A Stone's Throw

practice your aim. you never know when you'll spy 2 birds at once.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

happy thanksgiving to all


Will post in a few more days at length, but I'm in Venice, which is gorgeous, but the internet is 10$ an hour. No joke. Cant afford it.

more in a few days.

happy thanksgiving. give thanks for cheap internet, condiments, central heating, real-sized mugs of coffee, proper refridgeration, microwaves, vegetables, subtitles, and good health.

and of course, family and friends...

' a c-note

Friday, November 18, 2005

a gem in the streets of the world

November 18 - Florence, Italy

Had I known that Forence is not called Florence in Italy it would have gone smoother trying to book a train to a place that doesn't exist in the computer. Rome was Rome. Napels was Napels. Milan was Milan. Florence was Firenze. Who knew? Someone who took the time to buy a guide book probably.

I arrived in mid-afternoon to what I think is nearly the most charming city I've ever been in. Oh, there is the grand stature of Rome, the welcoming plazzas of Barcelona, the old history of London, but there is something about Florence. Something that almost has art stenciled on it. I've read that many great artists over time have traveled and upon visiting Florence have decided thier journey was over. It doesn't get much more inspirational than this.

I wonder perhaps if it is Italy itself? A place of calm weather, good wine, heaps of food, and since the body is fed so well, the spirit takes upon itself to just let loose with the artistic outpouring. I fear the Italians have heard this sentiment before, so I don't think I'm original in that vein.

I don't quite feel like writing about the details of Florence yet. I've only had a few hours before it came to be night, but the feeling I recieve as I wander the streets, view the river Arno, and marvel at the mighty Duomo is just incredible.

Strange though. Or better yet, intoxicatingly interesting. On the road that I am staying, a block away I met a mastercraftsman who works in making masks. The sort you see at carnivals, masquerades, movies like Eyes Wide Shut. I wandered down this small alley-like road and just found myself in his workshop. It was like waking up and finding yourself on the set of some strange esoteric film or the backstage of a European theatre. I was absolutely stunned. I've been thinking on this artform and searching for this exact person for the last year and here he was simply sitting at a workbench painting a new mask. We talked for a time and agreed to meet tomorrow, but I find it constantly amazing how life spins. And how questions are answered.

The most wonderful part is that tomorrow is yet another day.

- a c-note

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Thursday, November 17 - Rome

There's something quite magical about Rome. I don't know if it is the people, the wine, the ancient air of the place, but it comes to inhabit you. At night, I sit back on my hotel's rooftop terrace, sip Spanish wine, and listen to the sounds of the city. It's a busy city, minitature cars flashing by, vespas dashing about in and out of lanes. Young people speedwalking to some important destination or the older ones strolling off a mountain of dinner. It's a city that has a huge sculpture in a Piazza by one of the best the world has ever seen next to a store selling Fendi and Gucci. Egyptian obilisks rise above massive stone elephants. Roman columns line the way to the grocery store.

I sit back and enjoy the sounds, the buses trundling along, the merchants hocking wares, the singing cab drivers. Yet it doesn't stop with the sounds. Wafting scents of dozens of pizza joints envelope you. Smells that make your mouth water just before you are hit with even more: the daily fare from the corner tratorria, freshly made cappiccino, constantly fresh-baked bread, pastries that fulfill every kind possible.

It is a place that breathes inspiration. Many parts of Europe have affected me in different ways, but Rome has trumped the rest. I won't know the extent for a long time, but for anyone who needs revitalization or inspiration, book a flight to Rome. I cannot stay here for very much longer however, or I won't leave.

- a c-note

Monday, November 14, 2005

Vatican City

Monday, November 14, Rome

The Vatican. First of all, don't try to go exploring on your own. The Swiss Guard told me so in no uncertain terms. Second, no one knows any reasons for why things are - I already asked. They just follow orders without question.

Note: If the Swiss are so neutral, why are they guarding an entity like the Vatican, a separate country and one of the more controversial groups on the Earth? Also, why do they where those huge floppy hats and what's stashed in those hats?

