Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Borghese Gardens

Above the Piazza Popolo, near where we were staying, was a huge park called the Borghese Gardens and a really cool overview area.  
Popolo with St. Peter's in background

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


At the beginning of our trip - sort of as a joke, I said to M - "Let's see ALL the Caravaggios in Rome!" There aren't that many, you see, and it's rare to see them travel.  There aren't any in Chicago (there's a lovely little one in Indianapolis, which I wrote a paper about in undergrad...) , but there's a bit over a dozen in Rome.  I think we saw all but one.  

Not 5 minutes from our Roman apartment - there were two - IN SITU - at the Santa Maria del Popolo.  The Conversion of St. Paul, which is too beautiful for words, one of my favorites, and The Martyrdom of St. Peter, which is so painful I can barely look at it.  

Imagine, you spend most of your live, walking around, NOT seeing Caravaggios very often, and then, WHAM, there are two.

Walk about 20 minutes or so to San Luigi dei Francesi, and guess what you're going to see?  BOOM.  Three more Caravaggios.  The Calling of St. Matthew (below), the Inspiration of St. Matthew, and, wait for it... the Martyrdom of St. Matthew.  
Matthew's the one saying "Who? Me?"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Coming soon!

iMovie has this fun little thing to make a trailer of your movie - It always takes me ages to make my little films (you wouldn't believe!), so here's a taste of the movie to come...

(blogger kind of crops these, so here's the link to see the full screen)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Roam if you want to

What a great time we had in Rome!  We rented an apartment just north of the Piazza Popolo, and spent the whole time in Rome, wandering from church to gelateria to museum to trattoria.  Here's a view of St. Peters - oh, that Renaissance symmetry!

One of the best parts of our trip was meeting up with my Italian sister, M, and her husband, A.  M lived with us my senior year of high school and then I went home with her to Milan for the summer after we graduated.  Unfortunately we lost track of each other, and when I tracked her down about a year ago I discovered that she'd gotten married and had three kids!  They were kind enough to make the trip down to Rome and spent about 4 days with us.  It was fantastic catching up again.  

We're all sitting in front of the Quattro Fiumi (Four Rivers) fountain, designed by Bernini.  Oh, Bernini!  Madonna, did we see some beautiful artwork.  My favorite Berninis, of course, are The Ecstasy of St. Teresa and his David.  We also saw just about every Caravaggio in Rome (might have missed one or two), which I will review for your edification in the coming days.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Red letter weekend

Before our vacation I saw a couple of great plays - I have season tickets at Steep Theatre - it's a great Chicago theatre company that's starting to blow up like crazy.  I've never seen a bad show there.  We saw the first performance of Making Noise Quietly, which was exciting.  It's a play about war and pacifism, told in 3 vignettes.  A beautiful, sparse set, with fantastic performances.  So, check this out... at the end of the first vignette, which is a scene with these two guys, and at the end of the scene... this is kind of a spoiler... one guy takes of his pants.  And I'm like, Oh, ok.  Then, get this, he takes off his underwear and I'm like, This is happening.  And then!  The other guy takes of his pants! And I'm like, HOLD ON.  Full frontal male nudity times two?  That's why you have to love Chicago theatre.  But, also, give a girl a little warning, knowhatImean?

The night I saw Making Noise Quietly, my parents came for a visit.  So, they show up really late, and in the morning, I tell them this funny story about seeing two unexpected things in the play, and we all had a laugh.  Anyway, I had got us all tickets to Metamorphoses at the Lookingglass theatre downtown.  It was absolutely stunning.  It's directed by Mary Zimmerman and it's a restaging of the show that won the Tony in 1998.  If you're in the area, I hope you make the opportunity to go see it - it was a real experience and we all absolutely loved it.  The stage is a pool of water, and... you just wouldn't believe how amazing it is.  And! Get this!  Full. Frontal. Male. Nudity.  Again!  You gotta love Chicago theatre.
We are just returned from our fabulous Rome vacation, so I'll be posting about that in the near future.  We had a great time, but I'm pretty happy to be home.  I'm pretty sure I got Stendhal Syndrome while I was there.  Good to be home with a lot of wonderful memories!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

w00t: Dead Island

So, as previous mentioned, M was playing this game called Dead Island on his PS3.  In it, you play a character who's on some kind of vacation resort island, and suddenly almost everyone turns into a zombie except for you and a bunch of other people.  So, then you gotta run around the island, killing zombies and doing stuff.  I kept asking M, "WHY did everyone become zombies?"  He claimed not to know OR care.  Unsettling.

If you like zombie stuff, you'll probably like this game.  M really enjoyed it.  I liked it OK, but I have to say, it was kind of stupid, it's like, all these zombies?  They're all wearing bikinis.  It's like the whole game is a dumb ruse just to get zombies in bathing suits for some reason.  Then there are these challenges?  So, like, someone will say, Hey, I'll give you 200 bucks if you run across the island and get my handbag or whatever and then it's like... is anyone seriously motivated by US currency in the event of a localized zombie outbreak?  I don't think so.  You'd wanna, you know, figure out how to get off the island, or discover if the virus has spread or whatever.  Nahmean?

If I were playing the game, I would just barricade myself in my hotel room, preferably a suite, hopefully with running water and a little bit of food, and wait for reinforcements.  If the cable still works, great. If not, that's why you have to choose your vacation books carefully, people.  Yeah, you want something that's engaging, but also intellectually stimulating.  Additionally, if you're in a zombie-type situation, you've really got to ask yourself: Why not just join the zombies?  I mean, if it's inevitable, why cause yourself a bunch of unnecessary stress?

Ultimately, something was wrong with M's disk and he got stuck in a wall or something.  He was quite distraught.  He had not killed all the zombies he wished to kill.  Anyway, apparently the game is very "buggy".

Rating:  Only Mildly Unbearable, IF you like zombies.  Watch out for bugs.

Monday, October 01, 2012

What's on?

So, there was some kind of marathon of this show called My Cat From Hell, and it was really awesome.  It was like Take My Dog, Please! or whatever, only for cats.  This guy with odd facial hair helps people solve their cat's problem behaviors.  I mean, dude looks like he's from Panem.* As far as I could tell, basically just playing with the cats at a designated time was the solution for everything.  Although, I did learn that if you blink your eyes real slow at a cat it means I Love You.  So, I tried blinking my eyes at Kaya for a while but she never blinked back at me.

I've also been watching Breaking Amish, which I hate, but can't stop watching.  If you like watching dummies get sloppy drunk and try to order food in Manhattan, then that is the show for you.  Why do Amish people dress like they're from the Jersey Shore when they leave the nest?  Ah, apparently that whole show is bs.  What's next? We're going to find out Honey Boo Boo's family AREN'T hillbillies?

In other news, I'm mostly better, but would you believe I still have a niggling cough.  I'm starting to think I have some 18th century disease like consumption.  Don't mind me if I just delicately cough a little blood into a hanky if I get too excited.

*Where my Hunger Games fans at?