Friday, June 29, 2007

Found this post somewhere in my past...

There is so much selfishness in life. Exaggerated selfishness can be destructive sometimes. It can kill many other feelings. Joining forces - gathering minds, or really the attitude of holding hands - in its purest purpose -- can be placed under doubt. People don't trust one another anymore therefore they don't think quite possible caring for someone else in its most truthful way.

The lack of selfishness would be the acceptance for being altruistic.

I agree that there is a big difference between choosing to be altruistic and feeling altruistic. It is my hope that others will feel altruistic as a result of their own understanding of themselves. Even though I am aware of the altruistic feeling, I don't so much choose to be altruistic, but instead I acknowledge and understand the feeling for both what it is and its possible effects.

If one just 'tolerates' people's differences, then is he/she not just remaining ignorant? In fact, it isn't even that important that we know any of our similarities or differences, but instead that we have a mindset of openeness when it comes to experiencing and becoming aware of them - and therefore wouldn't we be aware of each other's feelings?

Yes, one of the SOLUTIONS is elimination the fear of the unknown. In fact, this is directly related to how we deal with differences and selfishness. Each difference has its own degree of fear. Each fear has its own POWER to block the will to dive into the unknown!

That is why is needed to take some time to get into self-awareness which isn't only the understanding of oneself, but also the understanding of others, and of the environment which IDEAS can be found. There is a deepness to existence. It seems obvious to me that the understanding of ourselves is an effect of society. You can increase your awareness, but still remain in this effect. There is much more to explore. Understanding is a feeling, and words are just words, although they tell about feelings.

One should try harder to hold hands!
That one is in fact ME.

There are two special moments in life. The times when you are thinking about it, and every second in between. I see awareness in any of those times as I am always thinking about my existence. Now it's time to steer the ship based on the feelings and understandings generated by my thoughts...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Blabbing...

1. I've been working so hard that I literally thought that tomorrow would be Saturday. I've been also reading a nice book written by a teenage Brazilian writer. Her name's Mayra Dias Gomes and the book, Fugalaça. She's now 19 years old but when she finished up this book she was only 16. It is amazing the way she was able to connect words and make up one-of-a-kind metaphors. It made me reconsider my own way of writing my literary projects. How come a 31-year-old teacher is not getting there the same way? Am I that sad as a writer? That is a dangerous query. I lack vocabulary in my own language. This is something I cannot hide. I don't read much in Portuguese. That is my major problem. Without reading Brazilian or Portuguese authors, it is quite hard to nail a written project in that language.

2. In the deepest sense, you've got nothing special to read about me for now. Well... That is what there's to read...: I've got new things to say in matters of material gains. Right here, in the back of my mind, there is this image of myself being a young boy getting his first bike for Christmas. I am truly facing an ear-to-ear smile for having gotten the best x-mas gift ever. That is the feeling I have been having when I notice my very first laptop - all for myself - heating up underneath my hands. It does not get as hot as Roberto's new HP Pavillion, though. My ACER ASPIRE is just perfect for my needs. I got it not for Christmas. It was more like a Valentine's present - Valentine's Day is celebrated on June 12th, in Brazil. It was a way to seal my commitment on finishing up my both books - the poetry and fiction ones.

At the moment I've got, materialistic speaking, what it takes to end my projects. Now, I only need to find time for those activities - Eaaaaasy... LOL Ha!

3. I've seen 'Hard Candy'. I guess it was pretty proper to have watched that movie since I've been reading a 16-year-old author book lately. I mentioned it in the first paragraph above. Teens have made my main topics for discussions among adults. I teach teens. I am not so sure if I have ever passed over this stage in my life yet. Roberto was saying, just yesterday, that we cannot have kids for a while since we do love purchasing teenage things, since we play computer games, log on sites for hours on weekends, since we blog (well, just me...), since we care for consuming and trying out new things. We do appreciate experimenting what the market is able to bring us. It is true that we do not roll in money, therefore we cannot afford EVERYTHING that is out there... However, we place our comfort and entertainment needs in first place. We'd rather keep being able to get all those things than having babies. To have children costs a lot. They demand time and they last too long. Ha! Ha!

