This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for November, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 22, 2012

Quilter's turkey

I wish all my American friends a very happy Thanksgiving! I don’t know who did this clever illustration but it’s been circulating on blogs and Facebook. What a great table centerpiece this would be!

We had two “Red Alert” sirens in Jerusalem. During the first siren, we were at home, had just brought in Shabbat (so couldn’t check the news), and hadn’t a clue what to do. We went downstairs a couple floors, which turned out to be the right thing to do. The second time was at work. We went down the wrong staircase, trying to get to the underground parking lot, and ended up at the ground floor. But that wasn’t too bad — the staircases are internal, made of reinforced concrete, with good WiFi, and not too crowded. 🙂  Next time we’ll know what to do.

I saw this on Facebook: “Cease-fire = We cease and they fire.” Or they rest before re-arming…

The unraveled Orenburg shawl is well underway again and I’ve started the body of the shawl. The Orenburg honeycomb stole is almost finished, so I’ve cast on a Garden Path shawl in a rainbow yarn because I’m so tired of looking at white. I won’t be able to work on the Lady/Unicorn embroidery until the dust settles and we get some of the junk out of the spare room into the laundry room.

Our plumbing renovations are nearly at an end. We have water in every room that’s supposed to have water. The washing machine has been hooked up for a couple days and the pile of laundry is much diminished. Next week we hope to get the tiler in to cover the gaping holes. Honestly, we expected a lot more damage. Only one floor had to be ripped up and that has been fixed. We have to replace about 10 times in the bathroom and a couple in the kitchen. The new kitchen faucets are awesome, with a spray and pull-out hose. And expensive — they’re our 20th wedding anniversary gift to each other. Since the gift for 21st anniversary is “nickel,” we’re almost on target!

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Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 15, 2012

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

From the street, the Palazzo Medici Riccardi is an austere stone building. We had never heard of it and would probably never have visited it if it hadn’t been only a few doors from our hotel. The palazzo has magnificent furnishings and courtyards. It was the home of Cosimo de’ Medici, the first Grand Duke of Florence, until he moved to the Palazzo Vecchio to be closer to the seat of power. Built between 1445 and 1460, it was owned by the Medici family

Its most famous room is the Chapel of the Magi, which, ironically, was the only place I couldn’t photograph. So I’ll have to show you a picture from Wikipedia instead:

Magi Chapel

The surprisingly small chapel is decorated with magnificent frescoes by Gozzoli (painted in 1459-1461), which depict prominent Florentines in the procession of the magi. The marble floor has circles and lattice-work in red, green, gold, and white veined stone. On the ground floor there was a computer recreation of the entire mural. You could stand in front of the life-size screen (only one person at a time, unfortunately), point different sections, and zoom in on a section for a close-up and audio commentary (in English and other languages), and scroll to the next screen, by pointing your finger at the screen. I have no idea how it was done but it was really cool. I played with it until my feet got tired from standing in one place for so long. The system is called the PointAt system. You can see it in action on the museum’s Experiments site.

Courtyard of the Columns, built by Michelozzi:

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

The walled garden of the palazzo, designed in the early 20th century and modeled after a 16th century garden:

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Courtyard of the Mules (not sure how it got its name):

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Filippo Lippi, Madonna and Child (c. 1460):

Fra Lippi Madonna

Galleria of the Riccardi:

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

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Good-bye, Orenburg Shawl (= Starting Over)

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 11, 2012

Last look at shawl

Here’s a photo of the shawl before I ripped it. Why did I decide, in the end, to rip it instead of repairing the hole? I was extremely nervous about the fact that (a) the hole was close to the start of the shawl and (b) this has never happened to a project of mine before. It occurred to me (and a friend suggested it) that the yarn may have weakened over time. I’ve had this cone of lace-weight wool for close to 20 years. So I ripped out the entire shawl (took several hours, believe it or not!) until I reached the hole, only about 3 inches from the start of the first edging. Sure enough, the yarn was slightly brittle. I reeled and tested, reeled and tested, until I got through about 20-30 yards. When the yarn seemed to be reasonably sound, I cast on and started knitting again. So far, 10 teeth of the edging. Another 26 teeth to go, before I turn the corners. This is truly a long-term project!

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The Cursed Shawl….

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 7, 2012

Hole in Orenburg Shawl

I almost finished the body of this Orenburg Square Medallion Shawl, when I saw this big hole in the edging, near the lower right corner (i.e., near the start of the shawl). It isn’t a dropped stitch. It looks like something cut or tore several threads, so I must have caught it on something.

I haven’t decided what to do — sort of wavering between tearing it out now and undoing months of work or just photographing it and going to bed. And I noticed that my camera shutter button is behaving a little strangely, so I’d better dig up that warranty just in case.

Hole in Orenburg Shawl

Update (Nov. 8): Close-up of shawl showing scale:

Hole in Orenburg Shawl

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Video: Jerusalem Knights in the Old City

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 7, 2012


 
This short video shows the Venetian instrumental trio and a couple “medieval-style” dances. The crowd was so dense around Jaffa Gate that the best vantage I could get was on the far left, behind the dancers.

The Venetian musicians were very good. It’s such a pity that they were positioned on the far side of the Christian Quarter, in a narrow alley that made it impossible to stop to watch them from the front. That’s why I’m also on the far left of that group as well.

