Mar 9, 2002
I got an e-mail from the GET praising my rainbow hat and saying that he is leaving the Golden State in two days. He's being so mysterious about his whereabouts, a perfect waldo.
Hace un calor senegalesco. My mom who used to work in the airline business when it was considered very chic said that Dakar in the 50s was so excruciatingly boring that the British Airways representative went to the dentist one afternoon and had a tooth pulled by way of entertainment.
Mangoes for breakfast today, lusciously sweet like you only find them in the tropics. The mermbaby is just back from the pool. She is trying to mummify her mommy with scotchtape. I pasted a pocket-size picture of her father in the pink castle, right above the mantelpiece. He probably keeps eyeing the dolls that come and go into the plastic palace. The mermaid junior pays very little attention to this feat of symbolic engineering. There are times I think she's forgotten him or maybe she is just mad because he is away. Or maybe I am. Our correspondence has been sparse and dry verging on non-existent. I wish he would send me child support. I suspect he never will.
Mar 8, 2002
Judge: "The charge here is a theft of frozen chickens. Are you the
Defendant: "No, sir, I'm the guy who stole the chickens."
Judge to Defendant: "You have the right to a trial by jury, but you
may waive that right. What do you wish to do?"
Lawyer to Defendant: "Waive"
Defendant: Waves (at the judge.)
Q: "Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a
Q: "Did you check for blood pressure?"
Q: "Did you check for breathing?"
Q: "So, then is it possible that the patient was alive when you began
Q: "How can you be so sure, doctor?"
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar."
Q: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
A: "It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law
By the way, Marta Rosas is releasing her book Tradução de Humor - Transcriando Piadas on March 14, in the Antiga Reitoria building of Universidade de São Paulo, 6pm. Also, here is a basic description of what it takes to be an interpreter.
Mar 7, 2002
The PLD-ATA president says she is sorry I am not coming to the Santa Fe conference but hopes I will change my mind in time for the event. In case I don't, "journalism translation sounds like a great topic for the big one", which will be held in Atlanta this november.
My presentation need some tuning up and abridging. When I presented it in Rosario (oh Argentina, I cry for you), my audience was made up of students mostly. It was a hit but it took me 3 hours to deliver it so when it was time for me to give the GP presentation my brain was papaya pulp (not to mention that I had just come out of a very hot 3-day tryst and my body was screaming for some shut-eye). No wonder I slept for 5 hours through high speed zones and bumper-to-bumper traffic until we arrived in Buenos Aires. Knees lightly touching. Divine.
Somebody's got to blow the horn:
"Farei de minha arte um ofício minucioso, sofrido, modesto"
Tradução como auto-flagelação? Deus me livre, te esconjuro Satanás. Acho que está mais do que na hora de os tradutores darem-se valor. Os tradutores técnicos são capazes disso, não entendo por que os literários insistem nessa submissão e na imagem de abnegação que se reflete inclusive nos ridículos honorários pagos pelas editoras. Desculpe Paulo, mas frisar que "nossa tradição coleciona um célebre repertório de erros" é cair na mesma cegueira dos jornalistas que só abrem a boca para falar do tradutor quando faltam idéias para o artigo e o recurso é malhar. Em geral, para cada erro existem pelo menos mil acertos. Proponho o seguinte:
Trabalhando bem, expandindo meus horizontes e minha lista de clientes internacionais, terei o direito de comer caviar beluga, pois não sou trouxa e esta é a lei do mercado. Mesmo que tenha de reproduzir idéias com as quais não concordo e traduzir manuais de compressores, aturar revisões mal feitas, não me importarei, porque traduções são como filhos, criados para o mundo onde todas as coisas convivem em uma sinfonia de disparidades. Lutarei contra os biqueiros que denigrem a minha profissão e pedirei a São Jerônimo com Jota que afaste de mim a preguiça de levantar a bunda da cadeira para consultar o dicionário ou de pegar o telefone para ligar para um colega mais experiente. Não aceitarei trabalhos para os quais não me sinta capacitado nem serei o primeiro a afirmar que "não suporto ler livros em tradução" (mesmo se isso for verdade). Terei orgulho em ser uma betoneira de caracteres, pois sei, mesmo se o mundo ignora, que a argamassa que gira em minhas entranhas constrói as cidades do saber.
