Saturday, December 09, 2006


Mark does not believe it. I do. Or I think I do. Only this week I heard about the Nepalese boy, Ram Bahadur Bomjon (pictured above), that was meditating inside the roots of a pipal tree in Bara for 10 months. He disappeared in mid March though, probably seeking for a quieter place for his meditation. The place was getting crowded with tourists and pilgrims, and journalists. His plan was to meditate there for 6 years, but it was not possible in the end.

Some of his followers were claiming that he was a reincarnation of the Buddha himself, but he denied that saying that he was just an austere ascetic. His words were:

"Tell people not to call me the Buddha, I do not have the Buddha's energy, I am only at tapaswi level." Tapaswi being a sage that practices austerities as such.

I also don't believe he is the Buddha's reincarnation either, but somehow I do believe people can achieve these states of mind. It's amazing to see the footages of him meditating. He was filmed for days ininterruptly. You can see him muttering chants (or perhaps talking to himself) and how his hair and skin look intact, not dried up or scarred. By the end his hair was really long and he was getting a bit emaciated. He would also start heating up and sweating all of a sudden, much probably to control his body temperature, since that area tends to get really cold when the night comes.

This technique is called "gtum mo" (or "tummo"), or the "inner heat" yoga technique. I firstly read about it when I was a teen, in the infamous and controversial Lobsang Rampa's book ("The Third Eye"). I got really impressed, in spite of Rampa's credibility of course... Gtum mo is a very intense form of meditation where one is enabled to control his/her body temperature and metabolic rates. Alexandra David-Neel also explains about it in her books, a must-have if you have any interest in Tibetan Buddhism.

Yes, call me a believer, or whatever. The images of that boy will stay with me forever. He looked illuminated. Somehow. And it's just good and comforting to see these things still happening in our crazy days... I wish him to come back.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Personal Trainer, Gym etc...

I am going to the gym, as I may have mentioned before (did I?). I am really appalled by my level of, erm, unfitness and overall stiffness. Sometimes it feels a bit frustrating, of course. But I will try and do my routine exercises, and see how it goes.

The gym is Crunch Fitness here in Dun Laoghaire. It's a very good and very modern space, with a lovely pool, lounge, new equipment and a nice team of instructors.

I had my 1st session with a personal trainer, and I really liked her, for she was all the time with me and gave me lots of new exercises and diet orientation too. She was following my every movement and it was good. She put me on the machines, since she thinks before going into a lot of cardio exercises, I need to strenghten my ligaments and bones a bit, since I am too stiff and the nerves on the back of my thighs were kinda killing me! Of course I need to start with cardio, to warm up, but not 60 minutes as I was trying before. Something like 7 to 10 minutes, then machines, and finally stretchings.

Let's see how it goes. Tomorrow I am going again, and my next session with her is on Wednesday. Can't wait, really.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Cool Engrish (Pt. 5)

I have another Cool Engrish of the Day today! It's from my lovely new pair of geta (Japanese clogs). I love using geta at home, there is nothing more comfortable than a woody, anatomic pair of traditional Japanese footwear! Then, I bought this lovely pair on EBay some weeks ago...
It says on the sticker at the bottom:

"Leisure supplies
carefully collisions
pathway slide"

Hhhhhmmm... Does it grip? Does it slip? Frankly, I have no idea! But it doesn't matter, for I will be using them at home, not outside. So, no slippery walks, or any chances to test it against the elements. Let's keep it inside, shall we?

Friday, December 01, 2006

End of an era...

21 days with no posts, that's way too long and I even complain about some of my lazy friends (and Mark too) who don't blog very often... Shame on me! Well, I did not have time, or rather, any will to sit down and write. Some stressful weeks I had...

And the apocalyptic title of this post refers to my last day in SITA, which was yesterday. As I mentioned on a previous post the Dublin office has closed down and most people were made redundant (including myself). As such, it's the end of an era alright: VTI, then Eland Technologies and, lastly, SITA. I was there for 6 and a half years. So, it was strange seeing the office being dismantled, and a bit sad.

Most people were happy though (not everybody, I must say). And most people have new jobs already, which is great. I don't, but this is because I will have a sabbatic year, as Mark and I have decided when we had the news of the imminent redundancy some months ago. Having this career break will be very good for me, for I finally will be able to try and get some control over my health by going to the gym in an attempt to improve my condition (fatigue, and unfitness of course!). If the medications did not work, this would be my last resource, according to the doctors. Abandon the sedentary life and have a go to a more active lifestyle etc...

So, we were in the office yesterday signing the papers and then we all went for lunch in the Purty Kitchen, our local pub-restaurant. It was good. I really enjoyed myself and almost, almost cried. My colleague Ian surprised me with a nice present: a Lord Of The Rings/Royal Mail promotional watch, very pretty. I thought it was very nice of him. And I had funny chats with the guys. Then we all left and said goodbye, although of course we will be keeping in touch. Or so I hope!

It was raining, they went to the Monkstown dart station and I headed home. On the way, I stopped at the little Purty Emporium and they were playing Coldplay's Yellow. Then some tears came to my eyes, and a nostalgic sensation invaded me of a sudden. Somehow this song always touches me, and the situation was, I must say, a bit sad. I don't know. Yes, the end of something, and as people say, the "1st day of the rest of our lives".

That was it. I stopped at the convenience store and had a long chat with the Indian manager (the system was down and I could not buy anything). This has cheered me up, we laughed and talked about India, Brasil and Ireland as real expats do! It was interesting and it also made me stop thinking about "the past", my still very recent past.

That's it. That was it. I am here, and free to start something anew.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Deadly Singer...


I was reading in the Irish Independent today that James Blunt has been declared King of Funerals! Let's face it: it was bound to happen, really! It says his song "Goodbye My Lover" is on the top parades of funeral services in the UK!

What can I say, what can I say except... "Told ya!"

The first time I heard that on the radio I thought: "What da heck?" and mentioned to Mark it was a seriously suicidal song - besides being extremely monotone and boring, as everything else he's composed so far. You know the stuff: horrible rhymes, depressive lyrics, run-of-the-mill, blah melodies and that utterly awful voice of his. Yes, I hate James Blunt. Since that joke of a song called "You're Beautiful", I just cannot stand the guy.

I saw him being interviewed on TV once and it was creepy. He sounds like a very old man that smoked 20 packs of cigs daily for his entire life or someone who has has had a tracheostomy - bound to talk through that opening for the rest of his life. I know it sounds terrible and I may seem mean by saying it, but that's what I think when I listen to the guy, either singing or speaking.

I wonder when the Southpark writers will make an episode where he stars??

(Sorry if you are a fan, but I just had to rant about it! Ultimately, it's a personal choice, no?)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Cool Engrish (Pt. 4)

Cool Engrish of the Day today comes from yet another brand of Japanese cosmetics: Fasio by Kosé. This time, it's a blush:

"Pure & smooth blush!
Come with brush too!"

