Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's about to begin....

Brothers and Sisters are you ready. Don't the cats look scared. They should be. Tomorrow begins a new month but it’s not like any other month and this year is not like any other year. I’m going to attempt something that has never been done (as far as I know, but I haven’t researched it too hard). I’m going to join NaBloPoMo and that would make me Brindisi’s first member if I can pass THE TEST. First let me explain. This jumble of letters stands for National Blog Posting Month for those of you not keeping up with the times, which is most of you! This exclusive club requires that you blog EVERY DAY in the month of November. This November I’m going to “Just Do It” and I WILL join this elite club that WILL surely rule the world, someday. So EVERY DAY of the coming month I will blog AND I’m going one further and I say that I will have a new, never before seen photo with every entry.
This sounds tough and it may be, but I need a challenge, as this blogging thing is getting too easy. Things may go a little haywire this month. Laundry may not get done. Personal grooming may be overlooked but there will be something new here. Just last night a funny thing happened to me on the way home from work that will make a good story during the up coming month. Also we have a lot of events coming up. I might as well say it. We have my birthday in this month. We have Mama Roots in concert. I will be in Rome for Thanksgiving and who knows where else. So stay tuned as I hope to blog about things you never seen or even thought you would see. It may get personal you may be offended but remember it’s for your entertainment only.
Use as directed. Consult a physician if the condition persists for over a month….
Ci vediamo domani…and dopodomani and dopodopodomani…

Little update. I decided to add this scary photo of Mara for Halloween. You have to go back 3 years on my blog to see when I last carved a pumpkin.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


So the newest music pub is open. Thursday night the place was packed and rocking. This first photo is outside early in the night. As you can see there is not much to see outside but there is room for smokers to hang out, which is important. The cars make good places to put your beer while outside.

Inside you see that the place has the barrel shaped roof. You are surrounded in yellow, or gold light. I took this photo from the stairs as you head into the main room. It's in the basement of 3 story building. Nice layout with a long bar on one side and all the tables on other. The beers are good but it's officially a wine bar so I'll be tasting those in the future. I'm not sure how old this place is but I was told that this place was a bomb shelter in World War II. Then it was a pizzeria until now.

The band Creme had the honor of playing the first night. They have a new CD out called Sulla Collina. There is a screen behind the stage to show videos or CALCIO.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Frigo part 2

So R2R wants to know what’s in the fridge. That’s a little scary when you mention that it’s a window into your soul so let’s see what I have in my soul….(quite fitting this close to Halloween and All Saints Day).
The top shelf is a bottle of white wine chilling nicely, Fanta, and coffee. I’ll admit it, that’s not Illy coffee in that can. I’m just using the nice can the Illy people give you. It’s really Moka, the cheap stuff. I swear the middle shelf was like that before the photo and I’m not sure why I didn’t put this fruit in the fruit drawer. I’m usually kinda of anal about that. It has a special drawer for fruit, dammit. I have a peroche (cross of peach and something else), 1 pear, 2 Chinese oranges (think that’s what they are called), and 2 mandarins. In the cheese drawer just below them, you can’t see it, but there is grated Parmesan. The next shelf down we have: a half empty jar of Old El Paso Salsa Mejecan, half empty jar of Barilla sauce (Tuna flavor, hey I didn’t feel like cooking after the gym yesterday), beer, and leftover Pizza. In my drawers you have one potato and one onion in the vegetable side and 1 lemon and grapes on the fruit side. The meat drawer below is currently empty except for garlic. A little old lady told me that’s the best place to keep garlic and it does seem to keep well down there. On the door we have 6 eggs, some butter, 3 bottles of Aperol soda (which I hate so they will be there adding color to my fridge until someone else drinks them) and some orange juice.
That’s exactly how my fridge was when I got home yesterday. I thought about shopping to make it look better and more interesting but I have a more interesting shot of my frigo back here… That was in May of last year. Amazing the difference. Si?
I'm not going to tag anyone for reasons I've mentioned in the past. I love doing these but not tagging people. However, I would love to see what Lori and Kent have. I'm sure it's full of crazy stuff!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Night photos

I've decided to get a decent tripod. These photos are from Tuesday night in Martina Franca. I always think I can find a way to brace the camera and get the picture but now my common sense is coming into play. I have a good digital SLR so I should carry a tripod if I really want to get good night photos. Also, if that's not enough then I should look at how I got my coat dirty bracing myself against a wall to get this one below. Any good advice on tripods is appreciated.
By the way. For my mom. The pigeon has flown the coop. Repeat the Pigeon HAS Flown the COOP.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

MY verdicts are here!