Mar 6, 2002
Mar 5, 2002
Mar 4, 2002
"Here's an invitation for you to participate in my interactive e-talk at SBS: "Some thoughts on literary translation" I wrote a two-page text on the form of FAQs, which will be kept online at the SBS site for the whole week, from Monday 4th through Friday 8th. You can read it and then post your questions or comments. I will post my answers and so we can have an ongoing discussion. There's a little bureaucracy first – if you are not a registered teacher at the SBS site, you have to register and wait for them to send you a password. But registering at the SBS site also means you can get discounts on textbooks and dictionaries - including VocabuLando! First click on the big green banner at the bottom of the site to get in. Then "professor" and "profissional de linguas" on your record and ask for a password. They may take a while to send it – they are right in the middle of the back-to-school rush. If you have trouble registering, get in touch with Renata Fernandes. With your password you can get in the section "e-talks".
I hope you enjoy my e-talk and send your comments over!"
See you! Isa Mara Lando
Blindtangerine was asking me the other day about Haroldo de Campos who holds similar views on the important role played by translators and coined the term transcriação. Yeah, I always get overexcited when Rochefoulcauld's maxim is presented in exploded view and the subservient, invisible translator is empowered.
Mar 3, 2002
I find translators, in many ways, to be the real protagonists of culture. In Art & Anger there is an essay about the role translators played in the conquest of the Americas. I am fascinated by the fact that we go to movies and have subtitles, that there are simultaneous translations in the United Nations. This war between East and West or between the Muslim world and America is as much about language as it is about the sacred books and God. Translators are the underpaid heroes of culture.
Check out also the online version of The Art of War by Sun Tzu. And just to confirm the point Ilan Stavans is making in his interview, here's a little tale. In 1996 I was offered the translation of the Art of War by a Sao Paulo publisher. I don't speak Chinese so they wanted me to use the English translation as the source text and to translate this book which is at the very inception of military strategic thinking in 7 days. That is right: 7 days because they had a deadline with the printers. The proposed rate was degradingly low. About R$4 for 2,000 characters. I refused the offer. While I was a mermercenaire in the making I had a great deal of respect for history. My hope is that one day translators earn the same respect from the public. Reverence wouldn't be bad either.
Mar 2, 2002
I left at 5.00 pm, completely famished, called my friends, nobody was available for a late lunch, so I drove to the grill near my apartment building and ate like a horse. I think I must have eaten 2 pounds of olive oil preserved onions and a picanha to boot with kiwi caipirinha to wash it down. Now my friend Paula wants me to meet her at some yuppie joint owned by four adsmen for drinks. Fat chance.
The Green-Eyed Temptation is not mad at me for my drunken indiscretions. He was very patient and sympathetic as he explained what I should do to get my hand back in order. "Stay away from computers" is a tall order. He said he had to take a two-month break when his ulnar nerve went caput and that it took him two years to get back to 90%. He also mentioned that the injury starts at the eyes. Bad monitors positioned not at eye-level and high-pressure keyboards are the ultimate villains. Only 15% of the RSI sufferers bust their ulnar nerves, he says. Maybe I should feel special? Nah.
He said he "cropped me" but somehow got distracted and forgot to upload the file. Lack of focus can be fatal. He is going to a Brazilian gay bar tonight. That can be fatal too. I imagine he is going to get pinched a lot, that is what we do when we see green-eyed temptations with boyish looks and beautiful legs.
Mar 1, 2002
Feb 28, 2002
Tonight I'm doing a focus group for a soft drinks brand and on Saturday afternoon it's a meeting with the people from a NGO at another NGO (incidentally, everything you ever wanted to know about the Mata Atlântica is in this Unesco paper). I'm also going to dabble with the appendixes from the Secrets of Electronic Commerce. Got to do something productive before my mind goes completely out of whack.
I had to take a brief pause right now to open a Dreamgirl's Fantasy Village toy for Sofia. My life is crazy. Back after the reboot.
