Category Archives: Life Stories

The status of comic books (for me)

I used to go to the local newsstand in my little town at least once a week. This was when I used to buy Topolino, the weekly Disney magazine published in Italy. I visited that place every Wednesday, waiting for my copy to arrive and eager to check its content and read its stories.

One day, during my weekly visit, I found a new comic book: L’Uomo Ragno, Spider-Man. It was 1987 and Star Comics released the first issue of the new comeback for Marvel in Italy. I devoured that issue and re-read it multiple times.

It was not clear how often, and when, the next issue of L’Uomo Ragno was going to be published, and I basically kept on visiting my local newsstand almost daily to see if the second issue was out. These were visits of expectation and excitement. Every time I asked “Did you get the new issue of L’Uomo Ragno”, my heart was pounding, hoping to hear a “Yes!”.

I can’t tell you the excitement when Star Comics announced they were coming out with a new title, i Fantastici Quattro, the Italian edition of the Fantastic Four. Again, no specific release date. This made the visits to the newsstand even more fun: not only I was buying my Topolino, but I was waiting to get my copy of L’Uomo Ragno and i Fantastici Quattro.

Nowadays I would love to feel the same excitement, but comics have changed. There are way too many titles out there. Only Marvel publishes hundreds of titles every month. And every title has variants, new numberings once in a while. Let’s also not forget that you now have to go visit comic book stores (newsstand in the U.S., where I now live, are gone) and you need to pre-order your comics if you want to make sure you’ll get your copy. This is incredibly burdensome and takes away the spontaneity that I had many years ago.

I am still looking for the same emotion and excitement I used to feel, but the more I wait for it to come back, the least likely it will come back.

This makes me sad.

The sleeping cats

I live with two cats. One of them is a black female. Her name is Holly, after the main character in the superlative movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The second one is a male cat, grey/bluish, named George after the fantastic George Costanza in the TV show Seinfeld. They are siblings.

Holly and George have a strange relationship with me. I think they have a plan to drive me crazy. The main issue is that we all have a completely mixed up sleeping pattern. It’s out of sync. When they sleep, I am awake. When I sleep, they are awake. The main difference, though, is that I don’t bother them when they are sleeping, while they seem to enjoy bothering me while I am sleeping.

Here are a ​few things they like to do only when I am sleeping. George is a big fan of the kitchen cabinet. One would think that he likes to stare at the cabinet, but that’s not the case. George loves to open the cabinet, or even better he loves trying to open the cabinet. Many times, while sleeping, I hear him scratching the cabinet and then trying to open it, banging its door back and forth. He is doing this because he is searching for his treats. He might have seen me some times pulling the treats box out of a cabinet and now he thinks each and every cabinet might contain something good. He is on a hunt, opening cabinets like a kid opens the little windows on the advent calendar the days before Christmas.

Holly is not interested in cabinets. She enjoys crying out loud in the middle of the night for no reason. I think she is studying cardiology and wants to test how fast my heartbeat can go when she wakes me up with a big “meooowww”. The funny thing is that every time it’s enough for me to call her and she immediately​ stops meowing and starts walking towards the bed, happy like a baby. I still have to understand whether she is meowing because she wants to wake me up, or whether she is trying to tell me something (maybe she wants me to go to the other room).

It’s always fun to sleep half an hour a day and see what the cats will do this time. And maybe tomorrow, while they are sleeping, I’ll just try to open some random cabinets and I’ll scream for no reason. It might be that they will realize how nice I can be while they are sleeping.

Exploring the night

Holly and George

It is now 4.30am and I have been awake for at least an hour and a half. This is not something common for me. I usually wake up at around 6.00am to go to my bootcamp on the beach here in Santa Monica. Today I woke up earlier and it was not my choice. I have to thank my two new friends, Holly and George, for this early morning call.

This is the first time I mention them in my blog, therefore I need to introduce them to you, my dear reader. Holly and George are two wonderful and sweet kittens that we recently adopted. They were born in March 2012, on the 22nd day of that month, from a cute young mommy cat and a brave and energetic daddy cat. Allan, our dear friend, found their mommy cat wandering around his porch and he adopted her, realizing only later that she was pregnant.

Holly and George have three siblings. The other three kittens have been adopted by other families. We decided to adopt the maximum number of kittens our small house could contain because we wanted to give some of them the opportunity to grow together.