(Yes, yes, I will also come with my brush, not to worry!...)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

My Kitties

Last week, Mark and I were involved with my Hello Kitty mascots and netsuke organisation. I came up with different categories depending on their theme, and Mark helped me to count them.

It took some time, since I have a lot. Accounted for so far: 691, spread on 46 categories, such as:

- Kabuki;
- Food and Desserts;
- Pretty Ladies in Kimono;
- Fuji Sama;
- Tokyo Tower;
- Okinawa;
- Nagoya;
- Matsuri (Festivals);
- Summer;
- Autumn;
- Mammals;
- Flowers;
- Seafood & Fish;
- Charmmy Kitty;
- Gothic Lolita;
- Kapa, Tanuki & Kitsune etc etc...

Of course, I made a spreadsheet so I can keep control of how many I have in each category.

I also found out that, if I like a Kitty very much, I tend to buy more than one, eg, the Dumpling Kitty (dressed up as a gyoza), the Moé Kitty (carrying a bunny on her back) and so on... I already gave away lots of duplicates. My Mother loves them too, and we use it on our purses and mobile phones, of course. Even Mark once used a Samurai Kitty on the zipper of his coat! Now, I could sell them maybe on EBay? I think my friends and Mom are already tired of getting Kitties as little presents!

It may look childish, but their design is very good, they are very creative, and are fun to "play" with. I read that in Japan, women of my age tend to be the biggest collectors of Kitty memorabilia, since they are already stable and can afford this kind of stuff. I believe that.

On the left, you can see another favorite of mine, the Hydrangea Kitty...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cute kittens!

I found this very cute video on Youtube yesterday and just needed to share. It is unbearably lovely. And the voices are also very good. And more, it makes me want to have a cat myself... Aaaahhhhhh...

The kitties are newborn and exploring their environment for the 1st time:

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cool Engrish (Pt. 3)

Now, our Cool Engrish of the Day. This time it is a much coveted makeup item, from wonderful Shiseido Maquillage. And by that I simply mean the name of the product, which sounds absurdly kinky.

It is a foundation and, as far as I know, the 1st gel foundation formula ever. An innovation as Shiseido always do. The name? ... Ehrm... The name is... Climax Moisture Gel Foundation. But there is also a Climax Moisture Powdery. I don't know, I don't know... It sounds like any thing, except like something you put on your face, no? As I said, kinky stuff. Or maybe it's just me with a slightly twisted mind!

I don't know how do they come up with the ideas for some names, really. It's a multinational, althoug this product is specifically marketed for Asia (not Europe or US)... If I bought it already? No, I did not. And not because of the name though, but because I think I have enough foundation at the moment, that's it. I would buy it hough, if it wasn't for that, since I love their products - especially the Asia exclusives.

The packing, as you can see in the pic, is gorgeous - as one can only expect from Shiseido.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Cool Engrish (Pt. 2)

Ta-daaaaaa!!!! Cool Engrish of the Day today was taken from a mini Hello Kitty puzzle from Sanrio. Again, super-kawaii, and it says:

"My Bear's
so smile-ish
when he

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Test Blog...

This is Mark, Andrea's husband (she calls me everything except "Mark" and "husband" though). Anyway, ignore this post! This is merely a technical test. I'm setting up w.Blogger to try and get around Blogger image problems. And now for a test image:

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Cool Engrish (Pt.1)

I love Engrish! I think the way it's written is super-cool and kawaii. May not be "correct", but who cares? The important thing is to be understood, right? And Engrish is a pretty flexible way of communicating!

The Engrish of the Day comes from my Cosme Decorte Pure Grace eyeshadow set. Follows the scan of the box, and the text underneath - since it's quite impossible to read from the scanned picture, metallic purple over silver and beige!

"The only alternative
that ensures splendidness
to your impression"

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Gaultier 2

We've been shopping today. I was looking for the new Jean-Paul Gaultier scent, Gaultier 2, since Mark brought me a sample this week from Newcastle's duty free. He used it some days ago, and it was perfect on him, however he claims it's much too sweet for his tastes. I used the other half and simply loved it. Reminds me a lot of Joop women, lauched years and years ago (something around 1987, maybe?).

I must say Gaultier 2 is a toned-down version of Joop though. While this one may be classified as an oriental, woody scent, and quite characteristic of the "strength" and power of the 80's perfumery, G2 is what we call nowadays a "skin scent": something warmer, subtler, much less blatant, but still making use of the same distinctive notes - amber, musk and vanilla - kind of a "sacred triad" for the genre.

Let's say that where Joop proclaims and asserts, G2 whispers and gently seduces. A calm, relaxing, self-reassuring fragrance.

I loved it and thought it would be perfect for Autumn: warmly comfortable, a real feel-good scent. I bought a 40ml bottle, since I still have too much perfume to go through these days.

When Gaultier created it, he had it in mind a couple, the encounter of two people, to be used by both - male/female, male/male, female/female (any kind of couple). An androgynous composition, really, and one can in fact perceive that: impossible to categorise it as a "man's" or "woman's". Just the way it should be, and has been intended. Genderless.

Sometimes a lipstick is just a lipstick...

In November's Voce, I got a Shu Uemura booklet with their new lipstick: Rouge Unlimited. As usual, the super-cool minimalist packaging so characteristic of the Shu Uemura line. I love the simple shapes and astonishing colors - and the quality of course. Their eyeshadows and lippies are the best!

Here it is, for your sheer delight...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Pure Beauty: Shiina Ringo

From Tokyo Jihen's DVD "Just Can't Help It". Wonderful song, beautiful mise-em-scène. Shiina Ringo is a gem of a singer. This DVD is worth getting. I got mine from CDJapan - as usual!


Nure yuki ya Odawara de waraeba yokarou
Minami wa mou kobore ume

"Kitai nado shite imasen."
Ima mo hodoita te no naka nani mo nai mama

Onna ga nakeba otoko wa nigeru
torikaesu you na busui wa shinai koto sa

"Oboete wa inai deshou." Ano hi tsunaida te no naka saita yakusoku

Onna ga mateba otoko wa damaru
Tokedashita nara isoide hora
Wasurete shimae
Otoko wa korosu no sa
Hayaku tate
Kogoete shimawanai you ni

Monday, October 02, 2006

More Keroro Gunso

I tried to order the ending song for Keroro's episodes 52-78 on Yes Asia, but unfortunately, the CD is out of stock. I could not find it in CDJapan either.
That would be "Katte ni Shinryakusha" by Naoya Ogawa and Mayuko Iwasa. Here is the cover of the CD, which is actually a single:
No problem, it's in my wish list nonetheless. And here it the clip for the ending theme, taken from the anime series. It's very catchy!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Another Clip: Weapon of Choice

This weekend, I am kind of obsessed with cool musical clips. Fat Boy Slim's "Weapon of Choice" with gawjus Christopher Walken ( to think that he is 62 now, huh?) is just amazing, a classic. That man is a great dancer - although mostly renowned by being a great actor. Irresistible...