Feb 27, 2002
‘Now’ is never just a moment. The Long Now is the recognition that the precise moment you’re in grows out of the past and is a seed for the future. The longer your sense of Now, the more past and future it includes. It’s ironic that, at a time when humankind is at a peak of its technical powers, able to create huge global changes that will echo down the centuries, most of our social systems seem geared to increasingly short nows.
apud Eric Kroll.com
Here's an excerpt to tingle your philological tastebuds:
Uma das mais freqüentes imagens, no substantivo mesmo, é a de receptáculo, estojo, bainha, entrada (como já o é no latim vagina mesmo): arapuca-de-caçar-pinto, arca-conana (já em Gregório de Matos), bainha, bainha-de-homem, barroca (ó), baú, boca-de-baixo, boca-de-bicho, boca-de-cabelo, boca-de-jacaré, boca-de-sapo, boca-do-mato, boca-do-corpo, boca-em-pé, boca-sem-dentes, boceta/buceta (sobre a qual se fala adiante), boeta (variante pouco freqüente da anterior), bolsa-de-valores, brecha, buraco-de-minhoca, caixinha-de-segredos, caneco-de-couro, canoinha, carteira, cartola, castelo-do-amor, caverna, chincha (= canoa, canoinha), concha, cova, loca, engole-cobra, engole-espada, fenda, forno, furna, gaveta, grota, greta, gruta, gretagarbo, gruta-do-amor, goelão, enxu (= vespeiro, colmeia), lance (de lancetar), lanho, lasca, lascão, lascadinha, lascada, mealheiro (= cofre), moente (= moedor = moedouro, sendo moer = "copular"), ninho-de-piroca, ninho-de-rola, olha (ôlha = panela, já em Gregório de Matos), panela-rachada (empregada em carta familiar pelo patriarca José Bonifácio para sua filha recém-nascida), pichéu/pichel (= vasilha de vinho), porteira-do-mundo, racha, rachadura, rego, rego-de-mijar, samburá (= cesta), tabaqueira (donde "tirar o tabaco, da [tabaqueira]"= deflorar), tabaco, tigela-com-pêlos, vaso, vaso dianteiro, vão...
Feb 26, 2002
I'm writing to say that I met a very interesting guy named ***. He is the grandson of a German diva. He has produced a documentary about his grandmother and it's likely that he will come to the São Paulo Film Festival in October. If he does, I would like to introduce him to you because I think he is a fine catch for you. Kisses, A.
I replied that I am going to watch The Blue Angel nonstop until October in preparation to this grand meeting.
Nightmaras. Mara was our contact at the vacation rental agency. On the first night at the lovenest I woke up beside R. and whispered that I had had nightmaras all night long. My dreams last night were intensely weird: wild boars on Belgian beaches, Umberto Eco sexy scholar, Kierkgaard and designer leather handbags, writing a check for rent to a Mr. Sexovalle, R. rescuing me on the windy shores. I will try to post it to Dreamcatcher later. No need to dig deeper for topics when I meet my shrink at 13.00 hours, military time.
Anti-Papalagui mood. I have never been lazier than this. But I think I'm going to take the 5 radiation therapy spec sheets. My Romanian prospective employer writes again:
"For a single parent the cost of living can be rather high in Silicon Valley
and taxes do not help either. I am afraid that the gap between the income
you need to have the life style you and Sofia are used to (and deserve)
and what would make economic sense to us as a company is too
high to bridge and we cannot come to a compromise that is a
win-win situation for both you and us"
R. is looking for jobs in Santa Clara again. I know it for a fact even though we are officially in non-speaking terms. There are so many question marks in my life right now. Maybe I should go study philosophy in Belgium, wild boars and all. This European strand, could it be related to B's invitation to go spend time with him in Geneva? He called yesterday to bid me farewell, a bit disheartened because things are looking very indecisive between him and T. I've known them for so long as a couple. I met them back in the days when I was married to the Prussian General and led a very respectable life. I hope B and T work things out.
A favorite of Mr. Bush Sr.'s, I hear. A high-powered interpreter who has recently included me in her address book says that there may be three more days for me next month. March 11 through 13. Financial stuff this time. If I can do heavy-duty compressors for thermoelectric plants I can do anything. The soap bars gig hasn't been paid yet. Nor the BNDES job. I'm broke but at least I mustered up the courage to look at my bank statements. I'm about $1,500 in the red. And that figure is stated in dollars.
Feb 25, 2002
China - symbol of celebration and luck, used in many cultural
ceremonies that range from funerals to weddings.
India - color of purity (used in wedding outfits).
Western cultures - Christmas color when combined with green; Valentines
Day when combined with pink; indicates stop (danger) at traffic lights.
Eastern cultures - signifies joy when combined with white.
Asia - sacred, imperial.
Western cultures - joy, happiness.
China - associated with immortality.
Colombia - associated with soap.
Hindus - the color of Krishna.
Jews - holiness.
Middle East - protective color.
* Note: Blue is often considered to be the safest global color.
