Class trip to Tuscany

Something that everyone should get to do is those long arse bus trips to another country with their class, school band or similar group. Someone reminded me of the trips I took when I was at school, notably the one almost exactly 15 years ago.

It had been a long standing tradition at my school to do a trip the year before we’d take our finals and leave. The traditional destinations were either Avignon in France or Tuscany in northern Italy. The trip was called a field excursion where we were supposed to learn something about a foreign country: History, culture, art, that sort of stuff.

We just wanted to go on a vacation, have fun, maybe get wasted once. Or twice. Or every day. That and enjoy ourselves, celebrate, that sort of stuff.

About 50 students aged 18 to 19 and 3 teachers met up on the night of May 1st, boarded a large double-decker bus and the party started.
Sort of. Some already were drunk or had a stash of the forbidden fruit1 in their backpacks because, well, May 1st. We’d been threatened with the usual “if you seem drunk before entering the bus you stay here” but…eh.
May 1st is not only a public holiday in Germany, but – especially in our region – an occasion for local youth and young adults to go camping, bbq and drink a lot.
Anyhoo, we all were pretty excited and got hauled 600 miles through Germany, Switzerland and Northern Italy. It took us 15 hours and a few brief stops and only one student almost sent back home when the teacher found out he had a bottle of Vodka in his backpack.

I still remember how we arrived in Marina di Massa at around 11 a.m., everyone was eager to get out and groaned when our teachers announced they wanted us to stay on the bus and wait until they’d sorted things out.

About an hour later they came back. Turned out the hotel that we’d booked had been demolished.
Oh.
The new one, the replacement? Under construction. You should’ve seen our faces. Of course no other hotel had any vacancies as tourist season was in full bloom.
Our teachers told us to go out and grab some lunch and be back in 90 minutes. Which is what we did. Me and a bunch of close friends went to grab a few bruschetta. I had a budweiser.2

We drank to travel catastrophes and to hoping we wouldn’t have to turn back. No chance of that though, since our bus driver was legally obliged to rest anyway.

It took all of the afternoon and some of the night until they had us all squared away. They put most of the girls into a few spare rooms of the nearby youth hostel. The guys were put into … well, I wouldn’t want to use the word ruins, but there were some unused buildings in the YH’s backyard. They cleaned out a few floors, put mattresses and sheets down in the old beds, distributed blankets and told us to stay out of the 3rd floor. “It’s not safe!”
Some of us were really annoyed, even wanted to go home. I thought of it as a sort of adventure and minor inconvenience. I was just glad we didn’t have to go home.

It turned out to be the best thing that had ever happened to us. We were far enough from anyone so there’d be no noise complaints. We had a huge balcony in one room that hosted a party of cheap wine, beer, booze and silly games like therapy pretty much every night.
In one night we’d jumped fence and spent the night at the nearby beach, waiting for the sunrise.3. One of us fell asleep at the beach and woke up with a massive sunburn on his belly. Well, not his whole belly.

And, because we’d paid for hotel in advance, we got some additional luxury to make up for the derelict accomodation, the showers on the other side of the compound and the shock upon arrival.
Breakfast was awesome. Dinner was even better. Pasta, salads, sauces, all kinds of seafood. Free beer on our last night.


A couple of bottles of wine on each table and a nonchalant “Sure, take an extra bottle for each table when you’re done!”
They filled up the pool.
They paid all of our guided tours in Pisa, Siena, Florence and Lucca. A boat trip to Cinque Terre. A several course meal at a fancy restaurant. We had to walk the last two miles up hill because the bus was too large for the narrow turns and low hanging branches and a waiter dropped a large ravioli in my glass of water, but still.

We sang, partied, had fun.
We drank the Vodka someone of the group had bought while he wasn’t there. Bought him Tequila instead.
I especially remember that one night on the balcony, when Sara poured Vodka into paper cups and handed them out. Shouted “Cheers!” and downed it. We followed suit. About 3 ounces. Ow. How about some Sambucca? We drank that too, My throat hurt after that, so I downed two 11oz cans of Coke ((diet coke. caffeine free. vile stuff.) afterwards and belched so massively that you probably heard me, wherever you were at the time.

In short, we had the time of our lives. We partied without and with our teachers. Took group pictures. Did dumb stuff. Spent money. Sang to our teacher playing the piano rather brilliantly.

I wanna be 18 again.

Footnotes
  1. booze. []
  2. lol []
  3. yes, we were on the west coast, shut up []

Home in your dreams

This one came to me when Sara Amundson tweeted a pre-flash-fiction-reading selfie of her at home, stating that was “where the Murdercorn wig lives”.

