Skiing with Lil Guy

Throughout the entire trip I had been looking forward to meeting Jeff and Jaclyn, who are with Jacklyn's family on vacation in switzerland. I woke up early thursday morning, bid adeiu to Jen for the first time in six weeks, and headed on a train up to milan and then to switzerland.

I made great time thanks to recognizing the right train stop and jumping out of the train just in time (original plan was to take the train all the way to geneva and then jump on a train and head directly back so my quick thinking saved 5 hours).

The name of the mountain is called crans montana and it is in the southest of Switzerland. The first night i had dinner with Jeff, Jaclyn and her family. It was my first time speaking with adults in weeks and my first thoughts were (ah, shit, i got to act normal and make coherent sentences). Jaclyn's parents were great and made me feel real comfortable being there.

We woke up to go skiing at 7am. Everyday the group skis together. There are 12 people in all (including the other families). The big question all week is how good of a skiier I am. We found the answer out real quicky.....

I told Jeff i needed some warm up runs before we went up to the more difficult mountains. That idea got denied pretty quickly and before you know it Im 3000 feet up a mountain staring down the steepest slope Ive ever seen. I swear, it could have been a 90 degree drop, or so it looked. Within 30 seconds i had crashed 4 times. I had no control and would just ski until i was going way to fast and then crash. 12 people were mocking me. Little girls were skiing circles around me, one women goes to Jeff "it's like when your friend has a fat girlfriend" whatever that means, etc. etc. The leader of the group was growling and thinking "how dare this punk show up and ruin my last day of skiing".

Luckily, Jeff and Jaclyn were gracious enough to take me to some easier slopes and right when i thought i had it down and was just catching my breath we go back to the first slope. Oh shit, Im fucked.

Too make a long story short.

1) I continue to fall
2) Jeff keeps on telling me to get out of my wedge and ski parellel. This is impossible to me. Its like telling a one armed bandit to hold his gun with two hands.
3) After six straight days of sun the conditions take a turn for the worst. I can't see an inch in front of me, snow is flying in my face, and their is ice everywhere.
4) Jaclyn's mom takes pity on me and rides down in the gondola with me. (Yup, im that big of a pussey that i didnt even make it down the mountain).

Anyway, my body is still sore and i hate skiing. Good to see ya little guy.

Im in interlocken now, think this place is past its prime, and have no idea what to do next.

Gold Sweet Gold

Littyhoops and Women's halfpipe gold medalist Hannah Teter share a moment in time. This pic was taken one day before Hannah won the gold medal.


A party of Four

Marni, jen's roommate and my friend from SD, arrived on Sunday with Justin, a dude they are both friends with (perhaps more than friends, a bit perplexed on how to classify it) from SD. Now we roll deep in a crew of 4. Luckily, Marni and Justin know absolutely nothing about europe and just follow along with whatever the plan is. We could tell them to draw a cartoon of a muslim and fly to denmark and parade around the streets and they would do it. Anyway, thank god, because if their were four different opinions on everything we would go crazy.

Unfortunately, the intensity of decision making has risen a level because its seems that me and jen disagree on everything now. My philosopy is simple and I think if i stick to it, Ill be ok.

1) When i dont care and i follow Jen.
2) When i dont know i say i dont know.
3) When i know am right, i gently go "well i think this is the right way but what do you think"
4) When in doubt or a dicey situation just zone out and pretend like your in your own world and have no idea whats going on

Its been over 5 weeks with Jen and for the most part we are getting along splendidly and I couldnt ask for a better travel buddy. I guess she is part of my life/life stories forever now.

Seventy years from now, I can tell my grandkids about the time i went to europe with this girl Jenifer Schloss and then I can end the story with "but then i met your grandma and we fell in love and i only travelled with her for the rest of my life". On the other hand, Ive been planning a 25 year reunion tour with Jen. So at the age of 50 i will tell my four kids and my wife, "hey, ill be back in six weeks...got to meet this chick, Jen (whatever her last name will be), in europe...keep the flanken warm in the oven and text me the st. john scores (by the way, great job pops with the college basketball updates).

Anyway, last paragraph probably didnt make much sense. I am in the stream of conciousness style of prose, aka henry miller, or is it henry james. Tropics of Cancer guy. Also, in the spelling style of a GED dropout.

This is getting stupid...will try to right soon...i know i am on a four day delay but its not me...the interent wires are real slow in italy (another poor joke).

The Pimp of Valentine's Day

So i went out to valentine's day dinner with 7 girls, to an amazing restaurant in Florence called Il Latino (i think). It was Jen, myself and alix colby and a bunch of her freinds. The meal unfolded as follows (btw, i am not the pimp referred to in the title).

