Thursday, March 12, 2015

On being humans

Andrew Smith is a popular American author who recently was interviewed by Vice and at some point he was asked, "On the flip side, it sometimes seems like there isn't much of a way into your books for female readers. Where are all the women in your work?". To which he replied, "I was raised in a family with four boys, and I absolutely did not know anything about girls at all. I have a daughter now; she's 17. When she was born, that was the first girl I ever had in my life. I consider myself completely ignorant to all things woman and female. I'm trying to be better though."

Then hell broke loose. For this line, he received an avalanche of brutal criticism. Feminists drooling in anger bullied - yes, bullied, there's not a better word for that - him because how dare he says his experiences with women were less than enough to create convincing female characters? From that single reply, they decided that Andrew Smith is a misogynist who deserves ostracism, whose sexism is disgusting, yadah yadah. 

I feel sick about how quickly a man's words can be twisted and taken out of context to justify someone else's anger and frustration. For instance, Tessa Gratton wrote, "The interpretation is that women are less than human, or at the very least, inherently different from men. That is one of the oldest sexist arguments in the entire world."  Where for goddess' sake did Andrew Smith ever say that?

Yes, his books are focused on male characters who face challenges in life, who suffer abuse, who get over their fears. His secondary female characters are not as well developed. But you don't see him dismissing women in any of his books.
What the bullies don't mention is that in the same interview he says, about his new novel: "The book is really about the failure of male-dominated societies. Every single one of these male-dominated societies is really misguided, a failure—the survivors on the boat, too. They just think that they’re doing something that’s good and really, they’re not." Does that sound misogynist to you? It sure doesn't to me...

This man was abused by both his parents, didn't have a healthy female role model as a child, and was surrounded by brothers, not benefitting from growing up with girls around. He didn't become a man hating women, though, and if he's more comfortable writing about the masculine perspective, so what? 

He said he's ignorant about all things women, and this is a reason to attack him? He openly admitted his issues, and that he's learning to be better while raising his daughter, which is way more than many men out there would be willing to do. Actually, this is nothing new, there are several articles and books about "understanding the female universe", etc. It is a worldwide well-known joke that men don't understand women. 

The writer Chuck Wending wisely said, "I took his statement as being honest and as one that ended with an understanding of his need to improve. Aren't there actually shitty people we can be mad at?

But some people decided to unfairly pick Andrew Smith as a scapegoat, just because they can, because it's easier to immediately assume whatever they want, accuse and attack.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Seeing gold where gold is.

Soooo recently Amanda Palmer was criticized as not being a real feminist for showing public displays of affection towards her man. They said, "If you happen to be an internationally adored cabaret artist, is probably not to coo and gaze adoringly at your bestselling fantasy author husband for two hours in public". You can read her awesome response to this piece of ridiculous call-out hereI so relate to her post, and I applaud every single word she wrote.

I obviously believe in and demand equal rights for women and men - socially, sexually, politically, professionally, etc., the same way I support equal rights for everybody, socially, sexually, politically, professionally, etc., because these are human rights, plain and simple.

But I don't feel like I'm less of a woman or as if I don’t have a life just because I openly (and often) talk about the man I love. I'm not misandristic, which is what their "You're not a real feminist if you..." rant smells like. Because it's okay to talk and write about how bad and cruel some men really are, but when, like me, you have an amazing guy in your life, who loves, supports, admires and makes you feel wonderful, you should act as if it's nothing?

You don't need to have someone to have a happy, complete life. But when by one of these incredible twists of fate, among billions of people, you stumble upon an incredible person who becomes an important part of your life and you feel this immense love for them, and who makes you feel like the most beautiful and smartest person in the world, of course you can adoringly gaze at them in public, if you want to, literally and metaphorically.

I'm pretty sure there are some eyes-rolling every time I post another ("... there she goes again...") photo of Tim and I on my very active "Decaturian Delight" Facebook album. But I love doing so. I don't hide my feelings nor am I shy about them. I wish all men were with their women the way Tim is with me. Hell, I wish everybody was like him, period. He suffers with severe depression, which makes life awfully hard for him, but it doesn't prevent him from being a fun, witty, smart and brilliant man.

