Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Leave a comment

Future online activities

OK, ladies and gentlemen, I need your help.
Let’s say that, barring disasters (that are always possible) in about one month I will have access to a fast, stable internet connection.

digital-nomads-business-travel_1940x900_33662

Of course after years of exile beyond the Digital Divide I will have a huge celebration, but afterwards it will still be a matter of making ends meet.
And let’s say I’ll be trying to do something that might be

  1. fun to do
  2. interesting for the public
  3. capable of bringing in some money

For instance, in Italian, I will re-launch my courses on Taoism and Zen – only instead of using a blog platform I will be offering them as a mix of online articles and live sessions on Google Hangouts.

So I am wondering, what could I propose to my English-speaking audience?

  • Courses, lectures… about what?
  • KaravanCast live events (if possible)?
  • Pulp-based Italian classes for English speakers?
  • Online roleplaying gaming sessions?
  • A reading group?
  • Some kind of writing workshop?

I am open to suggestions – please use the comments.
And thank you.


Leave a comment

Clio’s Days Off

An interesting question was raised a few days back from my friend Giulia, that manages the Liberi di Scrivere lit blog (only in Italian, sorry).
The question was, more or less

how much leeway do we have when writing historical fiction?

Meaning, how much can we change, distort, manipulate or basically rewrite historical fact to fit our narrative?

Now, I’m sure my friend Claire covered this subject somewhere on her Scribblings blog (and if she did not, she should), and Giulia’s question received lots of answers, some I liked, some I liked a lot less.
And right now I’d like to expand on my answer, that did go more or less like this: Continue reading


Leave a comment

The World Poetry & Forests Day

Today is both the World Poetry Day and The World Forest Day, so it looks like the right time for doing something featuring both verses and forests.

photo-1425913397330-cf8af2ff40a1

But I’m not so hot on poetry – a few contemporaries, some classic Japanese and Chinese poems, and then of course Poe, John Donne and that other chap, that Shakespeare.
But I found something that in my opinion fits this blog, and my current mood, and is from a great great writer that is not so popular anymore, alas: George Meredith, who gave us The Shaving of Shagpat and, of course, Diana of the Crossways.

32a7c4d300b51452f622a7f08635461334fd5b58

He was also a poet, and wrote this, which is called Forest History.
Enjoy, and happy Poetry & Forest day. Continue reading


6 Comments

Distraction-free

WordPress implemented a new blogging interface a few days ago.
It’s pretty cool, it’s designed to be distraction-free, and basically on my countryside connection it makes posting a blog a one-hour affair instead of the usual fifteen minutes.
Because the interface is beautiful, but it’s heavy on my connection resources.

NewWordPressComPostEditor

But this is not the real problem – I already write my posts using a text editor caller ReText (but any plain text editor or notepad works) and then copy-and-paste them in WordPress anyway.
But while I was waiting this morning for the interface to load, I found myself with ample time on my hands and started thinking…distraction-free? Continue reading


2 Comments

Earle Bergey

23490709-LlyrdisJust a gallery of wonderful covers from old pulps.
I always liked the covers of Startling stories, and one of them in particular, that you see here on the right, is the image that flashes in my mind when I think about pulp covers.
All these covers were created by a guy called Earle Bergey, and this post and this gallery dedicated to him.
He was specialised in something that was called “Bim, BEM, Bum!” – a beautiful woman menaced by a monster of some sort, with a hero ready to act heroic.

Enjoy!


Leave a comment

Monks, dirt and wine

In the 13th century, monks in Burgundy were in the habit of taking a spoonful of vineyard dirt and taste it to assess the quality of the vineyard.
Or so they tell me.
Me, I am a geologist, and I’ve seen colleagues taste oil to assess its maturation, so I’m not surprised at anything anyway.

Monk_tasting_wine_from_a_barrelThe interesting fact is this: in Medieval times, French monks had lots of land at their disposal, and in Burgundy they had set up vineyards as far as the eye could see. The climate was favorable, and the monks liked their wine anyway.
But a monk back then had a lot of spare time to observe nature, and so the good Benedictines and Cistercians started noticing trends. Vineyards that were more productive, vineyards in which a certain kind of vine thrived while another suffered, and so on.
They started calling these different parcels of land terroir – and started experimenting to define what made one parcel different from the next. Hence, the idea of sampling and tasting the dirt. Continue reading