Russell J.T. Dyer

Russell J.T. Dyer

Just some guy, hanging around Europe.

the activities and musings of an american writer and editor in milan, italy • Updated: Nov 06, 2015

Russell's Activities

These posts are originally posted on the front page of my site. They provide information about activities in my life as they happen or shortly after they have happened. They include information about things I'm doing in my home (e.g., cooking, parties, decorating), my recent travel activities—photographs from my travel are found under the section of this site, though—my work activities (i.e., my job as an editor, and my writing and publishing working), and my other interests (e.g., photography). If you click on the heading of a post, you may read the full post and not just the abstract shown on this page.

A Helleu Acquisition

Earlier this year I started acquiring art work for my home. A few months ago I bought an etching by Paul Cesar Helleu, a famous artist from Paris. It was made around the year 1900. I had it reframed recently and hung it in my bedroom this week. It’s marvelous. I got it at a very good price and I’m delighted to have it in my home....
posted: october 30, 2014 ;  readers: ;  category:

First Performance at La Scala

After many years of living in Milan and wanting to see a performance at La Scala theater, I’ve final gone to one. I went with a a friend visiting from Sweden this week. They’re world famous for their operas, but they also produce ballets and symphony orchestera performances. Their tickets can be from one-hundred to two-hundred euros each. However, we managed to buy deep discounted ...
posted: october 24, 2014 ;  readers: ;  category:

Finding Clarity

To learn how to use the Leica M9 camera for studio photography, while in London this week, I spent a day taking private lessons with a professional fashion photographer who uses the same camera for his work. He hired a model for the lessons. It was fun and extremely useful....
posted: august 12, 2014 ;  readers: ;  category:

Basic Cooking Classes

For a few years I have been trying to improve my cooking skills. I’m fairly good at cooking now, but I have gaps in my understanding and skills. I don’t know how to cook many things I’d like to be able to cook. There are things I’m still uncertain about how to do. So I started taking classes at a cooking school in Milan....
posted: june 10, 2014 ;  readers: ;  category:

Original Art

As a child, we had plenty of original art in our home. I like original, hand made art. It feels more genuine than prints. It feels more like a home. Since I’ve been on my own, I haven’t had any original art, though. I’ve discovered recently on-line art auctions. It’s fun and exciting. A couple of weeks ago I bid on my first picture and won. It arrived last week....
posted: june 9, 2014 ;  readers: ;  category:

Poppies!

It’s the start of Spring in Italy and the poppies are flowering, filling yet unplowed fields and lining the road sides. They’re reminders of peace. They are symbols of freedom, as well as other such emotions and hope for a better life....
posted: april 8, 2014 ;  readers: ;  category:

Daily Photo Project

To help me to become more familiar with my Leica M8.2 camera and improve my abilities as a street photographer, I've started a project in which I will take each day three dozen pictures and post each day one of them on this site. My plan is to use the same camera and lens combination so as to become so familiar with the equipment that I will be able to focus on improving my skills as a photograph...
posted: july 11, 2013 ;  readers: ;  category:

Over the Top

A few months ago I moved into a new apartment. My old sofa was too long to fit in the stairwell to get it into the new apartment. Plus, it was very shabby and needed to be replaced. Since I had a new credit card, I bought a new, smaller sofa thinking it would make it up the stairs. But it didn't and I had to get a moving company to bring it over my balcony on the fifth floor....
posted: december 16, 2012 ;  readers: ;  category:

New Site for Stories and Writing

As another move to make my personal site simpler, and just about me personally, I have created a new domain on the web for my stories and other writing related information. The new domain name is russelljtdyer.com—my first name, middle intials, and last name in lower case letters, all together without spaces or periods. Please look at that domain to read my stories, book review, and informa...
posted: march 24, 2012 ;  readers: ;  category:

On Kindle

Last December I bought an Amazon Kindle to begin to understand how one uses electronic books and the like. It took me awhile to get around to dealing with the software to format one of my books for Kindle, but I’ve finally done it. To start, I’ve added a Kindle version of my novel, In Search of Kafka to Amazon. If you’re prone to reading books in electronic format and have a K...
posted: june 13, 2011 ;  readers: ;  category:

A Dry Period

A couple of times a year the canals in Milan (in the Navigli neighborhood) are dry, either from lack of water flow from the moutains, or because the locks are closed upstream to drain them. It would be an excellent opportunity for the city to clean the trash out of the canals, but they don't. For a few years now I have thought it would be interesting to climb down into one of the canals to take p...
posted: february 26, 2011 ;  readers: ;  category:

Writing a MySQL Tutorial

A few weeks ago, I began writing a tutorial on MySQL. It’s coming together quickly. I’m already up to two-hundred twenty-five pages. Give me another few weekends and I’ll be finished and ready for tech. review. Since MySQL Replication has been going so well, I’ll self-publish this new book when it’s done. So watch for it in a few months. For now, I’ve put t...
posted: february 26, 2011 ;  readers: ;  category:

A Charlie Brown Christmas

This year for Christmas, I wanted to have a small tree for my apartment, something small and simple. My daughter and I discovered an artificial tree made like the one in the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon. It’s perfect for my apartment and fits my personality—as well as how I’ve been feeling lately. It’s a humble tree that went nicely with the few presents I had to go aro...
posted: january 27, 2011 ;  readers: ;  category:

