Monday, March 28, 2011

Visual and Audio Entertainment Transmitted via Radio Waves

THAT was painful!  ...but I got our trip video uploaded!  Now you can join Justin and me as we journey through London, Rome, and Venice!  It's really not the most exciting video.  I love editing... but I am a terrible camera person.  Be prepared to look through the eyes of a hyper-active, easily distracted, slightly uncoordinated crazy face.

All right-y then, let's see if I can post the 5 part series in this here blog:

RATS!  Only Part 1 would upload... and it looks like the quality is worse... Way to fail, Blogger.  Well, here are the YouTube links:

That should do it.

There is a patron at the library-- an older man with a bit of a scowl and a natural inclination to randomly use offensive language and racial slurs-- who LOVES to talk to the librarians.  If we weren't careful, he would tell us war stories all day.  However, up until today, he had never warmed up to me.  I guess he thinks I am too young and blond to know anything about the Korean War and other military/political stuff... he is right.

The past 2 weeks, I've been the only librarian he recognizes at the front desk when he comes in.. we've been having a lot of subs.... I guess today he finally got desperate enough to tell me a story:

"Did you know that W.E.B. Griffin is a pseudonym for William Edmund Butterworth?  I just realized that.  Do you know why I like his books so much?"

"Why is that?"  Oh man, oh man!  I'm about to hear my first McCann story!

"He is very thorough, and he writes about experiences that I am familiar with because I was there.  One of his characters is General MacArthur.  Do you recognize that name?"

"No, sir."

"Well, you are probably too young.  I knew him.  I wasn't close friends with him or anything, he was a rising star and I was a meager Second Lieutenant, but I knew him.  Emperor Douglas we would call him.  Did you know that when he and Truman flew into Japan to meet each other, General MacArthur did not get off his plane to go see Truman... he waited for Truman to get off his plane first.  Smart man."

His stories are very interesting!  I am not big on US history (at all), but it is still fun to hear about his experiences... I just get nervous when he starts in on the racial slurs.... :-/

Also, that picture of Douglas MacArthur looks like Bruce Willis to me.


Tranquility.  I dunno.  That's just what Patrick and I are listening to on channel 884 of DIRECTV right now.  Patrick says if I blog about it then you will all fall asleep.  Brayden is trying to dance to it.  It's not really good dance music.

I sent a text message while I was at work this morning.  GASP!  That is totally frowned upon... making me a rebellious dare-devil... who needed to apologize for something reeeeally bad.  

Dead Man Walking- The Script

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chenoweth's Wicked Voice... and Spock the Ice-Cruncher

Kristin Chenoweth is a very unique actress.  When I saw Wicked for the first time-- waaay back in high school with maw pal, Shantia Bowers-- I bought the soundtrack and she has been singing to me as the voice of Glinda ever since.  We obviously didn't see the original cast with Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel...


...but I did get autographs from Victoria Matlock and Christina DeCicco after the show!!

Christina DeCicco wasn't actually blond! I was very surprised!

In London, I think Justin and I saw Rachel Tucker and Louise Dearman, but I'm not exactly sure.  If so, I thought Rachel was pretty darn good, and Louise made me laugh histarically.  (I mouthed the words to the songs the whole time... yeah, don't bring me to a musical I know if that annoys you).

Anyway, I recognized Chenoweth's voice when I saw her in Bewitched (the movie starring Nicole Kidman based on my absolute favorite childhood TV show).  That's when I first made the connection.. voice to actress.

She has a very memorable, bubbly voice.

Then she made a few appearances on Glee and I excitedly told JJ.. THAT'S GLINDA!  THAT'S GLINDA!!

Of course, I meant GA-linda... with a GUH!

DANG.. that link stopped working I think.  You'll have to settle for no video.  I wish you coulse see how powerful she looks when she sings this!!
Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

A few days ago, I checked out her album Let Yourself Go from the library.  So far, track 2 is my fav- If You Hadn't But You Did  from the musical Two On the Aisle:

Kristin Chenoweth is sooo incredibly talented, as a singer and an actress.  She is hilarious.

