Sunday, July 25, 2010

Being 25 Years Old

Huh. Funny you should mention me - I was just thinking about you the other day!
I woke up on Thursday, and it was that day we both look forward to the entire year; we were no longer 24, but 25. And I instantly knew that whatever was coming was gonna be great.
I thought of you as I left my house. I thought of you because, on my way to work, there was this beautiful sunrise, with these golden clouds tearing an outrageously blue sky, and casting golden shadows on the ocean. And (for the first time in a while) I thought to myself how breathtakingly gorgeous Rio can be. And I remembered you - you, who used to say that you'd never want to live in Rio; you, who hated big towns.
I know you don't like being told that (even nowadays, you still kind of don't, unfortunately), but you were wrong.
This may sound like crazy talk to you, but you actually enjoy living in a big city now; you enjoy the feeling of walking amidst the crowd, and yet, being alone with your thoughts. And just like a cheap profile on a dating website, you enjoy long walks on the beach and feeling small when you stand beside the ocean.
Don't get me wrong: you still love your hometown, and you hope to raise your chidren there. Just... not yet.
And speaking of children, I'm sorry: you're not getting married at 25. You seem to be quite far from it, actually! But it matters not, trust me. I know that's what every adult says, but I do know better.
By the age of 25 you'll have done things you never thought you would - good things and bad things. But all of them added something to you, and you'll find you can be a pretty fast learner, when you set your mind to it.  You'll know things you never thought you would. However, you won't have gone to Greece at 18. But you will go someday, I'll make sure of that.
And I'm sorry sweetie, but you'll no longer have a mother when you get to my age. But your dad's still here, and he loves you above everything else. Just like he's always done; it doesn't really matter to him whether you get Math or not.
That school you're still slightly scared of, that's where you're gonna have some of the best time of your life! A piece of advice? Go to the library. I know, you're enormously afraid of talking to strangers, specially adults, they intimidate you. Well... cut it out. That library's gonna be one of your best friends, and your world will get much bigger in there. I know you want to. Don't be afraid; besides, the librarian Gisele is quite the nice lady!
Don't you worry about your friend M. She'll remain your best friend for the years to come. She'll continue being the best friend one could ever hope for. In fact, she's just left your place, after having spent this Sunday afternoon with you, over pizza and movies.
And I really do wish you'd ignore that Carol girl. Yes, she's already got boobs at 11, but in a few years she'll be dieting maniacally to be as thin as you. Also, you're gonna speak English reasonably well in a near future; you'll even make a living out of it. By the way, have I mentioned that, yes, you ARE a teacher?
More advice for you: being intelligent is important, you're right; but being kind is essential, don't you forget that. And try to work on that bad temper of yours, will ya? Those things don't work out magically by themselves just because you're an adult. Gotta work for it.
Go to school now, stop neglecting your Math homework (yes, I know, it sucks) and rest assured that everything's gonna be alright - just not the way you thought it would.
I'll be waiting for you here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Being 11 Years Old

Ok. This new school can be really scary sometimes... It's way way bigger than my old one... wish M. was here with me. She's my best friend. Wonder if we'll still be friends now that I changed schools...
I have Geometry this year. Ew. I can barely do subtraction exercises... I better get this thing down, otherwise dad will be disappointed. If he weren't an engineer, he might not mind it so much. Mom doesn't. But then again, she's soooo young...she's what, 32? Yeah, almost... apparently, that's young - you know, for a mother.
I don't think I'd like to have an 11-year-old daughter when I'm 32... well, I won't anyway, cause I'll only have children when I'm 29, so that settles it. I'll go to college, get a job, be successful, then get married - probably between 25 and 27 - and then have a baby when I'm 29.
I'll have to have a maid, obviously, to do the cleaning. After all, I can't clean anything: I'm allergic to a bunch of stuff and I'm clumsy. So there you have it, I'll need a maid.
But that's okay, cause I'll be loaded. I mean, I'll either be an archeologist or a teacher. I'd love to go around traveling and digging up stuff - in Greece, preferably. I'll go to Troy, I'm sure there's tons of things from the Trojan War for me to find out!
But being a teacher would also be really cool: a teacher gets to be around books all the time! And they can buy them with huge discounts! I'll have shelves and shelves of books covering the walls of the house!
Oh, there's Carol. She's rather unpleasant - she gossips all the time! Why doesn't she go read a book or something?! She should, she's not very smart... And she's mean, too; saying I'm stupid just cause I don't speak English... so what? I'm still smarter than her! And it's none of her business whether I like comic books or not. All full of herself cause she's got boobs already... yeah, I'm skinny, so? I'm not in a hurry!
I'll be rid of people like her when I get to University - hopefully. I'll have to go to college in Rio, obviously, the only college here sucks. Or so I've heard. Small town colleges are bound to suck, I guess. But as soon as I graduate there, I'll come back. This is where I wanna settle. I don't wanna live in a big city. I'll come back to mom and dad's, and live with them till I get married.
I'm not in hurry to grow up, though. Actually, kinda wish I didn't have to - being a grown-up seems to suck big time. They don't watch cartoons, how come?!
But at the same time... it would be kinda cool if I were an adult already. Like, 25. Sounds like a good age. I'll have already gone to Greece (I'll go on my 18th birthday, evidently), fnished college and I'll have a great job. I'll probably be getting married.
This man will have to be really patient, by the way. Mom's right, I AM hot-tempered... but I do believe it gets better with time.
Hope I'll have worked on that by the time I'm 25.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday Rambling

