Saturday, June 27, 2009

The King Of Pop



I know it's cliche to keep writing about Michael Jackson's death but hey, writing about anything else would be like not talking about the big pink elephant in the room. It really is all I can think about - specially since I keep receiving tweets and e-mails and ims about it.

I spent most of the day reading news on his death and watching tribute videos (there are some really cool ones out there, you guys should look for the Philippino prision inmates at youtube.com), reading what random people have to say about it... and really, it makes me mad.

Not that anyone really cares about my thoughts on MJ, but hello??? I have never been an assumed MJ fan, but I have never talked shit about him either, even during his trashiest trial days. By the way, I do believe he was innocent.

One of the favorite things I read was a comment from Robin Gibb, one of the Bee Gees, quoting:

"This tragedy should teach us a lesson to value and praise those gifts while we still have them in the world.

"If even a small portion of the praise that is bestowed on Michael Jackson now in death was given to him last year in life, he might well still be with us."


I know he wasn't the most average Joe and all the plastics and scandals made him look like a freak and put him on the spotlight, but not in a good way. But I do believe he was a good person, I do believe he was innocent from the pedophilia charges against him, I do believe the people who did it were just stupid opportunists trying to take advantage of a great chance that was given to them (c'mon, if you think the million(s) dollars settlement sounded tricky, don't you think a person who has been sexually molested would settle for money rather than justice to feel peace? That just proves lack of integrity to me), and mostly, I do believe every bad thing that happened to him lead him to his unfortunate fate last Thursday.

I think he might have been too fragile and naive to stand up for himself, and I do believe there are people like that. The fact that he is talented and famous does not make him super in every other way.

And yes, he was very talented. Anyone who says otherwise is being a total hypocrite. I highly doubt that there is anyone from my generation who did not once tried to move like he did, and sang along to his songs and made that stereotyped yell of his "eeee-heeeee". I highly doubt that there is any so-called "music star" from nowadays who did not have MJ as inspiration or musical reference at some level, at some point in time. And I mean ANY so-called musician from today. And I say "so-called" because most of what we have today is not music, it's pure rubbish.

He freaking invented the moonwalk!!!

About 7-6 years ago I used one of his songs as inspiration for a class. I was teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) to agricultural students from South America. It was very challenging since most of them had a lot of trouble just making it to "Hello, my name is _____", and I had to teach a foreign language to people who didn't even speak the same language (half spoke Portuguese, the other half spoke Spanish).

Anyways, after using about 3 different text books and all sorts of exercises I had used before, I ran out of resources to try to get my students to absorb any of the things I taught them. I even had one of the students look at me with the deadliest look and say "I have always hated English and all my English teachers, I don't see how that's gonna change anytime now." Ouch. Until I came up with this project.



Instead of trying to get English grammar in their brains with a 5% success rate (with maybe 2 students in a class of 35), I decided to talk about morals, and love, compassion, standards, life, values... things that mattered to them, and in the end I'd give them keywords in English to study and use them in the following class.
The best part of the project was the graduation presentation: I showed them the lyrics to "Heal The World", by Michael Jackson and they used a dictionary to translate it in group.

They were all touched by the lyrics and how it made sense to them from what we had been doing in class. They learned how to sing it (and believe it or not, for someone who doesn't speak English, it is very hard to sing in English) and they all stood onstage after they got their diplomas and the roses and it was beautiful and touching.
After the ceremony - and I don't mean to brag - the students gave me their roses and thanked me "for a valuable lesson" - Heal The World.

The guy who told me had hated all English teachers also gave me his rose and said he learned how important it was to communicate in English and he would pursue his English studies furthermore.
Amazingly, almost half of the class is now traveling around the world doing volunteer work.

And until today, all these students still write me and thank me for somehow making a difference and showing that their place and their work was to do what "I" had taught them - Heal The World.

I'm sorry, that didn't come from me, it came from Mr. Jackson. And I don't believe a freak, child molester, whatever-you-wanna-call-him person would be able to come up with this song. I don't think he could've written this song if he was that bad.

He was a brilliant man, I might even dare to say he surpassed Elvis - and believe me, that is HUGE coming from me, I'm a huge fan of Elvis.
He is an icon, his songs are icons...
I was watching the Ellen DeGeneres show today, which was probably pre-recorded early this week, and at the end of a sketch they started playing "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". That song is also the theme for one of the most popular/ancient/traditional Brazilian shows. A Brazilian version of Oprah, if you may.

He might have not been the average Joe, but that only helped making him unique. No one can sing like him, or dance like him, there will be no other Elvis, no other James Brown, and no other Michael Jackson. And unfortunately, I think everyone just took him for granted.

Anyways, here are some of my thoughts on Michael Jackson's life and death, if you care.



Also, he was the only one who could wear the outfits he wore and totally pull it off.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

10.000


I hadn't realized that the last post was supposed to be my 10.000th. It was the 10th, but had I not hidden the rest of this blog, it would be the 10.000th.

