Feb 1, 2015

read and watched #2

I have a lot to study these days, and this means that I've less time for books&co. But quantity is certainly not quality and I've read&watched some pretty interesting stuff anyway.


The corrections by Jonathan Franzen is the story of Alfred, a retired man who suffers from Parkinson, and his wife Enid, obsessed with the idea of reunite their sons and daughter for Christmas in their family house: Gary, a banker with three kids, a childish wife and depression; Chip, former professor fired because of an inappropriate relationship with a student; and Denise, a famous chef with a romantic life that doesn't fit in the American midwestern education her parents gave her. Most of all, this novel talks about the idea that we can always understand what it is not working as it should, what it is wrong, in ourselves and in the others, in order to be able to fix it, to correct it, and then live a life where everything is perfectly fine. However, it becomes soon clear that this way of acting just brings to other errors and mistakes, in an never-ending circle where we makes things wronger trying to make them better.
I've mix-feelings about The corrections. The idea is really interesting and the writing style is original, but arriving at the end of this quite long book it gets a little tiring. The story is also divided between the present and long parts in which we learn about the pass and the inner lives of the characters, and to me these "flashbacks" worked way better than the present narration.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JKR, read by Stephen Fry. I'm keeping with the re-reads of Harry Potter through the voice of Stephen Fry. As good as The Philosopher Stone. (I have to admit that sometimes my mind wonders a bit, listening to the audiobook, but knowing the series so well it is not really a problem. Do you ever listen to audiobooks?)

The Vile Village, 7th book of A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I guess that almost everyone knows this series. In case you don't, A Series of Unfortunate Events is the story of three orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, who, after loosing their parents in a fire that burnt down their home too, are initially given to the care of the terrible Count Olaf who will spend the next 12 books (at least I think, I'm only at the 7th) trying to stolen the three kids' fortune.
This is half through the series, so I'm not gonna tell much, but I liked The Vile Village a lot and it seems that from this point the story will have a different path from all the previous ones and I'm really exiting to see what's next.



Selma (2014) - directed by Ava DuVernay.
Selma is a historical film about the Selma to Montgomery marches that in 1965 set the start of the civil rights revolution in the United States. This movie is very well done, I believe that Ava DuVernay deserved an Oscar nomination as best director for it, but honestly that's one of those times where the story itself is so important that the execution will always remain just in the background. I liked that MLK jr. was portrayed as an actual human being and not as a saint above everyone else and considering everything is happening in the States right now the film becomes even more important. If I have to say one thing that I don't particularly like, is that I would have liked to see something more, a biggest arc of events maybe.

The imitation game (2014) - directed by Morten Tyldum, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley.
This is the movie adaptation of the biography of Alan Turing, the English mathematician who during the IIWW worked to crack the German enigma code and who was later persecuted because of his sexuality.
I went to the cinema to see The imitation game with a friend who is also a fellow history affectionate and we were both shocked by the fact that we had never heard of Alan Turing's story before. This is definitely something that has to be put in all history books, everyone should know what he did during the war and what happened to him after it. Please, if you haven't already, watch this film.

American Sniper (2014) - directed by Clint Eastwood, with Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller.
Can I truly say that I watched American Sniper? Maybe not, since I watched only less than half of it, but that's all I could tollerate. First of all, even if I could pretend that what the movie is about never happened and that is all a fantasy, I probably didn't like it anyway. The script just doesn't work, everything is predictable and no lines sound natural and real and please if you really have to write this story at least do it decently! Anyway, I could no ignore that this film is about a part of our contemporary history, or at least a point of view of our contemporary history, and that is has and is going to have an effect on so many people. American Sniper is based on the real Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle's missions in Iraq. Now, my problem with the movie is that I can't see anything but American imperialist propaganda. It would have been fine if it was able to show the problematic behind the figure of the "american hero", but it doesn't do that.
Have you seen it? Did you like it?