New MySQL Book

I have just published a new book on MySQL. This one is on MySQL Replication. It’s not a big book, but it has plenty of good information on the subject. It can be useful to those trying to learn about MySQL Replication, as well as a good reference for those who know the subject well but need help solving problems that can and will occur. Although I could have published with one of the larg...
posted: january 27, 2011 ;  readers: ;  category:

New Cover for Novel

Since I had to engage a graphic designer in Milan to help me to design the cover of my new book on MySQL Replication, I decided to get her to help me to redesign the cover of my novel. Although it looked fine, I also felt that it needed improving. I don’t think that a redesign will improve my sales, but I’m proud of the text of my novel and would like to be equally proud of the cover....
posted: january 27, 2011 ;  readers: ;  category:

My First DrupalCon

Having worked for MySQL, the company, and having written about the software for many years, I have perhaps a limited perspective regarding open-source software. I've attended several MySQL user conferences and other software conferences. This past week I attended a Drupal conference for the first time. I went to the DrupalCon in Copenhagen, Denmark. By contrast, the tone of a Drupal conference...
posted: august 28, 2010 ;  readers: ;  category:

In Chinese

Much to my delight, the second edition of MySQL in a Nutshell has been translated to Chinese. I knew this was being done because I had traded emails with the translator, Hongjun Li, while it was being translated. He had had some minor questions. Otherwise, I would have known nothing of it. My publisher doesn’t include me the on-goings of translations. However, I received recently a repor...
posted: may 2, 2010 ;  readers: ;  category:

My First Lasagna

When I was a kid, my grandmother would make occasionally a wonderfully tasting lasagna. She has since died and I have been trying to find lasagna similar to the way she made it. I’ve tried lasagna at many restaurants over the years, even tried to find it here in Italy, but have not come close to finding it. So, I finally decided to try to make it myself. A couple of months ago I started ...
posted: march 6, 2010 ;  readers: ;  category:

New MySQL Book

In record time, I have written a book on MySQL Replication. I’m not sure why or how I got started on it, but I wrote it in three weeks, over the holidays. I finished yesterday. It’s not overly long, just 200 pages. However, I think I did a good job and that it will be a useful resource for database administrators who want to learn how to use this component of MySQL software. I sti...
posted: january 12, 2010 ;  readers: ;  category:

My Novel is on Amazon

Finally, I have managed to get my novel on Amazon’s web site. It took some doing. If you’ve been reading my web site regularly, you know I had originally used Lulu.com to print my book—publishing it myself. That started out well, but after getting an ISBN number, the price per book went to twenty-four dollars. What’s worse is that despite their assurances, it never made...
posted: december 23, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

First Turkey & Cheesecake

This past Thanksgiving, I did nothing reminiscent of the American holiday. Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner has always been a potentially stressful challenge for me. But this year I decided to take a shot at it, or at least to develop the necessary skills, learn where to appropriate the needed ingredients, as well acquire the necessary instruments to cook a Thanksgiving meal and host friends and re...
posted: december 14, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

Christmas in Milan

It’s Christmas time in Milan. They brought in a giant Christmas tree and placed it in the piazza in front of the Duomo, next to the Galleria. It was quite a job putting it together and triming it. They also decorated it and added lights to it. They’ve also decorated all of the buildings surrounding the piazza with lights, as well as the Galleria. Additionally, they’ve placed ...
posted: december 7, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

Lower Price for Novel

Although I generally like Lulu.com, I’ve recently encountered two problems with having them print my novel: First, by allowing the book to be sold through other booksellers, the price has doubled to allow for booksellers to get a cut. About double is normal. It’s the high printing cost that makes the cover price too high. Second, despite paying for an ISBN number, after two months my...
posted: december 3, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

Building a Desk

For over a year now I have been looking for a desk. I wanted one that was wide, but not too deep. Of course, there were also decorating considerations: style, color, etc. A few months ago, a friend of mine spotted a desk at Muji that looked like what I wanted, or at least part of what I wanted: the legs. In the photographs here you can see the legs that I bought. A few weeks ago I found a coup...
posted: november 28, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

First Novel Published

At last I have finished the final corrections to my novel and published it. This is officially my first published novel—albeit a self-published one. Here’s the description on the back cover description:
A comical high-tech thriller, tells the story of Oliver Whitman, a computer programmer and a friend who is a conspiracy theorist who believes Homeland Security is working...
posted: october 15, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

Printing Photographs

For a while now I’ve been wanting some artwork for the wall behind the sofa in my living room. I wanted something large that would be striking to anyone upon entering, that would give a certain feeling to the space. Not being able to find an oil paining that I both liked and could afford, I decided to print a few of my photographs and have them framed and use them instead. Although I may cha...
posted: october 10, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

New Photography Site

I’ve accumulated many photographs on this site—about 6,500 at this point, in addition to the 48,000 on my home computer. These are primarily travel related photographs. I had also started including photographs irrespective of whether they were travel related. I had also started developing web pages and articles related to photography itself. However, I felt that all of this was beg...
posted: august 19, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

Daughter & Mother in Italy

Last year my daughter, Marie came to visit me in Italy. She came across the Atlantic with me, but returned with my friend Rusty after a month stay. This Summer she's returning with my mother and will be staying for a month again. For this trip we will return to Sicily again so my mother can visit relatives that she hasn't seen in many years, but we will also visit some cities we missed last trip...
posted: may 14, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