At first I waited in line for 20 minutes to get into St. Peter's Basillica, which to say the least is impressive. It really gives a sense of mighty things being afoot. 10' sculptures line the walls along with huge murals and all manner of scrollwork and decoration. Near the far away ceiling more sculptures sit, literally hanging on the wall along a ridge where they seem to be lounging about. There is a massive podium at the far end as well as a rather gaudy alter beyond that. Impressive, and free, a bonus.

I exited the Basillica down the front steps where you can't help but feel the power as you look down on the huge square, fountains, throngs of people, the huge spire in the middle. I could see how men and groups or factions would crave such insane power. And perhaps only an egotist would accept such a thing. Hmm.

Next I had to stand in another line that ran around 4 blocks to get in to the Vatican Museum. 30 or 40 minutes later I was able to enter. if you can call it that. A better word would be herded. I can now emphathize with cattle. Funny, at a place to admire some great works of art of mankind, you were dehumanized in order to do so. I wasn't sure how to feel, though frustrated and annoyed were at the top of the list.

Not only could you not deviate from the one and only path available, you had to go at a pace slow enough to madden a stump. There are of course some great works of art, including the Hall of Maps and the famous Sistine Chapel - which I might add is only great in its size and scope, rather than its individual painting prowess. I'll give old Michael props for having the patience, that's for sure. But even he admitted to wanting to work on something else.

But it was worth seeing. The Sistine Chapel that is. I also wanted to see the section of Modern Religious work, and so after asking a guard, they pleasently took me down an elevator and insisted I had to go through the 20 minute line and go through the Sistine Chapel yet again. I also viewed some of Raphel's rooms, which were also impressive in their scope. Yet my 'Beatles Theory' holds true here - just because someone's influence is great in a genre doesn't neccessarily make them the best.

The amount of sculptures, crosses, coffers, globlets, globes, and other trinkets is massive and I would study them further, but the museum closes at a ridiculous early hour of 1:45. You can't even gain entry after 12:30. Besides, it's far too cramped and too busy and nothing is labled that well. An old bowl on a pedestal is fine, but without some explaination of why it's important, it still remains an old bowl.

All in all, I doubt I'd visit the Vatican Museum again unless I were invited (very very unlikely) or had a special pass to study after the museum closed (also highly unlikely). I would suggest if you care to visit and you don't mind long lines and crowded rooms where you can't move, check it out. If you don't care for those things, there are a plethora of museums and galleries in Rome that will easily sate your thrist for works from Raphael, Michaelangelo, Titian, etc,.

- C

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Harry Antis

In response to a question about Harry Antis.

When I was viewing Caravaggio's work, I saw two peices that struck me as familiar to Harry's. One was 'Sant Jeroni Penitant' c 1605, and the other was 'Flagel-lacio' c 1607. Both were quite moving, and had a similar sense of lighting techniques that seem to have an unearthly glow about them.

Also, there was a work by Orazio Gentileschi called 'Sant Jeroni', painted in 1610 that was possibly inspired by Caravaggio's own work on the subject, but I thought although it was better technically then Caravaggio's, it was less moving than the original.

In both artists, and the others that were inspired by Caravaggio, I saw some of the way Harry brought his subjects to light, though Harry was farther along in religious realism than they. But of course to his credit, he had much more work to study than they did.

Impressive, all.


Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Grandeur

November 12, Saturday -Rome

There are a few places in the world that should be on everyone's list to visit. Rome has to be near the top.

Say nothing else for them, but when the Romans do things, it's on a grand scale. I cannot even imagine how much more fantastic thier world was when it was in full flower, but it must have been almost otherworldly. My neck began to hurt after so many times straining to see the tops of the monuments. From the Collisium to the Arco di Constantino to the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II, you not only are stunned by the amount of effort that went into creating them, but have only tapped the very begining of Rome. Lord, there's a lot here.

