Saturday, March 31, 2007

Rocky 7... the final final chapter

Rocky 7 will feature Sylvester Stallone taking on a new opponent and a new style of fighting. Rocky's desire to be back in the ring in combination with his maturing, philosophical mentality will lead Mr. Balboa to join the Tokyo Fighting Club. His fight this time around will be another classic rocky epic battle, this time with Taewondo and heavy kickboxing influences. I dreamt the movie last night. It was sweet. It had a kickback to old school kung fu with a touch of Undercover Brother (pictured). If I could invite you into my dreams I would.

This reminds me of a dream Apayo had. We woke up one morning, around 2PM. Apayo was a little groggy and began recounting a dream she had to me.

Apayo: I brought you a present.
Brady: What?
A: A present, wrapped up like a stork would do...
B: Ummm... and?
A: When you unwrapped it...
(dramatic pause)
A: ... it was a turkey.
B: Ha. A turkey huh? That's nice.
[end scene]

My dreams a freakin sweet. I've heard a lot of people say we only dream in black and white, but that's bull. I dream in color (Sly's gi was white with green trim last night). I often dream in 1st person, and while dreaming in 1st personI remember all the other dreams I've had in 1st person. I've been doing this my whole life, but just realized it about 2 years ago. Memories of my dream world and reality were fairly independent. I woke up one morning after my second trip to Europe and realized that I had not been to Europe twice (or even once in reality). Once I realized I had this other set of memories I started remembering more dreams when. I fly often, but it's not like I have a supernatural propensity for flying. Flying is always telekinetic self levitation. I often get mad at my dream self for how bad I am at flying, but I have improved over the years.

Lately, in my dreams I've been working as David Haffner's assistant (COO Leggett ande Platt). It's a good job, I stay motivated and Mr. Haffner gives me problems that are difficult to solve, but we're on the same wavelength so communication is always stellar (Haffner graduated from Mizzou's IMSE program that I will graduate from in Dec.). I haven't been to Europe since 2005... My dreams are often like a reality show with me as the star... they just chronicle (for the most part) things I could actually be doing. I dreamt about the Blue Note alot, and mountain decents during biking dreams are sweet. The dreams I really enjoy usually aren't too outlandish.
I've died a few times, I was run over by a bus when we lived in Tucson (88-91ish)... I'm pretty sure that was my first dream of my own death (I was about 5 years old). When I die my dream memories are reset. I remember that mom and Drew just crossed the street as if nothing had happened (awfully imo for a 5 year old don't you think). Dying in dreams was therapeutic because it allowed my to forget about and move from nightmares that I had. Mentionably I had a recurring nightmare involving an angry cross between the Hulk and the Jolly Green Giant. This was always on a highway in the middle of the Sonoran desert where there was no place to hide, also the road was prefectly straight so there was only constant terror. Oh yeah, the dream like part is that I was always running uphill and he was always running downhill. That's just not fair. The other recurring nightmare was with that wolf that chased the indian guy through the swamps in "the never ending story" movie. Those were rough. Of course I never got caught... the terror of being chased is much worse than acutally being caught.

Anyway... I like sleeping because my dreams freakin rock.

I'm head off to a beach up the coast to relax for the weekend. Pictures and tales to follow.

Friday, March 30, 2007

let's build a sweet fort out of wood and boxes!

A reality created by the uneven distribution of wealth is the large number of favelas in all large Brazilian cities. Favelas are slums, shanty towns, tenements. They have a difference historically because slums were created by people who arrive somewhere with nothing in search of work of a better life, and find nothing. Favelas were originally created by a large number of residents being displaced when soldiers in the late 19th century were discharged after a civil war, and left without jobs or any government assistance for finding living. The original favelas were therefore on the outskirts of the city. The newer growth in the favelas is due to people moving in search of good work, but finding little; the origin of the favelas still separates them historically from other slums around the world. Today favela describes any area dense with people under the poverty line.
Today the favelas aren't necessarily just outside the city. It has been a natural progression that favelas have risen close to city centers. Close to the places of employment for many avocados. Closer to the public transportation. There is a small favela about 1km from my. How big is huge? Shopping Recife has 465 stores (not including restaurants) and 5,000 parking places. Many of the bus routes are directed to the Shopping. On one side of the bus stop is a huge shiny mall; on the other side is a small favela. It's not dangerous to be at that bus stop, but you can smell the favela when the wind blows in the right direction.