Novel in Beta Mode

My editor Andy Oram finished his edits of my novel in December and this past month while in the U.S. I made all of the changes that he suggested. I almost always do whatever my editors recommend. Note to new writers: your writings aren't your children, but your work. Don't form a personal attachment to your words. So, if you'd like to read my first novel and are willing to give me my feedback,...
posted: may 14, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

African Violets Bursting

It's definitely Spring time in Milan. Not that my African Violets need it to be warm outside to bloom, but they're doing quite well lately. Here are pictures of the four girls sitting on the sill of my bedroom window. They get plenty of sunshine—at least as much as can be offered from a window this far North of the Equator. As you can see, they're bursting with flowers. ...
posted: may 13, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

Spun Off MySQL Resources

In articles on designing good web sites, with regards to content, I often read that a web site should have a clear and straightforward purpose. Visitors to a site should quickly be able to know what the site is about. My site has been about MySQL software since I write articles and books about it. It's also been about my travels and photographs of my trips. Further, it's been about my fiction wri...
posted: february 20, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

MySQL Articles Moved

My articles on MySQL and related documentation have moved to a separate site: mysqlresources.com...
posted: february 7, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

MySQL CEX

I'll be at the MySQL User Conference in Santa Clara—April 20 - 23, 2009...
posted: january 25, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

January Sales in Milan

In January there are sales at almost all of the stores in Milan. Prices are usually at least thirty-percent less, but for many stores everything is reduced by fifty to seventy-percent. Some stores attempt to sell every item in their store during January. It's bizarre to see a store completely empty like they've gone out of business. I mean, they sell every piece of merchandise. Then they clean up...
posted: january 17, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

Snow Day!

It snowed for a couple of days in Milan this week. I enjoy it when it snows. I cheer up so much. I'm like a little kid—well, that's nothing new. I some pictures while walking around Milan in two of three neighborhoods, mostly around the castle, the Duomo and by the Galleria. Click on the heading or the photo here to see my photographs and a short video I made, too....
posted: january 7, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

Fennel Seed Scones

I must be getting comfortable in my new apartment—either that or I'm just getting fat—because I keep baking. It could be a sign of depression, but I also like to eat when I'm feeling good, too. Regardless of the motivation, tonight I baked fennel scones. They're made with fennel seeds and walnuts. They're sweet and soothing to eat. I haven't made them in over a year. I also haven...
posted: january 5, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

Compact Camera Recommendation

One of the people with whom I work recently asked which compact digital camera would be good to buy. I suggested that he buy a camera made by a professional camera maker such as Canon.  I recently purchased two compact digital cameras.  One I bought for myself for when I don't want to lug my larger Canon DSLR camera with me, or to just keep in my bag for unexpected moments.  I bought the Canon...
posted: december 27, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Duomo without Scaffolds

After three years of being in Milan, I am now finally able to see the Duomo without the front of the cathedral being obstructed with scaffolds. It seems like every big city I visit in Europe which has a cathedral or the like is being renovated and enveloped in scaffolding. As of December 2008, the front of the Duomo is fully visible again. There's still some minor work being done to some of the ...
posted: december 27, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Lemon Yum-Yum

My mother is very good at cooking. I know that almost everyone says that about their mother, but it's true in this case. She was taught by her grandmother—she lived with her for a few years as a child—and throughout her life she often and regularly would cook and bake from new recipes from magazines and books. With most meals, she would experiment and was learning about cooking. She ...
posted: december 27, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Shopping & Dining in Geneva

In June 2006 when I went from Lyon and to Zurich by train, I had about an hour layover in Geneva. I ate lunch and wandered around the neighborhood near the main train station. I happened upon a fantastic store which sells kitchenware to restaurants. Since that trip, I've wanted to return to that store to buy some other kitchen items. Additionally, since that trip I've been wanting take a train...
posted: december 27, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Experimenting with Studio Lighting

Now that I have some studio lighting equipment, I've begun experimenting with setting up my home studio and using it. If you click on the photographer here, you can see in the larger version how I set up the lights and all. In this lay out, I was photographing the trial printing of my book to generate a photograph to use on my web site....
posted: november 21, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Publishing First Novel

The self-publishing of my first novel is coming together, finally. My editor, Andy Oram isn't finished editing it, though. He should be done by the end of November. For now, I've been working on working out the layout and other factors in printing and binding the book. The photograph here shows the latest trial printing of it. It'll take me a week or so to make changes suggested by Andy, So, my ...
posted: november 21, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

First 'L' Lens

Recently, I purchased my first 'L' series Canon lens. I bought the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens. My primary reason for buying it is to be able to do studio photography. Now that I've accumulated some studio equipment (e.g., strobe light, light meter), I'm starting to experiment in this area. To see a photograph that I took in my home studio with this new lens, go to my album Plants & Animals al...
posted: november 21, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Self-Publishing

About two years I finished writing my first novel. I've tried to find an agent to sell it to a publisher for me, but haven't been able to: it's too foreign to what they're used to representing. It's a story about a computer programmer who tangles with computer hackers. That notion alone reeks of being boring to them. So, I've been working on my second novel which has nothing to do with the compute...
posted: october 21, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

My New Apartment

A few months ago I moved into a new apartment. I've been out of the country for most of these months, so I've been slow getting moved in and fixing up the place. Nevertheless, I've reached a point where my new home is starting to feel like a home. So, I've taken some pictures and updated my photo album which used to have photographs of my previous apartment. Click on the heading of this posting to...
posted: october 5, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

