Tag Archives: Roman

selections from The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels


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selections from Il Principe, Niccolò Machiavelli

“Nothing causes a prince to be so much esteemed as great enterprises and giving proof of prowess.” (81)

hence this blog post aggregating my favorite selections from The Prince. Continue reading

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words and verses from C. Day Lewis’ translation of the Aeneid

The begetter of gods and men inclined towards her the smiling
Countenance which calms the sky and makes fair weather,
Gently kissed his daughter’s mouth, and began to speak:–
Fear no more, Cytherea. Take comfort, for your people’s
Destiny is unaltered; you shall behold the promised
City walls of Lavinium, and exalt great-hearted Aeneas
Even to the starry skies. I have not changed my mind.
I say it now–for I know these cares constantly gnaw you–
And show you further into the secret book of fate:
Aeneas, mightly warring in Italy, shall crush
Proud tribes, to establish city walls and a way of life,
Till a third summer has seen him reigning in Latium
And winter thrice passed over his camp in the conquered land.
His son Ascanius, whose surname is now Iulus–
Ilus it was, before the realm of Ilium fell–
Ascanius for his reign shall have full thirty years
With all their wheeling months; shall move the kingdom from
Lavinium and make Long Alba his sure stronghold.
Here for three hundred years shall rule the dynasty
Of Hector, until a priestess and queen of Trojan blood,
With child by Mars, shall presently give birth to twin sons.
Romulus, then, gay in the coat of the tawny she-wolf
Which suckled him, shall succeed to power and found the city
Of Mars and with his own name endow the Roman nation.
To these I set no bounds, either in space or time;
Unlimited power I give them. Even the spiteful Juno,
Who in her fear now troubles the earth, the sea and the sky,
Shall think better of this and join me in fostering
The cause of the Romans, the lords of creation, the togaed people.
Thus it is written. An age shall come, as the years glide by,
When the children of Troy shall enslave the children of Agamemnon,
Of Diomed and Achilles, and rule in conquered Argos.
From the fair seed of Troy there shall be born a Caesar–
Julius, his name derived from great Iulus–whose empire
Shall reach to the ocean’s limits, whose fame shall end in the stars.
He shall hold the East in fee; one day, cares ended, you shall
Receive him into heaven; him also will mortals pray to.
Then shall the age of violence be mellowing in peace:
Venerable Faith, and the Home, with Romulus and Remus,
Shall make the laws; the grim, steel-welded gates of War
Be locked; and within, on a heap of armaments, a hundred
Bronzen knots tying his hands behind him, shall sit
Growling and bloody-mouthed the godless spirit of Discord. (20-21) Continue reading

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Happy Birthday!

i’ve been having some weird dreams, and remembering them. i guess it comes with the whole <8 hours/night thing because i’m a M-F hardworking man now. not a motherfucking hardworking man, just a monday-friday hardworking man.

for example, last night i had a dream that was way too easy to peel from my brain and transpose to some real-life events from the past week. actually, exactly a week ago tonight. girls, hair, etc. i liked the dream i had night before last because it was much more abstract and out in left field. i don’t remember the details or much of the surrounding storyline (and i know something elaborate was going on), but what i remember was a close friend’s girlfriend serving baklava at lunchtime costco, except it was kind of like a professional wrestling arena at the same time.

(i’m stoned and listening to Modeselektor. i’ve never heard this guy before. it’s okay.)

want to see things i wrote as notes in my phone? here’s one:


weekly girl
Greek music ruins

the first word was the first line ever written in this note. it was the saddened beginnings of a grocery list, sad not because of the shortness of the list, but rather because of the quality. it’s ok, i settled for just peanut butter and banana. the second line is blank. the third line refers to the fact that for each of the past five weekends, a different (and individually fantastic) female friend has found her way to San Francisco Bay. in the beginning of the month, aerienne drove up for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (stones/blues/fog/shoes). the next weekend, Shannon flew from the east to see her sister married (sits/doodles/Thai/noodles). next, Allison also drove up for a music festival, this one with real tickets and on a fake island, (treasure/music/ecstasy/do it). last weekend, Rachel flew up with work as an excuse and play as fuel (Monopoly/playoffs/aches/eggs). and finally, halloween weekend, Anna Maria flew up to scare the city shitless (hugs/baseball/beer/birdtales). so so awesome. i don’t know what i’m going to do with this november thing, but i can’t wait to fly to New Yorsey (that’s gotta be sacrilege) to see moon madness in the shape of the sea.

