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Friday, March 4, 2011

Bougoula, Priorities, Giotto, Cats, Gymnasiums, and Haiku

Once again, sorry for the absence. Life is rather chaotic at times, but I have a plan to get everything organized and tidy. I promise to make a more concerted effort to update this blog every day. In that frame of mind, I’m adding a little segment to my blog. Another one?! Isn’t it long enough? No, not really. I’m now adding a section specifically devoted to Art History and Archaeology. Now, on with the blog!

Fact of the Day

Bougoula is a small town and commune in the Cercle of Kati in the Koulikoro Region of south-western Mali. As of 1998 the commune had a population of 8,603. It’s largely a farming area producing peanuts, cotton, and tobacco.

Blog of the Day

I was reading Adventurous Kate again and she had written a very short article that really summed up my feelings about travel. The title of the article was “Dear Ladies: This Can Be Your Life, Too”. In short, she talks a bit about how many times she gets notes from women who wish they could travel around the world, but just don’t have the time. Kate goes on to insist that if you really want to, all you need to do is make it a priority. As long as other things in your life are more important than traveling, you’ll never go anywhere. This is absolutely true.

When I was quite young Mom promised me that when I finished middle school we would go to England. Mom had been once and for whatever reason, she hadn’t taken me with her at the time. She came back just in love with the whole experience and never stopped talking about it, so I was quite excited to find out that I would be able to go. Well, I got out of middle school and money was too tight. Mom swore up and down that when I graduated from high school we would go, no matter what. Well, I graduated from high school and money was still tight. Dad might be getting laid off from his job and Mom had a service dog to help her walk and she wasn’t sure about the restrictions.

When I think about it now, I realize it was all about priorities. My mom’s promise to take me to England was not prioritized above Dad’s comfort, the budget that allowed for satellite TV and eating out, her personal agenda regarding accessibility for service dogs. IF she had made it a top priority, we would have gone. She would have ended the satellite TV, not gone out for dinner for a long time, saved every penny possible, found a way to budget our travel, and agreed to leave the dog at home. It’s a resolution of mine that I won’t make the same mistake, travel is a priority. If I’ve got free time ahead, I take it. Whatever’s going on in my life, I will find a way to make my next trip happen.

Art and Archaeology

In the world of art one cannot ignore an important figure in the Trecento, Giotto di Bondone. Giotto, born approximately 1266 or 67, was an Italian painter and architect. He was, in a sense, the father of the Italian Renaissance. It was his innovative techniques and styles that led to the reemergence of Humanism. Up to this point, art was very flat and 2 dimensional. There was no depth, no perspective, and certainly no sense of distance. People were not depicted in a very lifelike manner and poses were stiff and unnatural looking.

Giotto introduced a sense of depth to his paintings, though he was not entirely successful. He made an attempt to show buildings in a three dimensional sense which was quite different than what had been done before, though it lacked the consistency of later art. He was still not quite able to carry over the three dimensional aspects to people. He also began making an effort to individualize people in his paintings. One might be fat, another thin. One woman has a headdress and another doesn’t. Earlier art tended to make every person the same with only the size (hieratic scale) and a distinguishing symbol (a halo, a crown, a jar, wings, a spear, or whatever) to tell you which person depicted is the important one and who they are.

Giotto was famous for a several different works and for being an influence on other artists. Probably his best known accomplishment was the Scrovegni Chapel (aka: Arena Chapel). His one great piece of architecture was alas not completed to his specifications, so the Campanile di Giotto is rather misleading. Two well known figures seem to speak well of him. Dante Alighieri in The Divine Comedy that “Cimabue believed that he led the field in painting and now Giotto has the cry, so that fame of the former is obscure”. Vasari, a 16th century biographer says of Giotto “He made a decisive break with the crude traditional Byzantine style, and brought to life the great art of painting as we know it today, introducing the technique of drawing accurately from life, which had been neglected for over two hundred years.”

Adventures of Brave Sir Robin

My precious little darling has a girlfriend. To be honest, we just refer to her that way. She actually has no idea that my cat exists and it’s going to stay that way. Sir robin had a sister at one point. I had gotten him from my boyfriend’s roommate she had gotten herself a little tortishell girl and surprised me with the adorable bundle of orange fluff that is Sir Robin. While I stayed there for several months, Sir Robin and his sister played together constantly.

Sir Robin is horribly afraid of other male cats, but seems to have a strange conviction that any tri-colored cat is possibly his sister. He becomes quite desperate to go out and play with them. If one comes by the house he’ll cry and meow piteously. It’s all quite tragic and funny at the same time. This is where his little girlfriend comes in. The neighbors a couple doors down have a fluffy calico thing that wanders through our back yard on a regular basis. Sir Robin is ever so excited when he sees her and runs from the back door to the window and back, meowing the whole time.

Alas, for Sir Robin. His girlfriend has never noticed him. She takes no notice of housecats and thus he is ignored. In my book this is probably just as well because I have it on good authority that the calico is a bit of a bully. No doubt if she and Sir Robin were to meet, she would terrorize him. Really, he’s much better off ignored by his girlfriend. Occasionally though, I do feel a tad guilty that he doesn’t have any other cats to play with.

Gym Memberships

I am currently on a hunt for a gym that meets very specific criteria. I will likely not find exactly what I’m looking for, but that’s all right. I will see what’s available and lower my standards and accept what I can get. It’d difficult to find the right kind of gym, especially when you know exactly what you want. I keep hoping that one day I will find the perfect arrangement.

My ideal gym would of course be easy to get to, close to home or school. The locker rooms would be clean and have reasonable sized lockers; the showers would have hot water. There would be more than enough machines so that even when it’s busy, I’d be able to follow my exercise routine. The hours of operation would allow me to drop in periodically thought the day and most of the week and the membership fee would be under $30 a month.

No such luck for me. I have yet to find a place that meets all of the above criteria, excluding the membership cost. Actually, that’s not true. I did find one, but the membership is around $70 for sign up and around $30 a month after that. It seems like an awful lot of money upfront. On the other hand, nto only do they meet me standards, but they exceed them a tiny bit. They offer free group classes, free meeting with a trainer and a nutritionist, and free use of a sauna. It’s so very tempting, but I’m going to keep looking.

Haiku and Reviews

I got some reviews, Haiku!

Apple tree blooming
Sweet smell of spring yet to come
Yet it is winter

Scales glitter by light
Smoldering furnace breaths out
Sparks and smoke blow forth

1 comment:

  1. Adorable cat
    Humanism invented
    Keep up the good work


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