Archived Posts from this Category

Recording “To Shiver the Sky”

Posted by on 31 May 2020 | Tagged as: aviation, culture, music, personal, travel

The conductor beat out a measure. A rich orchestra sound flowed from 80 headphones into 80 heads. With a sound like an earthquake’s rumble overlaid with angelic choirs, 80 voices sang out: “Una Volta che Avrai…“. And I was sitting 10 metres in front of them. Wow.

Continue Reading »

Impressions of Italian grocery stores

Posted by on 31 Oct 2019 | Tagged as: culture, personal, travel

For the last six weeks, I’ve been shopping at grocery stores in Venice, Naples, Rome, and Florence. My Carissima and I are self-catering during an extended trip through Italy. My grocery store sample is limited and unrepresentative, but even so, the experience makes me appreciate the treasures at these Italian groceries. And, it helps me appreciate by contrast what they grocery stores back home in B.C. do well. Continue Reading »

In which Jim and Ducky appear in the Venice Biennale

Posted by on 30 Sep 2019 | Tagged as: culture, music, travel

A most extraordinary thing happened last Saturday: Ducky Sherwood and I appeared in the Venice Biennale! We were a (tiny) part of Sun & Sea [Marina], an “opera-performance” by RugilÄ— BarzdžiukaitÄ—, Vaiva GrainytÄ—, and Lina LapelytÄ—, at the Lithuania Pavilion. This work won them the Golden Lion award for Best National Participation. I have been a devoted amateur opera singer for nearly 25 years. I am delighted to join in this performance, in my little comprimario role. It is an unlikely addition to my résumé. Continue Reading »

Mobile tech transforms travelling

Posted by on 31 Jul 2010 | Tagged as: travel

An unexpected insight from  our recently-completed Turkey vacation was the way mobile devices and wifi networks simplified and improved our travel experience. It was a qualitative change in our travel experience, affecting how we spent our time and our money, and what we packed.

The crucial change was that I carried a borrowed Android smartphone, in place of my 2005-vintage Treo 650. The phone spoke Turkey’s GSM frequencies and was unlocked, ready to accept a local GSM chip. It could use wi-fi and 3G networking, and had a built-in camera. Ducky carried her iPhone, which she didn’t have for last summer’s Botswana trip. Though locked out of Turkish voice and data service, it still could use wi-fi networks and take pictures. We were travelling in parts of Turkey with good mobile voice and data coverage, and where we could easily steer to hotels with wi-fi service.

Let us count the ways this transformed our travel experience.

Continue Reading »