A More Quiet Place

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A Video Game Made Me Gay and other Gamer Stories

May 14, 2016 by Fede | 0 comments

Is it weird to constantly, obsessively wonder about what makes us, us?

Why are some people atheist and other stainless-ly faithful? Stoners or clean? Why do some people go to bed early and others only feel like they exist in the quiet of the night? And how can anyone seriously like pickles?

I guess if we could pinpoint the reason for everything we are, the universe would be as simple and comprehensible as that one Sudoku I was once able to solve, found inside Winx Magazine at a middle school slumber party. Three years ago.

But it’s not that simple. We – humans – have to accept that we’ll never have an answer and I – Fede – have to resign to not knowing why I dislike the color red, why Joanna Newsom’s voice makes me tick and why I’m writing this blog post at this very moment.

I will never know the exact reason behind any of these things. Except for one.

FLASHBACK – SUMMER OF 2015, LUNCHTIME – THE OFFICE

ANNE
I just want the weekend to come. It’s going to be me, a bottle of wine and GTA.

CO-WORKER 1
Yeah!

CO-WORKER 2
Great plan!

CO-WORKER3
GTA is the best!

ME
What exactly is GTA?

I am NOT familiar with video games. Not at all. I have played some when my sister, in the nineteenth century, brought home an Amiga and then quickly lost interest once I figured playing video games required patience, reflexes and the ability not to have a mental breakdown every time you lose.

ANNE
You seriously don’t know Grand Theft Auto? The most popular game of, like, ever?

ME
I don’t….

ANNE
….

ME
….but I know other games. Better games, in fact. Like, like……RAINBOW ISLANDS!

ANNE
What’s that?

ME
Oh, that’s amazing! It’s about a chubby kid, whose mission is to visit a bunch of islands and kill the enemies who stand on his way.

ANNE
What kind?

ME
Uh?

ANNE
What kind of enemies? Is it aliens? Werewolves? Genetically modified soldiers?

ME
It’s bugs. Like worms, bees and occasionally butterflies.

ANNE
So you’re saying that this guy goes around throwing grenades and firing guns against regular insects just because he’s scared of them?

ME
No, you dummy! He does NOT fire weapons! He kills them with rainbows which emanate from his body! This way he can collect diamonds, necklaces and design vases!

rainbow_island

Rainbows.

Insects.

Design vases.

Fifteen years spent interrogating myself on the nature of my nature and on a lazy, sticky, summer afternoon all the pieces precipitate into place. Rainbow Islands made me a homosexual. Continue Reading →

I have a new Berlin project. It is called Mikroskop.

March 20, 2016 by Fede | 0 comments

Months ago I was in Switzerland with my boyfriend. We couldn’t afford anything so we mostly walked around the city with our guide book and took naps in our Ibis-budget hotel room.  Right after one of those naps an idea hit me:

– “I feel like Lonely Planet is telling us everything and nothing about this place”

– “What do you mean?”

– “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could experience a city  not only through historical macro-events but also through the microscopic, personal stories of its inhabitants?”

Back in Berlin I kept thinking about it. Unlike any sane person, when I have an idea I can get awfully obsessed and drag the people around me down a spiral of insanity. In this case, the designated victim was my friend Simone, who happens to be a web-designer and seemed like the perfect guy to push into my new project.

Nine months later, Mikroskop was born.

mikroskop homepage

Mikroskop is a website that provides curious Berliners and tourists with a human, intimate connection to Berlin by recording personal stories and organizing them in a map.

It is also a huge challenge, because 1) it involves a kind of storytelling and technical abilities that I’m not mastering (yet) and will have to learn over time 2) it takes my comedic security blanket and sets it on fire, pushing me to find the heart of each story in a whole different way 3) it focuses on and exposes people who are not me, which makes everything scarier and more delicate.

On the other hand, it’s refreshing to have a creative project that pushes me to talk to people instead of being alone with some cookies in front of a laptop, which is what writing in general is about.

This project is my love letter to Berlin and to the tiny magic happening every second of every day in each of its corners. If you’re reading this you might be part of that magic and I would be extremely glad to hear your story. Just hunt me down on social media or write me an email!

 

The Human body is not made for running: I have proof

March 5, 2016 by Fede | 0 comments

My friend Maria has two university degrees: one in communication and one in something that has to do with sport (I DON’T HAVE A FACT CHECKER OK?!). This makes me think that she must know the human body very well and must also be extremely good at communicating stuff about it.