Ok go

This is an amazing clip. Mark showed it to me on MTV this morning and I just love it. These guys are really skillfull, and look like really cute geeks, he he! I am glad I found it on Youtube!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Need to rant a bit now...

Sunday is general elections day in Brasil. As a Brazilian Citizen living abroad, I also need to vote here, in the Embassy of course. Just for President at least.

Every year those people from the Embassy send me an email confirming details for the day. Not this year though.

Since I like to have everything confirmed an so on, what did I do? First thing in the morning called them (yes, today). Follows the painful dialog:

Me - Good Morning (all in portuguese)... I would like to confirm about the elections on Sunday.

Satan's minion - What about the Elections?

Me - Ehr, hmmm... if they will happen, if they are confirmed?...

Satan's minion - Of course! Don't you see that everywhere in the newspapers and TV etc?

(Moment of silence, I was shocked... For Chrissake, I do live in Ireland now, not in Brasil! Which newspapers is he on about? Which TV? Sesame Street Expatriate News??? Just to confirm if everything was OK there, times, blah blah. The basics, really)...

Me, after-shock, intimidated- It's just because every year you send me an email to confirm and this year you did not, and I... I'd like to confirm that it's OK, just that.

Satan's minion, with a condescending tone of course - Yes, from 8am to 5pm.

Me - O-OK then. T-thanks...

Aaarrghh... I wish I haven't been so shocked or perplexed and replied accordingly at the time. I mean, treating him like a "fellow eejit", but I could not. Seriously, what could I expect? No wonder Brazilian civil servants have a bad reputation. They can be very, very obnoxious and have this icredible power to make you feel as if you were owing them a favour, or as if you were a helpless, pitiful, terminal moron. Mind you, not all of them are like this, of course. But there's something about having a bureaucratic sort of a "mystical aura" with some of them. As if you were just a pile of worthless dust in comparison, and they the Almighty-Chosen-Ones.

They certainly have no Customer Services training, or nothing of that sort. Because, we citizens are their Customers in the end, no?

I expected that, by living here, at least I would be spared that kind of awkward situation. But no. No. I also expected that, somehow, they would have become a tad more educated, polite, helpful. No again. It's all the same. All the bloody same!

And then, I need to vote for President. Who will probably be - again - the same one we have right now, the same one who apparently likes to send money (that Brasil, let's face it, doesn't even have), to terrorists (or so it's said). The same one that admires figures like Hugo Chávez. Nice, no??? See, things will never, ever change up there, and it's so sad. I would love to go back, but those things just freak me out. And all that ancient, almost chronical bureaucracy. I start to get stressed just to think about it. I feel really bad. It's not even the violence that scares me, but that kind of behaviour, which seems to be turning into a standard.

(By the way, is something like "free speech" still allowed? I hope so.)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Facial Recognition Web Gimmick

Look at this thing. Facial recognition software. You upload your photo and they come up with your celebrity "look-alikes". Meh... Well... It's fun, because some of them may make sense. It seems to take into account the visible bone structure, which pretty much depends on your position in the original photo, or the angle it was taken from. I tried with several pics, here's an example (this pic from 2 or 3 years ago, full of makeup and different haircut):

MyHeritage - share black and white photos with facial recognition technology
Now, the one I could kind of agree there is Winona Ryder, for some people say they think of me when watching her in Coppola's Dracula, ha ha! But I think it's just because she loved a vampire and I have this attachment for horror films and stuff like that. And I would befriend a Vampire, if that was possible in real life, why not?

As for Michelle Branch - who the hell is she by the way? Anyway, we have the same hair colour at least, ha ha! Kate Bosworth?? Ah, yes, the white of the eyes this time, of course! Anna Paquin, I can see some similarity, especially when I was younger. Fernanda Tavares, well, she is Brazilian at least. However, she is a giant of a lady and has a nice tan, while I am just, ehrm, just pale mini-me...

Another celeb I get a lot is Rachel Weisz, and that fella, Orlando Bloom, as well as the guy that plays Ross Geller in Friends. Also, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist. However, if I look like any of these people at all, that would be for sure Paloma Picasso, or Lúcia Veríssimo (Brazilian actor/singer). There is no picture of them on that database though. I even was mistaken by Lúcia once in the streets by no one less than Leiloca, ex-Frenética-turned-astrologer (Brazilians will know what I mean here!), ha ha! Embarrassing, huh?

It's something about the nose and chin, that are quite strong features of mine, it seems (in the sense of "big": prominent chin, and significantly developed nose). At least I did not get Dumbo... Well, I also do not absolutely look like an anteater, of course.

Speaking of which (I mean, Dumbo, not my nose - or ears for that matter) I decided to try it with pics of animals, just to see what would happen. You never know! Well, I should know... I got error messages, needless to say. I tried Cookie's pic (my Siberian Husky, now deceased, boo-hooo...), for I used to think she looked like me (that's serious, not joking, we had the same brown eyes). The system could not read it.

What was I expecting when entering Cookie (a dog) into that FR thingy? I expected that she would get the same celebrity look-alikes as me, of course! Since the site does not allow me to compare, say, my picture to a friend's, for example, but just User against Celebrities I decided to try that "common celebrity matches" technique! Clever or what? It didn't work though.

Yeah, I know, call me silly or a big eejit even, but wouldn't you try??? I know, you probably would not tell anyone about it, he he... But I have nooooo secrets...

(I should try with some nice pictures of chimps, maybe?)

Which Negima Character Are You?

Ken Akamatsu strikes again! And here are the results for my Negima personality test! I think it's very appropriate! Nodoka-chan is the librarian of Mahora Academy... Mark and I are reading this manga at the moment and it's quite funny and cute, I'm loving it!

Which Negima Character are you?

Woot! You're mostly like Nodoka. You are very quiet and intelligent. You hang out with a small cluster of friends that understand you, but getting to know new people can make you nervous. You don't talk to many other people besides friends and family. You love to read books and can be very responsible.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Friday, September 15, 2006

YSL Signes d'Orient Palette

I bought the new Yves Saint-Laurent palette Signes d'Orient last weekend, while in the House of Fraser.

I would give it a 8/10 rating.

It can be used on both eyes and face and it's composed of 3 colours: 2 lighter shades (baby pink and light beige with shimmers) and a lovely neutral brown, also a bit sparkly (golden flecks).

I don't think the brown could be used on the face as a blusher - but then again, maybe a darker complexion could do it - but it works beautifully as a contouring ayeshadow on the lashline and crease. It is very pigmented, that's why I think it would not work as a blusher, since it may look "streaky" on the face.