Match (2014) - directed and written by Stephen Belber, with sir Patrick Stewart.
A Juilliard professor is interviewed by a woman and his husband. She asked to talk with him for her dissertation about the history of dance, but maybe things are not what they seem...
Match is a little, very well done film, one of those that takes places almost entirely in one location and where the characters just talk, talk a lot. I like the kind. If you too, give it a try.

But I'm a cheerleader! (1992) - directed by Jamie Babbit, with Natasha Lyonne and Clea Duvall.
I don't even know how I stepped into this movie last night, but I did and I'm happy for it. But I'm a cheerleader! tells the story of Megan, who seems to be a typical american teenager: good student, cheerleader, a boyfriend. Until her parents and friends organized an intervention to make her realize that she is a lesbian and then send her to a correctional camp in order to become straight. Satirical and hilarious, this is definitely a LGBTQ+ film to watch.


In the flesh (2013-?) - I'm not particularly fond of zombies' stories, and at first this series looks like a zombies' story. But after watching this video of Claudia Boleyn I decided to give it a try. And OMG, it is very good. It's everything Claudia said and I'm so sad that there are not more episodes. BBC3 cancelled the show, but fan started several petitions to convince the channel to give the show a third season or to convince Amazon or Netflix to pick it up. If you are interested in the petitions, here the links: one two three 
The show tells the life after The Rising, when all the people who died in 2009 came back as zombies, and the Pale Wars that followed between the new re-animated corps and the livings. A medication has been invented to bring consciousness to the zombies (or Partially Deceased Sindrome sufferers, as the government calls them) so that they can be reintegrated in the society. But trying to be a member of the society is not that easy, especially when you already died once, and we see that in particular through the eyes of Kieren Walker, 18 yo when he killed himself, and his family.

Cucumber Banana Tofu (2015) - Is a brand new British tv show, or better, they are three shows connected with one another.
In Cucumber we meet Henry, a middle-age man who works for an insurance company, and his long time boyfriend Lance. Their lives are gonna be change by a disastrous Date Night...
Banana is considered "the LGBTQ+ Skins". Do you really need to know more?
And finally there is Tofu, which is a ten minutes documentary about sex, which is big character in both Cucumber and Banana.
We are at the very start of these three shows, two episodes each, so obviously I don't know how they're gonna be, but for the moment I really liked them (even if I'm not so sure about Tofu). Banana in particular, since is about young adult people. The representation is better than 99% of the rest of tv and the writing is brilliant.

Parks&Rec (2009-2015) - The last season of Parks&Rec. is here, is amazing, I am sad that there would be no more of it and that at some point I will have to say goodbye to Leslie Knope and the others, but this show always makes my day.

Shameless (2011- ) Also Shameless came back this month. I'm liking it, but I hope to see more of Ian, the third sibling of the Gallagher family, he's my favorite.

And finally, Orange is the new black (2013 - ) I already talked about OSTNB a long time ago, after the first season (here the post), I kept telling people to watch it and still do. So do it, ok? Go watch Orange is the new black!!

It's all for this read&watched. What have you read or watch recently?

Jan 25, 2015

12.019 miles

Since I spend most of my time studying (or doing some not-productive stuff) in my room, and things won't change in the near future, to cheer me up I wrote a list of all the places I hope to be able to visit some day. These are the first five, with the distances from where I am right now.

Shakespeare and Company, Paris - 1288 km (800 miles)


Even if I'm struggling with French (I'm studying it for uni completely by myself), Paris is definitely a place to visit (and my former housemate Ilaria is living there, so it would be amazing to meet her). Shakespeare and Company would be my first stop if I'd have the chance to leave for France in this moment. If you don't know, S&C is an English language bookstore situated on the rive gauche (37 rue de la Bûcherie, Paris V), but it's not your regular bookstore. And for a bookworm like me, it's sound like haven itself. It is really famous, but if you want to know more, here some links: the official site and the Wikipedia page.

