Books, Learning, Technology, Writing

U is Upbeat: U is for Under the Tuscan Sun, Utenzi and Unit Testing

My theme: something about books, something about poetry, and something about tech – QA in specific. And U is Upbeat: U is for Under the Tuscan Sun, Utenzi and Unit Testing

utenzi under the tuscan sun


All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.
– Swami Vivekananda

Entertainment Corner

 U is Upbeat: U is for Under the Tuscan Sun

U did not think I will have a book vs movie for this one, right? I found one..but on the flip side, there is not much in common between the two at all so using that common ground to decide which one is better does not work in this case. But we can still vote, right? And I added some choices to make it more fun.. I might go ahead and update the other polls too for future readers.

So here it is..

The Movie:

‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ – this was definitely a movie I enjoyed watching, and I recall watching it at least a couple of times. The visuals wowed me, the cast was brilliant (I think my favorite was Sandra Oh in this movie), and the story endeared. Diane Lane portrays the main character – Frances; and the movie takes the viewers on the heartwarming journey from heartbreak to happy.

Did watching the movie create expectations? I guess it did. But like I mention before, the two are vastly different. What is common? The name, someone from San Francisco buys (and restores) a house called Bramasole in the quaint Italy countryside. What is not – the rest of it.

Do I think I would have enjoyed this book (more) if I read it before I saw the movie? Sadly, I do not think so.

The Book:

Frances Meyers does have a talent with visual descriptions. When she describes the beauty of the house and the locale, it takes the reader there; and then almost mid-description, she talks about something else completely and I found myself lost. While I generally do good in understanding books that jump back and forth, I could not say the same for this book. Mayes meanders through stories, side-stories, memories, recipes, insights and random thoughts that leave the reader charmed, annoyed, confused, delighted, and sometimes all at once. 

As I read this book, I kept moving between liking it and not. I ended at – disliking it. And I did not actually reach the end of this book at all. I went past my usual 30% of the book to decide if I want to keep reading it and then gave up.

So to sum it up – this book is dollops of some exceptionally beautiful descriptions mixed with a hodge-podge of random thoughts and generous additions of ramblings of I know-not-what (as it was simply unclear at times)

While I enjoyed parts of it, even loved part of it, as a whole this book just does not do it for me. 

The Question: The Book or the Movie?

The movie is the clear winner here for me. Though the two of them are pretty different and cannot be compared, if someone asked me if I prefer apples or oranges, I would let them know I like apples better; and the movie is the apple here.

[yop_poll id="21"]


The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
– Bill Watterson

Poetry Corner

 U is Upbeat: U is for Utenzi

What is the Utenzi poetic form and how to write it?

The Utenzi – I owe this discovery to VoleCentral. U is definitely a tough letter. And I do shudder to think of the letter X.  But for now, U is for the Utenzi poetic form. It is a Swahili narrative verse form, usually describing heroic deeds (utendi, meaning “act” or “deed”, is derived from the Swahili verb ku-tenda “to do”).  The utenzi is recited often during weddings and other ceremonies; and narrators specialized in reciting the utenzi are invited for the occasions.

This verse form consists of four-line stanzas, with each line having eight syllables. The last syllables of the first three lines rhyme with each other, while the fourth line has a rhyme that is constant throughout the whole of the epic. This last rhyme thus serves to tie all stanzas of the epic together. When recited, this last syllable is sustained for some time and given emphasis.

So the Utenzi poetic form’s features:

  • stanzaic – has any number of quatrains or four-line stanzas
  • syllabic – has eight syllables per line
  • rhyme scheme of aaax, bbbx, cccx, ……and so on
  • narrative epic usually describing heroic deeds

My Example Utenzi:

This is my trial utenzi and is based on a true story – that of my paternal grandpa. This is one tale my dad told us so many times over; and while I know I cannot hear my dad repeat this tale to me anymore, I want to remember it for him.

My Ordinary Hero
Emergency declaration
Caused chaos all over nation
Supplies, laughter in low ration
His confidence though never fell

Priority – his family
Wanted to send them off safely
With belongings, byed happily
No one else left for him to tell

Fulfilled his duties, locked up their
home, looked for a way out but there
was none, cars nor carts, just that pair
of faithful feet; he said, oh well!

Journeyed across nations, he did;
took the path of his wife, his kid(s).
Solitary miles, days indeed –
until he rang a known door-bell.

The opened door shut on his face,
as familiars failed to place
their loved one in a stranger’s guise;
but wait, we do know that yell well!

See, grandpa had a voice distinct
that could be heard across precinct(s).
Hugs replaced doors, happy tears blinked;
sound of joy reached high decibel(s).
– ©2019 Vidya Tiru/LadyInRead@LadyInReadWrites

To tell the true story behind this in short: This was the story of my grandpa’s journey on foot when many had to evacuate Rangoon in the early 1940s; he rushed to send his family to safety and later joined others as they made their way across to India.

Nothing in the universe can stop you from letting go and starting over. 

– Guy Finley

QA Corner

 U is Upbeat: U is for Unit Testing

A unit test is a way of testing a unit, which is the smallest piece of code that can be logically isolated in a system. Unit testing is typically done by developers themselves; and once code passes unit testing, the next step in the process is integration testing where different independent units are tested together to see how they function in an integrated mode. Unit tests are considered true unit tests only when they do not rely on any other external systems; and it should be possible/feasible to run unit tests in parallel without those tests impacting each other (a test for unit testing itself!)

Further reading resources:

Wrapping up the U post

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

And I am hoping the universe is conspiring now to help me with the decision I made – this challenge.

What are your comments or questions about today’s post? I would love to hear from you. Check out previous posts in this challenge using the links below.

Day 0 Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6Day 7  Day 8Day 9Day 10Day 11 Day 12 Day 13  Day 14  Day 15 Day 16 Day 17

Day 18  Day 19 Day 20 Day 21 Day 22 Day 23

Linking up to BlogChatter A to Z, A to Z Blogging Challenge, and the Ultimate Blog Challenge

ultimate blog challenge

10 thoughts on “U is Upbeat: U is for Under the Tuscan Sun, Utenzi and Unit Testing

  1. Under the Tuscan Sun is a favorite movie. It helped build my desire to go there, which I finally did. It did not disappoint! Now I want to go back. Have you read The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran? It’s so much fun. I enjoyed your post.

  2. I have not watched this movie, nor read the book. So can’t vote here, unfortunately, but I am definitely tempted to watch the movie after reading your description here.
    You asked on my blog if we knew each other. Well, I have come across your handle (Lady in read) before, maybe in some earlier AtoZ, but other than that, I don’t think we are acquainted.
    Find my U post @ How Often Should You Update Your Blog

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