MySQL Resources

Over the past nine months I've been slowly writing text on MySQL, building my own documentation of MySQL for this web site. Now that I've accumulated some good resources on MySQL—which includes the articles that I've written and published on MySQL in several magazines—I've decided to join them together on my web site. I've set up a new section just for MySQL Resources. There's still p...
posted: september 30, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Photography Books

To improve my skills in photography, I've been reading books on photography. As part of this new section of my web site, I will be providing reviews of the photography books that I've read. For the first one, I've written a review of a book on studio light—this goes with my recent purchases of lighting equipment. Look in the left margin for a link to each of my reviews....
posted: august 2, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Studio Lighting

To learn more about photography, I'm starting to experiment with studio photography. I'm not taking portrait shots of people. I'm experimenting with taking photographs of objects in an indoor setting. Related to this, I've recently began assembling some basic studio equipment. For one thing, I've ordered a studio strobe flash: the Esprit Gemini 200 from Bowens. They make some expensive studio flas...
posted: july 23, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

MySQL Developers

In September, I will be in Riga, Latvia attending the MySQL Developers meeting....
posted: july 21, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Second Novel

Now that the second edition of my Nutshell book is in the bookstores, I have time now—or I should say, creative energy available to work on my second novel. Since I wouldn't let myself work on it all this time, I've accumulated plenty of notes on it. So, I've used those notes to put together an outline—something I almost never do. The advantage of having this extensive outline, I'm lea...
posted: may 19, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Marie in Italy

Finally, all parties involved have agreed and the tickets have been purchased for my daughter Marie to go to Italy. I'm in the U.S. at the moment; she will go with me when I return at the end of May. This will be her first trip to Europe. She's very excited and has been bragging to her friends about going to Italy. She wants to eat plenty of gelato, to go horseback riding, and to visit her cousin,...
posted: may 19, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Resistence is Futile

I tried to resist buying an iPhone—I lasted about a year—but I finally gave in. I had been thinking about getting something slicker, but keep telling myself and anyone who would listen that my simple, but slender Motorola Razr was good enough and still stylish. The first blow that pushed me towards replacing it was when I saw the guy doing plaster work in my new apartment talking on h...
posted: april 21, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

In the Bookstores!

The second edition of my book, MySQL in a Nutshell has been printed and bound. It's now available at bookstores around the world. The publisher sent me a box of them. If you'd like to review the book to do an article for a publication or web site, let me know and I'll send you a copy....
posted: april 2, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

New Castle Grounds

Over a year ago they began repairing the grounds inside the castle in Milan. Before it was just dusty gravel, probably dolomite. This past week I took a walk through the castle and discovered that the project had been completed and rather nicely. The walk-ways have been paved with flat rock (maybe granite) with cobblestone edges, flanked by brick. There now are lawns and some large stone bench...
posted: february 25, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

What to Video?

Last year I purchased a digital based video camera, a JVC Everio (GZMG555). It's a nice camera: it takes 5 mega-pixel images in a wide-screen format and has a 30 gigabyte, internal hard disk drive. When I first bought it, I made a video of my daughter, Marie shopping. I bought the video camera primarily because I want to create videos for my web site. However, I'm really at a loss as to what to ...
posted: february 2, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Image Stabilization

Back in September of last year I mentioned that I bought a Canon zoom lens. I was excited about its capabilities and the low cost. It didn't take long before I realized there were reasons for the low cost. One feature the lower cost lens is lacking is something Canon calls Image Stabilization. With a zoom telephoto lens, this feature makes a big difference. For instance, when I went to Sicily in ...
posted: january 21, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

MySQL AB Meeting

I'll be at the MySQL Corporate Conference at a conference center in Disney World (Florida), January 15 - 19, 2008...
posted: january 7, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

MySQL CEX

I'll be at the MySQL User Conference in Santa Clara—April 14 - 17, 2008...
posted: january 7, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

MySQL Corporate Conference

MySQL AB, the company that makes MySQL database software, will be having a meeting of the entire company—except for a few who can't attend—in Orlando, Florida. It will be held at a conference center at Disney World, January 15 through 19. I will be attending on those dates and will go to New Orleans afterwards until February 18....
posted: january 4, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

MySQL User Conference

The MySQL Conference in Santa Clara, California will be from April 14 - 17 this year. I plan to attend. So, let me know if you will too and I'll watch for you. Click on the logo here to go to the conference web site for more information or to register....
posted: january 3, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

A Turn in Torino

On the last Sunday of 2007, I finally made it to Torino (a.k.a., Turin). If you want to see my photographs from this afternoon excursion, see my Torino Album. However, I want to highlight this one photograph (click on it to enlarge). Right near the main structure, that odd looking towering edifice called Mole Antonelliana and in front of the Italian National Museum of Cinema, I found this odd set ...
posted: january 1, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Shuffling Residences in Italy and U.S.

