Saturday, May 24, 2008

Laughter has got to make me move on...

Top Ten Signs that You're a Christian

10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of your god.

9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from lesser life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Trinity god.

7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" -- including women, children, and trees!

6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loop-holes in the scientifically established age of the Earth (4.55 billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by pre-historic tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that the Earth is a couple of generations old.

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects -- will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet you consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving".

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to prove Christianity.

2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 - You actually know a lot less than many Atheists and Agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history -- but still call yourself a Christian.

Friday, May 23, 2008

That's how depression started.

Well, it all started on January 29th, 1976. It was on a Thursday. I decided to leave my mother's womb at 10:30 in the morning. January is the hottest month of year in Brazil and that may explain why I loathe summer time. I lived in my hometown (a tiny little town in Sao Paulo State) until I became 16. On my 17th birthday, I had my own apartment in Sao Paulo City (rented, of course), no telephone, no microwave, a roommate to share the expenses, and more serious business to do: get prepared to pass VESTIBULAR -- a selective test to get to enroll in Brazilian colleges. I lived in Liberdade and studied at Etapa. Although I was living in Sao Paulo, I did not want to take colleges there. My ultimate dream school was UFPR - Universidade Federal do Parana. I tried Vestibular there twice. I failed there twice.

Mom found out about UEL - State University of Londrina. It's a pretty nice school in Parana State, and tuition free. All public colleges and universities in Brazil are free to attend. The only massive problem about them is that it gets way difficult to pass their selective tests because everyone wants to enroll in those kind of schools. I never wanted to study there though. I had never heard of Londrina. I knew it was far from my family's town but that was that. Roberto, my husband now and my boyfriend at that time (1993), decided to sign up for UEL and try out its vestibular. I said "Fine. Let's give it a shot!" We both passed vestibular there in 3rd place ranking in our careers. We were both 18 years of age, living far from our parents, attending a free college which meant no need to study and work at the same time coz our parents were able to afford housing and books. We lived in Londrina from 1994 to 1997, when we both graduated with wonderful GPAs. I still can't believe I did not get pregnant during that time. LOL

Four years passed by utterly fast. This is Brazil: people with no degrees have quite hard time to get jobs and people with degrees have hard time to find descent paying work which should make up for the investiment you have with college strives. Even with free colleges there are bills to pay. Roberto and I were not very lucky with our job huntings. Plus, I was so damn sure about my newest career: UNDECLARED. I majored in journalism at UEL. I have always loved writing and all. It's no wonder I have written in blogs for so long. However, being a journalist is much more than just write. Journalism deals with tragedies mostly. I know there is the entertainment, sports, or tourism focused journalism that I could have given them a try... but... I simply couldn't and still can't imagine myself spending every day writing what I am told to. Somehow, I just didn't think I was the type.

Moving out of the country seemed the best solution for my issues. There, I could go after another college degree and maybe finally get a well paying job. As my parents are both ESL teachers and they were kind enough to sponsor an entire year of abroad studies for me, they themselves suggested me The Sunshine State - Florida - in the USA. They had already taken an ESL program at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, FL, and they both had fallen in love with this place. Mom and dad were certain that I would get to love it too. And they were right. Parents know best. Roberto and I spent 5 years in Pinellas County (1998 - 2002). He studied Business Administration at Florida Metropolitan University. I studied at Saint Petersburg College, majoring in Creative Writing. There, I worked as babysitter, bus girl, restaurant hostess, restaurant cashier, and marketing associate in a big corporate business. As you can see, I have never worked as a journalist.

I graduated in July 2002. Three months later, we were back in Brazil. In here, we had to start our lives over.

My parents played their important role here one more time: giving out the right advice. They suggested us setting up a kind of business they've been pretty familiar with - a language school. In this country there are tons of franchising language schools to choose from. We ventured a nationally known school which would not cost that much to get started. Those kinds of business are usually more successful when they are opened far from big cities or metropolitan centers. That is when Rio Grande do Sul state came up to us. It is the southernmost state in Brazil. It is cold, charming, near two other countries: Uruguay and Argentina. Here, people love barbecue, fondue, chocolate, and let's not forget the WINE. The best Brazilian wines are made here, exactly where we've decided to settle down. What could I ever ask for more?

There are pros and cons about being far from everyone we know and everything which once were ours. The good thing is that I discover new stuff about my inner self every day. The worst is that that sort of discovery gets me too involved and tortured in my existing reality which I actually build in the back of my mind. It's not much different from losing the track of things. My life is being a parallel of working too hard while waiting for the beer to cool down or giving the best of myself in classrooms while getting the worst parents' comments... or the parallel of not knowing what I'm doing while being the best professional I could ever be.

That's how it all started.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Old post being reposted...

I normally have time to write new posts here only when there is holiday. Next Thursday,it will be an example. We are celebrating Corpus Christi. Nobody works or goes 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 to celebrate 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?


Saturday, May 10, 2008

An essay on the 80's

Homenaje a los ochenta

Corrían los chupitos como balas del infierno garganta abajo quemando
nuestros esófagos con su endiablado destilado de agave, cuando sonaba, en el
momento álgido de la noche, la canción que todos coreábamos: "El limite" del
grupo de rock La Frontera.

