.............hopefully counted since april 25, 05 ...........
I just found out yesterday from our boss that my last day of work is on the 12th of August. I'll be staying over the weekend to clear up a few things, then heading out Monday the 15th for a tour of Europe for three weeks, ending up in Munich for a week at the end for a conference. I've got to figure out how to send my luggage ahead of me to Munich Airport, and have it stored there until I show up for my flight back to MTL on the 10th of Sept. Anyone know how I can do this?

So there are two tentative vacation schedules. I'll start in Rome either way, taking the train there on the 15th...I will check out those things I missed the first time around, then take a flight either to Dublin via London to visit a friend, or to Venice. Going to Dublin will have me staying there for about 4 days before flying back to Venice. From Venice, I'll be going to Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, Czech. Rep., Poland and then to Munich on the 4th. I know for sure that I want to see Prague, Budapest and visit some friends in Poland, I'm a little less sure about checking out Vienna and Slovenia, cause I haven't heard too much about either. While in Munich for my conference, I may take a day off to check out Switzerland, or maybe the small hunting village of Duckenhoffen....

So, with only 3 weeks left in this place, I'm taking advantage. Next weekend, I'll be checking out Capri, maybe Caserta and some museams in Napoli. Weekend after, Pompeii and maybe Sorrento again...This weekend, heading out to Florence. I'm leaving tonight with Manal on the train, we're staying in a hostel for two nights and returning with the last train to Saviano on Sunday. Looking forward to seeing some priceless works of art. There's also some priceless tombs I'll be checking out: Michelangelo, Botteghelli, Machiavelli and Galileo. On the topics of great works of art, I offer you one of my new favorites....actually, this artist is my reason for making a trek to the small hunting village of Duckenhoffen in the Bavarian Alps....

  New Diggs.......
I knew, must have been a divine intervention....that there was a reason that I have taken nearly 7 years to complete a bachelor's degree. Keep in mind people that my degree was initially 5 years, so that's only 2 years over the normal finish line (I try and try to justify the 7 years but its difficult)....there are actually a lot of things that have tipped me off to the normality of me taking such a long tour through Uni. Firstly and basically, 7 is a lucky number, actually, as the bible goes, it is the number of perfection. So there's the first sign of divinity in my degree. As a second sign of divinity in this degree, I could invoke the 'ol "Holy shit!, it's taken me 7 years to finish this schooling", but that would be a bit to much of a stretch an maybe a little poor in taste (my father would give me no more than a 2 or 3 for this one -referencing of course the arbitrary points system established in the ongoing family game of generic witticism).....A more tangible sign, one occupying every bit of my life now, is this job in Italy, a kind of paid vacation that I wouldn't be on if I had finished a year back.....and now comes the newest big thing, something I've been looking at for a year and a half, but which has only recently neared fruition.

You're looking at our new building....complete with massive black box for visual effects used by Hexagram (contemporary Masons sounds their name), Engineering vibrations lab, fancy staircases, colorful artwork and a 16th floor cafe/terrace...I can't wait to get back to Montreal and explore this building, find all the secret doors and such, even though I won't be using it for too long, cause soon approaches that 7th year. Rumor is that CIADI has an office on the Southwest corner of the 12th floor, with a view of Brossard!, and further out the horizon, Vermont!....that will certainly make studying more of an exercise in procrastination....
I was in Rome this weekend, and I've taken and posted these pictures......I think the things I liked most were the Vatican in the morning and the old Egyptian oblelisk in Piazza del Polipo...also the Pantheon...I didn't see the Sistine Chapel though, so I think I'll have to return soon...

From L to R: View of the colums surrounding the Piazza of San Pietro, two views of the Church in the Morning

From L to R: Outside San Pietro again, The Pantheon's sundial, the source of the light

From L to R: View from outside the Pantheon, an 3200 yr. old Egyptian Obelisk in Piazza del Polipo, the front of the Obelisk

From L to R: A fountain outside San Pietro, another view of said fountain, closer view of the church

From L to R: The seahorse fountain in Villa Borghese, the Coliseaum at night, and from behind Vatican City at sunrise

From L to R: A shot of the Ancient City of Rome, and the Colisseo during the daytime
  A couple Berlin Photos
There'll be more coming a bit further on once I get Manal's photos.

From L to R: Isreali, Palastinian and German flags on the Berlin Wall, East-Side transmission tower looming and ready to attack, closer view of the transmission tower.