Usually when you get a map of the city you are going to there are several key places to see and some smaller things to see as well. Rome's map literally filled with sites, museums, monuments, spires, cathedrals, fountains, squares, plazzas, shrines, castles, towers, and you haven't even reached the Vatican City.

Whew. Bring your walking shoes.

I was talking to someone earlier about how easy it would be to fall in love with Rome. Every corner you turn there's a gorgeous statue. Every lane you walk down you discover reliefs carved into the walls. Every courtyard you surprise upon holds a secret garden with a fountain. And everywhere are cobblestone streets with an uncountable number of outdoor cafes that beckon to you with thier intoxicating scents that waft by every 30 or 40 feet. Strength of will is all that is in between you and mouthwatering delights.

Whatever led me to Rome, I am thankful.

Oh, and don't worry Annah, someday we'll explore Rome together.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

the flip side

November 9, Wednesday - Barcelona

As I type there is samba-trace music playing overhead. It´s bearable, but only just.

Good thing I like 3´s more than 2´s, or having a birthday that sets you down on the flip side of an odd decade could be a bad thing. Thanks to all the well-wishers today, or yesterday, or whenever. I´m not really sure when my birthday begins or ends, but it´s not that important in the grand scheme. Oh, and as a small present for myself, I booked a flight for tomorrow. I won´t spoil the surprise of where I end up, but I am leaving Spain.

Found out a few days ago that I have an allergy to calamari or something of that ilk. Strange. Never really had any allergies before. Try going to the pharmacy to explain yourself to Catalinian speakers.

Well, that´s about all from me tonight. Have to catch a 5 am wakeup time in order to catch a train to catch a bus to catch a plane to catch a train to walk who knows how many miles. Oh, the romantic life of the traveler. How blessed are we. :)

Yet in the immortal polish words, you must try...

Just don´t try the polish pancakes, even if the cooks are so pleasant and charismatic that it breaks down your hardened resolve. You must not try...

Cheers people!

? Caleb ¿

Note: Just to have fun, I am going to start using all the weird little signs on these European computers....

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

on the shores of years

November 8, Tuesday - Barcelona, Spain

An absolutely fantastic day.

Last night was how i imagined eating in Spain. An American, a German, an Argentinian, and a Frenchman all sitting around using the universal language of slang and hand signals, eating a meal of soft white cheese, chorizo, calimari, mussels, fresh bread, cherry tomatoes, and the ubiquitos bottle of wine. How delicious can you get?

Today was given over to the Museu Nacional DÁrt De Catalunya. And what a grand museum it was. Absolutely huge in scale and scope, the museu sat atop a hill like a castle, overlooking the Olympic grounds and the entirely of Rome. The collection was extensive, though focusing solely on Catalonian artists. It began with a series of frescos from the 1100´s from churches like Santa Maria in Taull, depicting the Christ and the apostles, with events from the Epiphany to some heinous interpretations of the Last Judgement. It then went on to feature so much religious art that it would make your head spin. Of note was the Caravaggio exhibit, who´s work was absolutely stunning, especially ´Sant Jeroni Penitent´, and ´Flagel-lacio´, whose work reminded me of my friend, the late Harry Antis. Harry would be proud to know he could have had his art sitting next to Caravaggio and the big C would´ve been asking Harry how he painted what he had.

The rest of the day was spent wandering the streets of Barcelona, getting lost, trying to figure out how to ask for directions in Catalonian (which I found to be the primary language here, not Spanish), and exploring the colorful and strange open air markets that sell everything from figs to goat heads. And despite my attempts, I couldn´t get the merchant to explain to me what one would use a goat´s head for.

Tonight shall be the Mediterranean, and stars, and wine, and fellowship of travelers on the beach to celebrate a union of wanderlust and one small birthday at midnight that I almost forgot about.

Cheers and goodnight -

Before midnight, of course, I remember - Happy Birthday, friend Dave!

