Tag Archives: Florence

The Logic of Love, or John Mayberry Jr. and Me.

When I love something, I get devoted very quickly. It also works the other way because when I dislike something, I become very passionate about not loving it. And it takes a great force of nature to change it.

Example: There are few films that I love more than Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson collaborations. And so for a long time I hated Helena Bonham Carter for breaking them up. But then, on a whim, I watched A Room with a View and fell in love, with Forster, with Italy and with Helena Bonham Carter. I would consider E.M. Forster a great force of nature. So I love unequivocally Kenneth, Emma and Helena. And I learned to stop slut shaming. So thank you Edward Morgan. But, you can see that I really do fall hard for things in the fact that I am studying Renaissance art in Florence next year, at least in part to recreate in my mind my favorite movie and book.

So back on topic. Something that may or may not be known is that I love the Philadelphia Phillies. They are one of the things that I will defend to the end, like Paul Giamatti, Jane Austen and the original Old Navy flip flops. This is mostly because of my father, who is a big Phillies fan. But there we have it, a girl born and bred in Atlanta, during the hey day of Chipper Jones and I love the Phillies.

I love Chase Utley (I like your hair), I love Cliff Lee (for choosing us over the Yankees), I love Roy Halladay (for being perfect), I love Ryan Howard (for his weight loss, his power hitting and my weakness for first basemen). All of these are reasons that any fan would understand.

But my favorite player is John Mayberry Jr.

He been going up and down from the minors for three seasons now, and he’s only played around 100 games. He’s batting .253 this season right now. There’s not a lot in his stats that make him a stand out that I would pick up on to make him my favorite. But there’ s a lot more that endears him to me.

  1. His dad, John Mayberry, was in the majors. I love legacies in sports, especially baseball. I like being able to think of Field of Dreams moments in the majors.
  2. In 2002, Mayberry was drafted by the Mariners but decided to instead to go college at Stanford. I love when baseball players go to college, for at least a few years before they go pro.
  3. I like that we got him in a minor league deal.
  4. He tends not to fail at big moments, getting a few walk-off RBIs, unlike Domonic Brown.
  5. One time, during JMJ’s first career major league game, the announcers found “John Mayberry” in the stands and were commenting on his career and what not. But actually, it was just a random African-American man, who was NOT John Mayberry. I just thought that was the cutest.
  6. He speaks Spanish.
  7. The Phillies need a right handed bat. So why not throw my support beyond this adorable one?

John Mayberry Jr. is the perfect storm of things I love about baseball players. He’s nice and can be seen joking in the dugout and speaking Spanish to Michael Martinez and Carlos Ruiz. I love that his legs are so long and it makes him look ridiculous when he runs, like this.

None of this really makes sense. But I’ve fallen hard for John Mayberry Jr. and I’m sticking to him.


Edit: Check out the game recap where JMJ got 5 RBIs.


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Study Abroad and Puccini

I turned in my study abroad form to Agnes Scott! And early too!

This isn’t the form that tells me if I am going, it is the form that tells me if I’m allowed to go. Because I am applying to go abroad Spring 2012, I won’t apply through International Studies Abroad until summer-October of this year.

This is to say, I’ve become addicted to Puccini. I’ve never liked opera a whole lot. But Puccini’s aria “O mio babbino caro” is featured at the beginning of A Room with A View, which I’ve seen over a hundred times, so I figured I would check out Puccini. And the result is: I love him. Plus his name is Giacomo, which is my favorite Italian name.

This would also be a good time to introduce to you….In Santa Croce with No Baedeker, a study abroad blog from miss woodhouse! Right it is super unexciting as I will not be in Florence for over nine months, but if you want to keep up with my preliminary actions and the hijinks that are sure to ensue as I try to get a passport and student visa, check out it!

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end of the semester and merry christmas!

I have not blogged in a very long time. I’ve been so crazily busy with my research papers (1, 2, 3, 4 of them!) that I haven’t really thought about it.

But the semester ended pretty well. So far I know I got an A- on both my Tempest paper and my Barberini paper. Which is kind of weird because I feel like I worked incredibly hard on my Barberini paper, while no so much on my Tempest paper. I checked out books early from the library and I took notes, formed outlines, went to go see my professors, worked on my paper with my writing center tutor.  Basically all the things you are supposed to do when writing a research paper.