As many of you know, in January I visited him in Decatur and it was a nightmare for my health, when I had a kidney/bladder infection (with a night at hospital with him) and spent the whole month poisoned by Levaquin, with all the terrible side effects you can imagine that debilitated me to the point of feeling like a poor miserable mouse. So that's when someone shows their true colors. He was seeing me at my worst: often helplessly crying, physically weak to the bones, disoriented, half-walking, half-dragging myself from room to room, throwing up my guts, unfocused - in a nutshell, ultra sick like I've never been before. And how did he behave and treat me 24 hours a day, seven days of those (very long) weeks? With love pouring through his eyes. Never impatient, never a harsh word. Always with a smile for me, always with my hand in his, always with his arms around me to sleep. Always sweet, fun, loving and caring. All the time. Because that's who he is, and that's how he always treated me since we first met. And that's how every person should treat their loved ones.

So, roll your eyes if you must, or enjoy the joy with me, because yes, I do value the man I love, I brag about him, and I do think life is too damn short to save my PDAs for special occasions.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

ABC Wednesday - J is for Jakers!

It's ABC Wednesday and J is Jakers! for me.

When Lucas was little, we used to faithfully watch a TV show called "Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks". We loved it so much we didn't mind watching the frequent reruns, as they were always worth it. We would cuddle on the couch together, and for half an hour we were taken to another time.

Jakers! is about the life of a smart and witty 8 years old little pig called Piggley, who lived in Ireland during the 50s with his parents and little sister at their Raloo Farm (they reproduce the gorgeous Irish landscapes with an adorable touch of old style). He has two loyal friends: Ferny, a little bull, son of Don Toro, a big and very sweet blacksmith, and Danna, a smart, teasing little duck who loves reading and lives by a pond with her grandmother. Together they have the funniest adventures, always inspired by Piggley, a natural leader whose imagination is endlessly rich. They go to the local school, and their teacher, a brilliant, serious goat, tries every day to open their minds and teach them to have integrity and to have a good character.

The interesting thing is that Piggley's adventures are told by himself as an adult in present time to his twin grandsons, granddaughter and his daughter, with whom he lives in the USA. Every time his grandkids start fighting over something they disagree, he comes up with a story from his childhood related to the kids' problems, and brings them a moral lesson in the sweetest way.

As a kid, Piggley and his friends are always involved in all kinds of funny - sometimes moving - situations, and he is the one who convinces his friends to live their life to the fullest as all kids should do, enjoying their days and nights in between their daily chores. He loves myths and legends, and often follows his heart to reproduce or confirm something he reads in his books, which guarantees lots of fun moments.

My favorite character was Willey, an absolutely hilarious sheep living in Raloo Farm (originally voiced by no one else but Mel Brooks). He is the only talking sheep among its flock, and he drags them to the most absurd situations, believing they can be more than mere sheep eating grass. His dream is to go to Broadway and become a star, so his failing attemps to make his fellow friends to join him in his enthusiasm for dancing and singing are priceless. I was always looking forward to his appearances.

This cartoon has so many nuances to the storytelling, with a delicate approach and beautiful, fun metaphors to the situations kids may face in their lives when they must decide what's the right thing to do. It's all about friendship, love, integrity and being faithful to your heart.

We would always talk about the episodes and I used to love getting to know Lucas' response to them, and how he would react in the same situations. A great chance for him to learn about right and wrong, in a really fun, cute way. It's perfect for young kids and grown-ups young at heart.


To read another cool J entry, visit my dear favorite author, at Under An Outlaw Moon.

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

Friday, March 14, 2014

ABC Wednesday - I is for Indecision

ABC Wednesday was two days ago, and I was Indecision for me.

I'm so late, but do you know when you get stuck and simply can't choose anything to write about, no matter if you made a huge list of possible words? That's me this week on the ABC Wednesday. 

I could blog about some interesting people, like Isadora Duncan, whose biography I read when I was 9 and in ballet classes. She impressed me so much I wanted to dance like her, barefoot and with only some ethereal colored cloths covering my body - highly discouraged by my ballet teacher...

Or I could write about Isaac Asimov. His books were a fantastic source of awe for my childish mind, who made me love sci-fi stories, and helped me to learn how to analyse right from wrong and how tricky situations can get to the point of making you wonder what's best for you and others...

Or I could talk about Imaginary friends, like when you're deep inside the virtual world and lost friendship is a click away, erased from your life because of moods, different opinions, or lack of contact without a word. Sometimes respect and patience are luxuries in the virtual world...

