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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Silent readers and shots in the dark

I suppose I could say that it takes a lot of courage to post a blog. To put your thoughts and feelings right out there in cyberspace to be read by thousands of unknowns, strangers, thousands of possible readers that don’t know me.  I say thousands because my stat counter is a ways over 15K hits – but lets just for the sake of argument say that only half are actual hits…. the others represent my postings, readers going to the slide shows or other links then coming back to go to another link, one hit being counted many times. A good percentage of these 7k or so readers are unfamiliar to me. They read and move on, looking for who knows what, rarely leaving anything behind to mark their passing except a number on the stat counter and a place in line on the live feed.

The majority of the comments I received are from regular visitors and when they do leave a comment it is positive, encouraging, and you can follow their link back to their blog and see who it is that is making a comment, say something to them in the way of thanks – sort of a blog world courtesy stop. I always post the comments I receive, (well they are positive so why not) except when from a commercial blog site, or there is no open link to tell me who is commenting.

Today I received one of the later types. Before going to lunch I read the comment which caused a slight lurch in my stomach because I so hate to be disliked by even a stranger, I tried to follow the link to see who this was – a blank profile page was all I found – so I deleted the comment and went  to lunch with family (Brazilians all, that I love and admire). During lunch I brought this up for discussion – we wont go into that – it is beside the point. But this gave me opportunity to think out loud about the content of the comment, and what I said that offended him so greatly.

In Response to my ‘My Town’ post on February 18, this shot in the dark was made …..”Picture a Brazilian visiting New York, and in the subway he noticed that the station name is Franklin D. Roosevelt. He never heard of this guy, and after some research he finds out that Roosevelt, as US President, declared war to Japan. He concluded that Americans must be dumb to elect and honor a war loving guy. Your "research" on Getulio Vargas lead you to as absurd conclusions as of the Brazilian in New York…..”

So here I am putting my thought and feelings back out into cyberspace, risking further humiliation and ridicule because I have something to say about my blogging.

  1. I do not profess to be an intellectual - As I explain in my profile, I am someone far from home. I have limited ability to share my thoughts in the town in which I live. So I write my thoughts out for strangers. This is the sad truth.
  2. I do not make my living nor am I in any way a research guru – add one and two together and you are likely to get surface information only – if you want to know more do your own research.  I will say here that I sited the page for this ‘research’ so if anyone wanted to read the whole thing it was easily available – this site was pretty basic. It has 1 or two paragraphs on the election history and also a small paragraph or two about the social good – the train system for one and the unions to protect labor for another, that Vargas pushed through.
  3. From the mouth of a Brazilian, “Brazilians have a love - hate relationship with this President. Some love him for the good he did and some hate his methods”
  4. From Camillo who loves Brazil unconditionally says - (and I think him right and would go into this with a 50 page fully sited dissertation if I weren’t just writing a blog) – he says that this is no different than those that vote for Chaves, or Silvio Berlusconi or for GW Bush…. or many, many of our political leaders of today (ours’ as in the world’s) whose true character is there, staring us in the face before the election and that let us down, kicking us in the teeth with the truth, once elected.
  5. And not to prolong this argument but FDR – Kept the American people out of the war from 1939 until we were attached by Japan in late ‘41 – the comments made are by the shot in the dark reader are valid but to equate FDR or Vargas is a stretch – Maybe using GW or Nixon would have worked better.

To be really fair though – I normally talk about my feeling – in this there can be no right or wrong – I don’t write about religion, or abortion or other culturally sensitive issues and if I were going to change this, to make any political type statement, I should have taken the time to write one more line in the fun-loving FSO and given a list of good Vargas did in his years in power. So after a day of thought and reflection I don’t have any problem with the comment and am now sorry I deleted it…. but do still feel that if a reader feels strongly about something I’ve said and wants to add to, or contradict, to help me in understanding my new home, then I would like very much to be given their name and an email address so I can respond….. not just feel I’ve been - shot in the dark.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Friday Shoot-Outs / The Garden - texture and color

This week the ‘My Town’ Friday Shoot out gang celebrates its 52nd week. There is a little debate about which week it actually started but I know for sure this is my 50th FSO post. So we celebrate. For this week’s topic we get to choose our favorite topic from the past year…. I loved textures and circles and gardens and …. With a blog title of ‘Flowers and More’ what choice do I really have? I wanted texture, I wanted color and by showing flowers in my garden I think I got both. All of these photos are from the garden at one time or the other throughout the year. I hope you enjoy the show as much as I do the colors in my garden.
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christmas cactus 003