Nos identificábamos con aquellas letras por creernos, a esas horas, en las
que los efectos del tequila nos habían transportado al limite del bien y del
mal, al menos de lo que entendíamos como tal, cercanos a ese mundo que rompe
las fronteras de lo cotidiano, por cotidiano mil veces más absurdo; el
limite, como estar al filo de la navaja o caminar descalzo sobre brasas de
carbón era lo que creíamos entender pensando de una manera libertaria,
desalojados de ataduras y de imposiciones sociales.

Más bien era un lugar imaginario en donde nos hubiera gustado estar en algún
momento de nuestras vidas, dándonos la oportunidad de poder cambiar el mundo
que nos rodeaba haciendo realidad ideas y sueños; entonces el ritmo de la
música y el estribillo de la canción nos otorgaban unos segundos de gloria,
la que en nuestros corazones anhelábamos en los labios ardientes de alguna
hermosa mujer de prietas carnes lanzándonos a la lujuria más descabellada y
atroz por bella e irreal, por estar más cerca del mal que del bien
propiamente dichos como nos lo habían hecho creer nuestros educadores no
laicos dotados de una fe y un doctrina colmada de misterios.

Nosotros éramos hijos de la frustración y el desengaño, adolescentes que
despertábamos en una transición y jóvenes que nacíamos en una democracia que
se acababa de estrenar en un país que salía de un duro trance dictatorial.

Y aquellas canciones de los ochenta con su movida madrileña, como siempre ha
sido, centralizaba un movimiento que hacía despertar a toda la nación en su
capital, quedando el resto del territorio huérfano de cultura y sumido por
muchos años más en la más profunda y negra de las Españas, que todavía, en
algunos pueblos, por desgracia, sigue viva.

Nos llegaba la movida ochentera tarde, casi en los noventa, al menos en
aquélla ciudad que bien comparó un gran amigo mío como la Cuba sin Fidel,
una isla rodeada de montañas, lejana al mundo exterior y cercana al pasado.

Canciones como "El limite" y tantas otras: Lobo hombre en París, Jardín
Botánico, Cadillac solitario, Perlas ensangrentadas, La chica de ayer,
Déjame, Enfermera de noche, Bote de colón, Bailaré sobre tu tumba, Galicia
caníbal, Camino Soria, Juan Antonio Cortes, Groelandia, Yo tenía un novio
que tocaba en un conjunto, Ataque preventivo, El pistolero, Metadona,
Escuela de calor, Huesos...

Y muchas otras sin dejar en el tintero a las que nos obsequiaron sus
majestades satánicas los Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Tina
Turner, Bob Marley, Nina Simone, Eurithmics, Status Quo, Roxy Music, David
Bowie, Talking Heads, Chris Rea, Leonard Cohen, Pretenders, Dire Straits,
Pink Floyd, Police, U2, Scorpions, Kis, The Chlass, The Ramones...

Todos estos y muchos otros grupos que escuché en aquella isla fueron, al
menos para mí, la salvación, gracias a ellos crecí como persona y aprendí
cosas maravillosas; descubrí de la vida lo dulce y lo amargo y me tambaleé
al limite de aquello que entendía como bien y me acercaba al mal; bailé al
ritmo de las guitarras de la Frontera cuando oía aquel "El limite" dejando
que mi imaginación volase hasta llegar a lugares soñados caminando por ese
fina y frágil línea que separa el mal del bien y viceversa.

by Salvador Moreno Valencia

salvador moreno valencia
La web de Arte y Literatura
El blog de Literatura, Arte y Música, Opinión...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ha! When in Doubt, Fuck !!! Woo-ha!*

What Al Pacino Character Are You????????

You're Michael Corleone From The Godfather (1972), The Godfather: Part II, (1974), The Godfather: Part III, (1990). You're A Sharp Business Woman Who Keeps Gaining More And More Power. Family Is Important To You And You Care For Them And Want To Protect Them No Matter What. You're Not Afraid To 'Dispose' Of Somebody, But You Also Have At The Back Of Your Mind A Conscience If Waiting To Surface. You're A Kind Person Really - But work occasionally comes before family.
Take this quiz!

*by Al Pacino in "Scent of a Woman." I thought I was "Colonel Slade"... but oh well...

Friday, May 2, 2008

˙ʇɹnɥ sǝop ʇı ʇnq ʇɹnɥ ʇ,uplnoɥs ʇı

I am a hardworking and lazy teacher, writer, and people's watcher. So I love the fact that the Internet has opened free spaces for people to expose their lives, their talents, and their weaknesses.

Love and hate being alive. Hate coz I must get by without begging. And love coz that turns possible having a face, voice, a 'human' format to be heard or scratched out.

If you are reading this blogger blog right now, it is probable that you are looking up to me. There is a concrete chance that you'd have loved being me or, at least, you'd have cherished having my company. And this is because you obviously are looking for a voice you think you don't have, or your own face, or your very own 'human' format.

I do the same. I also search for videos, blogs, personal Internet pages radomly in order to locate something I can relate to. But lemme tell you this: no one is fully happy, in love, and/or surrounded by true friends. I would have been just as this miserable if I had been you or if I'd been with you.

We all are a bunch of the same material: Human Flesh.

My office is a "Horder's Shrine"

...and I am so proud of it! Ha.🎉🎉🎉