Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

My first Xmas blog goes something like this:

I'm bored. And in withdrawal. And frustrated. And lonely. And confused.

I am on the computer on a cold Christmas Eve, spending money that I don't have yet on books that contain knowledge I didn't learn in college and should have. Like drafting, interior design and film. Very expensive books. Also, spending the Eve working at Olivia Village, and NOT at home, with my dog, watching movies while waiting for Santa [who I hear DOES NOT exist]. Sigh. But I am glad I am not at home with my brother. He is irrationally violent when he is angry. And it pisses me off.

Anyway, I'm pretty excited about learning to do these things. I'm also excited about the difference in my style of drawing. It's a lot easier now. And it just flows, without being too derivitive and without being too overdone or underdeveloped. So now, I can be comfortable with expanding to the other aspects of the craft like landscape, architecture, interior design, color and all of that cool stuff. I really hate being entry-level. How the hell am I supposed to get experience? I looked around online for chapters of the IATSE and the Art Directors Guild and found that they don't really seem to be taking people under their wing to learn the craft of production design. I don't know how to do this.

I also feel like my parents don't understand what I am trying to do. I show my mom my sketches and drawings from Rome and she says to me, "so you don't do faces anymore?" WHAT THE HELL. Firstly, portraits are the EASIEST things to do; takes about five minutes to do a decent one. I just wish that the people whose opinions I want to know didn't have such a limited, overclassical view on the art world. There's more to it than portraits and paintings. I've moved passed it. I know I can do those things...and so I'm moving on to learn more.

So I can get out of here again. And become something.

And that's where I am.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Selena & Craig

OMG....SO ENGAGED. Rome is amazing. And so are these two. Congratulations. :)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

America the Beautiful

And so it is…we leave as we came, and our time was good.

But the moment Roma leaves the big picture, the problems begin to snowball. An explosion in London delays our flights, rerouting some people and just leaving some of us to wait and sleep at the terminal. Mid-escalator, my laptop bag slips from my grasp and proceeds to roll halfway down the ramp, stopped only by the violent kick of a stranger below. Does it still work? Hopefully. My luggage was lost by the airline: a roll of paintings constituting my entire semester’s worth of work, one of which I was hoping to sell to alleviate the financial burden of not having any money save for the 60 euro in my pocket when I re-enter the United States. Currency exchange was CLOSED, so I couldn’t turn euro into dollars. I am stuck in Philly with nothing but luggage and 60 EURO. My lack of a way home from Philly International Airport to State College forces me to lug around five FIVE heavy bags and all of my layers of hot clothing around the airport to someone who could lead me to the pickup spot for a reluctant stay at an expensive Days Inn miles from the airport, to where I must return in the morning to take a taxi to the Greyhound station downtown. I had forgotten, in a drunken stupor days ago about the kit kat that had melted in my front pocket and the pixy stick that had broken in my back one and decided to wear these pants in transit across the Atlantic. Genius.

Some good things. At the Days Inn, I watched MTV as I sorted through my luggage to rearrange and reassess travel damage. Luckily, before I left the airplane, I stole one of those socks/toothbrush packs to replace what I threw away in Rome before I left. So I had fresh, clean socks and minty minty breath as I slid into one of the most comfortable and satisfying sleeps I have ever experienced. And then…. an American medium-rare steak and eggs breakfast in the morning. See you all soon. Arrivederci.

PS. These snow-topped mountains are so beautiful. And I already can't stand my brother, had to say.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


So, I'm at school using the Wi-Fi for the last time from Rome. The Penn State gang (above) posed for this picture last night before we all went out to a great party and then a club. We're all ready to come home and be Americans again.

Rome has been beyond amazing. I can't possibly articulate how thankful I am that we had this opportunity and so happy to be able to say, "I lived in Rome." I was here.

Tomorrow, I go home. But today, after an awesome night at the Architecture house party and then Lost & Found, I'm ready to spend a day alone walking the city, getting ready to face these people for the last time at a great Last Supper at some Italian restaurant and possibly some good ol' Karaoke.

This is Donelisio D'Aguillo broadcasting from Rome, Italy....over and out.