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My town Friday Shoot-out / A Town Plaza

The Praça Presidente Getúilo Vargas – as you can tell right away a plaza is Praça in Portuguese – is in the central part of Nova Friburgo. I found the name of the Praça by enlarging my Google Map on the left side-panel of ‘Flowers’, then out of curiosity did a web search to see just who Getúilo Vargas was that he was honored to have the plaza named after him. (does that sentence sound right?) –

Wait until you hear this. “... Vargas was the governor of Rio Grande do Sul in 1928…. he ran for president in 1930 and lost…. then started a revolution to get into office. …. upon becoming ‘president’ he eliminated constitutional checks on the executive power, deprived the once-dominant state parties of public function, and gained control over political …. Vargas had made himself a dictator over Brazil….” and now get this, “in 1932 another revolution took him out of office but in 1934 he was elected by a ‘Constituent assembly’ for a four year term…. in 1937 he proclaimed the ESTADO Novo (new state) which was like a European fascist dictatorship. ‘It imposed censorship and relied on a powerful secret police apparatus….” (http://www.thenagain.info)

I am not sure why but I have this credulous feeling in the back of my mind that he is still honored in Brazil. What is this that Brazilians are thinking…. or don’t they know who this man was?

Boy I got way off track…. the Praça is on the location of the old railroad station (1873-1960) and if you look at the photos you can see how the two tracks ran on either side of what is now the ‘north’ bus station that services only local Friburgo busses. The plaza is well maintained by the city. There are benches for sitting under the old trees, paths for strolling, play area for the younger children, on Saturday and some holidays there is a street market with locally made crafts, there is a water fountain, a cabana, statues of famous people (yep Vargas) an area for concerts, the tourist information center and, most important, an ice cream store right across the street. Enjoy the photos.

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Books in English – A Continuation

In May of 2007, I wrote about the Problem with books in English and I updated my thoughts on the topic on Feb 13, 2009 update: books in English. Today I received a comment from Carolina about the possibility of using Kindle, here is what she says, ‘

Ginger --- The Kindle is now available to purchase in lots of places internationally including Brazil. (Import duties apply.) Go to Amazon.com. Search for Kindle. On any Kindle page it will tell you it is available now internationally and gives you a link to search for a country. Pull the dropdown box to Brazil. Click on the link to coverage areas for wireless downloads, and type in a city & country. Looks like Nova Friburgo is within the hi-speed area, certainly Rio is.
Kindle comes with a U.S. electric adaptor, but international ones are available for an extra charge. Kindle isn't lighted like a computer screen, but a light is available to attach to it.
Apparently 350,000 titles. plus newspapers and magazines are now available in English. Not all can be downloaded everywhere due to copyright laws. Some titles cost $0.00 (older books in the public domain ---Jane Austin, Conan-Doyle ---or some by writers I never heard of.) Most others range from about $3.00 to $12.00. New books on best seller lists are less expensive on Kindle than in book form ---no printing costs ---but probably cost more than used paperbacks.
I understand Amazon's goal is to have every title ever published available on Kindle eventually.”

DSC_1535_thumb%255B2%255D I hope this helps any x-pat who is looking into alternatives - I am personally an enthusiast of laying on the sofa reading, taking a short nap, then reading again. I sit on the veranda, in the piazza (the patio) or in front of the fire. I like the old way of reading and turning pages and don’t know it I can adapt to this new way but THANK you Carolina for the info. Just an FYI – The high speed is available in Nova Friburgo – if this is what Carolina is talking about they sell it with the cell phones, is a little box that cost R$150.00 plus the line charge by minutes of usage…. even at high speed I wonder about the cost of a download of a book. With the cost of the book, the use of the “kindle box” (cost of box/ # of books read) and the cost of the high speed download – I would think that the cost of a book soon gets as high as just buying one – the advantage would end up being the variety of choice in titles and when you want it you can have it.