the fourth line represents a stoned idea i formed last night when i was not stoned at all. i was taking a piss and, ok slight divergence here. is the bathroom not such a spiritual place? people love singing in the shower or while shaving in front of the mirror. the mirrors! the water! flowing water everywhere! it’s not even normal to go in there with someone else (unless maybe you’re a girl and you’re at a dirty club or some shit). you go in alone. it’s a tiled sanctuary of sitting and robotic muscle movements and cleansing, a place where you are forced into thinking all alone in your own dome. with running water and mirrors. ok enough of that, so i was taking a piss thinking about some future (age-darkened) world where the contemporary “ruins” are remnants of recorded rock & roll from the 20th and 21st centuries. imagine something like the Winged Victory of Samothrace, except it’s Prince’s Purple Rain without the title track. or maybe the Venus de Milo as 69 Love Songs missing the first and last discs. or all the different versions of Athena/Minerva (bless Her, eternal light), something like all those wildly different Miles Davis records (where’s that owl, that trumpet? bright eyes, bright eyes!). and Quicksilver Messenger Service’s 25-minute psychedelic version of “Who Do You Love,” originally by Bo Diddley the Man? lost to time.

oh, but that’ll never happen. we have the Internet and the Internet is Immortal. perhaps needless to say, the note is back to its original one-line form: “honey.”

did you ever realize that chicken kind of sounds like “chick” “hen”? or was it the other way around? which came first?

do you realize that the sentence “Nine Inch Nails scored the Facebook movie” would have sounded a little silly five years ago, would have been nonsense ten years ago, and could have been grounds for submission to a mental institution two decades ago? Nine Inch Nails scored the Facebook movie. Daft Punk scored the Tron movie. that one might have passed as poetry in 1982. Daft Punk scored the Tron movie.

do you pray? neither do i, but maybe we should sometimes. i mean, music is kind of like prayer. in fact, a month ago i attended a feverish worship of the cosmos led by the great guru Patti Smith and she taught me and my congregation a new prayer. well, an old prayer, one written by Francis of Assisi, the one who somehow persuaded animals to chill with him all the time. here’s his prayer:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


beautiful. here’s something i wrote on my phone:

leaky rainbow clinging desperate to my back pocket, multicolored water faucet dripping dripping dripping, and i think of nothing but the silly things i posit.

verbs whir with a beer
above my ceiling eyed by girl

add “the best” to the list
of words hat describe this it:
everything all god universe

tugging at the ends of your dress,
you’re making me jealous.

boats going by left and right,
painting just for me,
clouds keep coming, painting
just for me

bench fly high, transparent
radiation stuck in my head, go
away spacemen, this is my trip,
painting just for me

remember your first time
remember your third time
remember your eleventh time
remember be here now
remember birth is a death

the waves just roll
the robots just dance
the bamboo surrenders
the sand sucks you in
the dry lakebed cracks at dawn
the parties are always spontaneous
the ice can feel like a fury
steam in a hole can be a comfort
walk from trees to sea, believe
slow down, slow down
everyone is painting just for me

ask me about and i’ll tell you. i want to tell you about it.

f. Continue reading

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Roma [archive]

weird. the title of my first post of the semester was entitled ATHINA and now this.

~~~~~ Day One ~~~~~

we arrived in Roma in the evening, extremely briefly considered the option of not renting a car and taking the metro instead, and loaded into our 5-day avis rental. we found the hotel after not too much trouble, parked, moved in, and went for a little walk to the fontana di trevi:

this is the fountain you’re supposed to throw some coins into to guarantee that someday you’ll return to Roma. i saved the ritual for my last day. we found a restaurant nearby, where i ate an eggy spaghetti carbonara, washing it down with a fancy bottle of merlot that billy picked out. afterwards we got some coffee and made our way back to the hotel, situated in the citadella di vaticano and a two minute walk from san pietro.

many themes for my weekend were set in this night alone. first: the food, delicious. second: the coffee, delicious. third: the art, Greek. i couldn’t look at anything without seeing a Greek temple. maybe i’m putting too much into it, but it amazes me that this city consumed the style so wholeheartedly and TWICE at that. oh, Athina.

i also quickly learned that my parents didn’t come to Roma to see ruins and sites and such, but mostly to shop and eat, because they’ve seen all the other stuff enough times. so i tried to take some control in navigating us where i wanted to go.