And if you haven't seen Wicked, I DEFINITELY recommend it!!  Here is one of the scenes that cracks me up the most, in which Galinda decides to "make Elephaba her new project,"

My favorite song is For Good!

My dad and JJ were watching Star Trek: Undiscovered County earlier today.  I happened to look up as the crew was sitting around a table enjoying Romulan Ale:

Spock, will you PLEASE stop crunching your ice?

...which looks a lot like the Pi-tini recipe Jay gave me once.  I looked closely in Spock's glass for Pi-shaped ice, but I think it already melted... or maybe he crunched it.

Welllll, I've been waiting to post this until AFTER I upload our trip video, that way I could share it... but I had to split the video up into 5 parts and now uploading each one is gonna take a while... SO I will make a separate blog for that darn video when it is up!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hair done, hair done.

Our music video parody of Rebecca Black's abomination to music lovers everywhere is COMPLETE :D 

It took two partial days (that my mom teased, "Could've have been used to find a job... or weed my garden..."), a late night, and a lot of stylish, 'tangled' hair :D
Partial Day 1 was used to record the song... because yes, I AM lip-syncing in the video.  Shocking!  

I used an iPhone app called "I Am T-Pain" to get that nice auto-tuned sound :0)  

I heard about the app while watching episode after episode of Auto-Tune the News... and it's the baddest flippen free auto-tune app I've eva seen.  Although, I haven't done an extensive search for such a thing.

Some features that I find helpful/entertaining: the mic records up to 5 minutes (which is more than most free services allow... and is at least enough time to get a normal length song recorded), changing the key to match the song you are singing is extremely simple, you can turn off the auto-tune capability if you'd rather record your voice straight up, you can share your songs quickly with friends, and you can listen to songs streaming live from around the world... like the one I am listening to now called Test Run Part 1(oh this should be good):

*piano trumpet synth beat... killer drums*

You know what it is 
Homie, yeah
I'm on dis side you on dat side
something that I wasn't a fast enough type to share
I am not gangsta
I don't try to be
My skin color don't define my songs and trick
And I will always trust 100 dollar bills
I'ma end this
But this is not the end
We see 
Who be laughin'
In the f****** end.

Okay... so, maybe the live streaming is not the best quality music (right up there with Friday!), but you can see how it could be entertaining.  And the app does tend to bring out the unnecessary cuss words in people. ;)

The annoying thing about this app: besides the unfortunate, aspiring rap stars and their clamorous manner of singing... is that, although you can share your creations immediately, you cannot easily download your music to edit and/or use inside a bigger project.  In order to download the clip you have to have QuickTime 7 Pro.  WAH WAAAH. 

So how did I get my auto-tuned self into audacity (free audio editor & recorder)?  Cleverness.  ...and another app that I absolutely LOVE called RecordStudio.

I eventually purchased the PRO version.. but there is a free trial out der too.  This app is seriously amazing, and a must have if you've got ideas for songs but no money for recording equipment!!  The quality of the recording you get is unbelievably clean.  

GET THIS... I played my auto-tuned sound clip (only playable online) through the speakers on my laptop and recorded it with RecordStudio.  It amazes me every time how clear the tracks turn out.  There is essentially NO sound pollution!  

And unlike the T-Pain in the butt app... you can download 4 tracks at a time AND retrieve them completely by typing a given web address into your browser and clicking on the tracks you would like to download. 

Anyway, so that's a bit of the recording process for ya, and then...

Partial Day 2 was dedicated to filming.  We didn't start until around 5pm--because the Flynn's, Chelsey, Justin, and I spent the day break-dancing, finding matching Easter dresses (just Chelsey and me... Justin and Riley couldn't agree on a dress they both liked), and posing as mannequins in the mall-- so we were losing daylight fast.  

