Top 5 books

The Master and Margarita- M.A. Bulgakov

Crime and Punishment- F.M. Dostoevskij

Hearth of Darkness- J.Conrad

Suite Française- I. Némirovsky

Angela's ashes- F. McCourt


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an apple a day..

an apple a day..

This is me

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Padua, Veneto, Italy
Hi guys,my name is Anna,I'm Italian and I'm studying foreign languages at the University of Padua. This is supposed to be my last year of studies,or so I hope,and I'm trying my best to finish asap,'coz it's really high time I were under way! I have many loves in my life,my Luv,my cats,books,violets and apples (but this is an old and long story to tell!). I don't want to bother you now,I'm going to tell you more in depht later! I'm waiting for you on my blog,read it,love it,hate it and feel free to leave any comments. This is the place I stay and it can be yours too!

Thursday, April 30

Solutions ad hoc!

Hi everybody,
I began to write this post two days ago and this is what I wrote: “Have you got any idea where spring is hiding? I don't really know where the hell she's gone, hope she'll be back soon! Well, today's another cold rainy day, it seems like this ugly weather is never to end, how annoying and boring!!”. Maybe it’s because the rain listened to me and to my irritating complaints that now the sun is shining and it’s incredibly hot! Think I should complain more often if this is going to be the result, he he!! Well, the other side of the coin is that, if I’m no more bored and sleepy, now I can’t stay still for a minute, I feel so lively and I’ve got so many strengths that I’d never stop moving up and down, back and forth. I have to go to work in half an hour so it’s better I hurry up..

This week in class we did something different from the usual lessons in which our teacher explains us how to use new cool web tools and then learn to get in touch with them. Of course we did it, too, but this time we took an active part in it! The “dish of the day” was Google.doc and the amazing world of web file storage. Let’s begin from It is the easiest and most direct way to save your existing files or to create documents from scratch and then store them on web, sharing them, too, with your peers or with the people you like. This web2.0 application allows people to upload from any computer ( be it their own or not ) existing files including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT, etc. and to edit them anytime, from anywhere. By using you can also share in real-time your documents by inviting people to view them.All the changes will be saved and your docs will be stored securely online. And it's completely free! Isn't it nice? I've loved it since the very moment I got in touch with it! If you want to know more about Google.doc I suggest you to take a look at this website too.By clicking on the six pages you can take a "panoramic tour" of it, enjoy!
This was the theory,but as I told before, we did practice too! We were invited by our teacher to edit in APA style the references and in-text citations of a book on Telecollaboration 2.0. By using of course! It was quite a though, hard task,but useful indeed! It helped me to become a little more confident with web tools and the strange world of citation styles at least (or I hope so)!
During our first semester we used a Wiki application,that is, after login (we had a password), we could work on a webpage editing many pages and sharing our work with our peers. It was pretty similar to, but it was different for certain aspects! With Wiki you just need to have a password and then everybody will be able to see what you did or wrote; with people need to be invited before viewing what you are doing. Editing too is different: with Wiki one user can edit at a time while using people can do it simultaneously!This is a great advantage since you can see what you peers are doing as in a real-time collaboration, thus working together and helping each other, saving a lot of time as well!
Ok,time has gone and I have to go now.
I'll talk to you asap..

Bjork's video: Wanderlust

I've loved Bjork since I was a child, I think she's a great woman and a musical genius. Nobody gave so much character to techno and experimental world music like she did! I remember the first video I saw, it was the video of "Army of me" in the late 1995. In this video she drives an enormous truck across a big monotonous city, enters rooms full of dumb people, more similar to robots than to humans, goes to a gorilla dentist who pulls a diamond out of her mouth and runs away with that precious gemstone continually growing in her own arms..all this accompanied by techno music. I was a 12-year-old child and you can imagine how impressed I was when I run up against such a video, it was love at first sight! I run and bought her album immediately and since then I began to fall more and more in love with all her music. I chose to post one of the videos taken from her last album Volta, released in 2007. The song is Wanderlust,I love its melody and the sense of freedom it gives..the video is quite strange,looks like you have taken some acid:)! I like it, the video of course! Enjoy it!

Thursday, April 23

craving for video posting!!

Hi all!
I've just found a video on youtube that proves kittens do love apples and wanted to publish it on my blog!! Can you help me please? I don't remeber how to do it..I've tried many times but there's always something wrong with it!!
Thank u in advance!

