Thursday, 26 June 2008

13 False Friends

13 False Friends
(Linguistically Speaking, That Is)

When I first started learning Italian, I found myself stumbling over words that seemed so darn familiar to me, but in actuality were not. They look similar to English, but in fact have vastly different meanings than what I kept wanting to believe. It's a common pitfall in most languages, and since English draws from so many different sources, it's sometimes hard to get past.

So today, I present to you "13 False Friends" between English and Italian. I'll give you the words in Italian, along with an approximation of their pronunciation, and you can see if you can guess what they are in English, okay?

1) Orso ("or-so")
a) horse b) dog c) bear d) star

2) Vacanza ("va-cahn-za")
a) vacancy b) porch c) distance d) vacation

3) Romanzo ("ro-man-zoh")
a) book b) novel c) romance d) Roman soldier

4) Morbido ("more-bee-do")
a) morose b) dark c) soft d) evil

5) Sale ("sah-lay")
a) sail b) sale c) wing d) salt

6) Mare ("mah-ray")
a) sea b) female horse c) wall d) scratch

7) Gusto ("goo-stoh")
a) strength b) color c) taste d) wind

8) Fattoria ("fat-toh-ree-ah")
a) factory b) day spa c) writer d) farm

9) Genitori ("geh-nee-tor-ee")
a) parents b) creators c) engines d) genitalia

10) Pane ("pah-nay")
a) bread b) window glass c) pain d) cooking pot

11) Magazzino ("mag-gahz-zeen-oh")
a) magazine b) pamphlet c) warehouse d) courtyard

12) Mosca ("mohss-ka")
a) mosquito b) beetle c) moth d) fly

13) Fame ("fah-may")
a) stardom b) bed frame c) hunger d) film

Have you made your guesses? Let's see how you did:

1) Orso ("or-so")
c) bear

2) Vacanza ("va-cahn-za")
d) vacation

3) Romanzo ("ro-man-zoh")
b) novel

4) Morbido ("more-bee-do")
c) soft

5) Sale ("sah-lay")
d) salt

6) Mare ("mah-ray")
a) sea

7) Gusto ("goo-stoh")
c) taste

8) Fattoria ("fat-toh-ree-ah")
d) farm

9) Genitori ("geh-nee-tor-ee")
a) parents

10) Pane ("pah-nay")
a) bread

11) Magazzino ("mag-gahz-zeen-oh")
c) warehouse

12) Mosca ("mohss-ka")
d) fly

13) Fame ("fah-may")
c) hunger

So...? How did you do?

Anyway, that's all for this week, see ya next time...

That is, after you scroll down...

Keep going...

Here ya go - and don't forget to click on the pic!:

Gilles Marini - actor (recently seen in "Sex and the City", apparently)

Ciao for now!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

13 Things to do While I'm in the US

13 Things to do While I'm in the US

I'm visiting the US for 10 weeks this summer, and I have a lot to do. As usual. If I want to relax, I can, but I have to get some other stuff done, as well. When I return home for any period of time, I usually have a program in mind.

And so, I present some of the things I must do while I'm in the US.

1) Visit family.

Of course, this is the highest priority on the list. I stay with my mom, visit my dad, and this year I hope to visit my grandmother and maybe even my sister, as well. Unfortunately, they're scattered all over the South, so it isn't easy to do. (Nothing ever is, I guess.)

2) Visit friends.

Fortunately, many of my best friends live "near" my mother, so I can manage this without too much trouble and a bit of planning.

3) Do some clothes shopping.

I have to buy clothes when I'm in the US, since Italian fashion doesn't exactly cater to Plus-size ladies (unless you're over 60, that is...). I go fairly nuts buying everything I need while I'm in the States, from essentials to things that "make me feel pretty". So to speak. These two stores are where I do the bulk of my shopping.

4) See some films.

I don't go to the movies in Italy (I hate dubbed movies!), so when I'm home, I try to see any films that might interest me, so I can be on the lookout when they reach Italian DVD shelves. My hubby shouldn't miss out on good flicks, should he?

5) Buy some books.

I would practically live at McKay's books inKnoxville, if it were just a bit closer to home... I hit the used book shops and just go nuts while I'm home. Can you blame me? Last time I was home, I bought $80.00 worth of books to bring back to Italy. Now I need more.

6) Eat some American junk food.