After getting lost for the fourth time that day (don't assume the girls who live their have any clue what they are doing) we finally find the restaurant. We heard that reservations dont matter at this place, they just seat whoever they want. Luckily, they sat us right away. Il Latino just brings food out, you dont have to order. Here is a course by course rundown.

1) Wine. Two big crafts of wine are at the table and you pour yourself a glass when you first sit down. For me it was one glass after another throughout the two hour dinner and I probably drank more than the other seven girls combined.

2) Appetizers. Bruchetta followed by a liver patte, followed by mozzerella and bacon. One right after the other in astonishing speed. This course gets you mentally and physicall ready for what lies ahead.

3) Pasta. Huge, huge plates of Lasgna, Wild Board ravioli, and penne with meat sauce. The pasta is amazing and is enough for a full meal. I have three or four plates. I realize that im about to be screwed because im already full and havent even made it to the main course. I drink my wy through it and call myself a panza until i am more hungry again.

4) The main course is a huge plate of meat consisting of lamb, roast beef and veal. The veal is amazing. So is the lamb. I eat and eat. This is the best i have ever felt in my life. I am at a 10 in the scale of life.

5) To make sure you leave wasted they serve you a sweet digestiv drink and a glass of super sweet champagne.

6) Dessert is a tray of assorted cakes and biscotti. I go to work. I realize the girl next to me hasnt eaten in hours and i feel for her.

7) The owner of the place strolls over, gives the table a once over, spits out a few lines in italian, rubs his stomach for awhile, smiles, and goes "30 euro". Yup, that's how they determine the bill at this place. Amazing. He is the REAL PIMP.

8) I walk home happy, my stomach popping out like mount everestt and my brain convinced their was vicodin in the lamb.

P.S. A few hours later i endugled in the leftover wild boar pasta. Who would have known that Wild Boar makes for a great late night snack. Perhaps its the freedom of the boar that can be tasted, perhaps not...its still did the job.


Olympic Luck Runs Dry

Its 3am In florence and im a bit tipsy so bear (mom, hope that bare is spelled the right way) with me as i attempt to do my best to humor the masses.

My first week in Torino at the olympics and Jen and I were on fire with luck. We scalped tickets to the opening ceremonies for 100 each (the cheapest ticket face value was 250). The first day we randomly went to speedskating and saw chad hendrick win the gold medal, he cried, we cheered. The second day we went to snowboarding. It was impossible to get a ticket and peole were paying 150 each but we found a guy who gave us two free tickets. Furthermore, we saw Shaun White, the flying tomato himself, win gold.

After the snowboard half pipe we skipped under a rope and were hanging out with the atheltes. We talked to Seth Wescott and Hannah Teter for a while. They were both super cool. I asked Hannah to make out with me because Im losing to jen by alot in the make out with people in europe contest and olympic atheltes are worth a bunch of points. She was like, maybe in your next life loser, but i got a picture with her and still wished her luck in her race. She won.

Seth was also awesome. His mom was giving him the third degree as it was the first time she had seen him and he was being real sweet. He was explaining snowboard cross to be for a few minutes and then we were talking about the olympics for awhile. Jen was too nervous to ask him to take a picture, and i had talked to him for too long to be a gay tourist, so we have no footage but it is a true story. He won gold a few days later.

Its cool to think that we met these normal people who now have an awesome medal and an awesome life because they won!

After going to florence we got back to Torino and went to curling. The USA won again and curling is amazing. My theory real quick, curling became an olympic sport because it gives any person the dream to belive they could have been an olympian. If somebody told me at the age of twleve, "litty, you are a lefty and have a slick glove but you cant hit for shit or find home plate from the mound with a magnifying glass". then i could have taken up curling right then and there and been on my way to becoming a famous athlete. Everybody who curls is from Bimidji, Minnesota. I got coordination. I sweep brooms. Littyhoops, the olympian.

Anyway, I also saw the USA beat Kazakstan. "In my country, we lose at hockey".

I thought i was on fire. I had only seen the USA win gold or win their match and we had scalped ticket for every event at below face value.

But then we went to skeleton, where the best usa guy was suspeneded for rogaine, and saw no USA medal. The next night we trield to go to short track speedskating and hockey and were shut out from both because their were absolutely no tickets. Luck runs dry.

On saturday we did end up going to the Budweiser "Club Bud" party. I was trying to get into this all week and thanks to Jen meeting some dude at skeleton we did get pases. For 10 minutes i thought it would be the greatest party ever but it ended up being pretty lame. My two highlihts

1) Meeting gold medal olympian kerri walsh. She was drunk as shit and I went up to her and told her she is my favorite volleyball player ever, even more thank Karch Kiraly. She goes bullshit and then says, you probably think my name is misty. I told her no, i love her, and she gave me a hug. Some other guy comes over and whispers something in her ear and she goes "ew, that is disgusting and im married". I tell her i would beat him up, she says its ok and gives me another hug. I lover her.

