Sunday, February 26, 2006

In Rio!

I am in Rio now! The trip was fine, we arrived last Monday and everything was OK. During this time (6 days now), I was able to treat a root canal in one of my teeth. It was great. I actually enjoy going to the dentist. Well, sort of...

Anyways, it was so good that I even managed to sleep during the treatment. And it only took 4 or 5 hours (maybe less) in total.

We have been to nice restaurants as well. The one I liked the most so far was the Quadrucci, here in Leblon. It's a fancy Italian restaurant. The highlights were the Oz cocktail (Absolut vodka + strawberries + passion fruit + grapes) and also Mark's brownie with curry and chocolate sauce! That's an unexpected combination, but so adorable! Who could tell curry would go so well with chocolate?! It's amazing, very aromatic and exceptionally tasty. The Oz cocktail was my choice. I had only one drink and a bit of a hangover the next day. But it was worth it. Thing is I am not a drinker. So, only one meagre 1/2 pint will already make me a bit dizzy. But it was nice.

Now, I am expecting that the Quadrucci people will, one day, release some curry truffles! That would be great, think about it... I know it sounds weird, but chocolate + curry are a heavenly mix.

What else? I do love Rio! However... There are two things I really hate about it:

1 - The heat - TOO HOT!!!! Make it 40 degrees (Celsius, of course). I cannot stand it. That's why I stay home most of the time or, when required, leave after the Sun sets. Like a vampire. After I came to live in Ireland, I got used to the cold. Even nowadays, it's less and less cold over there, unfortunately. But my ideal temperature is now 5 to 10-11 degrees. I also feel the heat more after starting my MS treatment, ie, the Beta-Interferon injections. So, it's very hard on me. But the important thing is to be at home with my Mom and Maria, really!

2 - Cockroaches - I am scared to death of them. And in Summer they go crazy here. They fly, they are big and brown and scary. Well, I've almost been attacked by one last week, here at home. Miriam, Adriano, my Mom and Maria saw it. Mark just saw when I threw myself on the floor (he was in the kitchen at the time), trying to make an escape from the abominable insect. I could swear it was staring at me, ready to make a move, and my first thought was to throw myself on the floor to somehow avoid the confrontation. It worked, they killed the monster, but also had a fright when I started screaming and was suddenly lying and crawling on the floor. Well, I hit my elbows, but I am fine now! The little monster was quite round. Adriano says it was a bit like a "hunchback" cock-roach, not your normal average mid-sized, oval-shaped beast. Ugly, ugly, scary, scary.

And the list of abominable Rio things ends here. I love all the rest! It's great being here...

We've been to Miriam and Adriano's house last night and Mark took some pictures of the local band, which was on the streets playing carnival music and dancing. Lots of kids there too, with funny costumes. Noisy, but nonetheless quite interesting and very peaceful. In spite of all problems, Rio still is a wonderful place. The restaurants, landscape, great shops, everything makes it a great city to be part of.

Well, I am going now! Mark is leaving to the shops with Maria, and my Mom and I are staying at home now. I will rest a bit and then wake up again and read some Murakami. This time, I am reading the "Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World". As usual, amazing. Surreal. Beautiful. And funny. It seems this book has inspired the plot of "Haibane Renmei", an amazing anime series.

See you later!


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Travelling to Rio Tomorrow

We are going to Rio tomorrow, to spend my Birthday! It will be great! I am really missing it. It's one year already, since we've been there last. I am looking forward to drink lots of coconut water - my favourite drink, which I cannot have here since there are no fresh coconuts around!

We packed today. Lots of things to bring! And tons of Hello Kitty mascots and netsuke! I have an obscene amount of them and sometimes I buy it (or win it) in duplicate. So, I am bringing these to give away as pressies. My Mother and Maria love them, although my Mom prefers the mascots because they have no little bells, so she doesn't make a noise while carrying it!

Mark says he will build myself a database so I can store pictures and descriptions of my Kitties. It's funny how I am so "old" but really enjoy these "childish" things. Maybe they make me feel younger? I don't know, but sometimes I wonder if I should really love them that much, or if I don't look silly or something! Well, everybody has a childish side, no? I cannot deny it. And I don't want to lose it either, I admit. I think it's healthy, I don't know...

Then, we'll be departing tomorrow and back on the 8th of March! We will spend Carnival there too, although for us it doesn't matter. I expect to watch some movies, mostly Spielberg's "Munich". I also hope to watch some "Desperate Housewives" episodes while there. And we are bringing Miyazaki's "Howl's Moving Castle" so we can watch it with Miriam and Adriano (and my Mom, of course).