My review of Marco’s playing? Well, I kinda missed it. When I arrived he was already done playing. But hey I wasn’t the only one surprised by the early start. Mr. Browns is in a building surrounded by people trying to sleep so they had to start the music “on time” which should be translated as “very early”. I mean if they say the music starts at 22:00 nobody really expects the music to start then, but in this case it did. So we can add this to the list of reasons I don’t like Mr. Browns for music. Other weekend updates. South Africa won the Rugby World Cup Saturday night and I was able to see the game at Goblins Pub (Thanks to Francesco, we kicked the Inter fans out). Kimi won the Formula 1 Championship on Sunday. My theory that it’s all rigged was confirmed when Lewis Hamilton had some strange problem shifting gears and ended up in 7th place, which gave Kimi the win by one point. How convenient and Amanda shares my views so it’s not just me. And last but not least, I didn’t go to the Olive sagra as the weather didn’t cooperate. In related news, the heat came on for the first time in my apartment this year. Meanwhile my mom calls and tells me that in Cincinnati it was going up to 82F Sunday. Son of a ….. Still, wait until January! I’ll have my revenge then!
There is good news from this weekend. Another “Music Pub” is about to open THIS THURSDAY. It WILL be a good place for music! I’m excited and a little cautious about it though. You see Ottavio has been saying this new pub of his is going to open for about two years now. Last week he gave me a date for the first time, it was October 25 and I jokingly thought to myself, “he didn’t say what year!” He showed me the plans for this bar probably 3 years ago when he was running the Thomas Inn. This new place will be long and skinny with the band stage at one end. Therefore everyone in the place should be able to see the band. This will make it the only small indoor venue that is set up for music. So many of the pubs have music but they are strange shapes that don’t work if you are trying to have a concert. Most have tables two feet from the band or the stage is right next to the door so you can’t get in. As a bonus he’s also going to have free wifi inside. So this will be the first place in Brindisi to offer free wifi (besides one of the hotels, but I can’t use that free wifi spot). He even mentioned that there are two acts touring Italy from the US that will play at his place this winter. Otavio is a big fan of Jazz and Blues (and plays the trumpet himself) so I’m interested to see whom he gets. Most places around here will get whomever they can to play but I think Ottavio will work harder to get better musicians. Plus he seems to know people in the business from his playing days.
Other news. Maria elena showed me her photos that are now online at Flickr. Once again I’m reminded how boring my photos are. Take a look at her photos here to see more interesting and artistic shots around Brindisi.
Her picture of a soap bubble alone is worth look over there. It’s amazing and I’m jealous because I would never think to take a photo like that. But the photo for today is one I took of her about this time last year on Andrea’s Harley.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Get out your scarves!