Ireland - religious significance (Protestant).
Western cultures - inexpensive goods, Halloween (with black).
China - studies indicate this is not a good color choice for packaging, green hats mean a man's wife is cheating on him.
France - studies indicate this is not a good color choice for packaging.
India - the color of Islam.
Ireland - religious significance (Catholic).
Some tropical countries - associated with danger
Western cultures - indicates go (safe) at traffic lights, environmental awareness, St. Patrick's Day, Christmas color (red and green).
Western cultures - royalty.
Western cultures - loneliness, lifeless and loveless
times or settings.
Colombia - discourages sales.
India - the color of mourning.
Eastern cultures - mourning, death.
Japan - white carnations signify death.
Western cultures - purity (used in weddings).
Western cultures - mourning, death.
Hindu - sacred color (orangish peach color).
Korea - trust.
Western cultures - spring, Easter; pale blue (baby blue) stands for
an infant boy; pale pink stands for an infant girl.
Western cultures - Gay pride; Christianity; cultural
And remember: "white carnations signify death in Japan and green hats mean a man's wife is cheating on him in China. Maybe a green hat with a white carnation in the brim isn't such a good color choice for your company's product logo! Make sure you go beyond your self-contained experiences (whichever culture you belong to) and understand color from a global perspective."
Feb 24, 2002
Penetrating the Mind by Metaphor
February 23, 2002
By EMILY EAKIN- The New York Times
What does a Buddhist monk meditating in a soccer stadium
during a game have to do with Coca-Cola? Everything, says
Gerald Zaltman, a maverick marketing professor at the
Harvard Business School. Just don't expect a Coke drinker
to tell you this.
Hold a focus group or circulate a questionnaire, and you'll
learn that Coke is a "high-energy, thirst-quenching,
fun-at-the-beach" kind of drink, Mr. Zaltman says. Someone
might even mention a soccer game. But stuff like monks and
meditation just doesn't come up.
Which, in Mr. Zaltman's view, is only further proof that
focus groups and questionnaires - the dominant techniques
in his field - are more often than not a waste of time.
"Most new products are developed and launched using those
techniques," Mr. Zaltman, 63, said recently during an
interview at his Harvard office. "And 60 to 80 percent of
all new products fail."
A slight, sprightly man with graying hair, a dimpled grin
and a manner almost preternaturally mild, Mr. Zaltman makes
an unlikely apostate. Yet he calls focus groups "the F
word." And while the conventional wisdom in his field says
to take consumers at their word - to grill them about their
tastes, buying habits and favorite brands - he seeks to
converse directly with their brains instead.
A member of the Mind, Brain, Behavior Initiative at
Harvard, an interdisciplinary study group, he meets
regularly with experts on human cognition. And he has
dabbled with brain scans as a means of testing the
effectiveness of advertisements. But he is best known as
the creator of ZMET (pronounced ZEE-met), the Zaltman
Metaphor Elicitation Technique. The first patented
marketing research tool in the United States, it represents
an unusual attempt to put some of the insights of
neuroscience (along with generous helpings of semiotics and
Carl Jung) to profitable use as a window into consumer
attitudes toward everything from art museums to laundry
Citing prominent scholars of the human brain - like Steven
Pinker and Antonio Damasio - Mr. Zaltman argues that
consumers can't tell you what they think because they just
don't know. Their deepest thoughts, the ones that account
for their behavior in the marketplace, are unconscious. Not
only that, he insists, those thoughts are primarily visual
"Because we represent the outcome of thoughts verbally,
it's easy to think that thought occurs in the form of
words," he said. "That's just not the case."
To uncover people's hidden thoughts about the products they
use, ZMET relies on visual images. The study Mr. Zaltman
conducted for Coca-Cola in Europe last year was typical.
Small groups of paid volunteers were asked to spend a week
collecting at least a dozen pictures from magazines,
catalogs or any other source that captured their feelings
about Coca-Cola. Then, they discussed the images during a
two-hour private interview with a ZMET specialist. Finally,
they created a digital collage with their images and
recorded a short text about its meaning.
After studying the interview transcripts and images for
recurring themes, Mr. Zaltman's team came to this
conclusion: Coke evokes not just feelings of invigoration
and sociability - something its maker has long known and
exploited in its ads - but feelings of calm, solitude and
relaxation as well. Indeed, the paradoxical essence of Coke
is neatly summed up by the image, taken from an actual ZMET
interview, of the Buddhist monk meditating in the crowded
"The big insight we had is that Coke is really two drinks
in one," Mr. Zaltman recalled with a chuckle. "They'd
really been marketing half a Coke."