There were so many things that crossed my mind this week, and I resolved quite a few times: "Ok, now that's what I shall post on!". Unfortunately, the moment always faded away, and I didn't feel like writing about that anymore - sometimes I even forgot what I'd decided to write about.
So instead, I'm trying a miscellaneous today. Shall we?

This week I went to a store to have some texts I needed printed. I was wearing a cleavage.
The guy gave me a huge discount, and instead of paying R$48, I paid R$22. 
No one ever gives me discounts when I'm wearing overalls, my Kurt Cobain-y flannel shirt or my baggy pants. Huh.
I should rethink my dressing code.

Does anyone here remember, perhaps, the Matthew Shepard's funeral incident in 98? Well, just a reminder: the 21-year-old student was tortured and beaten up to death due to his being gay. Then, the hideous Westboro Baptist Church showed up in order to picket at his funeral,  saying the boy was burning in Hell, and carrying signs that said "God Hates Fags". Smooth. 
These guys are known for protesting against gay people, Jews (they went as far as saying Jews are the real Nazis. Nice.), any other religion, Chinese, black people, American soldiers, amongst many other things.
They're basically Mel Gibson.
I think I read somewhere that KKK has denied any kind of connection with them. Not sure if it's true, but if it is... that's rock bottom for ya.
Well, didn't I read this week they'll be picketing in front of San Diego Comic Con this year! They already have signs saying "God Hates Nerds". Apparently, us nerds worship comic book characters as if they were idols. Ha! 
Have you guys ever heard of a more non-threatening people than nerds?? A fountain pen could probably do, single-handedly, way more harm than five scores of us together, seriously. All you gotta do is wave a Darth Vader action figure in front of us. Mint condition, still in the box.
Besides, I do not worship comic book characters as if they were gods. Pff, I know they don't exist, hello! 
I worship Neil Gaiman. His existence's already been proved beyond doubt, I believe.

Speaking of Darth Vader: here's a list that goes to show how badly most of us nerds are in dire need of a social life, and how much we dearly dearly love Star Wars.
We should totally get a life. Or laid.

Who here's into soccer?
One of Brazil's biggest soccer teams is Flamengo - which I hate, btw, for me and my entire family support Flamengo's historical adversary, Fluminense. A much much classier team, that has seen better times, I must confess.
Aaaaanyway, the country's been in an uproar this past month over Flamengo's goalie, Bruno: his ex-lover Eliza, mother of his youngest child (and ugly as all hell), misteriously disappeared along with her child, and the police were looking into it. The girl had demanded a DNA test, in order to prove Bruno was indeed the child's father.
Bruno made a statement to some papers (brown press, I should add) saying the girl was no saint, and that they'd met during an orgy. Hey, don't judge him! According to him, every footballer has orgies galore!
The baby was eventually found, but still no sign of Eliza.
Suddenly, they discovered why: she'd been chopped into pieces and fed to Bruno's dogs. Rotwaillers, if I'm not mistaken. Classy. Bruno and his accomplices have been arrested for the murder.

Now he worries that this might affect his chances of playing for Brazil in the 2014 World Cup.
A guy who sees the big picture, no doubt.

Such a scandal has never occurred to any Fluminense player. Just saying.