Well the weekend is just about here and I can’t wait. Tonight Marco Russo is playing at a pub called, Mr. Browns. This will be THE first time I’ve ever heard him play and I will be merciless in the review on Monday. I’m also looking forward to the Rugby World Cup Finals if I can see it (most TVs will be tuned to Soccer!). I saw New Zealand loose a few weeks ago and caught South Africa crushing Argentina last weekend so I’m interested in who wins it all. I was impressed with South Africa who has a player with just incredible speed. He looks like an Olympic sprinter, but bigger. Also this weekend Formula 1 has it’s final race and it actually means something. There are 3 drivers that could win the Championship in the final race. Personally I just like watching the start of the race. That’s when they really mix it up. After that there’s no passing. My prediction is: if anyone other than Lewis Hamilton wins then that means someone sabotaged him. It is too strange that in the race two weeks ago this rookie who has driven incredibly well then suddenly, “accidentally” drives off the track and gets stuck in the gravel while going in to the pits. Please. I don’t want to start a controversy but I think something fishy is going on. Actually the story of Formula 1 this year would make a good movie. There was a big spying scandal between the top 2 teams. The two-time World Champion driver is loosing to a rookie driver AND they’re even on the same team. And on top of that THE team owner is not speaking to his World Champion driver but he loves the rookie. Sounds like there are some real characters here. Throw in a love story and someone dealing with a drug addiction and you have another "Stroker Days of Talledega Nights" but on an international scale.
The weather was nice all week so naturally it’s taking a turn for the worst this weekend. The grecale wind (out of the northeast) arrived this morning. It’s bringing rain and the coldest weather of the season so far. They’re even saying that there should be snow in the higher elevations of the Apennines. This isn’t good because there’s one outdoor event I want to go to and that’s the Sagra of the Olives down in Martano. It’s a long way and if the weather is questionable then I probably won’t go. But still a sagra is calling…

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I don’t know what to say. One of my favorite relatives passed away. Lou was one of relatives we (I’m speaking for my brother and sister) loved when we were kids. I think the best thing was that he and his family lived in Cleveland and us in Cincinnati. There is this strange love-hate relationship between Cincinnati and Cleveland. Why do the North and the South never get along(in this case Ohio)? We could always joke with him and his brother Tony about why Cleveland sucks and Cincinnati was great.
Anyway we didn’t see him all the time but they were close enough that he and his brother would be down for smallest anniversary or holiday gathering. My mom still remembers when he drove from Cleveland to Cincinnati as soon as he got his driver’s license. He was part of that big extended Italian family thing that made holidays at Nonna’s house so cool. He will be missed but we will always remember him. Still, it starts to hurt when you think about how we can never have those amazing holidays like we used to. This is why I should be in the States, so I can be there to pay my respects. Sometimes being an Expat sucks, like Cleveland!

I guess I need a little Pliny the Elder to help me out “Assuredly, only he who is always mindful of the frailty of man will weigh life in a fair balance.”

LOUIS V. PALLOTTA, age 76. Beloved husband of Susan (nee Toth). Loving father of Louis M (deceased) (Ann), Robert (Diane), Ellen Neel (Keith), William (Lisa) and Patrice Kilo (John). Cherished grandfather of Janice, Christine, Louis, Michael, Andrea, Emily, Keith, Kelly, Matthew, John and Nicholas. Dear brother of Anthony and the late Josephine Englebry. In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions to Parkinson Disease Research. U. S. Army Korean Conflict Veteran. Former ARCA stock car racing champion.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Another short book review...

Well it was a good weekend in the end. The rain finally stopped on Saturday afternoon. Until then it had rained every day since I got back from the US. A couple nights it really stormed but most of the time it was a light rain that the farmers probably loved but it was beginning to annoy the hell out of me. The photo for this blog is from me playing with the new lens in the apartment on Saturday. I was testing the depth of field. That picture was taken from way across on the other side of the apartment! Are you impressed?
Sunday I didn’t do much even though the sun was finally out. I was near the end of Travels with Herodotus (because of the previously mentioned rainy nights) so I was compelled to keep reading until it was finished. I like the book but it was a little too much about Herodotus. I wanted to read more about the author. He was a reporter born in Poland and started going overseas for his newspaper in 1955. It was fascinating to read about his impressions of going off exotic countries. His first assignment was India in 1955. You can only imagine what a different world it was in every way. Then he’s back in Poland for a while but he soon gets a new assignment in China and then after that Africa so you see what I mean about his travels. He has some incredible stories to tell but you only get a taste. But I realize now the book itself is pretty short and I guess he keeps to the point, which is comparing the East to the West from a reporter’s point without taking one side. Dare I say it, “an objective view”? Something I would love to hear more of these days. Herodotus could be considered the first “reporter” in the author’s opinion. Herodotus attempted to compare “Greeks to non-Greeks” in his book The Histories (which everyone now agrees should be translated as The Inquiries). Herodotus does so by traveling to the ends of the earth (at least the ends of the earth around 450 BC). The author admires how Herodotus wants to see for himself and relates everything in very non-bias manner, especially for his era. If you read this book then I highly recommend having the map in Wikipedia section on Herodotus handy. That way you understand where he is and why sometimes it doesn’t make sense with what we know about geography today. Overall I recommend the book, as it is an interesting read about a reporter’s duty and how little people haven't changed in 3,000 years. It always is “us verses them” from both sides.
Now I have to get back to Pliny the Elder. I left him in the middle of describing all the sea creatures he knows….