We started with the trip to McDonald's.  We made things a bit awkward at McD's when we asked the lady taking our order if she would say "It's going to be a 3 minute wait on those nuggets?"  after we finished ordering (FRESH NUGGETS, FRESH NUGGETS.. YEAH!).  We thought she was gonna be cool about it as we pulled around to pay and she laughed, "Do I even wanna know?" 

We all giggled too and I replied, "Well we are making a spoof of a song called Friday.. have you heard of it?"

And then she closed the window in our face and avoided any further eye contact.

Maybe Rebecca Black is her sister?

Then we filmed the bus stop scene.  It was windy.  And trying to play the song (for timing) on one phone while pretending to be called on another by a third phone while remembering to move my lips was hard to coordinate... but we got it in a few takes.  I started hiding the 'music phone' in a handy little pouch formed by my boobs and the upper region of my dress.  LOVIN' OUR EASTER DRESSES!    

Also challenging: trying to take your hair down and wave it around while riding a scooter, filming in the same room as a sleeping baby, getting curlers to stay in your hair when you are in a hurry, moving rapidly in small spaces without injuring yourself, and reading Green Eggs and Ham.  

And let me just mention that Riley was our amazing cameraman through the entire video!!  Nice work, Riles!    

That brings us to the final step... AND MY FAVORITE STEP OF ALL:

(LATE NIGHT) EDITING.  I love putting all the pieces back together and lining things up!  Of course, once I start editing... there is usually no stopping me until it is done.  I'd say it was 4am before I went to bed.  hehe

The end.

As for today... here are the highlights (because JJ is waiting on me to watch Gladiator):
  1. A gasoline smell from the ladies room that filled the library during the morning hours.
  2. Cigarette fumes from the little boys' room that filled the library during the afternoon hours.
  3. Soup Lunch with JJ!
  4. I made one of our grumpiest patrons smile... and then his grumpy wife accused me of "Making him all happy and smiley... he's never that way with me."  Ummm... AWKWARD.
  5. My dad got a PA system(for his company)!!  Ciara and I tested it out :D 
  6. And finally... odd, border-line creepy, flirtatious WwF opponents that I DON'T KNOW.

Monday, March 21, 2011


To understand and appreciate the following parody, you must suffer through THIS:
I am sorry.

Now, I realize (when it comes to embarrassingly humorous... terrible, terrible bad) that this "song" stands on its now.  No changes needed.  But I couldn't resist the temptation to make a new and improved version (which hopefully, Chelsey Greenhaw and I shall make into a video soon!!!).  So, here it is, ladies and gentlemen:


'Green Eggs and Ham' 
This book is getting boring
Man I really wish
I learned how to read

Gotta give up 
Gotta go pooh-pooh
Grab my brush
Pretend it's a micro-

Phone is ringin' loud
Everybody's Russian
Gotta get down to the 

Gonna hug this sign.

Answer the ph-oh-ne.

"Hey, girl!  How's your mornin'?
"I know, like, it's super boring!"

Can you come to MY house?
My hair needs a maaaake...

Hair done, hair done
Gotta get dos and tight buns
Everybody's gonna get rid of their split ends, split ends.
Hair done, hair done
Lettin' down our tight buns
Everybody's gonna cut their split ends, split ends.

Straightenin', straightenin'.. YEAH!
Braidin' it, braidin' it.. YEAH!
Fun. Fun. Fun. Fun.
Saying goodbye to my split ends.

Pull out your combs
And plug in your flat irons
Turned it so hot
That I got a burn.

Fun Fun
Think about fun
You know what it is.

I got this 
You got this
A tub is to my right
I got this 
You got this
Now. you. know. it.

Curlers on my Mom's head.
Curlers on my friend's head.
Gotta use some time up...
Which seat can I take?

Hair done, hair done
Gotta get dos and tight buns
Everybody's gotta wait at least thirty minutes.
Drive-thru, drive-thru
Going through the drive-thru
Everybody's gonna share their chicken nuggets.

