapel Hill. I was able to lay out for a grand total of two hours on Thursday, and even then it was overcast. It was perfectly lovely Saturday before we left though, of course.

It didn't go as planned -- no tan, no Battleship, no wild horses, but what are you going to do? I prefer things planned and scheduled to the minute and for the weather and any other forces to follow and bend to my will. It rarely happens. So instead I spent lots of time with the family, watched the first season of The Big Bang Theory, ran on the beach, commissioned the brother and nieces to make me lanyard keychains, got a pedicure with the ladies, hung out in a shark's mouth, found my second ever piece of sea glass, and finished two books.

I was also stalked by a seaman. He was in my room the first night and I have this thing about being stared at so I put him in the hall. This confounded my family of course as he had not been there previously. (Except for my mom who knows me and my neuroses too well.) For the rest of the trip he was surreptitiously placed in someone's bed, suitcase, or in this case, watching me from the blinds.

And that was the beach. On the way home we stopped at Wilber's for the greatest eastern North Carolina barbecue. And we didn't get charged for one of the side items because I was wearing a UNC shirt. Needless to say, that doesn't happen in DC.

Friday, August 21, 2009

F*** Technology

(I have no idea why I censored myself there, I clearly have no qualms with swearing seeing as how I routinely do so in front of children, churches, and old ladies.)

I have three posts in drafts that I can't finish because my personal laptop has yet another virus and the photos and notes I need to finish are on my dear, sick, Francisco.

So that means the count for this year is one real virus, one fake virus, one dropped and therefore broken external hard drive, two erasures of music on my iPod, multiple lost flash drives that have since been found...on top of last year's three cell phones and a rain-damaged digital camera...on top of college's five to six replaced hard drives, one replaced motherboard, and a replaced screen -- all on the same laptop...on top of three broken printers in five years.

And the sick part is I am an incredbily reponsible person. All of these items have a myriad of padded cases and permanent locations in my room. It all just reinforces my belief that I don't have good luck, I don't have bad luck, I just don't have any luck period.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In the South...

"In the South, the breeze blows softer than elsewhere through the pine trees, and accents fall softer on the ear. Neighbors are friendlier, and nosier, and more talkative. (By contrast with the Yankee, the Southerner never uses one word when ten or twenty will do.) The spring is prettier, the summer hotter and happier, the fall longer and sadder, the winter shorter than elsewhere on the continent. This is a different place. Our way of thinking is different, as are our ways of seeing, laughing, singing., eating, meeting and parting. Our walk is different, as the old song goes, our talk and our names. Nothing about us is quite the same as in the country to the north and west. What we carry in our memories is different, too, and that may explain everything else."

-Charles Kuralt

Leaving for the beach, home, and then Chapel Hill.

Just over the North Carolina border, Summer 2007

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Importance of Proofreading?

I got an email coupon last week for a spa. This was included in the description of their treatments:
"Each personalized facial starts with skin analysis followed by cleansing, toning, steam, and extractions using non-abrasive, seaweed-based products and applied by bolero-playing guitarists."

Yes, that is what it said. Now having had a grand total of one facial in my life, I'm certainly no expert. But I just don't know how this works. The way I see it, there are three options:

  1. It's an error in word choice. The treatment is actually applied by a professional while bolero-playing guitarists provide ambient music in the background. (Though I for one find bolero music one of the least relaxing forms of music, so that would not work for me.)
  2. It's not a mistake, and there is actually a subset of the population previously unkown to me that has the required skills and training to be both a facialist and a bolero-playing guitarist, and can do both simultaneously.
  3. They are able to offer a coupon because they pulled in some random bolero-players from the street to shrink your pores.

I honestly don't know which option I prefer but the coupon is sold out so I guess I'll never be able to find out.

(I realize I used the word bolero a lot, but I like it, it rolls off the tongue nicely.)

Sunday, August 09, 2009


(Warning: I feel like this post showcases my obsessive and over-thinking nature more than anything I've written in awhile. You've been warned.)

Today I took what I thought would be just an ordinary trip to Harris Teeter for a few items. But as I was in line to check out I spotted something distinctly Carolina blue out of the corner of my eye. My eyes zeroed in on the checkout counter one line over where, sure enough, there was a big stack of Carolina blue reusable bags. Only, it wasn't just the color of my precious Carolina, it was actually something Carolina, interlocking NC and "Turn it blue" logo in all.

For a minute I paused, thinking I was back in the Harris Teeter on 15-501 in Chapel Hill that I shopped at for four years. (That has since closed.) But no, here I was in my Capitol Hill grocery store with a stack of bags imploring shoppers to show their love for their Tar Heels - and Harris Teeter.

I've seen bags for the Nationals and Redskins, but those are local teams. And UNC love outside of NC is hardly novel - I've seen it everywhere, including London and Venice. But still, I was floored.

