Thursday, 30 September 2010

The fish stops here.

And so do the Swedes and Cambodians, and people from over fifty
countries around the planet. I don't know why, but over the past week,
there have been so many new visitors to this blog. What was it?
Audrey Hepburn's middle finger? I honestly don't know.

I'm thrilled to have more hits, of course, but what I absolutely
love is seeing the names of places from where people are connecting
to me. So many are names I have heard of or read about, and a few
that I've visited. But it's the ones I've never heard of before that are
the most exciting. Once I've checked my Visitor's Map and then
updated my alphabetical list (a most joyous task for anyone with
obsessive-compulsive  tendencies), I then pick one of the
previously-unknown places and google it.

Which brings me to the title of this post. Somewhere in the state
of Sao Paulo, in the country Brazil, there is a city, nearly 250 years
old, called PIRACICABA. They call it "the bride of the hills".
I have no idea what a Brazilian bride looks like. The only
Brazilian women I've ever seen were in carnival processions on TV,
looking very exotic, sparkly and feathery. So I deduce that Piracicaba
is a sizzling hot place, with a nice set of hills.

I found a connection, too: every year Piracicaba is host
to the International Fair of Humour, where work from cartoonists
around the world is on display. In tribute to my Piracicaban reader,
I must dig out my favourite cartoon and post it here.

You're still wondering about the fish? Well, the city is bisected
by waterfalls, and fish that swim upstream to reproduce - I'm
presuming some type of salmon - can be seen here. The name 
"Piracicaba" is from a word in the Tupi language that means 
place where the fish stops”. 

I find that delightful.

P.S. Anyone know how the name is pronounced? I'm choosing 
to say pee-raa-chi-KAA-ba. That's what it looks-like-it-sounds-like to me :o)

Monday, 27 September 2010

Opium was a medicine, too.

For some people, it's the first thing they turn on in the morning. For some, it stays on all day. For some, all night.

For some it's the soaps or serials that Simply Cannot Be Missed. It's just not the same watching a rerun the following morning. It would be like eating cold pizza. Oh, the rerun might be watched too, but that fresh first showing, oftentimes with extra cheese, can't be missed.

Sometimes the TV is a babysitter who can turn hyperactive children turn into placid zombies who can go without blinking for extraordinarily long periods of time while their parents reassure themselves that this lesser evil is for the greater good.

Sometimes it's company. Voices .. actors, musicians, news reporters .. men, women, children, animals .. the good, the bad, the ugly .. it doesn't matter what, as long as it cuts into the silence of loneliness.

Sometimes it's crowd control, because it's easier to watch a screen than it is to go out and be part of something else, whether that's a sporting event or a riot.

Sometimes it's journeys - into the past, onto an African savannah, behind the scenes or where the action is.

But whatever it is, it does something for us, takes us away or distracts us or just fills the time between one day and the next.

I'm not addicted to it, no, not me. I could easily live without it, but I like having it around. I like my serials and comedies and movies, and voices coming from the other room. I like the vampires and the impossible stunts and the surprisingly good-looking forensic scientists. I like everything except the ads (but that's another story.)

But what I like most is that inbetween all the channels and cacaphony, I sometimes find little poetic pearls of wisdom that I consider good enough to scrawl on my designated scrawling wall. (Yes I really do have one, and highly recommend the concept). And I thought I'd share them with you:

"Your job is to be yourself. And my job is to love you, no matter what."
- the father of Kurt (who is gay), on an episode of "Glee"

"We're all scared. If you're not scared, you're not paying attention."
- Dr. Bailey, on "Grey's Anatomy"

"One day you wake up and you find that you don't mind carrying it around with you."
- Detective Kate Bennett, on "Castle"
(she was talking about coming to terms with her grief and trauma over her mother's murder)

"Scars remind us where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going."
- Agent Rossi, on "Criminal Minds"

TV may be the "opium of the masses", but sometimes it has a healing touch.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

A hands-on experience.

It's not a remarkable picture, and of no one in particular, just
one of those random faces I like to draw. But I discovered
something interesting after I'd finished. The face tells a sad
little story. If you hold your hand over the right side of the face,
you'll see that on the left is a young face, full of sorrow. And when
you cover the left side, the right is an older face, hardened with bitterness.

I think the story is that within a person who may seem sour or cynical,
there may be a history of some sadness or despair that is still carried
with them every day.

The moral: Judge not. We do it all the time, and we do not have
the right qualifications.

Monday, 20 September 2010

The big Kiwi lie.

I swear the shadows really did look like that. Honestly.
And talking of honesty, the Kiwis lied to me.
This apple came with a little label that read "New Zealand Delicious".
It was not.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sometimes art heals in weird and wonderful ways.

After I lost my darling bird Gobi, it was suggested that I turn
to art or writing - about her - to "sublimate" my grief. But I couldn't.
I'm not ready to face my loss so directly, just yet. So I picked up
a book of movie star photos, and decided to try my hand at
copying that classic Audrey Hepburn picture, the one with
the loooong cigarette holder.

Somehow, I ended up with what you see here. Fortunately
for Ms Hepburn, it looks nothing like her.

I'm not healed. Grief takes its own time. But I can't help smiling
when I look at this ridiculous portrait, and for now, that'll do.