~~~~~ Day Two ~~~~~

this was taken in the lobby of our hotel, after a delicious 9am breakfast that would be repeated every day: cafe e latte, bread with butter and jam, and a sweet pastry. pretty awesome breakfast in my opinion.

first event of the day: cappella sistina.

my parents are so cool and see the chapel alll the time, so they wandered around while billy and i took in the arts that the vatican museum had to offer. tons of Egyptian art:

strange theatrical masks that would come back later to haunt some more:

after the Egyptian art, this is the hall that we faced:

they literally crammed sculptures, varying in size and detail and completeness, shoulder to shoulder, every inch down the sides of this hall. i couldn’t stop taking pictures of any that interested me (a ton). plus, i got on this thing where i would take a picture of every image of Athena… she’s beautiful, how could i not?

here are those faces again:

after slowly but not too slowly eating that hall alive, we stepped into the inner courtyard:

after seeing all that white, a giant modern art piece in a bronzish metal will captivate you. this thing sat in the very center of the courtyard, spinning around nice and easy. is it an atom? the world? the universe? maybe it’s the catholic church. check out the dome of san pietro in the background:

to the left from the dome your eye catches a massive fucking sculpture of a head! oh my lord i couldn’t not think of evangelion:

continuing on the path, we find ourselves in another grand hall of marble, filled of course, with a million Athena’s:

here i, a peasant, look up the glorious brazen body of Herakles:

i finally couldn’t take it and asked billy to take a picture of me and my divinity together. she shines:

as we walked slowly into a room full of tapestries, you saw this on the floor:

i swear you couldn’t even walk in this building without staring at your feet, the walls, the doorways, the ceilings, everything. my favorite part of any tapestry we saw there (remember, this is like 1/20 of the whole tapestry, depicting some epic scene no doubt:

this was in the more modern art section, immediately preceding the actual sistine chapel. who can resist having a giggle at the bishop fatter than any lounging cow?

the truly absurd thing about this museum is the experience of walking past millennia of art, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Renaissance, copies, copies, copies, black, white, gold, gilded, glorious, halls, courtyards, massive rooms, stairs, everything, art, everywhere, art, that when you actually arrive in the sistine chapel, this is how you feel: oh.

trust me, though, that’s just the initial feeling. i let the vacant “oh” escape me and just stared. stared at the ceiling and the walls and it just kind of enwraps you. so much is going on, so much christianity, so much bible, so much bullshit and murder and birth and creation and destruction and lies, burning, hurtling, fleeing, flying, dying, and oh, the humanity! after all, the painter was only a man, just like the guy (or girl) who put this up:

i saw that on the wall in the shopping district right near the piazza di spagna. i’m not quite sure exactly what’s being said, but i know exactly what’s being said. oh, it’s complicated but not really. GUCCI GUCCI GUCCI GUCCI GUCCI PRADA PRADA PRADA PRADA PRADA BVLGARI BVLGARI BVLGARI BVLGARI BVLGARI BVLGARI BVLGARI BVLGARI. i wonder if i’ll ever enjoy shopping that much. my dad, on a mad hunt for a wallet, my mom passively checking out purses, billy generally looking for cool shit, all i wanted was for Animal Collective to come, but Shanleigh hadn’t called me yet. after exponentially worrying over the next couple hours, she finally gave me a call and easily explained her non-callingness away by telling she had a crazy night. so good to hear. within the hour we met at the obelisk in st. peter’s basilica:

pre-concert festivities involved a hapless wander towards the original gate to Roma (and its beautiful piazza on the opposite side), panini, cappuccino, and a whiskey and coke. finishing our whiskeys, we crossed the street to catch the bus to the show. Shanleigh had perfect directions and we still got lost. we got off at the third stop, like she had written down, but soon realized we were not where we were supposed to be. we stared at a map for about ten minutes when a couple walked past us. a second later the guy comes back to us and says, “you’re lost.” apparently he had been on the bus that we took and had realized that the bus driver didn’t know where the hell to go (apparently this happens a lot in Roma), so we had a little walk to get back on the track. we walked with him a little bit and he pointed us in the right direction. awesome Italian.