Current Music: The Long Day Is Over, Norah Jones

Friday, December 02, 2005


Such is life; the part of the semeseter where you learn to build that psychological brick wall and re-evaluate the nature of your relationships has arrived. And you look back at all the pictures and words and meals and trips and ticketstubs and memories and you decide…do you want to be the kind of person that pushes people away because you are convinced you’ll never see them again…or the person that ultimately compromises themselves in order to learn to say goodbye and recognize that the time you’ve spent together was worthwhile and precious.

And you decide it’s worth the pain never to forget.

Joe is leaving town.

Kate and Brendan are going to move to Denver.

People will have graduated when I return.

We’re leaving Rome. And each other.

And this spring is the time for my generation to graduate. Class of 2006 will leave me behind.

So I am sitting here writing this entry bathed in the harsh fluorescent lights of a drawing room that overlooks the Tiber River. And there is a beautiful sunset outside. And there is great music playing in here. And the drivers are still honking their horns. And the tables have been moved around and there’s charcoal and dust everywhere, the smell of an overheated flashbulb permeates. But the room is empty save for me and Mario. And he’s there, erasing and drawing and erasing and drawing and getting lost in his world, and here I am writing this and thinking about a million things and getting lost in my own fluorescent world. And its things like that I have to say goodbye to. Again.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Give Thanks

As it echoes my first toast at our party, I would like to give thanks to my family here in Rome, thousands of miles from home, but home nonetheless; countless blessings for being in one of the most beautiful places on earth and to have found new relationships and unforgettable experiences there.

Here’s to friendships forged here and a great big shoutout to our friends and families back home. And also for the fifteen Cornish game hens and one roast chicken Craig & Smyse baked up, and Helen’s bulgogi and rice, and Will’s deserts and mashed potatoes, and Amy’s apple crisp, and Cat’s pineapple casserole and green bean casserole and artichoke dip, and Selena’s mashed potatoes, bruschetta, banana bread and pumpkin pie, and Gloria’s lasagna, and Christina’s alfredo, Alex’s rice and countless other people’s contribution to a well-deserved American thanksgiving dinner, not to mention a fully stocked bar that finished before night’s end.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Italy's Finest: Venice & Florence

Venice & Florence were heaven…

A great Saturday night. : )

2) Getting lost in Venice on a beautiful night in the labyrinth of its streets.

3) Feeding (and getting attacked by) pigeons at Piazza San Marco’s.

4) Window shopping at antiques places, glass places, mask stores and food markets.

5) The gondolas parked along the canals.

6) The blue sky and the sparkling water.

7) Not paying for a hotel room and instead pay

ing for expensive but well-worth it Italian dinners.

8) Train rides from place to place.

9) The enormity of Florence and the busyness of its streets.

10) Il Duomo.

11) Drunk in Italy. Again.

12) Coming home to ROME.

I can’t even begin to describe these experiences in this way. Pictures tell thousands more words; but I guess you can never really understand [or care about] what happened here.

Its ok.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Things & Other Things

Craig’s birthday party was amazing; Selena put together the entire shindig and it was a surprise after all. I felt really bad pretending that his birthday was no big deal, but the payoff was amazing. We were able to cramp over 30 people into Selena’s apartment, and the food was absolutely amazing.

Money is vastly becoming very short, and there’s still so much of Rome I have yet to see, not including the upcoming trip to Venice and Florence I have yet in the cards for November.

Wednesday: Goa was absolutely great; we paid 15 euros again and got bused to and from the club, with entrance and a free drink. Cat got a little*** sick and went home early, but the night went fine. It was a pretty big group, as normal, but some of the people who didn’t normally go out were out that night. The next day, Kris and I went around on an impromptu excursion to the find the catacombs, but it worked out that we did everything but. It was amazing regardless, having seen San Giovanni and the Vatican Museum shops all over again.