The Coca-Cola Company agreed. To impress the point on its
division presidents during a meeting in Vienna, the
complimentary Coke bottles lining the conference table were
deliberately served only half full.
Since he began using ZMET nearly 10 years ago, Mr. Zaltman
has completed more than 200 studies. Some are part of his
own academic research and take place at his Mind of the
Market Lab at Harvard. Many others, however, are conducted
by his private consulting firm, Olson Zaltman Associates,
for wealthy corporations like DuPont, General Motors,
Reebok and AT&T that are willing to cough up the roughly
$75,000 he charges for his services.
Mr. Zaltman has assessed peoples' deep thoughts about
everything from Nestle Crunch bars and Downy to dental
offices, the Internet, panty hose and babies' bowel
movements. And though many clients are reluctant to discuss
their ZMET results for fear of betraying company secrets,
they have praise for the technique itself.
Drake Stimson, a marketing director at Procter & Gamble,
credits ZMET for the unexpected success of Fabreez, an
odor-removing fabric spray, though he declined to say
exactly what Mr. Zaltman's research had revealed. "In our
first-year launch, we made $230 million in sales," Mr.
Stimson said. "Based on our test market, we were expecting
to make half of that. From our perspective, ZMET enabled us
to double our sales volume."
Tom Brailsford, a manager of technological research at
Hallmark, which has used ZMET for studies on both mothers
and memory, said he had found the technique impressive. "It
really does touch a part of consumers you can't get to with
any other technique I've ever seen," he said. "It's not
that consumers won't tell you what's on their minds. It's
that they can't."
Mr. Zaltman attributes that insight to brain scientists.
But he dates his original thinking about vision and
cognition to a 1990 vacation in Nepal with his wife. An
avid photographer, Mr. Zaltman had planned to shoot lots of
film on the trip. But it occurred to him that it would be
more interesting to ask residents of the villages he would
be visiting to take pictures instead. The Zaltmans ended up
trekking through the Nepalese countryside, lugging sacks of
cheap Instamatic cameras and 600 rolls of film donated by
"We were in very remote areas of Nepal, where tourists
typically don't go," Mr. Zaltman recalled. "And we gave
people cameras and assignments. One was: assume you're
going to leave this village and move somewhere else and you
wanted to tell people in the new place what life was like
here. What pictures would you take to show them?"
After traveling to Katmandu to develop the film, the
Zaltmans returned to the villages to distribute prints.
With the help of a translator, they interviewed the local
photographers - many of whom were using a camera for the
first time - about their work. "What it revealed to me was
the inadvertent arrogance of the idea that unsophisticated
people didn't have sophisticated thoughts," Mr. Zaltman
said. "In fact, the stories these people told about these
images were amazingly complex."
In many photos, for example, he noticed that people's feet
were cut off. Initially, he blamed the photographers'
inexperience for the phenonenom. But in discussing the
images, he learned that the effect was deliberate: bare
feet were a sign of poverty, a condition the local
photographers were loathe to reveal.
Back at Harvard, Mr. Zaltman continued to think about
images. Why, he wondered, did marketing experts tend to
work with words and numbers when companies did most of
their marketing through pictures? "I was aware of this
mismatch between the way information is delivered and the
way in which people had to react to that information," Mr.
Zaltman said. "What if we presented data in the form that
consumers actually experienced them? Words, but also visual
metaphors." He began reading about neuroscience and
synthesizing the ideas that became ZMET. In 1995, he was
invited to join the Mind, Brain, Behavior Initiative.
Obviously, misguided marketing isn't the only reason new
products fail. And in a field known for faddishness, Mr.
Zaltman's technique could turn out to be simply the latest
flash in the pan. After all, marketing experts have dabbled
in other disciplines before with notoriously mixed results.
For a time in the 1950's, Freud-inspired "motivational
research" was all the rage, with specialists like the
Austrian psychologist Ernest Dichter advising companies
like the General Foods Corporation on how to enhance the
subliminal content of its Jell-O ads. But the method fell
into disrepute after Vance Packard, in the 1957 best seller
"The Hidden Persuaders," called it manipulative, comparing
it to the "chilling world of George Orwell and his Big
Two decades later, physiology was hot. To track people's
emotional responses to television pilots and
advertisements, researchers homed in on their eyeballs,
recording the dilations and contractions of their pupils.