And on the Rookie photoset you can read a first hand experience of working and sleeping (yes, sleeping) in S&C.


Bonus: the bookstore has also a part in the film Before Sunset, the second of a trilogy with Before Sunrise and Before Midnight. If you hadn't already, watch them asap.

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam - 1523 km (946 miles)

I read the Diary of Anne Frank for the first time when I was 8. At the time, I had not studied the IIWW, I had only vague ideas about what the holocaust was and "jew" didn't mean much, a part for the fact that Jesus was one. I didn't remember what I thought that first time, probably I cried as I do every time I re-read it, but according to the 11 yo still alive in one of my own diaries, in the years Anne became to me the symbol of all who have been persecuted and discriminated in the history for something they had no control on, for what they are. I've never been able to stand injustices and that seemed to me to worst injustice ever. I now know that I'm so lucky to have never experienced on my skin what persecution is and Anne Frank is still one of the person I remember when I'm discourage and think that I can't do much to fight against the "bad". Make the World a better place is hard work, for sure, but people are still discriminated and murdered because someone decided arbitrarily that there is something wrong in them, and I will not stand that.

Central Park, New York - 6871 km (4269 miles)

Having spent a large part of my life watching american films and tv shows, New York is definitely one of the top of this list  (along with many other us cities). And the idea of this huge park in the middle of Manhattan really fascinated me.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando - 8256 km (5130)

I've been dreaming Hogwarts and its world for almost 15 years now. Do I have to say more?

Ueno Park, Tokyo - 9663 km (6004 miles)

Ueno Park is one of the most famous parks in Japan, known in particular for the celebration of the Hanami. The Hanami comes from a Japanese tradition which consist of enjoying the beauty of flowers, usually cherry blossoms (sakura). Today thousands of people fill the parks and organize parties under the sakura at night. I watched many anime growing up and it always looked like a magical moment I'd love to live myself.


What about you? Some places you are dying to visit?

Jan 15, 2015

read and watched #1

I keep lists of books I read and films and tv shows I watch, as on my Tumblr but not only. Mostly because I read and watch so much that at some point things could become pretty confused. 
To try something new this year, I thought of keeping tracks of them also here, so that I can talk about them a bit if I feel like it, I may recommend something to you and you can recommend something to me. How does it sound?
Firstly, the books I read in this two weeks of 2015.


Annie on my mind by Nancy Garden is the story, published in 1982, of two New Yorker teenager girls whose friendship rapidly evolve in a strong and sweet young love. This book is now one of my favorites. It is considered the first YA lesbian love story and, even if it may be a little predictable today and some of the character's behavior is a little over the top, I cannot think at all the young people this book have helped in the last 30 years. And thanks Nancy Garden for that.

Please ignore Vera Diez is the second book of A.S. King I read, after Ask the Passengers. It is the story of Vera whose best friend Charlie, who she loves since they were kids, just died, after messing with her terribly. I didn't particularly like it. The plot sounded interesting to me, considering this is a YA and I was in the right mood for it, but I didn't like Vera and, more important, I didn't understand her. My advice is, if you want to read something by A.S. King, since she seems to be a terrific writer, read another one of her novels. 

In the last 15 years I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JKR 12 times, 11 in Italian and 1 in English. I felt the urge to start the series again so I decided to try with the audiobooks narrated by Stephen Fry. It was my first audiobook and I don't have words to say how much it is good. Nothing but love for Stephen Fry's voice.

The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle is, apparently, one of the most famous children's picture books. I like children's picture books more now than when I was a child but I didn't find this interesting. 

I heard a lot about Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, so I read it. And I liked it. A lot. This is the story of Aristotle, an angry and solitary teen, and Dante, a know-it-all who has is own way to look at the world around him. I am not gonna say much, only that it's good. 