The lighter shades are great as both face highlighters and eyeshadow, providing a good base for darker shades and giving a nice glow when set over the brow bone. It is a great palette for everyday use, since it's neutral and subtle, very understated, easy to apply. I love it. Also, the embossed Chinese design on the pan is a must, however you feel a bit sad when you use it for the 1st time and realise it's not going to be there forever!

There are two things I don't like about it though:

- The golden shiny case with the YSL logo in matte gold looks pretty but is a magnet for fingerprints and other stains and marks. I really have this problem with the YSL golden cases and, moreover, they tend to oxidise over time;

- As it commonly happens with multi-task makeup palettes, it comes with a velvet black pouch (again, a magnet for fluff and dust-bunnies) and two applicators, being one for blusher (a small brush) and the other for eyeshadow (a double ended sponge applicator). These are useless. The brush is kinda cute but tiny (maybe it would work better as a shader?) and the spongy thing is flimsy and, again, tiny. Why they do still insist in pushing us those things, I don't know. Except for the Japanese compacts, which come with the best applicators, the compacts in general (European brands) come with these little useless contraptions that add to nothing in the end. I believe nowadays people have real brushes to apply makeup (I do, at least!): a nice fluffy brush for blush and a variety of different brushes for eyeshadow and liner - either from Shu Uemura, Bobbi Brown, or whatever! But quality brushes, and not doll-house artifacts!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Shiseido Beautiful Ad

This ad is just perfect. I think the model is Itoh Misaki. The ad for Shiseido's Skincare products, which simply are the best. Music and photography are perfect. The whole ad is a real gem and makes you want to try all their products. I especially love the part with the oritzuru (paper cranes), it's so colourful and delicate...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"To be a man..." (Shin-chan's wisdom)

Ha ha, I think this boy is genius! OK, not the most politically correct, maybe... But, who cares??? Just love, love, love Shin-chan...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I want a dog like this to be my pet-driver...

Ha ha! This is so cool! I could not believe when I read this on the web today: this woman in Mongolia crashed while teaching her dog how to drive! How crazy! How cute! How...

Me too, me too! I want a dog who knows how to drive, because I don't! See, instead of having the dog in a leash, it could drive me around in a car! Brilliant! Well, that lady in Mongolia, she surely knows how to drive; maybe the only problem here is that she is not a very good trainer, mhwahahahaaa!

(Aw dear... This made my day... What's next??)

If we only knew the breed, huh? Perhaps a Labrador or an Alsatian would have scored better, no?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Little things (and changes)

Here are some little things I love:

- The murmur of the wind through the trees (not tempest-woooooooohhhh but rather nice-afternoon-tsch-tsch-tsch, which means rather "breeze" than "wind" maybe!);
- Sunset lights;
- Cool temperatures (16-17 degrees);
- Wind chimes (goes well with the nice-afternoon-tsch-tsch-tsch, like a complimetary pling-pling-pling) ;
- Ramen noodles;
- Summer snails, always being very careful not to thread on the little things, since they look so cute and, ehr, relaxed!

(It 's being like this today! Had noodles at lunch time - and the other stuff!)

Today there was the official announcement in SITA that our office in Dublin will close. We will be made redundant. Last day is November 30th. I must say I feel quite relieved that they actually (and finally) announced it in a proper way, because we knew - non-officially - for some weeks already and oh boy, that was torture!

I must also say that I don't like changes and risks, but in some case a big shake may be very welcome - as a way of not remaining stagnated, accommodated, or frozen in a space and time cocoon.

In my case I must think about what I really want to do, since I am not very sure yet of that! I have been working for these companies for quite some time and never really stopped very much to think if that's what I really wanted: Pan American (2 years), American Express (9 and 1/2 years), SITA (6 years). And there you have 18 years of my life, gone without me being sure if that was worth the effort.

Some things I would like to do:

- Maybe work as a contractor;
- Have time to do some courses on Graphic design applications;
- Definitely go to a good HTML course;
- XML maybe (as well);
- Japanese course maybe (very tempting);
- Sit down and re-start drawing;
- Finally get/renew my Gym membership and start exercising again to see if I get more energetic and bring some movement to these limbs;
- Read, read, read;
- Start selling stuff on EBay as well.

The breeze is still "breezing". I feel relaxed.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Country Roads (from "Whisper of the Heart")

This was found on Youtube and taken from Hayao Miyazaki's "Whisper of the Heart" (aka Mimi wo Sumaseba), one of my favourite movies. I have the soundtrack and just love the Japanese version of "Country Roads" when Shizuku starts singing it, so shyly at the beginning and then becoming more and more confident.

The English lyrics can be be seen in the video above, but here are the Romaji lyrics if you wish to karaoke!

Kantori Roodo (Country Roads)

Kantorii Roodo, kono michi
Zutto yukeba
Ano machi ni tsuduite ru
Ki ga suru Kantorii Roodo

Hitori botchi, osorezu ni
Ikiyou to yume mite ta
Samishisa oshikomete
Tsuyoi jibun wo mamotte ikou

Kantorii Roodo, kono michi...

Arukidukare tatazumu to
Ukande kuru furusatou no machi
Oka wo maku saka no michi
Sonna boku wo shikatte iru

Kantorii Roodo, kono michi...

Donna kujikesou na toki datte
Kesshite namida ha misenaide
Kokoro nashi ka hochou ga hayaku natte iku
omoide kesu tame

Kantorii Roodo, kono michi
Furusato he tsuduite mo
Boku ha, ikanai sa
Ikenai Kantorii Roodo

Kantorii Roodo, ashita ha
Itsu mo no boku sa
Kaeritai, kaerenai
Sayonara, Kantorii Roodo

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Mousehunt tonight!

Mousehunt was the super-funny film we watched tonight. It was not our first time watching it of course, but it's so cute and so funny, that I can really watch it over and over again. Mark did not watch it until the end though. He likes a lot of films, but he does not quite appreciate watching them lots and lots of times. Unlike me, he he!

Amazingly versatile Christopher Walken plays a very good character here: Caesar, the wacky exterminator, who tries to end our adorable mouse's career in the old house.

So, that was what we saw tonight. I expect to watch something else tomorrow, after we come back from Dundrum for some shopping. Meanwhile I will be going to bed now and try and have a nice sleep. Last night it was quite bad, for I had a terrible migraine and could only get some sleep around 5am... And of course I slept for most of the day today, such a waste!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Kero-baby: cuteness alert!

She must be the cutest baby on the web! I was searching for Keroro on Youtube and there she was! Under doraemonyeung's profile, who must be the proudest relative/parent ever! So adorable!

(By the way, she is singing, or attempting to sing, the Keroro's opening theme for the 1st series, that you can hear in the background, sung in Chinese. Super-lovely! Aaaaawwww...)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

This weekend's flicks

Yesterday... March of the Penguins. One beautiful piece of cinematography about the emperor penguin's struggle for survival in the whites of Antartica. Even better was the documentary included in the DVD's special feature: "Of Penguins and Men", showing all the hard work behind the cameras. An adventure not to be missed.