Or about the Impeccable service my sweetheart and I had at a local restaurant where we used to have lunch while he was here spending Summer with me. The waiters were gentle and super efficient, the food was delicious and their Internet connection was basically perfect (my town doesn't have a First Class connection, alas).

Or Indiana Jones, the cool, incredible hero and his fun adventures, who helped an entire generation go through their teen years.

I could talk about Ice creams, Islands paradises, Insights, Intercourse (mmm...), Intelligence, Incubbus, Impressionism, Imagination, Inspiration, Innocence, Instinct... So many Ideas that makes my Gemini soul Indecisive.
It's better to end this post here...


To read another cool I entry, visit my dear favorite author, at Under An Outlaw Moon.

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

Friday, March 7, 2014

A day at a time

I had this saved as a draft to publish today, but Tim posted his ABC Wednesday, showing the other side of this issue, that I'll reblog after this part:

I'm reblogging Tim's post here because he gives an important perspective for those who, like him, suffer with depression. I've been following his struggles against the Black Dog since I started reading his blog a bit longer than a couple of years ago. When I fell in love with him and became his girlfriend, I naturally wanted to go deeper and learn everything I could about depression and everything that encompasses it - for me it's important to understand how this terrible illness affects his mind and soul, and how he deals with the world:

"As I write this, it is late enough Thursday night that it’s Friday morning. I had a long, dreary fucking day, the depression kicking my plan to be productive right in the crotch, and I napped quite a bit. I’m not getting enough writing done. I’m not exercising enough. I haven’t finished cleaning the Byrdcave.
But, that’s progress. If I’m not getting enoughwriting done, that implies I’m getting somewriting done. If I’m not exercising enough, that must mean I’m exercising at least some. And if I haven’t finished cleaning the Byrdcave, that would mean that I did start cleaning it. And all that is true, though it’s weak tea for a guy who is really trying to pick his life back up after it was stomped flat by the black dog of depression.
Anyway, lots of napping during the day leads inevitably to being wide awake when it’s so late that it’s early. And I’m feeling pretty good. I started playing God of War: Ascension, which got my blood moving, and now I’m listening to great rock ‘n’ roll, dancing like no one’s watching (I’m actually quite good at that), and singing like no one’s listening (not quite as good, though I won a singing contest in a bar in Spain one time, long ago). Mark Twain would be pqroud."
 This was written when he was feeling stronger, and you could see his wonderful soul shining so bright. To read the whole post, click here.

But these last days the awful Black Dog has been taking the best of Tim's days and nights, and he posted this poignant, heartbreaking article at his blog today:

"Do you understand suicide?
I do. I don’t want to do it, but I have it on my list of options. Worst case scenario sort of thing. This is because I have chronic, often debilitating depression, and it often makes me doubt I have the ability to maintain my life for its natural duration.
Lose the people I love, not able to take it? Suicide’s an option. Don’t sell enough books and fall into poverty? Suicide’s an option, better than living in a soggy box under a bridge. Fall into a permanent depressive funk in which I can’t even take care of myself day-to-day (which is what started to happen to me last year, which is why I re-entered therapy, got back on the meds, and had electroshock therapy for the second time in three years)? Suicide is always there.
It’s like the cyanide capsule hidden in my molar, ready to be crunched in dire circumstances.
Not a day passes that I don’t think about it, at least in passing. It’s a bloodsoaked thread woven through the fabric of my life, not dominant but always dripping. It’s been this way for years.
Do I think I’ll do it some day? No. Would I be surprised if I did? No.
So yeah, I understand suicide. It is dark and terrible and fucked up, but it can also be practical. Or at least seem so to a mind in pain.
I tell you that so that you know I’m talking to you from the darkness. It can be tough to tell most of the time, because I’m largely a low-key yet upbeat guy, forthright about my problems but not whiny or melancholy or gloomy to be around. But I live in the darkness of this disease, and I speak as something of an expert. And the thing I want to tell you is this:
Help them.
If you have someone in your life who suffers from depression:
Help them.
One of the hardest things to do is to ask for help. I will go days without doing the dishes, or taking out the trash, or going to get the mail, or showering. I’ll avoid the phone and not answer emails. I am utterly useless during those times, and I am mostly without hope. During times like this, I lose all my faith that I can do the things I want to do with my life. I think of the places I’ll never go, the people I’ll never get to hang out with, the books I will never be able to write, and I despair.
I hate asking for help. So I don’t. But I need it.
So, if you know someone with depression:
Help them.
I think there are many lives lost that may have been saved had the people who cared about the folks in pain actually found meaningful ways to be there for them. It can be a burden, yes. But if you care for them, you won’t think of it in those terms, or at least won’t let them know you feel that way. Help them get the professional assistance they need. Cook them a meal every week. Help them clean their home (even little things like taking out the damned trash can make a difference). Talk to them, show them you care about them, show them you have faith in them.
Help them.
You may just save their life."

