Monday, January 31, 2005

Back to Work

There's really nothing worse than leaving Eden. This is what just happened to me. One moment I'm surrounded by butterflies, and basking in the warmth of the California sun and a few hours later I am trudging through cold slush to the office for the first time in over a week. Its cold and its snowing outside and I feel like I'm 15 years older all of the sudden.
I'm trying desperately to justify what I'm doing in Chicago still. I suppose it doesn't matter too much because there is a ton of work to keep me occupied until the thaw.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

San-Fran-Deesco

I am currently in San Francisco. I flew out here last friday, which was just in time to miss the huge snow storm which pummelled the midwest and KO'ed much of the North East. So here I am, almost half a world away from Italy and enjoying much the same weather I saw there.
If the truth be told, then I should say I am in San Francisco for work. I worked a Fancy Food convention (NASFT '05) for the past three days. Now that I'm done, I'm free until Monday. Last night I hung out with Carl Remde, an old friend from Madison. You can check out his site by clicking here. He's a great guy and a gifted musician. Its a good way to start off my minivacation weekend.
In the next coming days I'm heading down to Santa Cruz to hang out with some friends and see some music at a place called the Catalyst. Keller Williams & Sound Tribe Sector Nine are playing there this weekend (lucky me).

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The goatee... should it stay or should it go?

Feel free to comment on this facial growth. Should I keep it, or ditch it?

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A iPod Haiku

Box for days, weeks, life?
Fill with thundering music
Still too small for me.

So I'm a new member of the iPod club. I decided to casually load music onto it during my sick days at home. Here's a chance to lighten my load. Travelling light is the only way to fly. I have the largest iPod on the market, but 40GB is still not enough room to fit all the music I want to have at the touch of a button. My live music collection is huge, we're talking about 1000s of hours of play. I'm glad I won't have to carry around a bulk of my CDs, but its not enough... then again, it never is.

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Sunday, January 16, 2005

All better now

Thanks for the phone calls. I'm all better now! I went for a run today in this subartic weather. Its time to join a gym. Its just too cold for comfort.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Home... Sick...

On our last day in Florence, I am standing on the verge of being very sick. My muscles are sore. My eyes are dry and itchy. I have a tickling in my chest which only happens just before I get the flu. I think its from the blankets the rental management company brought us. I think the last person who used the blankets was sick. Its virtually impossible for me to prove this, but I have a strong hunch.
I walk all the way to the top of Piazzele Michelangelo. It was by will and will alone that I made it. Later that day I can barely move. I'll be the first to say that I am a bad patient. I've never shown much in the way of pain and instead of acting "sick," I just get an upset expression on my face... well I'm pissed I'm sick. It is by will and will alone that I set my mind in motion. My mind controls my body. How I think determines how I feel. Regardless of the mantra, it takes all I've got to schlep everyone's bags downstairs, to the train station, to another train station, and up five flights of stairs and then down five flights of stairs before we get to the airport in Rome.
On the transatlantic flight, I have a very sweet woman sitting next to me and I'm trying to be entertaining, but its hard to do when you have the sneaking suspicion that you are very contageous. Luckily, I can be charming even when battling the flu.
By the time we landed in Philadelphia, the fever kicked the chills into high gear. I was going down for the count. I took Tylenol cold and flu, but its a temporary fix and at some point, you have to let the body run the course.
We landed during the day on Friday. I don't remember what happened on Saturday. My fever got out of control, even with Tylenol it reached 103.5 F. On Sunday, my fever came down to 100 degrees and by Monday I was normal again. The only trace of the flu that still exists is a little chest congestion.
I've done my best to stay away from people as I recover for their sake.