Auto da fé

This is a short reflective post on Handout2.
I want it to be short because I realized that my posts are always incredibly long winded, so this time I'm trying to cut words off!!
And I want it to be reflective 'coz I believe that a little more of thinking about the readability of an article, be it taken from a paper, from a blog or from a website, can be good for improving our writing skills. I want to talk about what I learned reading the handout our professor gave us because I found it extremely useful and ispiring. Since in a few months we'll start to write our final thesis it would be nice to refresh our memory with a brief summary of the rules to follow in order to write a good and effective paper. A well-written text is thus a text which is well-structured, logical, cohesive, clear and coherent. These are the basic features of a successful text; although they are mainly aimed at simplifying our life, like all simple things they need to be carefully monitored and blended within a text.
Today I'll be focusing on the structure of a text. As the name itself says, it is the basis and the pillars of a set of ideas, from which depends the whole readability of a text. Text structure is made up of three parts: the introduction, the body and the conclusion.
  • When is a text well-structured? When the arguments are presented in a logical way, providing contextual or background information and giving enough details to be immediately understandable.

A text like this is said to have an "hourglass" shape since the information is broad and generalized at the beginning and at the end, while it narrows in the middle, as it focuses precisely on specific issues. This is typical of a deductive approach, where all the information is given little by little as the text unfolds. On the contrary, in an inductive approach all information is given at the beginning and the knowing process is reverse: we start from proofs and then go back up to solutions. In both the cases,but especially in the latter, we should avoid to use obscure or complicated words, trying on the contrary to give explanations.Surfin' up and down the Web I found a website which gives some useful tips on the subject. Although it is mainly concerned with web texts, I think it is worth dropping in! This is what it says (in brief!!):

  1. Explain abbreviations and acronyms the first time you use them (never let markup alone);
  2. Try to keep sentences short (I'm not alone!!);
  3. Avoid complicated words and symbolic language, use instead paraphrases and try to explain the subject with you own words;
  4. Always consider the audience to which you are addressing: use an appropriate vocabulary and register.

This is another useful website I suggest you to take a look at! Oh no, I'm crossing my imaginary line to stop!

About blogs. Well, I believe they should follow the 5 features of any readable text (see above). They are texts, aren't they? So their authors should try to be as much comprehensible as they can if they want that their messages are conveyed and understood by their audience. About my blog..looking back to my old posts I must admit that, besides being a bit too long, sometimes they lack structure too. I always have lots of things to say, my brain is continually churning out ideas but then I don't know how to arrange them on paper/screen! I'm going to dig out the old good "skeleton" (not that locked up in my closet!) and eventually learn how to use it!

Now, a special thank to: my blog peers for their moral and technical support. I sometimes feel like I wanna give up with posting, feel that my creativity has definitely exhausted, but then I read the comments they leave and immediately feel pretty more relieved. Thanks again for boosting my confidence!




Tuesday, April 21

Don't be sloppy, be stylish!

When writing an article, an essay or any other piece of academic writing, besides knowing what to talk about (that’s the most important thing obviously!), we should also pay attention to the style we’re using, that is, the way we put it down on paper. To choose a good style means to choose a proper, effective and attractive outfit for the fruit of our labor and this is a very important thing. Consider this: what about a perfectly flattering hot dress, which cost us an arm and a leg, matched with the wrong purse or, horror of horrors, spoiled by a pair of shoes taken by pot luck? What a disaster!! Well, that’s more or less what could happen if we choose the wrong style for our essay: we can write a lots of interesting things, argue exciting issues and then destroy all with our hands! Up to now we students have been much more concerned with the content rather than with the outline to use in our written production. Of course we are not totally unaware of academic writing styles, since we have already written our BA thesis and were supposed to do it in a formal, high-level style, but maybe we did it in an “unconscious” way, not following precise rules. In my experience I remember that I didn’t look out for any particular suggestions about how to write my thesis, just followed the indications the professor gave me. Sometimes it seemed so natural and spontaneous that I didn’t even notice I was falling into a conventional style, it just came without effort. Maybe years of academic reading and writing helped!
There are actually two styles which are commonly used internationally: the APA and the MLA styles.
The former stands for American Psychological Association, and is a style mainly used for citing writings on social science like Psychology, Economics, Medicine, Law and so on. The latter stands instead for Modern Language Association and is one of the preferred citing styles for research papers within the liberal arts and humanities.

APA and MLA styles are slightly different from each other, though they are used in more or less the same way. It just depends on the subject we are writing on.
If we are discussing scientific issues and we want to cite references within the document, we'd better use the APA style because its citing format allows to give detailed information in a briefer and more concise way than the MLA does. Anyway, these are the general outlines of both styles:
In APA formatted paper:
  • the first three words of the title and the page number are displayed in the top right corner of each page;

  • in the bibliography page the author's last name is spelled out followed by the initial(s) of the first name;

  • only the first word of the title is capitalized and in italics;

  • the abstract is required;

  • the source page at the end of the paper is called "References";

  • for in-text citations it is required that the author's last name, date of publication are put in parenthesis, E.g., (Apples, 2007);

This is what usually happens in the APA style. Now let's take a look at the MLA style.