Animal Collective was Abductive. the venue looked kind of whack. there was nothing really wrong with the space, it was dark, the lights were cool, it was small, the stage and the setup was really simple, fillmore-like. but it formed only a small part of this massive complex of theaters, which on the whole reminded me of something straight out of the inland empire, dare i say, victoria gardens? that aside, Shanleigh and i drank beers and bobbed to pantha du prince, who we decided had some sweet beats, but that may have only come down to one beat that he played the whole time. decent opener.

Animal Collective came on like three minutes later. no bullshit.

Avey Tare


Panda Bear

i wasn’t close enough to get any good photos but my ears were rocked to high heaven. here’s the set list:

Banshee Beat
Also Frightened
??? panda bear singing high-pitch, “blah once blah” ???
Summertime Clothes
??? fucked beat starts “I know” ???
My Girls
Guys Eyes
Lion in a Coma
Brother Sport
Leaf House

when i realized that they were opening with bb, my fucking veins started producing ecstasy naturally. it took me so long to recognize it in its slowed-down state, but as soon i got it i never lost it.

normal: i duck out go down to find the swimmingggppooooooolllllllllllllllllllllll

live: iiiiiiii duuuuuuccckkk outtttttttt go ooo o o down to findddd theee swimmmiiiiiiiinnngggggggggggp pppoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooollllllllllllllllllllllll llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

i get shivers.

Adam: excuse this exploding. i was thinking about you the whole time and how unworthy i felt, seeing these guys carve love in our ears with plastic boxes, knowing full well that you would appreciate it so much more than i. they played so much MPP, which was cool for me–i’ve been listening to that album a ton. i wish i could have identified the other two songs in the set, especially since it’s pretty unlikely that any bootlegs of this show will come out. we can hope.

man, this band has really taken me though. before i left for the trip, i made a playlist called ROMA compiling everything by the band and everything by its individual members. the total playlist came out to 150 songs and almost 15 hours of music. it’s the only thing my ipod played all weekend long. i started the trip putting the whole thing on shuffle and just continued it from where i left off the previous time. my ears had a weekend long Animal Collective fiesta. i know this kind of thing is pointless, but here’s a current favoring of my for some of the main albums:

  1. Person Pitch (perfect)
  2. Feels (beautiful)
  3. Merriweather Post Pavilion (very easy to get into)
  4. Sung Tongs (stripped down, tribal)
  5. Panda Bear (highly minimal, interesting first release)
  6. Hollinndagain (absolutely intensely ridiculous, i must must must must listen more)
  7. Campfire Songs (needs more listens)
  8. Strawberry Jam (some solid songs, but nothing like F/MPP/ST)
  9. Here Comes the Indian (i think my copy’s fucked, but it sounds good)
  10. Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished (i need to listen)
  11. Danse Manatee (always thought these ones were the most boring)
  12. Split #16 (interesting, experimental)
  13. Young Prayer (interesting, i really need to give this one a listen if i’m really as in love with Panda Bear as i say i am)

definitely Brother Sport turned out to be the crowd favorite. i hope you’ve heard a live version of this song because, as Adam so kindly showed me, the album version is a poor filtration of the beast that is the live performance. they just rock so hard and everyone feels the beat in the ends of their toes, everybody moved. you just can’t not dance. with Leaf House, as an encore, the rest of my night laid in utter bliss.