It, quite obviously, can be sung1 to the tune of Home on the Range

Oh, give me a home where the Murdercorn roam
And the gore and the entrails, they spray
Where often is heard a bloodcurdling word
And the children cry out in dismay.


Chorus:

Hunt, hunt in your dreams
Where the gore and the entrails, they spray
Where often is heard a bloodcurdling word
And the children cry out in dismay.

The peace it was pressed from the place you get rest
It’s not likely it’ll ever return
To the dreams in your slumber where monsters now lumber
And everything to nightmares they turn.

Chorus
But don’t be afraid, someone comes to your aid
To put an end to the monsters you dream
They hunt the jabberwock all around the clock
To make sure the human race is safe.

Chorus

My brain works in mysterious ways.

What is that all about?

Well, Sara Amundson, the original Murdercorn and mother of monsters ((whom you should totally follow on twitter)) is working on publishing her Urban Fantasy trilogy Dreamer.
It’s all about monsters coming alive from nightmares. Some of those exist as flash fiction2 and some even as video readings.

You know the mother of dragons:

 

where are my dragons

But do you know the mother of monsters?

where are my monsters

Footnotes
  1. more or less []
  2. and you can totally request your own. I got one! []

No school today!

Because it has been an awful week1 I’m giving you a day off from Olli’s Saturday School.

Instead I’m providing you with this entertaining twitter conversation that probably tells you more about me than I care to admit.

Antje, Kiera: I love you guys!

 

Footnotes
  1. and because I’m too lazy to think of a lesson right now []

Let it flow!

So I tried to pump out some parody lyrics for today’s blog. First I wanted to turn “Baby got Back” into something brass related. I like big brass and I cannot lie. But I don’t even like the song.

So I decided to fall on my backup plan. Turn “Let it go” into a pee-song.1

Halfway through I realized I wouldn’t even have to change that much and stopped. So have this bit and a few gifs.

The lake glows blue in the valley right,
Not a toilet to be seen.
No room of isolation,
and it looks like I’ll be seen
The flood is pressing like this qushing spring inside
Couldn’t hold it in;
Heaven knows I’ve tried

Don’t let them in,
don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel,
don’t let them know
Well now they know

Let it flow, let it flow
Can’t hold it back anymore

Let it flow, let it flow
Go right in and slam the door
I don’t care
what they’re going to say
Let the flood stream out
The wet never bothered me anyway

See?

Footnotes

  1. Yes, I’m immature. []

I was not “sad” hearing of Leonard Nimoy’s death.

Stop. Polarizing title. Bear with me. Let me explain a little.

I’ll start by copying/paraphrasing my tweets on the subject of Leonard Nimoy’s death on Friday, May 27th 2015.

I wasn’t sad. Leonard Nimoy passed away in relative peace, after a long, creative and possibly rather awesome life. Definitely a full life. I watched a lot of Star Trek, as with many others Spock was one of my favorite characters for various reasons, from being smart to the “Vulcan Death Grip”1

But no, I’m not actually sad.
Some reasons for that might be:
– I didn’t know him personally.
– He didn’t die with having a great deal of uncompleted works. He didn’t die of a tragic accident or anything like that.

Yes, he was a great man, and the world is worse for not having him anymore.
But we do have his legacy. An awesome one of that.
I for one am glad we have it. He has all my respect for what he did.
My sincere condolences to any who actually knew him.
But sad? Eh. Not REALLY.

Which brings me to an interesting point. We’ve had, naturally, quite a few celebrity deaths in the past months, years. Even if we don’t want to think about it, they are not actually immortal.

And I get how some people are more touched by the life and work of one or the other celebrity than others. Some people are more sad about “Spock” being gone than others.

You know what? That’s totally fine! And if you need a hug because he’s gone, I’ll totally give you one. Three.

One observation irks me though. In the past, people have stated their disdain for people mourning celebrity deaths like the loss of a family member. Or claiming that it’d depreciate the death of a random person or the “proverbial starving child in Africa” or any single victim of a civil war, etc.

Some of these, especially the very vocal ones, now publicly cry rivers about the death of a celebrity they apparently think was worth more than others.

I’ll be right here, judging them.

So yeah, I am not actually sad about Leonard Nimoy’s death. That doesn’t mean I’m happy about it. Or that I don’t respect anyone elses grief about it. I do.

Hell, I’ll be on the business end of that sentiment rather sooner than later, when a celebrity dies whose books I pretty much devoured between age 16 and 25, until I caught up with his writing. I’ll probably have to take the week off when that happens.

 

Footnotes
  1. I know, I know []