Thursday/Friday: The second drink & draw event at Susannah’s was just ridiculous in that within the first five minutes (without having had a single drop to drink) I manage to spill RED wine all over the front of my WHITE shirt. After that came several rounds (and bottles) of wine and beer, a ton of drawings and drunken pictionary and mad libs on the wall, and finally Jim & I crashing at their place til morning because of the lucky combination of laziness to go and drunkenness to find our way home. The morning found us at the nearest bar that would serve coffee early in the morning, still a little tipsy but still having fun failing at functional Italian and pissing off the woman at the counter nonetheless.

Saturday: Viterbo & Villa Lante were absolutely beautiful. Just amazing. Lucy the Italian teacher was not there (though we kept making jokes that we would find her) but these little towns are perfect remnants of the Italian past. Medieval structures, old churches, run down buildings and streets and a population of unassuming people tired of reconciling the slow and mundane everyday with the constant bustle of the tourism made the experience interesting and ultimately satifsfying. Great pictures from here.

Sunday: Our awesome picnic at Borghese at Piazza di Sienna was a great Roman experience; Mike joined our group as we ate food everyone brought on a surprisingly gorgeous day in the middle of the field where we proceeded to throw around a tin lid that we tried to pass for a Frisbee because we had none (it worked for aw hile) and was quickly replaced by plastic plates adhered together by chocolate paste (fashioned by Mike). We then decided to buy a soccer ball and Calcio it up with some local kids around the age of five or so. They were hilarious. The one obviously had his Sunday clothes on and kept making his mom wait while he finished up our game. It was a pretty even match seeing as how it was the Asians [and Catherine] versus the rest of the group, with two of the Italian kids each on teams. That was a great Sunday afternoon, followed by a great time back at the studio, not before witnessing some of the late Sunday inline skaters at the bridge at the park as Jim & I headed back.

Fuck. I am going to miss Rome SO MUCH. This is ridiculous. And this is home.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

All Saints

Last weekend was hilarious. We went ot Botticelli’s where Cat’s friend went and they posted up a Penn State pennant in commemoration of their FAVORITE guests. Then, after a whole ordeal with Doug and Kristi actually getting hit by a car screeching to a halt, we arrive at the club which was alright, but we Temple people decided to claim the top floor for our own, which made it a lot better. A little afterwards, a slew of Filipinos came in and I got to meet some of the people our age who actually seemed really cool and eager to meet the Americans. Then we hit up Piazza Navona, where the girls rode Mike’s bike around the cobblestone streets while I tried to make conversation and practice my Italian with a whole bunch of willing and considerate [and drunk] Italian people. In Piazza Navona. At 3 in the morning. In Rome.
Mass was great again this week. Some of the most beautiful music came from that Tagalog choir, singing both in English and Tagalog. I think my faith is very slowly being restored through the celebration of mass by the Filipini di Roma at Santa Pudenzia, my new Catholic Church while I’m here. It is absolutely gorgeous and before and after masses they congregate in the main plaza while basketball happens at the courts. The sisters were really nice, and one of the girls came onto me, but decided I was too young. Problem one: I don’t speak tagalog very well, and Italian even less. Problem two: The younger ones speak one language: Italian. That’s right. So they don’t even speak tagalog, which I can understand. So there’s a standing discrepancy in communication with the people my own age, but talking to all the adults were easy because they know English thoroughly. Anyway, the church is beautiful and the people were really nice and it is a great place to call home here. No invitations to houses for food yet though.

This Halloween was absolutely ridiculous. Dressed up as a Raphael (the turtle, not the painter) because I didn’t have purple electrical tape to be Donny…we went out to the Supper Club, a multi-room club with hot music, but it was crowded as hell. Met Joe, yet another Filipino but he wanted to hang out some time and have me meet some others in the city while I’m here. I think it is an invitation for some good old flip food too. That would be amazing. Anyway, the festivities were done up American style by our crew, but when we approached the club, we found Italians who dressed with like upscale masks but were still all about looking slick and like they belonged there.

