“Exploring” New Topics

I thought of something to write earlier. Something good, something deep, something vulnerable and reflective. But then I got distracted by the awesome playlist going on at Borders and an absolutely ridiculous conversation about how I should ask the cute guy next to me what song he’d choose to do a striptease to. I didn’t ask him, by the way. I just couldn’t. I can ask y’all, though. Don’t worry. I’m not going to envision it. That’s weird. I’m just curious because everyone seems to have a different idea about what makes a good strippin’ tune. So far, answers include:

  • “Wheel in the Sky” – Journey
  • “Meet Me in the Red Room” – Amiel
  • “Cherry Pie” – Warrant
  • “Working for the Weekend” – Loverboy
  • “Let’s Get It On” – Marvin Gaye
  • “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing” – Chris Isaak (That one was Nicole Kidman’s choice in Eyes Wide Shut. I didn’t see it. I just heard her talk about it in an interview one time.)

Feel free to comment anonymously. We’ll protect everyone’s identity here. I really just think it’s interesting. Also, feel free to comment on what you think a person’s song choice says about him/her. For example, let’s say I want to break it down to “If I Had a Million Dollars” or perhaps the Captain and Tennille’s “Do That to Me One More Time” (I don’t, but just for example), what would that say about me? Would it change things if a dude wanted to get nekkid to “Cherry Pie?”

These are the things I think about, friends. It’s weird, I know. It’s a good thing y’all love me just the way I am.

Ok fine, ONE more

Y’all. Somebody just posted this on facebook, and it is cracking me up. It’s like a special holiday edition of Awkward Family Photos, which is also spectacular. I just don’t know what my favorite part is. Is it the screaming children in EVERY PICTURE? Or perhaps the lecherous, drunken and/or vacant expressions on the faces of nearly all the Santas? Or the super-creepy rubber Santa mask that one Santa is wearing? Or perhaps it is simply the little tag line, “Santas be sketchy.” I can’t pick just one thing I love. So great. Enjoy!

My New BFF

It’s funny how sometimes something (or someone) so great can be right under your nose, and you can just not ever notice it (them). I realized today whilst chatting with WhitneyJosh that I’ve had a soulmate here with me the whole time I’ve been in Italy, and I never noticed. Now, as you may know, I have lots of soulmates – old ones, young ones, male ones, female ones, even, perhaps, animal ones. But this one is a new variety I’ve never known before: a cartoon one.

Yes, friends, I’m talking about Dora the Explorer. If you don’t know, she’s a super-cool exploradora. She’s a little Costa Rican girl who lives in the jungle and goes on all kinds of adventures, and I’ve just realized how much we have in common. Behold:

  • We’re both (according to W.Josh) bilingual, and Carla agrees that we speak about the same amount of Spanish.
  • We both carry a backpack.
  • We both like to sing.
  • We both teach a second language.
  • We both relish a good adventure.
  • We both have a best friend who is a monkey wearing red boots.

Oh wait…

Where do I begin?

I don’t even know what to tell you about. I’ve been away from the internet all week because (a) we still don’t have it, and (b) I’ve felt a little icky in my tummy for the past few days. No, I don’t think it had anything to do with the entire pizza and dessert and a half I ate on Sunday (except I totally think that’s what it was). Anyhoe, I’m much better now.

I went to an Italian hospital on Monday with the wife of one of the pastors of my church here. There’s this Australian girl who was touring around Italy by herself and got hit by a motorcycle. She shattered her shoulder, and they had to put in five pins and some bone from her hip to fix it. She didn’t know anyone here, but she got in touch with an aunt in the UK who found a missionary online who is hoping to come to Italy to work with our church. The aunt emailed the missionary, who emailed the pastor, who called his wife, who recruited me to go with her downtown to the hospital to visit.

So we went. The hospital was…better than a Honduran hospital, maybe slightly better than a Hungarian one, but definitely not up to US standards. On the plus side, it didn’t have that hospital smell. On the downside, though, it smelled like cigarettes. The girl was really cool, though. She was really cheerful and optimistic and totally somebody I’d be friends with. Before she came to Napoli, she worked on an organic vegetable farm for a month on the island of Elba (where Napoleon was exiled).

I think you all know what’s coming next.

Who wants to volunteer to work on an organic vegetable farm with me?!?! You get room and board in exchange for your labor. Again, it won’t be done on this trip. I will have to come back. This trip is pretty much booked. If the weather is nice tomorrow, I’m going to go to Pompeii. Then I may go out of town next weekend, but I don’t know where. If I don’t take a weekend trip, I’ll probably try to go to Capri for the day. Or Sorrento. And whichever one I don’t do next week, I’ll do the week after that. Then I’ll be in FUNDON! And then I’ll only have like two more weeks until I start working my way home.

And I can’t say what exactly, but I may go on a wee pilgrimage while I’m in Switzerland (I have an overnight layover in Zurich) to give Freddie Mercury a t-shirt. We’ll see. If I can swing it, it’ll be the most awesome thing ever. Stay tuned.

Just a few more things…

As long as I’m still here, and since I left you hanging yesterday, here are just a few more random updates:

  1. We went on Saturday to a part of Naples called Vomero, where they have a street market with some pretty fancy stuff for super cheap, supposedly because it’s stolen. I didn’t get anything, but I really liked that part of town and will have to go back very soon.
  2. I think this weekend I’m going to go to Capri and Pompei and some other more local touristy spots. Will let you know how that goes later.
  3. The radio stations here all play about the same eight songs repeatedly. Mariah Carey’s “Obsessed” is in high rotation. We literally hear it EVERY time we’re in the car.
  4. Remember Radiohead’s song, “Creep?” Well, there’s an Italian version of it that is very popular right now. The best part about it is that it’s sort of in Italish. The singer breaks into English just long enough to cuss, and then he goes back to Italian.
  5. Another song we heard on the radio the other day was this one. I warn you, she drops a lot of F-bombs, but it’s just so darn catchy. Oh, and it was not censored at all on the radio. Great.
  6. Tracy got Guitar Hero for her Wii. I played…something…I can’t remember…on EXPERT BASS. AND GOT 100%. Look out, I’ma Call You Josh. You’re not going to know what hit you when I get back.
  7. I have a cold. It is not preferable, but I’ll live.