We picked Holly, the black little cat, because we were concerned that his color could have caused her problems. As you may know, many people think that black cats bring bad luck but so far I can tell you that Holly just brought us wonderful luck, happiness and many many great moments…if you exclude the fact that, together with her little brother, she woke me up early today. Holly is extremely sweet. She did not really trust us during the first days she came to live with us. It was always hard to pick her up and pet her. She looked at us with suspiciousness and it always seemed like she was thinking “Who are these guys, why are they so kind with us?”. After a while, she started feeling more comfortable around us and now she is the little princess of our family. Every time you look at her, she looks back and with a short but sharp “Mieeeeow” she tells you she wants you to pick her up and/or play with her.

George was an easy pick. When he was a baby cat he was the more social of the siblings. The fact that he was a puffy little grey cat with a funny face also helped us in deciding to pick him. Now that he is almost 8 months old, he is the warrior of the house, the protector of his sister and the fierce observer of anything that happens around our place. As you can see from the picture above, he always wants to be sure that nothing weird in our neighborhood is happening. We call him Mr. Roper, as he reminds us of the funny but extremely curious landlord from the popular TV Show “Three’s Company”.

We named our kittens after two actors. Well, I should say after two movie and TV show characters. Holly is named after Holly Golightly, the star of the wonderful movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. As Holly Golightly, our Holly is extremely elegant but not snobbish, sweet but also unpredictable. George is named after the almighty George Costanza, from the TV Show “Seinfeld”. We love that TV Show and the way our George is clunky and somehow lazy reminded us of the character portrayed by Jason Alexander.

Well, to go back to the inspiration for this post, our two little friends decided to explore the night today. Instead of sleeping like two cute and sweet babies, they started playing around at 3.00am. First, they decided it was time to explore new windows and they started to climb over the little basket I have close to my bed and jump over the bedroom window, right on the top of it. Of course, I understand that they were looking for emergency exits, should anything bad happen in our house. They were concerned about safety and I admire this. My only problem is that as soon as they reached the top of the window, they did not have any idea about how to come back down and they decided to just jump on my face and see if this could have been a solution. I can tell you, it’s not nice to be awaken by a 10 pounds cat jumping over your face while you sleep.

Anyway, I went back to sleep and I thought they were done for the night. Not true. They then started to run all over the place, chasing each other. Again, I know that they were in good faith. They always see me go to the bootcamp to workout and they know that practicing sports is healthy. But there should be a good time to run all over the place like they were two little horses in a race.

Well, I said to myself that after this race they would have gone to sleep. Not true. They started exploring the bottom of their litter box. From my bed, I could hear them digging and digging and digging. I wonder if they thought they would have found gold or oil by digging so deep. Or maybe they were just trying to dig a hole in the pavement and reach the apartment downstairs, where their archenemy cat of our neighbor lives. Maybe they were planning an attack and everything was part of it. First, they checked the windows to be sure that no witness was around. Then they started warming up their muscles for the attack by running all around and then they finally started the final step of the plan by digging the hole in the pavement and creating the access to their enemy.

But it seems like something did not work out as they planned, because right after the digging I started hearing one of them running under our bed and soon the other one came into our bedroom and started meowing, as if he or she was trying to call the other one. I believe that one of them had cold feet and decided to cancel the plan, while the other kitten was trying to call him or her back to action.

This was enough. After trying to sleep for almost a couple of hours since the start of this night activity, I decided it was time for me to wake up. Now while I am typing these words on my iMac, Holly and George are staring at me in a strange way. I wonder if they are thinking something along these lines: “OK, he got us but now we have to find a way to kill him and hide the body, as long as the night is still dark and nobody is around”. Well, I hope that this is not what they are thinking and I hope that nothing will happen to……..

SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM THE MODERATOR OF THIS BLOG: unfortunately the author of the blog misteriously disappeared on the night of November 16th, 2012. Nobody knows where he went, he did not leave any note. The detective interrogated the only two individuals who saw the author of the blog for the last time, his two kittens Holly and George. They said they did not see anything. They also mentioned that the author acted weird during his last night, talking to himself and keeping them awake the whole time. They say they will miss him but they are also happy, because they will finally be able to sleep.

George SleepingIn this picture, George finally sleeps after the author of this blog disappeared.


Abigail e Brittany Hensel – due super-eroine

Micidiale, non conoscevo la storia di queste due sorelle americane. Siamesi, sembra che condividano il corpo intero ma ognuna di loro ha un cuore, spina dorsale, etc. Vivono la loro vita serenamente, pensano di sposarsi e avere figli. Una controlla la parte destra del corpo, l’altra la parte sinistra.

