Monday, June 30, 2014

54 Versus 540

I just renewed my parking permit for U#1 online. So easy, YAY! (in previous years I've done in in person, so much more troublesome!)

Yeah, it's precisely 10% of what I pay for my U#2 permit which made me so upset a while ago. :-(

What can I say? At least one of the schools I (marginally) work for charges me a reasonable rate for parking! Sigh...

An Automotive "Sign"

You guys know that we own very very old cars. In fact, we're nearly "famous" for our old cars -- our mechanic says we are the clients who own the oldest cars of his whole clientele and that he actually does tell some clients about us (in positive terms, as in, "I know these people who have these old cars and they're fine!" ;-)

In any case, after driving all the way to South Carolina and then back up to Philadelphia with our beat up Honday Odyssey (292K miles!), we had decided to risk it and to drive to Florida with it. Thankfully, on Thursday we had a "sign" that this would not be a good idea!

The car has been making a strange "weak engine" noise when the air conditioning is on and we stop at intersections. When we turn off the AC the engine returns to normal. Last week, however, I turned off the AC but then the car died. When I restarted the engine now it was making that noise and feeling like it was going to die during normal driving (except on the highway when it was perfectly fine). It was a bit scary! It died a couple more times on Friday, so we decided we can't risk it and are renting a car to drive to Florida...

Oh well, it's better be safe than sorry, right? I'm excited we're going to Florida!! We'll visit friends and go to the beach. YAY!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Accidental 'World Premiere' Viewing - "The Pool Master"

Last Saturday night I wanted to watch "World Cup Tonight" and the compact version of that day's soccer games and while I waited for ESPN to start showing soccer, I started watching "The Pool Master" in the Discovery Channel (it's actually produced by Animal Planet). It was fascinating to watch this eccentric British man "talk" to boulders and have them removed in order to make a natural looking pool.

What I had no idea whatsoever is that I was watching the show's premiere! I decided to google it tonight and couldn't believe when I found that out! Another show I enjoyed last Saturday was Tree House Master. Here's a preview:
Too bad in a month we'll cancel cable and I won't be wasting precious hours watching a bunch of contractors led by a crazy visionary building pools for other people anymore! ;-)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

On the Road Again!

Now it's K's turn to have a conference and this time were headed to our old stomping grounds in Philadelphia. 

It was good to be home for 36 hours and for a brief period I felt like I wanted to stay home longer, but the feeling doesn't last long -- I was literally born and raised to travel and my sons have too! 

I feel slightly bad for our cats who are mostly confined to the garage when we travel (when we're home I let them out daily), but I know they'll be ok.

We had to leave by a certain time again (to go to a baby shower), but we're half an hour late. I just hope we get to Phily in time for K to register and go to the reception!

I'm excited we'll get to stay with and visit old friends and that I get to go to IKEA!!! ;-) and Aldi! And Christmas Tree shop! ;-) too bad I can't spend any $ (no summer salary -- maybe for K).

I'll try to blog more often this week!

Friday, June 20, 2014

18 Years!

Today it's been eighteen years since I came to this country and stayed! I'm on the road and can't blog much now, but I didn't want to forget this day. I'll write more about it later.

Wow, I can hardly believe I've been in this country that long! But I obviously  still consider Brazil as my home country -- unlike a lady from Trinidad today at the conference who said she's been in the US for 16 years so she wouldn't put a pin on Trinidad on a world map. "Not me!" I exclaimed, "It's been 18 years, but it'll be Brazil forever!" ;-) 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

My Academic Blogger's Dream Come True: A Conference Blogger Meet Up!

As old-time readers will know, there are few things I like better than blogger meet ups!! (Here are some past ones). I've lost count, but I think I've met more than a dozen friends I made through the blog in "real life!"

Today's meet-up was special to me because it was completely unexpected! Every conference I've been to since I started blogging back in 2004 I've walked around looking at people and wondering if they also blog and whether any of my blogger friends may be in attendance. And I longed, really longed to be there with someone who read my blog and who really knew me. 

Today, it happened. This morning I was looking at the schedule and saw a name. I went to facebook and messaged her and then went to her panel where I introduced myself and we talked before she gave her paper. It was only a day which it passed way too quickly. We didn't have much time to talk and I hope I didn't annoy her with some of my questions, but it was truly AMAZING to finally get to meet M!!

I hope you enjoyed the conference and that we meet again in the future! I know she's not really blogging anymore and that's ok. What matters to me is that for nearly 8 years we interacted through our blogs and became friends. I hope she liked meeting me too! I'll see her tomorrow once more and then we leave. Too bad most blogger-meet ups are always so fleeting! :-( Sigh...