- C

Monday, November 07, 2005

A Few Notes

November 7, Tuesday - Barcelona, Spain

Several things. One, if you want to post a note or quip or whatnot, you don´t need to have your own blog. In fact, I applaud all that sign up under fictious names in order to post. If you´re the shy type, though somehow I imagine that applies to almost zero of you, then there´s your cover. For the rest of you - buck up and stop thinking and start posting. And for the yahoos that post who have nothing to do with this blog, bugger off, yoú´re both unwanted and in dire chances of being reported to the ICC, FDQC, BBB, and the FCC.

On a secondary note. I feel uncommonly bad for my good friends of the green team based in the midlands of wisconsin. I realized that, too late, my operation of pseudo spirit had actually affected the cosmos and that when I laid my Gus shirt to the side (or, more accurately, tossed it into the backseat after I was done with some silly shift) it caused a serious malady to fall upon the team.

Thirdly, .... I have tried to figure out msn messenger but to no avail. not only is it all in another language, but also, by trying to alter the computér´s preferences you make an enemy out of the owner(seriously, do not change the entire operating system to english for a spanish speaking country - nothing good will come of it, I can vouch for it) not a good thing. so, I will continue to figure this out, without causing the need for harm to myself.

More later...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A One Way Ticket

November 6, Sunday¿ Barcelona


Home to bullfighting, chorizo, tappas, and Estrella Damm Lager. And the home of nearly perfect weather. It was 70· today with brilliant blue skies, a wisp of a breeze, and a smiling sun.

I flew in under rather auspicious beginnings. All I really knew was that I was going to Girona Spain, which I knew from a weathered map that it was on the Mediterranean. I had a Spanish-English pocket dictionary in hand, and a sense of abandon. Which aside from a plane ticket and a pocket of euros is all you really need.

What I didn´t figure in was another time change. Whoops. Just figured its pretty much south from where I was, so why the need for a time change. Regardless, they changed it on me, and I got to Girona at something around 10 pm. Which is fine if you know anything about where you are aside from being near the Mediterranean. So, it was with a sort of shrug that I hopped on a bus bound for Barcelona, yet another city I didn´t know much about besides the geography, an Olympics was there a few years back, and that when you say Barcelona, you are supposed to pronounce it ´Bar-they-lone-a´. So, naturally, it seemed like the best place to go.

The bus arrived into the big B at around 11:30pm and uncerimoniously dumped me off at an abondoned station. It´s dark, it´s empty, and it´s a city of 1.5 million. Good odds for a mugging. So I quickly hauled the proverbial ass and sped off towards lights and the sound of vehicles. A long walk took me to a street I had heard of called La Ramblas (which is naturally pronounced La Hamblas).

Working with two cute aussie lasses, we found a hostel called the Ideal Hostel, which I thought was appropriate when at the sliding glass doors of the place, there was a huge vending machine that produced only beer.

And now I am living the Barcelona life. Eating squid, watching the national team win at soccer, fending off unsavory folks on the streets. But yet, as the Polish would say: you must try...

And I did and so must you as well. This is a grand city. Most everything that I heard about this place is true. It is big. It is beautiful. It is fun. They have walkways lined with palm trees that are supported by even more lines of Sycamores, all the way offering quaint benches to relax at, for if there is anything the Spanish have got down to a science is how to take it easy.

It is imperative to visit La Segarda Familia - an absolutely collosal structure dedicated to various events in the life of Christ. I don´t believe I´ve ever seen such an edifice of its size or detail. Begun by the renown artist Gaudi, it towers over most of the city and is unlike anything I´ve ever seen. Gaudi, the city´s patron, is evident everywhere throughout the city, from sculptures to gargoyles, and most especially in the mosaics. And what amazing mosaics.

The Mediterranean is dreamlike in its azure glory and I shall bask while I can.