This covers everything from Doritos (Nacho Cheese and/or Ranch, please) to Blue Bunny's Peanut Butter Panic ice cream to Long John Silver's takeaway. Yes, I'm sick. I admit it. I indulge myself once a week on a given item and that's it. Otherwise, I'd do one of two things: Get utterly sick of it, or gain all the weight I lose while living in Italy. Neither one is an option I care for. Once that's out of the way, I'm good. Really.

7) Exercise.

As a result of the above, I'm obligated to maintain my exercise routine, which isn't easy. In the US I live in a rural area - no sidewalks - and the summers are miserably hot. Not exactly encouraging if I want to stay in shape but eat the above junk! However, my folks do own a treadmill and an exercise bike, which I can use each day. I try to do at least two miles a day, five days a week. Yay. I mean, um... Yay!

8) Eat better.

This might seem to contradict #6, but it's true. I drink less soda in the US than I do in Italy - which means I drink almost none, except for when I'm dining out. Hard to believe, but true. Plus, I cut down on my between meal snacks, etc., etc. Not always easy, but I make the effort.

9) Bug my kitty, Abel.

Okay, he's my mom's cat, but I spend a lot of time bugging him, and he does the same to me. I guess that makes him sound more like a brother than a pet, but it's true. He's always mad when I leave, too. My mom says that he sits by my bedroom door and meows for me, after I've gone. (Excuse me... I've got something in my eye...)

10) Sell stuff on eBay. I hate to do it in some cases, but in others, I've got no problem with it. I'm selling off jewelry, books and magazines about Pink Floyd and the Beatles, and some other stuff as well. (If you're interested in that sort of thing, let me know. Heh.)

11) Study Italian.

It'd be easy to backslide when I'm not actually in Italy, but to be honest, I spend more time studying the language when I'm not there.

12) Read. Yeah, I know, it's not like I don't spend time reading in Italy, too. But the simple truth is, as busy as work sometimes got, and the distractions I found online, I spent less time reading than I normally do. So, I have to dedicate some time to my favorite pastime, once again. After all, a great writer is a great reader... Which brings me to:

13) Write.

I absolutely must write when I can find the time. 'nuff said.

14) And as an extra special bonus task I must also prep my Absentee Ballot for this year's elections. No, you don't need to know who I'm voting for. (You can't guess?)

Whew! What a busy Summer I'm gonna have!

I'm really gonna need a break or two, ya know?

And then, I'm gonna have to savor the sweet tastes of the season, from time to time...

You know...

Like this:

Frederic Cermeno - Rugby Player

Ciao for now, y'all!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

13 Things I Love About My Hubby

This week I depart for the US for ten weeks. Eight of those weeks will be without my hubby, Alle, and I thought I would do a special T13 dedicated to him and the many reasons I love him. Yeah, I know, it's sickeningly sweet. So sue me.

13 Things I Love About My Hubby!

1) His sincerity. He doesn't say anything he doesn't mean, and I think that's great.

A quick kiss in Siena, May 2005.

2) His sense of humor. He was willing to act in a play my friend wrote and directed for a language school I used to work for. It was a re-telling of the "Cinderella" fairy tale. He played the "Fairy Godmother". In drag. In front of about 70 people. I don't know many hubbies who would do that, do you?

Alle plays "Edith-Ann" in Siena on our honeymoon, March 2004.

3) He's a cyclist. Y'all know me and my affection for cyclists. 'Nuff said. ;)

Alle with a friend on a cycling tour in Italy, 2003.

4) He works hard, and he does it so I can work part-time and stay at home to write.

Alle in his old office, 2003.

5) He'll try just about anything. He really wants to experience new things, and he jumps right in.

Alle sampling his first taste of KFC, August 2003.

6) He volunteered at Croce Verde (Green Cross) for a few years, as a "first responder/ paramedic" type. Yeah. Yum.

Alle at Croce Verde, 2002.

7) He still has the uniform from that.

Alle in his Croce Verde uniform, 2004.

8) He's an Italian who also speaks English and French, knows a bit of Portuguese and can read in the Cyrillic alphabet.

Alle in Firenze, with Ponte Vecchio in the background.

9) He enjoys my family when he visits them in the States. He sincerely enjoys them. Sometimes, I think they like him more than they do me! LOL!

Alle with my stepfather, Martin, in 2004.

10) He looks after his health, even when we go on holiday. I wish I could say the same!

Alle goes for a ride in St. Petersburg, Florida, 2004.

