Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I just discovered this wonderfully true and powerful documentary by an Italian woman which addresses how women are seen and used on Italian TV (and those of us who've had the misfortune of watching Italian TV know how disturbing it can be). The English translation is a bit sketchy but it's still very much worth watching. Please watch and tell others about it!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Inconsideration galore

I always feel so lucky to live in Rome when the International Rome Film Festival rolls around. Even though some of the films in the line-up will be in the theaters in a matter of weeks, there's something about the festival vibe that I just love.
This year I narrowed my selection to 5-6 films. I scoured the website to make sure I knew when, where, and how. I even bought some tickets online thinking I was going to be soooo ahead of the game. Not! In a normal place you'd buy tickets online and that would be it, you'd be good to go. Not here, my friends. Oh nooo, far too easy. First, you buy the tickets online (paying a surcharge of something silly like 80 cents per transaction), which was quite the task in and of itself. As with most Italian websites, it's not very user-friendly or logical. You get an email confirmation which you have to print out and THEN take it to the ticket counter at venue to pick up the actual tickets (and as I discovered, this often entails waiting in a long line). Oh, one more thing: they suggest going to the venue a few hours in advance to pick up the tickets so you don't get stuck in a line and miss your screening. So why the hell bother to buy tickets online if I end up having to go to venue early to pick up the tickets? At that point I may as well just go to the venue and buy the tickets a few hours earlier and save myself the 80 cent surcharge, no? Makes no sense to me... Things are always more complicated than they need to be in this country.

Anyway, this afternoon I had to go pick up my tickets for a late screening at Metropolitan, can we say royal pain in the ass? I get there and the ticket counters aren't open. My bad, I didn't read the fine print which said they open at 4:00PM. Luckily Via del Corso offers plenty of entertainment so I wander around and end up spending money I shouldn't have. I go back to the theater at 3:45 PM and there is already a line. I get in it and watch as a CRAZY line starts to form behind us- extending from the theater doors to the other side of the street, blocking people, bikes, and cars from passing. At one point a garbage truck was trying to pass by so people had to move aside... so being the logical person I am, I can't help but think- why don't we bend the line so we're standing on the sidewalk and not in the middle of the street? I suggest it out loud to the horde and what do you think they said? Come on, humor me, try to guess. Asshole #1 starts chuckling as if I'd just suggested he go to the bar and buy everyone in line a cup of hot cocoa. Asshole #2 says: "Who cares? The theater will open soon and we'll go in soon". Yeah, not quite... there are about 100 people in line blocking the street and I highly doubt that as soon as the theater doors open the line will magically disappear in 3 seconds. Asshole #3 (note: all middle aged Italian men) says: "Well who cares, it's a pedestrian area". And just like that, my dreamy state of "I'm-so-lucky-to-be-in-Rome" vanished and I was oozing with hate for Italians, or rather Romans. They have NO consideration for others. Since we're all blocking the street, pedestrians can't even get by, they have to push through the line, bikes are ringing their bells like crazy trying to get through, and the occasional vehicle (police, taxi, etc) has to inch forward at a snail's pace before the line breaks. Why is it so hard for them to see this and take a small step to prevent the chaotic buildup? IS it really that hard to take 5 steps to the right and get on the sidewalk, you lazy fools?
I get my ticket and peer back outside only to see an even longer line of people blocking the street and can't help but think- you're such inconsiderate assholes, no wonder why this country is stuck in a rut... you people just don't care.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Medical mysteries

I've decided to attempt to go back to the gym and the biggest hurdle so far hasn't been the physical effort but rather the bureaucratic effort! For those of you who don't know, Italian gyms require all members to present a "certificato di idoneità non-agonistica" or "certificato di buona salute/ di sana e robusta costituzione" (I'm still not sure what the difference is) which basically assures them that you won't croak while on the treadmill.
The gym manager told me the "certificato di idoneità non-agonistica" would cost 40 euro but the "certificato di buona salute/ di sana e robusta costituzione" would be free and would suffice. So I went to my public doctor (after going there two times only to find the office closed because he changed visiting hours again) and asked for this certificate. He filled out the form, stamped it (oh how Italians love their stamps), and asked for 20 euros. No EKG, no listening to my heart/lungs, no measuring of blood pressure, nothing. I gave him a 20 euro bill which he stuffed into his pocket. I'm perplexed 1) Wasn't it supposed to be free? This is public health care afterall. I asked and he said no. 2) Did my public doctor just evade taxes? I didn't ask but seeing as I got no receipt and there's no record of this transaction, I think it's safe to say my doctor got paid under the table.
Since I'm a total freakshow, I called the ASL hotline when I got home to try and find out what the deal is with these certificates. I called 3 times and got 3 different answers. First time: the certificates should be entirely free unless I'm training as a professional athlete (which I'm not). Second time: the certificate costs 20 euros. Third time: the certificate costs 40 euros.
So either I got a discount, I paid the right amount, or I got shafted... guess I'll never know!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Trenino from hell

It's been a while since I last spewed shit about Roman public transportation... NOT because I haven't had any unpleasant experiences recently but because it's a given it'll suck. But today, Roman public transportation outdid itself:

I'm at the Trastevere train station at 9:29, nice and early for my 9:39 train to Tiburtina. 9:45 rolls around and no sign of the train. At 9:45 the loudspeaker announces that the 9:39 train has been cancelled. The next train will be at 9:54. Okay, I'm annoyed but I'm used to at least one train being cancelled during my occasional morning commute. 10:00 rolls around and there's no train in sight. The loudspeaker announces the 9:54 train has been cancelled and the next train will be at 10:09. Okay, I'm getting very frustrated, as are all the other commuters who are mumbling and cursing on the platform. 10:15 rolls around and not one fucking train has passed by. They announce that the 10:09 train will be 15 minutes late- making it a 10:24 train. Funny thing is (well, not actually funny, more like annoying), the train schedule lists a 10:24 train so why didn't they just say they cancelled the 10:09 train as well?!
So my friends, the "commuter" train to Tiburtina passed by at 9:24 and then at 10:24... the three other trains in between were cancelled. How the hell is that possible?! Needless to say, everyone was livid, the train was packed, and we all began our workday in a bad mood.