Language.

original_headache-cat

I have apparently broken my brain.

No really, it’s broken.  I imagine it was all resilient and springy a month ago, soaking up new information happily and processing it with alacrity.  But it got fuller, and fuller, and more and more new information – absolutely necessary information for continued and improved human interaction – kept being added.  Kind of like when you put more and more and more sugar in your tea until the tea just won’t get any sweeter and really tastes like liquid teeth rot by this time and you still have clumps of sugar floating around in your tea laughing at you.  My brain has developed soft spots that refuse to learn anything more.  I can sort of feel them, one in front of my right ear, and another one all the way in the back on the left.  These spots flop down on the ground and hold their breath until they turn purple and when that doesn’t work they just turn their back on me and stick fingers in their ears and cry “LALALALALALA I’M NOT LISTENING LALALALALAAAAA”.

Broken.

Most of this past week has been like this.  I think my teachers are starting to worry about me, but they keep saying it’s normal and this sort of thing happens and it’ll pass.

But until then I could really use some aspirin.

Beantown Diaries

I’m in Boston.

As I tweeted upon my arrival:

I’m in Boston, tweeps.  Hello Harvard Square.  Hello Newbury Street.  Hello stomping grounds of my misspent youth.

Whenever I’m in town, I always find myself remembering all the crazy shit I did when I lived just an hour, exactly, from this place.

What? What’s that you say?  You want me to regale you with crazy tales of my crazy exploits in crazy Beantown, Boston Mass, birthplace of the nation?  Just a hop skip and a jump from Lynn, Lynn, city of sin?

Well.  Have yourself a seat, little buckaroo, and I’ll dangle a couple tasty morsels of high school chicanery in your general di-rection.

Like the time I was waiting in Harvard Square for my best friend Kim.  I was fresh out of my first month and a half at Syracuse, on my way home for Thanksgiving break.  I was mohawked.  I was purple haired.  I was disillusioned youth-ed.  I was so punk rock.  I was going to hang out in Boston with my friend Kim for a day before heading home.  I was 100% rebel.  I was also going to Syracuse University on partial scholarship as an aerospace engineering major.

Right.  So in retrospect, I suppose the Boston street kid task force didn’t pick up on the whole engineering student vibe.  I tried telling them I really didn’t need any clean needles or a place to stay, thanks.  But the sandwich wasn’t half bad.

Then there was the time I totally ditched work the summer before I left for college and Kim and I headed down to Boston for a night on the town with some other friend of hers.  We went to a goth club and were gothy.  We emo’d all night long.  I met a boy named Derrick who I fancied.  He was very pale and full of angst.  WINNER!  I pined over him for a week or two, despite never seeing him again.  I remember walking back to my car, about 2 miles away.  Kim and our other friend were fast walkers, and sorta left me behind.  Drunk, you know.  So, I was walking down Comm(onwealth) Ave, at about 3am, essentially by myself.  I had my knife out, in my hand.  Ready.  Because I was not alone…and it was dark…and not well lit…and not a good part of town.  Plus, there’s the whole I’m-a-total-badass thing.

I also discovered Clannad that weekend.  Still, my favorite Irish band EVAR.  Maire Brennan is the shit.  Makes her sister Enya sound like a walrus needing an epinephrine shot.  (Total exaggeration there, in case you were wondering.  Enya is fab.  Just, her sister is More Fab.)

And of course there was the day I skipped school and Kim and I and a couple others (Kim was quite the bad influence on me, wasn’t she?  Wish I could find her :P ) We hung out on Newbury street generally being nuisances and having just a grand time being Not At School.  Being Not At School makes everything more fun.  It’s like…cinnamon.  With cherries on top, and a dollop of homemade whipped cream.

Now I’m here to visit my new nephew.  See my baby brother as a father for the first time.  Meet my sister-in-law’s parents, who are visiting from Brazil.  That makes them my inlaws, right?  Right?  Because I kinda like them.  Can I keep ‘em?  I foresee a trip to Brazil in my future.  Who knows, maybe I won’t come back.

Anything’s possible.

Anything.

Just look at everything that started in this little colonial town.

But I do miss Portland.

And my dog.