My rent is a bit high where I am in Milan, and with the exchange rate my rent is up two-hundred dollars a month now. Another reason for moving is because I'm may buy a condominium in New Orleans for when I'm there. I go to New Orleans once a quarter for a few weeks at a time. My last visit turned out to be for two months. So that I can afford the note on the condo, I need to reduce my rent in Ital...
posted: december 26, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Site Performance and Photo Albums

With a few thousand hits a day, my site had been getting noticeably slower. Just opening the front page took six to ten seconds. The Photos page took about thirty seconds to display. So this week I made some changes to improve performance to almost all of the pages—that's how I spent my Christmas. Related to this, I have made a change to the contents of my photo albums. While I'm proud of...
posted: december 26, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

A Month or So

I'm in the U.S., in New Orleans for a month or so visiting my daughter. We're not doing much special, just hanging out together. I've always felt that quality time is over rated and that the best time is the hanging around time. It's during that time one can get comfortable with someone else and just feel their presence. I miss that time with her. Talking on the telephone and or visiting for just ...
posted: october 27, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

My Quarterly Visit

It's time that I make my quarterly trip to New Orleans to see my daughter and all. I'll be gone for about a month. One of my co-workers, Kerry Beck will be staying at my place while I'm gone....
posted: october 15, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Back to Sicily

One of my cousins in Sicily has had a baby. So I'm going back to Sicily to see the new addition to the family....
posted: october 2, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

New Dimension to Photos

This week I bought a new lens for my camera, a Canon 75 - 300mm zoom lens. It's my first zoom lens. It's wonderful for taking pictures of gargoyles and other details on the side of churches and other buildings. It's also good for taking pictures of scenery that's far away. While I was in Heidelberg, Germany this week, I took a picture from my hotel room window. Compare these photographs taken w...
posted: september 22, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Heidelberg Meeting

The MySQL Developer's Conference will be held in Heidelberg, Germany this year. I've been allowed to attend again this year. I will be arriving early—September 16 through 26—to help out with setting up the network for the attendees....
posted: september 16, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Literary Criticisms

As part of my personal development as a writer, I've started something new on my web site. I've begun writing literary criticisms, book reviews mostly of novels. These reviews will be from the perspective of a writer. I will be analyzing novels that I've read to better understand what makes a well written novel. I've written my first analysis of The End of the Affair, a Graham Greene novel. Pleas...
posted: august 18, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

David Lodge's Book

Recently I discovered David Lodge's book, The Year of Henry James. It's about how he wrote a novel with the writer Henry James as one of the main characters. It's a historical fiction of sorts. Being a fan of Henry James, I was attracted to it when I found it at the bookstore. When he published his book, it was one of a few novels which included Henry James as the main character. This book discuss...
posted: august 11, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

From the darkness

As part of my own fiction writing skills development, I've written a new short story. This one's not too long: less than 2500 words. It's plot is minimal and involves almost totally one character and very little dialog—or monologue. Please read it when you have a chance and let me know how it reads by entering your observations in the form at the bottom of the page containing the story. To g...
posted: august 10, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Head on a Platter

When I went to Rome recently, among the many sites I visited, I went to St. Mary of the Angels and Martyrs Basilica where truly fascinating art work can be found. Not the normal, classical Roman, but they have somewhat modern statues. One in particular I found to be fascinating: it's a statue of the head of St. John the Baptist on a platter. It's quite large--at least four times a normal size hea...
posted: august 4, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Writing Diligently

At this point I don't have much planned for the months of July and August. Instead, I'm diligently working on writing the second edition of my MySQL in a Nutshell book and a big project relatd to MySQL....
posted: august 1, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

An Old War Horse

My favorite statue in Milan is that of Giuseppe Missouri, a war hero and general of Giuseppe Garibaldi's Red-Shirt Brigade. They conquered the dukedoms of Italy and merged them together to form the country we now know as Italy. The statue was created by Riccardo Ripamonti in 1916. What I like about this statue, though, is the look of this old Italian general with his thick moustache and condescen...
posted: july 27, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

New Level with a New Short Story

I've written a new story that I'd like to get some comments on. It's different from my other stories. It's experimental for me. This one is written about a character with a bit of a neurotic behavior. So, I'd like it if people read it and told me their thoughts about it, about specific elements of it. Just click on the heading here to read it. When you're done, come back to this home page and clic...
posted: july 15, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Pop into Parma

I will be popping into Parma, Italy for a day to visit friends of friends. I'm curious as to whether the parmasian cheese is any good or even different there....
posted: july 8, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

A True Mary

Near the Missori metro stop in central Milan is the church of Sant'Allesandro. It's an elegant old church, albeit a bit musty on the outside and exceedingly dark inside. Nevertheless, they have one of my most favorite paintings of the Madonna. It's behind an altar in a chapel alcove (Cappella della Natività) to the right of the main altar. It's a fresco and was painted by Guglielmo Caccia in 16...
posted: july 8, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Political Short Stories

As part of my fiction writing career development, I've begun working on a short story series. This series will involve some far-fetched political themes. They should be a fun read and get the reader thinking about political topics in very different ways. So, be on the look out for these new stories over the next few months....
posted: july 3, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

New Kid on the Block

This past week I was surprised like many here in Milan to see a new statue in Piazza del Duomo, near the entrance to the Galleria. It's well done and classically done, but clearly modern in its nature. Click on the small shot here to see a larger image of it. There's only a paper placard on the side of it at this time that says, "Ivan Theimer Alle Porte d'Oriente 6.Ercole co...
posted: july 3, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Interlaken, Switzerland

A friend from my army days is in the area with his girlfriend and her son. I will be running over to Interlaken, Switzerland for a day to visit him....
posted: june 21, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

She used the F-word

To improve my writing skills and to grow a bit as a writer, I've begun writing different kinds of stories, ones with more adult themes. I've been writing stories with sexual aspects--not graphically sexual, but sexual all the same. This month I've written one which discusses the protagonist's sexual abilities, as well as a relationship that develops with a woman with which he has sex. The reaso...
posted: june 18, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Going to Helsinki

I may be leaving MySQL soon and joining a new company based out of Helsinki, Finland. I'm going there for a couple of days to meet with the people involved to discuss the new situation. If all goes well, I will be the Editor of this new publication....
posted: june 9, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Photo Albums

Below are photo albums from my various trips in recent years. If you would like to view an album, click on the album name. For almost all albums, I have a few sub-albums. For each sub-album, only selected photographs will be shown by default. However, look for a link that says Show All Photographs to see all photos for the selected sub-album. From all of my albums, I have marked certain photogra...
posted: june 7, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

What, No Flowers?