("That'll be a 3 minute wait on the nuggets....")
OMG, like, FRESH NUGGETS!!!!!!

Fresh nuggets, fresh nuggets.. YEAH!
Fresh nuggets, fresh nuggets.. YEAH!
Fun. Fun. Fun. Fun.
Looking foward to our hair dos.

Yesterday was Thursday.  Thursday.
I think today is Friday.
We. We. We so excited.
We so excited.
We knew what day comes after Thursday!

Tomorrow is Saturday.
And Sunday comes afterwards.
I don't want my hair to ever mess up.

"P" "R"
Rehearsin' in the front seat (In the front seat)
Body in the back seat (In the back seat)
I'm driving, steering (Yeah yeah)
Visor shade, wiper blades
Whoops, I didn't mean to turn those on
(C'mon) Going through this light because it's green
That means that I get to go
Check my speed, it's fine, I'm going thirty
We gonna drive the speed limit, c'mon, c'mon y'all

Hair done, hair done
Gotta get dos and tight buns
Everybody's gonna get rid of their split ends, split ends.
Hair done, hair done
Lettin' down our tight buns
Everybody's gonna cut their split ends, split ends.

Parting it, Parting it.. YEAH!
Parting it, Parting it.. YEAH!
Fun. Fun. Fun. Fun.
Saying goodbye to my split ends.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sweet Clovers & Miss Daisy's

After ten exciting days of exploring foreign lands, I'd say Justin and I were nice & ready to come home!  Ready...all except for the part where- it took 24 hours with a tummy-ache, we had 10 days worth of LAUNDRY to do, and we realized how much money we spent :-O *sucker punch*  
  • Being able to spend time with family and friends again!
  • Creamy Enchiladas. (tres muchachos son muy feliz) 
  • My kindly birthday presents!!
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Sucker Fish, Blue Fish! 
  • Finally plucking my massive eyebrows.  They wuz bad.
  • The ability to guzzle soda like 5,001 guppies.
  • HEY guess what... McDonald's is half-price :)
pretty APRON!

Big Kahuna
Pinky and the Brain

 Taking pictures of fish is a challenge.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN SO HAPPY, that you could just run for miles?
Teehee.  That is how I felt the day before St. Paddy's Day when my friend surprised me with some sweeeeet clovers.  I can't thank him for them because of some cruel old wives' tale that says they will die... but I think it is legal to keep mentioning how they made my day.  And how they make me smile every time I see them. :0)

And I did run four miles.  Like a CRAZY face. I regret it now.  2 days later...and my legs hurt so bad.  I have to hobble.  HOBBLE!  lol  
Lá Fhéile Pádraig
Artist: Brandon Bond

Artist: Brandon Bond


Now for my Peanut.

Dearest Miss Daisy's Peanut,

Hey little girl.  Remember the first time we met?  :)  I was pretty young when Mom & Dad finally caved and said I could have a puppy (YES!), but I have a faint memory of visiting a giant yard full of dog cages.  My parent's brought me over to the Shih'tzus and once I picked you up there was no putting you down.  I knew you were mine right away.
And then I called you Peanut.  Why, I can't remember exactly.  I think it was that the spot on your back looks like a peanut.  hehe.  And my daddy added your mom's name, making you Miss Daisy's Peanut.      

Fetch and "hand the toy over so I can throw it again" isn't really your style.  You have always been more of a tug-of-war enthusiast.  That is probably your favorite game. 

Then there's: "Sit."  "Stand."  "Roll-over."  Which you sorta caught on... but we tried to teach you too late.  

"Steak" on the other hand... now that is a word you recognize every time.

Did someone say STEAK!?

'Member when I would pat my knees and you would always hop up and give me a hug? :)  I like our hugs!
YOU SCARED US SO BAD when you and Fletcher decided to run away!  You guys must've watched too much Homeward Bound.  But then we found you!!!  Thank goodness.  That was the biggest relief!  You two were soooo dirty.  And I think one of you peed in the car on the way home.  I can't remember fer sure tho.
I'm glad you have had Fletcher.  He takes care of you. 