In MLA formatted paper:

  • the author's name and page number run on the top, right corner of each page;

  • the author's first and last names are spelled out on the bibliography page;

  • all the major words of the title come in capital letters;

  • no abstract is required;

  • the bibliography information is collected in a section called " Works Cited";

  • when citing references the writer has to place the author's last name followed by the page number in parenthesis.

About in-text citation, the two styles are slightly different in formatting.

In APA the rule is to follow the author-date method of in-text citation. As said before, the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, E.g., (Apples, 1998), and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.In APA style proper nouns, authors' names and initials are always capitalized. If we're citing the title of a source within our paper we should capitalize all words that are four letters or more long: E.g., Crime and Punishment. This is not required with shorter words that are adverbs, verbs, nouns and adjectives. After a dash or colon a word should always be capitalized too: "Falling into pieces: The Confessions of an Apple- Eater".

In MLA style, referring to the works of others is mainly done by using parenthetical citations, that means, the writer puts the author's name and the page number(s) in parenthesis immediately after a quotation or the paraphrase of an idea, E.g., "Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believed" (Blake 4). In the Works Cited page this in-text citation will look like this: Blake, William. Proverbs of Hell.Place of release or publication, year of publication.

The whole matter is quite difficult to explain, there are lots of things and arguments up for discussion that I think I'd better stop here..going further could turn to be really dangerous (and deadly boring!). Anyway, I believe that to know how to use this two styles properly means to know how to move without any fear in the tangled jungle of scientific writing, and thus to avoid falling into the silent traps of plagiarism. By using citation we can jump from our own text to that of somebody else's, being sure that we are not infringing any ipr (see the post below). Now, talking about the referencing style I chose for my BA thesis, I used mostly the APA style for in-text citations and referencing, but sometimes I didn't dislike to use MLA too. Summing up, I used both! But the result wasn't that terrible..maybe others didn't care about it..and neither did I, that's for sure!! Well, in my MA thesis I'm certainly going to pay much more attention to referencing style (after this blogostorming I can't just say "I didn't know it!") and I'm going to try to use at least one of them. Which one? Uhmmm, that's an hard question!I have to found a subject before, then I'll give you the answer;-)!

To be continued...



Thursday, April 16

Intellectual Property...Right?

Hi everybody,
how are you? Did you enjoy your Easter holidays? Hope you did! How much classes, nice weather and a lot of crazy friends around. I still have a life, that’s amazing! I thought I had lost it in the chaotic tangles of my academic/working life, but fortunately it didn’t happen..I’m still here! These days I had so much fun I almost forgot to update my blog..sorry, I hope you understand me:-)! It took me quite a lot to realize that holidays had already finished, time always goes on too fast! Well, let’s not think about it, better to go on! It will be hard to remember what exactly happened last week in class, but I’ll try my best to do it!
Last week we talked about
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and plagiarism.
The former is a set of laws created to protect the artistic and commercial inventions from the improper use of people, e.g. copying and modifying the original or using an image or logo to sell fake copies of something. In this way the intellectual property rights are sort of intellectual assurance people do to save their creations and to “repay” the big troubles and sacrifices they faced before making their discoveries.
The most common IPR people make use of are:

Nowadays, that of intellectual property has become a burning issue, especially now that the Internet era gives people much more freedom to find and exploit resources available on the Web. The Web is an amazing source of everything; there you can find articles, essays, music and movies, which can be protected by copyright or not. Usually, when authors decide to put their work on the Web they are well aware that they’re offering it to millions of people who are probably going to read and use it for their own purposes. This is a courtesy authors do us and we should be thankful to them! One way to show our gratitude towards them is to respect their intellectual work, for instance, by quoting the authors or linking to their work. Everybody ,and we students in particular, should keep in mind that using the fruit of someone else’s troubles in an improper way, as pretending it is ours, besides being immoral, is illegal too, though here in Italy this is not considered a crime. In other countries like the US and GB, people who infringe these rights can be sue for plagiarism and, if students, they can be expelled from school. It is really strange that a creative and inventive country like Italy, which in the past held the world record in patents, now seems to care so little about plagiarism..maybe it depends on our way of thinking, on education, but I’m not sure. I need to think more about it, feel this will prove to be an interesting issue!

