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Apr. 24th, 2012

Alex's Top 5 Favorite Art Surprises in El Prado

Madrid's El Prado is one of them big monster museums that can eat up your entire trip to a great European city. Go inside any such place and your entire 4 day stop in Florence, St. Petersburg, Paris or Rome could vanish in a blink, simply because it took that much time to fully admire the contents of the Uffizi, the State Hermitage Museum, the Louvre or the Vatican Galleries. The scale of El Prado, Madrid's own Uffizi/Hermitage/Louvre/Vatican, is foretold in any tourist guide book listing the principal celebrity art works that reside there (Velazquez's Las Meninas, El Greco's Pentecost, Goya's Maja Desnuda and Tres de Mayo, Pieter Breughel the Elder's Triumph of Death and Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights cap off the shortlist version).

In honor of El Prado, I decided to post about my five favorite surprise art encounters there; paintings I hadn't been looking for or (in all but one case) even knew of the existence of prior to visiting, but which stopped me in my tracks, held my attention and tickled my fancy senseless in unexpected ways.... as two days of strolling the halls and recircling back to them will attest.

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May. 23rd, 2008



I've just gotten back from Shanghai, where I was visiting my dad. He recently started working for R&D at the Chinese division of a multinational pharmaceutical company, and I've been excited about this trip ever since he moved there from Pennsylvania back in February - odd though it is to imagine my parents living in China after 24 years in the US.   

Well, livejournal is banned in China, a fact I actually wasn't aware of until I got over there, funnily enough. Apparently, the Chinese censors perceive there is too much immorality and indecent behavior associated with that particular web venture. Just another reason why I couldn't live in China long term. Nevertheless, Shanghai is as I remembered (I last visited in 2002) and more: a wonderfully cosmopolitan, strangely naive and rather perplexingly postmodern metropolis - a big, brash, bumbling child of a city. 

There's something so wonderfully literary about Shanghai's patchwork urban character; I once considered setting an AU!  story here, in which one of them grew up in Shanghai, a product of the city's international aristocracy and its American schools, the bilingual son of wealthy expat American businesspeople working in China, while the other finds himself in town briefly because his famous doctor father has been invited to speak at a Chinese university.....

 At any rate, here are my attempts to capture a few of Shanghai's paradoxical faces:

Mar. 23rd, 2008

Il Viaggio a Milano, Firenze e Nice

I came back from a fantastic whirlwind trip through Milan, Florence and Nice.... Three incredible cities in just seven days. I must admit I'm rather proud of my mad!sightseeing skillz.... I managed to see and do almost all of the things that I'd planned despite the time crunch. That, plus plenty of inspiration for my next fic, a Jack/Ennis AU!AU! that doesn't take place in France or Italy, but is a history!fic with medieval religious themes (warning, I'm a real heretic) but also.... oh, you'll just have to see eventually.

Anyways, since this is a journal where I post fic, I thought I'd share some photos that have relevance to my stories, both the one I just finished and the one coming up. Alas, it was a cloudy, rainy time during my trip to this usually sunny part of the world.... just my luck. I have no idea why gloom attended my very footsteps! :P 

Click each image for a bigger picture. 


Feb. 19th, 2008

Which Circle of Hell?

Tes' journal called my attention to this delightful quiz. Naturally, I became curious to know just which circle in Dante's Inferno I ought to end up in, a question I actually didn't think too much about while reading it. Since I don't believe in Hell and all.  

So I'm not at all surprised to find out that I'll be joining Pope Anastasius and the Epicureans along with all the other arch-heretics and non-believers in the Sixth Circle, the City of Dis, la citta c'ha nome Dite. Too bad though, I thought that was one of the few weaker cantos in the Inferno, so much less interesting than the concept promised to be. 

But more importantly, which character from Dante's Inferno am I? Perhaps I can be proud Farinata, rising up as if he had tremendous scorn for Hell:
....ed el s'ergea col petto e con la fronte
com' avesse l'inferno a gran dispitto. 

I'm a heretic for sure. Just wait until you see the idea for my next fic after The Gambler. For the full litany of my sins, see below:

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Extreme
Level 7 (Violent)Very High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)High

Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test

April 2012



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