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Blog Ads...

Maybe I should start charging for publicity on my blog. Nah, I couldn’t do that besides how many people really listen to me? Don’t answer that!!!
It has come to my attention that my favorite Pub has a site on the Internet. So if you are so inclined then here it is The Big Ben . If you like the site then let me know because Raffaella who works at the bar needs some positive encouragement. Also if you have any advice then I’m sure she would welcome that too. Hey, It’s a work in progress and not her real job. Be careful what you say as she may find this blog one of these days.

I also want to give out the site of Bob and Debbie. They have taken care of my cats while I’ve been in the states and now they have an article written by me on Brindisi on their website. Andiamo in Italia. Sure I’ll say it. If you’re looking for a vacation rental around Brindisi then they are good place to go. Maybe I’ll follow in their footsteps someday. They bought two villas south of Brindisi. One they live in and the other they rent. I think it’s a great idea because, you, as the vacation renter have the owners that are native English speakers nearby if you need help and they, as owners, can keep a close watch on their property and keep their renters happy (but maybe at the expense of their own happiness at times). It can’t be easy as some renters will never be content.
Other news on the money front. You know that I like to track my monthly bills so I know how much I’m spending for utilities and stuff. Well the electric bill comes every two months (the gas every 3) and the bill for June-July was much higher than I expected and it didn’t seem right and sure enough it wasn’t because the August-September bill showed a credit that made a correction in the right direction. In the end I’m happy because I did lower my electric bill over the summer (June to September) by about 10%. So that brings the total to around 630 euros on gas and electricity this year, compared to 634 at this time last year. No real savings, but not an increase. I figure that’s pretty good because I know couldn’t heat, cool and provide electricity for my house in the US for this amount. But there is always bad news because I recently read in the paper that the gas rate went up 2.4% and electricity rate has increased 2.8% starting in October. Maybe that’s more than you wanted to know…

Monday, October 08, 2007


Well I’ve been away from the blog for a while so I should update ya’ll on what’s been going on. First of all I was in the States, again. That makes it 3 times that I’ve been in the US this year. I believe that’s a record for me. I’m getting a little tired of sitting on 9+ hour flight. And in true form Alitalia lost my bag in Rome for the umpteenth time. It wasn’t just me, as least 20 people arrived here in Brindisi without their bags. I can’t complain too much because it did arrive on the very next flight that afternoon. So everything is ok. In fact, it took so long to fill out the lost bags form that Airport bus had returned by the time I left the terminal building (see my “A bus” post for the joy in this).
Important news for you blog readers is that I picked up a new lens for my camera. I bought a monster 70-300 mm telephoto lens. Now I can get pictures of people without them knowing it! (Insert sinister laugh here). It was rainy and dreary this weekend so I haven’t gone out shooting photos, yet. It’s funny because I left record high temperatures near 90F in Indianapolis to come back to cool and damp Brindisi. That’s backwards from how it’s supposed to be.
Also I picked up two books while in the States. One that I’ve been meaning to get Travels with Herodotus and other was an impulse buy, Natural History by Pliny the Elder. Pliny has interested my ever since I read Pompeii and found he died because he hung around when Vesuvius was erupting and burying Pompeii in 79 AD. He died because he was so curious that he went towards the eruption when he was far enough away that he was safe where he was. Natural History is the only book he wrote that has made it to modern times and also the book he was working on when he died. It’s his take on everything that was known at the time. I think I’ll be quoting it as I read it. For example the first quote I have from the book is this from the Astronomy section about the search for God, “God is man helping man, this is the path to everlasting glory.”
By the way the photo is from the May trip. I didn't have my camera on this trip since it was all work....