Since the air plane ride across the Atlanta is so long (I just flew from Milan to California), and then the ride from the east coast to the west coast of the U.S. pretty long too, I decided to set a goal for myself to write a short story during the journey. Through the help of some friends at a appertivo in Milan, I came up with a basic story idea. It's about a fellow who normally is energetic a...
posted: may 3, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

New Camera

Well, I managed to get the money together to buy myself one of those digital cameras that look like a 35mm camera. When I first got my cell phone from T-Mobile right after the hurricane, since my credit was bad, they required me to give them a five-hundred dollar deposit. Now, nearly two years later, since I've been paying my bill every month, they've refunded me my deposit. I used that and a li...
posted: may 3, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Where's my Therapist?

What should you do when your therapist won't return your calls? Since I'm no longer in New Orleans, it's hard to maintain connections with old friends and to keep old business relationships going. In the past few months I've been trying to set up an appointment with my therapist from New Orleans, but he hasn't returned my calls. That led to a line which I kept repeating to friends as a joke: 'Hey,...
posted: april 7, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

First Time Visiting Rome

Despite the fact that I have been in Italy on-and-off for about eighteen months now, I've never visited Rome. A colleague of mine, though, is coming to stay with me for a few weeks and he will be flying into Rome. So, I'm meeting him there and we'll spend a few days there before coming back to Milan....
posted: march 29, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Going to Sicily

On April 8 (Easter), I will be going to Sicily for the first time. I will be visiting relatives and getting documents for my Italian citizenship....
posted: march 27, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Political Short Stories

In order to help start my fiction writing career, I've begun writing some political fiction stories in the hopes of getting them published as a series in a large magazine. This isn't an easy market in which to start, but I think if I write some outrageous and fun stories, there's a chance that they might catch an editor's attention....
posted: march 27, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

In New Orleans

While I'm in the U.S., I will be going to New Orleans to visit my daughter and other relatives and friends. I will be there from April 27 through May 16. If you live in the area, look for me at the Starbucks in Metairie by Lakeside Shopping Center. I'm be on the internet working there just about every day....
posted: march 27, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

MySQL Conference

The MySQL Conference in Santa Clara, California will be from April 23 to 26 this year. I will be there. So, let me know if you will too and I'll watch for you....
posted: march 26, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Graham Greene Books

For the last several months I have been reading Graham Greene's books. I've read over a dozen so far. So now I've begun reading The Life of Graham Greene by Norman Sherry. I usually don't like reading biographies, especially long ones, but I thought it might be useful for my career development plans to learn more about Graham Greene and in detail. I've purchased the first of this three volume ...
posted: march 24, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Travel Pieces

To improve the enjoyment of my travel experiences, I'm starting to write travel pieces. I'm just publishing them here on my site and not trying to publish them elsewhere at this time. I've written my first one recently about central Milan. It includes many photographs. Most of them are viewable by clicking on the colored text of the article. Please let me know what you think of it....
posted: february 20, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Technical Books

For the last six years I have been working as a technical writer of open-source software, specializing in the database MySQL. I have published one technical book so far, a computer software manual on MySQL called, MySQL in a Nutshell (O'Reilly May 2005). In keeping with the publisher's Nutshell series, my book is written primarily in a reference or dictionary style with the syntax...
posted: february 13, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Working on Second Edition

It's time for me to work on the second edition to my book, MySQL in a Nutshell. Version 5.0 of MySQL has been out for a while now and is stable. My book has some things from version 5.x in it, but there were many new features introduced that I did not include: stored procedures, triggers, views, etc. I've begun listing what needs to be added or changed. If you have ideas about what I should a...
posted: february 13, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Where to now?

While I'm in Europe, I would like to visit several interesting cities. I went to Prague and Berlin last year. I've been in Milan for a while now and am slowly checking out Italy. So far, I've gone to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brattislava, Brussels, London, Paris, Prague, and Vienna. So, where to now? Take a look at a map of Europe and let me know what you recommend....
posted: february 12, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Nutshell translated to Polish

My book, MySQL in a Nutshell has been translated to Polish. If you click on the heading of this posting, you can see it for sale on-line. So far it has been translated to German, Japanese, and now Polish. If I could ever become proficient in Italian, I might be able to help translate it to Italian one day--I hope. If you'd like to see the other translations, click on the manuals tab above. Fr...
posted: august 19, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

First Trip to Paris

After many years and after a couple of planned trips, I've finally made it to Paris. I went the third week of July with my girlfriend, Paola from Milan. We had a fabulous time. The city is rich with beauty and treasures. Good food is not difficult to find and the peple were not rude in the least as many Americans acuse them. Go to the photos section and click on the heading for Paris to see my ph...
posted: july 25, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