The DUFF by Jody Keplinger is next ( usually I don't read so many YA one after the other). I like to read books right before their movie adaptation comes out, so when I saw the trailer of this one I decided that I had to read it. The DUFF (or Designated Ugly Fat Friend) is Bianca Piper. She thinks that she is not as pretty as her two best friends, but this doesn't seem to bother her much, not until the womanizer of the school, Wesley Rush, starts to calling her Duffy. She hates him, but in the boy's arms and on his soft lips she is gonna find the perfect escape from some family's problems. I won't pretend that it's the most original and surprise book of the century, but it's funny and made me think at the same time and I liked it more than what I expected.

I bought Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte something like 10 years ago and I had never opened it. But 2015 was the right year to finally read it. Agnes Grey is the first novel of the youngest Bronte sister, mostly based on her own experiences. The protagonist left her home to become a governess to support her family and tells us her "adventures" in the difficult lands of the life of other families. Not as thrilling as some of her sisters' works, Agnes Grey is quite a short novel that, in my opinion, who can read or not. If you don't, you won't miss anything; if you do, you will have a better understanding in what being a young not-wealthy woman could be in the XIX century.

Now, the films.

Election (1999) - Written and directed by Alexander Payne, with Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. This is the story of an ambitious high school girl who wants to be elected class president and her teacher who, in part because he despises her in part because he is afraid of being attracted by her, gets involve in the school politic. There are lots of 90s films I prefer over this.

One day I wanted to re-watch some Pixar movies, so I picked Toy Story (1995), A Bug's Life (1998) and Toy Story 2 (1999), the first three produced by the Studious. 

Big eyes (2014) - Directed by Tim Burton, with Amy Adams (who just won the Golden Globe for this role) and Christoph Waltz. Big eyes is the biographical story of Margaret Keane, a painter whose husband, Walter Keane, took credit of her works during all the '50s and '60s. I think that this is a good movie, but not an amazing one. The story is really interesting, came home from the cinema I googled everything I could find about Margaret Keane, but I aspected something more, in particular the look didn't impress me as much as I thought it would have. Anyway, Amy Adams was terrific (I love her so much) as well as Christoph Waltz. 

Unbroken (2014) - Directed by Angelina Jolie, with Jack O'Connell (Cook in Skins). Another biopic, this time about Louis Zamperini, an Olympian who fought and was captured by the Japanese during the War World II. To be honest, I didn't expect much of this. A great story, for sure, but (don't hate me please) I am not a fan of Angelina as an actress. And instead, this movie really moved me. I was afraid to see only Cook in Jack O'Connell's performance, but it didn't happen. He was really good and I can still see many scenes in front of my eyes. 

Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) - Co-written and directed by Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, with Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis. If you don't know what this film is about, I don't know were have you been in the last weeks. Anyway, just in case, let me tell you that this is the story of an actor known to be the famous face of a superman, Birdman, in the three movies of the series. Preoccupied by the fall of his career, he writes, directs and acts in the Broadway adaptation of Carver's short story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Things happen, but the story is not the point of the movie. And I don't want to tell you what it is because you have to see it by yourself. This film will remain in the history of cinema. A 10 out of 10.

Whiplash (2014) - Written and directed by Damien Chazelle, with Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. I couldn't think it was possible, but the story of a 19 years old jazz drummer pushed over his limits by his manipulative and cruel teacher touched something in my heart. The performances are terrific, the music is terrific, there are things I didn't see coming and the final... O Gosh, the last 10 minutes are one of the best last 10 minutes I will have see.