2) Bruce Beck is drunk as shit. He used to announce St. Johns games and do MSG sportsdesk. I go up to him and go, Bruce, you are my favorite announcer ever. I try to talk about Johhny hoops but he is too drunk to care. I ask him what he is doing her and he says that he is working for NBC New York. I go oh, give me your best "back to you Len". He gives me a look of defeat, and goes exactly. I keep on repeating "back to you len" and then jen starts saying it. He loves Jen. We take a picture together and then throw it back to len. Nothing happens so we throw it back to Len again and leave.


Ann Arbor, Florence

After a full slate of olympic events last weekend we decided to head down to florence from Mon-Wed. Everybody always has great things to say about florence (including my parents and my sis) so figured it was worth checking out. Plus, Aaron and Troy sisters are both studying abroad there so we had a place to stay.

Before, I rehash the weekend in florence I want to go on the record to say that Florence is the whackest abroad experience in the world. Basically, it is like they moved parts of Long Island to Italy in an sociological experiment that went bad. If somebody actually goes abroad to florence thinking they will immerse himself in the culture, and learn about another people and speak in another language they have less of a clue then helen keller. That person would probably jump off the ponte vechio to kill himself as quickly as possible because there is no longer hope in this world. The scene in florence is to take the 10 most spoiled kids from Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Syracuse, sprinkle in a few kids from Maryland, BU and NYU and let them do their whacky thing. Clubs, bottles, rediculous dinners, shop shop shop. loud obnoxious conversations, yup, yup, and yup.

Ok, now that i got that out of my system....

We arrive in florence around 8pm and meet up with Alix and Jenna (as well as the other 7 girls in their crew and the entire michigan guy crew) at a restaurant. Jenna made it her job to freak out that Jen and I dont date and then went on to ask me in every conceivable way if we hook up. It's girl troy and it freaks me the fuck out. One kid asked jenna if she had any siblings and her face lit up and she goes "isnt it great when people dont know me as troy and blakes brother". Girl Power. Anyway, they are both sweethearts and were so gracious to Jen and I all weekend. In fact, all the girls were great and we are meeting up with them in Switzerland next weekend.

Monday night we went out to this club YAB. Apparently, Monday's at Yab are like Palidium in Acapulco and it is also the historically landmark where jon hillman dropped kicked an itailian girl and hid under lindsey sobel table. I wasn't that impressed though. The club was way overcrowded with smelly black guys, and they punch a ticket every time you buy a drink and then rip you off at the end.

We got back to the girls apartment at about 3am Monday night and Alix Colby pulls me aside and goes "let's go to McDonalds". It does not register in my little brain that we are in the food/restaurant capitol of the world. McDonalds, fucked up and late night, is quite simply the "best thing ever". (I am going to write another post dedicated to my McDonalds journey, but that is for another time.)

So, obviously we cab it to McDonalds. Im thinking Sundae and a small fries. By the time we left McDonalds we had 3 Big and Tasty meals, 6 extra orders of fries, and 3 chicken nuggets. 32 euros, or about 40 bucks. We definitely got ripped off but i was so wasted and happy that i saw the big number as was so impressed by the amount of food we must have and happily payed. I also begged the guy for extra bbq sauce, and would have compromised my morals if he didnt deliver (whatever that means).

Anyway, we get back to Alix's apartmenbt and I'm the hero - but only in my own mind. I keep on asking this girl from wisconsin

Me: "can move into your "skank room" (extra room in her apt)
Wisco Girl: Do you mean for the night or the semester?
Me: The semester...dont worry your mom is cool with it.
Her: Who are you?
Her (to everybody else): Who the fuck is this kid?
Me: So you cool with it, pass the nuggets?

Wait five minutes and the repeat conversation

Anyways, next thing i know i wake up in the skank room at 9am dying of thirst. I drink water, feel better and go see the David. Big ass statue and best piece of art ive seen on this here continent.


Olympic Weekend By Jamie Milhrad

Hey, burnt out from writing so Im passing along the email Jamie wrote. Blaze is me, or rather, it is my israeli doppleganger.

Well, i just had the BEST weekend in torino with blaze and jen!  Best of all, blaze took jen and i to a kelly clarkson concert as an early valentine’s day present, i mean, how sweet is blaze?  Did anyone know he was so romantic? But more on that later:)

So, brian and jen went to opening ceremonies Friday night, but i don’t get out of work until 730 and they started at 8pm, so i watched them on TV.  So jealous they went...but i met them first thing sat morning on the 818 train from milan...got to hotel nizza at 10:45am where i was promptly greeted by paolo, mine and jen’s new italian boyfriend (he loves us...he’s not really out italian bf)...so psyched to see brian and jen...who are on quite the whirlwind tour of europe, but i’m absolutely sure that all anyone does at work is check blaze’s blog, so no one needs to be caught up.

