Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Winless Dees ??

Can someone please explain to me how the AFL season can be 9 rounds in, and my beloved Dees are yet to win a game ?

It is, however, comforting to know that while I'm OS, my team won't be going and doing anything silly like winning a premiership without me.


Via Garibaldi

"Sure .. Nice palaces, but can someone tell me where I can buy milk in this neighbourhood ?"
Via Garibaldi, Genova (taken 30/04/07)

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Monday, May 28, 2007

aye aye captain!

It is often said that Italy is the centre of style and fashion. In fact, if there was one repeatedly given piece of advice I can remember before coming here, it was get ready to feel very under dressed. With this message well and truly engraved in my mind, I rid myself of almost half my tired, warn out wardrobe, in anticipation of a whole new world of fashion.

Now I'll admit, Italy does have style, and yes, fashion - but as Jeff from Lismore, a guy I met at the pub the other night pointed out to me, "yeah, there's a fair bit of fashion, but don't you think the blokes here look a bit puncy?"

He had a point. If Italy is where men's fashion is heading, then God help the humble, true blue, she'll be right, Aussie bloke. I can't say I could picture either Jeff, or myself, in a figure hugging, blue and white v-neck sailor shirt with tight 3/4 length jeans, designer mullet and "Thorpy" stubble.

As an observer, this look is quite fascinating, and can even start to rub off on you .. that is, until you go into a clothes store and try on something. The are few things more disturbing than seeing yourself in a horizontally striped, figure hugging, v-neck sailor shirt. Like a contour map of the Alpine National Park, the stripes provide an unforgiving portrayal of ones mid section. Thankfully, more conventional clothing does exist, and with some searching, I have discovered clothing more to my taste.

Who knows what I look like to the locals. Who knows what I will look like to Australia when I return. The problem with taste is that it changes unconsciously, and without objectivity. Having said this,the day I look in the shop window at a blue and white stripy v-neck sailor shirt, and think "that might just work", must surely be the day I book my ticket home.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Our new home ..

"Italian Mumma ... on speed"

Our apartment, Genova (taken 02/05/07)

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ciao Genoa!

"medievil sprawl "

Centro Storico - downtown Genoa (2 mins walk from our appartment)
taken 30/04/07

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Musing in Manarola

"macca musing in Manarola"

Manarola, Cinque Terre (taken 22/04/07)

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

but what is she looking at ?

"sorry .. these damn Italian fishing villages keep getting in the way!"

Venazza, Cinque Terre (taken 23/04/07)

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Monday, May 14, 2007

bricks are boring

who needs bricks anyway !

Cinque Terre, near Venazza (taken 23/04/2007)

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Villa with a view

nice view ... now where's the remote?

Tuscano, Italia (near Lucca) - 15/04/2007

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

You know you're not at home when (I) ..

It's 11am at the Stazione Principe bus station.

I am standing at an espresso bar, having my second caffe` macchiato of the day.

A car pulls up to a screeching halt.

A large, tall and muscular security guard, complete with pistol and army crew cut, gets out.

The engine is still running.

He approaches the bar.

"Probably an espresso down-the-hatch kind of guy", I think.

He orders a glass of Champagne.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

"You can't sell what doesn't exist"

If there was ever a "why didn't I think of that!" idea, then surely this one is it. On ebay last week was something you would struggle to buy in a shop, borrow from a library, or indeed, stumble upon at a trash and treasure. In fact, this item is so hard to locate, that ebay itself deemed it not to exist at all, and promptly removed it from their site.

On offer, was something quite special:

The Prime Minister of Australia, Mr John Howard's integrity (pictured right).

Seller’s Item Description:

You are bidding on an original 1950’s mind set. Genuine period flaws make this a truly unique item. While the internal mechanism (not in photo) is damaged it still spins at full speed. The veneer is in splendid condition. You will be disappointed or your money back.

Bidding reached $US51.00 before ebay removed it from the site. Ebay, of course, does not allow the selling of things that do not really exist.

If, like me, you think this is brilliant, vote for it on: ScoopIt

More coverage:

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Volleyball anyone ?

They dream of one day playing on centre court.
Collaseum, Roma (Taken 8/4/07)

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Ciao! workplace

"Ciao!" from the left, "Ciao!" from the right. "Ciao!", at least once a minute. Welcome to the Italian work place. As I sit and work in a room of no less than 30 people, it's not hard to understand why. People come and go like bees in a hive, and every time this happens, there is an apparent need to signify the occasion with a communal ciao from all. As the newest of new in this strange new workplace, it is both comforting and intimidating to be immersed in this quite different work environment.

There is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of people are friendly, if a little stand-off-ish at first. With the language barrier as it is, much of the this feels somewhat impenetrable to me at the moment. Don't get me wrong, I receive my fair share of ciao's as well. I think there is a gradual warming to me happening, which makes me feel significantly more comfortable.

The impression I get is that this lab is pretty close, particularly the largish group of PhD students I find myself with. Almost all of them from somewhere else in Italy, many of them share houses together, and obviously socialise a lot together. They also seem to be about 5 years younger than me as well, which is no great problem, but there is no doubt that something happens in your late twenties that changes the focus from the "where will we go clubbing this Saturday" to, "this weekend I think I will purchase a basil plant for the window sill". I didn't say this of course.

The other major hurdle to jump in my early days of being in this strange new work place, is working out what the hell I am meant to be doing here. I have not had a chance as yet to talk to those who will be "mentoring" me while I am here. For now I feel fine with the lack of workload, but there is a growing anxiousness inside to work out some of these details, and get some of my many questions answered. I can ask those around me, and I do, but I would prefer to have someone actually show me what's what, rather than me have to annoy the person next to me with yet another mundane question, in English. Having a significant proportion of the eyes in the room on me when I ask it makes it feel all the more awkward.

Bare in mind, this is day three. In a week's time, I expect to have a significantly different impression of things, as I adjust, and have my many questions answered. Going with the flow looks like being the single greatest skill I will have to develop over these next 6 months. It's certainly been the case so far .. and so far .. so good.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Two years and still blogg'n

Just realised maccamusings has chalked up it's second year of existence today. To think I began this blog as a procrastinating student, in a new city, and in a new lab. Oh how far I have come as I sit here now, a procrastinating student, in another new city, and yes, in another new lab. I'll admit that posting has been more difficult these last 12 months due to time pressures, and at times, a lack of inspiration/motivation. Like most interests I indulge myself in, the motivation to write comes and goes. I must say, with all that is happening at the moment, motivation is high (and with no idea what I am working on as yet, my work load is low), so expect some more regular posting. I appreciate those who continue to check in on me from time to time, despite how ad hoc, un-polished and irregular my posts can be.



So life in Genoa has begun. The honeymoon, as they say, is over .. but of course, with everything new and exciting around us, there is no returning to normal programming. Aff and I are finding our feet, slowly but surely. The usual fluctuations of homesickness are always present, in the form of a very predictable routine. Having experienced this feeling a number of times in past adventures, I take some comfort in its highly predictable nature.

Mornings I wake up, and always feel down. I don't crave home more than at 7am when I wake up. Fortunately this feeling immediately subsides after I get out of bed and begin my usual morning rituals. Getting on with things is the best cure for homesickness. Simply doing those things I do, regardless of where I am, is normally all it takes to snap out of these morning blues. Leaving the apartment, and seeing the cobble stone streets, the rambling old medieval buildings, the packed coffee bars, Italians doing what they do (which, to be honest, is remarkably similar to us) and realising I live here is like an injection of adrenalin, bringing my focus right into the present. "I live here!"

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