Additional footnote and comment - by Texas Heather

Photo by Ginger V – my reading (napping/thinking) room.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Carnaval 2010 On Video -

Last night Camillo and I went into Friburgo to watch the local Carnaval – March of the Samba Schools. We watched the first 3 – EXCELLENT! There were a GAZillion people watching, and cheering, and going for beer and coming back – milling, jostling humanity.
We didn’t have a place to sit so I elbowed my way to the front of the crowd (then felt guilty and let some young people in in front of me….). We were late – can you believe that, the show was to start at 8.00 and it must have started at 8:00 - we had to hustle through the crowds to find the front of the parade and to muscle into position so I could take photos. I took only my little Sony which is on its last leg, and I was having trouble with the focus. I don’t think that was because of the camera but because the front line of the crowd was not 3 feet from the action and all the marchers were moving and turning and twirling – my poor little camera couldn’t keep up.
So I shot quite a lot of video and this morning experimented with combining about half of the footage I shot to make one long video…… please enjoy it along with me as I see the results for the first time…..


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Firing up Carnaval 2010 – Nova Friburgo

Camillo and I went downtown Nova Friburgo last night to see the opening of CarNAval! 2010. As is typical here, the prefecture website said, ‘starts at 5pm’, and listed the 3 blocos and the order and the times they were to come down the main street, at 6 they closed the street to major traffic, at 6:15 they walked down the street asking people to move their cars and a little after 6:30 you could here the drums coming.

WARNING: click to start this video and be ready to adjust your sound.

Finally the first Bloco

By 6:45 the first bloco had come through and the street began to fill with the young, the old, the bored and the enthused. And we waited, and waited and the people walked – up and down – up and down, saying hello to friends, seeing and being seen. and we waited. At 7:45 the sound of drums coming - no one left the street, no one moved out out of the way – there was mass chaos.

A note of explanation – the blocos are supposed to represent the ‘normal people’, the people from the neighborhoods. They used to be on Tuesdays (fat Tuesday if your in New Orleans) – the REAL Carnaval - but as the cities become more focused on drawing tourists to ‘their towns’ the whole of Carnaval has expanded – till now it really gets going in Friburgo on Friday nights and keeps people from doing anything productive until Thursday mornings.

The first bloco was a traditional – men dressed as women - march. I was surprised at the number of teenagers that were dressed in ‘drag’ and really enjoying themselves. I can’t imagine the young men of middle America, 1960s version, participating with such enjoyment. The second bloco, ‘bloco das piranhas’, which loosely translated piranha to ‘prostitutes’ – means march of the prostitutes? – anyway I couldn’t tell the difference between the two groups. Maybe I wasn’t understanding. The whole purpose of all of this though (I think) was participation – those standing on the sidelines (myself included) taking pictures or just LOOKING – missed the point – to really enjoy this ‘car NAV al’ you have to go out on the street and strut your stuff.

click below for more

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Town FSO - Aquariums

As far as I can tell, having walked Nova Friburgo downtown area many times, there are not aquariums here. Neither big public one nor little ones for the home. There are pet stores with doggy stuff, and bird stuff, but it just isn’t the habit here to have fish or cats in the home. Maybe its the heat or the humidity or the proximity to the ocean or that if you want a fish here it needs to be a fresh caught – dead one. I did remember seeing fish in the pond at the park of the sitting dog so I went back into my archives to find you a fish story.

The sitting Dog (1) CaoSentando (37) Foreign travelers have come to feed us bread crumbs……
The sitting Dog (43) EEEK! – Look out he’s coming!
The sitting Dog (60) RUN!
The sitting Dog (63) oh, don’t worry, I know him – he lives over under the rocks…. !
The sitting Dog (66)                        He just wants to share our bread crumbs.
The sitting Dog (70)
The sitting Dog (59) Tchau!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Friday My Town Shoot-out / Circles

Last week as I noted this topic roll into position I thought OH NO, N Friburgo doesn’t have any circles. What am I going to do? But just like every week when I say this, when I start paying attention I usually see things I have never noticed before. I have been seeing circles everywhere, everywhere I went that I always go….

DSC_1064 at the garden center (next to the gas station) DSC_1111
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On main street – centro Friburgo DSC_1093 DSC_1098
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On the street where we live…..DSC_1072 DSC_7353
DSC_1077 DSC_1080 The front gate Bell - (the door bell?)
DSC_1081 DSC_1086 The cars that we drive and around the house.
DSC_1092 DSC_1091 widows of the guest house…..
DSC_1103 Outside DSC04106 Inside

I have more…… but its time to go take the pie out of the oven….. see you next week.