One day she gave me a concerned look and told me, confidently, “you know, our body is not made for running”. I don’t know if that was just an FYI or if she had picked up on the fact that all that sport was ruining my life, dragging me away from all the tv personalities I had come to love and follow, from my social media friends and, to sum it up, from reality. Whatever her motivations were, her words changed me deeply.

Suddenly, the idea of addressing the United Nations about my middle school organizing outdoor endurance running competitions in January didn’t seem so dumb anymore. Suddenly, I had the courage to look back at that time of my life and say “I was a victim.”. Suddenly, screaming “there’s a baby on the rails!” seemed much more justified than running to catch a train about to depart.

The whole universe started to make sense and in this cascade of pieces falling into place I felt stupid for not recognizing all the hints that Mother Nature had given me about the horrible, dangerous practice of running.

First of all, my locker room selfies looked nothing like this one.

 

 

Au contraire, my post-treadmill shots always seemed like a desperate call for help. Continue Reading →

Living in Wedding: pictures from Berlin’s most underrated neighborhood

February 14, 2016 by Fede | 0 comments

The only times I hear stories about Wedding is when people swear they found dead bodies in it.

Ok, maybe it was only one body and only one story. But still, it’s not like Wedding ranks incredibly high on the list of Berlin’s most loved neighborhoods and that’s a big, fat shame.

Wedding is like a lo-fi cover version of (the idea people have of) Berlin. It’s subtle and hard to hold on to, like that stray cat you once adopted even though it was ugly and traumatized but you ended up loving him anyways.

Here’s some photos:

 

Wedding Berlin Park

Wedding Berlin Park

Continue Reading →

6 ways the Great British Bake Off changed me

January 16, 2016 by Fede | 0 comments

One day I got home and my boyfriend looked excited.

I immediately compiled a mental list of possible reasons and realized that the most likely ones wouldn’t really be relevant to me.

pie_chart

“I found an amazing tv show!”, he exclaimed, and my mind flashed back to fifty-seven different conversations proving how our tv tastes can often diverge.

 

 

– “What’s it about?”

– “It’s a reality show about a bunch of amateur British bakers who take part in a baking competition! Every week there are baking challenges and one of the contestants gets eliminated!”

I was shocked.

Ages ago I wanted to write a tv series about a group of elders who tour the United States on a bus and take part in Bridge competitions. It would have been a mesmerizing mix of Golden Girls and Friday Night Lights. Then I was reminded by pretty much everyone that old people and card games aren’t on anybody’s radar and that no network – “NOT EVEN HBO” – would ever consider producing that.

So there I was, years later, hearing from the mouth of my very boyfriend that BBC is airing a show about baking stuff and that retired housewives are not the only ones watching it.

But I decided I would give The Great British Bake Off a try. I watched the first couple of episodes from a distract, skeptical distance until it actually grew on me. And then came love. And then came obsession. And then I realized all the alarming ways this show has changed me, possibly forever,  and decided to enlist them here.

1) The GBBO made me a bipolar viewer

Continue Reading →

Cards Against Humanity additions that make a lot of sense

December 31, 2015 by Fede | 0 comments

The Christmas holidays are a time of getting together, drinking like goats in the desert and playing board games. For all of you who enjoy complex strategy games whose instructions are longer than the Twilight saga and require an abnormal attention to detail being sober: stop wasting time on my blog and go read yourself some Encyclopædia Britannica.

For all the ones who like silly games taking out the worst in them: I have something for you.

cards against humanity additions

One morning of November I was sick and in a fever delirium. It seemed the perfect time to take all the white cards of Cards Against Humanity which made no sense to me (Yes, all FOURTY of them!) and change them into something that made me laugh.

Here they are

Toni Morrison’s Vagina -> Game of Thrones Spoilers

I don’t know who Toni Morrison is, but I’ve seen people balling and threatening to take their lives after reading on the internet the identities of the latest dead characters in the HBO show.

The Little Engine That Could -> The Agony of Hanging your Clothes to Dry

Continue Reading →

Top 23 Records of 2015

December 1, 2015 by Fede | 0 comments

After doing this in 2012, 2013 ad 2014, not only I managed to keep the tradition alive, but I’ve also published my list before Pitchfork did.  Hooray! These are my favourite records from 2015.