"The pupil-dilation technique was used by every network,"
said Jagdish Sheth, a professor of marketing at Emory
University. "Whenever the pupil contracted, they cut that
bit out. But when they kept the emotional level high all
the time to keep the pupil dilated, the pilot failed
Until recently, marketing's most highly touted innovations
- the focus group and the questionnaire - had managed to
escape a similar fate. But experts are becoming
increasingly disenchanted with these as well. "What
marketing has discovered is that the tools crafted in the
1950's don't work as well as they used to," said Paco
Underhill, the author of "Why We Buy: The Science of
Shopping" (Simon & Schuster, 1999).
As a result, companies may be more willing than usual to
try out novel ideas. Nevertheless, experts say, in the long
run ZMET could go the way of previous experiments. "Zaltman
is getting into an area which is the new and upcoming area,
mind/brain," said Mr. Sheth. "It's going to grow for the
next 5 to 10 years and have a tremendous following and then
like anything else, it's going to die."
But Mr. Zaltman isn't letting naysayers dampen his
enthusiasm. His current projects include a potentially
lucrative plan to peddle ZMET to movie studios. "We'll use
it with consumers to get their reaction to a treatment,
synopsis or a full script," he said. "We've done some
experimentation in all of those settings and it looks like
a really neat application."
Grinning bashfully, he allowed himself to imagine a day
when ZMET is a household word in Hollywood: "Probably what
will happen is that a studio might say, `O.K. But has your
script been ZMET-ed yet?'"
Feb 23, 2002
Miraculously, I feel not hungover at all so I am going to take the mermie to the zoo.
Feb 22, 2002
Feb 21, 2002
Incidentally, I didn't reinstall Msgr. I still have a tiny molecule of good sense.
Feb 20, 2002
After putting her books back into the handbag, she asks me if I am going to go to the Santa Fé ATA-PLD Meeting in New Mexico next April. "Oh, I don't know..." is my reply. Intonated with the same air-headed sing-song voice that made B. laugh and put his big and friendly paw on my knee last night after many rounds of margaritas.
Feb 19, 2002
Yahoo is contemplating changing the Yahoo! Groups system to add "premium"
services for pay and
reducing the free services provided. If you'd like to offer your opinion
on this issue, please
take the survey Yahoo has posted at
Here's the bottomline: Yahoogroups is going to charge for their services. The basic services will remain free-of-charge but use limitations will be imposed. The storage limit is too low for large membership groups such as Trad-prt and GlossPost. Any archives with over 2,000 messages are going to go under.
Looking for a skin care glossary I serendipitously find a shockwave game called Face Invaders on the Acne Arcade of PimplePortal.
Feb 18, 2002
The ride. Michael picked us up and drove us there. Sofia feel asleep immediately and only woke up two hours later, which gave us plenty of time to sip our beers and shoot the breeze while listening to music. Michael soon adapted to the technique of raising and lowering the volume on the stereo with the antenna of my cell phone (more on that later). Buttons are missing from the console. After a quick stop in a queijaria, Sofia woke up feeling hungry. I fed her cookies, jujubees and apple juice which she proccessed and spit out all over herself and the car seat when the car began twisting and turning on the earth road leading to the home in the mountains. Fantastic views and odors filled our senses. We decided not to stop in town to get supplies, which proved to be fatal mistake when the overcast skies came pouring down like a vengeance on the exact moment we arrived with our hefty luggage at the house.
The house. Rustic, nondescript, esoteric but with a lot of character. The previous means that while there is considerable room for improvement as far as creature comforts go, the house is amazing in a one-of-its-kind kind of way. There were crystal slices embedded on the cement floor, a cute enamel firewood stove and the windows were shaped in a very curious way. I think that the builders were probably intent on shaping them like crystals to attract the positive energies of the cosmo but to me they looked exactly like the windows in Fred and Vilma's cave in The Flintstones. No sound proofing between the mezzanine and the ground floor. And I've been suffering from insomnia lately. Ahem.