This is the hard daily life for depressed people. It's a roller-coaster, when some days you may see the light at the end of the tunnel, and some days you simply can't feel the ground under your feet. I want to reinforce what he just said. If you truly love someone with depression, be there for them, even if it seems like your efforts and your presence are useless, if you think that your warmth and love will not help (sometimes I feel that way, especially being so far away from him most of the time, but I ignore it, because I believe it's not true): constant doses of love always help, and it's a welcome caress in their hurt souls. Be the caring, stable hand, their shelter, never give them up. Those we love are such wonderful, sweet and unique people to be with, no matter what they think about themselves when times are hard. We know better.

The Black Dog eventually goes to sleep for some time, and the ground can be firmly felt again under your loved ones' feet, and they will want to celebrate the good days with you - and you will want to be there to dance with them, until they need you to build that warm, loving nest again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

ABC Wednesday - H is for Hecate.

It's ABC Wednesday and H is Hecate for me, and here is how She got into my life.

In brief, She's a Greek goddess, daughter of the Titans Perses and Asteria. Goddess of Crossroads, birth & death, challenges and struggles, witchcraft and magic, ruling over the earth, skies and the sea. For many people, She represents the Triple Goddess - Maiden, Mother and Crone. Powerful and determined, a deity not to be taken lightly.

When you're pagan and practice regularly, you may start getting attached to a specific deity when doing your prayers, spells and rituals. One you feel connected to, who represents the guidance, protection and strength you need, or whose characteristics you can relate to, or both. It's a powerful symbol for you to focus on, to make the connection between this world and the spiritual world easier to be established. Each pagan goddess and god have a beautiful myth to explain their origins and  power.

Hecate was not an instant choice for me when I started walking my path. Due to my own nature, I tend to lean to "more cheerful" deities, and in the beginning Gaia (representation of our Earth) and Brigidh, the healing and creative goddess, were closer to me - and still are. My favorite male god has always been Cernunnos, the protector of Nature, among other things, for his comforting and imponent, sensual guiding figure, who always gave me this feeling of being in good hands when summoning him.

My patroness goddess had a long way to get to me. As I create hand-embroidered pagan dolls in felt, I'm constantly challenged by customers to create deities from different pantheons I'm not familiar with, and studying them is a source of delight for me. Knowledge is never too much. In contradiction, I consciously avoided contact with the concept of Hecate, not wanting to aknowledge her existence in a closer way. I was scared of her power and direct connection with the Underworld and Death, that in my intentional ignorance was all I knew about. Contrary to my innate curiosity, I avoided researching about her, only having occasional glimpses when reading references related to other myths. So I had a stupid misconception that kept this beautiful deity away from my life for a long time.

But a few years ago a friend ordered a Hecate from me, and I finally had to go deeper on my researches to make an appropriate doll with the right symbols. And my misconception started to be broken. Other people loved the doll and ironically She became a hit.

At last, three years ago, I got a big order of 30 Hecate dolls for a pagan event, and I was surrounded by her amazing energy for weeks on a daily basis. Day after day I brought her to life under my fingers, embroidering her symbols (torch, key and Wheel) and at each stitch, my irrational fears were gradually taken away, and my respect and love got stronger. Having one of her favorite animals, a black dog, constantly crossing my way in the streets during this period just added in a fun way to the fact that I had my patroness goddess almost begging for my attention - just, She doesn't beg. Somehow I think She was gently pulling my ear and telling me to stop being so childish in my apprehensions about her.

And that's how I surrended to this incredible goddess, and She became part of my spiritual life, making my path richer and deeper with Her powerful symbolism. Now I know I'm in good hands when I summon her. :)


To read another cool H entry, visit my dear favorite author, at Under An Outlaw Moon.

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

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

ABC Wednesday - G is for Ghosts

It's ABC Wednesday, and G is Ghosts for me.

