Thursday, March 29, 2007

Waiting for my judgment day.

I can't stop listening to this song (or watching the video, for that matter). It's called "Penny on the Train Track", and it's pretty great. The video is even happier, so I thought i'd share it:

This song will burrough it's way inside your brain, so beware. It should make your day a little brighter singing all day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


The header is fixed.

The small, anal retentive portion of my brain is finally appeased.

Ok. All together now. *Collective Sigh*

Updates and such.

Ciao, tutti. I've been AWOL for a little more than a week now, and lots of stuff is going on. Which most likely accounts for the lack of posting. Firstly, spring quarter started yesterday, and it couldn't have fallen on a nicer day. It was upper 60's to lower 70's all day, and not a cloud in the sky. The forecast today seems a little cloudier, with rain projected for the rest of the week, but...I suppose that would be the fabled spring showers.

My classes this quarter already seem great. I'm taking a lighter load than usual (15 hours, 3 classes), because I just started a new job as an editor at the school paper. I'm taking Italian 221 and 202 (Italian Cinema, and Conversation & Composition, respectively), as well as Comm. 604 (Media Ethics). I had the two Italian courses yesterday, and I can already tell they're both going to be fun. My cinema course is in a big auditorium, with a theater sized projection screen, and we're viewing some of the greats (Fellini, Antonelli, De Sica). My professor is a riot, too. Imagine Mr. Bean, with more exaggerated facial expressions, and a suprisingly peculiar Italian accent, and you've got him: Signore Simone Castaldi. After reading his bio online I can already tell he's quite established in academia. Should be a fun class.

I've been going to the gym everyday, sometimes twice a day, to get rid of this spare 20+ lbs. i've been lugging around since October, and it's starting to pay off. Five pounds down, 15 to go. I guess, in the end, I'm determined to not be that fat American on the beach this summer. Just the visual is motivation enough.

The first orientation for the Lecce program is Friday, and i'm excited to see what our advisor has planned. F and I booked all our hostels two weeks ago, so now we just need to arrange our living situation in Lecce, which will be done largely by the University. I'm excited to live with Italians. I'm sure my language skills will greatly improve in those two months alone.

Anyhow, i'm off to get some breakfast and espresso.

A presto.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


I need help! The header for my blog seems to be askew on every monitor but my own. Is anyone else seeing an uncentered header up top? The trusty "< center >" doesn't seem to fix it.

Much ado about nothing or not, I don't like asymmetry!

Friday, March 16, 2007

A new look.

I've decided to up and change the name of the 'ol blog. Why? Well, I was doing some thinking, and I came to the conclusion that I write considerably more than I talk. In fact, I don't talk that much at all. So "word of mouth" seemed a bit out of character. Where does "Six minutes to live" come from? There's a great quote by Isaac Asimov that reads:

"If a doctor ever told me that I have just six minutes to live,
I would type faster."

I've always loved the quote, and I guess I admire the devotion that great writers can contribute to their craft. Maybe changing the blog title will help muster a new will to write. Let's hope.

In other news: the weather here is back to the mid 30's. I told you!


Thursday, March 15, 2007


Sal says "Ciao, bella."

Notice the arm of the couch he demolished. I really need to buy some nail caps.


So, I sort of have an affinity for rooftops. For some reason, I really enjoy finding ways to get on top of buildings, as dumb as it sounds. Naturally, the easiest buildings to get on top of are parking garages, and in downtown Columbus they are certainly abundant. Remember the picture of North Market yesterday? That was taken from a parking garage directly next to the market after I had completed the first half of my afternoon excursion. Here are some seemingly random shots from the same spot:

My good friend and band-mate Josh had told me, recently, about a parking garage downtown that offered sweeping views of all of Columbus, from ten stories up. I forgot the general area of where he said it was, but I figured I could find it if I looked well enough. So, I decided to do just that. Along the way I stopped at the Nationwide Insurance building's parking garage, to take a few shots of the skyline, but the first two were a bit over-exposed:

I like the little rooftop terrace on the first building in the foreground. That'd certainly be a nice metropolitan retreat on a summer night. From on top of this building I played around a bit with the zoom capabilities on my camera, and I was pretty surprised at how well the shots came out. I felt like a mix between a lurker and a papparazzi. Moving along still, I recognized one of the buildings that Josh described as being next to the garage, and I found it. It wasn't as tall as I had expected, but I was able to get some pretty good shots, despite getting the evil eye from a few suits in the elevator on the way up:

You can faintly make out Ohio State's campus in the distance of the last shot, noticeable only by the red brick buildings. I spent probably a half an hour on top of the garage looking around. I love the inevitable tingley sensation you get when you peer over the edge of any tall building, which is probably why I enjoy climbing them so much.

Here is the way down (the first attempt at capturing video with my camera):

That's all for today.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

An afternoon excursion.