These are the news. And, talking about "childish" things, a little memento of childhood here...

This is "meself" and "me Mom", when I was 4 or 5 years-old - something like that. I look like a brat there, but believe me, I was not.

Well, I will try and blog while in Rio - if we manage to get that damn broadband installed. Hopefully...


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Susumu Hirasawa CD's

He is certainly one of my favourites composers/musicians nowadays. Susumu Hirasawa. Today, I have received 3 of his CD's that I've ordered from CDJapan:

- Kenja No Propeller (aka "Philosopher's Propeller");
- Blue Limbo;
- Millenium Actress original soundtrack.

He was born in 1954 in Tokyo, and is a master in electronic music, widely known in the West by his anime and game soundtracks mostly. He is the founder of the techno-band P-Model, with whom he's been working through the 80's until he finally decided to fly solo in 1989, but still keeping his work with the band albeit less frequently.

His first CD in my collection was the soundtrack for Satoshi Kon's Paranoia Agent, which is superb, with moments alternating between peaceful melancholy and absolute frenzy. Not to be missed. His work seems like a mix of brilliantly orchestrated world music and techno, his songs infused with a supranatural, ethereal quality, which brings them to an almost-"anthem" category. As an example of this, we could mention Paranoia Agent's track "Dream Island Obsessional Park", a joy to listen to.

He can also be sadly romantic and beautifully melodic, solemn, and literally bring tears to one's eyes, as in Millenium Actress's "Chiyoko's Theme". It's just too beautiful. The film also is a gem, unmissable. Hirasawa-san is an activist as well, and also a researcher (and user) of solar energy in his work.

It's really worth visiting his webpage. There you can find free MP3's (never saw such a generous artist, truth to be told!), samples of his released works and also his (also free) Songs Against Carnage - a humanitarian/political statement above all, but also a vivid example of his fantastic work.

Finally - and I only found that today - we can also buy directly from his webpage (CD's and DVD's). It seems he was a pioneer of selling MP3's via web in Japan. At any rate, I am very happy with my purchases! Will listen to some of it now!

Good night!


Sunday, February 12, 2006

The 4 Faves (or the "Bag Tag" Poll!)

Inspired by the post by fellow blogger Treebob, I have decided to make the list of my 4 Favourites as well. I put the original Treebob's categories in pink headers, but also added some extras (these are in blue!). Could not resist!

This was fun and I am crazy for compiling lists! So, here we go then...

4 Things for Andrea

4 jobs I've had in my life
- Worked as a freelancer designer after I graduated;
- Pan American World Airways for 2 years;
- American Express for 9.5 years;
- SITA INC (formerly Eland Technologies) for 6 years (current).

4 movies I can watch over and over
- "Central do Brasil";
- "Schindler's List";
- "Princess Mononoke";
- "Spirited Away".

4 places I've lived
- Rio de Janeiro and...
- Dublin (only these!)

4 shows I love (or loved) to watch
- "Desperate Housewives";
- "Shin-chan";
- "Frasier";
- "Dead Like Me".

4 places I've been on vacations
- Paris;
- Madrid;
- Lisbon;
- London.

4 of my favourite dishes
- Mark's home-cooked chicken breast;
- La Strada's medium-well fillet steak;
- Chicken tikka masala;
- Any coffee-flavoured desserts!

4 websites I visit daily
- Ebay;
- Amazon UK;
- Play;
- Web Japan.

4 places I would tather be right now
- Shopping with Mark in Grafton Street;
- My Mom's house in Rio;
- Touring in Tokyo;
- Browsing Forbidden Planet.

4 bloggers I'm tagging
- Mark;
- Treebob;
- Koneko;
- Cute Overload.

4 composers/groups I am listening to these days
- Joe Hisaishi;
- Susumu Hirasawa;
- DAI (Do As Infinity);
- Keane.

4 authors I revere
- Haruki Murakami;
- Amos Oz;
- J.R.R. Tolkien;
- Isaac B. Singer.
4 favourite manga
- "Ranma 1/2";
- "Inu-Yasha";
- "Love Hina";
- "Chobits".

4 lovely fragrances I wear these days
- Guerlain's Vétiver;
- Frédéric Malle's Editions de Parfums Musc Ravageur layered with L'Occitane Ambre;
- Shiseido's Feminité du Bois;
- Kenzo's Flower Oriental.

4 favourite makeup/skincare brands
- Shiseido;
- Shu Uemura;
- Kosé;
- Guerlain.

And you? What would your 4 faves be?