Sunday, January 06, 2008

Been a bad blogger

It's 6 January, and this is only my second post of the year. And frankly the first one wasn't all that anyway.

The truth is, I've found myself lost in Guitar Hero III, and it's taken over my life. In fact, it's taken over mine and Red's lives. Of course, we make time for work, too, but almost all leisure pursuits have been abandoned in favour of standing in front of the TV with a pretend guitar strapped across us and pressing little coloured buttons for all we're worth. It's almost absurd!

Until 20 December, we lived a Guitar Hero-less life. Until 20 December. On that fateful day, we visited our friend Ivan at his flat in Italy. Ivan loves his games consoles, and he was keen to show us -- and let us have a go on -- his Guitar Hero II and III. Oops.

We played for not much more than an hour probably -- at the end of this post, you can see video of my first-ever go -- but by the time we returned to the UK on the 26th, we had decided to buy the game. Which actually meant having to buy a console, too. We opted for Playstation3 rather than Xbox 360 because I don't have any faith in Microsoft and don't wish to give them any money either. Whether it was the best choice is a moot point among gamers apparently, but so be it.


Italy was great. I love being there. In fact, I love being anywhere that takes me away from my work, but Christmas in Italy is great. Well, Italy is great. Hmm, I'm not sure where this is going. I just love eating and drinking good food and wine/beer. And while I can do that here, it's so much easier to do so in Italy. There are so many good places to eat.

Food is so important to Italians that it must be nigh on impossible for a bad restaurant to stay in business. While here in the UK, so many cheap restaurants are shite. It's a fact, and it's a shame. As great as the strides are that have been made by the UK dining industry in recent years, they mostly are only in the expensive sector. Cheap 'n' cheerful is still desperately subpar.

The aforementioned Ivan and his brothers have a restaurant about 20 minutes' drive away from Red's family home, so we always make time to eat there. If we are in the area for more than a week, we make at least two visits. We have even been known to visit for one night only, and even then a beeline was made for Ivan's rezzy.

But another thing that's great about visiting Red's mum is that we get to see how the cats are doing. Over the years that I've been part of the family, I've seen a few pets come (and go, sadly), and there has been a new addition since our last visit.

The fun-lovin', ball-chasin', unconstrictable-eyed Rudy has been joined by a tiny black ball of fluff called Zaccaria. Zac has only one eye and was found on a roadside. (Rudy was a found cat, too, in fact.) The two of these loons together is something to behold, and although they obviously get on well and play together, Rudy was jealous of having to share us with his new lil' brother.

I used to be allergic to cats, but that has all but gone since being a cat owner myself. However, the allergy still rears its ugly head with kittens. Their fine fluffy coats just slay me. The first night I was wheezing like a motherfucker, and so I had to get some tablets (like antihistamines or something) for when I felt it coming on. They helped a lot. Which is good, cos I hate not being able to have the kitties on my lap.


So, a family tradition is, on Christmas Day, everyone goes to Red's sister's mother-in-law's house. (Got that?) This woman is great. She's really nice and eccentric, but the most incredible thing is, she makes all her pasta for the lunch herself. Her tortellini, filled with pork meat, were great. And she goes to the trouble of making vegetarian ravioli for Red, too. So she made all this pasta for 13 people, aside from the other cooking she did too. Among the food I ate that day was capon. Since the castrating of chickens is illegal in the UK, I've never tried this meat before. It was nice, but not so much so that you'd think it was better than any good-quality chicken.

Hold on, how many lunch guests???!?!!! Yep, 13. Well, the Italians are a superstitious bunch, and 13 at the table just can't be.

For a few minutes heads were scratched about how to get around this. Set another place? Serve an extra plate? But this all seemed silly. Why lose space for no one? Why waste food on no one?

The wise old mother-in-law had the answer: Petronilla can sit with us. Um, who dat? Off she shot, only to return a few minutes later with quite the spookiest doll you've ever seen, and she sat her on a small stool next to herself at the table. She had her own plate and glass and cutlery. And I have a sneaking suspicion they did indeed give her some food too. Ah, I love Christmas in Italy...

