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Jan
28

Just playing with you

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01.jpg Venetia

Venice has been compared to many things, or has suggested or inspired many things, but I have only now discovered that she also makes an excellent base for board games.  Two have been created by Italians (I don’t know their provenance) and one American, but they all live, or lived, on the Giudecca.

A new board game called “Venetia,” created by Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitello, is based on Venetian history.  (Disclaimer: I have received absolutely no remuneration or even offers of dinner for the following notices — I just think they’re worth knowing about.)

It appears that the ability to speak Italian (or German?) is going to be important, so this post may have value only in letting you know that such a thing has been invented.  Or, it may be a great way to practice your Italian.

It is subtitled “The Rise and Fall of the Serenissima,” and the idea, as outlined on their site, is to “compete with your friends to become the most influential family in the history of the Republic of Venice…The hegemony of Venice is threatened by many enemies.  The Republic faces the rise of other powers, from the rival Republic of Genoa to the Kingdom of Aragon to the west, to the Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Turks to the east.  Century after century, take part in the struggle that formed the long history of the Republic of Venice.  ‘Venetia’ contains historic notes on the Serenissima, her politics and wars, complete with biographies of some of the most important personages in the history of Venice.”

02.jpg Venetia

Stand back, though — this isn’t going to be just any little fandango. You get the board and the rule book, of course, but you also get a booklet of historical notes, 7 dice, about 200 wooden pieces (function not specified), almost 200 segnalini (no clue, but they must be important), and “more than” 80 cards.  It’s for 2-4 players.  The notes say it lasts 90 minutes.  That sounds optimistic when you’re dealing with 13 centuries of derring-do, but fire when ready, Gridley, as Doge Leonardo Loredan didn’t say.

pic1827225_md.jpg Inkognito

Then there is “Inkognito,”a veteran in the game world, created in 1988 by Leo Colovini and the late Alex Randolph, and now out in its third edition.  It’s a spy game played on a board displaying the map of Venice.  Such non-Venetian characters as Lord Fiddlebottom and Col. Bubble roam the streets of the Queen of the Seas, spying.  A more detailed explanation (in English) is given on the site I’ve linked to.

I think I've seen some of these characters, on the #1 vaporetto going toward the Lido.

I think I’ve seen some of these characters, on the #1 vaporetto going toward the Lido.

Now somebody could get to work on a board game in which you earn points by finding the one vaporetto with an available seat, getting to Venice on the tram with no more than one breakdown, crossing the Piazza San Marco at noon on a Sunday in July without touching anyone; you lose points by carrying more than one piece of luggage, buying an illegal handbag or a bag of corn to feed the pigeons, or leaving your empty beer can or ice-cream cup on a windowsill.

Actually, that doesn’t sound so much like a game. Forget I mentioned it.

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Dec
21

Off for Christmas

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I know it seems like I just got back, so to speak, but Christmas is bearing down on us and we are fleeing to the mountains where we will alternately celebrate and combat it with cheese, apple strudel, needlepoint, TV, hiking, and sleep.

Happy holidays to everyone who reads my scribbles.  You have made this a wonderful year for me.

IMG_0096 gondola xmas card crop blog resize

 

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Dec
17

The Kilimanjaro e-book is out!

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Needs no introduction or commentary.

Needs no introduction or commentary.

It’s been three years since my excellent adventure on (and near) Mt. Kilimanjaro, and “Dreamers and Doers,” the book which was produced by the women on my trip and many other women, is now out in e-format.  The photography by my partner in crime, photographer Karen Kasmauski, is worth it all by itself.

Some of the stories are wonderful, even unforgettable (a word I rarely use).  I’m thinking of the blind Australian woman who climbed the mountain as part of a fund-raising benefit for the organization that provided her seeing-eye dog.  What it took for her (and her guide, who literally talked her through every single step) to accomplish this is something that doesn’t seem possible.  But they did it.

Have a look at these sites and consider buying it — proceeds go to a project to provide schoolbooks to Tanzanian children.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019EVLZX6/ref=r_soa_w_d

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/dreamers-doers

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1065772364

They need books. We can't fix everything, but we can fix that.

They need books. We can’t fix everything, but we can fix that.

 

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Dec
23

Christmas cheer

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IMG_4403  xmas blog USE

Yes, I have returned to my mooring here and have been grappling with the holiday trappings — more mental than physical.  Translation: I just haven’t felt like doing or writing or thinking anything, really.

But the ghosts of Calvinists Past have reared up and made harrowing threats if I continue to indulge this revolting lethargy.  And I always respond to harrowing threats, in case you ever need to know.  Hideous predictions about the afterlife usually do the trick.

In any case, Christmas in our lobe of Venice this year is so low-key that it’s hardly noticeable.  The atmosphere in the city as a whole is so far from festive that I’m not going to go into it at all.  But I don’t need lights and spangles to know that it’s just about show time.

We will do the traditional Christmas food and possibly the traditional staying-up-late, though that’s becoming more optional as the years go by.  Then we will go to the mountains for the New Year phase.

And then we’ll all be back here together, not making it up.

The Nativity scene at the F. Morosini Naval School has once again focused on the lagoon.  The innovations here are the starfish as stars (no surprise there), and the comet's tail is the shell of a pinna nobilis (fan mussel) painted gold.  The cradle for the still-in-transit Baby Jesus is a clamshell.  It looks pretty comfortable, at least to me.

The Nativity scene at the F. Morosini Naval School has once again focused on the lagoon. The innovations here are the starfish as stars (no surprise there), and the comet’s tail is the shell of a pinna nobilis (fan mussel) painted gold. The cradle for the still-in-transit Baby Jesus is a clamshell. It looks pretty comfortable, at least to me.

IMG_4391  xmas blog USE

One creche (or presepe, as it's called here) isn't enough at the Naval School, where the chaplain and cadets put heart, soul and all sorts of useful bric-a-brac into their scenes. The lifebuoy adds a touch of metaphor to the arrangement. As is usual, the figure of the Bambin Gesu' is only installed on Christmas Day.

One creche (or presepe, as it’s called here) isn’t enough at the Naval School, where the chaplain and cadets put heart, soul and all sorts of useful bric-a-brac into their scenes. The lifebuoy adds a touch of metaphor to the arrangement. As is usual, the figure of the Bambin Gesu’ is only installed on Christmas Day.

The woman in command of this family was getting everything ready a week early, from socks to reindeer.

The woman in command of this family was getting everything ready a week early, from underwear to reindeer.

This curious but strangely appealing effort at spreading holiday cheer didn't last long.  An hour later it was gone.  Why ?  Were they  breaking some municipal ordinance?  Or did they suddenly discover that they really needed these three balls inside?

This curious but strangely appealing effort at spreading holiday cheer didn’t last long. An hour later they were gone. Why?  Were this in contravention of some municipal ordinance? Or did the family suddenly discover that it really needed these three balls inside?

Humans are preparing to gorge over the next few days, but a Little egret (Egretta garzetta) has already started noshing.  The vaporetto dock is an excellent place to spear anguele (Atherina boyeri).

Humans are preparing to gorge themselves over the next few days, but a little egret (Egretta garzetta) has already started noshing. The vaporetto dock is an excellent place to spear anguele (Atherina boyeri).  When the birds are happy, I’m happy.  I wonder if they’d like some panettone, we’ve got three of them already.  It’ll take me till Candlemas to finish them if nobody helps me.

 

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