Today... Lady Vengeance. A Korean production about a woman in search of vengeance and justice. Wonderful photography and soundtrack, and brilliant actors. Dark sense of humour and some quite melancholy moments make of it a piece of perfect and delicate balance. You should check that out.


Sometimes I think if I am not a bit weird or what. I have two antagonic sides co-existing inside me.

One is the "I-adore-all-things-cute" side or, most specifically, kawaii. The other is the complimentary "But-I-love-horror-flicks" one. Meaning that people can listen to me digressing and going all "aawwww" at the latest Hello Kitty gimmick and - ten minutes later, literally - going all excited about that new JHorror release where hairy ghosts come out of toasters, for example.

Those two things live inside me like an old Stevie Wonder's song: "in perfect harmony". Although they may seem a bit incompatible to the world around me. That is why I so much identify with Momotchi and Tama-chan, from my beloved Keroro Gunso series. They are characters of "extremes". Taste-wise and pesonality-wise too. I have a bit of their mood swings as well (Mark knows well about it!). I can be in cute-mode now, and the next moment become a venomous harpy! Ha ha! Of course I am exaggerating a bit here, but yeah, you can picture it...

Cute stuff I love:

- Sanrio characters, especially (and above all) Hello Kitty;
- Pucca;
- Morning Glory's Babu and Blue Bear;
- San-X stuff:
- Cute maneki neko;
- Nici stuff;
- Cute Asian makeup brands such as Majolica Majorca, Anna Sui and Lavshuca.

However, there are "cute" stuff I seriously dislike because they look tacky, passé and utterly mind-numbing, such as:

- Some kinds of Teddy Bears (eg, Care Bears and several greeting card ones);
- Barbie dolls;
- Bratz;
- Teletubbies;
- Anne Geddes baby pics;
- Ads where dogs and little babies talk with silly adult voices (eg, Andrex toilet rolls where a lovely and playful Labrador puppy sounds like an old drag-queen, Pampers etc...)

As for the Horror, I must say I am quite proud of my collection of DVDs! Mostly Asian films, because their approach of horror is not only "cleaner" but also deeper, and mostly impressive. Stylish even. And, the Horror I dislike is stuff like Re-animator and Infection for example. They are just plain gross. Period.

Notes: There is no such a thing as a JHorror film where a hairy ghost comes out of a toaster, of course! They normally come out of TVs and bathroom sinks, but not toasters - at least for now; one can only hope...

Also, I recognise this whole cute thing is a bit subjective. I know that, for some people, Hello Kitty may look abominable and Care Bears adorable, for example. Or drag-queenish labrador puppies may sound like the epitome of cuteness... Who am I to say? Anyway, it's all too personal in the end, no?

Finally, the above picture with Momotchi and Tama-chan I got in the super-cool Keroro's Korean website! Worth checking (and bookmarking) it!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Wish List!!!

Mark just found out that a new Hello Kitty mobile phone is being released this month: it is the BenQ Siemens AL26 Hello Kitty. Pink, cute and slim. It is a sliding phone too, which is what I want for me next! Need to have it! I don't know if it will be available here in Ireland. If not, I can always get it on EBay, because Mark checked it would work here with no problem, no matter where we buy it!

I knew the OKWAP Kitty one, made in Korea, which is cute and comes with lots of extras (straps, purse etc). However the design of the BenQ looks prettier and less bulky. The OKWAP is quite expensive on EBay, even after more than one year of its release. It must be a good phone, but I will wait to see where I can get the BenQ. As for the extras, I have more than enough straps and cute purses to use with, so I would not really need it.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Father Dougal's Three Wishes

Thanks to YouTube, here is a scene of our all-time fave "Father Ted". Father Dougal must be one of my dearest characters; he is so silly you can just love him!
I could not find my really favorite scene though, the one about the Spider Baby in the Fun Fair...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Afuro Gunso, yeah, Afuro...

Afro Gunso (Romaji Lyrics):
Hello mommy!!! This is for you, he he!!!

Aikotoba wa afuro to gunsou
Afuro (afuro) gunsou (gunsou) 3,2,1, faiya-!
Afuro gunsou afuro gunsou wa afuro
Afuro gunsou afuro gunsou wa afuro
Ranbou ni hipparuna kiyasuku yubi de tsumamuna
Sore ijyou chikazukuna itzura suruna sawaruna!
Chiri chiri jori jori babe
Bosa bosa (kushya kushya) mojya mojya
Kibishii tatakai daga tonikaku haragoshirae
Byuaa na uchyuu no seimei sunao sugi teheso magari
Teki wa kinpatsu de sutore-to 3,2,1 Faiya-!
Afuro gunsou afuro gunsou wa afuro
Afuro gunsou afuro gunsou wa afuro

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Nonsensical and delightful: Survive Style 5+

I ordered "Survive Style 5+" from Play some weeks ago and we just watched it last week. The film is great fun and visually amazing. Colorful and surreal. Think about an Almodovar flick mixed with some Clamp's "XXXHolic", and then you can have an idea. Aesthetics to die for. A bit kitsch, a bit psychedelic. Sometimes gothic, but never in shades of black. Everything is colourful and bright there. The interior of the houses is also fabulous, as are the clothes.

The story is about 5 different groups of characters whose lives end up interacting at one stage or another:

- Aman, played by the gawjus Tadanobu Asano, who keeps trying to kill his wife but she always comes back to life;
- Yoko, who is a publicity/creative director who records her wacky ideas for commercials on a little voice recorder. She has an affair with a stage hypnotist - who is a celebrity and bit of a jerk;
- Mr. Kobaysahi is a businessman who gets tickets to take his family (wife and 2 kids) to that hypnotist's show;
- An English hitman (and a bit of an Angel of Death it seems!) played by Vinnie Jones , that arrives to Japan and, in the company of his translator/sidekick, also goes to the hypnotist's show but with a very clear function (telling which would be a bit of a spoiler though!);
- A trio of hoodlums, which are rather very sympathetic and not quite the badasses, which goes around town breaking into houses and ends up meeting the hitman in an onsen.

I cannot tell much more, but the situations are hilarious. I especially like Yoko when she observes the things happening around her and then giggles in delight imagining the potential ads that she can create from that. And I love when the Kobayashi family enter their car and start singing like mad on the way to the hypnotist's performance!

The clothes used by Aman's wife are wonderful. A bit déco sometimes, and not unlike a Pucci frock straight out from the 60's. And their house is fantastic, with "eyes" being a recurrent theme (even on Aman's coat, who seems to be the one obsessed with them). Eyes on the curtains, on the chairs, on posters and paintings. Everywhere.

"Survive Style" is a black comedy with a happy ending. Everything is stylish and beautiful: clothes, décor and music. The story is hilarious and touchy at the same time. It's definitely worth watching it. I will be getting the soundtrack very soon.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Terre d'Hermès

Mark was in Spain since Sunday and arrived yesterday. He bought me the most adorable scent while there, Hermès "Terre d'Hermès" created by one of my favourite noses, Jean-Claude Ellena.