My Novel is Finished

My first novel, In Search of Kafka is finally finished. I sent out the first query letter with a sample chapter to a literary agent in New York. If he does not agree to represent me, I will send out more queries to other agents. Once I have an agent, he'll sell the novel to a publisher. Once a publisher buys it, I will then work with an editor assigned to my book by the publisher, to make impro...
posted: july 12, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Weekend in Lyon and Zürich

As part of my work with MySQL AB as their Knowledge Base editor, this month (June 2006), I went to Lyon, France and Zürich to visit some writers for the KB. While in both towns, I managed to get some sightseeing in. I particularly liked Zürich and think that I would enjoy living there. Click on the Photos tab above to see my photographs from the trips....
posted: june 16, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Morocco in June

In June I will be going to Morocco for at least a week. I will staying along the Atlantic coast. There are ancient buildings and palaces, the ocean, the desert, and interesting people and culture. As a long standing fan of Humphrey Bogart and the movie Casablanca, I particularly would like to go to Casablanca while in Morocco. For those who don't know where Morocco is, it's located at the North...
posted: june 15, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

LinuxWorld in Milan

Having gone to LinuxWorld in Boston and San Francisco last year, but unable to attend them this year, I thought I would go to LinuxWorld in Milan since I'm here....
posted: may 15, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

April in Paris

The prospect of visiting Paris has been a daunting one for me. I'm not sure why it is so, but it seems to loom over me in intimidating ways: perhaps it's the language being so different to my ears, the stereotypical attitude of the obnoxious and impatient Parisian (which from those I've met seems to be untrue), or it's sheer size and number of attractions. Whatever it is, I've avoided visiting it,...
posted: april 18, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

MySQL AB in Sorrento

In the middle of March, the developers and support personnel of MySQL AB with be having their annual meeting in Sorrento, Italy. I went to the same meeting last year in Prague and will be attending again this year. Sorrento is along the Malfi Coast. The island Capri is just a few miles away and in view of the Hilton hotel where we will be staying. While there, we will spend one day touring Pos...
posted: march 10, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

MySQL Users Conference

The 2007 MySQL Users Conference will be from April 23 - 26 in Santa Clara, California. I plan on attending this year. If you have the time and means to get to the west coast of the U.S. at that time, I recommend it. It's an excellent conference. And if you do decide to go, please email me so that we can meet, if you'd like....
posted: february 26, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Euro OSCON

The European Open-Source Conference this year will be in Brussels, Belgium September 18 through 21. I attended last year and will attend again this year. Look for me there....
posted: february 26, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Residence

I'm from New Orleans and live there most of my life, however Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city at the end of August 2005. I was there for the storm, but left a few days afterwards. First I went to Birgmingham with a neighbor and then sought refuge in the home of my editor in Cambridge, Massachusetts for several weeks. In the middle of October I relocated to Europe to live until my New Orlean...
posted: february 26, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Musings Factors

There are certain factors that determine my comments in my musings. Below is a brief list of them. Other factors may be found in the Chronology listing on the About page....
posted: february 26, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Marital Status and Family

I was married at the age of 19, but was divorced a few years ago. I have three children—two grown boys and a daughter who's ten....
posted: february 26, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Looking into London

Being a graduate student in English, it's only fitting that while I'm in Europe that I look into London even if only for a few days. I will be visiting London for three days or so, February 21 to 24. If you live in the London area, or have been there before and hav some suggestions of what I should see given my short stay, please let me know. It will be nice finally to see the backdrop to many ...
posted: february 21, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Barcelona for a Bit

At the end of January, I will be flying to Barcelona, Spain for a bit. I have some people I need to meet there and while I'm there I will sneak in some sightseeing, of course. It will be three days of hopefully warm weather. I will be staying at a hotel with internet service and near the old section of town, in walking distance from the cathedral. This will be my first trip to Spain. I don't know...
posted: january 30, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Meeting in Bologna & Venezia

For just a day I will be running over to Bologna to meet up with someone from MySQL. While there we both want to get in some sightseeing. She will then be going onto Venezia (a.k.a., Venice) for a few days of vacation. If I can, I may follow her to Venezia for a day of tourism before returning to Milano....
posted: january 18, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Weekend on Mediteranean coast

Since I've been in Milano, I've made friends with another Rosario. He and his girl friend will be spending a week or so in Finale Ligure, Italy along the Mediteranean coast near Genoa. They've invited me to take the train down the weekend of January 7 & 8, 2006 and stay at her family's condominium and then drive back with them. It's awfully nice of them and will be a great treat for me....
posted: january 7, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

LISA in San Diego

Usenix will be hosting this year's LISA convention for Systems Administrator in San Diego, California (December 4 - 9, 2005). I will be attending and plan on stay an extra few days and driving to Tijuana. I've never been to Mexico, so this will be a good opportunity for me to see it. I'm not sure whether I will have Internet access while I'm in Mexico, so I may declare those days as vacation....
posted: december 4, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Open-Source Database Conference (Frankfurt)

The first Open-Source Database Conference will be held in Frankfurt, Germany from November 7 to 9, 2005. I will be attending, but not speaking. While in Frankfurt, I will also attend a meeting of the Support staff for MySQL AB since I have been working as their Knowledge Base Editor. I will be giving a brief presentation at this meeting. If you're going to the OSdb Conference, though, email me...
posted: november 7, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Living in Europe