I still can't believe it happened, I'm so thrilled I can't even concentrate and finish my paper!

Chico Buarque turns 70! "The Time and the Artist"

I just found out that Chico Buarque, the celebrated Brazilian singer-songwriter-poet-novelist turned 70 today! And I really like what the brilliant journalist Mauro Ferreira wrote today (Ferreira has an incredible blog - Notas Musicais [musical notes] about Brazilian music and pop music in general too -- too bad it's in Portuguese, right?).

Ferreira's blog post title says "Chico approaches the infinite tangentially reaching 70 with a glorified oeuvre [body of work]." It's impossible to understand this title without knowing the lyrics of one of Chico Buarque's gems, a song from the 1996 album Paratodos [for all]:
"O Tempo e o Artista"                       "The Time and the Artist"

Imagino o artista num                       I imagine the artist in an
         [anfiteatro                                         [amphitheater
Onde o tempo é a grande estrela       Where time is the great star
Vejo o tempo obrar a sua arte            I see time work* its art
Tendo o mesmo artista como tela      Having the same artist as a screen

Modelando o artista ao seu feitio      Shaping the artist at its will
O tempo, com seu lápis impreciso    Time as an imprecise pencil
Põe-lhe rugas ao redor da boca         Places wrinkles around the mouth
Como contrapesos de um sorriso      As counter-weights to a smile

Já vestindo a pele do artista              Wearing the artist's skin
O tempo arrebata-lhe a garganta       Time captures his throat
O velho cantor subindo ao palco      The old singer climbing on stage
Apenas abre a voz, e o tempo           He only opens his voice, and time
                          [canta                                             [sings

Dança o tempo sem cessar,              Time dances without ceasing,
                        [montando                                    [climbing
O dorso do exausto bailarino           On the dancer's exhausted torso
Trêmulo o ator recita um                 Tremulous, the actor recites a
                     [drama                                                    [drama
Que ainda está por ser escrito          That is yet to be written

No anfiteatro, sob o céu                  In the amphitheater, under the
                   [de estrelas                                              [starry sky
Um concerto eu imagino                 I imagine a concert
onde, num relance,                         where, in a glimpse (?)
     [o tempo alcance a glória                      [time reaches glory
E o artista, o infinito                      And the artist, infinity
                                                                   *work=make an oeuvre

Pure genius. In the same album Chico has another AMAZING song titled (in Portuguese): "The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" and hopefully I'll blog about it someday!

I'll come back to edit the post with a Youtube video later. Now I have to go finish a conference paper!

P.S. I really feel like my blog name when I'm translating. It's still really a huge part of my life, I guess, translation. :-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What Most (or Many) Men in Brazil Know

I just realized that my husband, and his dad, and probably his brothers and cousins know the winners of every single World Cup that has ever taken place! I enjoy watching the World Cup, but I never thought of learning about all of them!

I suspect that most people (men and women, of course! -- I'll probably be criticized for referring to "men" on the post's title) who care for soccer, in Brazil or elsewhere in the world, may know that too! 

Soccer is really a passion most everywhere, except for the U.S.!

Appointments and Trips

We're on our way! To my son's optometrist, that is, but the car is packed and we'll continue on to our trip from there.

I had forgotten how convenient an appointment is in providing a "firm deadline" to leave on a trip. I should always schedule something! I do t think I forgot anything important, only my son's toothbrush which is easy to replace and... oh, and my BB face cream! :-( I'll try to buy another one..
Wish us a good trip!

Anxious Update

I'm anxious because we're traveling today for the only "true" (i.e. non-local) academic conference I'll attend all year and I OBVIOUSLY haven't written my paper and I need to pack and we have a firm time to leave the house all ready and packed since my son has an appointment with the optometrist this afternoon. Sigh...

I know we'll manage, but I wish I had a written paper so I could enjoy at least a day in peace at the conference (instead of half a day on Friday). It's always like that -- I ALWAYS leave things for the last minute.

That's why last night, because of a last-minute cancellation, I had my first visit with the doctor so I can be "labeled"* (I mentioned here that I finally had made an appointment, but it was not until next week). I brought home the necessary questionnaires and I'll undergo the testing next week, so... by next Friday when I have my next appointment I should know officially if I've been diagnosed with ADHD or not.