The scent is an ode to Vétiver, one of my favourite fragrance notes. Vétiver lends a rooty, earthy, rainy character to fragrances. "Elemental" would be the word to describe it. And no wonder this one is called "Terre". That's indeed what it is: the smell of earth at its best. Wet earth after a rainshower in Brazil. A very pungent, tropical aroma, almost metallic, and somehow sharp - in a most pleasant way though! One of the nicest smells for me... Full of memories, fragrant memories of childhood, and growing-up years.

It is mostly used in fragrances classified as "masculine", however I do not agree very much with such classifications. I believe fragrances are genderless. You wear what you love, doesn't matter if intended for a man, a woman, or a baby even. But that's my point-of-view. No wonder I've been wearing Guerlain's "Vétiver" for years now. Still some people see it as "weird", believe it or not.

"Terre d'Hermès" is a fantastic alternative to my beloved "Vétiver", mixing its dominant notes with patchouli and woods. One can distinguish a hint of citrus (a bit like lemongrass maybe) right in the top and middle notes, which confers a crystalline, sunny trait to a primarily "harsh" and very distinctive note, smoothing down the overall composition. Think about a little Murano glass leaf filtering the sun rays and shattering into a million of tiny, delicate rainbows. The drydown melts into a pleasant, woody and almost sparkly mix of wonders, like those fragrant tiny rainbows. Its "final" colour? Emerald green, like the Rain Forest, with some gold foil patches here and there. Transparent. Aqueous. Refreshing.

This makes a great scent for all seasons: Summer, Winter, anytime. Staying power is great too; it literally lasts for hours on end. If you love this kind of earthy, clean smell, this is definitely worth a sniff.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Keroro Ending Song - my favorite!!!

Isn't it super kawaii???
Just LOVE that song and now I need to find the Romaji lyrics!
The song is called PEKOPON SHINRYAKU ONDOU, a Summer ending song for the series.
I have the CD, and the lyrics in Japanese, but not Romaji, unfortunately...
(And I cannot read Japanese, boo-hooo!!!)
If by any chance anyone has it, please let me know, OK?

Domo arigatou!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Scruffy O'Bear: A True Story

This is a picture of me and my beloved Scruffy O'Bear, a present of Mark before we got married!

He tells all the story of Scruffy in his blog here! All details and so on... Later on we realised that he was not really a bear, but a dog. The last name remained of course, because it sounds very Irish and Scruffy was already used to it, he he!

When Mark sent it to me in Rio he also made an album with lots of pictures of him, Scruffy and Owen called:

"The Grand Adventures of Scruffy O'Bear - Being a Tale of Fun and Larks in the Seaside Town of Brighton..."

Lovely! The pictures are great, however they were taken with a disposable camera and the scans, as you will notice, are far from perfect, a bit grainy in fact. The originals are perfect though and I have them here, of course! The little story Mark wrote is also very cute and funny! You can as well see the pics as a slide show, however on the slide show Mark's captions with the original little story are not available.

Now let's face it: how on Earth could I not fall in love after such a present???

Friday, July 14, 2006

Swing Girls!

We got yet another fantastic film from CDJapan (where on Earth would I be without them?): "Swing Girls".

It is an exhilarating, charming little comedy, with great, funny moments and you can just feel good while you watch it. And the feel-good effect will last for some hours afterwards, that's for sure!

There is one specific scene involving the girls and a wild boar that is just completely different from everything you have ever seen in a comedy, and absolutely hilarious and unexpected. Surreal, I would say.

The family scenes are also woth a mention, and the little girl that plays Tomoko's sister is a joy to watch.

The actors are excellent. Actually all the musical pieces in the film have been performed by themselves, and not dubbed at all, which is just very impressive. They have been taking music lessons for several months beforehand at the Yamaha Music School - whose headquarters do play a role in the film - since not many of them knew how to play an instrument (in real life). I think it's just brilliant how talented they are.

The DVD is a little gem, packed with extras, everything superbly produced, masterly directed and beautifully acted. In one word: perfect. Mark loved it too, since it's not a chick-flick, but a film for everybody. If you love great comedies, please try to get a copy of this! It's not to be missed!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Last night we watched a very good Korean horror film, "Acacia", directed by Ki-Hyung Park, same director of "Whispering Corridors". It is a fantastic film, with beautiful photography and music. A little work of art.

I don't see it as much as a "horror" film, but rather as a drama. It tells the story of a childless couple longing for a baby. Since the baby doesn't come, they decide to adopt. The Father is a ob-gyn consultant. The Mom works as an art critic, exhibition judge or something like that.

They visit an orphanage and she sees the drawings of the kids, and is intrigued by a drawing that looks very much like Edvard Munch's "The Scream". As an art critic, she is fascinated by that and asks to meet the kid who drew it, an adorable 6 year-old, called Jim-seong. She decides to adopt him and the kid goes to live with his new parents.

In the end, she ends up getting pregnant and having another baby boy. Jim-seong starts to feel rejected and becomes very troubled and somber, which is quite understandable. He is jealous, his parents seem to have eyes for the new-born only, and do not seem to care very much about him. He then becomes attached to a dying acacia tree in the garden and claims that the tree is his "real Mother". At the same time he befriends his little neighboor, a lonely - and somehow precocious - 8 year-old girl, Min-ji.

But one day Jim-seong disappears and the family starts to live a nightmare of guilt and loss. More I must not tell, but the film grows increasingly sadder and a wee bit creepy as well. The images are beautiful though, everything looks like a dream, like a picture book. It is a deliberate tribute to Munch and his colours, and fantastic, dreamlike scenarios.

The acacia tree is an old symbol for innocence, purity and immortality. It is an evergreen. According to the Egyptian myth for example, Seth killed Osiris by locking him into a golden sarcophagus and setting it afloat on the Nile. The sarcophagus ended up in Byblos, and a beautiful acacia tree grew all around it, as if to protect the god's body. That acacia tree being so lush and fragrant, it was used to build a pillar for the King's palace, until Isis finally found it and broke it as to release her husband. Horus himself was born from inside an acacia tree, in one of the versions of the myth. Therefore, the acacia is associated to rebirth, immortality, and triumph over death - similar to the Phoenix. It is a key symbol in Freemasonry also. We would spend more than a week perhaps just to mention all myths and traditions where the acacia appears as a symbol of immortality, and rebirth.

In relation to the film though, its symbolism has been very well captured and treated, albeit with a modern twist and inserted into a family drama. Worth checking it out. It's a beautiful, melancholy piece of cinematography.

Monday, July 03, 2006


I am just back from St. Vincent's Hospital, where I had my 2nd MRI since I was diagnosed in 2002. It's very noisy inside that tube, even with the ear plugs, but not at all uncomfortable. You get a bit dizzy though.

