Orme di Antiorario

My long shot

I’ve been debating whether or not I wanted to publish this piece, after it didn’t make it to the first issue of Longshot (don’t click on that, I’m not in there). But why be doubtful? I knew what I was getting myself into. So here it is, with no explanations. Because you wouldn’t have gotten any.

Of pigs and men

It’s taken me a few months to finish reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, but it was worth it. At first—especially while reading the first part of the book, about the industrial food chain—I thought the book was going to make me completely disgusted at anything I’d ever eat, but as my reading progressed I realized the result was quite the opposite.

My reworking memory

I quit my first job after six weeks—not before threatening to do so in a couple of occasions—the day my boss came down to my office (announced by wafts of her mothball-smelling perfume) and complained that I was unwilling to let her reformat me. Yes, reformat, like a floppy disk (we still used those back then). That may sound funny, nine years later, but one must understand that I had gotten this job after responding to an ad in the most popular national newspaper, an ad that seemed to have been written precisely for me. The qualities were all there. The selection process was more than an interview, nothing short of an admission test, at the end of which I was picked among forty participants. I was proud of myself. But then I discovered they didn’t care about the skills, they just wanted to reformat me—and I was definitely not going to let them.

My too many weblogs

With a book about television finally on sale in a major online store, I thought it may be time for me to become more serious about my television blogging. Hence from today on all my musings about television will have a new home in Onde: a TV weblog on this very site.

I chose the name, Onde, because it means waves—which I still find very poetic and, at this point, quite old fashioned when it comes to television. The word also has a striking resemblance with Orme, which for the past six years has been my personal weblog (and which, however, as everyone knows, means footprints).

Onde’s initial content includes all of Orme’s TV-related posts from the past year and a half—but no worries, the old links still work.

Of trains, travels and data plans

I’ve come to think that once the infrastructure is up and running, providing broadband via either DSL or 3G costs nearly zero to the provider (hopefully someone will correct me if I’m wrong). In the UK, O2 gives one month of “unlimited” Internet access to prepaid mobile users every time they refill with at least £10. In Italy, despite the availability of sensible prepaid data plans, the latest trend is to trick customers into paying for time-based service, billed in 15-minute chunks (a crime all in itself), and make them believe it’s a good deal. In a country where the infrastructure is in place, but where service is often poor due to the presence of many mountains and such, one can see how this is much less than ideal.

Let’s not even start with the situation in the United States, where AT&T has decreed that iPhone users with prepaid plans (mostly foreigners in the country for possibly short times) are not even entitled to data service.

One month, two trips and an iPad

My morning routine has benefited from the iPad. I don’t wake up and snap like a magnet to my desk chair and iMac screen like I used to. My first (and often second) cup of tea, accompanied by news reading, can now be enjoyed on a less work-related space—even on the couch. I find myself sitting on my couch for more than watching TV.

Some will argue it’s still a screen I’m dealing with. Some (not necessarily the same people) will say that I’m just blinded by my love for everything Apple. Perhaps—perhaps both. I can’t argue with the second statement, it would be pointless. But as for the iPad being just another screen, I don’t think it matters. What matters is what the screen allows you to do.

My handless clock

There is no use trying to read the time on the clock of our hotel room in València. It has a face, yes. It also has what I can only assume is a stuffed cuckoo—a fake one, I’d say—hanging from it. But it has no hands. Yes, our hotel, a couple of blocks from the impressive City of Arts and Sciences, is one with thematic rooms that walk the fine line between humor and Kitsch—and often enough step way beyond that line.

The drive from Barcelona—better, from Viladecans, near the airport, where we slept after my arrival—took us to Sitges for a late breakfast, which in reality was a lunch made of small octopodes, and, later on, to Sagunt, where I was forced to show off my driving skills thanks to some awfully steep, narrow, winding town streets.

My tangible goods

My Moo box

It may be because I mostly deal with intangible things, but receiving a box full of well-designed, well-made, well-packaged goods made my day. A couple of weeks ago I was ordering a supply of redesigned Moo business cards and I decided to add something to it. (Let alone the fact that I ordered no less than two hundred business cards, which will probably last five years or so.)

Independent variables

There is no safe haven for the grammar freak. On Facebook there are some “fan pages” with names like “Knowing the Difference Between There, Their, & They’re” or “Knowing the Difference Between You’re and Your” (set up by the same people, I assume), of which I did become a fan, just for fun. It’s like becoming a fan of “‘Become a fan’”: you don’t really expect anything useful out of it except a bit of occasional humor.

(I’ll leave out of this the fact that the creators of such pages should have created groups instead, and are now being investigated by Facebook because of said pages’ huge success in number of fans. Someone should create a page—well, a group—called “Knowing the Difference Between a Page and a Group on Facebook.”)

My lucid dreams

Franz Ferdinand playing Ulysses in Turin, Dec. 7, 2009

After all I did solve my little conundrum, drove to Turin, went for a walk in the city—by the way, what’s with the horrid non-holiday decorations they put up?—and finally to the Palatorino for Franz Ferdinand’s concert.

I will try to forget the opening act, an unnamed band (unnamed because, really, no one told me its name, and if someone from the band did I just didn’t get it. All I think I got was that they’re from New York) that spent about thirty minutes banging tambourines and howling something boring and unintelligible into the microphones. I can’t really believe Franz Ferdinand chose them—if they did, I’m glad their music is way better than their musical taste. (But that’s obviously a paradox, because how could that ever be the case?)