These people may not have water every day... to help their situation; many have large tubs on their roof with a plastic tube than runs into their house. The houses are poorly constructed, and all very small. Favelas often have electricity that is stolen from neighboring locations (it's not uncommon to just have extension cords running from upper-class houses or businesses into the favela. It is also not uncommon to have a favela right next to an upper-class home. Imagine a slum next to a couple of half-million dollar houses in Saint Louis. That contrast is a reality here, it's pretty interesting.

The favelas are going to be here for awhile. Laws were passed that to ensure the favelados could prove and retain ownership of their area. The was to prevent major corporations from falsely claiming ownership and simply bulldozing the favelas to make way for their new buildings. Favelados obviously couldn't afford a lawyer, and most couldn't afford the time to go to court.

While it is safe to be near some favelas (like the one by my place). It is not safe, especially for a white person to be in them. Some bus routes often drive people through the larger favelas in Rio. The busses aren't used very much after dark.

Favelas have developed their own culture. It is rumored many have codes within the favela dictating no violence against others living in their favela, and other similar codes to help maintain a sense of order. Favelas often develop a different culture from the city that is 100m away, and the culture of different favelas is largely independent. An interesting effect of this is that larger favelas often open up the favela and promote tours and cultural exhibitions. It's not uncommon for a tour bus to pull into a large favela in Rio, and unload a bunch of foreigners for an exhibition of the local dancing (which will be unlike other dancing you'd see in Rio). The fact that these foreigners remain safe is strong case that there is some sense of organization and authority within the favelas.

The film City of God (Cidade de Deus) is a story of favela life in Rio. It's very good if you haven't seen it. All events are based on the truth.

In other news…
- I find it quite amusing that spell check wanted to turn “favelados” in to “avocados.”
-I am spending all weekend with some Brazilians at beach that’s removed from the city a bit.
-I’m thinking about running a marathon in Recife in 13 weeks. Perhaps not, I think the training would really take away from my ability to experience other things.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


And now for some well anticipated pictures.... I am worried that my blog is becoming too much of an update on life rather that me being pissed at random things. I guess that's a bit of necessity since I am south of the equator. Nonetheless, risking my blog becoming lame, here's another post about my life and little else.

This is the view from the top of the building where I'm staying until April. As you can see, I'm 3 blocks from the beach; it's around a two minute walk. As of April 1st I move to an apartment that is about 4 blocks away from here (parallel to the coast), its closer to the bus stop and mall the same distance from the beach... and I'll have my own room.

The streets in this area are very busy. With cars, motorcycles, busses, bike messenger types (more on that later) and pedestrians. You can definitely judge the security of an area by its traffic. If you see a lot of cars... you're good. Things change fast... on one of my runs last week I transitioned from a nice road with plenty of cars to a road that had no motorized vehicles of and kind in around 3 blocks. I wasn't in a favela (explain later), but this area was only one step above it. I don't even think I saw bikes, only people sitting in the sun or the shelter of their poorly constructed living quarters looking at me like I was from another planet. Needless to say, I did a little interval work back to the main road.
The city is so busy running is difficult. This forces me to do most of my runs here: I know it looks rough, but keep me in your prayers and I'm likely to survive.
This is the beach at the closest point to my apartment. The rocks in the water are the reef that gave this city it's name (a recife = the reef). During high tide you usually can't see more than a few feet of sand. The picture shows a lower tide, but it gets lower. The beach is great for running, chilling, bathing, or playing sports (there are several volleyball nets, tennis courts further down, and pickup soccer games everywhere). I say "bathing" because the beach is not good for swimming.

Why? Well that's an interesting story. Once you cross the reef your chance of shark attack goes up exponentially. Its not just because the reef shelter's bathers, but also because there are more sharks in this area, and they're ill-tempered.

Keeping in mind causal relationships, scientists have shown the massive industrial development near Recife closed off fresh water estuaries where bull sharks nurse their pups. So shortly after the developments really took off, the shark population moved up the coast. Then, pollution killed quite a bit of the local marine life. Ipso facto the bull sharks are swimming around starving, and if you're near them, you're probably close to their cute, little sharklings... we all know this is a bad combination. Also, surfing is prohibited due to all this.