So we were a little out of place, especially me, the ninja turtle, with my ghetto-ass electrical tape bandana thing. Whatever, it was awesome. We Halloween’d it up Roma style…

Hmmm…after having read this again, I found out that I am a TERRIBLE writer. Ciao.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Worried Again

Wow how confusing. And consuming. So I can never get to sleep at night because I have so many thoughts. I don’t do the to-do-lists anymore, which is a mistake. I don’t write down homework anymore, which is a mistake. I don’t really care anymore, which is the biggest mistake. And now, it’s beginning to bite me in the ass because its haunting me at night when I have nothing else to do but lay in the darkness and not be tired when the rest of Rome is fast asleep. That’s why I am still up writing this. And sending “damage control” emails so that I can at least keep the demons at bay until I get home.

There is so much to do still here. And time is running out. It is sad. And when I get home I have things waiting for me. Teaching. Job. Parents. Place to live. Resident Assistantship. Thesis. Second degree black belt. School. PSFA. Trips. Life.

Rome is still amazing.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

They're Back, and Now I'm Back

Holy shit. Fall break is over. Like today. ALSO! Facebook has now allowed albums to be uploaded so you can check everything out inlcuding words and pictures through my profile. Take that yahoo! Now all I have to worry about keeping updated is the facebook profile and this blog. I am happy. And facebook is getting damn good at making it so.

Anyway. I am a little tired. It is 6:02 am here in Rome. People have just begun to come home from their trips abroad, and I am getting tired of being so damn alone. We watched the Tianjin Chinese Orchestra last night and tonight we watched the Amityville Horror here and now I am sitting through the morning updating things and being unproductively productive. I know I am not making sense, but that is partly the hour and partly the amounts of white wine I have had to drink. Oh, and also i called my mommy and daddy. They are happy that I am happy and asked if a) I still have money and b) If I am eating enough. I said yes to both.

I miss my dog. And I miss KFC. And I miss the ability to drive and also the 24 hour studios. And I miss all of you. But I am going to purchase tickets to see the SHAOLIN MONKS live here in Rome on their tour; I am NOT however going to see the ROME LAZIO soccer match tomorrow. I hear its big. I need a fucking haircut. My sideburns are getting long and obnoxious. And a mullet [though socially accepted and i think actually preferred here] is resulting from my not getting a haircut in a long time and the accelerated growth of the hair on the back of my head. weird. or wierd. Not sure.

But I am happy. And not alone anymore.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Tomorrow, I am going to let Dan Brown's Angels and Demons take me on a tour of Bernini's Rome. It is going to be fun, exciting, and educational...

...but i kinda feel like a dork. Oh well. Most people will never have this opportunity.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Solo Strong

I guess I’ve gotten used to this. Break is upon us, and everyone, in a frenzy, up and left for parts unknown, leaving me alone here at the apartment, in Rome. I guess that makes me a townie in Rome.

Today though I left the apartment lazily at around 3 pm, hopefully to get to Piazza del Popolo to hang out in the few hours before mass at Santa Maria at 5 (or so I thought). I quickly found that time for the mass would be at 6:30, also having forgot that the entire thing save for the liturgy and eucharist would be in italian (the rest was in latin, which was actually the easy part). So I had more time to kill I guess. The sun quickly drifted across that late afternoon sky as I sat on the banister to the beautiful piazza, the steps to the Pincio gardens above me and the masses and hourdes of tourists and churchgoers on the cobblestones beneath. My throne rested on the one way road that coursed around the “place of the people” next to a statue that carefully guarded me and my new book, Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons. As soon as I finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I hungered for more, actually in the same genre as such, but came upon Brown easily, having stumbled into Faltrinelli’s in Piazza Venezia on my solo downtown excursion last night. I had strapped up in my thin leather coat and sneakers, digital camera and tripod and a couple of dollars and hopped the subway to Saint Peter’s Basilica at Vatican City, which apparently earlier that day, was host to the Pope’s ride on his mobile around the square packed with thousands of people for his rare public appearances. Speaking of which, I don’t feel quite so alone with all the people around every night when I walk into the business districts of the town, and I don’t feel quite so lost around here having felt that way for about a month and half now subsequently not even needing a map anymore. The city is well lit. And the people are jaunty and happy.

And so my break begins, after several long weeks of adjustment and torment and confusion about more than just the city. I am contemplating life back in the states when I get there but at the same time, how I am going to make this semester more memorable than it has already been. There are a lot of responsibilities waiting for me back at home, but especially now, sitting in these squares and not needing anything else to do but time to pass and pages to turn, I feel so free and wonderful.