Oh!  And thanks for being a sport and letting us dress you in all those silly clothes!  You always look adorable.

I know you can't understand what is happening, but this is a difficult decision for me and an even harder one for my dad.  He's been taking care of you since you became diabetic and lost your eye-sight and your hearing.  And I know he has your best interest in mind when he says that your time is coming fast.
Now we both have to be strong, okay?  And brave.  Strong because I will never be ready to say goodbye... and brave because of the journey that you must make all by yourself.

It has been a wonderful 13 years, little lady.  I will cherish our last days together... and when the time comes that we have to say goodbye, know that you have been a special friend to me and that I love you so very much.

Love always,
Your Stephy

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Greene Italia.

I didn't forget about you guys, I SWEAR!  Venice didn't have easily accessible (free) wi-fi.  It was killer.  KILLER I SAY.

Ok.  Italy.... I don't even know where to begin telling you about the Italiano portion of our trip.  Warning.  This may be a long blog.

I do think it is appropriate that I electrocuted myself on our first day in Rome.  It was symbolic of my culture shock.  Not that I enjoyed it at the time... but it is pretty funny now.

Shock is one of the words that I would use to describe my experience.  Others include- Frustrating.  Uncontrollable.  Chilly.  Unexpected. 




I guess the most challenging task (besides communicating) was finding our way around. 

Finding our way in
When we first arrived, we were so confused.  Turns out there is a train station with the same name as the airport...and google maps misled me.  So we were a lot farther from our hotel than we thought AND didn't know the way.

In a panic, we hopped in a car with some random man who said he could take us to our hotel for 40 euro.. bye-bye money.  

Anyway, that was probably the scariest experience I have ever had in a moving vehicle.  For one, I wasn't sure if we were being kidnapped or not.  And for two, Italians be some crazy drivers, yo.  They seem to understand the rules... I guess that's all that matters.

In those 30 minutes I learned:
  1. Lanes don't matter or exist.  The lines on the road are simply for decoration.
  2. Turns can be SUPER sharp.. like the right angles we took around Vatican City.
  3. Car horns are used more frequently than in Missouri.  They are used to communicate small things like:
    • "I'm bigger than you."
    • "I know you have to stop for a pedestrian, but that doesn't mean I like waiting on you."
    • "Go faster, chicken!"
    • "Hey, read my mind better."
  4. Scooters do whatever they want.  It makes me nervous to watch them swerving in and out of cars.
  5. You just have to have faith that you will make it out alive.

In conclusion.. I could never drive in Italy.

That was the only driving experience we had.  The rest of the time we walked everywhere.  (Because you can do that in Rome/Venice).  This is where Justin and I got plenty of exercise.  For the first time since I can remember... I ate French fries without feeling guilty!

Did we ever get lost?  Oh yeah!!  Especially when we went searching for a decent-priced place to eat or.. a few times when we went geocaching.
Lost in Rome.

Lost in Venice.
But, getting lost in Rome, isn't so bad.  There is always a significant landmark around the corner that you can use to get back on track.  

Let me put it this way... 
If you don't run into the Tiber River, some fancy 
then you might be a lost redneck.  

Justin and I relied mostly on this huge monument he calls "the cake building."  
Cake Building.. or Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II
 As full-time pedestrians we learned that crossing the street can be...erm... fun.  Most of the time there is no crosswalk light, so you just have to start walking and hope the cars stop for you.  We never got run over.. but we did get a love honk once,  "Thanks a lot for making me stop, Piccadilly Cockfosters."

My first time initiating a pretty amazing cross, I felt like Moses parting the Red Sea.  However, I don't think Moses did a dance and shouted "I got balls" when he made it across... blasphemous.