If you aren't being eaten, the beach is a pleasure. It's basically a full service ala carte buffet. Local vendors provide you with chairs and shade umbrellas for free. You order drinks from them, and just bask while other vendors come by. A veritable mobile smorgasbord is provided by the impoverished street vendors: fresh coconuts with hole and straw, shrimp, fried cheese, roasted cashews, bottled water, beer, juice, liquor, hot dogs, sunscreen, jewelry, soccer jerseys, sunglasses, night lights, hats, parakeets, CDs, DVDs. Basically most anything you might want while on a beach. You feel satiated and a little like a scumbag while enjoying the beach and the amenities that it provides because of the large population below the poverty line. Not to mention prices are great. Vendors definitely try and rip me off... prices start off higher for me than my dark skinned beach neighbors... but my Portuguese negotiation skills are quickly improving. Even so... the prices they try and rip me off at aren't even that bad (Gotta LOVE that exchange rate!), but I talk them down because I need to buy more frivolous items like Rocky VI in Portuguese... I guess if they want that extra loaf of bread they'll have to work a little longer.

After the sun sets, the vending moves away from the beach about two blocks. The prostitutes (not legal) come out right after dinner. Like 7PM... they don't waste time. Then again, maybe they're just nice girls waiting for the bus, on the wrong side of the street.

Sex, sun, food, liquor, action (when that tourist gets eaten by a bull shark)... Recife has it all.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I love AXE body spray... It has pheromones and I'm pretty sure it actually works... I know placebos can account for a 15% difference an that AXE could just artificially improve some guys egos... but I don't know if mine can get much bigger. All products AXE seem to atrract the other sex like they're fat chicks and you're made of chocolate... And sure some of them are fat chicks, but the skinnier, more athletic ones get to you first... survival of the fittest. Who's the fastest and most tenacious girl within 20 ft of me than can pick up the smell of my AXE? That's who get's to go home with me tonight! Just wait for the first 3 or 4 to get within 10 feet then direct your alpha male body language towards the door; as you take the winner's hand say, "you'll do."

OK. This isn't really about AXE body spray. I don't own any. I think the commercials are stupid yet entertaining, and I pity any who thinks it might actually work that well. This post isn't about that type of axe it's about this type of axe...

Acoustic, with pick-ups. Paid a decent price for it. After some new D'Addarios it feels great. That is all.

For those of you who might care. it's a Giannini Craviola

Sunday, March 25, 2007

How I'm the dumbest smart guy you know

When I lived with Zack, he often told me I was the dumbest smart guy he knew. I don't remember if this was after I got locked out of the house naked, rode my bike from the living room to the basement, or jumped my Rav-4 on the dual slalom course. Maybe the night pictured on the left is what did it; Perhaps, it was after I "washed" the Rav-4.