Yesterday was absolutely beautiful.

It was 71 and sunny all day, after a weekend of gloomy skies and windy 40 degree weather. I'm not sure where exactly the warm weather came from, but i'm certainly not complaining. After work, I decided to take advantage of the momentary clement weather (come on, this is Ohio people, it'll be snowy by this time next week), and take a walk downtown.

Across the street from my work, in the Short North district of Columbus, is Goodale Park which, in the spring or summer time, is blooming with tons of flowers and plants. Yesterday, however, after recovering from a stark winter, the park was fairly baren. So, I walked through it without pulling out the camera. I did notice something unusual, though, which caught my attention. Carved into the pillars that hoist the park's gate, were some atypical if not creepy looking faces:

At least to me they seemed out of place. Anyway, a few blocks south of Goodale Park is a place that should be familiar to all Columbus natives, and is where I walk to almost every day for lunch:

North Market is like most open-aired community markets, save for a few minor differences. One, it isn't outside, despite four huge skylight windows that would convince you otherwise. Two, most of the vendors inside the market have other, main stores somewhere else in Columbus, and three, on the second floor of the market is a food-court-esque dining area where patrons can eat and congregate and whateverelse. There's a huge variety of ethnic foods to choose from, from Indian to Thai, Sushi to Tacos, and a splattering of other various ethnicities (not to mention some pretty great ice cream and chocolate). Like most food markets, there is the common Fruttivendolo:

The produce here is always fresh, and the sellers are equally nice and helpful. I should really buy from this place more often, but it can sometimes be pricey. Next, there is a the ever-so-prestigous Pure Imagination Chocolatier:

You can buy anything from the traditional box of goodies, to chocolate-dipped orange slices, to pistachio crusted caramel truffles (rumor has it, the latter of the three are amazing). Pure Imagination was in the news recently for a catering gig they landed all the way in L.A, as their chocolates were included in the complimentary gift baskets handed out to the Acadamy Award nominees. They've also been known to cater directly to the stars. Pretty cool, huh? Moving along. I can't say that I've ever eaten at the next shop, but the sign always seems to catch my attention:

I mean, everyone likes a good wurst, right? (Except, of course, for the vegemites like myself)

And now for my personal favorite vendor in North Market:

Although their name doesn't really translate into anything in Italian, that doesn't stop Pastaria from making some kick-ass, fatto in casa, pasta. They're known for creating random and uncommon variations of standard pasta dishes. For instance, last week, a co-worker brought back a box of prosciutto and ricotta filled ravioli, as he suggested, made right in front of him. My favorite is the striped mushroom:

There are a number of other shops besides food vendors, as well, like a custom wood framing shop, a wine cellar, and a Native American clothing store. It certainly warrants a visit, if you're in the area.

Tomorrow I'll have the second installment of my afternoon, spent climbing skyscrapers (no, really), so do come back and check it out.

A domani.

Monday, March 12, 2007

One more time.

This marks my second attempt at the book in my sidebar*. I only stopped reading it the first time because of a class that required me to read two books simultaneously, which, if you know me, doesn't much make time for a third.

I'm sick of reading books that allude to Joyce and not knowing it. So, i'll start again.

*Portrait isn't nearly as daunting as Ulysses, so hopefully I'll finish it in due time.

Un po' in ritardo.

This is my retrospective post for International Women's Day last week. F yelled at me for not posting something. But, ho dimenticato! Here's some nice mimosa-ness:

My band had its first show Saturday night, and overall it was a big success. We've got three more coming up in the next few weekends, so there will most likely be some updates on those. Also, F took some pictures Saturday, so i'll be sure to post those soon.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A bit Odd.

A few years ago, while indifferently leafing through an art critique magazine at a local coffee shop, I stumbled on an article about a new, burgeoning form of painting that seemed "to be gaining equal amounts of praise and scrutiny." This new movement, dubbed Kitsch painting, is based on the premise of immitation, or rather emulation, of baroque and other classical styles of painting.

The term Kitsch originates from the german word kitschen, which means to scrape up mud. It originally held negative conotation (and still does, depending on who you ask), however in the past 50 years or so, a group of painters have taken the term and made it their own. The story in the magazine focused primarily on one man: a norwegian painter named Odd Nerdrum. Nerdrum is one of few painters who are clinging to the Kitsch title with steadfast pride, maintaining that there is a clear distinction between Kitsch and art.

The first thing that struck me about Nerdrum's paintings was the insane attention paid to detail, likened to early Baroque predecessors. His depictions of the human body are incredible, as he focuses only on what is real; nothing is exaggerated, and everything is observed.