Anyway, I think that sometimes a little “help” is good for everyone, but it has to be just a little sprinkling, not an entire source of ideas! One good alternative to property rights is to offer the work under a creative common license, as well explained in this webpage. Under a creative common license creators can directly choose which rights they reserve and which they waive, thus allowing people to use their work and share it as a public domain. That's very nice and , most importantly, it is absolutely free! I do love the way the CC changed the motto "all rights reserved" with "some rights reserved"; I believe it helped to develop a higher sense of responsibility and philanthropy.

Well, I think that's all for now

Talk to you soon, just need to gather my thoughts!



Thursday, April 9

Kitty Do Loves Apples :-D


Wednesday, April 8

Fishing around for good ideas

Well guys,
the sun went down and I managed to solve the problems with my laptop eventually. I spent the whole afternoon surfing the Web looking for a decent topic, but everytime I found an interesting one I discovered that I needed to suscribe (that is, to pay) to read the full text, or that my browser wasn't able to open a pdf file online (why did you decide to stop working today, you unfaithful creature!!). It wasn't my lucky day, and that's for sure! Anyway at 10 pm I run through one article that immediately caught my attention, maybe for the simple reason that I was too tired to go on more with my search! Being honest, I was supposed to find an article dealing with my final thesis research, but having no idea I decided to fish out the first big fish that was swimming in the Websea beneath!
The first criterion I adopted mainly deals with tools. First I tried to search with but wasn't satisfied at all with my results- almost all the articles required to be purchased, what a nonsense! So I tried the simple google search but I was getting lost among thousands of articles. At the end, just before I decided to give up, I remembered to take a look at one more source too, and ..that's all,I got it and immediately bookmarked it never to get it lost!!
The article I chose is taken from
DOAJ- the directory of open access journals- and its title is: "Malaysian Learners and their perceptions towards online english language courses".If you want to take a look at it, this is the website (you have to click on full text to see it).This article aroused my interest mainly because I wanted to compare the feelings and perceptions of Malaysian ESL students (but they could have been students from any other part of the world) to my personal experience as an ESL student. Moreover, in our first e-tivity we were asked by our teacher to find out a blog we thought could be interesting, and I chose the blog of a young girl from Kuala Lumpur. So, I was twice as interested in reading that article!
It was not easy to find a good article: the Web is full of traps and if we don't pay enough attention, we're very likely to confuse good things with rubbish. Fortunately we just have to keep in mind the simple rules about Web searching and the evaluation criteria for a reliable research article we listed in class last week!
By reading the abstract, which is the summary of the whole article usually put at the beginning of the entire text, the reader can do an initial critical skimming. This proves to be really effective in saving time and patience because,if the argument is not interesting or lacks creativity,it is possible to leave it and try to find a better one!
More in depht with my critical surface-analysis,the questions I had to ask myself were:

  • Who is the researcher?
    In my case there are two researchers who carried out the research study: Pramela Krish, a senior lecturer with the School of Language Studies and Linguistics at the university Kebangsaan (Malaysia), and Bee Eng Wong, who is an associate professor at the Department of English Language at the university Putra (Malaysia). This information was put at the end of the article together with a picture of them, their e-mail address and their phone numbers. This is a good and effective way to gain the reader's trust, since they put "their faces" in what they did and show that are willing to be contacted for possible further information.

  • What do you think was their theoretical framework? About the theoretical framework, I googled a bit to search for other publications by these authors and discovered that they had already published other articles about (more or less) the same topic, all collected in the Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education.
  • What was the goal of the research? The goal of the research is indicated in the abstract: "The findings with regard to the perceptions of the learners brought more new perspectives which could be incorporated or taken into considerationfor an online language learning programme."
  • Was it large or small scale? It was small scale research involving about 250 students (Malays, Indians, Chinese, other groups) from various faculties in the age group of 21 to 23 years.
  • Was it short or long term? It was necessarily short term because the research focused on specific points.

Here I stop myself, I need to read it more carefully to answer further questions. I think this article fulfills all the requirements to be good article, since it is clear, well structured and written by reliable persons. I don't know about you, but I think this was a nice experience,maybe a little demanding in terms of time and attention,but I feel this exercise helped me a lot in developing my "searching skills". Well, I'm ready for my academic research study..or at least now I know the simplest way to work it out;-)!
See you all,