P.S. I got my wings and beer where? A place none other than our very own Hard Rock CafĂ©, Rome. Expensive, but well deserved…finally. Oh yeah…and fuck Capri…no need to go to an expensive island for a beautiful beach you can find an hour’s train ride out of Rome…;)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I Am Here

Note to myself: Sperlonga...Mongolian Barbecue All-You-Can-Eat...Pimp my Vespa...Smelly Subways...Pizza...Dad's Birthday Call...Best Drawings Ever...Falling in Love on a Daily Basis...Learning how to make one dish last a Semester...Rome is the the most AMAZING place I have ever been to...Italian Bellydancer...Villa Borghese...A-Style.

The past weeks have been quite an experience. On a daily basis, even though I have to fight to open my eyes and wake up, it doesn't take much to remind myself that I am waking to a Roman morning. The sound of urban chaos and the smell of morning coffee fills my first minutes, but a stretch and falling out of bed usually does the trick. Everyday I find myself loving this city more and more, but quite oppositely I see even more challenges that i have to consider. The porters in charge of the residents for example. They don't really seem to like us. I don't know why that is.

I draw lots of things now. Everything actually. For the first time in a long time, I carry my sketchbook around and I look at things a lot differently and I see my friends every day and I find inspiration in the work I see in the studio and in the work that's been sitting around for thousands of years and I try to tell myself that I belong here and when I do that I just feel like an insect among small. I love it and even so, it makes me sad that I will have to go away eventually and not call this place home anymore. Something about being lost makes me feel so comfortable. Being lost and not knowing what to do or even not having anything to do just makes me feel free beyond any freedom I have ever felt.

Yesterday, I woke up and sunlight sifted through the shades of the windows into the room, leaving beams of light that illuminated the space in a bluish hazy glow. It was amazing. Rome is amazing.

I miss my doggy beagle puppy. And I miss my family and friends. And Denny's and KFC and American Pizza. And I love "the perks of being a wallflower." Zoller - you're right it is my kind of book. You know me too well.

Earth-Shattering Revelation #17: The World Will Never Be The Same.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Rome = Home

Yes, all roads indeed lead to Rome.

All of mine did anyway. Stupide Harrisburg bus terminal (and Philadelphia for that matter) were really shady and uncomfortable. Weird people, with weird boxes, taped twice and three times over around. In bulk. Ugh. Uncomfortable. Especially carrying two bags and dragging to suitcases. Plus flights. And a taxi. In any case, I am here now in the city of Roma, where astoundingly ancient meets obscenely contemporary in terms of fashion, cuisine, people, and architecture. The flights were of course amazing, but I am starting to see why people get bored of them. But here is where I met John Gorman and Andy Smyser, two kids on the program who are really cool and I hope to hang out with a lot this semester. The landing was amazing in Heathrow Airport, London, where we converted dollars to Pounds, and had some sandwiches (salmon and cheese for me awesome) and then leaving again so soon for Rome, Italy. I saw the British Isles approach from the air, the patchwork of the British countryside and then the English Channel. The woman who sat next to me from England to Italy was really nice and taught at Drexel, so she talked about all of the places in Europe she has gone to INCLUDING Romania! Airports make me happy. But landing in my new home made me happier. We saw the beach as we landed. Didn’t realize the water was so close to the city.

