Rome, If You Want To…

When I found out that my work would take me to Rome, Italy in May I immediately did two things:

  1. Look at the school calendar to see when my son’s school year ended and lobbied for the meeting to take place just after that date
  2. Started lobbying my husband for us to take a vacation in Italy, starting in….Rome!
My arguments were impeccable:
  • My flight is paid for as part of work
  • I can get you and the child (well just-barely-preteen) there on miles
  • It’s a big birthday year for me (50)
  • It’s a big anniversary year for us (25)

My son piped in…and I’m turning 13 this year so we can celebrate that! With a little bit of (lot of) pushing, whining and persuading (“This is the only year we’ll have been married for 25 years!”), my husband agreed.

Scr-rrr-rrr–eech. Rewind: What’s that about “big anniversary” again? I’ve always had trouble remembering the year, day and even month of our wedding anniversary. The second (or third, I’m not sure) year we were married, I was falling asleep one fine March night when I popped up, fully awake, and exclaimed: Tomorrow is our anniversary and we haven’t planned anything! You make dinner reservations, I’ll pop out at lunch to do some shopping! My husband, sleepily: “It is?” Me: “Yes, don’t you remember, we didn’t want to get married in June, so we got married just before.” Him: “We didn’t want to get married in June?”

The next day I went to work, danced into the locker room to get ready to run with my buddies and told my female friends: “Today is my wedding anniversary!” Them: “Congratulations, got any plans!” Me: “Sure, we’re going out to dinner!”  We got dressed and went out to meet our male running buddy. Me: “Today is my wedding anniversary!” Him: “No it’s not, you got married in May.” Me: “Maaaaay…..”  In my defense, May and March start with the same first two letters and…well that’s it for my defense. I call my husband and say: “Today is not our wedding anniversary!” Him: “Well I didn’t think so but you sounded so sure.” Sigh. And did you notice the part where in “March” I’m explaining that we didn’t want to get married in June so we got married just before? Yeah, neither did we.

Anyway so, upon reflection and review, I’m vaguely remembering we got married in 1987 so it’s probably our 24th anniversary not our 25th but the both start with 2 and…yeah, that’s not going to work. When I said “This is the only year we’ll have been married for 25 years” — hey, maybe not! I’m not going to confirm this, it’s worked so far…for 24 or 5 years.

Anyway who needs an excuse to go to Rome? Or, as we decided…to Italy, starting with Rome, for a three week cultural and culinary tour of our own devising? Not us!
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Up next: All Roads Lead To-From-To Rome


Flipping Reading

As a longtime Kindle user, one of the first books I got for the Kindle was a travel book. I thought this would be an ideal fit. I’m *traveling* and not carrying a big, thick travel guide. Turns out the Kindle wasn’t then and isn’t now an ideal way to read a travel book. That said, I’ve bought travel fiction and other fiction and non-fiction and found it to be a fine and wonderful thing to be able to carry thousands of books in a small, light format with a long lasting battery.

As a recent iPad user, I’ve been enjoying reading magazines on the iPad. It is an ideal fit for magazines in some ways, given the importance of visuals, layout and the ability to flip easily back and forth with the famous iOs flick and scan interface (fingerprints, be damned!). Faves so far: Vanity Fair, Esquire, New Yorker (loved the Department of Explanation video with Jason Schwartzman)

This got me to thinking…the reason the iPad is good for mags is that you don’t usually (well I don’t usually) read them page by page in a linear fashion. You flip back and forth, you open at random, you go directly to the the table of contents and from there to the article you want to read. Plus with some enhanced content you can have video, links to web sites, the ability to buy things directly from iPad catalogs (only a few now, but the possibilities are exciting). Of course, occasionally the iPad app loses its mind and refuses to stay open–then I have to delete and re-install it. I’m not bitter.

So, it occurred to me, that this is precisely the problem with travel books and Kindles–it’s really not a flip back and forth sort of UI. It’s a start on page 1 and proceed to the end–an immersive reading experience. Travel books, you have pictures, you flip, you scan, you go to the TOC and then directly to a section. I didn’t find any travel book apps in the app store but perhaps iBooks (I haven’t gone there yet, I’m kind of exclusive with that Kindle guy).

Still to my surprise, I got an issue of the New Yorker on my Kindle to compare it side by side with the iPad New Yorker app version and did not get the result I was expecting. An article by David Sedaris on language in the July, 2011 issue was the guinea pig. On the iPad I could play an audio file of David reading an excerpt from the article and I flipped through the rest of the article quickly. On the Kindle, I actually read the WHOLE article and I was able to highlight and share a quote easily. Also I could read it one-handed on my exercise bike. Flippin’ A,  that was not how I thought this would turn out.

New Yorker: Kindle v iPad

Well, digustibus non disputatem, as they say… It’s good to have both options and its good to have plain old print sometimes. But I’m not paying 2-3X for a magazine subscription in any case. I’ll probably stick to the iPad for now for this magazine… until my (rumored) Kindle Tablet comes along anyway…

But I still have to figure out the eTravel Book solution…more when I find out more…. Meanwhile…here’s the New Yorker Cartoons side by side:

New Yorker Cartoon: Kindle v iPad