So, we hung out for a little in the hotel, then we put on layers and walked around the Olympic Village a little before we went to 5000m men’s speed skating...kind of a random first event, but there wasn’t so much going on Saturday because it was the first day.  So we go to speed skating and EVERYONE is wearing orange...like a big huge sea of orange people.  Turns out the orange people = dutch people, and speed skating is the ONLY event that dutch people are good at.  As a result, the entire Dutch population puts on orange clothing, of which they apparently have closets full, and come to torino to show their support for the Dutch speed skaters (who are like rock stars in the netherlands).  First of all, Dutch people are so nice.  And this is why i feel kind of bad, but yeah! We beat them!  We got the gold medal, obv, and Chad Hedrick (who is super super cute, see below) took the gold medal from right under their dutch noses!  

They got silver, don’t feel too bad for them.  It was so exciting...and after chad hedrick was doing his victory lap around the ring, he looked right at us and gave us a little YEAH!!!!  (just like the pic above) It was amazing.  We didn’t even have an american flag at that point...but we were screaming for him like crazy.  It’s SO much more fun when you win things!

So, we got out of speed skating at like 8 something, and decided we had to go to the heinekin house where all the dutch people were going.  Each country apparently has their own house at the Olympics...we’re not positive about this, but we think it’s true.  Anyway, most houses don’t let all nationalities come in (that’s the spirit of the olympics, huh?) but the heinekin house totally does (am i spelling heinekin wrong?)...even though we weren’t so sure they were going to let americans in after we beat them on their big day.  No problems..after we FOUND the heinekin house (following orange people is not as easy as it sounds) it was soo fun...cheap beer, lots of fun orange people...a free rock concert (we were the only people who knew the words to all the songs, of course...which we didn’t get because apparently the band singing was the most famous band in the netherlands?) AND free ice skating.  Free drunk ice skating! I mean, amazing.  

Then we left around 11:30 and ate dinner...which was some sort of mystery meat on a roll with mystery vegetables and mystery cheese from a little truck outside the heinekin house.  Brian had two.  Yikes. This from a boy who didn’t like the food in israel, but he likes mystery sandwiches in italy (blaze is eating by the way, but he’s on like a one-meal-a-day plan)

Went back to the hotel to change and go out, but passed out instead. Being with blaze and jen in italy is like being with shakar and dinah in israel...it’s EXHAUSTING.

Sunday morning we were going to wake up super early to go to Bardoneccia (Bar-Dow-Neck-E-Ah) where skiing and snowboarding are in the mountains, but since it takes almost 2 hours to get there (you have to wait for a train, take a 1hr 20min train, and then a bus) we decided to just go for the afternoon for the finals (Preliminaries for men’s halp-pipe snowboarding were from 10-1 and then finals 2-330).  It was the same ticket for whole day, so prob we should have just gone the whole day, but jen and I were really enjoying breakfast in the hotel and so we took our time.  First order of business, we bought an American flag.  We’re still looking for bandannas...we’re thinking of making them for next weekend.

(on a side note, can i just point out that while brian may seem like he’s high and doing nothing all the time, he is, in fact, a real go-to guy and is an excellent travel guide and olympic event planner extraordinaire.  Good job bri.)

We made it to bardoneccia by 12:30pm, and began to try to get tickets.  Now  you have to remember, most people go to these events with tickets.  Yeah, we were on a bit of a different plan that was more like to get them from people standing outside once we got there.  This worked swimmingly for speed skating which was far from sold out and far from popular, but snowboarding men’s half-pipe is super popular and was super sold out.  Lots of people went only to the morning and were leaving, but they weren’t letting people back in with ripped ticket stubs.  Once you’re out, you’re out.  So we try to sweet talk the ticket guys but no good, and we proceed to just ask every single person walking in if they have tickets.  Some american guy is like ‘oh yeah, i have two tickets, and just gives them to us — 90 euro seats!  Good job brian, and that was amazing.  But we still needed one more, and there were two single people also looking for one ticket by the gate....long story short, after a lot of asking and bothering people, and after receiving SO many dirty looks (i’m sorry, jen and i look like nice girls, but people were looking at us like we were the scum of the earth when we asked if they had extra tickets) we found an american couple that had two extras and totally ripped us off for one ticket, but since we didn’t pay for the others, it was fine.  If we didn’t buy one, the other two people were ready to pay whatever they asked.