I was going to post all these in the comments section of the previous post, but (#1) I’m not sure you people go back and read the comments left after yours, and (#2) there were so many of them that I decided it warranted an entire post. And also (#3), I’m hoping that by commenting back to you in a post, it will encourage you to come back and comment again, thus beginning a long string of conversation and luring you back to the website daily to boost my numbers (which were pretty good the last time I checked, but which I cannot access now for some odd reason). Here we go:

Gordy, you and I both know that Jason Bourne has bigger fish to fry, and that if he were going to come after me, it wouldn’t be for fare evasion (you know what I’m talking about). Also, I saw a book in the thrift store yesterday called “The Jew in the Modern World” and thought of you. I took a picture, too, which I shall try to tag you in on facebook soon.

Andrea, I know!! I have always thought it was kind of fun to get lost and find my way back. It’s probably the greatest, simplest way to prove to yourself that you can step out of your comfort zone and figure things out. Plus, it’s a great time to just sit and ponder (when you feel like you have a lot of things to ponder). I am hoping that riding the bus will always be the cure for self-doubt, and I already have more bus adventures planned.

Josh, you are funny, and I love you. That is a great t-shirt idea. I kind of want its message to actually be in toddler Italian, though, so it would essentially say, “Me talk Italian of baby.” And maybe it could have a picture of an adult with a pacifier or a rattle. Or maybe that’s just getting into the realm of creepy. Also, expect an email soon.

Jessica, hey! I didn’t know you read Onward Hoe! How fun! Thanks for the award and for saying I’m the non-gay, female David Sedaris. That really is an incredible compliment for me. I wish you many travel adventures in the future.

Eric, I think I speak for the whole world when I say that I am not surprised by this information, but it makes my day to have received it. What kind of toll charges per person?

Raleigh, Whitney’s right. Suck it up. I’ve only been gone for two weeks, and you’ve got a lot of living to do while I’m gone, so get to it.

And Dan (from an earlier post), check the comments there. I left one for you.

Beatles Rock Band

Play it. Play it now. If you have the means and even an inkling of desire, you will not be disappointed. I am not at all ashamed to admit that I played that joker for at least three hours (probably longer) today, and I would have kept going if the other members of the band hadn’t had to go to bed so they could get up and go to their lame-o jobs tomorrow.

And speaking of lame-o jobs, I DON’T HAVE ONE!! I just have one, super-awesome job that I can do whenever and wherever I please. That’s right, I’m putting the FREEEEE in freelancing, as in BOOOOOORRRRRRNNNNN FREEEEEEEEE!!!!

In fact, I’m going to go finish an article right now. And then tomorrow, I’m going to do another one. And then I’m going to start packing for Italy! Stay tuned for exciting coverage of THAT!

On Huey Lewis and the Death of Technology

When I got in the car to go to work the other day, Huey Lewis was on the radio. I needed to make a phone call, so I turned him off, and when I turned the radio back on, everything else that was not Huey Lewis was just sad and disappointing. I’m not saying he’s my favorite singer ever of all time and that no one else even compares. Not even close. I’m just saying that when you want to hear Huey Lewis, only Huey Lewis will do. And ever since then, he’s all I’ve really wanted to hear, but ALAS!! I did not have any of him OR the News.

What I did have, however, was $10 in my iTunes account that needed to be invested, and what I got was Huey and the News’ greatest hits album. Looking just at the titles, I thought I only needed maybe six or seven songs, but then once I started sampling them, I realized that I knew and loved many more than that, and that the whole album was necessary to my collection. So it is now mine. Happy day!!

Well, at that point, I decided it’d be a good time to go ahead and update the ol’ iPod for my upcoming journey. But when I retrieved it from my bag, it wouldn’t turn on. I figured the battery was just dead, so I started charging it up. Still nothing.

Friends, that diddy is dead. But he’s also five years old, which in human years has to be like a thousand, so it makes sense. I mean the screen only has two colors for crying out loud. Let’s face it. If I’d been using it with any regularity, it probably would have died a year ago. It was just his time.

Soooooo, looks like I’ll be getting another new toy before I go!! How exciting is that? Any recommendations?

License Plate Interpretation

I don’t remember how it started, but a while back, WhitneyJosh and I started texting each other whenever we saw interesting, weird, funny or puzzling vanity plates. It’s a fun game. And come to think of it, didn’t there use to be a game show where people deciphered license plate messages? I think there was. (Attention Research Team: Get on remembering what that show was.)

Anyhoe, I saw one today that said “GROSMART,” which I assume means “Grow Smart,” although I have no idea what that’s talking about. Do we mean “Get a good education throughout your youth and childhood” or “Be wise in your gardening techniques?”

Obviously, I prefer the third alternative – Gross Mart. I want to think that somewhere in Raleigh, there is a small, independent corner market that sells things like rotten garlic, fungus-y toenail clippings, and naked posters of Nick Nolte. And I want to believe that Gross Mart’s sole advertising campaign is this one, lone vanity plate.

And I want to go there whenever I find myself in need of a sweaty, overweight redneck in a ratty, old wife-beater singing “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” while rubbing his torso seductively. Oh wait. That’s what Plenty of Fish is for.