Walking up to attractions that had paid entry was generally obnoxious.  There were a few obstacles before reaching the queue:

"You speak-uh English?"
"Yeah but..."
"Well we get you in Colosseum for small price.  Skip the line!  We get you in fast and have guided tour.. blah blah blah."
"No thanks."
"You speak-uh English?"
"Someone already told us."
"Skip the line.  We have guided tour in English..."
"No thanks."
"Hi, you speak-uh English?"
"NO we don't speak any English at all actually.  We are going to go get in line now."
"Line 45 minutes.  You no have to wait.  For little extra we get you in without the line."
"Fine, you wait 45 minutes."

No, we waited 15 minutes.... and payed 20 Euro less and still got a guided tour. 


THE COLOSSEUM WAS AWESSEUM!!!!  It was definitely my favorite thing we saw in Italy.

Finding our way in
Also a bizarre place to find your way around.  But in Venice... there are NO cars. No buses.  No taxis.  The only options you have are

  1. walking or 
  2. taking a boat ride.
A vaporetto is your cheapest option if you don't want to walk.  They are the equivalent of a buses.   Justin and I were persuaded by two nice, elderly Italian ladies to hop on one when we first arrived.  I guess we looked pretty pathetic dragging our luggage up and down the bridges on the complete opposite side of the island as our hotel.

One of the ladies even called our hotel to see what stop we needed:

"Calle Vallaresso.  Vaporetto due."

So we backtracked over the biggest bridge on the island with our progressively heavier-to-carry luggage in search of the correct Vaporetto.

Back to the very beginning...
When the boat dropped us off a few stops too early (because apparently we showed up on the one day that the vaporettos decided to go on strike) we were glad we bought a map.

Over the next two days, we found that the best way to explore Venice was to start walking and, after a time, check the map to see where we wound up.

Food in  
I had a nice, local sit-down pizza place planned for our first evening in rome.   O'Pazzariello.  It got really good reviews.  We found it right across the river from Castel Sant'Angelo.

I ordered a four cheese pizza and JJ ordered the pizza named after the restaurant.  We also had to order a bottle of water.  EVERYTHING COSTS.
When we ordered our water we got a strange question...

"Gas or no gas."

Huh...erm....uhhh....We exchanged confused glances and replied.... "No gas(?)"

We think he meant "fizz" or "carbination," but we couldn't help giggling at the thought of him farting into our over-priced water.  That would have been HILARIOUS.

The cheese on my pizza tasted like fart.  Or feet.  I swear it was garnished with mold.  BUT the crust was DELISH.  I would've been happy just eating around the pizza, but figured that might offend the chef.  I'm sure the flavor is for much more mature taste buds than my own.

We also ate at McDonald's, gelatarias, and had a ham & cheese calzone from one of the take-away pizza stands.

Now, when a fast food place asks you "for here or to go" that means they are going to charge you to sit in their restaurant... even if there is no waiter. 

BREAKFAST.  Our free hotel breakfast was crap... Justin agrees.  Free crap.  You had the option of flavorless corn flakes or rice krispies... poorly made, flaky pastries... and ham, cheese, and toast... none of which was very appetizing.
Much betta price.

Finally, SODA... would you pay 6 dollars for a can???  AHHHH.  We sure didn't want to.  What you do instead (if you have a fridge) is find a grocery store.  There you will find 1,5 L sodas and waters for the same price that a can or small bottle would be at a food stand.  That helps a little bit if you are poor like us.

Food in
When we were kicked of the vaporetto early, we passed by a Hard Rock Cafe and decided that would be our first dinner in Venice.

It was MUCH nicer and MUCH less crowded than the one in London.  We sat on the second floor and got to look out the large glass windows at the gondolas.  

We were somewhat boring with our other food selections- pizza, pizza, gelato, gelato, crepes, pizza, gelato.  But, I could live on that diet.

None of my pizzas in Venice tasted like feet!!!  I think I enjoyed my giant 2.50 euro slice of pepperoni the best. 

OH YEAH!  Last and least.. so bad that I nearly forgot to mention it... breakfast.  WORSE EVEN THAN ROME'S.

