Thursday, 30 July 2015


Do you feel more... American? Italian? Swiss?

None of the above. Or better: I don't know what that means. I just feel like me, I don't really know how else to put it.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

To Tintoretto, with love

Coming across your Masters dissertation.

I opened this with trepidation: I remember glancing through my undergraduate thesis paper and throwing it away in horror. This was not quite so bad, though there are stylistic weaknesses throughout.

What I remember of writing my dissertation, other than the feeling of "let it be over already", was frustration towards what I felt (at the time) was a hijacking of my subject matter. I had wanted to write about Tintoretto and curate a show of his works to demonstrate how he stands out as a complete individual in his own time. Nobody was making art like his, and dare I say nobody has done since.

This was turned down. What was this, a retrospective? A chronological re-telling? No no no, it would never do: I had to cover large periods of time, cross-over references, and please do not even try to leave out at least some element of Modernism.

Shame on me for not having the skill to argue my corner. Or maybe a single artist show would really never have worked.

However the joy in reading my thesis now is remembering how much I loved the original subject matter. Yes my citations could have been better, and I could have elaborated various points to strengthen my argument, but boy did I love those paintings. Boy do I.

Not a huge fan of the softness of Titian, and amused but not awed by the rendering of El Greco or Parmigianino, I still have great love for the classical robustness of the high renaissance, and Tintoretto alone brings the best of all in to one.

What is also clear, in reading my thesis, is how little I enjoyed the modernist references. Those sections are almost all citations and quotes and weakly elaborated. Clearly Stoicism failed me in those times.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Another: Atlanta Weekend

It still surprises me how many things we manage to do in a weekend in Atlanta. It never seemed that we could get through quite this much before.

Such as a night path walk, casual dinner out and movie (Expendables 3: again), a morning park and beltline bike ride, afternoon coffee/drink with friends, home cooked meal, cinema with friends, drive to Charleston and oh hai Charleston, we are here.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Philadelphia Dining - Diario di Bordo

Because each dining experience was so pleasant, these deserve their own post. Although note: I never made it beyond the city centre. Such is the life of business travel.

Caribou Cafe is a lovely small bistro with a very pleasant happy hour. In particular the Salad Scandinave was a pleasant surprise.

The Dandelion has to be a city highlight. You can't miss it: it's a preserved brick building on an otherwise modern street, with a corner door entrance. An equally good choice for dining or for a drink at one of the several bars.

Vintage Wine bar has a fairly varied selection, and El Vez is a winner both on decor and food. Have the de la hoya guacamole. Seriously. Just have it. I don't link to the site because it is a silly flash site with music playing.

And last but not least, Village Whiskey for a cozy meal and a great cocktail, whiskey and bourbon selection.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Philadelphia - Diario di Bordo

Day 1 in Philadelphia.

Impressed by the ease of arrival to the Airport - City Center train, I was less impressed by the fact that this particular train does not take credit cards.

Note: there are no signs at the stop to this effect. I asked somebody about tickets who told me to buy it on the train. Once on the train I was told cash only.

At an airport.

An international airport.

And a surcharge for buying the ticket on the train. There are no ticket booths at the airport.

Septa: you are running a scam.

Out of principle I do not accept kindness from strangers, but long story short: I broke my principles and was assisted by an unemployed gentleman who - though I was on my guard - turned out to be entirely honest and kind, and got me out of a frustrating situation. Don't worry, he made a profit.

It has taken me a couple of days but I am starting to get a lay of the land here now. I have still only seen the city center area but it is growing on me.

Stendhal Syndrome is assured, however, when you visit the Philadelphia Museum of Arts. I spent no less that 20 minutes staring at Tintoretto's young self-portrait. The rooms are quite bare, but allow concentration on the works. Fine arts are displayed along side woodwork, maiolica plates, statuettes and more.
In the medieval galleries, the doors between rooms are actual abbey, monastery and church doors. The display is just brilliant. Again the walls remain quite bare other than the works, so taken as a whole the white space is noticeable. The focus goes straight to the works, which have to be admired in their own right.
There is an entire medieval courtyard displayed, complete with running fountain. And the Barberini tapestries are just hanging on the walls of the grand staircase. Without a care in the world.

All this, and all I actually visited were the European medieval and 1500-1850 galleries, with a quick tour through half of the Asian Art Galleries.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Food Faux Pas

This weekend I paid somebody a compliment which it turns out came across as an insult.

So, for the record: if I say your food is simple and delicious, I mean that as praise.

Not for nothing I did not grow up with a complex, hours-of-preparation, dozens-of-ingredients and drown-it-all-in-sauce French cuisine. Not that this option can not taste good as well. However if I am impressed by your few ingredients with a simple but perfectly executed preparation, that is high praise from me. I like to taste every ingredient in a dish, so it justifies its presence.

Ingredient selection, proper cooking method/timing and taste-as-you-go. Keys to a perfect dish. It's more than I can do.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Congratulations #USWMNT

A belated congratulations to a great team who play beautiful soccer.

To everybody else: note that they are the USWNT - the US Women's National Team. Women. Not girls, not children: women. Strong, athletic, determined, ambitious and powerful women. Ok thanks bai.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Atlanta United FC

When we joined the Atlanta MLS Founders Club we were allowed to vote for preferences on the team name selection.

Both G and I voted for making it Atlanta-centric, and my preference was for a city-focused name, rather than a mascot-focused name. The latter always makes me feel like it's a team that could be anywhere, and I am more accustomed to supporting the team of your city. My vote was for FC Atlanta.

I almost won.

I bring you the unveiling of Atlanta United FC.

Atlanta started as a city called Terminus, as it was a railroad end and then change point. It remains a transit city, with the busiest airport in the world and a moving and diverse population. Thus they justified the name. I'll take it. 


Wednesday, 1 July 2015