Friday, November 04, 2005

the famed london markets

Friday, November 4 - London

To appease something I recalled from childhood, today I sought out Portobello Road. It took many maps, and a thorough use of the underground Tube system, but I found it, and it was as the song says, 'Street where the riches of ages are stowed...'. Twisting and turning, Portobello road has gathered one of the most enjoyable open-air markets I have seen in all my travels. Fruits sellers, olive vendors, freshly baked breads, bolts of cloth, antiques, household supplies, tee-shirts, lingerie, books, records, soups, signs, and 'anything and everything a chap can unload, is sold off the barrel on Portobello Road.'.

From one shady looking cockney chap, I was able to pry away two great condition books from the 1790's. So, yes, it's all here. Of course now I have to lug around two 215 year old books, but it's my vice, what can I say.

I also went to the Elephant and Cross Market. Speaking of shady - this is where you'll find things that are so obviously hot you have to be careful the guys with the billy-clubs aren't watching. It was fun though, just don't keep your eye off your neighbor's sticky hands.

And then there was Trafalgar Square. True to the name, it is a square, but in this case a gigantic one. Dominating the center of the Square is a huge obilisk that holds a statue atop so far away I had no idea who it was supposed to be. Trafalgar himself? I'll have to look it up. Around the base of the spire, there were 4 ebony lions, each the size of a suburban truck. The rest of the area was well laid out with several huge fountains, views of Big Ben in the distance, and at the square's head was the National Art Gallery, which I took several hours to explore. I'll have a review of the museum at a later date for those who have any interest in that sort of thing. It was fantastic.

I leave London tomorrow. Should be an exciting trip. Will update this site again when I am established there. Could get a little wild.

- C

Thursday, November 03, 2005

the other playing field

Thursday, November 3 - London

Finally made it to the grand heart of the United Kingdom, old London. The city is almost exactly what I thought it would be: fast, ancient, cosmopolitan, absolutely huge, and expensive. It is truely one of the great bustling metropolises of the world.

Finding your way around London is surprisingly easy, though the streets have big pockets of diagonal lanes and curving ways, but aside from those, which are fun to explore anyway, it's quite easy to negotiate.

I got here a few days ago, flying into Luton, and taking the ridiculously expensive commuter train into the city centre. Beware the costs of just getting to this city if you ever venture this way. It's a hidden cost that they don't advertise much. I think I found a way around the huge cost, but we'll see when I leave tomorrow.

If all goes well, I should have a great story in the next few days of where I'll be next.

Back to London. The London Bridge is actually pretty lame. It's just a big bloody bridge. Now, the Tower Bridge and Millenium Bridge are quite cool. The Tower Bridge is the one you see in all the postcards you would have recieved if I had indispensible cash, or just pop in a movie that takes place in london, and I'm sure its in the shot somewhere.

The best thing that has happened to me in London was that I was asked to join in a live Parliment session. Yep, me. I was just sort of walking around Westminster and Big Ben and I was approached by some officious looking guy who asked me if I wanted to get in. He referred me to another lady who ushered me into a sketchy area where they made me go through a whole bunch of security, and since I hadn't planned on going through any security, I had all kinds of metal on me. They eventually let me though and I was taken past the AK-47 toting guards up into a winding staircase, and through another section of metal detectors and scanners, until I was then ushered by this guy in a tuxedo with tails and a gold medallion that would make Easy-E blush, into the front row of Parliment.

It was all kind of a blur. They wouldn't let me take a camera or any writing utencils with me, but it was still intense. They were debating Englands new Terrorism Bill that day and it was awesome. Those Brit's surely know how to insult each other. They do so in such as way that they sounds like they're giving a compliment while they flay their opponent. Plus, they lounge around the Parliment floor like their at home watching a soccer game on their couch. It was hilarious.

Yet on a more serious note. It was very interesting and sobering to bear witness to world-altering decisions being formed that affect so many. They were warring on the right of free speech and the effect the new laws would have on writers, thinkers, public speakers, theorists, etc,. There is definately a playing field that exists that competes on a level that most of us don't see that can change every facet of our lives. I had an opportunity to glimpse that, albiet only for a brief few hours, and I will not forget.