Blue Girl in the Dark Forest, by Sugwon.

This is a delicate subject for many people. Those who don't believe in ghosts may get enraged by accounts made by the ones who believe them, and those who believe may get mad at those who don't share their belief - although it really doesn't matter, either way, as long as we respect different opinions. I personally love ghost stories, and my family has a few about encounters with them - who knows if they were real or not? ;)

We could go deeper and talk about emotional ghosts, the ones who haunt us from a past we insist on living in instead of moving on, or the ones who prevent us from fully living the present by blocking our self-esteem and balance, or those who haunt us from the distant lands of the future, when fears and insecurities come long before anything happens.

Whether you believe or not in the existence of ghosts, they're here to stay, at least in movies, books, songs and art. They're sometimes depicted with a gentler eye, when characters have an insightful, rewarding experience, but usually it's all about fears, sleepless nights, nightmares, goosebumps, looking-behind-over-shoulders.

I just wanted to share with you guys some favorite representations of supernatural appearances, in varied types of art.

The Ghost of Oyuki, by Maruyama Okyo, is a favorite, because it's lovely, with a peaceful feeling to it - legends say that Okyo once woke up in the middle of the night with the sensation of being watched. And there was this lovely ghost woman staring at him:

Alfred Kubin's art is subversive and maybe too disturbing for some tastes, and this piece always seemed very ghostly to me:

The Brown Lady is a famous supernatural photograph, among others - some are artificially altered so badly they become a joke. Regardless of its authenticity, I always loved this ethereal image:

There are lots of movies about ghosts that I love, and recently I watched a very moving Chinese flick with my sweetheart, called Rouge, about a lonely ghost played by Anita Mui. It's all I can say, to prevent spoilers, but if you like a beautiful, delicate love story, check it out:

Of course, I watched Ghost Whisperer, the TV show starring Jennifer Love-Hewitt, following her hard times trying to help anguished spirits with unfinished matters. I used to cry my eyes out at the end of each episode, when she always managed to send the poor ghosts to the Light in the most touching ways.

And I finish this very long post with a poignant studio version of The Ghost of Tom Joad, performed by Bruce Springsteen...


To read another cool G entry, visit my dear favorite author at Under An Outlaw Moon.

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

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

ABC Wednesday - F is for Flamenco

It's ABC Wednesday and F is Flamenco for me.

I always liked to dance and to watch dance performances. And flamenco is a style that always captured my heart. The passion, energy, sensuality and emotion that overflow from the dancers' feet make me want to get up and start spinning around with them every time I watch a good performance. 

My absolutely favorite flamenco dancer/choreographer is Antonio Gades. I became a huge fan in my early teen years, when I first watched him in the wonderful movie Blood Wedding. I had the pleasure of seeing him and his Company, many years ago, dancing at a stage built on Ipanema beach, under a beautiful full moon. Talk about magic, it was amazing! Gades is one of those dance professionals who puts his soul in every step, and you go along with him.

Talking about Antonio Gades naturally leads to talking about the Spanish director Carlos Saura. He has an extensive list of great movies (Cria Cuervos is one of my favorites), and during the 80s he created a fantastic musical trilogy starring Gades: Blood Wedding (based on Garcia Lorca's story, to drool at), Carmen and El Amor Brujo/A Love Bewitched. All the choreographies are intense and gorgeous, and Gades, of course, is a hot shining star who takes the audience's breath away with his performance. Cristina Hoyos - an equally hot, super talented icon in flamenco dance - was his partner in the trilogy (although in Carmen she doesn't play the main character). Three beautifully dramatic movies about love, loss and death in a passionate latin way that those who love musicals will appreciate.

Here's a beautiful sequence in El Amor Brujo, if you want to watch it.

And of course, flamenco is Paco de Lucia. His furious guitar became a legend and he broke the barriers as a guitar player, acclaimed not only by flamenco lovers, but also by other non-flamenco guitar legends like Eric Clapton and Eddie Van Halen. His powerful style is a delight to listen to, when I'm in the right mood for it... like right now. ;)


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

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

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

ABC Wednesday - E is for E. E.Cummings

It's ABC Wednesday and E is E. E. Cummings for me.