01 | carrie & lowell |  sufjan stevens

Years ago Sufjan Stevens released a record called The Age of Adz that featured acoustic gems alongside electronic-driven songs and a 25 minute epic closing track.  I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

When I read that the new record was going to be more of the old Sufjan (keywords: ballad, stripped down, banjo, quiet) I was ready to be bored – if not disappointed – by what turned out to be a little masterpiece.

Carrie & Lowell narrates the death of Sufjan’s mother (and its aftermath) in microscopic, heartbreaking detail. It is full of conflicting emotions, disconnected images and the pseudo lucidity of a person who’s most likely still in the eye of the storm. Its intimate closeups on family memories intersect with the record’s more abstract poetic to create something that’s not only accessible to the listener but also incredibly, frightfully relatable.

Listen to 4th of July

carrie and lowell cover

02 | divers |  joanna newsom

Continue Reading →

Uh oh. Speaking two languages is driving me nuts

November 12, 2015 by Fede | 0 comments

My high school English teacher used to tell us stuff like, “Learning a foreign language changes you forever.”

Despite being an obvious attempt to make us passionate about her subject, her words made sense to me — the kid who quoted obscure Buffy the Vampire Slayer lines and treated Alanis Morissette’s lyrics like the word of God. After all, without a basic understanding of the English language I couldn’t have done any of that, and all those beautiful imaginary friendships would have never blossomed.

Then I made it to adulthood (I think) and experienced first-hand the perks of speaking a foreign language: hitting on exotic men (whilst still using Buffy references as pick up lines #ForeverAlone) and weaseling my way into more office gossip than ever before.

Learning English strongly affected my habits, but was I really profoundly changed by it? Not until I moved to Germany. In Berlin, I started speaking and writing ten times more…Read the rest of this post on Babbel.com

How to Work at a Startup | Chapter 3: Cover Letter and Social Media

November 7, 2015 by Fede | 0 comments

I wrote this originally for Uberlin

how to write cover letter

Ever wondered why cover letters are called cover letters?

That’s because they’re a cover-up, a fraud, a final attempt to reinforce all the lies you’ve shamelessly written on your resume and spice them up with some hardcore lip service. A good cover letter is something you can’t have your wife and children read without them thinking you’re willing to trade your family for a part-time customer service job at an internet startup.

Now, in order to write a convincing cover letter you have to be able to write a regular one. I know that nobody writes proper letters anymore, but in our childhood we’ve all done it in (at least) two specific circumstances.

 #1 Love Letters

I remember middle school as the place where my first literary attempts took place. All the guys were writing down their hormonal intensity to girls who either wouldn’t let them touch their breasts or didn’t have breasts at all. One of my letters was so successful that a 12 year old girl in my class pulled me aside and kissed me, making death poems suddenly look like a better idea.

#2 Letters to Santa

Growing up in a catholic family, I could either write my Christmas wishes to Santa or to baby Jesus. I always picked the former – very conveniently – assuming that the old man wouldn’t be up to date with my sins. In hindsight I feel like I was never really filled in on the magic of Christmas and as a result all my letters to Santa sounded like financial scam against seniors, as if I had to convince him to spend all his pension for my presents. Also, I probably looked down on Jesus, thinking that a baby born in a cave wouldn’t be able to discern between the real Little Mermaid merchandise and a cheap rip-off.

Anyway, the perfect cover letter takes something from both examples; it has the severe longing of the teenage love letter and the manipulative hidden agenda of the Santa letter; It makes big promises but also claims big rewards; it tells a company that you’ll be their dream, you’ll be their wish, you’ll be their fantasy. You’ll be their hope, you’ll be their love, be everything that they need. You’ll love them more with every breath (truly,  madly, deeply do) you will be strong, you will be faithful ’cause you’re counting on a new beginning, a reason for living, a deeper meaning, yeah.

Template

Dear NAME_OF_RECRUITER, Continue Reading →

I dressed up as my favourite websites for Halloween

November 4, 2015 by Fede | 0 comments

On the Halloween of two years ago I decided to dress up as my boyfriend and impersonated him in a video that managed to fool his dad and gained me a nomination to the Academy Awards (of my heart).

This year I resolved to step up my game and dress up as another of my true, real loves: THE WHOLE INTERNET.

Pitchfork

This rootless supervillain made it his life’s mission to find and pierce everyone who claims that Joanna Newsom’s voice is “kinda weird” or that “Tori Amos  is just a Kate Bush wannabe”.

pitchfork halloween costume

pitchfork halloween costume

pitchfork halloween costume

Continue Reading →