From L to R: A small picture of a huge and beautiful building near the parliment, The inside of a brand new building that had no-one inside, the Reichstag building (German Parliment) from the lawn in front.
  East and West Collide.......
I'll offer a bit more of the story of Berlin, and I hope to have pictures up soon too. On saturday,

I waited around for Marc and Jasmine to return from their tour of the city. They came back finally around 3.45, so we had about an hour or so to chat before they took off to Prague. I really enjoy getting the chance to chat with those two, for however short of a time we always seem to have together...Maybe that's what makes our mutual company more refreshing...anyway, I walked them to the tram, and then back to the hostel for a quick nap before the return of the Israelies I had met earlier. We planned to go out to see some music and they returned with me napping and dragged me out. Before we got fully out of the neighborhood where we were staying, we all got very stoned which made the following tour pretty hilarious. German is a very funny sounding language when you are high; but the Israeli girls weren't used to it so much and they were having a tough time directing themselves through the english conversation and the city...a lot of mumbling and chuckling.

We were headed towards the center of town and the Love Parade (unofficial this year). The walk past the parliment building was breathtaking...You'll see the pictures soon...We arrived on June 17th Strasse which is a major boulevard that spans from the famous city gate at one end to a monument at the center of a roundabout all the way at the other end. The whole length inbetween was filled with different stages of electronic music. We stopped and danced at most of them....Here is about where I lost the girls...They weren't too talkative, and I was enjoying the hell out of my time, so we we're a bit out of sync....I ended up finding a beautiful beer tent girl who told me I had beautiful eyes, and of course I returned the compliment and we spent a while chatting and gazing, to my ultimate disappointment though, because she didn't live in Berlin and only had one ride home, so we gave eachother little goodbye kisses and parted. BooHoo. But Berlin is a big city right?, and here I am again, on the road, now back toward the hostel and my friends which I haven't seen all that much in the weekend, but with who I am going out on the town later that night. Asking a few more beautiful gals along the way where the train is (I actually know where the train is, but that accent and those eyes are encapsulating me) I finally make it back to Warschaur Strasse and the hostel about 11:30. Now, someone has decided in my absence (fair enough) to go to a 'popular club' that 'everyone goes to' that evening, to which I thought back to Montreal where every local tells every tourist the best places in town are Peel Pub and Thursdays, which of course are about the worst places in town, so already I feel like I'm getting ripped off....but going out with friends can save any night and I used about all of my patience to dance through the generically uninspiring house music of 40 seconds club. The hook at 40s?, the have a terrace on a high floor, like 737 in MTL, and they rip you off at the door. I didn't buy a drink. At least the walk was nice. The station was Potsdamer Platz, and it was surrounded by again, the most beautiful buildings I've ever seen. I heard it used to be a mine field.

Sunday we said goodbye to Nadia, Karen and Ben in the morning. Manal and Tanya wanted to do some serious sight seeing. I decided to take a walk of my own with Omer the Israeli, and some kid from Scotland who was in our hostel. We ventured down to the wall and I really soaked in its history. It is still a huge part of the city, but it isn't depressing. It is really liberating. There are generations of human markings of protest and despair but also of victory and humor on the wall. And now, on the western side, there is a string of public beaches and beachside bars. The area is fully rejuvenated. Further down, we found some more amazing architecture, and I was in awe of the transmission tower the east had built to show their economic might. It looks like its going to attack, always. You have to see this thing, its a big glass ball on top of a massive concrete column, about 300m high. It was built to show the east's power, but the west had the last laugh on their athiestic national socialist neighbors; during the daylight hours, the glass panes of the tower sphere reflect the image of a cross, what the westerners have called 'The popes revenge'. Ha!

Now Omer and I were pretty spent again, so back to the hostel for another nap. After about a half hour, I got up and went to the park and drank a few beers with all the other neighborhood berliners. Then Omer and I hit up a indian eatery before heading back. I finally met up with Manal, who was coming back from the train station where she saw Tanya off. We went back down to the Berlin Gate together and checked out rollerblade night, where thousands of people blade around the major downtown roads together. We couldn't rent blades, we came too late, so we checked out some sweet roller disco!...Then just kept touring down the major roads and taking pictures before it was time to get home and pack it in...

That was tough. Now back in Naples, at work, feeling the travelling itch again. Waiting for the weekend when I plan to hit up Rome for a day and be back sunday for a concert. Ciao!
I'm in Germanz and this is a strange kezboard. The y is in the place of the z. I refuse to change mz wazs because this will spell disaster on returning to work, and I cannot be writing engineering reports with the messed up spellings and english. Please, then, just excuse me from making zou suffer through this akward reading experience. Good thing there aren't manz instances of z and y in this language.