So I went through some old posts to reminisce a little and see how my life has evolved... I haven't been able to read everything yet. But I was sure my next post would be about this.

Until Michael Jackson died.

I know a lot of people in the USA dislike him and see him as a freak of nature. But I'm sorry, he's a huge part of my childhood, and I can't help feeling for this loss - and I know when I say this, I speak on behalf of many people from my generation in Brazil and in Portugal too.
He might have had all the problems he had, but his brilliance on stage is undeniable. I don't know a single person who can't sing at least one of his songs and I really have never seen anyone dance like him.

This is kinda like finding out Santa Claus doesn't exist at age 27.

I bet iTunes is gonna make a lot of money in the next couple of days off of MJ's songs, and I might be one of those to download them and dance to the sound of some of the 80's greatest jewels.

Today was such a weird day. Michael Jackson died, and so many weird things happened.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day

Being a third culture kid living in a second foreign country like me is very different in many instances. Father's Day, as well as Mother's Day, is one good example.

I was born in Brazil (as were my parents), and there we celebrate Father's day in August. Nevertheless, I was raised in Portugal, and my parents still live there, where they celebrate Father's Day in March.
I live in California now. Father's Day was yesterday here in the US. It's funny that most people I know ask me kind of in a pitiful way "What are your plans for Father's Day?" because I don't have parents to spend these days with...

I used to care.
I actually used to care and be upset about it... nowadays I look at the glass half full. I get to "celebrate" Father's Day 3 times in a year. Mother's Day twice (it's the same here and in Brazil). And I guess the parents also like the extra attention. And when I'm here, I get to hang out with people who are taking good care of me while I'm here. So there's no reason to feel pity for me.

By the way, that's my Dad in the picture, Mr. Kawauchi, standing next to Mr. Koizumi, Japan's ex Prime Minister. My Dad was Mr. Koizumi's interpreter in his last visit to Portugal. Yes, it's good to have a Father to look up to :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Saturday!

Even if I babysit for a couple of hours today, it's still Saturday :)
Day to sleep in, no worries about what time I'm waking up, no worries about time at all :)

I still need to clean up the bedroom and do 2 loads of laundry, but not right now... it's Saturday afternoon and I wanna enjoy the weekend!
Find us at the pool!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Highschool.

I still dream of highschool. It's weird and my best friend from highschool - who is now a psychologist - says I have many unsolved issues, highschool is one of them.

I think highschool is pretty much the stage in life when we realize life is not easy. Before then, all we did was suck our thumbs, eat, play and sleep. The hardest things we ever had to deal with were going potty and accepting that we don't eat candy before meals.
But in highschool... we need to learn to cope with other people's expectations, and our own expectations... we need to learn to deal with affection, we need to learn to cope with rejection... we're constantly trying to make a point, to be noticed, to make a difference somehow... we're trying to fit in, we're falling in love...

Highschool was when I first felt love.
I still remember his name, his class, the clothes he wore... I even have his phone number somewhere and he's a "buddy" on one of those social networks. Did he know? Of course he did, the whole school knew it. Did he correspond? Of course not, it was highschool. He was in love with someone else who loved someone else who loved no one.
I still dream of highschool, and when I do, he's in that dream, sitting with me and chatting in the same place we used to when we were younger.

I also dream of my friends.
We had this closed group of friends that we hung out with a lot. There were 8 of us: 4 girls, 4 boys. And we were all "best friends". One of the boys is now a manager at a JP Morgan in London or something like this, the other one is a researcher for the Krakow University in Poland. They're still best friends, in fact, the latter was the first one's best man at his wedding last year. They all live in Europe, but they had a bachelor's party just 250 miles from here, and I heard about it from a third person who had attended the wedding the month before.
So yes, even the best friends gang fell apart... and yes, it upset me a lot because I still considered them very good friends.



I had a falling out with one of the girls 4 years ago.
Ever since we were about 10 years old, my mom would tell me she had a "feeling" about this particular girl, and that I should not trust her. I ignored mom, I had fights with mom, so I could stand up for my friend.
We remained friends over the years even though I moved back to Brazil... she visited me once and we had a great time, 18 years old and by ourselves during carnival in Brazil? We had it all.
But 4 years ago, when I went back to Portugal, my mom gave me the same speech. I remember my exact words were: "Mom, you couldn't break us apart when I was a kid, what makes you think you can do it now that I am 24?"
And a couple of months later, the falling out. Well, long story short, she was a real ungrateful back-stabbing b*tch. Moms know better, always listen to your mom.

It's sad though. I really thought we would all grow old together.
I still talk to a lot of people from highschool... but our lives are so much different now, even if I try fitting in again, I don't think I ever will.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stubburn

I can be a real pain. I know that.

So today boyfriend and I were picking up dinner (Costco pizza, best deal in town!), and he starts going on about how unbearable I've become. I guess he misses hanging out with someone else rather than just me 24/7. And I get that, but you should see him in the morning! He can get worse than me on my worst day of PMS.