Roberto and I are in our early thirties. We do feel and behave like teenagers. And I am pretty sure that many of you do too.

4. This year, we've accomplished something that I am way proud of. Our yard/garden looks a lot better now. Honestly, I've never mentioned any of these things in here before, but our front yard plants were dying and don't let me get started on the interior conditions of the house (this house we live in is over 60 years old). Our both bathrooms and roof needed some renovations... We got all these things done this fall. Our both 'johns' look awesome. Our roof top resembles something better. Our garden has gone through some severly changes too. No more lawn. We have replaced the lawn by small rocks. We have also planted exotic bushes and 'possible trees'.

Actually, it was a gardening company that helped us on that matter. Regardless, our front yard is 10,000 times more appealing. We've placed a bench on it too... Man! It is just like heaven. The funny thing is that it wasn't "Robert Smith" the responsible for all those changes... Ha! Ha! Ha!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

ASAP - Awesome School Annoying Projects

I love school environment. I am so glad I own, live, and teach in one. Very often, I catch myself searching YouTube videos on school projects. I've foung this one. Man, it's lovely. It's annoying, but nicely done. I keep watching it over and over till my eyes sting and bleed. Oh dear God! I admire these young individuals in a very strange way. How terrifying High School kids are to me! Their mood swings scare me like hell. Besides, they talk as if they have lived for decades. Their self-confidence is very inspiring though. No one can explain why I am so attracted by teen crime literature and school video projects... Maybe because I think I am a teenager trapped in an adult's body... Or maybe because I'm actually interested in myself... Who knows?

THAT'S AN AWESOME VIDEO, CHEESY, BUT AWESOME!!!

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Mysterious Corpus Christi

I normally have time to write new posts here only when there is holiday. Yesterday, June 7th, was an example. We celebrated Corpus Christi. Nobody worked or went to school because of it. The funny thing to me about this holiday is that I may be Christian, but I am not really catholic, so why should I have celebrated it? I say again: "I may be Christian" but I don't see why I (me, Laila) have got to celebrate it.

I was taught Christianism principles at school and home, and, I live in a catholic country - at least that is what encyclopedias say about Brazil. I personally think that most people down here have protestant beliefs rather than catholic, anyway. Fewer and fewer Brazilian families attend masses and to make it worse, I developed a public survey myself last week regarding Corpus Christi day and nobody knew how to answer a tiny little query. The question was very simple: "What do we celebrate on Corpus Christi?". Most answered: "I don't know!" or "We celebrate the "body of Christ". What? What's that? Whose body? Just kidding.

Since not many could explain to me what the holiday is about, I had to research on it myself. And here it is what I've found: Corpus Christi is the celebration of the Holy Sacrament or Eucharist. "Most Christians classify the Eucharist as a sacrament. Some Protestants view it as an ordinance in which the ceremony is seen not as a specific channel of divine grace but as an expression of faith and of obedience to Christ."*** From the earliest times, the followers of Jesus had a sense of His continuing presence with them as they gave thanks, broke bread, and shared it, together with a cup of wine - the Sacrament.

Besides that, Corpus Christi is a celebration of theology; how Catholics understand what Christians believe. The Feast of Corpus Christi began in the late Middle Ages not only as a service of special recognition and thanks for the gift of Jesus's Presence with humanity in the "Sacrament of the Altar", but as a service which emphasized a particular way of understanding the nature of that Presence, an understanding then later called "trans-substantiation."

This theory provides one particular explanation of how Jesus is present in the sacrament -- the being or "substance" of the physical bread and wine is actually changed, overtaken by the spiritual presence, so that what looks to us like bread -- the same as before the prayer of consecration -- is now in actuality the flesh of Jesus. It appears to us as bread, but that's an illusion -- what seems to us as bread is Really flesh. Of course, according to this theological theory.

Understanding or not this religious holiday is a matter of choice. What I will never understand is why people who aren't catholic, like me, have to celebrate something that we barely understand what it is. And the worst, why don't catholics in this country understand it either? And one more thought: Brazilian culture covers more religions, then why don't we celebrate Native or African-Brazilian beliefs as well? How come we don't?