Either way, Zack is right that I have history of doing things that most neanderthals have the cognitive capacity to realize isn't a good idea. Could this be a segue to a story? Could it? Did I do something stupid, read on and find out.
I went to the grocery store today... Very near me is a store much like a super-center (they should never be called super-Wal-marts all you people reppin' STL). The name of this store is Hiper - Bompreco. Bompreco (Goodprices) is a chain of grocery stores that were originally mercado (markets) then supermercados (I think you can figure that one out)... and in the last 10 or 15 years have begun opening hiper-bomprecos. Yes... it's better than a supermarket; It's "Hyper" Market! Just like a supercenter, at the Hiper you can buy clothes, toys, bikes, tools, groceries, and just about anything else you might need.
So when I say very near me. I mean about 1km (.66 miles). I mean it's easy to walk to it. So I peruse the store, begin filling my cart, pretty standard grocery store events. While in the salad dressing section, some guy notices I blend in with the white tile floor and comments to me about how much cheaper and larger the bottles of Ranch Dressing are in the US. I confirm in broken portuguese. I saw a hot white girl in the frozen foods section, that was cool. Haven't seen a hot white girl in awhile. By now it's noon and I haven't eaten breakfast yet (I woke up at 9). So I roll towards the checkout.
At checkout I casually whip out my wallet as I watch the cashier eating into it. Then I realize it's going to be way more than I have. In my famished state I have neglected to consider that R$120 does not go as far as $120. I begin to sweat... Luckily I know the command form of the verb to stop. It's written on all the roads and on stop signs.... "Pale! Eu não tenho dineiro." Luckily I stop him in time, apologize, and take what groceries I can pay for without any consideration of what I should actually be buying and what I'm actually getting. I definitely came home with spaghetti; but no sauce; a 6 pack of Beer, 2 5ths of Rum, a 12 pack of Coke... and no water (can't drink the tap); mayonnaise and meat, but no bread. Genius.
Now begins the real challenge... I have around $60 of groceries, a majority of which are jars, liquids, and other dense items, and I'm 1km from my apartment with no wheels. I had anticipated this before going and thought, "mmmah, it won't be so bad." So now it's around 1 PM, I'm very close to the equator and carrying over 50lbs in groceries a half mile home. I tuck the folder I bought into the back of my shorts so I can double bag the beer. By the time I round the first block I'm sweating, and my heart rate is rising. I must pass a boarding school that has a bunch of students hanging out in from because they nothing better to do today, the folder falls out of my butt. Apparently "ahhhh, fuck" translates in portuguese, because someone was kind enough to pick it up and put it in between my cramping fingers. I have to rest 4 times on the walk home. When I got to the apartment my heart rate was around 170 and my arms were shaking. This regiment belongs in Men's Health. Throw away your swiss ball and go buy food (depending on what you buy and how far you walk... this could open up a whole new list of catabolic foods).
Anyway, I went to another store and bought some coconuts to complement my pineapples and now I'm making piña coladas from scratch. Those probably aren't catabolic.

My shoulders are sore. Maybe I can drink the pain away.
( I know what you're thinking... where did he get that great Glamour shot?)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Why science sucks

Anybody who kind of know me knows my ringtone. The theme from Bill Nye the Science Guy(Seattle native). The phrase "science rules!" is on my cell phone and found it's way to my signature of several message boards. I like science. I like facts, derivations, proofs. That's a big part of why I want to be an industrial engineer. I view my education as "the science of business management." I'd like decisions I make as an employee to be based on as much FACT as possible, not theory... the difference is often overlooked. Examples: Our involvement in Iraq, the world being flat in the 1400s, evolution as truth, viewing a religion as correct.

Here's the funny part of this post: (Editor's note: this is only funny if you are a sick person).
Scott Adam's hilarious commentary:
Funny and sad because it's serious:

OK, so take a step back and think about it... maybe this guy really does have a right to screw a dead deer. As much as I think it couldn't be pleasurable, I would agree the government shouldn't have to power to take away this weirdo's right to do what he wants (since he definitely isn't hurting anyone). I do think the government should bitch slap this guy for fucking a deer on the side of a road. This inbreed was obviously trying to extract DNA from the deer that he lost during meiosis. Tappin' that venison is one thing, but if you aren't smart enough and respectful of others views enough to keep your deer probe in your pants until you're some place private, where you won't be caught, then you probably deserve some sort of penalty. This is only a penalty for you being a sub-average human being because you can't respect others. Then again, maybe rigor mortis sets in faster than I think and a roadside "quickie" is the only possible way to successfully engage in necrobestiaphilia.

Now, why science sucks. Science sucks because it can only tell us at best, what is chemically different about this dudes mind from mine. We see headlines all the time that say things like "acetabenadrophilinaline linked directly to obesity causing habits." That's nice and all, research of this type helps us to develop drugs to combat many issues today. My problem is that science rarely, if ever tells us what is causing the recent rise in acetabenadrophilinaline levels in the study population. I make an effort to attain root causes of problems before taking sides or prescribing solutions (this is something I'm still working on). The following is today's commercial and short term results based thought process:
-notice change example: growing number of kids with ADD
-find immediate causal variable: increased number of dopamine transporters
-reduce difference in variable: ritalin / adderall

I think this is a more sustainable flow:
-notice change Example: growing number of ADD diagnoses
-find causal variable: increased number of dopamine transporters
-find cause of cause: increased hormone BT-36 from chicken meat
-repeat last step until root cause is found: hormone increases in non-free range scenarios due to lack of "survival" necessity
-implement change: advocate usage of free range or "natural kill"
chicken meat for infants and adolescents

Not that I think this example is correct, but you get the idea. In an interestingly factual related topic, a strong correlation has been found between the increasing number of twin births in the US as compared to Europe. While correlation does not imply causation, most probably variables have been eliminated leaving only a strong correlation between the usage of a particular growth hormone given only to US dairy cows and the percentage of twin births. Makes sense right? What can alter a cow's hormone's perfectly and keep the maternal juices flowing (I don't know what that means) could affect humans in a similar format but with lesser result? If you're interested, here's a short article, longer versions are easy to find.