And finally, Predestination (2014) - Written and Directed by Michael and Peter Spierig, with Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook. I tried to write a short synopsis, but I failed. Wikipedia says" A time-traveling agent goes back i time in order to catch an infamous terrorist known as the Fizzle Bomver. The agent sops the bomb but is severely injured. The Fizzle Bomber escapes and the agent travels into the future, to 1992, using a Coordinate Transformer Field Kit - a time machine disguised as a violin case - with the help of an unknown person. The agent's face was burned and needs to be repaired using plastic surgery. It is revealed that the agent works for a mysterious organization known as the Temporal Bureau, that sends so-called Temporal Agents through time to prevent major crimes. The Fizzle Bomber is the only criminal to elude them thus far. After the agent heals, he is sent on a final mission before his mandatory retirement. He travels to the 1970s to work as a bartender in NYC. A male customer, whose Unmarried Mother pen name is used for writing magazine confessional testimonials, enters the bar to drink alcohol."' You may get the twist a little early as I did, but it's such an interesting movie anyway. I watched it last night and didn't stop thinking about it.

And in the end, tv shows.

I don't have anything particular to say about them at the moment, just some returned in the ones I follow: Girls (which I hate and love at the same time), Parks and Recreations, Broad City and Shameless.

I wish at you all a weekend as rad as my favorite female character of the small screen, Alicia Florrick.


Jan 8, 2015

People say words.

On Christmas grandma told me
 "That man always tells me
  - Signora, the day you met your husband
    a big dark cloud was over you.

She remembered
 "After that movie you were mad at us.
   You said
  - I don't exist only on Sunday afternoons.

The other night he told me
 "In this we are the same. They ask me
  - You haven't even studied
    How do you know all these things?

Jan 6, 2015

Fireworks are stupid.

I understand why people like fireworks so much. For real, I get it. I am a human too. But I think they are stupid.

When I was younger and my parents where still together, my mother used to work at my father’s bar. She worked there every summer and during all the Sundays and the festivities. Before I was old enough to be home alone (8 years, probably even before that), my grandma watched me. Mom came home after dinner, black pants and white shirt, and drove grandma home. She worked almost every time they did fireworks here. Cristo re in October, the 15th of August, but not on New Years Eve. When there were fireworks, after she drove grandma home, she came from the door almost running and dragged me on the balcony of her bedroom, from where we were able to see few flash of colors, already almost at the end. A couple of times we managed to go in time to the beach, from where they usually shoot them.

I hated it, the whole thing. I liked the fireworks, especially the weeping willow type. But I didn’t like my tired mother that pretended to be so excited to make me excited, not all we cannot see, not all the holidays and the Sundays I spent inside while all the others seem to be outside discovering the World, wondering if she will be home in time to watch the fireworks with me. And above all I hated that I didn’t like all this because I knew they were sacrificing so much for my brother and me.

At some point I decided that fireworks are stupid. Probably after my parents broken up and I still couldn't go to the beach and see them with my mother and I felt to have no control of my life and the adults around me behaved as I couldn't understand anything while I understood everything. And if fireworks are stupid, loosing them every fucking year is not a problem. 

Dec 31, 2014

Notes on an iPhone. Part 2

25 June 2013 04.19
So u r a photographer?
No
...

22 June 2013 08.55
Alicia Florik
Alda Merini
Anna Frank

Pop art
Crayons
Inverted colors
Cap jar

13 June 2013 21.51
Smell of wet grass. Black foot at the rhythm of the drums. No, it's not me who is dancing

2 May 2013 20.31
Your computer is single or is taken? Because mine is looking for a lover...

No comment

27 April 2013 03.35
Lucy upwind in Vienna. Underwater with real water.  

5. Aprile 2013 23.31
But how much is convinced that?

5 February 2013 10.14
In the morning is as I didn't exist, before I wash my face

3 February 2013 03.21
For curiosity: what time we need to do?

16 Aprile 2012 01.57
Alfonsi
Balducci
Bianchi
Bugossi
Capannacci
Caporossi
Compagnucci
Curiale
Di Turi
Mazzoni
Mazzocchini
Mengarelli
Mitu
Montorsi
Paolozzi
Pascucci
Principi
Rivellini
Sabbatini
Santinelli
Scuppa
Spinzanti
Zannotti
*my elementary class

