Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ABC Wednesday - C is for Carioca

It's ABC Wednesday, and C for me is for Carioca.

In Brazil, those born in Rio de Janeiro City are called Cariocas. I'm carioca, born on June, 06, 1969 in Vila Isabelneighborhood, famous for also being the birthplace of Noel Rosa, a songwriter who composed beautiful sambas during the first half of last century.

Just not to be misunderstood, I don't think that Cariocas are better than people born in other cities. It's simply that in this case I can only talk about what I know. So I'll talk about people born in Rio, and how they react to their environment. Of course, it's not an established pattern - attitudes and tastes will vary immensely in such a big metropolis, but in general if you are from Rio, there's a great chance that you will like the sun, enjoy being part of crowds when live music is the subject, and your feet will be moving in rhythm whenever good music is played.

Cariocas usually love Nature - living in a city with an exuberant flora and exquisite mountains certainly helps on this. There are places along the beaches in Rio where people will spontaneously applaud the sunset, simply because it's such a gorgeous thing to watch. The Arpoador rocks are a wonderful spot to enjoy this special time of the day.  

They will prefer open spaces, especially on Summer time, when the heat is high and no matter where you are, you'll breathe in warm gulfs of air. The beaches get unbelievably crowded by sun lovers, the hot sand burning bare feet, lines and lines of colorful sunshades covering every inch of space available, a wild cacophony of children playing, sellers walking around screaming their products, friends chatting while laying on their beach towels getting a brown tan, beach volleyball players cursing bad catches.

Cariocas love beer. Tons are drank per capita every year, and any reason is a good reason to drink a super cold beer: to celebrate a baby’s birth, to mourn a dear one’s death, to close the evening after work, during a soccer game, on birthday parties, on the streets, at home, at the beach, in cars. In Brazil you’re allowed to drink while walking in the streets, and sometimes you see people holding a can of beer on the way back home. Caipirinhas are also very popular drinks, made with cachaça (sugar cane hard liquor, lemon, sugar and ice cubes), and are also delicious - my favorite beverage after cerveja.

Soccer is a passion for most cariocas. There are four main soccer teams in Rio, and when they play, it’s always an event. Local and national championships are taken very seriously by supporters, and they go to the stadiums and cheer for their teams as if their lives depended on the results, and every goal is celebrated with such energy and enthusiasm that can be heard miles away from the place. Unfortunately, it’s more and more common to see organized cheer groups being increasingly violent against the opponents, and furious, ridiculous fights after important games happen more often than I would like to know about. But the passion for their teams have a healthier side that shows up when they bring their soccer flags and simply focus on the game, chanting choirs and having a good time.

And of course, cariocas love music. Along the year, hundreds of concerts take place in the city. Rock, bossa nova, samba, popular Brazilian music, pagode... There’s a huge variety of music going on, local and from abroad. Many times, stages are built at Copacabana beach for free concerts, and crowds peacefully gather to sing along, dance and celebrate their favorite artists. Samba is a chapter apart, since it’s a big subject for cariocas, almost as powerful as soccer. There are Samba School groups that perform and compete at the huge annual Carnival parade, and people root for their favorite Schools to win. It’s a wonderful event known worldwide (ironically, I’ve never watched it live), and that lasts two nights long.

In general willing to help others, having a good, positive mood, an easy-going way of living their life while working hard to bring food to their families. They never give up hope and humor, and face the daily challenges with their chin up and a song in their heads, most times. It’s a colorful community, a beautiful mix of heritages and backgrounds that enriches the city. Summing up, I like being a Carioca Witch, even if not living in the city any longer - the spirit remains the same. ;)

To read another cool C entry, visit my love and favorite author, at Under An Outlaw Moon!

To read more cool ABC entries, and if you want to join the project, visit the meme's main page, and have fun! :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Adventure Time

My ten years old little witch is a huge fan of this cartoon. I even made dolls for him, in felt, representing Finn & Jake, the main characters, as a Christmas gift. He loved them:

He keeps telling me how awesome and surreal the stories are, and that I should watch it. I'm embarrassed to say that my problem with Adventure Time has to do with two things:
1. The characters' looks (maybe it's silly having issues on their raw, primitive features, but I just don', 
2. The dubbed version aired here: the voices, slangs and expressions in the dialogues are really bad. 