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Blogger Candy Minx said... really does sound like a wonderful communal xmas in Italy...doesn't that make all the difference good company and good food!

I am just laughing about Guitar Hero...really Stagg and I were howling yesterday because of that South Park episode...and I've heard it is super addictive.

I think you made a good choice with Playstation...I had the first Playstation and loved it, still miss it. I turn into a toatal frat boy with a game around I can't have one. Maybe when I'm old I'll get a game!? Mister Anchovy I turned on to Half Life many years ago...he said his days just disappeared...meanwhile I was hooked on Pirates ha ha

06 January, 2008 15:24  
Blogger Avid Andy said...

somehow christmas in italy sounds more exotic than my christmas in tennessee. now we need to see how good you are after hours of practice....

06 January, 2008 16:07  
Blogger Cynnie said...

It took me forever to realize ya'll were speaking italian..
it's enough like spanish for my wee brain to understand..

I got that for my godson/ i want it..
I want it!!!

06 January, 2008 16:58  
Blogger tweetey30 said...

LOL.. I am sorry but laughing at the video. No idea what was being said but hey if you wanted us to know you would have translated.. LOL.. Anyway glad to hear you had fun and in your first post back I thought they had named that poor new baby that name.. Yikes.. I mean your sisters new baby.. Anyway enjoy your new game system.

06 January, 2008 19:49  
Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

I am not in the least jealous of your Christmas in Italy. Eally I'm not. Green is my natural colour...

Where was the head bangin'????

I want I want I want one

06 January, 2008 21:07  
Blogger mister anchovy said...

Ya, I played Half Life for three months before coming up for air - this was a number of years ago. I looked around, realized there was no food in the house, I needed a shave, I didn't know what season it was...

that was the end for video games for me.

07 January, 2008 02:27  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

awesome. to everything. this is all... awesome.

i love that the doll's name is petronilla. i love that petronilla had dinner with you all. i love that you overcame an allergy to cats and love them. i need to find a man who loves cats, 'cause damnit if you guys aren't effing few and far between. and i love that you and red are addicted to guitar hero. i don't know why... i just find it hilarious :)

so far so good on the new year, i'd say :)

07 January, 2008 04:05  
Blogger Milla said...

Ah ah Petronilla! La bambola che fa da ospite a tavola! Bellissima!!
That's such a wonderful story :)

I don't really get this guitar hero thing, maybe it's because I have never played with videogames in my life (not even Pac Gammon or whatever it was called, the mouth that ate all those little things).

07 January, 2008 10:43  
Blogger Sheamus the... said... failed? Ahhhh man.

07 January, 2008 12:38  
Blogger Sheamus the... said...

I think I prefer the X-box but i have no beef with Gates I guess. Hey you can get Call of Duty 4 on the PS3! Man if you had XBOX we could play together online. The SAS and USMC side by side. No terrorist could stand against us man.

07 January, 2008 14:57  
Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

GH is really hilarious, but I'm a fan of the Wii myself.

Sounds like a lovely time in Italy. Happy New Year to you!

07 January, 2008 17:50  
Blogger martinobhoy said...

I'm ashamed to say I didn't even make it to Italy last year. I'll have to go at least twice this year to make up for that.

07 January, 2008 21:00  
Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

Eally? I was pissed again...

07 January, 2008 21:37  
Blogger cappy. said...

note to self.

payday = guitar hero.

my gaffer told me he lost 5 hours the other day playing it!

08 January, 2008 09:56  
Blogger tideliar said...

Nice post mate! My ex-wife spent all of Christmas playing her step-son's XBox + GH LOL. poor kid couldn't get a look in apparently!

08 January, 2008 21:23  
Blogger My Reflecting Pool said...

Wonderful stuff. Over the holiday my nephew got a text msg from a girl who wrote she was having fun playing with her brothers wii.

we giggled like little girls at that.

09 January, 2008 01:42  
Blogger Camie Vog said...

OOOOOh! I got guitar hero 3 for the Wii! I just beat it on easy. I was never able to get the Slayer song down...yet. I have now moved up to medium. I even clipped my nails, as they were preventing me from staying on the frets...

09 January, 2008 01:43  

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