In short, why does science suck? There should be more research devoted long term to route causes. Root causes are a much harder problems to tackle and sove, but the payoff is much greater in terms of solution effectiveness and education value of answers. Personally, I would like to understand the root causes of the following: the apparent increases in homosexuals in developed countries, ADD/ ADHD diagnoses, eating disorders, teen suicides.

This is all based on the assumption that there are logical explanations for just about everything.
Take into account: Einstein said "God doesn't place dice with the universe"
Take into account: Einstein found the root cause of the errors in Newtonian physics and provided a solution.

Einstein's major contribution to the world of science can be summed up into finding a causal problem. We need more Einsteins. Duh.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Music vs religion

I'm about to lose my pants again. (if you don't understand, see here post about pants).

It's been 8 days since I got to Brazil... and 10 days since I played an instrument. My mind and fingers are slowly turning to mush. I know some people don't understand this, but I have a dependency on making music. I'm not anything amazing, on any instrument... but it is necessary for me to make music as a creative outlet. Apayo lived with me for 5 or 6 weeks and observed the trammel/treasure that is me unwinding at the end of nearly every night. If I'm sober I generally play the piano or guitar before bed. It's my way of reseting. I put what's on the inside out... and then I sleep peacefully. The first thing I'm going to do when the grant (money I've graciously been provided by Dr. Bowders and his program) hits my bank account is hop on the bus and buy a cheap guitar.

People say music and mathematics are international languages. I'd expand on that by saying that math is the language of what's around us, music is the language of what's inside us. Some people don't get into music as much as I do... and I feel sorry for them. Others... that are even worse think they love music, but have troubles naming a band that hasn't been in the top 40, or a band that sings in another language, or a few bands outside a specific genre that they cling to. It's cool when your 14 and developing this sense of who "you" are if you only like one type of music... it's important to establish your independence. If you are 20 or 30 or older and can't name a band from outside the US, or a band that you really liked that you wished had made it big but didn't... you're missing out on a free upgrade to you standard of living.

Hipsters, punk rockers, armies of Imo, rappers, hip-hop-apotomuses... are all cool. It's funny how much it's like religion. When you're a kid it's ok to say I only like one of these and all others suck... but come one... grow the fuck up. Any mature and intelligent individual whether religious or just a music fan, has to eventually recognize the postive place that other religion or genre fills for somebody else. Why is it so hard for metal heads to recognize that rap is ok in it's own way...

More importantly, why do so many members of popular religion have an inability to admit the good intentions of other religions. Sure, only one idea can be totally correct... but that doens't change the fact that NO ONE really knows the answer and just because somebody is worshipping the wrong god doesn't change the fact that their religion supports morals that the world needs.

Addendum: Yes, I include the nation of Islam in this bubble. If you think the Islamic religion is by nature violent, you need to check yourself. A good starting point is right here (, the documentarian Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me) sends a devout Christian into a very Muslim community in the US for 30 days. Morgan Spurlock = genius, objective documentarian... Michael Moore = deceptive, shit starting, fool that uses confirmation bias and ingnorance to solidfy his viewpoint.

Having faith in your religion is great... it's paramount, and I repect you for it, but it is a not an excuse for forming uneducated opinons of others. When it comes to religion, I'm even ok with a little ingnorance. I'll admit I don't know much about the world's religions, but won't condemn them just because I heard of a couple of incidences perpetrated by individuals claiming that religion as thier justification.

Other countries are proud that their government is secular (not that the individual in power are athiest, but that religion has no overlap with government). The US needs to get Washington DC out of Texas (read "it's head out of it's ass") and get Christianity out of politics... Christian values are great... but making them law is UNCONSTITUTIONAL and against the will of the founding fathers. No Christians, the Constitution wasn't based on the bible, sorry... that's a lie your Sunday school teacher taught you because they thought they were right.