***Wikipedia

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Just a little trivia about me...

I am from São Paulo (Brazil). Hence, I’m stressful and cannot 'samba'.
I despise Bossa Nova, soccer, and carnival.
I have a problem saying 'yes' or 'no'... I stick with 'maybe'.
Narrow-minded people cannot understand me.
I have an excellent memory for names.
I barely like music. I mostly care for books and movies.
I’ve carried the same pens in my pencil case for twelve years.
I cook very well but I’m lazy.
I love deli platters.
I like Christina Applegate.
I collect coins from different countries.
I love helping my friends if there is something I can do.
I don't retaliate - simply can't.
I love colors.
I can’t stand work associates that set up plots to get themselves better positions or a mere raise.
I am never punctual.
I fear driving. I fear sitting on the passanger's side too.
I don't spend loads on books, but I do splurge on second-hand ones.
I hate people with no sense of humor.
I don't give alms but I monthly donate money to some institutions.
I love Thelonius Monk.
I listen to Muddy Waters.
I've got no patience for Janis Joplin.
I complain a lot.
I hate when others think my mother tongue is Spanish and the capital of my country is Buenos Aires - I'll shoot any person who has ever thought of that. I mean it.
I know how to say ‘I’m sorry’ and I do say it millions of times.
I do not download either music or movies for I don't know how to.
I don’t know how to hold grudges.
I love animals, mostly cats. Though, never would I become vegetarian in order to protect their lives. I simply don't think this is the way.
I don’t care for money.
I live in Caxias do Sul (Rio Grande do Sul state - Brazil), in a school painted yellow, blue, orange, and brown.
I don't correct all tests and compositions myself. For that, I've hired Vanessa - my caring secretary, helper, student, and friend.
I love working out but I'm very lazy.
I like autobiographies.
I hate knickknacks. I love Pollack.
I loathe washing dishes.
I sometimes need to be alone.
I hate soccer. I'd rather watch sepaktakraw.
I'd rather root for a hockey team.
I don’t know how to play cards.
I would love to know how to sing.
I would like to play softball.
I love Munch.
I drink too much coffee.
I don’t like air conditioner.
My mother says I am pretty crazy. My sisters say it too.
I’m gluttonous.
I hate baby blue and all pinks.
I love Clarice Lispector.
I know how to play the piano.
I play it terribly.
I have lovely hands. Unfortunately, I never have them manicured.
I've never watched "ET" but I've already watched the documentary "EARTHLINGS".
I collect self-portraits of myself.
I barely recognize people on the phone by their voices.
I can’t stand stinginess.
I hate Goddard.
I love Fassbinder.
I don't hate Mondrian.
I love Frida Kahlo.
I don’t like good taste.
I hate needles.
I am very hairy.
I love Gisele Büdchen.
I detest making beds. I love the feeling of having them made.
I love Camembert and Gouda cheese.
Fashion pretty much sucks, in my opinion.
I have never known what to say in the presence of celebrities.
My friends say I am a lot crazy.
No more desktop PCs for me. I have finally got a laptop of my own. My book writing process will be less traumatizing. Now I can type whenever and wherever I want to.
I have always been happily in love.
I love Marlon Brando, Brian Molko, Jake Gyllenhaal, and River Phoenix.
I love my father too. He's a freaking good grammarian.
I can’t live without make-ups.
I loathe Amélie Poulain.
I hate experimental art. I do believe this is a cheap excuse for poor art making and understanding.
I sleep less than I would like to.
I hate mystifyng people.
I don’t like trivial mysteries.
I despise phony people... well... not so much!
I love stripes.
I've already given shelter to trespassers and outcasts.
I’d already stopped eating meat, but not for too long.
I believe in many superstitions.
I like John Lydon.
I crave sushi and sashimi all the time.
I have already wanted to have children.
When I was a child, I loved birthday parties, not for the presents, but because I'd use the gift wraps to draw or write on them.
I don’t like TV.
I love my back.
I love laughing at myself.
I have a soft spot for junkies.
I love burgers.
While living in the US, I loved dining at Benningan's, Steak n' Shake, Outback Steakhouse, Applebee's, and Wendy's.
I hate hip hop celebrities.
My students say I am way crazy.
I despise people who take themselves too seriously.
I hate aristocrats.
I can’t live without Alfredo sauce.
I like to listen to New Order, Cure, Cocteau Twins, David Bowie, and Stoogies.
I am so not disciplined.
I truly want to visit Bangkok and Singapore.
I envy cats.
I love Fernando Pessoa.
I love hot bright colors.
I hate being tested in matters of fun, in account of stupidness.
I love Lebanese food.
I can’t stand malls and fashion designers' stores.
When I lived in Florida, I loved shopping at TJ Maxx, Staples, and Burdines.
I hate people fascinated by fame.
I love Sebastião Salgado's photos.
I want to write very simple and profound poems.
I want to know what life on this planet is for.
I love Andy Warhol.
I am very short.
I postpone very important decisions.
My shoe size is 36 (Brazil) and 5 1/2(USA).
I have an autograph by Hilary Swank. I met her in NYC.
I love wine.
I like I-dosers.
I've got two college degrees.
I make my living out of something I've never studied for.
I don’t know how to say about my feelings. I'd rather write it.
I love silent flicks.
I want to own many many colorful All Stars.
I love trying exotic food.
I love Mário Bortolotto.
I despise real or fake rich people who look down on others.
I love different shades of green.
I like Adidas shoes.
I love Paul Klee.
I love Kandinsky.
I always say "f#ck".
I really enjoy watching thriller movies.
I sleep in every weekend.
I am too much generous.
I love Rosa Parks.
I've already been on a TV cooking show. I made 'shepherd's pie'.
I’m mad about sunflowers.
I’ve been head over heels in love for seven years, and then, only then my feeling scattered away for some time...
I love Paulo Leminski.
I love Samuel Beckett.
I hate aestheticization.
I hate undue appraisal of folklore.
I like watching myself on video. I hate hearing my voice though.
I love Augusto dos Anjos.
I wish I had a lithography by Miró.
In winter, I never have dinner without wine.
In summer, I never have ice cream without hot fudge.
One day I shall have a llama.
I'd do barbaric things for a better digital camera.
People often say I am crazy.