Valentine Pub Crawl

Just in time for Valentine’s day, I submit to you, worthy readers, a valentine pub crawl.  Except instead of crawling pubs, I’m gonna crawl countries.  And instead of sampling libations*, I’m gonna swirl words of love around my palate in different languages, see if the mouth feel is nice.  Test the bouquet.  See if the tannins are overpowering.  In homage to Valentine’s Day, join this humble, hopeless romantic as we journey ’round the world in my flying gondola of love. 

*False advertising, you say?  Whatev.  Deal w/ it.

Let’s start in that passionately contested northeast corner of Spain, where they pronounce Barcelona with the c sounding like -th, Catalonia:

T’estimo (Catalan) – Short and sweet.  But not too sweet.  Sounds a bit fiduciary, in fact.

Wo ai ni (Chinese (Mandarin)) – Falls off the tongue with a touch of earnestness.  Interesting, for the Chinese to sound earnest in love.

Jeg elsker dig (Danish) – Full and robust.  Would sound great yelled from below a balcony, I’d wager.

Ik hou van jou (Dutch) – Melodic, strong, with a nice rhythm.  I think Dutch singers probably have the edge, here, no?

Je t’aime (French) – Hello, this is the language of love, right?  Making the knees of women weak for centuries.

Taim i’ ngra leat (Irish Gaelic) – Probably one of the hardest languages to learn, but oh so rewarding. This is the one that you yell out amidst the fields at twilight, and who’s to say if your heart’s true love is the girl or the island.

Ich liebe dich (German) – Frankly, German is not the most pleasant on my ears.  But I’m sure if you’re German, this is one of the nicer things you get to hear.

S’agapo (Greek) – Agape! Greeks, who gave us Aphrodite, Zeus, Adonis, Cupid, the Muses, and at least three different words for love (agape, eros, philia, and possible thelema and storge).  Truly this country has inspired love in the world for eons.

Szeretlek (Hungarian) – Whoa.  And I thought the only cool thing to come out of Hungary was Béla Bartók.  They don’t fool around when they say I love you.  They fucking mean it.

Ti amo (Italian) – Ah, the Italians.  I do have a fondness for the Latin languages, I must confess.  They all just sound…right.  Like they invented the idea of love, and the way they say it is the way the universe would if it spoke in words.  They don’t call them the Romance languages for nothin!

Ya tebya liubliu (Russian) – Not what I would have expected the Russian to sound like.  Sounds a bit like you’re talking to a pet instead of your lover.  Meh.

Kocham cię (Polish) – Sounds a bit demanding, but musical.  Still better than the German, if you ask me.

Eu te amo (Portuguese) – This is my favorite.  But then, I’m biased.  I freaking love this language.  Eu te amo, meu amor…Sinto saudades de você.

Techihhila (Sioux) – Native American languages are so awesome.  You can almost touch the desire in this one.

‘Rwy’n dy garu di (Welsh) – You know, if I could figure out how to pronounce this, I bet it would sound just beautiful.  I’m sure my pronunciation is all fuckered up, and it still sounds poetic. 

 

Well, my star-crossed lovers, I hope you enjoy my little love sampler.  This Valentine’s day, when you whisper sweet nothings in your true love’s ear, try something a little exotic for a change, and whisper one of these.  Impress him or her with your worldly talents.  Maybe these exotic words will inspire you and your babe to try other exotic pursuits in the name of love, right?

Peace and love to you all, this day and every day.

Of politicos and prose

What a week this has been.

I mean seriously, people.  Half the country will remember where they were yesterday for the rest of their lives, for starters.  For me, this week has been…Momentous.  Thrilling.  Moving.  Confusing.  Thought provoking.  Surprising.

So how many blog posts have you seen about the Inauguration?  I know, me too.  Tons.  And I kinda didn’t want to just add to the Obama mania noise with my piddly two cents.  So this is just an amalgamation of a couple things swirling around my head, including (I mean really, come on, I have to say something, right?) my little Obama plug.  Call it another house cleaning post.

 

So without furthur ado…OBAMA!

That's my president.  Isn't he shiny and new?

That's my president. Isn't he shiny and new?

