Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I am beset with minor, but irritating, problems at the moment.

First, and highest on my irritation list, I am experiencing internet problems. In our modern times, who doesn’t rely on the internet? I certainly do. I rely on email to communicate and transfer documents for work, on Skype to keep my sweet little Grandma satisfied with at-least-weekly chats, and internet browsing just for my own sanity. This week? Not so much. I removed Firefox, installed Opera, reinstalled Firefox, did a System Restore, anti-virus and anti-spam searches, defragmentation… that is to say I exhausted my small bag of tricks, and still no solution. In fact, it seems worse. Aside from throwing a wrench in the communication works, my connectivity issues are impeding on my mental health.

nother techie problem: I tried playing the few DVDs I brought from home in order to create class lessons, and received the dreaded “Wrong Region” failure. Puta que pariu! I was aware of this issue with portable DVD players, but on my laptop too? I am trying to tap into my understanding nature regarding the anti-piracy motivations behind such controls. At the same time, it irks me that I can’t play DVDs that I purchased, albeit in different regions of the world, on a computer I also purchased. Garrumph.

is pronounced gah humff by the way, because I am also beginning to blur the phonetic lines between Portuguese and English. I know this because earlier today, as I was writing “beginning” on a note, I started B-I-G… wait… and I realized that I’m getting linguistically cloudy. I also noticed recently that I used the word “legends” in conversation when I meant to say “subtitles”, because in Portuguese the word is legendas. That’s weird. That’s cool—because I suppose it means that Portuguese is finally and truly starting to creep into my hard-headed, all-English brain. Then again, this kind of confusion is not helpful to an aspiring writer.

to me and my problems. There’s one more. I seem to have either a crazy person or an addict living above me. (Parental Units: Do not be alarmed. Situation is under control.) There were a few… let’s call them episodes… about a week ago that left me a little panicked. The first involved wooden boards, light bulbs, and bricks being thrown from the 6th floor apartment window, quite randomly, at 4:30 in the morning. The second episode was some madrugada (early morning hour) screams and thumps that left me feeling completely freaked out and helpless. Luckily, in Brazil, everything is done through “your people” – and I have two teams of people. One team is keeping tabs on the odd neighbor, and the other team is helping find suitable alternate housing in case there’s a third episode.

In the face of challenge, nothing like a good laugh, ? I didn’t have my camera with me today despite previous vow-to-self to carry it regularly. Therefore no picture can accompany this tidbit. It’s probably better that way because part of me feels that this image isn’t something for "show and tell". So I’m walking through the park today, en route to meet a friend for lunch. There’s a monument that looks like a headstone—name, birth and death year etched in marble—on the grass. Laying (Lying? Great. I'm teaching English and I can't use it correctly anymore!) just so on the grass was a homeless man, using the memorial to support a worn duffel bag, which in turn was supporting his head as he napped. I don’t mean to smirk at his misfortune, but his positioning just begged the caption "Gravediggers on strike once again in Porto Alegre."

eep peaceful breath. Well, there is the beautiful sunshine... and there are the wonderful trees...

internet is beneficent once again,