Anywho, after saying that, he told me not to talk to him because he needed not to listen to my voice until 4pm tomorrow. So now he's getting the silence treatment.

We do this in a very friendly way though, for those who don't know us... we just try to give each other a hard time every now and then, for laughs. Today while he was taking a shower I turned off the hot water, so he had a freezing jet straight on his back... it was fun to hear him scream, and he couldn't really say anything since "we're not talking".

Let's see if he'll last until tomorrow at 4pm :)
Oh. Don't mess with me, ever.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Happy Meal

Photobucket There is nothing like a good to meal to heal our pain. I know I should be saving money and I know I should be on a diet, but to hell with it, I failed the DMV driving test today.

I bought a nice juicy tender top sirloin steak and had a really nice dinner at home with boyfriend. Do you know how to prepare a very simple and yet, tasty steak? Just pour a little bit of soy sauce on it (I like the less sodium one), and then sprinkle a bit of thick salt over it... melt the butter on the frying pan (ohhh the sinful butter), cook the steak both sides for about 3 minutes on each side and voilĂ ! Don't forget to burn the sides, to kinda melt the fat (if there is any) on the sides.

Ideally I'd have it with assorted veggies... broccoli, zucchini, green beans... but today we just had mini portobellos. And my potato salad, which is very different from any potato salad in American restaurants:



It looks a bit like this, only I use the potato skin. Also very easy to do:
Wash the mini potatoes, boil them to make them soft and then deep fry them. Or you could just boil them, if you peel it. Pour some olive oil, vinegar, add salt and some parsley. If anyone ever tries this, let me know how it turned out.

So it's like I say... a full tummy takes away all misery :)

Rebecas

All my life, I've had issues with the Rebecas I met. There's one more in my list now: Rebeca from the DMV.

If you go on any of the driving tests DMV booklets, they will say "THE DMV WANTS YOU TO PASS THE TEST, THE EXAMINER JUST WANTS TO MAKE SURE YOU'RE DRIVING SAFELY."

Hey, I know I drive safely, ok? In fact, I know I drive a lot better than a lot of people out there. So how come I can't get a license???
Before taking the exam for the first time, I read this website on behind-the-wheel tests, Bobsaid.com. I quote:
Remember - the examiner is not out to get you. The examiner is not prejudiced against your age, gender, race or religion. If you flunk the driving test, you deserved to flunk it.


Oh really, Mr. Bob??? How enlightened of you to say that. After reading this, there I went all confident that I would pass the test, until Becky, on my first attempt, instructed me to make an ilegal lane change, a left turn past the left turn lane entrance, made me stop in the middle of a right of way right turn and marked me off for that, among other things... and her comments on some of my "mistakes" were "I bet could pull this off, but are you sure you could? I think it would be dangerous."

Today I saw Becky once more, for my delight. The exam went very smoothly, she didn't say a word except for the instructions, and on the corner before we turned back to the DMV parking lot, she looks down to her sheet and suddenly starts marking random mistakes on the sheet, including a critical driving mistake (which, from what I recall, should immediately terminate the exam, if she didn't do it, it didn't happen - and really, it didn't). After I parked the car, she doesn't give me any explanations, just says "you had 18 mistakes which is unsatisfactory" and walks out of the car. Seriously?

I do wish I get her one more time, and regardless of the results, I will present a formal complain to the DMV. I know I can drive well and I follow the rules.

This is me in a few years from now...

The Proposal


I wanna watch this. I asked boyfriend if we could go to the movies on Friday and he said he'll do it only if I pass my driving test.

By the way, my driving test starts in half hour. I should get going, wish me luck!

Blog Statement


One of the reasons why I go on such huge hiatus from my blog is because I care so much that I put a lot of thought into what I should write.

So I decided to make a statement here:
I give up making an effort to make this as funny as it once was (my life was ridiculous, thus amusing to other people), or corny (I've had my days, ok? and they were loooong) or whatever it is that makes people wanna read it.

Pretty much the only person who will want to read this is me (deal with it), and maybe my stalker ex-boss (I'm smarter than you think) and my stalker ex boyfriend's ridiculously jealous girlfriend (will you ever let go?). And I pretty much just wanted to say: I KNOW YOU'RE STALKING ME.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Updates:


So if you care, here are some recent updates on my life:

- I came back to Orange County.

- I might as well be married with children.

- I live with my Chubbs in a lovely townhome in Dana Point.

- Tomorrow I am taking my behind-the-wheel test at the DMV in San Clemente for the second time.

- This picture was taken yesterday, that's the most recent you'll get.

- I just butchered my hair.

- No more pictures for at least 2 months.

A New Page

For a while now I have been giving this a thought, and today I decided I should get back to writing in my blog. Not really "getting back", I want to start it over... from page one.

If you want to browse through old pages, sorry, you can't. But every now and then I might have something interesting going on in my life.

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