Almost two years had passed since I first read the Kitsch article. I had tried in the past to remember Odd' name, to find out some more information about him, but to no avail. Recently I was, again, looking through a magazine when I saw his name in an advertisment, and immediately it jogged my memory. I found his website, and here are a few of my favorites of his:

Black Self-Portraite

Self-Portrait as the prophet of painting

Man Bitten by Snake


He paints a lot of humorous self-portraits, and sometimes they seem to be a bit self-praising (see: Self Portrait as the prophet of painting), but they're all amazing. I really enjoy finding modern painters who can emulate old masters as well as Nerdrum. Another great Kitsch painter is Jan Ove-Tuv, also a norwegian, who studied under Nerdrum for years.

Sorry for the boring post. I get giddy when I remember certain things.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's about time.

Today, ladies and gentlemen, marks a day in history not yet seen in the current Bush administration.

Lewis "Scooter" Libby was finally convicted of obstruction of justice and pergury, an offense almost guaranteed to receive serious prison time, according to some CNN analysts. Those of you who haven't been following this case (understandably, as most of it seems like just another corrupt, Washington politico scandal) allow me to recap, because there are numerous events that lead up to Signore Libby being charged with a federal crime. In short, it started with comments that President Bush made in his State of the Union address prior to the initial invasion of Iraq. During the speech, Bush implicated that Saddam was attempting to purchase mass amounts of weapons grade uranium (wow, it's been a while since that term's been used, eh?) from various operatives in Niger, Africa.

Well, that simply was not true-- in fact, it was pure fabrication, likely included in the speech to bolster the American public's support of his invasion (his, not ours). Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. Ambassador to Niger who was sent to Africa to investigate said claims, wrote an Op-Ed column in the New York Times, stating what he found, or didn't, in this case. (STAY WITH ME HERE PEOPLE. I'm getting to the punchline soon)

Fastforward a few months, in late 2003, after the column was published. Well-known Times columnist Robert Novak published a story stating that "high-up government officials" were skeptical of Wilson's findings, saying that he was only in Niger because his wife, CIA Agent Valerie Plame, was there on business, and that he was simply jetsetting along with her.

Well, therein lays the problem, folks. In "passing," they outed one of the most clandestine CIA agents in the country, Valerie Plame. Ironically, Plame was working on a WMD case at the time. So, for those Washington high-ups to not even bat an eye at releasing that information publicly, in a clear jab at Wilson for criticizing the war-mongering Bush administration, is simply ridiculous, and is the main reason for this pandemonium. Patrick Fitzgerald was called in to investigate the case, after Novak and the Times were mitigated of any crime (the source is the law-breaker, not the medium). Everything was traced back to Libby (as well as Rove, and most likely Cheney and Bush) after he repeatedly lied to investigators about leaking the information.

As a journalist, I'm torn on the matter. In my opinion, Novak was wrong for publishing the information (he claims that he thought Plame was an overt agent), so tisk tisk to the news media. But on the other hand, it all originated from an administration that does not welcome any criticism against its actions.

So, to put an end to this long-winded post, I'm glad Libby was found guilty. In the words of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

"It's about time someone in the Bush administration has been held accountable for the campaign to manipulate intelligence and discredit war critics,"

Amen, brother. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Falling into place.

My passport came in the mail last week. I'm shamelessly ecstatic because I've never gone anywhere that necessitated a passport. So it's here. And I'm pumped.

Two weeks ago, F and I both received our acceptance letters for the program in Lecce, at l'Universita degli Studi di Lecce. We weren't really concerned about not getting in, but it's certainly comforting just to know.

Now today, for fear of rising airfare prices, we bought our plane tickets together. We're leaving Columbus on Wednesday June 26th, at 4:10 p.m., and arriving in Dublin at 7:00 the next morning. F comes from an insanely large Irish family (the Liddy's on one side, and the Carr's on the other), so she certainly has a soft spot in her heart for the country. We're staying at the Avalon House, a fairly well known hostel in the heart of the Temple Bar area, and I'm not gonna lie; I'm looking forward to the countless pints of Guinness. Then, after two nights in Dublin, we leave for Rome on Friday, June 29th. We're not sure where in Rome we are staying, yet, but I think I found a nice hostel, located only 15 minutes from Termini station, and three or so minutes from the Spanish steps. It's right across from Palazzo Barberini, and it's called Ciao Bella. Everything I've read thus far has been only positive, so it seems like a keeper (Shelley, have you heard anything good or bad about the place?) After two more nights in Rome, we're hopping the train for Lecce, to start classes on July 1st.

Our first orientation for the program is in the coming weeks, so that's something else to look forward to. The quarter's almost over and I can't believe it. I'm glad, though, because campus really thrives in the spring. The first hint of warmer weather teased us last week, only to vanish overnight (in typical Ohio fashion, mind you) and in its place: snow.

Somebody yell at me to take pictures, because apparently mustering the will-power on my own is proving ineffectual.