And, snowboarding was amazing, the weather was incredible and sunny, and we won again!!!! Which totally proves that we’re good luck.  Here’s shaun white after he won, and us at snowboarding:

It took about hours to get back on a bus after snowboarding was over.  First, somehow we managed to get on the platform where all the snowboarders were standing (not the half-pipe snowboarders, the ones that do the other SB events) so we were meeting some of them and thinking we were cool for a little while.  Brian asked one of the girl snowboarders to make out. (That plan didn’t work out so well)   And then by the time we decided to leave, about 1000 other people had already decided the same thing, so we stood in the FREEZING cold snow and waited for almost 2 hours for a bus back to bardoneccia.  It was awful.  And it was pretty much my fault because jen and bri wanted to climb over the fence and walk across this river thing that would have gotten us on a bus about an hour earlier, but i was being a baby.  Obv. They’re right, i repelled in israel...but seriously, does that make me an olympic athlete??

The good thing is, that we got back to torino too late to go to short track at 7pm, which was our original plan, so we decided the backup would be to try to go to the medal ceremony at 8 (since we had had so much to do with the US already winning 2 gold medals!) which was the best thing ever!

So the medal ceremony each night is free, and apparently (we found this out a little too late) at 2pm every day in piazza san carlo, 400 free tickets are given out.  But people get there at like 9am to get the free tickets, because after every night’s medal ceremony there is a free concert.  This is where my little cousin marisa would have DIED...last night was kelly clarkson!  Yup, the one and only true AMERICAN IDOL! There are some good ones..wed is duran duran, thurs is jamaroqui, Sunday is whitney houston, etc etc

So, tix to last night were done of course when we got to the atrium at 7:30pm, so we ended up getting lucky and scalping them for 10 euro each, which ended up being the best 10 euro i ever spent!  The medal ceremony was great because we got to sing the star spangled banner (oh, how i love america!) twice!!!  And we had our flag we walked around flaunting all day, and we were super obnoxious about it, and then we got to see a kelly clarkson concert.  Omigod, she was AMAZING.  So good.  She has the most beautiful voice, and we managed to push ourselves up to about 9 rows back!!! Brian didn’t like that because all the other guys in the audience kept being like ‘dude, why do you need to be so close to kelly clarkson’ but it was so much fun, and don’t listen to anything brian says on his blog, he was LOVING it.  He even sang “the trouble with love is....” to me and jen last night before we went to bed.

And then we took a 10:50 pm train back to milan and i’m at work, BUT we get to do it all over again next weekend!  My friends Matt, liz, and erika  will be with us, too...jen and bri are prob going back this thurs or so so they’ll get to see jamaroqui...

Hope everyone had a great weekend, and i love and miss you all. Going to meet jen and brian for lunch, then they’re off to florence for 2 days.  Was anyone studying in florence that can remember the name of the waxing place in florence...international something and or/do you have the number by any chance?

Any last minute suggestions for bri and jen in florence or rome send them asap. Wish you were all here this weekend. Feel free to check for last minute flights.

How was shabbat dinner fri night?




Torino, Italy - Im at the olympics now, been here since Friday. On Friday night we went to the opening ceremonies. Cheapest ticket was $250 but we were able to scalp for $150 each. Ceremonies were pretty cool, alot going on at once and at time visually overwhelming. Cool to be there as it really made us feel apart of the games. Afterwards I went to a few bars in torino but was real beat and headed back to our hotel kind of early (weak lhoops, weak).

Saturday, Jamie, our friend we met in israel and lives in milan, met us. Good to see her and a welcome addition as me and jen have run out of things to say to each other and kind of just communicate by staring at each other, mumbling, and her throwing shit at me when i snore in my sleep.

Yesterday, we decided to go to speedskating, mens 5k, at the last minute. Amazing move as we saw Texas Chad Hendrick win America's first gold medal. The event was neat. Almost all the fans their were Dutch, as speedskating is the only winter sport they are good at. The place was roaring when the dutch guys took the first and second spots but then Hendrick raced and blew everybody away. He won by over two seconds and just missed an olympic record. As he was taking his cool down lap he skated passed our section and us three being the only americans were cheering like crazy. As he skated by he saw us and screamed out to us in celebration. Cool moment.

Speedskating is kind of funny to watch. Part intuition to try and figure out who is going the fastest, but its mostly waiting to see the guys time for each lap and measure their splits against the other racers. After a while you get the hang of it.
1)Watch skaters skates past you
3)wait till they finish their lap
4)look at the scorboard
5)do a little math in your head to figure out if they are fast

Then last night we went to the Holland Heineken House which was basically a big party that anybody could get into. Had about 6 or 7 Heine's and then went ice skating on a small skating ring inside of the tent. Let me tell you, Hendrick need not worry about me on the ice.