I got out, Mark went to collect the car and picked me up, and then I sang: "My brain has just been photographed, la la..."

Mark's answer to that: "Yeah, assuming that they could find a brain..."

He is SOOOO nice, no???


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Another Takeshi Kitano's tonight...

... and it was "Kids Return" (aka "Kidzu Ritan"), a lovely coming-of-age tale. Great as everything Kitano does, and with Hisaishi's soundtrack - always excellent. The story is about two high-school bullies, Shinju and Masaru, and how they grow up, and things do not go exactly as they expected. It's a funny, and touchy movie at the same time. I could identify very much with the characters, in the sense that when I was young I had all these dreams (becoming this and that, doing one thing or another, and so on) and in the end, it did not come out exactly as I had planned.

Shinju and Masaru, and their shy colleague Hiroshi, try to do their best (as a boxer, a Yakuza's man and a taxi driver respectively) and things just do not seem to work as expected. They are still very young though and can easily make a new start. It's a fun film, light and well-acted, albeit slight melancholy. A must-see.

Bye bye Brasil...

Tonight Brasil was eliminated (in the World Cup I mean!). The French won the game. I was supporting Brasil of course, but did not get very sad or anything. I like watching the games but I am not a soccer person. I don't care about football, but it was fun.

I liked to see Brasil and France playing because the players in general were quite friendly and civilised. A bunch of real gentlemen! That's nice to see... Probably because they all know each other in their everyday job, playing for those clubs and so on. It was good to see them embracing each other, and being all friendly in the end. But we must admit that Zidane fella is a super-cute player! Aaaaahhh, he looks soooo lovely!

There is one thing that freaks me out in those games though. They have this thing of exchanging the jerseys in the end, and it's all sweaty and yucky! I get a bit "nervous" when I see that exchange of jerseys (and bodily fluids, gyaahhh!)... See, I could not be a football player if I were a guy (actually I would probably be working in "Queer Eye for a Straight Guy" instead...). I mean I would be very embarrassed by that ritual. Mark says he would not care at all because "everybody is sweaty and stinky in the end"... Yeah,yeah, but you know your own sweat, another different thing is someone else's... Not nice, I think...

Blah, I am just digressing and being silly maybe... (As usual!)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Asobi Seksu: Newton's rec, brilliant!

I have just received a message from my friend Newton, with a suberb CD recommendation. The band is called Asobi Seksu, and consists of one Japanese female vocalist (Yuki) and three American guys. They are said to be one of the best New York bands nowadays, and you can sample their last CD, Citrus, on their website! I am now listening to the tracks (samples, samples, very very short!) and loving it, so, this must be the First on my wish list now.

Newton thinks they sound a bit like Cocteau Twins, which I love, especially Yuki's voice. Still according to him, it can be compared - to some extent - to Cocteau's vocalist Liz Fraser, and I pretty much agree. Newton also mentions some simmilarity to Lush - but I must say I don't know them to agree or disagree (another group being added to my wish list, it seems!)... What I think is, if you like the style of Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine as well, this is a must-try, must-have, whatever! A must. It's really catchy and atmospheric. I am enchanted, aaaahhh... And mind you, all this enthusiasm coming just from hearing the samples.

Newton has that blog but he seems to have become a very lazy poster lately! I admire and respect very much his musical opinions, and he is always introducing me to some bands and singers I abolutely adore nowadays (Maki Nomiya and Pizzicato 5, Shiina Ringo etc). Newton is a DJ and know his stuff very well. When he started blogging he wrote a little post for me, he he! I thought it was so cool: Nonstop to Tokyo (02/08/2004). And I love the P5 pictures he selected. I followed his recommendations from the blog and became a big P5 fan in the end... Here's another of their pictures I love - stylishly kitsch, unmistakeably P5-ish, just brill...

Now, back again to Asobi Seksu... their songs by the way, are sung in both Japanese and English. I was reading in their bio that Asobi Seksu is the Japanese word for "playful sex", ahem...

Monday, June 26, 2006

"The Devil Wears Prada"

I am mora than halfway through this book, "The Devil Wears Prada" by Lauren Weisberger. It will be a film starring Meryl Streep as the abominable "Devil" Miranda Priestly, but I am not sure when it starts here in Ireland. Of course I am looking forward to it.

I am liking it. It is not hilarious though. I could indeed believe she based her book in her own experience and job (or jobs). Some parts are written with such resentment, that it is hard to imagine it not being based in real life events, painful ones for that matter.

Some parts however are quite funny and very sarcastic - and I like those. As for the character herself (the narrator, Ahn-dre-ah, like yours truly here), you can easily picture all the humiliation and embarrassment she went through in the Elias-Clark's headquarters and under Miranda's heels. It is well-described, and sometimes a bit painful to read even! But bear in mind this is not a perfect book, it has its flaws (the pace mostly), but it is entertaining nonetheless.

Bosses like Miranda do exist, I firmly believe that. It's not just a creation of a writer, no. They are for real. The closer I got to that kind of species was to a woman/boss who used to order me, literally, to wear "some lipstick" to the office. "Some makeup won't do you any harm, at least you will look healthier, Andrea". Of course, I will not mention names here, nor the company where it used to take place, ha ha! It was also well before my obsession with high-end cosmetics, of course. And that woman... She was a real tyrant though, and I was really glad when I got out of her claws, relieved, re-born, well, you can picture it!

So, Mirandas are not fiction, unfortunately. However the one pictured in the book is a very, very extreme case of ugliness and bitchiness. They do exist though. Worth having a read of this book. Not the most brilliant as I said, but funny enough to keep you going while having a cold or just a dull weekend.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Koji Suzuki part 2: a brief comment...

I am almost past the 1st half of "Loop". I was reading it last night, after writing about Koji Suzuki's work.

Actually, this book seems now rather like a sci-fi story than a horror one. Or a sci-fi-horror mixed altogether.

Right now, it is a bit like an episode of the "X Files" blended with "The Matrix". Some things are not what they seemed to be! I am a bit shaken myself!

Again, no more details on that. Go and read it by yourself kudasai!

Koji Suzuki's Books...

This scene is a classic. Taken from "Ringu" (aka "Ring"). Sadako coming out of the telly, crawling, hair on her face, bleeding nails, desperate, vengeful.

I love Koji Suzuki's books. The film (the original Japanese, of course) was very, very good, and I don't tire of watching it. From the Ringu trilogy (the films) my favourites are, with no doubt, "Ring" and "Ring 0".

As for the books, I am now reading the 3rd one: "Loop". The first two were "Ring", of course, and "Spiral". "Spiral" was quite good and you start to understand Sadako Yamamura's motivations and actually empathise with her. I did, at least. She is a fascinating character. She is very well portrayed in "Ring 0", by the way.