The people. It was supposed to be Michael and V. (his girlfriend) and the Mermaby and me. But in the last moment, V.'s ex-husband ditched his commitment to stay with her two teenage children for the weekend and they came along, sullen, irritable, spoiled and unhelpful. So here we have an isolated home in the mountains with two teenagers who didn't want to come and are doing everything to make the trip hell and a two-year old, generally adorable but prone to fits every once and again. In a house with no TV or videogames for the kids, booze or klonopin for the adults. It's the guest list for a country weekend in hell. Tension mounted because we didn't have any food or even candles, we were so eager to get there and get rid of the puke that we didn't stop in town. Meanwhile the rain was beating steadily and hard for 3 hours and a half, flooding the rivers and making the mud roads even stickier for our city-folk cars.
(More to follow when I get a chance...)
Feb 16, 2002
There are too many waterfalls here; the crowded streams
hurry too rapidly down to the sea,
and the pressure of so many clouds on the mountaintops
makes them spill over the sides in soft slow-motion,
turning to waterfalls under our very eyes.
- For if those streaks, those mile-long, shiny, tearstains
aren’t waterfalls yet,
in a quick age or so, as ages go here,
they probably will be.
But if the streams and clouds keep travelling, travelling,
the mountains look like the hulls of capsized ships,
slime-hung and barnacled
Think of the long trip home.
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Where should we be today?
Is it right to be watching strangers in a play
in this strangest of theaters?
what childishness is it that while there’s a breath of life
in our bodies, we are determined to rush
to see the sun the other way around?
The tiniest green hummingbird in the world?
To stare at some inexplicable old stonework,
inexplicable and impenetrable,
at any view,
instantly seen and always, always delightful?
Oh must we dream our dreams
and have them too?
And have we room
for one more folded sunset, still quite warm?
But surely, it would have been a pity
not to have seen the trees along this road,
really exaggerated in their beauty,
not to have seen them gesturing
like noble pantomimists, robed in pink.
- Not to have had to stop for gas and heard
the sad, two-noted wooden tune
of disparate wooden clogs
carelessly clacking over
a grease-stained filling-station floor.
(In another country, the clogs would all be tested.
Each pair there would have an identical pitch.)
- A pity not to have heard
the other, less primitive music of the fat brown bird
who sings above the broken gasoline pump
in a bamboo church of Jesuit baroque:
three towers, five silver crosses.
- Yes a pity not to have pondered,
blurr’dly and inconclusively,
on what connection can exist for centuries
between the crudest wooden footwear
and, careful, finicky,
the whittled fantasies of wooden cages.
- Never to have studied history in
the weak calligraphy of songbirds’ cages
and never to have had to listen to rain
so much like politician’s speeches:
two hours of unrelenting oratory
and then a sudden golden silence
in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes:
“Is it lack of imagination that makes us come
to imagined places, not just stay at home?
Or could Pascal have been not entirely right
about just sitting quietly in one’s room?
Continent, city, country, society:
the choice is never wide and never free.
And here, or there...No. Should we have stayed at home,
wherever that may be?
Feb 15, 2002
I also try to reach the Green-Eyed Temptation over the phone but the secretina eletrônica answers. I still don't know where the rain in Spain stays mainly in a plain. Esse é o fulcro da questão. Plane or plain, I wonder with no intention whatsoever to solve the orthography dillema, I check enough dictionaries at work, no way I'm going to check them at play. The master plan of getting Sofia hooked on opera is a smashing success. Soon she will be begging me for some Janacek and dressing up as Elina Makropolus instead of Snow White. In my quest for Janacek, I revisit Online Classics where just Jenufa and Katja Kabanova are available. Blindtangerine and I are the only readers and commenters of our respective blogs. The Gobi Desert is as bustling and lively as the Champs Elyseés in comparison.
To: "Blind Tangerine"
I keep receiving e-mails from Proz saying:
Your answer was peer graded.
Shouldn't it be: Your answer was peer-graded ?
Just nittpicking to avoid dealing with my mounting depression.
To which the savant replies:
From: "Blind Tangerine"
There are many subtle schools of thought on that question. It's analogous to
the "blowjob, blow-job, or blow job" debate. I tend to think the noun is
being used attributively (as an adjective) and therefore requires no hyphen.
I have been converted to a more open style over the past couple of years.
Hope this nonsense confuses you thoroughly and acts as a mental emetic to
purge you of the blue funk.
Doing a 120-word autopsy report in Latin for $40 (minimum fee). You think
that's a reasonable price?
To: "Blind Tangerine"
Not confusing enough, I am afraid. But I had the brilliant idea of putting
the laptop next to my desktop playing Aida on the DVD. Analysis is going marvelously. I'm scheduling extra sessions. Got to strike the ID while it's hot.