So far my pull between CSTV, lisa at the NHL, and other random contacts hasnt got me much good stuff. I just emailed Jonny Mosley via my old boss at CSTV, and we will see if he writes back. Judging from our lunch with big air this summer it would be miraculous if he knows how to use email.

Today we are going to halfpipe to see the Flying Tomato Shaun White and then to short track to see Ohno. Psyched for both events. Missing out on the downhill which should be huge with bode and darren rahlves but heard you can see only very little in person and the halfpipe should be festive.


Nice Police

Yesterday, we checked into a hostel in Nice (only later would we find out it is for gays). Right after we checked in, I took my daily nap and Jen went to mingle with the hostelnicks. Low and behold she befriended three Australian Jews. We still are feeling the effects of birthright; where anything/everything Jewish is super cool so we make plans to go out with the aussies that night.

Night life in nice isn't much during the non-summer. I found this out as I was reading the booklet in the room called "Gay in Nice". At first I thought to myself how cute "the use the word gay to mean fun" in this quaint city.

Anyways, back to the aussie jews (who I don’t think are gay). We end up going to an Irish pub with them and basically we are the only people in the bar. I introduce them to Jaeger bombs, because they were all kind of tired and needed a boost. Teaching people about Jaeger bombs (drop a shot of Jaeger in Red Bull) is the best thing I have to offer people as an American. I also used the other American tactic of buying the bartender a shot so that he likes me instead of hating me as just another obnoxious Yankee. A few shots here and a few more shots there, and still nobody is in the bar but i'm getting to the level. We head off to another bar (with the bartender as the new addition, albeit non-jewish, to our crew).

The other bar wasn’t that much better. Some Fabio looking guy had a band and was singing American music while his crazed #1 fan/girlfriend wouldn’t let people sit at any of the tables. The aussie jews were kind of giving her a hard time and despite the red bull I was falling asleep at the bar so we decide to all leave.

One of the aussies had just spent a semester studying at Illinois and evidently got laid one too many times because he wouldn't stop talking about college girls, keg stands, bongs, etc. I figured I show these kids what a real rowdy American college kid can be like and started shaking a chain fence. Aussie Jew #1 and Aussie Jew #2 followed as planned. Shake, shake, shake - fun, fun fun. A French police car pulls up and this is where I’m thinking "French jail is going to suck" so i give the cop my "howdy, I’m a stupid American and just like shaking fences" smile and walk off. This works as the cop drives away.

Up the block we walk into a kids park (if you’re between the ages of 5-8, the south of France is the place to be. Every park has a carnival, game room, electric rides - think santa monica pier). We hop over a fence or two and now I am bouncing on trampolines. Im bouncing - boing, boing, boing. Im almost a foot off the ground and trying to think up how i can do a flip without fracturing my third vertebrate or vomiting all over myself. The aussie dudes are boinging along with me.

All of a sudden I see a French policeman on foot with a dog coming at us. I already used my "get out of french jail free card" with the last cop so here I have no choice to run. I figure he is the Nice Police and I am Littyhoops (former great neck north math team captain) and that I can outsmart this guy, even with 4 shots of Jaeger in my stomach. I run. My plan is not to stop until I find my gay hostel or the US Consulate. Im like tom cruise in the movies, except i just want to go back to my gay hostel to sleep and hes just gay.

Obviously, I have no idea where the hostel is. I have a piece of paper with the security code to get in but no address. I keep on checking the paper, but each time I look there is no address. I figure I'll check every street in Nice until I find it so I go to the beach and work my way up and down the blocks. Luckily I find it pretty easily, enter the security code and get into my room. Jen isn't there. This is good and bad. I get the extra pillow = good. Not knowing where jen is = bad.

Being the new media guru that I am I text message aussie #3 to find jen's whereabouts. I get confirmation that she is alive and well. I pass out, a free and happy man.



Ah, the French Riviera. Now I know how Troy, the diminutive baller that he is, feels on his family vacation. This place is beautiful and is exactly what you picture in your head when you think of the French Riviera. If only it was 10 degrees warmer it would be heaven.

Our trip to Cannes from Barcelona was a bit dicey. We had an overnight bus that leaves barca at 1:35 AM and gets into Avignon (a town about in France about half way between Barcelona and Cannes) at 8:30 AM and then make a train to Cannes.

We left our hostel around midnight but the subway entrance was locked so we take a cab to the train station. At the station, the guy doesn’t have us on our reservation list (we booked it on the internet). Our only option is to wait for the bus to come and hope we are on the drivers list. Meanwhile, the bus station is the shadiest place we've been in Europe yet with a "Beware of pickpocket sign” in five different languages (I wanted Jen to take pictures of me looking like i was getting my pocket picked by the sign but she wasn’t into it at the time) and shady guys circling around the place. They also had a pizza vending machine that served pepperoni slices for 2 euros. It was an aluminum machine and you couldn’t see what the pizza looked like but I’m sure as hell there was no oven inside of it -- so who knows. I wanted to pay the 2 euros to see what would come out but again Jen was having none of my playful shenanigans.