11) He was totally willing to put this outfit on to go 4-wheeling around my family's farm in Kentucky. Not many Italians would do that!

Alle with Bud the dog, Kentucky, 2004.

12) He'll do just about anything I ask of him. I mean, he'd have gotten in this barrel for the sake of the picture. He even offered to do just that, in spite of some bits of trash inside. I said no.

Alle touristing around in Tennessee, 2004.

13) He's sweet and romantic. Have I mentioned that? No? How silly of me.

14) Originally, I hadn't planned any eye candy for this week, thanks to the subject matter above. However, Alle has insisted that I share a little something with y'all, so as not to disappoint the regulars.

I've settled on one of my "Hotties in Heaven" for this week.

So, scroll down, y'all...

Here ya go (click to enlarge):

Brendan Fraser - American actor.

Ciao for now, y'all!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

13 Songs In Heavy Rotation (On My iPod)

13 Songs in Heavy Rotation (On My iPod)

This week, the TT I had planned went a bit pear-shaped, so I'm substituting with this topic. However, in the interest of full disclosure, you should know that these are NOT the Top 13 on my play count, but are instead a selection from the top region of the play count. Does that make any sense? I know that if I did a direct "Top 13", you would have "13 of my favorite Samuele Bersani songs" as a list, and you'd probably think that was a little "one note", so to speak.

However, many of the songs I listen to are in Italian, as my WIP is set in Italy (and heck, because I live here and I dig the music).

Anyway, if you care to take a moment to watch a little of each video I've included this week, you'll get to see what I'm listening to while I write (for the most part) or am just killing time in front of the computer. I hope you'll find it interesting, anyway. So, here goes:

1) Samuele Bersani - "Cattiva" This is the song that won me over and got me interested in his work. Maybe the video can show you why?

2) Samuele Bersani - "Pensandoti" (Thinking of You) This is the song that my hubby and I think of as "Our song". It's sweet and romantic, and just a bit odd, in a way. Just like us. ;)

3) Elisa (featuring Ligabue) - "Gli Ostacali del Cuore" (The Obstacles of the Heart) I think this song is catchy, the lyrics are good, and I prefer Elisa when she sings in Italian, as opposed to her many songs in English.

4) Subsonica - "Corpo a Corpo" (Body to Body) Just a cool tune - kinda rockin', I think. This group is great for this sort of music...

5) Virginia Rodriguez - "Deus De Fogo E Da Justi├ža" (God of Fire and Justice) This is in Portuguese, and was featured in a film I fell in love with some time ago: "Le Chiavi di Casa" (The Keys to the House).

6) Blondie - "Call Me" Yep, I'm a child of the '80s. What can I say? (Sorry about the early fade-out in the video, though...)

7) Missy Higgins - "Where I Stood" One of the Divas introduced this song to me, and I was won over immediately. Heartfelt and strong, but sorrowful - perfect for some scenes of my WIP.

8) The Turtles - "Elenore" I love this song - try to resist singing along! What's even more fun for me is that I share it with my students sometimes and they're shocked to learn that, no, that melody was not written for Gianni Morandi! LOL!

9) Simone Cristicchi - "Ti Regalero una Rosa" (I Will Give You a Rose) Just a sad and tragic song, by a rather surprisingly serious artist. His other songs are lighthearted and silly, sometimes, so this was a departure for him. The theme is a letter written by someone confined to a mental institution, left behind and forgotten. Remarkable.

10) White Cherry - "Play That Funky Music, White Boy" Yes, I'm just old enough to remember this one... So?

11) Jarvis Cocker - "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time" Jarvis is awesome. That is all. :)

12) Baustelle - "La Guerra e' Finita" (The War is Over) Jarvis and his group, Pulp, had a significant impact on this Italian group. Trust me, there are similarities galore!

13) Samuele Bersani - "Sicuro Precariato" (Certain Precariousness) Yes, I know, I started with him, and I end with him - just like my average listening day. ;) I find this song has a rather haunting quality, and it has definitely been useful for my current writing.

There you have 'em! 13 Songs which are currently in heavy rotation on my iPod.

Yes, I know what you're really here for.

Yes, I've included a little sumthin'-sumthin' for y'all...

Don't forget to click on the pic for a better size, okay?

Here he is, our stand-by and go-to guy:

Luca Argentero - Italian actor and eye candy.

Ciao for now!