Yeah... After (or maybe during?) this conference I hope to have the head space to blog some more. Another reason for my sparse blogging is that my sons are now official Minecraft addicts (sigh...). They had previously been playing the limited "pocket edition" on their iPads, but now Kelvin bought Minecraft and installed it in my laptop. We'll soon buy it for our youngest son too, but we URGENTLY need a new computer (in fact two, but we can afford none!) so they can play and we haven't been able to decide on one (or decide to spend the money). So, the boys have been using my laptop as often as they can.

OK, I have to go make sure I have all materials to finish writing my paper and to prepare the power point and then to pack. I hate packing for trips because I always feel anxious that I'm going to forget something! :-(  And then there's the chronic procrastinator's problem: before trips there are always things that need to be taken care of around the house that I didn't do earlier. At least I planted my flowers last night (one of the most important pending things)... Sorry for the boring update!

P.S. I've been reading old journals lately, from the angsty years when I was 17-18. YIKES, it's not fun to read those at all! Ghosts from the past creep up on me and bad feelings from negative interactions with my mom too. I shouldn't be torturing myself with this, but I can't help it! Good thing I know that all turned out OK in the end! ;-)

* Ha! I didn't even remember that getting labeled was one of the few resolutions I made last year. Sigh... better late than never is what I always say!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why we don't have cable or why I won't watch TV

I suppose tonight is the night to write blog posts that explain the reasons why... as briefly as possible! ;-)

We got cable installed today for the first time in the three years we've lived in this house. We did that because of the World Cup that will take place in Brazil and that begins on Thursday, we decided we wanted to watch in HD, instead of streaming online. (and we're actually glad to be watching the cup from afar, not only because we wouldn't be able to afford to travel to Brazil this summer, but also because it would be too crazy).

Anyway, I cannot have or watch TV because it's like crack for me, I'd be hopelessly addicted, particularly to HGTV! (watched almost two "flipping" shows this afternoon).

That's it. I'd rather spend my time reading about real people in blogs (while they still exist, right?).

Jo(e), thanks for the supportive comment, we'll be the "last two standing" in blogland, OK? Promise!!

Why the World Cup is Cool, but FIFA is Evil -- thanks John Oliver!!

And also, to those of you who know about the turmoil and protests that the World Cup has been eliciting in Brazil, this explains why:
And John Oliver is hilarious, I'll try to watch his program every week from now on!!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

On "Being a Blogger"

Has this "very old" in today's term (about 15 years old?) medium basically died? I mean, it's frustrating to me, to say the least, that it is apparently so. My preferred means of expression, blogging, rendered basically useless... it's downright depressing (and since I never get around to writing "the post" about it, I'll just keep these short rants going).

Maybe I need to print one of those pretty, if expensive, books that will have all of the thousands of pages of this blog in it for a keepsake before Google pulls the plug on Blogger. Because I have come to believe that Google, like all other internet companies out there, is evil* too. Sigh... Amazon is trying to bully printing presses into submission, Google holds 10 years of my life (in email and blogging) that it could destroy in a few seconds... Gah. I can back up the blog, but how can I back up emails?

(and speaking about "evil" companies, don't get me started on facebook! And yet I'm there because I miss hundreds of people who were part of my life in the past and of with whom I can keep in touch that way... it's not easy to be an expatriate and miss one's country and family and friends, I tell you!)

The key is not to place so much value in these things (because, truly, they aren't the most important in life) and to keep on living. I suppose that's why I haven't been blogging as much, because I am enjoying my life outside of the computer and I hope I can detach a bit from this place that I cherish and think about every day -- because I do, for better of for worse, cherish it. Being a "blogger" -- even though most people I know in "real life" don't know I blog -- is a key part of my identity as a person at this point. Sigh...

Sometimes I wish it weren't so, I wish I could just shut down this place and stop thinking about taking photos "for the blog" that I end up never posting... Or writing posts in my head. There's this never-ending conflict in my soul that prevents me from "wasting time" writing on the blog or spending hours editing photos for the blog (because I would post more photos if I could only bring myself to decide which ones to use and that the time spent was worthwhile).

I cannot bring myself to do that, though (quit blogging). Maybe someday I will, but not yet, not now.

This was supposed to be a post about the month of May, but I changed the title, kept to one subject and here you go! At least I'm still trying to be a semi-decent writer! And in order to overcome "blogger's block" (in lieu of "writer's block") I always need to do some old-fashioned ranting and let out my never-ending angst! ;-) Oh well, I do what I've gotta do, OK? 

* And I use the word evil here in the "dystopian fiction" evil kind of way in which we end up depending on these technology sources that can, in the end, be used against us or used to destroy us. I actually spent the week reading dystopian books, but that's the subject for another post!!