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thank you Mrs. Kennedy!

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la serenissima my assima.

so how was our weekend in Venice?  well.

i got to make soulful (and for once absolutely useless) puppy-dog-eyes at approximately SEVENTEEN different hotel receptionists (you don't believe me?  -- here: there was Pensione Wildner, Hotel Lux, Il Trovatore, Locanda Correr (bless you Giacomo!), Il Leone, Hotel Paganelli, Hotel Rio, you get the point.  and this not counting the ones by the train station...).

then, when we thought we'd found the ONE place in all of marathon-overrun Venice (and WHO'S fantastic idea was it to have a MARATHON in Venice for goodness sake?  i mean HELLO folks -- it's Venice...  would YOU do the Winter Olympics in say, Dubai?  geez.)...  anyway, so.  when my cousin and i thought we'd found the ONE place in the whole town that still had a room available and lovely (bless-him) Giacomo had told the girl over the phone to hold it for us until we got over to her side of town, and after we finally made it there (after twenty minutes waiting for waterbus-N and then being told to switch to waterbus-82 or maybe waterbus-42 and then realizing neither stopped at our stop and just generally stressing in a place it seems a crime to stress in and secretly wondering if my cousin will tolerate my asking some albeit decent-looking stranger if they can put us up for the night), we get to this Locanda Herion and the (ahem) "young lady" at the reception has GIVEN AWAY OUR ROOM.

soulful puppy-dog eyes are thrown out the window and i am a vision of fury (not furry) and indignant Italian.  you know how you can tell you're fluent in a foreign language when you can be angry in it?  i was stark raving insane.  i was all HOW COULD YOU and we'll be sleeping on the STREETS and it's all YOUR fault and you SAID, you SAID you'd keep it for us and how COULD you and NOW what are we supposed to do and WHY WHY WHY.

(can you tell i've been spending too much time reading dooce?)

somewhere around this point she mumbles something about being sorry and how she wishes she could help us but she has niente, nothing but a single room and --

so we take it.

to her credit, it wasn't a setup.  (well, not this part anyway.)  she was truly horrified at the idea of giving two (seemingly) adult women a room with a single bed.  in the end i convinced her by talking some more about street-sleeping, and by assuring her that we're cousins.  (i wanted to add also that we're Pakistanis, but she may not be familiar with how many of us you can pack into a small space -- especially when there is:  A - a wedding in the vicinity, or B - immigration involved.)

in the end, the smallness of the bed paled in comparison to our pure and pathetic gratitude at being able to JUST PLAIN SIT DOWN.  dinnerless, i remembered the two slices of cheese i'd grabbed (premonition-like) from the fridge that morning, and we proceeded to discover that you can eat sliced-cheese lying down.

we ALSO discovered (the next morning) that this Locanda Herion (already dubious for having staff that tells you they have a room and come on over and then after you come on over from THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GRAND SPANKING CANAL, tells you oh we gave it away) is, in addition, one of those places where the room costs SIXTY euros in the evening before you go to bed, and then costs EIGHTY euros in the morning when you check out.  hm.

so by the time i finished my morning (pre-coffee) argument with this (new, not-the-same-as-the-night-before) receptionist, my visiting cousin had acquired a complete understanding of the concept of brutta figura and the power it has on the Italian psyche.

anyway.  Venice was great.  we did the gondola-for-a-buck.


[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Giordano Bruno, Roma]
[martedý 25 ottobre 2005 ore 20:34:46] []

home.  and stylin.

i make penne with mozzarella and cherry tomatoes, i pour the leftover wine into a Volpi glass, and i listen to Vasco.

sei fantastica quando sei assorta
nei tuoi problemi
nei tuoi pensieri


the cat is so happy to be alone with me, i haven't the heart to worry about the fluff she is getting on my new-and-fantastic fussy.org tee-shirt.  (note this month's picture of aforesaid new-and-fantastic fussy.org tee-shirt -- THANK YOU MRS. KENNEDY!)

it's a good evening.


[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Giordano Bruno, Roma]
[lunedý 24 ottobre 2005 ore 21:03:26] []

when the postage-stamp-being-used-to-pay-for-the-medium, is the message.

so maybe i'm way behind the curve, but it's the first time i've seen (or noticed) this, the latest roadsign in the long way we've come from eStamps vs. That-Other-Company (back in the days before flickr and the five megapixel digicam in every second-person's backpocket)...

there's a lot of thoughts rolling around in my head about this point (alright so it's more like a very-amoebic 'zone' than a single point), where digital photography is getting really really jiggy with the Internet -- be it via the more virtual stuff -- photoblogging, public domain licensing and high-quality, "intelligent" visual communities like flickr; or be it via the more tangible applications, like, well, licking the back of your new-born grandchild's head and sticking him on all of this year's holiday mailings.

what would McLuhan have thought, indeed.


[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Roma]
[lunedý 24 ottobre 2005 ore 10:11:58] []

nineteen thousand.

how high does a number need to go before it touches me.  before it touches someone i know in Islamabad.  someone i played in the rain with on summer vacations below the Marghallas.  someone who happened to be on holiday in the mountains.  someone i hung out with at Jinnah Market.

how far past twenty thousand will this one go.


[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Roma]
[lunedý 10 ottobre 2005 ore 11:39:07] []

(the Return of) the Random Shiraz Selection.

guaranteed fresh and warm -- like dog-poo on a winter sidewalk...

1. "Stupid Interview Questions" by Liz Ryan, for BusinessWeek online.
The secret of good job interviewers is that they never ask traditional, dorky interview questions.  They don't need to.  They jump into a business conversation that does three powerful things in a one-hour chat:
a) Gets you excited about this opportunity (or, as valuably, makes it clear that you and this job are not a good fit)
b) Reveals to the interviewer how you'll fit into the role and the company, based on your background, perspective, temperament, and ideas
c) Gives you a ton of new information about the job, the management, the goals, the culture, and what life at this joint would be like.


2. "Sitting pretty on a plane" by Jayne Clark, for USA TODAY.
props to the mailing list at NycWIT for passing on this little tidbit.
funny how i've been  thinking for days now about this project-management conference i might be attending later this year, and whether/how i could find and connect-with fellow conference-goers before the event -- so that i have a few like-minded folks to meet once i get there, or better yet (if they're based in Italy), so that i can have company on the way over.
and then i read this article about AirTroductions -- the latest-addition to the social-networking stratosphere:
The idea is to connect like-minded fliers -- either in the personal or professional realms --  who are traveling on the same flights.  Here's how it works: Travelers join Air-Troductions for free and post personal and/or business profiles.  Then, before taking a flight, they enter their itineraries and are notified of other members booked on the same flight.  They're given the option of sending anonymous e-mail through the site (at which point a $5 fee kicks in) to determine whether they want to meet at the airport, and, if mutually acceptable, get reassigned to adjoining seats.
the article goes on to desribe how company founder and (cough) "AirTroductor" Peter Shankman believes that with time -- and possible affiliations with online booking sites and major trade shows -- it will achieve the critical mass necessary to take flight.
i don't know about that picture of him with sitting with Miss Texas though...

3. "Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes" by Billy Collins.
...the long white dress, a more
complicated matter with mother-of-pearl
buttons down the back,
so tiny and numerous that it takes forever
before my hands can part the fabric,
like a swimmer's dividing water,
and slip inside.

credit to Mrs. Kennedy for the first time i read this.
there are some poems you want to frame, forever.


[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Roma]
[mercoledý 05 ottobre 2005 ore 13:35:59] []