Sunday, April 5

The Sea of Strangers

How many times have we said to someone, or thought to say, "hey man, who are you?", especially when discussing issues of certain importance? To be "somebody" means to be a person who is held in high esteem by others and who has something important to say or to do in the world. While looking for information on the Web, as well as in everyday-life, it's always better to ask ourselves this question to avoid trusting someone who is not very reliable and thus ending up with loads of useless rubbish.
This week in class we talked about the way in which we usually surf the Web when searching for information, e. g. for an academic research study. The Web is an amazing source of information where people can take an active part by using tools like the Creative Commons (e.g. the big family of the Wikis) or by creating personal environments like blogs or websites. There we can find lots docs and links to what we are looking for and some of these even seem to be very attractive but..are they all reliable? We made a list of the parameters a document should match to be considered a good source of information. First of all its author should be someone qualified to write that article like a scientist, an academic or a student supported by a professor. It should provide enough references in order to allow people to go and leaf through other sources like books or on-line documents- when writing an academic research study students usually start from infos available on the Web and little by little narrow down the field to the old good dusty books. Then we'd better pay attention to the date it was created, since too old an article can prove to be not very useful (the world changes so fast that even today is tomorrow's yesterday!). The list could go on and on since there are loads of criteria to take into consideration and soooo many kinds of topics floating on the Websea, but luckily here they come some nice tools that help us out with our doc hunting! Google Blogs, Google Books and Google Scholar are invaluable allies in fishing out and skimming what we need! They are similar to the most famous Google search but take the searching one step further. The first Google focuses on blogs: just have to type a keyword ("language learning" or anything else) and you'll discover what people are saying on that subject! The second one again works just like web search helping you to find books and giving a preview or even showing the entire text (if out of copyright)..what a nice idea! The last one searches for scholarly literature and helps to identify the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research.
Well guys, I think that our teacher was right on target again!
About me, what can I say? Now I have no more excuses for not beginning to work on my thesis (yes, it's high time I began writing on it!). I have all the tools I may need, I'm home and dry you'd say..well, can you tell me now where I could find a good idea for my thesis too:-)?


Friday, April 3

Obsessions #1

Well, I think that now you all know about my insane fool love for the fruit of sin...yeah, I really have a thing about it, I can't do help it, it's not my fault:-/...damn!
I don't remember (or I prefer to forget) where it comes from...I believe it's a bit my mother's fault..when I was a child she was continually giving me apple paps and juice saying that the little gorgeous fruit was good for me - I would really shoot the one who said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away!! Anyway, things were not so bad in the past, I just had to close my eyes and swallow- simple stuff! Then one day I accidentally run into the source of all this big lovely mess..and I stop here, no need too go further.
What a curse,a long-lasting curse,I wanna free myself from it right now (shouldn't I?)!
Anyway, apples, if bad for my health, are certainly good for my learning! I want to show how this word is used in idiomatic english expressions and what meaning it has..have fun!

  • "How do you like them apples"? = what do you think about it? It is an AM english idiom expressing bemusement. For more infos click there.
  • "She's apples!" = everything is all right (okey dokey,hi hi!!) It's used in colloquial Australian . I love this one, though she's not apples for me ('specially when thinking about apples!!). Need more infos? Drop in here!

  • "Everything is in apple-pie order" = everything is tidy and well-ordered. Apple-pie,yummy!

Now look at these entries, they're rather different in meaning (I told you, apples are weird!)

  • apple sauce = "it's all talk",nonsense, rubbish.

  • apple polisher = toady.

There are other expressions in which "apple" is used, e.g. when something is "as American as apple-pie",meaning that it's typically American, or when someone is "the apple of sb's eye", meaning that she/he is very important to s.o.

Well, now I it's my turn! Since one of the purposes of this e-xperience is to become more creative, I want to give birth to a new expression, a way of being: apple-junkie. I'm an apple-junkie, do you know what I mean;-)?



Thursday, April 2

A peephole on my peers' affairs

Reflecting on social bookmarking can prove very nice!
I had a look at my peers' bookmarks and found that we have quite a good deal of things in common: we all searched for websites on language learning, travelling and working.
Valentina, for example saved websites on travelling (need ideas to plan your next trip?) and job offers. Since in there are few bookmarked websites about job ads, I did a little research and would suggest her to take a look at
this website- hope it helps!
She bookmarked the
lonelyplanet page on travelling: I like her choice because this site is a on-line travel guide that helps you to choose the best destinations at a low price and gives a lot of nice tips about the place you're going to visit!
About Sara choices, she bookmarked a lot of interesting websites on music, job offers and on the UN. One in particular struck me, the
playagainstallodds. This is a game hosted in the UNHCR site that simulates the life of a refugee in an oppressed country, trying to escape from the regime and to build up a new life. I enjoyed it because, besides being a funny and easy-to-do game, it is educational and reflective too. Here you can learn a lot about human rights, denied rights and read stories of people who have been prosecuted for opposing to the regime in their country.
Drop in, you'll find them nice!
Bye :-)

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