Have a nice Sunday folks!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Defining Home

You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone. (...) You feel like you can never get it back. It's like you feel homesick for a place that doesn't even exist.
(Zach Braff as Andrew Largeman in Garden State)

When I was a kid my parents moved around a lot. When I was born they lived in a certain neighborhood, but I took my first steps in a completely different location; I remember a Christmas party when I was 4, in a third place, and watching the Muppets when I was 5 in another.
When I was 6, we moved to a smaller town, Petrópolis. And though we lived in three different houses, they were all on the same street. And we stayed there for almost 10 years.
First we lived in this cute small house, with a front yard, and windows only one meter away from the floor - I spent a lot of time jumping in and out of them, pretending I was living big adventures! For one who had been raised in apartments, a house was a world full of wonders. And one fine day, grandma arrived with this tiny labrador puppy, white as snow and with a red ribbon around his neck. He had come inside a carton box, and he could barely poke his head out to look at me. I named him Rolf - because of Rolf of the Muppets.
Also, there was this really tall boldo stalk in the garden, with leaves that felt like velvet. I decided it was a she, and called her Gertrudes. And on my bed was Pimpa, the stuffed Panda bear my grandma had brought me from one of her trips.
A couple of years later we moved to a second house. It was huge, and it had the cutest porch ever! In the back, stairs that led to a terrace - Rolf's realm. I took Gertrudes in a vase with me, and she lived in my window. And though by that time there were shitloads of stuffed animals on my bed, Pimpa was still in the centre.
When I was 11, we moved to a third house. It was gorgeous, all in white and salmon. There was this huge yard around the whole house, with Rolf running everywhere; a garden, where Gertrudes could live, and a beautiful stained glass covering one of the living room walls. On the second floor, my bedroom with Pimpa on the bed, and my bathroom; there was an attic and two terraces with a pool.
There I discovered my dad's Beatles collection, and some of the best books I'll ever read. I learned how to do the dishes (well, kinda) and how to peel potatoes (and almost my hands); I almost peed in my pants out of terror, while watching I Know What You Did Last Summer with my friends in that living room; and when my first crush ever took me home after our first date, we spent hours talking on those front steps - with Rolf looking from afar, afraid of the stranger that engaged my attention so, and ready to have at him if he tried to do anything! Guess that boy was Rolf-approved.

It was also where Rolf died - the evil next door neighbor gave him lead to eat. I cried my head off, and my dad, in an attempt to cheer me up, rented Dr. Dolittle for us to watch.
What a doubly horrible night.
I moved to my grandma's, in Rio de Janeiro, when I was almost 16. And though I was leaving a lot of things behind (including Gertrudes), it was kinda fine: I was going to live in the house where my dad had been brought up, and where I had spent my every summer vacation, and most of my Christmas parties. It was, I guess, still home.
In 2004, however, she decided to sell the place, and move to the south of Brazil. She asked me to come along, and I said no. Instead, I went to a boardinghouse, where I lived for 4 years.
I hated everything about that place.
There was nobody there waiting for me, to hear about my day; I couldn't have a dog nor a plant. Just me and my stuffed Panda. It was just a place for me to crash at night. And I did whatever I could to spend the day out.
In the middle of 2008 I finally moved to where I live now, with Roomie. And it's a great place, I have no problems whatsoever with staying in - it's my house, it's where I feel comfortable.
But is it a home? I don't know. What makes a home after all? (And please don't say "A home is where your heart is", that's just cheesy). Is it the presence of your family? Maybe - maybe not.
When I think "home", I sometimes think of either my grandma's old place, or my white and salmon house, where Gertrudes might still be. Every now and then, I visualize my old college which felt like home to me for good 4 years - specially the library, and most specially the German Literature section.
And someday I'll probably think of a house where people wait for me - a man who wears a ring just like mine, a couple of children who will have my hair and his eyes, and this huge white labrador running everywhere.
But most of the time, the word "home" makes me think simply of a stuffed Panda bear called Pimpa, that still lies on my bed.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Talking About the Princess

Did you know, still I miss you somehow? We could have worked things out, taking time is what love's all about.