By the way, this video is currently under dispute. Lately, YouTube has begun flagging videos with recorded music (in this case, Tanzila, used for one of the dances) and claiming copyright violation. This will happen even if the music is incidental and in the background, as for example, in my video of a Torah Scroll dedication. I disputed the claim on the grounds that the music segment was short, that the music was incidental to the dancing, and that the recording in no way damaged the interests of the copyright holders.

You might find this resource useful if you ever find yourself in this situation: Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video. If you routinely upload videos to YouTube, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the definitions of “fair use.”

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Return to Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 6, 2012

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

We went back to Piazzale Michelangelo on June 11, 2012. Why twice in the same trip? Because the light is never the same twice. If you look at the photos I took on June 5, you’ll see the difference.

Great Synagogue of Florence, with its distinctive green dome. Built in the late 19th century, it is a fine example of Moorish revival architecture. I don’t have any photos of the interior because it was Shabbat when I visited.

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

The Duomo in a golden light.

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

Chorus line of tripods. Piazzale Michelangelo is on almost every photographer’s To Do list. One guy set up a laptop and shot a time-lapse video.

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

Sun flare over the Arno River.

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

Setting sun reflected off the light of the Arno River, with the Ponte Vecchio in the foreground.

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

Lovers’ locks. Lovers buy padlocks, lock them to a gate or fence (the fence around a sculpture on the Ponte Vecchio is covered with them) and throw the key away or into the Arno River, as a symbol of eternal love. Although signs are posted warning of a 200 Euro fine and the authorities periodically cut the locks off the fences, people still leave locks on fences. This fence was on the lower terrace of the Piazzale, with the Arno River and Ponte Vecchio in the background.

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

Florence just after Sunset

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

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Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 5, 2012

Santa Croce, Florence

Santa Croce is the largest Franciscan church in the world. Its construction began in 1294 and it was consecrated in 1442. Like Westminster Abbey, it houses the tombs of the rich and famous. Incidentally, the prominent Star of David in the facade was the work of the 19th century Jewish architect, Niccolo Matas of Ancona. He is buried under the porch, outside the walls of the church. I couldn’t get a clear shot of the facade because bleachers had been erected in the large square in front of the church. Photograph is permitted in the church, without flash or tripod.

View of the nave, looking towards the main altar.

Santa Croce, Florence

Santa Croce, Florence

Nave, looking towards the door:

Santa Croce, Florence

Machiavelli’s tomb, by Innocenzo Spinazzi:

Macchiavelli's Tomb

Michelangelo’s tomb, by Giorgio Vasari:

Michelangelo's tomb

Dante’s tomb:

Dante's Tomb

Galileo’s tomb:

Galileo's Tomb

Santa Croce, Florence

Santa Croce, Florence

Santa Croce, Florence

Frescoes by Giotto:

Santa Croce, Florence

Giotto altar (1327), commissioned for the Baroncelli family:

Santa Croce, Florence

Santa Croce, Florence

Santa Croce, Florence

Santa Croce, Florence

In 1966, the Arno River flooded the area, causing considerable damage to the church and its artwork.

Santa Croce, Florence

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Jerusalem Knights in the Old City, 2012

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 5, 2012

Knights in the Old City, Jerusalem

Last week we went to the Jerusalem Knights in the Old City festival. It was interesting to do once, but I’m not sure I would do it again. Imagine the crowds that you see at the annual Light Exhibit. Now imagine all those crowds on one trail instead of four. And many people in those crowds are pushing huge strollers through the narrow alleys of the Christian Quarter. If the exhibits and performances were more appealing for adults, it might be worth the crowds (or worth seeing at an earlier hour). However, papier mache dragons with growling and the soundtrack from “Lord of the Rings” are not appealing for adults. The dancing was cute, but the crowds were ten deep. I had to stand on a bench and shoot with a long lens to get these photos. So I’m glad I did it once but I wouldn’t bother to repeat the experience. The last performance is this Thursday (Nov. 8), 6-11 p.m.

Knights in the Old City, Jerusalem

Knights in the Old City, Jerusalem

Knights in the Old City, Jerusalem

Knights in the Old City, Jerusalem

Knights in the Old City, Jerusalem

Knights in the Old City, Jerusalem

The Venetian chamber group was very good. Unfortunately, they were tucked away in a distant alley in the Christian Quarter, so it was difficult to find a spot to listen to them.

Knights in the Old City, Jerusalem

Knights in the Old City, Jerusalem

Pretty tasteless. I only included this photo because of the t-shirt.

Knights in the Old City, Jerusalem

Steampunk dragon near the Muristan.

Steampunk Dragon!

We didn’t hang around the Muristan square long enough to watch a whole show. It seemed to comprise knights and damsels pretending to be under siege and looking worried.

Knights in the Old City, Jerusalem

The King’s Feast. Hundreds of people wandering around with cups of wine. No easy way to view the stage. There were a couple dancers performing but I couldn’t get close enough to shoot them.

Knights in the Old City, Jerusalem

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Chilling Out

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 2, 2012

Chilling Out

I took this shot with the camera on my lap. Baruch and I went out for a quiet dinner last night to celebrate my birthday. This couple two tables away looked so relaxed that I think he was actually sleeping part of the time.

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