Lucas uses to tell me in details his favorite episodes on our way to and from school, and I do like what I hear. We always discuss the morals and situations on them, which is a great chance to know how be feels about some aspects of life, and to help him to develop his own sense of what it's right and wrong.
But still, I hesitate on watching the show, and I feel bad about it, as it's like I'm being prejudiced about a superficial side, not considering what's really important in the cartoon, and that is not how I am. Not to mention that he would obviously love if I watched it with him.

Then I stumbled upon a site looking for some cool AT fan art to share with him (because I may have issues with it, but I'm a good mom who loves to find fun stuff that I know he will enjoy, and there are some pretty cool AT art out there), and in this site they say:
"Adventure Time have become on of the most popular animated series of the last 5 years. Picturing some really weird and psychodelic stories of the last human boy and his talking shape-shifting dog friend in the land of Ooo. Even though this brief explanation may sound weird, I advise anyone too watch at least one episode of this innovative cartoon."

It's not the first time that I read comments praising Adventure Times. Zack Stentz (who co-wrote X-Men First Class and Thor, among others), said: "How great is that Adventure Time? A cartoon aimed at young boys is making an ongoing evisceration on Pick Up Artist/Game culture. How great is that?"

Along with my son's enthusiasm, these specific comments ended up arousing my curiosity. So this year I'll give it a try... And make a certain little witch very happy. ;)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

ABC Wednesday - B is for Buffy

It's ABC Wednesday again, and B for me is for Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

In August, 2012, my sweetheart introduced me to this amazing, smart, fun and moving TV show. I’d never watched it before, because back when it was aired here in Brazil during the late 90s, it was set at a time when I was at work, and after a couple of seasons they stopped airing it, and it never had a rerun.

So it was a delight when I started following the adventures of this courageous girl against evil. It was cool to see such a truly powerful female character in action all by herself and not in some male hero’s shadow to justify her own legitimate power.

It was the beginning of our sweet tradition of watching TV series together on evening dates, keeping us even closer despite being in different hemispheres, which made Buffy very special to me. We would watch the episodes, then discuss and comment on them afterwards, sharing lots of fun moments. And that's what we still love to do, several TV shows and movies and games later... 

For those not familiar with Buffy, she’s a modern-times vampire slayer, living in a small town surrounded by...vampires, of course. And demons. And monsters (and some mean teen boys and girls, as in any other place). She’s this fearless young woman who didn't choose to be a leader. Because she doesn't want to be a leader, she doesn't want to fight. She doesn't want to see the darkest side of herself arising to break through the even darkest sides of creatures she definitely wishes they didn't exist, when all she wants is to have an impossible normal life, go to high school (she goes), date someone sweet (she tries to), hang out with her friends at the local night club (sometimes she even manages to do that). And yet, she fights, she leads the friends who help her in her challenges, and she never stops. And amidst all the dangerous madness going on, you see that the show goes deeper than the simply modern tough hero vs villains cliche. Each character has layers and layers of depth. A turmoil of feelings and emotions unfold in so many ways as the episodes progress, that you can hardly breathe watching them dealing with their own nightmares while fighting all those evil creatures. Doubts arise, fears come to surface, emotions explode, relationships are born and die, and all you can do is to watch and get moved by them. 

Carrying the weight of being the only hope of humankind would already be too demanding to anyone, but it's especially hard to someone who’s just leaving her teenager years, and who’s got so much energy and life inside herself, to someone who’s so fragile despite all her physical and mental strength. She walks the thin line between being a warm-hearted human and a emotionless creature, but she chooses to always feel, to always keep her inner fire burning, when it would have been much easier to fight and to live if she had decided blocking her heart and soul to her own needs, to be more efficient and objective in her quest. 

Joss Whedon brilliantly created and directed this show, keeping the audience’s hearts beating at high speed for 7 seasons (and kept them beating for other 3 more seasons in comic books version, with awesome art and storylines. I’m currently reading them, and all I can say is WOW!). His talent always amazed me, and there are episodes that truly took my breath away, so creative and unexpected they were. I wish I could say more about some specific ones, but it would ruin the surprise to anyone new to the show and willing to start watching it. So if you’re into great dialogues, great fight scenes, great characters and great emotions and fun, check this TV show out. You’re not going to be disappointed. 

To read another cool ABC Wednesday entry, visit my love and favorite author, at Under An Outlaw Moon!

