Monday, January 30, 2012

"He who desires not to use Bernini's designs, must take care not to see them."

I have such a short fuse lately when it comes to the news. I think about blogging about things (the latest being Alabama's disgusting, cruel new immigration law, which is just one of numerous disgusting immigration laws in place all over the world today), then realize it's going to be a huge energy suck because of how angry I am... and I need to save my energy for my work. (Which is always at least indirectly about the news anyway.)

So this is going to be another post of Rome pictures. The last post of Rome pictures -- and by the way, if you're new to my blog, I assure you that I hardly ever post as many pictures as I've been posting. Really, you're all the victims of my fascinating new phone. I've never wanted to take pictures before, ever in my life, until I got this phone...

So. I adore the work of sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680, Italy). It's one of the reasons Rome is one of my favorite cities – it's full of his sculptures. You can see them in museums; you can see them on the street. One of his sculptures, Apollo and Daphne, inspired one aspect of Bitterblue, which I'm sure I'll be talking about more on this blog at some point (I have lots to say about Bitterblue, but there's not much point in saying it until more people have it in their hands and have read it). In this post, I want to share some images of Bernini's famous fountain, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi ("The Fountain of Four Rivers"), which sits in Rome's Piazza Navona.

 Look at how perfect he is. Look at his feet and hands.

 It's a statue with many emerging forms. Can you see the horse?

 This man is my favorite.

 Here's another angle. Takes my breath away.
Can you see the emerging alligator-type-thing?

 Horse again

 Emerging lion

On my last night, I went to Piazza Navona to see the fountain. My memory was working in its typical way – I remembered that I loved the fountain, but I didn't remember anything else about it, including what exactly it was about or even that Bernini had been the one to design it. The sight of it took my breath away. I thought in my head, "Wow, good as a Bernini." But still, I didn't remember that it was a Bernini – until I got back to the hotel and looked it up online. I was not particularly surprised.

To see a picture of the fountain entire, learn where I got my subject heading, and read about what all the figures in the fountain mean, go to the fountain's Wikipedia page. And if you're ever in Rome and want to see more Bernini, by all means, go to the Galleria Borghese.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dome Fatigue Is Real

All photos are of ceilings unless otherwise indicated. All are from Rome.  All were taken on my phone, which is an iPhone 4S. And last time I checked, Blogger was crap at jump cuts, but this post has 30+ pictures, so I can't not.  After the second picture, click on the link that says "Read more"... or, to see all the pictures, just click here.

ETA 1/27/12: Blogger, I hate you. My apologies to anyone whose blog readers were overwhelmed by this post during the time Blogger decided to arbitrarily remove my jump cut! Should be back now.

Dome of Abbazia San Bernando alle Terme

One of the domes of the Basilica dei SS. Ambrogio e Carlo

Monday, January 23, 2012

At Codename: La Coraggiosa's House in Trevagnano

What could possibly be better than Hercules curled up in a ball?

Hurcules and Kasa curled up in a ball!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Some Photos from Rome and Orvieto

It's 6 PM in Rome and bells are ringing all around me. I'm posting this on my phone (with the help of dear Siri), with pics also taken on my phone,  so we'll see how it works...

Here's looking up at the (hole in the) ceiling of Rome's Pantheon. The Pantheon has an interesting history to do with pagans that you can read about here. 

Here's looking down into the bottom of the Pozzo di San Patrizio ("Well of Saint Patrick") in Orvieto. The well has an interesting history to do with popes and mules and double helixes that you can read about here.

Here's looking up at the sky from the bottom of the well.

Here's looking up at one of the domes in the church of Sant'Ignazio di Loyola in Campo Marzio in Rome.

And here's looking up at a few more in the same church.

Are you sensing a theme? Yes, I've been looking up, and looking down, a lot. However, I'VE ALSO BEEN LOOKING SIDEWAYS AND ALL AROUND.

For example, returning to that well in Orvieto – here's Melina.

And returning to the Pantheon, which is my favorite building in Rome, possibly in the world. Here are some random shots.



outside pillar

The end!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Packing, but --

-- just had to come onto the blog to say that the final (3rd) episode of Series 2 of the BBC's Sherlock, "The Reichenbach Fall," is among my favorite ever 90 minutes of television. Congratulations to everyone who had anything to do with making this episode. I believe in these characters, and all of their feelings, 101%. (Also, I love Molly and I'm dying to know what she did.) Here's a teaser by the BBC which is inadequate at expressing the awesomeness, but will acquaint you with some of the main players:

Coming to PBS in May -- and, a third series has been confirmed.