So finally at 1AM I make the executive decision that we should walk down the block to a hotel hoping they will have a computer center so we can print out our confirmation. We walk down the shady block and Jen waits in the lobby with our bags as I go to find the business center.

I walk down a few flights of stairs and see the sign for the business center. All the lights are off but there door is open. I walk through the doors and down the hall and find a row of computers. Three of the computers are locked but there is one that is working and I sign on to my email and print out the confirmation. Miraculously, the printer is working as well (this is in complete darkness). I print out the page and go to leave the room but the door is locked. I’m locked in the dark computer center. Fuck me.

Finally, I find an emergency exit and run through it (tripping the wire but no alarm goes off). The door to the lobby floor doesnt opens so I walk up to the second floor which is executive offices. There is no apparent way out of this floor except for a service elevator in the janitor closet. I take the elevator down to the lobby and walk out a door and I am standing behind the counter at the front desk with the two hotel attendants. They give me weird ass looks and are ready to call security. I throw them the mopey stare as to not intimidate, give them my biggest "hola", look real confused and walk out the hotel.

We get on the bus and there are only a few open seats. I get to sit between 4 Arabs. They smell bad and have scary passports. I eat a vicodin and it makes everything in the world ok.

Jen is looking over my shoulder right now and wants to leave this internet cafe so will have to continue this story another time. We made it to cannes obviously and it doesn’t get much better.

Be good.


Barca Barca

Barcelona = Best place in Europe so far.

After hearing, but not listening, to hillman yap about how great the city is for the last 4 years it actually lived up to all his dopey hype. The city has everything. Good weather, lots to do, best nightlife, beach, cool parks, sick futbol team, tapas, and trippy gaudi architecture.

Jen and I are leaving soon to take a bus then a train to Cannes and to try and enjoy the French Riviera in the cold. Dont think I´ll be seeing too many naked french chicks on the beach but looking forward to checking out Monaco.

My parents who are avid readers of this damn blog which directly correlates with much less interesting tales have told me my grammar is all wrong. More importantly, they have informed me to watch out for trains that split in the middle of the night and go in two different directions. They haven’t asked about my health insurance though for the last three phone calls so perhaps they are not yet fully senile. Also, my father hasn’t yet reminded me to apply sunscreen - a warning/recommendation I received during every phone conversation I had with him over the 18 month period when I lived in San Diego.

Anyway, didn’t mean to go hard on them but if your going to read this here blog, you better be ready to roll with the punches. I’m sure they will reply with some line about asking what roof I expect to live under when I get back to America and that would be theres. Good old 80 Dickenson Place.


A Few Israeli Picks

Boy, that trip to Israel from Great Neck was long and hard and took about 40 years but my camel´s hump fit my nut sac splendidly.

The mud people of the dead sea including the Kibbutz Monster.

Littyhoops has a moment at the wall when he realizes their is more to life than college basketball.


Barcelona Clubin'

Jen and I got into Barcelona at 11pm last night exhausted. We could have easily passed out but we planned to arrive in Barcelona on a Saturday night because i´ve heard Jon Hillman tell me for years "Bro, I’m not going to lie, but people in Barcelona know how to party and you haven’t lived life yet."

We were relying on my little sis’s friend from Duke, Leon, to tell us where to go. (By the way, Leon is Jewish and has one of the best names for a jew ever. It tempts me to name my kid Jamal Litvack). Leon told us to meet up with him and his crew at a club called La Paloma.

Jen and I got their around 2am (early for Barcelona club standards). A bunch of mimes stand by the line and greet you by going¨"shhhhhhhhh, silencio por favor". Not sure if the club has to keep quiet because of the neighborhood or they just want to freak out Americans.

We get into the club and order vodka red bulls to wake us up. The club is a huge room pumping club music -- cancun meets acapulco with a euro twist. Apparently, the vodka red bulls are just red bull-red bulls because after a few drinks my eyes are bugging out of my sockets, my heart is pumping and I realize I overdosed on redbull. Jen starts talking to some Argentinean dude for way too long so i go off to find leon. My gimmick is to walk up to girls and go ¨"hey, im a stupid American (george bush accent) and I was wondering if you know leon. Oh and don’t mind me, I’m overdosing on red bull so hard right now." It didn’t work. Leon never came to the club and girls were like "yes you are a stupid American".

Around 5am as the club was getting more crowded I started to wonder if people ever leave or if I was just going to spend the next 5-10 years of my life at La Paloma. I had never been this awake in my life. I envisioned the whole world was destroyed by the apocalypse and la paloma was all that remained of the world.