I think this should have been three posts... but I took some time off so I'm behind. Gots to go cathc a bus to forro party (type of regional music). Hopefully all this typing has hindered my Portuguese.

Thanks for reading.

Today I'm 4 years old

I am now capable of tying my own shoes in portguese.

I am the only American in my portuguese for international students class. Today I sat in between a woman from Iran and a man from Germany. I suppose the class name is a bit deceptive. Most people in the class are not students and do not plan on studying at UFPE. There is a mother from Argentina who speaks wonderful spanish, but her children are now in school and speak portuguese... she wants to learn to speak with them in the language of their instructors and peers. The woman from Iran is married to a masters student at UFPE and is only learning portuguese because he asked her to. She likes me because she want to live in the US and likes to practice her english with me.

I'm hesitant to practice english with other students. Why? Because, it delays my progress in Portuguese. However, Sara (Iranian) is different. She bring an opinion to my table that is so far removed from my sense of normallcy that I must interact with her to learn more. The big thing that got me is when she said to a group of students (including me) that "Osama Bin Laden is not a terrorist." Sara is definatly not in favor of violence or acts of terror, and has no ill will towards the US. In fact, it is her dream to live in the US, and that's why she and her husband are living in Brasil. She told me it is forbidden for Iranian citizens to travel from Iran to the US. However, once you travel to Brasil (or any other country that's not Iran)... getting into the US is much easier. I do not know, but I am under the impression a US citizen travelling to Iran is nearly as difficult. I don't feel the need to travel to Iran, so for now I will ask Sara questions about her worldview and just listen. I will wait some time before I start agreeing or disagreeing about anything. All I know now is... somebody is wrong! I don't like W... I don't agree with most of our governmetn's involvment outside of the US... but I also am pretty sure the Osama Bin Laden is a terrorist (I think Bush might be as well).

So while, I'm helping Sara with her english. I'm also going to help Andre (german man) with his portuguese. While mine isn't good, it's about a thousand times better than his. Also, german is his only language, so he can't communicate with the teacher at all. What do I get out of it? Answer: I have this problem... in my mind I have english and not english. when I first got to Brazil and tried to figure out how to say something, German would come to mind first...then it turned into Deutscheguese (a pidgin tongue spoken only by a few people, and understood by none) today I tried to remember som german and only remembered Portuguese. To help Andre with portuguese I will have to create a mental partition between the two.

Anyway... not too much exciting right now. Really it's all very exciting, but only for me.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I packed my bags last night... pre flight

I wrote this in the terminal in Atlanta:

I just reset the clock on my computer to GMT -3 hrs…. Recife.

Waiting for boarding in Atlanta, I’m experiencing a feeling that’s not unfamiliar. It’s the feeling any racer with something to prove gets in the few seconds between “set” and “go.” When I race that feeling disappears the second the gun is fired and instinct takes over for awhile. Questions on my mind include: When will this feeling disappear (it always has before)? When that feeling disappears, will I react as if governed sympathetically, in the interest of survival (like the beginning of a race, no thought, just action)?

My Portuguese is less that suitable for traveling in Brazil. I know no one in the city where I am going to stay. I have a handful of phone numbers of people that should be helpful, but I will have to navigate an airport and public transportation long before I get to ask for their help.

I’m very excited, but not because of the beaches and the dancing and the wild sex that I’m sure to experience over the next 6 months. I’m excited because I know there is a mountain of problems ahead of me. Each one with a number of solutions, few that will be easy to solve. My psychology professor mentioned that it’s been proven that some people feed off of stress, I’m about to find out for sure if I’m one of those people. I’m excited about the overcoming these hardships, knowing that I will benefit in the long run. It seems like Brazil is a Viking blacksmith named Hector that’s about to temper the ever living shit out of me. I’m going to survive, and it’s going to be for the better… I have a hunch that a life shaping experience is beginning at this moment and that’s a good feeling.

My plane is pulling up to the gate. I need to run to Arby’s… because I don’t know if I can get a Big Montana in Brazil.

Thanks, mom and dad… for paying for another semester of school. Thanks Dr. Bowders for the opportunity.

