East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Gifts for writers, readers and other adventurers

Wool socks, scarves and other knitwear, that’s what Christmas is to a lot of us. Case in point: as a Christmas gift, my brother just bought me a wool cap to replace the one that got picked from my pocket a few days ago while we were in a crowd.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, wool cap thieves are a thing.
But what about a list of gifts for readers, writers and in general the sort of people that reads Karavansara?
My marketing guru assures me these posts have a huge impact during the festive season.
Let’s see if he’s right.
Oh, and yes, there’s affiliate links in this post – feel free to ignore them.

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A long night

So the emergency has been stepped up, and we are here sitting and waiting for developments – developments that might be of the “move the PCs upstairs and say goodbye to your books” kind should the Belbo decide to leave its levees and come to pay a visit.

The critical time will be around 4 or 5 tomorrow morning (in 8 hours at the time of writing this) and so we’ll spend the night up, waiting.
I said that something would happen to kick me out of my black mood.
Here it comes.

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The countryside is dreary (and not in a good way)

Like Supertramp used to sing, It’s raining again, and the whole territory is under red alert for floods and landslides.
Yesterday night the take away pizza girl wrote down the wrong address – as a result, the pizza delivery guy drove under the pouring rain up to the door of our next door neighbour, and the moment he stood on their doorstep, the pizza boxed in his hand, the lady there started screaming, because who is this strange man bringing pizzas to her place in the middle of the night (as to say, a quarter past eight in the evening)?
My brother had to run there and intercept the lost delivery boy, and secure our dinner.

And I don’t know if this is a good starting point for the next Horror of the Belbo Valley, or if it’s just one of those funny things I should make cartoons about (if only I knew how to sketch) in order to attract people to my Patreon, as a social marketing guru told me about one year ago.
The only thing I know is it’s raining, the Belbo Valley is slowly slumping into the river, and we had to re-heat our pizzas in the microwave last night.

The dreariness of the countryside under the beating rain is not helping with my black moods and my general feeling of fatigue, the sort of things a warmed-over slice of pizza can only aggravate. And probably the two courses about forensic archaeology – that is, digging out the bones of the dead to find out what killed them – I am taking, while incredibly interesting, are not exactly contributing to cheer me up.

But who knows, things might get better.
They usually do.

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Never say Rat God

We have a mouse in our house. So far he’s ignored the traps we’ve set, and he’s raiding our pantry during the night, and in general making a lot of weird noises. But last night, feeling like he wanted something special, he bit through one of the LAN cables of our home network, cutting through it and isolating my brother’s PC from the web.

Now we’ll have to buy a new one, and the closest computer store in the area is 20 miles away, and we don’t have a car. So it’s an order via Amazon, which means – because we are in a very special place – waiting for a week.

And the fracking mouse is still at large, and tonight it will be showtime again – and let’s hope he has not developed a taste for LAN cables.

Next step – invite in one of the feral cats that have made our courtyard their favorite spot for sunbathing and having a bite. It would be of mutual utility – we grant the cat a warm place for the winter, he takes care of the damn mice.


Idle for a while

At the end of last week I took part in the Nizza Monferrato book fair, Libri in Nizza, to meet a few old friends and talk about books and stuff. The event took place in the Foro Boario, a vast public hall that was created refurbishing the old cattle market. Due to causes independent of the organization’s decisions, the temperature inside was probably 35°, with a humidity fit to growing orchids. As a result, I am now here with a fever, and a sore throat I am treating with honey drops and hot tea.
My head is killing me, and I am wracked by cough.
Aren’t these cultural events a wonder?

But it was generally fun, and afterwards we had a pizza at Casablanca’s, and talked shop, and projects, and stuff.
Then I came home and woke up next morning without a voice, but with a fever.

Now I am taking a few days off, laying in bed and reading.
Thanks to a special promotion on Amazon.it, I finally got myself the first three books in the Foreigner series by C.J. Cherryh, and I am enjoying them a lot.

After more than forty years as a science fiction reader, Cherryh is still one of my favorite authors, and the first Foreigner book I am currently reading is everything I have come to expect from this superb writer.

It makes it worth while being down with a sore throat and a fever.