17 February 2012 21.46
Run away and made yourself a mega joint

12 February 2012 21.33
<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3


25 January 2012 11.31
Three people with your same name.
As I child I wanted to be...

14 December 2011 00.20
I believed that love that is true and real creates a respite from death. All cowardice come from not loving, or not loving well, which is the same thing*
*I was probably watching Midnight in Paris

28 May 2011 10.12
Why did you arrive late? The alarm clock -.-

29 March 2011 08.41 
Alii we are in the shit with Art !!
Let' go talk to the smelly !!!*
*not written by me

22 March 2011 17.24
Today I'm in my bedroom with chiara and I am very amtistica* and I have the runs. If I give that to Chiara she would beat me and that is not good. Chiara must be respected and loved she is the best and I have to obey her. Respect to Chiara, praise to Chiara!**
*I can't understand which word she meant
**Obviously, not written by me



Dec 30, 2014

Notes on an iPhone. Part 1

Translated for you.

7 December 2014 02.33
Blah Blah Blah Blah

5 December 2014 00.44
Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf - edward
look goodreads

18 October 2014 22.19
Juventus-Sassuolo
The shadow of the players on the field, a double cross, one lighter, one darker, made by the street lights who illuminate the match as if was midday, is perfect

27 September 2014 02.23
My voice went away all of a sudden

23 January 2014 07.00
Dreams of treasure hunts.
Destroy the ring with Betta (the tunnel and other lands)

21 January 2014 02.02
It's almost two in the morning and tomorrow I'll study all day for the exam on Wednesday and I want to dance. Dance so much that my legs tremble. Who wants to dance with me?
A

15 December 2013 11.41
Talk with you when we should sleep is easier than make a plate of spaghetti with my mother's sauce, easier than spend an entire day reading, for sure easier than wake up in the morning. It's easy as watch an episode of Gilmore Girls during dinner or let's be lulled by the easy chair. I don't know why. But I like it

13 December 2013 13.30
7.12.13 Comes home with her friend at 3.30 am. Washes the dishes and talks out loud.

12.12.13 Come home around 2 am singing and slamming the doors repeatedly
13.12.13 She wakes me up when she comes home, slamming the doors, and she turns the radiator on at 2.20 in the morning. I get up to turn it off.

5 December 2013 17.51
If walking you put the bag on the suitcase?


30 November 2013 20.24
Rice noodles with shrimp
Sweet-and-sour porl
Spring rolls
Grilled ravioli
Steamered ravoli
Cantonese rice

29 November 2013 16.31
I don't believe in new year resolutions.

24 November 2013 13.53
On the Milan underground.
Three guys are playing, a guitar, an accordion. A boy in a carriage with a panda hat watches them.

13.52 Elisa runs in small steps, hands in the pockets.

17 November 2013 02.44*
I cam home after en evening with my two high school best friends and put myself under the warm of my bed blanket and I'd like to write. I have so many things to write, to fix. I love to write during the night. But y Mom would freak out, seeing me on my computer at 3 am and I hate to write on the phone (aka what I'm doing now). For a minute I consider to do it on my notebook at the light of the iPhone, as I used to read books after sleep-time (no cell phone back then but a flashlight), but it would be pretty uncomfortable. So, I'll wait tomorrow morning, hoping to not forgive too much.
(originally written in English)

25 October 2013 08.23
610 Muhammad
632 abu bakr
634 Omar
644 uthman
652 'ali
661 ma'awiya

Umayyad empire 661-750
670 conquest of Maghreb
711 conquest of Spain
712 toward Central Asia

746 Abbasid 
First century 750 850 multiethnic empire

904 buyid empire is established in Bagdad 

Seljuk epoch 1055 1258

Mamluk kingdom in Egypt and Syria 1250 1517

XIV ottoman turks

Egypt of Muhammad'Ali 1805-1848



Persia
Sassanid
Safavid 1501
Qajar 1722

13 July 2013 09.51
You know that it's summer when in faculty you come across your  microeconomics professors with his three children in swimsuits