Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Explore the world and help the others

The title of this post sums up the sort of answer I would have given when I was, say, twelve years old, when somebody asked “what are you going to be when you grow up?” (one of the questions that have plagued kids for generations). I would not have said it in so many words, but that was the idea – I had been raised on documentaries and adventure stories, and I had this sui generis image in my mind of what a scientist would do – go out there, learn the world, help people see those wonders, teach.

I realize now that, had it been considered an option, I would probably have loved to make documentaries, or be a nature photographer.
But those were not “serious jobs”, so I focused on university, and became a paleontologist and a geologist.
I did research and teaching for a while, and then ended up in this dead village in the hills of Astigianistan, saddled with debts other people had made, and too old to do any job because hey, you’re over 45, you should be either rich or dead.

So it’s back to adventure stories – because if I can’t go out there and do it, I can at least try and inspire others to do it.
Or dream about inspiring them – most of my readers are my same age or older, and “adventure” is today something somebody set up, and you can go through it for a price, and everything’s perfectly controlled.
You don’t get to see the world but that small slice they will allow you to see.
Most places are too dangerous, or too weird, or just plain uninteresting.

It gets depressing.
And I, sitting here in this small village lost in a countryside where curiosity and youth are ills that must be cured as soon as possible… today I find some solace learning foreign languages, trying my hand at cooking exotic recipes, and paying a small amount of money to some charity – usually through things like Humbe Bundle or such.

I’m starting to feel old and useless, I need to find something new to explore.
Any ideas?


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A one day vacation & microadventure, sorta

Contrary to my plans – I intended to stay at home and write – tomorrow I have to do some stuff in a couple of offices here in Nizza Monferrato, roughly 12 kilometers from where I live. It will mean spending the whole day out. The bit of bureaucracy I’m taking care of will require probably, say, half an hour, but there’s the small matter of my lack of an automobile.

The local bus might be a little tricky – the service’s been canceled or re-scheduled now that school’s out so that bus runs are not guaranteed.
As a solution, I’ll ask for a lift to a friend on her way to work, and I have already arranged with some other friends for a bite in the evening and then a lift back.
This means having the whole day to play at being a tourist in Nizza – fascinating market town as all readers of BUSCAFUSCO know, but de facto a one horse town, that you can cross on foot in half an hour.

So what?
Well, with my brother we’ve designed the day as a small vacation and microadventure – including street food, window-shopping, maybe some photos. We’ll also bring along thick paperbacks.
We’ll pretend we’re not Italians.
And I’ll have a notebook, to jot down ideas.
After all, what the heck, it’s summer, right?


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Passwords

Something happened this morning to my PC. I started it as usual and it went into a massive read/write thing, continuous access to the hard disk, 100% CPU usage, the works – and when it was over, it had lost all of my passwords.
All of them.
Each and every one.
My facebook access code and my Patreon code and my WordPress key and my PayPal authentication.
Everything had been obliterated.
I cursed, as one does, and then started looking for a way to recover the missing access keys.

It’s been a long day of SMS messages with code numbers and other demented “security procedures” that have wasted a lot of my time, and two thirds of my systems still don’t work.

Isn’t life beautiful?


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Detoxing for readers and writers

There are a lot of things I learned from my friend Riccardo, who’s been gone now for a few years. He was the one that taught me the one trick you need to know to start reading in English, and he was the one that asked me if I was crazy because I wanted to show my stories to a certain publisher, thus saving me from a fate worse than death. And he taught me that sometimes we need to detox, as readers and – as I would later learn – as writers.
He also taught me how to do it.

You come to a point, he used to say, when everything you read feels the same. It’s because you’ve been reading too much of the stuff, be it science fiction or fantasy or horror or any other genre. Or just any fiction. So you need to take a break and clean up your systems.

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