Nope, I'm not heartbroken, thank you; in case you haven't recognized them, the opening lines of this post belong to Britney Spears' From the Bottom of My Broken Heart.
Yep. Britney.
The girl needs no introduction, methinks, other than simply her name.
The other day I had my iPod on shuffle mode, and it went something like Thru The Eyes Of Ruby (The Smashing Pumpkins), Gallows Pole (Led Zeppelin), Hallelujah (k.d. Lang) - so far, so good. Then all of a sudden my iPod started letting me down: Mmmbop (Hanson), which I skipped before I could be seen muttering the lyrics; but when it got to I Need You Tonight (Backstreet Boys) I was seriously disturbed.
I know, I know, it's my own fault. He (it's green-ish blue, therefore, my iPod is a he) wouldn't have given me those songs hadn't I fed him with stuff like that (there. I have this one too).
Anyway, after giving me Heartbreaker (Pat Benatar) - talk about the 80's, huh? - I could hear the first words of Overprotected, by Britney. One of my guilty pleasures.
Following the inevitable scent of nostalgia, I took him off the shuffle mode, and started listening to all Britney's songs I have in there. And boy was it a trip down Memory Lane!

I saw the Sometimes video on MTV for the very first time when I was 14, and I fell in love with it. Yes, I've always been a softie! I asked my parents for her cd; my dad wanted to die: his only daugher was not asking for The Nutcracker or The Four Seasons anymore, but for some "American pop crap", as he called it. But mom laughed it off, and I got the cd as a junior-high graduation gift.
My first high-school year started in March, 2000, and I could sing all the songs in the goddamn cd. 
(I owe a lot to Britney, by the way: Britney and all those boy bands taught me a lot of my English!)
My first broken heart came a couple of months after that, and the soundtrack of the whole process was, of course, Born to Make You Happy, and the whole thing couldn't possibly get any cornier! Why do teenagers have to be so so damn dramatic? My world was falling apart.
Then, Brazilian Valentine's Day came (on June 12th), and MTV Brasil had a special, showing only videos of cheesy romantic songs. And, obviously, it included From the Bottom of My Broken Heart
I started crying. 
The guy I liked wouldn't have anything to do with me anymore, and because it was my own fault - I'd toyed with his feeligs, and gotten a deserved reward for that. 
We ended up being friends again, and we're still in very nice speaking terms. All the uncalled-for drama!
That same year I'd buy, as a Christmas gift for myself, her second cd, Oops!... I Did It Again

With her third cd, I confess, my 16-year-old prudish mind was shocked: what was she doing, with that I'm a Slave 4 U thing? Oh god! (I was an extremely well-behaved 16-year-old.) I liked the song nonetheless - but I simply loved Overprotected. And I wouldn't stop listening to it for a very long time.
By that time, however, I was already growing out of pop music; my journey towars rock had already begun, and I was starting to despise all things Britney and 'NSync-like.
Because, of course, teenagers usually know no middle-ground. You either hate or love something. It doesn't occur to you, when you're 16 going on 17, that two completely different music genres can be good.
But no matter how much I worshipped Foo Fighter's Times Like These, I still loved Britney's Toxic.
The years passed, and while I was saving money to buy Green Day's American Idiot and chasing down Jewel cds in every single store (Jewel is hard to find around here), I heard everywhere about her first marriage, the annulment, and her second marriage. And all the time there was this thought in some corner of my mind "Why did she break up with Justin in the first place? He's way hotter than any of these guys!"
I still have a crush on Justin Timberlake.
I also have a crush on Paul Bettany - you can't help those things.
But a crush on Justin is way more understandable than on Bettany.
It's just that Bettany got the accent, you know.
Jennifer Connelly is one lucky woman.
Moving on: as the scandals involving the pop princess kept on coming, I got more and more disappointed - where was that cute little girl from Sometimes? And I guess I can say her personal life and the all problems that followed tainted the whole pop thing for me for good back then.  
Yeah, cause rock stars do it all right, and never ever screw up. No scandals in the rock world.

Nowadays I'm ok with Britney, and I'm slightly curious to listen to her new songs. But I still have no idea what 3 and Womanizer sound like - as I said, I'm only slightly curious.
I've been looking more and more towards the past to find music I really like - there are few artists still recording I'm actually a fan of. Most of my favorites are now either dead, retired or disbanded.
And while I have dismissed ...Baby One More Time and Oops!... I Did It Again entirely, while some of my favorite cds are Nevermind (Nirvana), Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (The Smashing Pumpkins) and Physical Graffiti (Led Zeppelin), I still can't stop listening to Overprotected. Because the song and the girl are just that good.
My friend Massimo has also talked about this song - brilliantly, I should add - in his great blog (albeit kinda on a break, it's still great), and you can both listen to the song and read his smart and enticing post here.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll wrap this up and download Womanizer, to see what the fuss is all about.