I recorded the exact moment in his speech where I lost it.  It was right about 10 minutes, 17 or so seconds into it:

“…to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more. ”

…and queue tears. 

TIKVA. 

I’m resolving to get my carpentry on for Habitat for Humanity this year.  That’s what I’m doing, for starters.  What about you?

Also, check out my buddy @dieselboi’s post on OurPDX.  He was THERE. And he has PICTURES!

 

Et Tu, Sam?

Sam.  We're all disappointed.

Sam. We're all disappointed.

What the hell??  My twitter/FB community has been, well, a-twitter with the news of Sam Adams’ announcement, and the repurcussions.  So he slept with an 18 year old intern.  Big deal!!  (as long as he was, in fact, 18.)  He should not have lied about it.  Especially when he was asked directly.  He could have skirted the truth, but no, he flat out lied.  And asked Beau Breedlove (yeah, what a name, huh?) to lie about it as well.  Which says clearly, I’m afraid that people will use this against me because I’m gay.  So I’m gonna hide my gay (legal) indiscretions.  Sure, it may not demonstrate the best judgment in your personal life, but it’s your personal life.  Your record of service speaks for itself.  If you’re gonna be our out and proud mayor, Sam, be out and proud.  You broke no law.  But now, the city is clamoring for you to step down, because they feel betrayed.  I personally don’t think so you should step down, despite my disappointment. I think the city would be best served by you staying in office, especially now that you will do your damnedest to improve your reputation. 

Some fellow bloggers who feel the same:

-http://develonizer.com/?p=1663
-http://catherder.wordpress.com/2009/01/21/why-sam-adams-should-not-resign-as-mayor-of-portland/
-http://inyourwater.wordpress.com/2009/01/21/leave-sam-adams-a-lone/

 

Nao fala portuguese!

I’ve been reminded just how much I love Portuguese.  Such a beautiful language.  I remember the first time I heard it.  I was at a friends house, and she was playing some music.  It was in a language that at first, I thought was French.  But soon realized it couldn’t be French, since I couldn’t make out a single word.  Spanish then?  No, again, don’t recognize any words as Spanish.  Yet I felt so sure that I should be able to understand what they were saying, it sounded so…familiar.  Thus began my love of the Portuguese language.  Mostly the Brazilian flavor.  

I was also introduced to Fernando Pessoa, a Portuguese poet.  And I heard beautiful words, placed in such a way as to make my heart hum in rhythm with the sounds.  Pitter pat, pitter pat:

If I could tell the future and if I knew all secrets,
and if I had all knowledge,
and if I had enough faith to move mountains,
but if I didn’t have love,
I would be nothing.

Eu tenho saudade.

I think I need to do something with those lines.  Like, something that will go on my walls.  I know, I’ll paint them, right on my wall.  In big fancy letters.  Big swirly fancy letters, that go across my walls.  So I can be reminded every day of the essence of my heart. 

See #7 for the reason why.

 

Ok, so maybe working here ain’t so bad after all.

I did a really hard thing.  I told people that I had made something of a commitment to, that well, it doesn’t seem to be working out.  It was a possible break up, and I was interested in someone else.  Or at least, something else.  I had to do it several times.  No one freaked, and I didn’t get fired.  Everyone was supportive, and understanding.  It was not painless (I do develop loyalties tres quickly.  Tres.), but they were at least conversations I could walk away from with my head held high, and no hard feelings, and mutual positive spin.  And it wasn’t even really spin, really.  I learned a lot.  No really, my brain is full of stuff, and I’ll take that with me, and be better for it.  But I have to follow my passion.  And even better, I was told I *could* go back, if I wanted to.

I can be a total geek at work again.  Joy!  Yeah yeah all you open source peeps out there, it’s .NET.  Yes, there is a bajillion hoops, some of them on fire, and politics and crap.  But I understand it.  I’ve maneuvered those roads, they’re familiar, and now that time has passed, they don’t seem so bad, in exchange for being able to be a code monkey again, and get PAID for it.

I haven’t decided for sure that I’m going back yet.  But I can, if I want to, and everyone knows I’m thinking about it, and it didn’t hurt (much) to tell everyone. 

I can even – maybe – be agile again.