Mi stringe il cuore a vedere questo video, perché penso a quanto siamo fortunati noi ad avere una vita normale. Allo stesso tempo le stimo da morire perché non si sono arrese e lottano per la loro normalità.
In qualche modo penso che se i fumetti che leggo fin da piccolo mi hanno insegnato qualche cosa, è proprio che non esiste anormalità e normalità ma semplicemente tante sfumature di ciò che è la vita. Se loro fossero in un fumetto, sarebbero delle super-eroine con poteri speciali. Nella vita di tutti i giorni molti magari le considerano dei mostri ma in realtà sono due persone normali, nate in modo diverso da noi.
Guardate il loro video.

Hello, Ladybug!

My Ladybug Friend

Today I had a wonderful surprise. Everything began in the morning of a strange Saturday, when clouds full of rain were filling the usually blue sky of Santa Monica, in California. Together with my wife, we went to visit the local farmer market, a beautiful place where all local farmers gather together to sell their organic and super fresh vegetables and fruits.

As usual, we bought a lot of things, delicious peaches and nutrient vegetables.
As soon as we came back home, I started cooking for lunch and I took one of the romana salad that I just purchased from the market. Instead of cutting its leaves all together with a knife, I decided to start ripping one leaf after another, given that the salad was very big and I did not want to waste any of it.
Imagine my surprise when, ripping after ripping, I suddenly found on the salad a beautiful and colorful ladybug. In Italy they say that when you find a ladybug, luck will strike you. This time, I am sure big luck should strike me because of the special way I found out my new friend, the red and white dotted ladybug. I was to thankful because I decided to rip one leaf after the other. If I would have cut the salad as usual, I would have probably killed the poor ladybug and the same thing would have happened, should I have not decided to have a delicious salad just that day: the poor ladybug would have frozen in the fridge.
After discovering her, I stepped out of my house, I gently took it and put it over one of the leaves of the tree we have at our place. Before leaving for her new adventure, she turned over, she looked at me and she whispered “thank you, my friend”. I waved my hand and I came back home.
I wonder where my new friend is and I wish her a great life 🙂

Sono importanti i soldi?

