Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Projetáveis (Projectables)

That is the theme of the massive art movement sweeping Porto Alegre in honor of the 7th Mercosur Biennial. The exposition will take place in several cultural centers around town as well as through random, street art installations.

I stumbled upon the construction of this "Projectable" near my apartment last week.

Very cool.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Boa viagens, and other excuses to party

In my inner circle, there was a lot of globetrotting going on last month. My parents jetted off to France for a long overdue and well-deserved vacation, and some other friends moved from Chicago to Swansea, Wales--but they didn't invite me to their parties. I was, however, invited to two very, very important parties last month that, quite unfortunately, I could not attend. One was Amagoia and Iñaki's wedding in Bilbão, Spain; the other, Monica's 30th birthday in Ireland. But before Shelley left Porto Alegre to take the LSAT in Florida, she and Rafa made a churrasco. mmmmm.....

I do believe I have developed an unhealthy attachment to salty red meat in my time here! And beer. Check this out! This is the front of Shelley and Rafa's new refrigerator, in their stylish new condo. There are other buttons and techno-wizardry, but the Beer Zapper just made me laugh (and perfectly encapsulated the Brazilian obsession with cerveja bem gelada,

You see the light next to the "cerveja 12 latas" indicator? You enable the super-chiller feature, put a case of beer in the special "bar expert" section of the freezer (yes really, click on the image!), and magic is performed. An alarm sounds when the beer has arrived at the perfect temperature. Oh, their sorcerous ice box also boasts an ice maker, which I've never seen here.

There was also lots of spirit(s) at Irish Simon's Shamrock Pub to bid fond farewell to Mariana and Roberto as they made their big move to Dublin.

Boa viagem, Roberto e Mari! (Adri, vai ficar aqui comigo, querida!)

And last but not least, we Estrangeiros em Porto Alegre had a fleeting return of The Jo's. Joe and Joanna passed through town en route to Rio, where they are now celebrating Joanna's birthday and the end of their year-and-a-half long South American expedition. They'll be settling in Stateside in the coming weeks. It was great to see them again, though briefly, and I wish them the best as they begin again, again.

Much love to Ama & Iñaki and to Monica. I assure you that I was with you in spirit(s).

Loquinha G

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chega da chuva!

If you look closely at the middle of this photo, you can see a horizontal line of light between the clouds which is blurred out in the middle. The blurry part, was where the rain was just breaking through, earlier today.

I have the utmost respect for good snaps of Nature's wonders because my photography equipment matches my talent. It was much more interesting to watch the storm arrive in real time, even though I've had more than my fill of heavenly deluges in the past month. Still, today's storm felt a bit cathartic, or maybe just appropriate, because I was feeling stormy on the inside too. Good day to lounge indoors, and in solitude.

While I haven't used the day to complete my lengthy list of must-do and should-do items, at least I am managing to get a post up.

That is, I will if my computer cooperates. I have a one-and-a-half-year-old Acer Aspire laptop that has been giving me fits. The trouble started months ago with little symptoms and has evolved into near-disaster as far as my senses of convenience and connectedness are concerned. My reluctant overuse of the hard reset feature has grown alarming, but when I saw this clever new screen a few weeks ago:

...I knew it was time to call in the Reserves. Incidentally, I have tried contacting Acer Support for this and another glitch some months ago, never to any satisfaction. The first time, they responded to my [English] email in Spanish. Most recently, I received this beauty:

Umm, so you're telling me that you can't help me with my notebook because you're the notebook department?

Hmph! I wanted to smash things. Namely, my poorly-supported Acer Aspire 5520 Notebook thing. (I'm hoping that if I name the
Acer Aspire 5520 Notebook many times in my post it will get lots of Google action.) Since I don't keep a stash of Xanax, I guess I should be thankful they didn't bother to respond to my other two emails.

Anyway, the aforementioned Reserves appeared in the form of Ivan, my tech-savvy friend who, thankfully, accepts beer and good karma as payment. He spent many hours trying to diagnose and repair my sickly BFF. The outcome of his efforts: the good news was it's not the hard drive, the bad news was that it appears to be the (expletive) Microsoft Vista--systematically corrupting, well, everything. (Oh yeah, Microsoft should get some of that Google-dissatisfaction-action too.) I gave up on using my DVD drive long ago, since Windows Explorer (the apex of the problem) denies its existence most of the time. I back up to my external hard drive regularly and perform System Restores almost daily. Basically, there's not much I can do (except maybe try scrapping everything and replacing the OS--the backup for which, by the way, Acer does not include when you purchase from them). For now I just cross my fingers and hope that my Vista doesn't eat my Acer before I get back to Chicago.

There, I can make the long-debated and positive life step that is Buy A Mac.

(Psst, all I want for Christmas is my two----dollar gift certificate to the Apple store.)

Speaking of Apples, yesterday I experimented with the Brazilian Candy Apple for the first time.

And last. Gross. It was like a hyper-sweet Jolly Rancher on an old, mealy apple.
(Aren't I a ray of sunshine today?)

Well, there is a little silver on my clouds.

I found a real lemon (the kind with real lemony taste) and grapefruit! The latter was tiny, as you can see, but full of citrus goodness. I wonder when I made the Captain Crunch to Fiber Flakes and grapefruit crossover? It was probably about the same time that my posting started revealing me as a cranky old bat. Actually, I still adore (and miss) the Captain (without his Berry buddies), so maybe there's still hope for me.

Happy Sunday.
The sun is supposed to come back on Tuesday so maybe, too, will my personality.