I'll be brief this time. Although I definitely don't agree with his political choices (he was a Republican and fan of McCarthy), I love his poems, as they translate feelings and emotions with a delicate accuracy that speaks to my soul.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

To read another cool E entry, visit my love and favorite author, at Under An Outlaw Moon (his adventure novel Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom is currently on sale to celebrate Valentine's Day)!

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

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ABC Wednesday - D is for Destiny

It's ABC Wednesday, and D is Destiny for me.

Bear with me, everybody. I'm spending precious time with my love here in Brazil, once again sharing Summer with him. So I naturally become this melting butter, seeing everything through rose-colored glasses, and apparently only able to talk about how wonderful my sweetheart is. ;)

I believe mostly everything happens for a reason, that nothing happens by chance. It's a concept that might be unfair when we think of the deep suffering people go through in their lives. This is not an universal truth, and I'm being very superficial on the subject. But in general, at least for me, every time I had a bad experience, or when I thought I couldn't take another hit from the gods, I made it through, and later - weeks, months, years later - pieces fell into place, and those specific moments in my life made sense at last. The same happened when I had some good experiences, i. e. when I got a job that introduced me to key people who would eventually help me later, or when I was at the right place, at the right time and met someone extraordinary, like Tim.

We are two luck people who found love at a phase of our lives when we had already dealt with our own issues and were basically okay about who we are. We know how to appreciate life, and we really value those who are with us, when value is due. No place for drama, paranoia, or ghosts created by our minds. We don't waste our time this way.

There's something amazing on how life worked in these mysterious ways, and gave another meaning to all decisions we made.

When we first met in person, after months of perfect online match (story for another time), it was instantaneous perfect live match. As if our bodies, minds, hearts and souls were just patiently waiting to finally bond and react in all levels possible and feel at home with each other. 

I always like to play with the fun thought of this huge world map with us two tiny bright colored dots moving around in different directions as our lives progressed along the years, slowly but definitely converging to that exact point where us dots would become one when meeting, mixing our colors, and never being apart again, even when silly distance keeps us in different continents for now. 

So yes, Destiny is one of the words when I think about Tim, and Delight is what I feel when I'm with him.

To read another cool D entry, visit my love and favorite author, at Under An Outlaw Moon (his adventure novel Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom is currently on sale to celebrate Valentine's Day)!

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

Monday, February 3, 2014

Valentine's Sale with Doc Wilde!

Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom is on sale for Valentin's!

Grab your copy, you won't regret it! And if you ca spare some minutes, spread the word, and review this awesome book, it helps a lot!

Supporting indie authors is always cool. :)


Almost everybody has a physical curse, something that makes them feel miserable from time to time or on a regular basis. It may be a chronic back pain that makes every step a torture. It may be a burning stomach making it impossible to eat. It may be legs that refuse to take you anywhere, or painful joints that keep you from moving. I'm not talking about a serious illness. I'm more talking about these "little" things that can ruin days but not threaten your life.

My curse is a tiger. A big bad tiger that stalks my brain-village for decades. Medicine calls it migraine. I call it a Tiger, borrowing the expression from my twin friend Amy, who suffers with the same maladie. It's the best way to describe the debilitating pain I feel every time I'm cursed with its visit. I can feel its powerful fangs ripping off my scalp, its claws thrusting deep in my skull, reaching for my gray cells.  It's a stupid, mean beast that makes every inch of my body cringe, and prevents me from enjoying a beautiful sunny day, keeps my son and my love away from me while it's around, and basically wastes my precious time.

Oh, before some sweet soul wants to suggest techniques or natural/non-natural meds to fight this tiger, thank you, but I know them all, and while being careful about what I eat and drink definitely helps a lot on making the visits less often, there's not much I can really do about it. During the crisis I become this 90-year-old vampire lady who can just take her meds and stay motionless in bed, in the dark, avoiding contact with humans, afraid of lights and noises, until she's back to her younger self again. It sucks big time.

And I'm blogging about it because venting is good and I get slightly pissed off when tigers try hard to ruin a beautiful day with my son or my love (like last week). But I almost always manage to kill it before that happens. Because it gotta take much, much more - if anything - than a stupid tiger to ruin my perfect moments with my loves. ;)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Updates on Artless and Heartless situation

I have already posted about what happened to my boyfriend Tim Byrd when he hired this artist to work on the cover and inside illustrations of his next Doc Wilde book. Here is an update on his situation, where he finds out that seems like he wasn't the only one to fall in her trap:

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! ;)