Spesso penso all’importanza dei soldi e del successo professionale. In qualche modo le due cose sono legate o comunque di solito il successo professionale porta anche i soldi e viceversa. Ma quanto sono importanti i soldi nella vita di una persona, quale è il segno che alla fine lasciano, quando il percorso giunge al termine?
Ci ho pensato oggi mentre mangiavo un pezzo di formaggio gongorzola con il pane. Il motivo di questa riflessione è presto detto. Nella mia vita sono stato discretamente fortunato, non mi è mai mancato nulla e sono riuscito a togliermi diversi sfizi. Ho avuto anche modo di entrare in contatto con alcune cose tipicamente considerate di lusso, magari anche solo per una volta o per un giorno. Che cosa è che ricordo del mio passato, che cosa è che mi fa tornare alla mente dolci ricordi? Non è sicuramente la volta che sono stato a pranzo a Villa D’Este, non è quella volta che sono andato in giro con la Porsche o quell’altra volta che ho fatto una vacanza in uno spettacolare hotel di lusso. Niente di tutto ciò, niente legato a stretto filo con i soldi.
I momenti più dolci sono stati i pranzi dalla mia Nonna Etta, a mangiare una coscia di pollo che lei aveva cucinato, insieme ad un pezzetto di formaggio zola (ecco il motivo della remembrance Proustiana). Sono le giornate passate a giocare con mia sorella a calarci un cestino di vimini dal balcone della mia nonna Tina a quello della mia nonna Etta (abitavano una sopra all’altra), le volte che ho bevuto il caffè con il latte versato da una tazzina a forma di mucca, oggetto prezioso di mia nonna Tina, sono le risate fatte con i miei amici Luca e Livio, i pomeriggi passati con Marcello a guardarci i cartoni animati, le serate divertenti con i miei zii Sergio e Maurizio a prendere in giro tutto il parentato, il cassetto dei segreti della mia cugina Laura, i discorsi sulla musica insieme alla mia Zia Franca e al mio Zio Angelo, la visita al negozio di animali insieme a mio papà (che segretamente fece fare un segno sull’orecchio del Botolo, per ricordarsi di quale fosse stato il mio cucciolo preferito), la calza della Befana piena di cose stranissime, la fumettoteca in cantina, lo zabaione fatto dalla mamma di Marco quando mi fermavo da lui a dormire, le pizze e le mozzarelline mangiate con gusto insieme a Giallo Pinky, Massi e Ste, il primo bacio, il secondo innamoramento con l’ansia di raccontarlo a mia mamma, l’ultimo dolce innamoramento che mi ha portato a fare cose che non avevo mai fatto prima, le giornate a cantare a squarciagola le canzoni di Baglioni dalla musicassetta di Ale-oo di mia mamma, le mattine che stavo a casa da scuola e andavo con mia madre dal prestinaio. La lista di cose dolci è infinita e tutte sono
completamente separate dai soldi. Se dovessi fare un conto dei soldi che servirebbero per ricostruire quei momenti (per comprare un cestino di vimini, la mucchina del latte, un pacchetto di mozzarelle, etc.) direi che non si raggiungerebbero neanche i 100 euro.
Per questo motivo, forse, ha ragione chi dice che i soldi non fanno la felicità. Ciò non significa che i soldi non aiutino ad essere felice, ma piuttosto che si può essere felici senza soldi. Anzi, la felicità è spesso completamente slegata dai soldi.
Ciò vuol dire che nella mia vita i soldi non saranno importanti? Ciò significa che non ce la metterò tutta per fare tanti soldi? No, il mio obiettivo rimane quello di fare una montagna di soldi. Si potrebbe pensare che allora tutto quanto è stato scritto sopra non abbia alcun senso. Ma in effetti un senso ce l’ha. Il motivo è semplice, così come è semplice il concetto di vita e quello di morte. Sono innamorato della vita ma sono angosciato dalla morte. Non dalla mia morte, non ne ho paura e non ci penso più di tanto. Piuttosto della morte delle persone a me care. Ciò che odio della morte non è il fatto che sia collegata ad una fine, perché sono convinto che tutto continui. Piuttosto, odio della morte il fatto che di solito sia accompagnata da un lungo periodo di sofferenza e che questa sofferenza ha bisogno di soldi, di tanti soldi, per essere più morbida. Ecco, voglio accumulare più soldi possibili, per rendere morbida la sofferenza che inevitabilmente accompagnerà le persone a me care verso la fine di questo percorso. Ed è questo che mi fa rabbia, è qui che secondo me i governi non fanno abbastanza. Perché non è giusto che chi non abbia molti soldi sia destinato ad aggiungere sofferenza a sofferenza: l’incapacità di aiutare i propri cari nel momento di sofferenza. Dovrebbe essere un diritto di tutti, ogni figlio dovrebbe avere il diritto di accompagnare su una nuvola i propri genitori, senza vederli star male, senza poter dare loro le cure che si meriterebbero. E’ inutile sperare in un cambiamento. Forse è meglio mettercela tutta affinché quel momento possa essere gestito al meglio. Se nessuno mi dà la nuvola che mi servirà per accompagnare chi dico io, allora quella nuvola me la comprerò!

Mamma che giornate

In questi giorni sto letteralmente morendo al lavoro. Sto facendo orari impossibili, passo le giornate intere a leggere atti di difficoltà elevata e arrivo la sera a casa praticamente strisciando per terra.
Domani, tanto per rendere il tutto più leggero, ho un treno alle 6.00 del mattino per andare a Venezia a fare una udienza che mi porterà via dieci minuti (sempre che la controparte non decida di fare qualche cosa di simpatico). In sostanza, sei ore di viaggio per dieci minuti di lavoro.
Per fortuna mi porterò dietro gli atti di cui sopra, per continuare a leggerli e per portarmi avanti con il lavoro cercando di evitare di dover andare in studio anche durante tutto il week end.
E tutto questo per cosa: per fare i miliardi? non direi. E allora per cosa. A dire il vero me lo sto proprio chiedendo anche io ed è il motivo per cui non sono sereno. Mi sembra di nuotare in un fondale molto denso e non vedo in questo momento alcuno spiraglio, neanche un po’ di luce.
Mi guardo intorno e vedo tanta gente che fa una vita normale ed è serena. Se ne esce alle cinque o alle sei del pomeriggio dall’ufficio e torna a casa a godersi la serata con le persone care.
Magari non guadagnerà molti soldi, magari farà un po’ fatica ad arrivare a fine mese ma ci arriverà sereno e beato.
Io se continuo così muoio a quaranta anni, il fisico prima o poi cederà, eheh.

Beh, speriamo di no…e nel frattempo continuiamo a nuotare và, che è meglio.