Autopsy for 40 bucks...hmm. Not sure it's sufficient. Has the deceased rotten in his grave a long time ago? Finding the correct
translations for disease names can be a bitch because the nomenclature
evolves. Angela on the phone.
Got to run,
Nilza brings me a cafezinho. Sweet of her. And while logging in to Blogger I stumble on a web-diário from East Timor, complete with dictionary of Timorese regionalisms. Dictionaries are the translator's ultimate fetish. I always get goosebumps when I find little treasures like this on the teia-mar.
Feb 14, 2002
From the developer: "Konvertor is a file viewer/converter. Konvertor reads and converts 389 different file formats: 339 graphic formats (bmp, pcd, k25, psd, targa, hp-gl, pdf, gif, jpeg, jpeg 2000, vrml...), 50 audio, text and video formats (asf(audio), wma, mp3, dalet, wav, txt, voc, mod, avi, mpeg...) with 40 different filters (blur, charcoal, resize etc...), produce HTML pages, create Wallpapers etc... "
Convergence is the word. Mermie is spending the night at grandma's so I have the bed all to myself. Even though it has been hailed as "o blogue dos blogues", I still haven't visited xoxotacrew. The name is quite catchy. Infectiously so.
I will now converge with my pajamas and get under the sheets. I'll be in REM before you can say click.
I got any e-mail from an agency in Portugal proposing me regular work every quarter, some 15 thou words of a telecom industry jargon-ridden bumf. And of course they want my best rate. I briskly logged on to Oanda for some euro vis-a-vis dollar enlightement. My rate is probably too steep for them. This reminds me that Denise also called me on the phone for chit-chat about Florianópolis, Angela and the Giant Jalapeño from hell. She says we should treat men with the same ruthless and charmingly spiteful attitude we adopt towards potential clients: here's the estimate. If you think it's too expensive, scram.I realize this male management reeks of The Rules and Cosmo but I am not totally indifferent to its appeal.
Major breakthrough in my analysis today but I can't reveal the details. Just call me Raskolnikov of the Southern Cross.
Feb 13, 2002
My entries, I notice, are all approximately the same length. That has always been my problem: sustaining writing, unraveling thought. The exception is translating, which I consider to be a subservient form of writing. Give long boring documents of 90,000 words and I will translate them without losing stamina. I remember once in NY, very close to BT's unsanitary dwellings, I looked up to a sign and said: Hey, Airtemp air conditioners. I translated their marketing brochures for an agency in Singapore! . BT just sneered and said that I'd translate just anything. In my defense, I could say that I need to plunge into words but I shun the immersion into thought. Thinking is very hard and makes my little head hurt. That is why I became a translator and not a writer.
ProZ is still churning out questions (yeah I know about time zones, but allow me the poetic license). Translators are night owls mostly. Not me. I like afternoons like in the Neruda poem. (Or is it Lorca? I've searched high and low and I can't find it: it's that one hot afternoons, dogs fornicating, priests wanking off and beds tall as seaships, where is it by Jove?). I think the Mermaid Jr. is awake. Have they invented a muffler for the keyboard yet?
May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits.
May your left ear wither and fall into your right pocket.
May you be born in an unimportant time.
(I don't get this one)
Biblical Curse from the Ship of Fools (hi Simon!):
Harken, O thou babbling Assyrian, for you will go about weeping and wailing in sackcloth and ashes!
Thou whoreson muddy-mettled nut-hook!
May you trip and fall into the mantled manure patulating from the sweat gullet of a Booger Fish Fondlepiddle.
You're the lowest cockleman that ever stabbed a friend in the back.
May all your teeth fall out, except one. And that one should ache you.
May you win a lottery, and spend it all on doctors.
May you live in a house with a hundred rooms, and may each room have its own
bed, and may you wander every night from room to room, and from bed to bed,
unable to sleep.
May you grow so rich that your widow's second husband never has to worry
about making a living.
May you grow two more hands to scratch all your itches.
May you back into a pitchfork and grab a hot stove for support.
Feb 12, 2002
In another dream I was performing several acts of lust condemned by the Roman Catholic Church with an undisclosed recipient of my affections. There was some difficulty in locating a bed in the hotel, which was packed with elderly gentlemen, so we resorted to the floor and used a thick blanket for coverage. More information than I need, BT would say.
The dream cheered me up a bit, however, so I'll award 4 kudoz to my ID.