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Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Shot of the Carousel from the Duomo

I was on top of the Duomo looking down while my brother, Phil Stewart, and Valquiria Rey crossed the Ponte Vecchio. Its a beautiful view from all sides. I am glad I got an early start and climbed the stairs an hour before to watch the sunset over Firenze.
Unfortunately, clouds blocked the sunset. I stayed anyway, and enjoyed the afterglow and watched the city light up and darkness took hold.
I'd brought a few Motorola walkie talkies because they're alot cheaper than buying a cellphone and they work well if we're within a few miles of each other. Phil & Val hailed me from the bridge, but I couldn't see them from my obstructed view. They said they were walking towards me. Phil and Val made it to the square with the carousel in it. I could see them with my camera's zoom lens.
I thought they knew I was still up in the tower, but they kept looking around the square as I spoke to them with the walkie talkie. Anyway, I have the cutest little video of Phil & Val kissing by the carousel and then standing up and slowly walking out of the square.

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Monday, January 03, 2005

Florence


After alot of convincing, we ditched the small stick shift car my Dad wanted to drive to Florence and opted for the train. To the credit of Il Duci AKA Mussolini, he made the trains run on time... And the ride was smooth and easy.
In 2 short and comfortable hours we were in Firenze (Florence). We got to the apartment quickly with out any problems. Its located around the corner from the Duomo in the center of town!
When we got into the apartment my jaw dropped to the floor! It was beautiful and huge. Walking inside, you are greated to a big livingroom, small breakfast area and kitchen. It comes with a view of the park and if you look up and to the left the Duomo! There are three bedrooms and three baths, so we each get our own room and bathroom. I am especially excited to get a good night's sleep.
We decided to go out to eat. In the past week I've eaten out for almost every meal. I am very disappointed by the "highly rated" restaurants in the guide books. At this point the apartment kitchen seems like the best option. I am a well learned cook, taught by: My Sicilian Grandma, a host of cooking programs, books, & magazines, many random experiments in the kitchen. My Dad says we have a reservation at a restaurant right down the street.
This is the best restaurant on our trip. There is no sign infront of the building, which is a good sign. Before this place was a restaurant, it was a storage house for the Florence's Carosel, hence the name. The head chef and his son own and run the restaurant. They take special care to treat their patrons well. We first eat with our eyes and everything in the room made me comfortable, hungry and happy. The presentation of the food on the plates gets a huge thumbs up, however the most impressive thing about the meal was the wine and it's service.
A proper somelier will show you the wine you ordered. She or he will then uncork the wine and pour a small amount into a glass, build a bouquet. The somelier will smell the glass and (if they don't reject it) will present it to the patron for their approval. After which, their job is over. The guys at this joint spent the extra time to decant the entire bottle of wine, coated the inside of each glass with a bit of wine and warmed the glass with a candle flame. Its not overkill if it adds to the meal. It was also a great bottle of wine. I'm not sure if what they did made me think the wine was great, or if the wine they gave me was great... but it didn't matter, because great is great!
I didn't do much site seeing the first night. I'm pretty tired and about to hit the hay!

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Saturday, January 01, 2005

New Years in Rome

Due to the tragedy in the Pacific, New Years fireworks were cancelled in Rome.
I understand the gravity of this situation. It seemed pretty somber around town, or maybe thats my winter depression kicking in. I didn't have a very good time. We went to a Piazza, a square, with these hokey lil performance of Peter Pan. It wouldn't have been so bad had they had fireworks, or tried to keep the fireworks out of the square. Every so often you'd hear a shout from a victim of fireworks in the hands of the wrong people when a shell was lit off and flew into a packed crowd of people. How do you dodge that. It was the best of intentions and it focused people on the recent tragedy, but it didn't work out.
I'm looking forward to getting out of town. Firenze would be a great place to see. I first heard of the Uffizi art gallery in the words of the song "You Enjoy Myself" by Phish. Yeah, that's right, Phish... you gotta problem with that? Their collection of Medecci art is supposedly massive.
I got your postcards out in the mail today, but they probably won't get marked for a couple of days. I'm sure I would have had a much better New Year's with y'all here for company. I'm definitely feeling homesick for my friends and I'm overdosed on family.

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