Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Israel, the last leg(s)

Filed under : Travel
On October 17, 2007
At 5:00 pm
Comments : 4

This goes with the Athens post and is the last post about my vacation, I swear!

Here’s the pathway up to our apartment. It’s far less pretty at 5am with a big suitcase after a tour through Jerusalem on a sherut. But let’s think of it this way, shall we?

Here’s the entry to the shuk, or market. It’s a fun place, but Niece1 and I were on our way to the Central Bus Station and their food court of Kosher fun. It was a Friday afternoon, things were winding down, and we moved along. Niece1, who is eighteen and studying in Jerusalem for the year, pretended she didn’t know me while I snapped this.

This was the very last shot on my camera, the view out the window of our kitchen. The lady downstairs had just taken down her sukkah. She’s not at all religious, she just likes to entertain there. This is Israel in a nutshell. In the US, many Jews don’t know what a sukkah is. In Israel you have one even if you’re not religious, kind of like that “I don’t believe in Jesus but the kids like their tree” thing.

But the most beautiful thing I saw the whole time, was this one. Home. I really missed New York. Sometimes it’s good to get away and realize the places and people you miss.

This is actually the wallpaper on my work PC. Brother1 took it a while back.

Oh right! I promised you that exciting reveal. Here I am, in a little temple-looking thing in the Acronafplia fortress in Nafplio. Hot! And I mean that literally.

And there you have it! My vacation. Just a year or so till the next one. Phew.


Greece is full of ruins, who knew?

Filed under : Travel
On October 15, 2007
At 2:05 pm
Comments : 6

Midway through my stay in Nafplio, I decided to finally climb the Big Hill and visit one of the fortresses. The lower one, naturally. This one was called Acronafplia, acro being the prefix for heights, naflpia meaning hot, tiring climb. But I grabbed my bucket hat and a bottle of water and set out.

It wasn’t just the blazing sun and steepness that made it difficult. I also was faced with “steps” like these. Safe!

And this is the view back from where I had just come. Yes, those steps above were exactly what I wanted to be faced with.

Finally, I reached the gate. I was tempted to steal the motorcycle parked in front but I staggered onwards.

This must have been a fun look-out job. Or maybe it was to push out people you didn’t like (I think that safety gate is new). Even more fun!

Most of the fortress was in ruins. Probably because there is a higher hill and some other conquerer built an even better fortress. Whoops.

But the views from Acronafplia were so nice that I’m giving them their own post, just below this one.


Views from Acronafplia

Filed under : Travel
At 2:00 pm
Comments :Comments Off on Views from Acronafplia

As promised a mere minute ago, here are the shots from the top of the Acronafplia Fortress in Nafplio. Ooooh, aaaah.

Town, harbor, tree branch.

Nafplio doesn’t have a lot of bathing beaches but this one’s purty enough.

Requisite arty shot.

Here’s the Palimidi Fortress which spelled doom for Acronafplia. It has 999 steps to reach the top. I decided to trust them on that and not count for myself.

:: sigh ::


iPod song of the week – Semisonic

Filed under : iPod Song of the Week
On October 14, 2007
At 9:15 pm
Comments : 3

And now, a short visit back to my usual blogging in the midst of the vacation photo showcase. I didn’t bring this book with me on my vacay because it was short-ish and hardcover (I actually read The Devil Wears Prada, if you’d believe it) but I’ve been reading it since. It’s called So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star by Jacob Slichter who was the drummer in Semisonic. If you are older than ten, you will have their one monster hit, Closing Time, tattooed all over your brain. Actually, as an experiment, I listened to the 90’s Alternative station on AOL Radio this afternoon and I heard it within an hour.

The book is an interesting look at what it’s like to be in an unsuccessful, then really successful, then has-been band. I don’t love his writing, but the story is undeniably fascinating and talks about a lot of stuff I deal with every day but from the other side, that is, the band’s. It even mentions several people I know and/or currently work with. Fun! And if you’ve read this and are wondering how accurate his descriptions are, they’re spot on as far as I’ve experienced.

But this post isn’t actually about Closing Time, which you probably already have on your iPod or at least remember well enough to not need a reminder. No, it’s about the one song by Semisonic that I have on my iPod, a song of which I’ve always been enamored. It’s a love song but not a typical one and it’s got a lo-fi 70’s vibe that perfectly showcases the pop sensibility that made Semisonic so successful, albeit temporarily.

Semisonic – Secret Smile

Streaming audio available on the iPod Song of the Week page.


Ooooh, pretty

Filed under : Travel
On October 11, 2007
At 11:40 am
Comments : 6

I mean, really, what else can I say?

Moving on in our pictorial…

Here is Syntagma Square where I drank my Nescafé frappés (now that I’m on my regular keyboard, I can do the accents). Later, I found out that it’s made from concentrate with tap water added. I found this out the hard way.

You can see one of the fortresses that mark Nafplio above the buildings on the right. I climbed the lower one… more on this tomorrow.

This is the church with the marching band, sans marching band.

In case you were thinking Nafplio wasn’t strategic enough, this is yet a third fortress, on an island in the harbor. It’s called Bourtzi and was built by the Venetians in the 15th Century. They also brought all the gelato.

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.

Can you believe I came home?