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slightly more interesting (or at least funnier) than those Nigerian ex-warlords who want you to avail of millions of dollars from random bank accounts in their country (and who now seem to be posting all over Monster), is the apparently-genuine need for peanut-butter-jar twister-offers at Smuckers.  i love the part about "weekly quotas" that need to be met.

and of course, i love that i can comment on how a career in popping lids off glass jars is probably, um, all about pressure...

it would drive most people nuts.

employees would have to be careful not to spread themselves too thin.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Canutola, Lisciano Niccone]
[giovedi 29 luglio 2004 ore 12:37:58] []

bright-yellow and emeraldy-green.

it is full-blown, forty-degree summer in Tuscany and, like with every other time of year, there is something new and nature-y going on.  all over the Val di Chiana, like some man at a fabric shop who has just unfurled swaths and swaths of the latest in bright yellow georgette (or whatever -- i am not an expert at fabric shops, you know) -- the sunflowers are taking over.  in the morning they are facing the sun.  by noon they have turned en masse and are looking down forlornly, like hundreds of little big-headed-children, all morosely punished.  by high-afternoon they are looking up again, but still with their backs to the sun -- as if sulking.  and weirdly, fabulously backlit.

here in the office there is a phosphorescent-green scarab beetle that keeps showing up on the floor by my chair.  when i try to pick him up with a Banca dell'Umbria folder, he flips over and crosses all his legs as if playing dead.  even if insects are coldblooded, you can tell this little fella is mortally terrified.  i place him on the windowsill and hope i haven't traumatized him to the point of spontaneous self-combustion.  clearly not, because half an hour later he is back.  on the floor by my chair.  we go through the same dance.  folder, flip-over, all eight-or-so legs crossed in play-possum fright.  it occurs to me as i push him along the window-ledge again, clucking mother-hen-like, that before moving to Italy, i would probably have gone looking for bug-spray or something instead.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Canutola, Lisciano Niccone]
[lunedi 26 luglio 2004 ore 14:29:30] []

todo el amor.

according to the Oggi In Edicola department at La Repubblica (you know, the one that's *not* Berlusconi's newspaper), it's been a hundred years since fellow-Communist (fellow as in to to the folks at La Repubblica, that is) and very poetic Pablo Neruda was born.  i plan to celebrate by reading the special edition hardcover Spanish-Italian Antologia Personale they've put out, on my evening train to Firenze (midweek - gasp!) to catch Suzanne Vega at Piazzale Michelangelo, and by being perhaps disproportionately excited about the day.

i know it is hard to believe you can ever get culturally starved in Italy, but you know we work ten hours a day too (well okay there's sometimes a long lunch involved), and we're tired when we get home too, and we are broke by the end of the month too.

also, there is culture and then there is culture.  because while Botticelli and his pre- and post-Renaissance buddies are amazing and i will never get tired of taking people to see David and the Brunelleschi's Duomo will always be an architectural wonder, i do occasionally miss art (whether spoken, written, drawn or otherwise)  that is under-thirty.  and i do occasionally like to see or hear stuff by artists who are still alive, or who have at least *been* alive at some point in my life.

and so i celebrate.  happy birthday Pablo.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Canutola, Lisciano Niccone]
[martedi 13 luglio 2004 ore 12:32:22] []

vancouver wedding.  verbal snapshots.

first day.

this is my first sindhi wedding.  as in, not mine, personally, of course.  but that of someone else, who is um, well, sindhi.  obviously.  it is also a wedding i almost did not come to.

the plane touches down in vancouver.  there is a man in a black suit at arrivals, with a placard that says SHIRAZ in even letters.  he is so friendly the whole time -- helping me with my bags, helping me onto the butterseats of a very large, very bling gmc truck.  tinted windows.  nice wax job.  cd player in back.  i wonder whether to look for the fridge.

we talk on the way to the hotel.  he is Iranian-born (from a town called Khomein), married to an Italian.  suddenly i remember that nice thing about big cities in North America:  meeting so many people with hyphenated identities.

i watch Vancouver go by.  every store looks like it is -- or could be -- part of a chain.  the city feels like some kind of California:  lots of water.  lots of rockies.  and a little bit of that good old all-American strip-mall feel.

we come downtown, towards the water.  towards what looks like the biggest, fanciest hotel in the city.  carnival cruise ships that look like whole buildings sitting on the water (how can you use the verb *float* for something that size?) and seaplanes everywhere.  oakleys and khaki shorts everywhere.  the smell of starbucks everywhere.

my bags are taken by one of the sixty-seven good looking bellboys that are hovering around looking efficiently friendly.  everyone knows exactly what to do with me, as soon as i tell them my name.  no small feat, because i know there are four hundred other names for whom they have had to know exactly what to do.

i am shown to my room.  i walk into carpet i immediately lose my feet in, and am greeted by a floor-to-ceiling-window-view along the far wall, of the Pacific Ocean.  there is a welcome hamper the size of a small child on the table:  wine (with personalized wedding labels), chocolates, snacks, and more wine.  and a seven-page (branded) wedding-festivities agenda.

i dump bags and run down to the bride's room, where she is getting dressed for lunch.  walk into a full-on Women On The Brink Of A South-Asian Wedding movie -- at every level and every sense.  my nose is hit with wafts of perfume.  every flat and not-so-flat surface is occupied by clothes (western and eastern) and jewelry (western and eastern).  i try to sit somewhere without squashing a pashmina shawl in the process.  everywhere nails being done, zippers being zipped and pedicured feet being stuffed into stilettoes.  the bride has flown in her makeup artist from Bombay for the week, but today's lunch is not an official occasion, so he is just giving her a lookover before she walks out the door to meet and greet more aunties and uncles.  it is, however,  an official occasion in that she's wearing her new Manolos (shriek!) for the first time.

...more to come...

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via San Benedetto, Cortona]
[domenica 11 luglio 2004 ore 22:10:33] []

apology.  and a cat.

sorry folks.  have spent this first week of july at a best-friend's-wedding (and what a wedding -- gory details to come), and so really haven't had time to work on blogs and such.  did however, have time to pass a few business cards around, so for those of you from the wedding week in Vancouver -- welcome (try saying THAT five times over fast if you're South Asian).

i promise there is more to come (new- and psycho-kitten included) -- very, very soon.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Canutola, Lisciano Niccone]
[martedi 06 luglio 2004 ore 16:17:29] []