My theory: the pricier the hotel, the less you get from a free breakfast.

There was no self-serve breakfast bar at the Hotel Monaco.  You were handed a basket of bread and offered juice, coffee, and hot chocolate.  The chocolate was actually cold chocolate.  The bread was bla.  And you don't get refills on drinks.  If you want eggs?  8 euro for 3.  If you want fruit?  Also expensive for a small plate.

The second day we saw a table of food that looked like free continental breakfast and were crazy enough to ask if we were allowed to partake.

"No, zat is-uh for-uh special groups of people only." 

I wanted to punch someone.

There is one good thing to say about breakfast in Venice... the orange juice.  Only it wasn't orange... it was red.  THAT WAS THE BEST JUICE I HAVE EVER TASTED.

I wish so badly I could've had a refill.  :(

Funny happenings & observations:
Toilet paper goes the wrong way.

The towels said 100% cotton... but they felt more like 200%.  It was a cotton-ball phob's NIGHTMARE.

We circumvented the walls of Vatican City because I forgot to mark on which side the geocache was hidden.
THIS side.
A couple was walking behind us on Via de Corso in Rome.  I could hear the lady singing, "Doot-dooooo doo-doo-doo.. Manamana.. doot-doo-doo-doo."
                  So the next time she sang "doot-doooo doo-doo-doo," I turned around and said, "Manamana!"
I thought it was fun... but the lady just glared at me.  Maybe I came in at the wrong time..... ?

Justin threatened, on multiple occasions, to buy me one of those leash backpacks... the one's for children... in the shape of cute animals.  I think I want a lion one.
He says that I get distracted by shiny objects or something.. and is afraid I will get lost and/or hit by a car eventually.
He also feels that a helmet and elbow pads would be a good investment because of my extreme gracefulness of which he is totally jealous.

As poor as we were becoming with each passing day, we tried to buy a few souvineers.  In Rome I saw a vendor selling owls!!!  I guess my interest was evident, because the vendor stopped us...
"You want owl?  I take 13.50 (euro)."

"No, I don't have enough," I told him.. thinking we honestly only had 5 euro left after our expensivo taxi ride-uh.

But, vendors are persistent, and... don't understand English very well.

"I take 7.50."

"I only have 5."

"Tell you what.  I give you two for 12."

"No, we don't have enough.  We only have 5."  I gestured with my hand.  FIVE.

"6 Euro," he said with a painful expression.

"Only have 5," I said firmly, trying to leave at this point.

"Ok... 5." 


"Yes, yes.  You take." He looked seriously disheartened as we made the trade.

"Wow, you learn fast," Justin said when we were out of earshot.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I just showed you at the last vendor how to ask a little less... and you are already a pro at bargaining."

"But we only have 5 Euro..."

"No, we have, like, 20."

We watched Family Guy dubbed in Italian.

This grocery store thought I was trying to steal a plastic bag... OOPS!  I didn't realize you had to pay for them!!!  The security guard basically followed us out the door to make sure I didn't try to steal anything else.  Next time we went, we were sure to bring our OWN grocery bag.

The nine hour plane ride from Madrid, Spain to Chicago began and ended with an obnoxious piano arrangement of "Endless Love."  I changed the words to "This, endless flight."

Justin (*Reenacted) Quotes:
"You seriously need a leash."
"You can't even quote me correctly... Are they called 'reenactment marks?'  I don't think so."
"Apparently my work was undone... I repaired those aqueducts as Ezio Auditore."
"A man cannot live on gelato alone."
"I wonder how many people get pushed into the water (in Venice) while they are drunk."
"I wonder if dogs ever jump in?"
"You're not going to go poke the pile of poop with a stick, people might see you."
"Can you just say "snooze" in response to a wake-up call... and they will call you again in 10 minutes?"
*These may or may not be his EXACT words

MORE PICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Pantheon
Trevi Fountain
Spanish Steps
Roman Forum
The Vatican
Sistine Chapel
St. Mark's Basilica