Headed on out zesterdaz morning to Berlin. We got here around noon and were settled into our hostel bz about 1. The hostel is brand spanking new and is magnificent. Plus its onlz 10 euro a night....It does lack a bit of character though, because its new, but everzthing works out to balance in the end.....With mzself and Manal are 5 other canadians, each one of us from a different part of Europe, all converged on the citz for the weekend....Zesterdaz I did a little walk around the citz and realiyed its reallz difficult to speak German...The words aren't at all the same....but most zoung people speak english. This citz is real beautiful....I cannot fullz describe it now, and I would like to have a few more dazs for it all to settle in, but it reminds me of Montreal, but its just more because there are a ton of is reallz clean and everzone is respectful...there are a ton of punks and tattoed kids and adults which is great, and everzone is real tall....the women are beautiful....verz....

Last night, nadia, Tanza, Manal and I took to some dinner and then bought some alcohol. Nadia and I took a trip around looking for some relayation and ended up talking with a few intersting cats....I had also earlier in the daz met a real nice girl at a coffee shop who helped me out with some of the confusing german...people are generallz nice, though I feel zou have to come right out and make them feel comfortable..., one has gone out of their waz to make us feel welcome; not the waz that things happen in Italz where it is a part of national pride and proballz a part time volunteer dutz to help newcomers out as much as zou can....the people here aren't unpleasent though....its a great place...

After drinking in the hostel for a bit last night, we all went out to a club and saw some german techno....real good vibe....this citz is reallz hip with music and knows how to listen and enjoz....Last night alone there were at least 5 or 6 things I wanted to check out....Richie Hawtin (tech. DJ), Common (hip-hop), Trance partz, funk show, experimental jayy....good good good...and the trains ran all night so getting home was quick and easz....Todaz, I went to coffee with a few people I met from Isreal....funnz thing is there is a guz from isreal stazing in our room at the hostel who knows a friend of mine from McGill....I guess thez both knew eachother from school in Jerusalem...Small world....

I think tonight I'll eat dinner again with the canadians, and then exit to a club with the Isrealis...who knows....but onlz one more daz in this place isn't enough....its teriffic....zou should come here....

I'll do more later...or have zou had enough?
  I was born in NY
I feel like getting monumental with some words and expressing how I feel on this independence day. I want to convey in some way how it feels to be an American, to say some words that will make a difference to me, to convince me that I can be right now to believe in the country that I was born in and that I know, when there is so much wrong with it; when so many disagree.....But those words don't exist, because it is so hard to say anything right now about a country that I hardly understand on the large scale, whose collective democratic motives for liberty and justice are so distorted in many ways...America I think is no more than a belief in the minds of its citizens, and since I am an American, I hold a piece of emotional stock in the place, I have a portion which holds me culpable for all things committed in the name of America the Free, and it is also my passport to freedom and the right to own a piece of beautiful land, and to be a part of a strange and beautiful community...This is my birthright. This is the right of 300 million plus. We are all shareholders in this thing, this monstrosity, this liberator, this evil-doer, the land of opportunity and democratic right, of collectivism and nationalism, harborer of the criminal, protector of christ and the flag, a contradiction and an enigma.

America is free. We are all free. Our minds bind us. We run infinitely in distracted thoughts, retracing our paths, digging with our feet deeper into the confused and blackened ground; we shout progress as we see ourselves burying our feet deeper and deeper in the circular tracks. Not blind, but blinded by the light and the circus and the charade, neon glowing and reflecting off our glazed eyes; we see others and we recognize them as TV stars or famous heroes and we gawk to bask in their transmitted reflective glow. Just the same we see derelict neighbors and paupers and gawk then flip the switch of our schizoprenic minds back to the stars and the lights and the distractions which swirl around us as we move ever faster and harder, digging our feet in the ground shouting 'Progress!' while grabbing at everything that shimmers with flailing arms; things that we touch and posess but do not value or retain as we run ourselves further downward, more tired now and confused, into the continually blackening and magnificently kalidoscopic space. We have constructed a terrific cave of wonder and distraction. I yearn to see a glimpse of the light, true and tangible, from its mouth like Plato once did. I wish this light to shine bright and real and subliminate the distraction.

