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P800, Christmas, A Change of Language

9 gennaio 2004

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Not much traffic here lately. I’ve been a bit tired due to my usual lazyness, then I went away for the Christmas holidays. I’m also beginning to feel nauseated by computers, and after all these years it feels quite strange (although this may be partly due to my job focus switching from Linux/Unix to Windows). I also find the time to scan all my grandfather’s letters from the First World War (more than a hundred letters), as a Christmas gift to my father who had never seen them. I also have lots of old photos and negatives from the late 1800s and the early 1900s (some of them on glass not film), from my mother’s family, and lots of other stuff at my father’s sister from the Second World War (letters, pictures, etc.). I hope to have the time to scan and arrange them in the near future as they’re a fascinating piece of my family’s history, and a fairly complete historical portrait from the last hundred years or so.

My computer nausea is making me feel more and more like writing about real life stuff (politics — which around here mean TV and huge financial disasters, life in general, etc.), so I may switch to Italian for my non-technical entries. And I’d like to start writing a bit on architecture, which after all I studied (and practiced) for quite a few years. I’m planning to buy a digital camera soon (analog photography and scanning take too much time, with only average results compared to digital), and take pictures and write short pieces on interesting buildings in Milano and its environs. I’m particularly fascinated by so-called fascist residential architecture, ie architecture from the 1920s up to right after the II World War, and Milano is a good place to research it. Another architectural fascination I’ve always had is on family mausoleums and funerary architecture. Family mausoleums are a kind of perfect built architecture, as they have very few practical or technical constraints, and a huge stress on symbology, meaning, and representation.

A little before Christmas I had the chance to find a used SonyEricsson P800 at a very cheap price (200 euros, with a scratched screen but perfectly working), so I asked my parents to buy it as my Christmas gift. After a couple of Palms and an iPAQ (and a few cellular phones), I have found the (almost) perfect electronic device.

Ebooks are readable (thanks to Handy Read), audiobooks are a joy (thanks to Unreal Player), IMAP/GPRS work very well, and though the P800 camera is very crappy, it comes in handy in a lot of situations (both pictures in this entry have been taken with my P800).


The first picture is of our older dog, Charlie. She’s a crossbreed between a Pastore Maremmano (a sheepdog from Central Italy, renowned for its fierceness and toughness), and a Siberian Husky. She’s a very intelligent, affectionate dog who has been with us for the past seven years, since she was only 20 days old. She has a very strong character, and she is our first dog ever, so after a few months we had to go to a dog trainer. We had the luck of finding an excellent person, a German former World Champion trainer who retired from the world and lives in the hills near Biella, training only when and if he likes the dog and its owners. We learned a lot from him, and not only about dogs (though Enrica says I did not learn much, and I spoil our pets).

This summer while in Greece for a short holiday, I brought home another dog. She’s a crossbreed between a Spinone and something else, possibly a Bassotto (Dachsund). Greece is full of stray dogs (it’s really sad), most of which are very beautiful and all of which are friendly (all the ones I met anyway). Lili, our dog, was the smallest dog in the village and the youngest one too. She’s very intelligent, and cunning, and obedient. Managing two dogs and three cats in an apartment is not easy, and very time consuming (and I’m the one doing less, since I’m working at the office full time), but it’s a joy and I wish I could give a family to more stray dogs and cats.

I think animals find you, not the other way around. And our dogs run circles around most pure-breed dogs we meet, they’re so much more lively and intelligent.