merry5ckids post collective, Shanleigh and i walked back to her apartment with buzzes and fuzz and chicken cuts swinging across our neurons. i love concerts. unfortunately, getting back to her apartment late, the front guard wouldn’t let us hang out. we begged and he asked, “whaddya guys going to do up there?” Shanleigh: “have a bowl of cereal!” and we burst out laughing (but it was true! can’t a couple of good kids enjoy some rock music and cheerios anymore?). well eventually he decided to let me up for fifteen minutes. Shanleigh concocting a bowl of cheerios:

after our sweet fifteen minutes together, i gave her a goodbye hug worth about half a year. wandering around foreign cities at 3am is the greatest thing ever and i advise everybody to do it. seriously. i found my way eventually, grabbed a delicious one euro cappuccino on the way, and passed out quickly at the hotel.

~~~~~ Day Three ~~~~~

following the standardly fantastic hotel breakfast, this is where my day began:

i’m sure this has been expressed a million times, but christian or not, one cannot help but feel something walking through this outstanding building. the magnificence of the architecture, the monolithic towering sculptures, the gilded everything astonishes one’s sense. the sublimity literally blows through the air.

at the same time, it is the central building for the catholic church, and so feelings of bitterness of course rose up. i suppressed them for the most part, for my parents’ sake, but i couldn’t stop feeling such hatred for the skyscraping wealth surrounding me, wealth completely owned by an institution that supposedly bases all its teachings on those of Jesus Christ. i see some sort of complex irony there, but i don’t really care to unfurl it. how about i just show you this?

that’s right. somehow Athena infiltrated the church. look at her, armed to the tee. i think she’s just bearing the hypocrisy for as long as she can stand, before stepping down from her pedestal to purify the place.

back outside, it was business as usual, making our way to the castel sant’angelo.

Budapest certainly had an impressively large river running through it, crossed by big pretty bridges, but the comparatively small river going through Roma has its own excellent charm. and if it doesn’t, the bridges make up for it, anyway. walking through the city….

across the street, some ruins brought me back to Athina:

a little more walking and we stopped at a corner to have some pizza and beer. eating outside, this lay in front of us literally right across the street:

i don’t know what it’s called or where it is or anything except that my parents say that mussolini gave a big speech there. zooming in a little closer.. oh honey.

SUCH a delicious mushroom pizza and a warmly pleasing but not especially great beer. after lunch we walked all along the ruins of the ancient agora towards this famous symphony:

from wiki: “It has been estimated that about 500,000 people and over a million wild animals died in the Colosseum games.” awesome. i love dead people and dead animals and games. i made my family walk around the whole thing, because i wanted to be able to take it in in all its mammoth glory. following the beast, we went to too many churches. i was getting churched out. san pietro in vincoli was an interesting one.

from wiki: “Also known as the Basilica Eudoxiana, it was first built in 432-440 to house the relic of the chains that bound Saint Peter when he was imprisoned in Jerusalem. According to legend, when the Empress Eudoxia (wife of Emperor Valentinian III) gifted the chains to Pope Leo I, while he compared them to the chains of St. Peter’s final imprisonment in the Mamertine Prison in Rome, the two chains miraculously fused together. The chains are kept in a reliquary under the main altar in the basilica.” que ridiculo. but, there they are, chains in a pretty eerie box. you believe it or you don’t, i guess. far more immediately interesting was this sculpture on the left side of the church’s interior:

AH! Death! creepy, but awesome. somebody must’ve been absolutely sick of sculpting perfectly proportional human bodies. or maybe they realized that marble white suits bones way more than skin. who knows. look at how pious this guy is:

such an epic day. your legs and eyes go first after you visit ten churches each the size of six sperm whales. so this is what you look like waiting for the metro:

back at the hotel, i lay down, threw on my AC playlist and had a nice 1.5 hour animal nap. i think this may have been when i acquired a new favorite Animal Collective song: Forest Gospel – Hollinndagain. that is the main reason i want to explore that album more. following half a minute of loud chaos, soft chaos with a simple pattern follows: only my best friends use the coke. pot. crack. rea-dy…….nsahtdiiiaaduitnahoidanthoiao. i don’t know i just love it. look it up.

when i finally awoke, my awesome parents bought me a solo ticket into a performance of La traviata in this church:

i don’t think i’d ever listened to anything from the opera, but i knew that it was a popular favorite of verdi’s. i’m so happy i went, even if i did go by myself. who can resist 2.5 hours of beautiful and tragic opera in Roma? i couldn’t. it also gave a nice edge in my ears juxtaposed next to the excessive Animal Collective feast. the leading male and female were absolutely entrancing, but i think the girl caught my ears more. i thought about this a lot while i sat in my seat. maybe i just preferred the girl because a girl’s voice appeals to me more. anyway, i don’t know a damn thing about opera but i like it.