My roomate (wherever you are TC, we love u so) was once writing a paper on transcending human form and achieving enlightenment. Because I was in science and engineering, he thought to ask me how he would calculate the probability of a specific event occuring for a specific grouping of people over a certain period of time. Naturally, I inquired as to what variables we were dealing with, to get a better idea of the problem. 'What group of people, what event, and what timeframe?' He answered 'All sentient beings achieving nirvana together in an infinite time frame'. My only possible solutions were extrapolated from standard deck-of-cards probability assignments. We were now playing with a veritable non-standard deck. Of course the problem was never solved. We puzzled over it for a few minutes and gave it up. I hadn't realized how important a question it was. Not the question itself, but the thoughts it evoked. The essential background is the buddist belief of whatever type he studied, (Theravadan, Mahatman) that a being cannot achieve complete enlightenment alone because all life energy is intertwined, inexplicably linked, with that of all other sentient beings, making it necessary for all beings to ascend toward Nirvana at one time, with those who have progressed farther being slowed by those who refuse to make steps towards that goal. This means something to me again as I think of my country held up and stagnating in refused progress, some dragging feet while others make heroic steps toward wholeness.

We're all in it together, this at least I can conclude. For better or for worse. With only finite time.

  New Day no. Infinity
Whoa!, a long and warm week...somehow difficult and stressful, and I mananged to get myself into circular mind-fuck kind of depression and then just spring back out again....Life sometimes hits my nervous system like a squirrel chomping on the powerlines....

..You know, its always all types of situations together that get me into trouble, not just one thing. For example, the past few days, I've been battling with myself and others for what I believe in. Internally pondering questions of belief can be fine, but impressing beliefs on others for self-validation gets ugly, cause you're always wrong for them and they for you. After a few arguements that went absolutely circular, I started to embrace the 'ol "If you don't have anything nice to say...don't say anything at all", so there again starts my silence and brooding over thoughts which aren't nice and then realizing that maybe I DON'T have ANYTHING nice to say, which leads to more negativity and so on and so forth...but now, isn't that just all some bull?? And to compound the problem, I'm getting closer to being 'Involved' with an attractive young It-al-ian Lady and I'm losing some signals (as always) in doubt and translation...ARGH...

But now, everything is back to 'Normal', which I'm told for me has more ab- associated with it than for everyone else, but I remember how that feels and it is recognizable, by which I mean to say, "Everything is okay and phlabbadablab"

Consider my mindframe summerized.

Now, I said it was warm and sunny, and taking a hit from paulski, I'm unna post up this little slice for you:

It never stops, nor does it ever rain. The beach is my only haven in this weather and luckily I live near a big one.

The un-named events of the past are something like this:

Not wednesday past, but the wednesday before went to go see Ma Pavola (a ballet) at Teatro San Carlo in Naples. My first real ballet. Was kinda strange and sleep inducing and good only for the experience of having gone to 'The Ballet'. There must be better ones.

Last weekend was Festa Dei Gigli in Nola where the people dance around town for nearly 24 hours carrying 80 foot tall decorated wooden obelisks with people playing traditional folk music on each one. There are about 120 men to each of the 8 Gigli, 20 who are playing the music and the 100 others carry the thing. Each Gigli team has had a year to recruit, plan, build (all built the same way) and decorate thier tower. No doubt they workout to carry the thing. After nearly a week there are still men walking around with a very large 'Third shoulder', which is the swollen and bruised area of their upper back that the wooden crossmember of the Gigli was carried on. The band is made up of 3 singers, 2 drummers, keyboardist, guitar, base, and a number of horns (sax, trombone, trumpet). The horn melodies are lofty tunes with your head upturned and mind wheeling. The bass and drums drive the tower through the tiny streets scraping balconies on both sides. I really liked the tune and I am still humming it.

The rest of the week, we had a lot to do at work so I was really tied up. We managed to organize a group trip to Berlin for next friday through monday. Manal and I got a cheap flight and are meeting up there with the Poland crew (6 students from Montreal) and the Munich crew (another 2). All together, we're going to rip the city down, finally getting a chance to celebrate some independence in a city that knows it so soon ago, so first hand.

And finally a note on independence. Today is Canada Day, a week ago, "La fete nationale", and on Monday, July 4th. Yes, we know its all turned into a beer-slugging fest and bbq-athon, no matter where you celebrate from. Canada, I'm relatively new to, and I don't particularly take anything out of celebrating their independence. This isn't a hit on Canada, I'm just indifferent. I will celebrate American Independence, because I think now more than ever we need it. I will celebrate an independent spirit of the ancestors who fought to make it that way and I will keep in my foremind the challenge of preserving our independence from any party who exerts force to tie my hands as a citizen; be that party external or internal.

I'll say some more after the fact stuff about Canada when I get the chance...This is too long though and I've got to get out of here.

This Weekend: Beach (Ischia, Capri), Michele sings Choir, dinner with a green-eyed girl.


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