Then for my Tempest paper, I wrote the proposal that was due earlier than the paper. And that was it. My Jane Austen paper was due 9am on Wednesday, and I had researched a lot on that paper and even wrote some of it, but it was very long (16 pages). That turned into an all nighter, basically working from 5pm, when my journal review for my Contemporary Art class was due (so I thought, it was actually due a week later), until 6:30am, when I took a two hour nap and turned in my paper. I then slept for about 5 hours and worked on my Tempest paper (research and writing) from 2 until midnight. One good thing that happened was that I thought my Tempest paper was supposed to be 10-12 pages, but actually it was only supposed to be 8-10, so I could turn in my healthy nine page paper in without any shame.

I don’t know what I got on either my Jane Austen paper or my Contemporary Art and Theory exhibit design because those were both hard copies of papers turned in later in the exam period, so professors got them right as break began.

But it is also my birthday/Christmas week! and I got some wonderful things, mainly a Kindle! I love it so much already. The first book I got was Dark Water, which I started reading before exams but I had to return to the library because it was on inter-library loan. I also got all of Jane Austen, Vasari and Sherlock Holmes. Yay public domain!

Also, two of my textbooks are available for Kindle!

I really do need to watch how I spend my money on it though. I could easily imagine myself buying a hundred dollars worth of e-books that I don’t really even care about.

Other gifts I got include a Philadelphia Flyers shirt (which is a little ironic because I work at Philips Arena for the Thrashers, so…don’t tell my boss!), a travel mug as I cannot walk and drink out of a normal cup at the same time and the Art History department at Agnes has a penchant for 8:30 classes, and a few books about Florence, including Rick Steves’ Florence and Tuscany.

So Merry Christmas to everyone! and I’ll be back at school January 18th, so I think I’ll be back blogging then too, though I may write a review of this wonderful book that I am finally going to finish!

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A Leisurely Read

My ability to leisurely read a book has been severely limited since I’ve gone to college. The last fiction book I read for leisure was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and that was my traditional every other month read of that. (It is so underrated as a novel).

Before that, it was probably either a short story collection by Garcia Marquez or Incredibly Close and Extreme Loud by Johnathan Safran Foer. Both were wonderful. Both were read in the spring of 2010.

Over the summer I had all these lofty goals to read so much fiction and enjoy myself. But honestly, two 300 level literature classes, one of them where we read eight novels, kind of burnt me out. So I recharged by watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, cheering on the Phillies and rereading all of Jane Austen’s works.

However, non-fiction is another story. Art History has given an unexpected outlet for leisurely  reading. I’ve talked about how much I love non-fiction, cultural microcosm books, favorite ever being Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939 by Katie Roiphe. They are just wonderful. Over the summer I read Strapless about my all-time favorite painting Madame X, which was equal parts scandal, art history and fashion. I also read Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture inspired by my general love of the Medici family.

Since I’ve been doing research on Baroque Rome you think my discovery of my next leisurely read would have come from that. But actually I found a review of this book in a contemporary art journal I was looking at for my contemporary class.

So it is called Dark Water: Flood and Redemption in Florence by Robert Clark. And it is basically combines three of my favorite things: Florence, Art, and Disaster.

The first half of the book is about the history of Florence, and how floods of the Arno correspond and related to the Florentines. The second half is specifically about the 1966 flood, covered by Life magazine, and how the destruction and near-destruction of the epicenter of the Renaissance brought art lovers together from around the world to try and preserve the city.

It is phenomenal. I’m not completely done yet, but I would still recommend it to anyone interested in Florence. The history is pretty comprehensive of at least the politics of the Florence, which you don’t always get in Art History classes, as well as Dante’s interactions with the City.

Very wonderful.

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bleeg blah blorg

I should re name my blog “Miss Woodhouse Goes to College and Never has Time to Do Fun Things (like knit/crochet, blog, color, watch Bones).”

This month has been so crazy. My part time job is starting to get really busy. I feel like I am either going to class, doing homework or catching up on sleep.

So here’s what I’ve been up to.
1. Making lots of money and spending lots of money. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? Last year with one super-part time job I felt like I had just enough money to do all the things I wanted to do. And now when one super-part time job and another more time, but still part-time job, I still feel like I am only barely getting by. But I am making like three times as much.

2. Reading about nepotism and popes: Which is just about my favorite thing in the world. Barberini, don’t get cocky though, the Medici still have my Italian heart.