~~~~~ Day Four ~~~~~

i had crazy fucking dreams. trying to describe them days later seems almost futile, but here are my notes from my iphone:

ceremony to destroy ancient ruins let the riots begin chasing girl with triangle rock, take Meryl (gf/mom) to Karen’s for wine, article about couples choking hotel managers just look dismay, patrick sends me gay porn

Jesus! he wants nothing to do with that crown! don’t you people see?! ah, whatever. i ate my traditional hotel breakfast, visited a glammed up church with a glammed up messiah (the only kind worth worshipping), and then (after a brief stop at the olympic stadium, for billy) my family began our day trip to southern Italy.

BUT HOW COULD YOU NOT STOP AT A SHOPPING OUTLET FIRST????? oh dear. adidas ferrari gucci apple starbucks daftpunk nike victory athena hell vangelis sell sell sell. AMAZINGLY, i was the only one of the four to actually buy something. i got some sweet white adidas sneakers for real cheap. thanks dad! but here is really why i’m going south: a volcano!

my parents tried to content me with seeing the ruins of Pompeii from outside the archaeological site’s gates, but i’m a stupid spoiled brat and was not having any of that. so they paid the entrance for billy and i.

billy epically walking into the main attraction (for me):

i can’t believe i was here.

is it weird that i’m as excited (if not more) about something that happened here 40 years ago than i am as the “main” event, 2000 years ago? i don’t think so. i mean, it’s fucking Pink Floyd for chrissake! e c h o e s. those couples sitting all peacefully made me wish i had a girl to roll around in the grass with. oh well. but this place seriously blew my mind. look at these murals, still intact, in what was probably some rich asshole’s house:

rich dude’s boulevard:

rich dude, others:

it really had an interesting effect on me, to walk around a place so peaceful, imagining the terror that had to occur to allow us to see it in its current state. oh Vesuvius. you devil:

after the ruins, billy and i met up with our parents to drive down to battipaglia, a place famous for its amazing cheese.

we had a ball stuffing ourselves with wet balls of mozzarella. so unbelievably delicious. as outstandingly pleasing as it was, a few balls of cheese only really work as a dunch/linner, so back in Roma we went out for some delicious pasta and wine, somewhere near a giant artsy plaza with a fountain involving calamaricide:

with our bellies slushing, we made our way to the Pantheon, just a short walk away.

i was going crazy wondering about the history behind it. i didn’t know a thing and neither did anyone else. it was just beautiful and ancient.

~~~~~ Day One ~~~~~

thankfully, after mostly saying goodbye to the hotel balcony and breakfast for good….

..we went back to the Pantheon for a day visit!

for an ancient Roman temple, it seemed pretty clean. and it should have been pretty obvious based on the place’s name, temple to all the gods, what this place was. but most bizarrely, the only reason it’s still in such condition still is because the church adopted it around the 7th century. i mean, fuck the church, but thank god for it, every once in awhile. still, it’s weird with the signs saying “this is a holy place” and the holy water and people praying and people trying to pray and people pretending to try to pray, it’s just weird. who are they praying to? can i pray to Nature or Cthulhu? what’s the big deal here, anyway? the ceiling!

can’t you just imagine something divine filtrating through that hole? well maybe it was, because tons of people were taking pictures, walking around and whispering, and acting generally taken aback. beside themselves. etc etc. what a hole. my Roma trip was coming to a close.

of course, i had to return to the trevi. hopefully the less money you throw, the more likely you are to return. i threw in a 10 euro cent with stunning Venus glimmering off of one side of the coin. i drank my last delicious cappuccino, stood around for a little more shopping, walked back to the hotel with my family, who very nicely and needlessly drove me to the airport, and a few more hits of Animal Collective later, i was back in HELLAS. Continue reading

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