Could it be that after two long years of life outside of NC, my new home has finally come around and seen the greatness that is UNC? That the same store, where just two weeks ago a Duke-loving bagboy commented on my Johnny T-Shirt bag by saying he had never seen a Carolina bag in here, was now happily hocking the gear of the reigning national champions? Will they start showing all the basketball games now? Will I no longer have to explain what a Tar Heel is?

Probably not. Will I be going back to buy one of the bags despite the fact that I will be in NC in two days and in Chapel Hill in seven? But of course. UNC probably has about as much as my money from merchandise as they do from my tuition, so why stop now.

It's silly, but it made me happy for a few minutes and I strongly believe in embracing the little things in life. Especially when they involve one of my most favorite things, which in my world, is hardly little.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Party like a...

Last Thursday I saw Barack Stars, a show currently playing in DC and performed by Chicago's Second City comedy troupe. The show satirizes the current administration and other hot political topics. I was holding out since I've seen so many shows lately but I broke down, as I knew I would. (And a segment done by BBC America news last week really cemented me shelling out for the ticket before I got paid. I knew I'd done the right thing when a line from the show referred to the "BBC as the best news in the USA." It was a sign!)

I love smart political satire and you can't go wrong with features such as a:
  • Duet between Ann Coulter and a Rush Limbaugh
  • Dirty Dancing re-enactment
  • "Teeny, tiny, terrifying" chief of staff threatening to eat Sarah Palin's glasses
  • Song with the refrain of "Glenn Beck is fucking insane"
  • Skit featuring a change in military policy from "don't ask, don't tell" to "don't leave!" as a result of a desperate need for troops
And many, many more topical skits and jokes that will all (maybe) have changed by the time they come back to perform again next summer, when I am sure I will see it again.

(Note: The graphic isn't from the show, just what came up when I googled trying to find the BBC link. It made me laugh.)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Today I...

  • Ate Mexican food in a park
  • Swung on swings
  • Played on a winning tug of war team
  • Ate cupcakes
  • Balanced an egg on a spoon in a relay (our team came in second)
I wasn't fired, I wasn't partaking in some "funemployment" -- just my company's summer picnic. It was a nice afternoon.

(And then I came home and maybe because of the cupcakes and the soda and a brownie, laid in bed nauseous and out of sorts.)

Now it's just working for the weekend and then a little more working and then vacation in one week!

(Picture not related, just going through my computer files.)

Venice, June 2005

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

"With enough courage, you can do without a reputation." (Rhett Butler, GWTW)

I have started and stopped about a dozen posts in the last week. I think I have a severe combination of writer's block, lack of interesting life-itis, and lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer syndrome.

I did very little this past weekend which was very nice. Friday night I took advantage of the crappy weather and settled in to watch DVRed Gone with the Wind. The older I get the more I love this movie. I like the intricacies of the setting and the history and the characters and their motivations. Nothing should be taken at face value and it's far more complicated than it may seem. (Random, but my current favorite line is what I also would name a band if I had one. From the line Scarlett utters upon returning to Tara and discovering the Union army had used the home as a base: " Tara!" I don't know, it's just the way she says it I love.)

Saturday I hung around the apartment and read and watched TV. Sunday I went to the movies to see The Hangover. I thoroughly enjoyed it and laughed until my abs hurt. I have no tolerance for lowbrow or toilet humor, so was pleasantly surprised that it relied more on utterly ridiculous and hilarious situations. A tiger? A random baby? Mike Tyson? That's just good clean fun. (And seeing as how I will be in Vegas in a month, I may have taken notes.)

The only semi-big news of the week was that the roomie and I renewed our lease for another year. This is actually big news for me because since I left home for college seven (!) years ago, I've never stayed in one place longer than a year. (And usually, it was only about 9 or 10 months.) I believe the family was especially excited about this as they don't have to help me move! To understand why I feel such an abounding relief about this, a list I am calling All My Moves:

  • Florida - January 1984 to 1986ish?
  • Wilmington - 1986ish to 1989
  • Goldsboro (Home) - July 1989 to ?
  • Craige (CH) - August 02 to May 03
  • Home - May 03 to August 03
  • Craige (CH) - August 03 to January 04
  • Cobb (CH) - January 04 to May 04
  • *moved everything home for a week*
  • TH Apartments (CH) - May 04 to July 04
  • Home - August 04
  • McIver (CH) - August 04 to May 05
  • *moved half of stuff home and half to house*
  • *school and travel in London and Europe - May 05 to July 05*
  • 607 H'borough (CH) - July 05 to May 06
  • SH Apartments (CH) - May 06 to July 06
  • Home - August 06
  • London - September 06 to March 07
  • Home - March 07 to August 07
  • Arlington - September 07 to August 08
  • D.C. - August 08 to present
I need to remember this list the next time I start to feel antsy and restless. Sometimes all I want is to settle down and find a place to make my own home. And sometimes I just want to keep going and going. Which is what they said in Jersey Boys: "Like that bunny on tv with the battery, I just keep going and going and going. Chasing the music; trying to get home."


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