You see more of her in "Spiral" and there are some freaky scenes that can make your blood chill. But what I like about KS's style is the way he writes about things as a journalist would do, namely, very normal things (or apparently so). Yet suddenly you will start to feel the chill underlining every one of these normal, run-of-the mill situations, as if some time soon, blood would come out of the pages of your own book. That scene of Sadako's coming out of a TV set is quite similar to Koji's storytelling style. When reading "Ring", the book becomes your very own haunted TV set, and spectral Sadako will make her appearance pretty soon. So it seems to me. Is there anything creepier than that? I'm afraid not. The man is good. Real good.

"Ring" the film, by its turn, set a new standard for horror films: the dishevelled woman seeking for revenge. Dishevelled, hair on her face, wet, crawling, crackling almost, and coming out of some unexpected device or place (a well) or window, from a "little darkness" somewhere. As a broken puppet.

That image can be proudly put beside some other horror classics: Jack Nicholson's face in "The Shining"("Here's Johnny!"), the stabbing in the shower scene from "Psycho", Regan's rotating head in "The Exorcist" etc... And of course has influenced a countless number of other Asian horror scenes. And hilarious satyres, naturally.

As for "Loop", I am still sort of "getting acquainted" to the story and new characters. I hope Ando, Sadako and Ryuji will be there! I am feeling a bit lost without them. New characters (some interesting ones) are being introduced little by little. There's lots of science, human conflicts, emotions, diseases, conspirations etc, so far. But I cannot tell more, otherwise I may spoil it.

By the end of the year, a new book from KS will be released in the US and UK: "Birthday". I am waiting anxiously, needless to say.

(By the way I haven't yet read the manga based on KS's books. Hope to do so sometime soon though).

Saturday, June 17, 2006

World Cup Days!

Yeah, yeah, I don't care about soccer alright. But this is a great opportunity to post this:

Isn't he the cutest??? If all soccer players looked like him, the games would be much easier to watch, no? Keroro, Keroro in my heart... Ta, ta, ta, ta... De arimasu!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Doctors, World Cup games etc...

Today I will go to St. Vincent's Hospital to find out what needs to be done about my stupid gallstones.

Yesterday I went to the Bon Secours Hospital to see a 3rd or 4th (I don't even know anymore at this stage) Neurologist, about my condition. This was requested by the company where I work. They need to ensure I work in the right conditions for law purposes, blah-blah. According to that neuro (who's got the tackiest hairdo I ever saw in my entire life - something out of a 70's B movie, really bad), there's nothing to be done about fatigue. Unless I start a fitness regime, which may help. I already took all possible tablets for that and they did not really work, so, last resource would be joining a gym. Not that it's a bad thing. It is a very good thing, I think. As far as I feel up to it and force myself a bit. These days, I actually feel up to virtually nothing, I must admit.

Yesterday we watch the match Brazil X Croatia. It was boring. Not that I care about football to start with. There was a stupid Brazilian player called Adriano that made a foul (sp?) against the Croatian captain. That Adriano is a good-for-nothing little muppet, it seems. But the cute Káká scored the goal.

Look, I feel very divided with these games. I have friends in Croatia. As I have friends in Japan. So, I feel a bit awkward! At least, if Brazil doesn't win, the countries of my friends will. And that's very good too. So, either the Croatians or the Blue Samurai - that's just fine with me! Not to mention Italy, of course, which I love especially after being there and being so well received. But I don't know if they will be playing each other and when. I know nothing about these games, duuuuuhhhh...

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Mt. Vesuvius

The thing that mostly impressed me during this trip to Italy was being so close to Mt. Vesuvius. It is one of the most dangerous volcanoes of the world and its last eruptive cycle lasted from 1913 to 1944. Right now, it seems to be having a "quiet time". Thanks to the gods.

The image on the right I got from the Discovery website and their documentary "Pompeii: The Last Day". Worth checking it for more details on the history of the site.

I have selected it because I think the image does capture very well what the image of the volcano conveyed to me while driving through Naples. Three words, simply: beautiful, imposing, intimidating.

You drive through it to/from the Aiport on the way to Amalfi. All you can see is the volcano, quitely watching the towns at its foothills. And it's a bit of a shock. It's still active, of course, and there is a whole world living underneath its shadow, towns and people, life just going on. Brava gente, I would say. Of course people cannot think about what may or may not happen there. I think it's touching and courageous at the same time. It makes me admire them even more.

I remember the Vesuvius from my chilhood: watching pictures from Pompeii and Ercolano. I could never forget the photographs of those bodies, like macabre pictures taken at the moment of their (apparently) painful, agonising deaths. Actually, these people were enveloped in some few seconds, dying instantaneously from either the heat and/or gas poisoning. I remember there was a picture of a dog laying dead. And several people. I could never forget that. However those were not actual bodies, of course, but plaster casts made by pouring the plaster into the hollows left by the actual bodies (now long decomposed of course). At any rate, it was shocking to have those images captured somehow.

But there is a fun way to remember Mt. Vesuvius too. And that's the crazy witch duck Magica DeSpell! I had great fun reading the Disney magazines and Magica and Donald Duck's adventures were my favourites. Magica is a "sexy" duck villainess (a bit like Sophia Loren maybe) who tirelessly tries to steal Uncle Scrooge's "first dime". Guess where she lives? Righto! In the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius! Although sometimes she spends time in her house at Ducksburg, closer to Scrooge's, of course... Her name in Portuguese is "Maga Patalógica", and her inseparable friend was Mad Madam Mim ("Madame Min"). As far as I can remember, she wanted to get the dime and throw it into the Vesuvius for some crazy, magical purpose, a bit like a twisted version of Frodo and the One Ring! (Or maybe I am just mixing things, he he!). Of course, while driving in that region, I thought of her too! Not only the serious stuff...

Friday, June 09, 2006

In Dublin + pics from Amalfi and Ravello...

(This picture here is me playing silly in one of the countless covered alleyways of Amalfi...)

We arrived yesterday, after a pretty uneventful journey. It's good to be back. But I miss the place a lot, I mean, I miss Italy. It's not only because of the wonderful places, but people also make me feel very at home. There is something in the Italian way that is very, very similar to Brasil. probably due to the strong Italian immigration there. It makes me feel comfortable: the accent, the language, the gestures... Not that I speak Italian, no, far from that. I don't. I just can make myself understood and can understand everything when people talk to me. However it is a pity that I cannot express myself that easily, I mean, as easilly as I can understand them.

Below is another picture of me in the Bartolo shop, in Amalfi. The owner is a gem, Mrs. Pinto. I bought that top, which was love at first sight, and also a skirt, an embroidered coat, a necklace with jade stones and glass beads and a little tapestry bag. Prices were quite good too. Mrs. Pinto gave me a lovely elf-green silk scarf as a gift!

And, finally, the pictures below were taken in the Ravello gardens...

That's all for today! I will write a bit more tomorrow...