Friday, June 1, 2007

My Chinese Friends


These are Madelene (the baby girl), my Chinese teacher Lucia (the baby's mother), and myself with redish face and eyes 'cause I had just arrived from a chilly and damp weather outdoors. Lucia is originally from Taiwan and has had the chance to live in many other countries such as Thailand, England and France.

I take Chinese lessons on Fridays. I've already learned how to sing a few traditional Chinese songs, how to greet and count till 1000, besides "drawing" the corresponding ideograms for those words and phrases. This is the first time I've ever tried to learn officially an oriental language. I guess I can say that I nail some Japanese for having worked at a Japanese restaurant for 4 1/2 years. There, I dealt with Japanese boss and co-workers. Learning some Japanese was quite a need. Now, it's Chinese time.

As I'm pretty honest, I can't disguise that I did better jobs while taking Spanish and German in the past. French was another language I've already studied but that one wasn't so easy either. I really had a hard time pronouncing those 'RRRRR's and writing with all those "apostrophed" contractions. These things made me insane for I gave up learning it at once. As a matter of fact, I happen to think that drawing Chinese ideograms are a lot simpler.

Now, frankly speaking, Chinese pronunciation is way damn difficult for me. It is made up out of vowels mainly and my mother tongue, which is Portuguese, is pretty much consonantal. Consequently, I have no parameters when trying to blurt some phonemes.

I have never thought of the true reason why I decided to start taking this language as it is quite difficult for me. But I wonder... Maybe it is because I needed to get in touch with a whole new ball game, as it'd be a challenge for myself. Even though it is an utter difficult thing, I'm so doing well with it.

Is it the end of it all?

A bit of imagination I can’t push the knife in I can’t make the cut I can’t turn the wheel I can’t step off the kerb I can’t take the p...