Archive for July, 2011

Yondemasu yo, Azazeru san

Posted in anime on July 28, 2011 by isidor

There were surprisingly quite a few good shows this year (Hanasaku Iroha, Nichijou and the second Kaiji series); Azazel san is certainly the most depravedly laugh out loud one. In loving memory of Moloch san :*

For a short while

Posted in log on July 26, 2011 by isidor

Monday, 4th of July

In a state between fear, amazement and curiosity, I sit inside the bus on the way to Favone,  a paper block in my hands. The person next to me glances at it, perhaps wondering why am I studying such things. The block contains names and their translation, names I will now not ever forget. Entonnoir, louche, seau, spatule, planche, casserole, fuet. Exquisitely functional shapes float into my mind; they are somehow poetic when the language is not yours.
Then I flip the page, looking, peut-etre, even more silly, staring at a picture of a cow cut into pieces, each with its own name, trying to remember which one is the entre-cote and which one the cote. Crevettes, echalottes, framboises. Concombre, pasteque, poireaux. I think I remember them all; so far so good. Every bit of self confidence helps. I get off the bus and look around. The place is right next to the stop. Trying not so look completely lost (and definitely failing at it) I walk along the neatly polished wood beams.

Days go by. I begin by astonishing everybody with my abysmal knife skills, then with my ignorance and finally with a sloth like slowness, a special ability that allows me to open a can of tomatoes in the same amount of time that it takes one of them to cook a rôti de boeuf and dress it all the while brunoiseing an onion with the other hand and keeping an eye on me all the while, because otherwise I’d probably lose a finger or two and smear blood all over the kitchen. Mind you, it takes an awful lot of patience to be a cook, and they were some of
the nicest people I ever met. As a matter of fact, they didn’t try to kill me when I put in the oven the fruit tartelettes instead of the tomato ones, nor when I opened the fridge  and made half a box of croquant de chevre, which we had patiently assembled the week before, fall irrietrevably on the floor, nor when I opened the same fridge the following day and and dropped the shrimps on the floor.
They even went ahead (well, after I had re-made what I had undone..) and told me how they, as beginners, had dropped not a box, but a whole fridge shelf unto another shelf, squashing the owner’s valuable cheese deposit into oblivion, to
which a stranglement attempt on the chef’s part ensued.
And that was that.
There’s more to it, but in the end, I didn’t manage. I left (well, I was thrown out.. amicably, I guess). What is to know is that attempting to learn such a job while in full season was not certainly a good idea, especially not for a slow learner like me. I will try again, that’s for sure. The others even encouraged me to study or apprentissage in France, and that was really kind. So, until next time.

(and am really sorry for bothering the staff over there.. I doubt they will be ever reading this, but I hope they’re having a good time, despite the eternal cat and mouse struggle between kitchen and service, personnel and management)

Oh, and the place? It was supposedly mid-high brow, but in the end some of the most popular dishes were: french fries, menu enfant (well, chicken) and the 25€, saucy, absolutely not fitting into your mouth in a single piece, 10 inch tall burger.
As I suspected, it’s no use hiding behind your foie gras; even if you got a porsche or two, tastier things will always be the same.

Late entry. How not to catch a ferryboat.

Posted in log on July 23, 2011 by isidor

Another unjustified blog. Just keeping track of things.

June, Friday the 17th.

Today marks my departure, the first post here, and perhaps also the most twisted morning of my life; alas, the jokes were on me and not on my part.
It all started when I tried to do something extremely simple: catching my ferryboat. Now, there were about 2 kilometers from where I was staying to my target location; wanting to be sure, I woke up 2 hours early, as that should have given me plenty of time to relax, I could even have walked it. Instead things went as follows:
I skip breakfast, cross the street and wait at the bus stop. This is were it starts, the bus is 10 minutes late. No worries there, that was accounted for, buses in Italy are always at least 10 minutes late, anything the opposite might have been a sign of the devil and an actual cause for concern.
On board, I ask the driver which stop is it, and he kindly, smilingly, cheerfully offers to notify me once we are there. I take this as a bona fide gesture, and suspect nothing of what hides behind his sunglasses, whatever they may be concealing.
I relax. There’s still plenty of time, so I stand there, at the front, looking out of the window, when suddenly, something happens, something as rare as an apparition of a strap-on dildo laden Virgin Mary. Ticket control. And while I savour the chance of witnessing such an uncommon event, I fail to notice that their mastermind interruption is so wholly intricated that it is not about catching me without a ticket (which I do have).

It takes me a little to realize, that once on board and amiably chatting with the driver, the controllers have made him forget about his precious promise. At some point he rears his head, trying to explain (to the still unknowingly me) how I can get back to where I was supposed to be an unspecified amount of time ago, by taking the same exact bus the opposite way; the faces of the other staff going all “oh, was he supposed to stop THERE?”, as if they weren’t involved in such a sinister plan; I dash off and avoid the driver’s advice (as he was probably trying, in reality, to get me involved in some cunningly conceived plan to send me to the local dumpster instead of to my soon-to-leave ferry).

Fear not, there’s still time. Avoiding buses like the plague, I proceed to ask in a few bars for the taxi telephone number. Only one of them seems to be unaware of the huge ploy that is on me, and I am able to call one. Not going to be where I am in less than 10 minutes, but that will do.
Of course, I do not have with me enough cash for a taxi ride. While I wait, I look for an ATM. Despair not! I find one right away, the post office one. One that has an automatic door in front of it. Said door only needs you to insert your card. It is, however, also one that is automatic, but only during office time, and suddenly the only rational explaination for this hits me; there must be a tiny troll inside the ATM, requiring his rest and leisure time from handing out all that money from those tiny slots, just like all other human beings. In its sleep, cradled in his metallic nest, it must be smiling at my back as I, dejected, proceed to get on the taxi and tell the driver that: I need a bancomat, and I need to get to boarding pier x, ASAP.

Now, the taxi driver seems like a good man, a man I would normally admire; a man with a lot of time for everything, who does things calmy, carefully, who is ever relaxed. Except that now (I have informed him of my present situation)  he seems not to present any tangible alteration in the speed of his actions nor of his car, lagging behind an Ape Car; is he so absolutely true to his ideals that he would respect them, even if I were to point my newly purchased knives at his throat? Or perhaps is he, once more, the next nemesis on my schedule? I find out straight afterwards. I do get to the ATM I need, I do get to the pier in time, I thank him and get off right next to where I presumably need to be.

As I reach the ticket cabin, I am gently informed that this is, perhaps you can imagine, not the right one. It simply isn’t. It’s the one on the other side, and once more I promptly rush out, running around with luggage that is certainly too big for me.
Ten minutes later, I am there. The last obstacle consists of an office on the first floor; the ferry, however, is clearly at sea level, not on the first floor. Apparently they had to make space to all the restaurants and bars and useless places (which do occupy the ground floor) trying to sell you Livorno shaped dildos or god knows what. Before I run upstairs I glimpse the elevator doors closing; from within, two faces looking at me with what I cannot ascertain being a wicked smug, but deeply suspect is.

My throat burns, the clock is still racing. 1 minute before the scheduled closure time for checking-in (of course this does include the cashier interrupting her task halfway through to answer another phone call, then mumbling something about me being “somewhat” late), my ticket is validated.

In a state of disbelief I board the ship, sit down and fall asleep.