To read more ABC entries, and if you want to join the project, visit the meme's main page, and have fun! :)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Learning while loving

One of the many wonderful things, part of the package of being in love with my sweetheart, is that he is a writer. And a damn awesome writer. For a person who loves reading since I was a kid, it's a super bonus. It's a pleasure to read his stories, as well as his deep, sharp, moving and playful blog posts. We are always chatting about books we've read, what we like or not, and he's constantly introducing me to new writers. In a nutshell? It's FUN.

For instance, as I posted here, I'm back to the blog meme called ABC Wednesday, where participants blog about any subject of their choice that starts with the letter of the week (we just started a new round, on letter "A"). And Tim decided to join the weekly meme too, which was already great. But the cool side is that, as he's here in Brazil deliciously enjoying with me our Summer date for several weeks, we have the chance of exercising the grey cells in inspiration and warm-up for our meme posts. It's a privilege watching first-hand how his mind works in the writing process, and an extra privilege to learn different ways of testing the frontiers of my limited writing skills in English, expanding my vocabulary, stimulating me to go further and deeper, to better express myself on my second language, which is a very good challenge.

Everybody who blogs loves to write to some degree, otherwise they would have a Tumblr account and simply post images. When we blog, we talk to our friends, we write sometimes long posts to share our experiences and our lives, our work, our passions, our motivations, our issues, our problems. And communicating as well as possible is always a must not to be misinterpreted, so I guess everybody who blogs obviously loves to learn how to improve their writing skills, to reach more deeply their friends' minds.

So dating a brilliant sharp-minded writer is a double five-star specific bonus, since he's this kind of guy who's always willing to help me whenever I have a doubt (which happens more often than I like to admit, lol), supporting me and quenching my thirst, as I crave learning and getting to know new things, not only to evolve and to stretch my mind and soul, but because it's fun and rewarding, when the company is right, as it is. He just made me want even more to blog again after a huge hiatus. So bear with me, I'll be around here as often as my time allows me to! ;)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ABC Wednesday - A is for Afternoon

This year I'm getting back to one of my favorite blog memes, the cool ABC Wednesday. I was part of this for a couple of years, and I had a blast, as this is a fun way to exercise the imagination, working your way through all the alphabet (the project is to post about anything you want starting with the letter of the week), while visiting other bloggers and seeing what they come up with - always an awesome diversity of ideas.
So I'm back to the ABC, and for me, A is for Afternoon.

art by Joseph Wise

Definitely my favorite part of the day, when we can watch the sky lazily changing its colors from the bright blues through darker shades, bringing yellows, oranges, reds and purples, like a gorgeous watercolor being painted in a huge full scale before our eyes. When I walk along the streets to fetch my son at school by 5:30pm, I can see the birds around on a playful flight going up and down, observing the world below, unaware of their own freedom, making me jealous of those powerful wings that can take them anywhere, higher and higher, before they get ready to settle down on the trees branches and start their beautiful evening choir.

These short walks alone are a silent ritual when my feelings react to the afternoon fall, making them so alive, when lines of free, amorous thoughts wildly cross my mind and I treasure every one of them, at each step I take.

art by Jeannie in a Bottle

Back home, I get a last burst of energy, with a urgent feeling in my hands as I work on the delicate threads of my hand-embroideries, as if trying to keep the pace before the natural lights fade away and I can’t use the outside brightness. Then my body starts to get ready for the night ahead. I deeply breathe in, letting myself release the tension of the day and enjoying now the powerful blackness of the sky definitely saying goodbye to the afternoon watercolor shades, and bringing the delicate myriad of stars to its veil, until a new day is born.

 To read another cool ABC Wednesday entry, visit my love and favorite author, at Under An Outlaw Moon!
To read more ABC entries, and if you want to join the project, visit the meme's main page, and have fun! :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Artless and Heartless

Here is 2014... And I start the new year with a fair warning to professionals seeking artists to illustrate their work. Sometimes you just don't know who you are dealing with, and when a professional goes public (as they always should, for the benefit of other possible victims) about their bad experiences dealing with unreliable artists, sometimes this is the only way to know who you shouldn't work with.
Here's the link to Tim Byrd's blog post about his unfortunate bad experience with artist Tess Fowler. It's a long post, but totally worth reading.