Since a few months after Hurricane Katrina, I have been living in Europe, based out of Milan, Italy. I 've rented an apartment there and when not elsewhere in Europe, I am working from home doing my editing work for MySQL AB, writing my articles and books on MySQL, and now finishing my first novel. Although I'm making slow progress, I'm finally learning to speak Italian. This will help to fulfil...
posted: october 31, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

European OSCON (Amsterdam)

The European Open Source Convention (hosted by O'Reilly Media) will be held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands this year. It's from October 17 - 20. I will be attending the convention and possibly giving a small presentation at the O'Reilly booth. Although the conference is only for four days, I will stay in Amsterdam for at least a week. As always, I will be working from coffee houses or wherever...
posted: october 17, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Hurricane Katrina

I stayed for Hurricane Katrina. It was a pretty rough storm, but I survived. My apartment is on the third floor in a suburb of New Orleans, less than two miles from where the levee broke and flooded New Orleans. However, I was on the other side of the levee that didn't break. The water was up about five feet in front of my apartment. My car is ruined, but my apartment and its contents are fin...
posted: september 4, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Open Source Conference in Portland

The Open-Source Conference will be held the first week of August 2005 in Portland, Oregon. I will be attending this conference to promote my book and to meet some key people in the MySQL and Perl communities. I will be signing my book from 12:20 to 12:45 a.m. on Thursday, August 4, 2005 at the Powells bookstore booth. I will also be helping out at the MySQL booth from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Thurs...
posted: july 15, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Off to Opera in the Ozarks

Every Summer I like to go to Eureka Springs, Arkansas to catch a couple of the performances of the Opera in the Ozarks program. It's a Summer program for college students studying music and opera from all over the United States. It gives them a chance to perform in a few productions to get some experience and to improve their résumé. Last year and this year I'm going with my oldest...
posted: june 16, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Linux World Expo in San Francisco

My next trip is to San Francisco to attend Linux World Expo. While I'm in the area, I hope to meet up with the publicist for my book and some of the editors from some of the magazines for which I write, as well as a few book editors. I will also be meeting with some people at MySQL's office in Cupertino, California while I'm in the area. If you'd like to meet up with me, I will be giving a shor...
posted: june 12, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Red Hat Summit in New Orleans

During the first week of June, I attended the Red Hat Summit in New Orleans. Since I live in New Orleans, I took some of the participants that I know sightseeing in the French Quarter and one afternoon to some neighboring plantations. Photographs from our trip to the plantations can be found by clicking on the Photo Album link in the left margin. I wrote an article for Linux Journal about the c...
posted: may 28, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Working in Berlin

For the next couple of weeks, I am working in Berlin, Germany. I will be meeting with the supervisor of the MySQL AB Documentation team, who lives in there, and will also be using the opportunity to do some sight-seeing. I'm working each day from various coffee houses in Berlin and the surrounding area. One of my goals while here, is to learn the lay of the land because I'd like to come back her...
posted: may 12, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Meeting in Prague

As part of my work with MySQL AB on their new Knowledge Base, I have been invited to attend their developer conference in Prague, Czech Republic. The meeting was from May 2 to May 11, 2005. While at the private conference, I managed to squeeze in some time to do some sightseeing. I visited the Prague Caste, the Old Town Square, the Charles Bridge with all of its statues of Saints, and various o...
posted: may 11, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

First Book Released

My first book, MySQL in a Nutshell is now available for sale. It was released on May 3. It's a little over 300 pages long and contains reference information on SQL statements, functions, server and client settings, and a few APS's (Perl, PHP, and C) as of version 4.1 of the MySQL server. So far I've gotten some good reviews on Amazon's site and a few other sites. You can see a write up about i...
posted: may 6, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Speaking at MySQL User Conference

I've been recruited to speak at the MySQL User Conference in Santa Clara, California, the week of April 18, 2005. I will be speaking with Alexander Barkov from Russia. The topic of our talk is Upgrading MySQL - Best Practices...
posted: march 28, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

A Few Days in Santa Fe

From March 7 through 9, 2005 I will be in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Although I will be working from coffee shops and wherever I can get an Internet connection, this is strictly a pleasure trip. I've never been there before and have talked of vacationing there many times, particularly last year when I was dating a young woman who fancied it very much. We were never able to go together. So, I'm very...
posted: march 6, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Linux World Expo in Boston

In recent months I have contributed a few dozen brief articles to MySQL AB's new Knowledge Base and have been acting as its editor. The Knowledge Base is part of the MySQL Network and was announced at Linux World Expo in Boston on February 15, 2005. To be present at its debut, I flew to Boston and attended the conference. While there I met with a few editors and the like from O'Reilly Media, Apr...
posted: february 15, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Back to Oliver

Now that my Nutshell book is finished, I can redirect some of my writing and creative energy to writing and polishing my Oliver Whitman stories. I'm hoping to greatly improved the existing chapters over the next couple of months. The editor for my Nutshell book gave me some good suggestions on improving the story thus far. Once that's done, then I'll move on to adding more chapters and possibly...
posted: february 1, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

New Albums

Boston

While in the Boston area related to work, I met up with my friend Coy Bassich and his new wife, MIla. They drove in from Connecticut. We spent the day together looking around the historic area and at the waterfront. We had dinner in the North End at an Italian restaurant.

Laura Plantation

The Laura Plantation is located outside New Orleans, up the Mississippi River on its west bank. It's a creole plantation in that it was designed and used by creoles, people who were among the original colonists of Louisiana. I've been there a few times.

Marblehead

Lowell, Massachusetts