My goal while I'm in Italy is to eat a gelato for each of my blog readers. :D?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Nobody Understands Me

Me at the local yummy vegetarian foodie place (Life Alive. Stupid name, delicious food. Also, no, I am not a vegetarian): I'd like the Romantic Wrap. Please add eggs and greens.
The guy: The Romantic Wrap, add eggs and beets?
Me: Eggs and greens.
The guy: I'm afraid we don't have any beans.

My sister, codename: Apocalyptica the Flimflammer, on the phone in the wind: I just got to Harvard Square! I'm sorry I'm late! I'm on my way!
Me: Oh, don't worry, I'm just doing crap.
Apocalyptica: Crafts?
Me: Crap.
Apocalyptica: Crack?
Me: Crap! I'm doing crap! I'm paying bills and filing paperwork!
Apocalyptica: So you're not doing crack?

So, travel puts a lot into me, but it also takes a lot out of me, and lately I've been using what I've got for stuff other than blogging. My expectation is that this will result in you someday soon having more fiction by me to read. Fair deal?

On Wednesday I leave for Rome and environs, where I'll be doing some research into small medieval towns. A friend doing research into small medieval towns talked me into joining her. It's nice to have friends with common objectives :-)

Unrelatedly, here are some beautiful photos of ranchers out West (in Colorado), taken by Michael Crouser. Make them nice and big on your screen.

Finally, my lack of blog brain makes me grateful to Brian Ibbot of Coverville for providing me something awesome to repost: this video of the band Walk off the Earth (link automatically plays music) covering Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," all five of them on a single guitar. Funny that around 2:55, the guy on the far right is making the guitar sound like a piano (IMO) -- reminding me, of course, that a piano is a string instrument.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Home Again, YEE-HAW

You know it's a good trip when you don't pine for home even once. And you know you love your home when you get back and find yourself practically skipping from room to room because you're so happy to be there. Three weeks is a long time to be away from home! All of my plants utterly thrived while I was gone, which is a sign that (1) as I suspected, I have been overwatering them this winter (they *loved* not been watered for three weeks); and (2) re: my orchids, which would *not* have loved not being watered for three weeks, I have an excellent steward. :o)

The sight that welcomed me home.

I'm soaking in as much home as I can right now, because I leave on another trip in ten-ish days.

Loved the recent cover feature in Boston Magazine called "Single by Choice," by Janelle Nanos. "When it comes to getting hitched, more Americans than ever before are saying 'I don't.' Singles now make up nearly half the adult population in this country, and new research suggests they’re happier, more social, and more active in the community than many of their wedded counterparts. Now if only their friends and family (and oh, while we're at it, coworkers, benefits providers, and the federal government) would get off their back." (H/t JD!)


Monday, January 2, 2012


I just stumbled across a list of books about body image, health, and dieting and had the urge to list them here on my blog, now, at the New Year, when the societal pressure toward weight loss rises to a fever pitch. In case it is helpful for anyone to know that books like this exist:
Andersen, Arnold, Leigh Cohn, and Thomas Holbrook. Making Weight: Healing Men's Conflicts with Food, Weight, Shape & Appearance. Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books, 2000.

Campos, Paul. The Obesity Myth: Why America's Obsession with Weight Is Hazardous to Your Health. New York: Gotham Books, 2004.

Cash, Thomas. Body Image Workbook: An 8 Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 1997.

Dixon, Monica. Love the Body You Were Born With: A 10 Step Workbook for Women. New York, NY: Berkley Pub Group, 1996.

Doty, William G. Myths of Masculinity. New York: Crossroads, 1993.

Erdman, Cheri. Live Large! Ideas, Affirmations, and Actions for Sane Living in a Larger Body. San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 1997.

Johnson, Carol. Self-Esteem Comes in All Sizes: How to Be Happy and Healthy at Your Natural Weight. Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books, 2001.

LoBue, Andrea and Marcus Marsea. The Don't Diet, Live-It! Workbook: Healing Food, Weight and Body Issues. Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books, 1999.

Maine, Margo. Body Wars: Making Peace with Women's Bodies. Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books, 2000.

Pope, Harrison G., Katharine A. Phillips, and Roberto Olivardia. The Adonis Complex: The Secret Crisis of Male Body Obsession. New York: Free Press, 2000.

Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1991.
Please note that I haven't read any of these books. Please bring your open mind and your critical mind to them, as I expect you always do.


My New Year's resolution is special this year, because 2012 is set to be a pretty crazy year for me, what with Bitterblue entering the world. It's also pretty broad: I resolve to try to remember what matters.

Happy New year, everyone! Be kind to yourself :o)