But then we left around 6am after the Argentinean guy and Jen exchanged emails. Romantic. I asked the mime if i could apply for his job and he spoke to me in Spanish for 10 minutes. I told him i would try and hook him up at CSTV. We couldn’t get a cab so we had to walk back to the hostel. Jen´s heel broke on her shoe and my last thought of the night was "that shit would never happen on A Howard Litvack, American-made, Erica Shoe"

Why I don´t write more

So I wish I can put down every random thing that goes through my mind on this blog but i haven’t been able to write much. Here are the reasons why.

1) Lack of computer. I wish I had a laptop but i don’t so i have to use internet cafes and hostel computers. Internet alone time is one of my favorite things in the world. No, not because of porn -- unless you consider spending countless hours on baseballreference.com (Andy Pettite will be the last 300 game winner in the history of baseball, check the stats) and st. john´s message boards as perverted. Anyway, my last job was based on the internet and hopefully my next job will too. Unfortunately, I´m either always on the clock and paying mad quids and euros for 10 minutes on a slow modem or I have some smelly, grungy hostel guy trying to look up his myspace account to kick game to his bitches back in malaysia.

2) Priority. First I have to check flights and travel information or jen yells at me. Then i check email and write back or my parent’s yell at me. Then I check my work email account because I have this overwhelming feeling of guilt that my life is amazing and theirs sucks. Next, I got to check on Michigan and st. johns basketball and if ron artest has been lynched in cow town. By then my time/money is done and there is no time to update the blog.

3) I know my parents are reading this. About half my stories are R rated and I want them to think I’m an upstanding citizen and a normal person so many entries die before they ever had life (kind of like sam alieto´s views on abortion).


Madrid and Spain

I´m in Madrid now and will be in Spain for the next 5 or 6 days. Going to try and hit up Madrid, Seville and Barcelona but not sure if we have enough time. Want to see FC Barcelona play soccer on Sunday.

We took an overnight train from Paris to Madrid. I felt like i was in an Agatha Christie book. It was uncomfortable until I found the drinking/bar car.

Still trying to finalize our plan for the Olympics. Will be staying in Milan most of the time but want to get some kind of part time job and credentials so i can hop around from event to event. My main goal is to take shots with Bode Miller, Jeremy Bloom and hit the hookah with Shaun White "Carlsbad, what, what".

Keep the emails and the advice coming. Because of Brett I know not to go see the spanish version of phantom of the opera. Also, kosh pointed out that their is only so many damn times a jew can see jesus getting crucified before he loses interest and therefore I skipped the prado today. Up your El Greco.

12 LBS from Perfect

I often joke with my little sister, whose belief it is that I have an ego the size of the Eiffel Tower, that if I lost 12 pounds I would be a perfect human being -- Derek Jeter, Brad Pitt and Albert Einstein all rolled into one Littyhoops.

I then go on to tell her that perhaps I will give her the honor of writing my biography which would be entitled "12 LBS From Perfect: Littyhoops Life of near Perfection"

I tell you this because after two weeks of Israel and London I was very close to becoming a full blown anorexic and was shedding weight like a sumo wrestler In a sauna. Actually, it was one of the jokes of birthright Israel bus 15 -- Blaze is anorexic. The irony in this is that I am the "fat kid" when I go to eat with my friends.

"Litty, you really had to order that extra Bog Mac you fat ass"
"why dont you just eat the rest of the food on the table"
"Im not sharong the B-market meal with Litty".

- All these have been said by evanter and brett many a times.

I initially made the decision to quit eating for a few reasons:

1) After 7 straight meals of hummus and cole slaw I forgot good food actually exits
2) For awhile I had quit sleeping so figured quitting eating was the next logical move
3) My fuel of life was the spirituality of Israel and I did not need to follow the worldly way
4) Freak people out some more - they already thought I had an eye disease and was always stoned

My plan was to start eating like a madman once I hit europe but then I found out British people eat the worst freaking food In the world. KFC and Curry are there go to meals - NYC has pizza, SD has burritos, the UK has some smelly chicken shit.

By the way, I don’t even like Indian food but I eat It every meal because I would rather have good food that I don’t like then the rest of the crap they serve. By the way Fish and Chips sound alot better than It Is. Basically they catch a dirty fish from the Thames and throw It In the frying pan. To help you explain It can also be

1) Fish Funnel Cake
2) Catching a pigeon In NYC and deep frying It
3) Fish sticks that you ate when you were a kid with 5 extra codings of fried stuff

Thankfully I´ve hit France where I got some good grub - crapes and pananis - and now I’m in Madrid and had a bomb lunch of roast beef for real cheap. Come Italy I should be hitting my stride and those Italians better watch out.

At least the title of my book remains safe!