3. Applying for summer jobs

4. Applying for study abroad in Florence!

5. Learning to budget money. Which is becoming a new obsession. I SPENT 50 DOLLARS THIS MONTH ON FAST FOOD. too much money when I am on a dining plan.

6. Reading a lot of Contemporary Art Theory and thinking about Hitchcock and voyeurism. (who am I kidding? I always spend a lot time thinking about Hitchcock and voyeurism. or voyeurism in general. It has become like my go to topic for research papers. Especially in relation to the Catholic Church)

7. Watching a lot of Hitchcock.

8. Being excited and then forlorn about the Phillies. This is honestly probably the number one reason this month has been hard. While a usual 50% of my time is devoted to school and like 25% to fun and another 25% to sleep/eating, during postseason I feel like 90% of my time I spent thinking about the Phillies’ stats and checking up on games and what not. So I had to squeeze sleeping/eating/school/fun into 10% of my thinking time, which was only made harder by midterms. I am still really upset about the Phils’ lose. you probably shouldn’t talk to me about it. I am kind of welling up right now.

9. Talking about Judith paintings with a guy friend of mine. Which was kind of a surreal experience. First, this guy has no background in art history whatsoever, and has never studied any sort of feminist theory. I mean he is an engineer. But he has the most insightful things to say about the paintings and was so interested in what I knew about the paintings, and how they changed from the Renaissance to Baroque to later depictions. I was just pleasantly surprised. Sometimes, at Agnes, I forgot how useful and charming men can be. But for realsies, I do not miss men in my classes. I cannot imagine talking about the masturbatory impulse of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice in a room with a bunch of college guys. Though, my Jane Austen class would probably consist of mostly young women even at a coed school.

10. making plans for a halloween costume. hint: it soon will be coming to FRUITion. PUNS BLOWING UP YO MIND.


Filed under Art, College, Film, Hobbies, Literature

crushin on the caravaggio

In the art world, just like fashion, there are trends. But I think in fashion, the trends come and when they come back they are “retro.” But in art, sometimes things aren’t in vogue from the time they are created to four hundred years later. Well, Caravaggio is hot hot hot right now. And I have jumped, leaped and galloped onto the bandwagon. There are few contributing factors to Caravaggio’s recent renaissance.

I have this weird thing for Judith paintings.

July 18, 2010 was the 400th anniversary of his death. And Romans love anniversaries!

He only  has about eighty paintings that are confirmed by him. And then there are all these other copies or originals that we just don’t know. Because Caravaggio worked on commission, he sometimes painted similar subjects multiple times, just in different sizes for different prices.

Sometimes one of the copies all of the is confirmed by art historians as a real Caravaggio and basically everyone freaks out. They even wrote a book about one, The Lost Painting which I highly recommend.

The real zinger though of my crush on Caravaggio is that it may be persuading me to study abroad in Rome and not Florence. Florence makes total sense for my love of the Medici and their artists (Donatello, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo) but the Counter Reformation is  so dramatic! And Caravaggio and Counter Reformation makes sense to go to Rome. Plus from what I’ve heard, Rome, because it is more tourist-y, is more accommodating toward English speakers, while Florence it is a little do or die.

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new book purchases

I love summer. I always feel like I buy a lot of books during the summer. Especially paper back books that feel like they have a powder on the cover that never rubs off, opposed to the shiny ones. It is hard to explain, but those are the books I like to read in the summer. So today I got two books: Descartes’ Bones: A Skeletal of the Conflict between Faith and Reason by Russell Shorto and Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King. Possessive nouns and titular colonicity FTW?

My mom picked by the Descartes book, and I was interested in it primarily because of my obsessive relationship with the Fox shows Bones, which is super smart and features a Deschanel sister and the gorgeous David Boreanaz, what’s not to love? But it is on summer hiatus, so my need of anthropological studies of bones is not being fulfilled. I read the preface of the book today and it seems to be going in the direction of the art and literature books I wrote about liked, where authors look at one painting, one book, or in this case one skeletal system, track its history and figure out something about the outreaching influence of that one object.

The second book is about something is much more clearly influential. Brunelleschi INVENTED linear perspective. But that isn’t even the coolest thing he ever did. He made the largest brick dome in history…without concrete. I mean that is just cool. Plus I love the Florentines! If the Medicis love you, I love you. And Brunelleschi had the cutest Florentine nose.

The Duomo of Florence, and Brunelleschi's Dome

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