So I've been here for 6 days now. It's not really difficult (in fact I'd almost say it's easy). The hardest thing so far has been arranging housing. That was only hard because I was being picky about being in a certain part of town. The pre-flight jitters went away the second I got on the plane in atlanta. It has nott been a constant adrenaline rush... but it has been a slow drip. I've been sleeping more than normal and I think it's due to the extra mental work I'm having to do to adjust to a new language... and because most of my downtime is spent studying portguese. I took some down time today and watche Star wars (eps. 3) with the sound turned down and with portugues subtitles. That was fun. I now know that "lado negro" is dark side in portugues.

All those numbers I have... haven't used them. The process has been very simple:
-Identify the most pressing problem
-Learn the vocabulary to deal with that problem
-Solve it.
This system, in conjunction with a lot of patience and the ability to laugh at how retarded I must appear (I'm used to that) is all I think I will need to survive here.

One huge benefit to not speaking the language is that you must fully think out everything before you do it. This has made my life much easier. I still feel as though this experience will be life changing... but now for a different reason. When I arrived, I had the speech ability, and cultural knowldege comparable to a 2 year old. Today, I'm about 4 years old linguistically. Basically I get to grow up in Brazil by learning a language and culture. What makes this notable is that I get to analyze these experiences as an adult.

Tommorrow my portugues class starts at the university. and it's 12:30 here so I should get to bed. Boa noite.

-Other notes... Amy Szczepanik is getting married June 2. Kelly Fanning is getting married this summer... and even bolton is gettting married! I need to start saving up for a japanese woman.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Viva no Brasil!

Despite the many emails claiming such, I am not dead.

I´m sure many of you want to know all about Brasil... well, this is all you´re going to get right now: Recife (north eastern Brazil) is just like Venice Beach except that the people move slower and the cars move faster.

Tonight I discovered the company of "compatriots by association" is easily obtainable, and crosses strong cultural borders. I have been living in a bed and breakfast for the past 4 days and three nights. Tonight I moved in to an apartment full of students, to sleep on the couch for two weeks until my apartment is available (I have to wait for Denise to move back to Germany). I speak very little portuguese, and I have no chance of comprehending the many colloquial phrases enjoyed by college students. This did not stop me from actively enjoying the banter tonight much more than the banter of senora Zoya and her maid Vera at the B&B. We all know there is a rhythym to comedy (if you don´t know this, stop trying, because, you´re not funny), but tonight I understood there is also a rhythym to my generation (it´s given that mass media has something important to do with that, and I think it´s a good thing). Without understanding what was being said, I knew before laughter and looks who was the butt of the joke, I understood who controlled the pace and where they would take it. I could map out the conversation with operators, and leave the words to be filled in by any set of wise cracking, care-free collegians. Just a giant mad lib that defines the white noise in tomorrow´s minds.

This tiny bit of knowledge offers me a world of possibility and new questions. I now believe that to be effective with others, if it´s not who I know, the next step is... can I match their rhythym? Then maybe what I can actually do will become pertinent. For me, this has huge implications as a student, leader, manager (times two: talking up and down), teacher, and as an entrepenuer. Thinking on this leads me quickly to the paradox of charisma... how is it that these JFKs and Barack Obamas (I prefer not to abbreviate with BO) tapped into nearly everyone´s rhythym? They engage the majority as I was engaged tonight by three students from Portugal and one Brasilian. I use the word paradox because I now recall experiencing many different rhythyms... for comedy, for students, in the office for business, in the office for pleasure, for political debate, et al. My engeering brain also leads me to assume that you should only be able to fully tap into one rhythtm at a time. Sure, you can overlap, but never should be able capture two rhythyms completly and instantaneously. Perhaps my engineering brain needs to cross-modulate the transrectifyer and speak from nuerons only found in dark corners of the brain whispering, with a bottle of whisky in hand (editor´s note - whisky: from the Gaelic whiskybae (4 syllables), which means water of life).

I know this isn´t what people wanted from this post... but that´s too bad, cause they can suck it. I have six months to talk about brasil, and the beaches will still be here when I decide to post about it (collegiate rhythym).

Other details:
-I miss Apayo and her phat cheeks.
-I am excited about living with Drew next fall (my brother.... yes, I have a brother)
-If you don´t know why I said entrepenuer then get on the wagon -

Vive le Blog... It´s back.