Settling in has been incredibly interesting, and even though I haven’t really yet, I am extremely excited to start classes and begin working and seeing the city. So far, our orientation activities have taken us to closeby areas of the city, we’ve seen the trionfale market, the Tiber River (Tevere) and even such places as the Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps, the Piazza Navona and our Temple Campus, where the Dean knows NO ITALIAN and has managed to retain the South Dakota accent all these years here. That pretty much gave me an idea of what I am to expect from the program, but this experience, which has already changed my life in many ways, will be as fun and rewarding as I make it. I almost forgot to mention walking into the Vatican City Square, with an amazing view of St. Peter’s Basilica and the pillars that surround the vast space. A part felt extremely Catholic at that moment; kinda wish I wasn’t such a flake about religion. And so far, I’ve managed to purchase several items with minimal Italian and lots of pointing, and the weather has been outstanding. I miss home a lot, I miss my Champs nights, and my friends, and my family and my dog, and my studio and PSU and all those things that kept me comfortable and anchored in central Pennsylvania. But here in Europe in the Residence Medaglie D’Oro on the outskirts of downtown Rome, I couldn’t feel any further from home, and I couldn’t be any happier to learn that I can actually do this. Reasons being: Pizza, Gelato, Italians, Vespas, Borghese Gardens (their version of lover’s lane), Pasta, Art. OH, and that’s right: there is a HUGE Filipino community here. Hopefully, I can get in and get fed. Soon. J

So, I am going to do as the Romans do (whatever that means). But I am still looking for a damn Wal-Mart.

Earth-Shattering Revelation: The Euro is hella more powerful than the American Dollar. It is MAD expensive over here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Time There Is

I found a two-cent euro three days in my roll of pennies I was going to deposit. That was awesome. It was an awesome sign. And so I proceded to deposit that two-cent euro in my bank account; it was more valuable than the other pennies in there anyway, so I figure it will give me good luck while I'm abroad. :) Mr. Merrill presented me with a check as a gift from the Kid's Class, and on behalf of A Mountain Wind Martial Arts last week before he left. I am sad I won't be seeing him before I leave; I am worried about who will take over the class when I am gone...and that is all I can say about that. I will really miss my class. Kate and Brendan were in town. They gave me an awesome send off lunch on Sunday which was fantastic because I really did want to see them before I left and didn't know if I could. I really wish I could say goodbye in person to my extended family, namely Dan & Becky in NY before I left though. And now, I am sitting in a pile of clothes and all this other random crap that I am contemplating on taking to Rome with me, with no luggage to put them in... and wondering if three months is really a significant amount of time. I've almost convinced myself that it's not enough time, which it isn't and I am sad about that. Actually, I'm pissed off about that. Because I don't know what kind of goodbye I'm supposed to say to people.

RA training has also begun, and I met the new kid who lives in my former room. He's cool. I approve. I miss those people though. And I also have all this stuff with PSFA to get done or at least started before I go. I hope things go well.
Speaking of which, there are a whole lot of people I will miss, but very limited amounts of time to hang out before I go because I have to spend that time with my parents at the building. Hope I get to do everything I want to do and see the people I want to see in the time that I have. I hope.

P.S. This is the new teaser poster for X-Men 3. I soiled myself when I saw this.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Something Old, Something New, Part III

Holy crap. Didn't realize how many pictures we took....The cabin had a scenic view of mud lake, a section of the Mississippi River. The Diamond Jo Casino (where I won $26.00) was my first gambling experience, but some of the others were not as lucky. I was excited to actually do the slots, but the fucking black jack tables were $5.00 minimum bets, so I said fuck that. And ultimately, I walked away a richer man. I call it wisdom. The city of Dubuque has its charm. We went downtown while we waited for the bride and groom to return, and had some ice cream on a quiet street on a calm Sunday afternoon. And holy crap was it quiet there...but there was a really cool Irish shop where they played folk music that made me wish I was Irish.

Joe posed for some pictures. He was a good sport about it. But then I had to take advantage of some of the more scenic and aesthetic features Dubuque had to offer. Inevitably, I took some pretentious landscapes in black and white.

On Monday, we went to this place called Galena. It's one of those Midwest towns where shops line the streets, people are everywhere, and it's kind of in this century but not (mostly because of all of the antique shops). It was a great day and we saw a lot of old, cool things. But what was most impressive was our trip to Vinny Vannucchi's Italian Restaurant. Best Italian food I have ever had. Ever. Ever in my whole life. Period. Oh man. Getting hungry again.

This trip was da bomb shiz. Glad I got a chance to see the American Midwest, meet new people, experience the transition from 'soda' to 'pop,' but most importantly, to be a significant part, yet again, of quite possibly the biggest milestone of these two people's lives. Thanks for everything guys.