Thursday, September 01, 2005

Nobody told me there'd be weeks like these !

Ok ... so I'm exaggerating! enough complaining already!

Here's a brief update of the "happenings" of this last week (or so ...)

-- Our building project is moving along well. The structure is completely in place ... bricks and concrete ... and electrical and hydraulic installations are underway. The wood for the roof should arrive tomorrow, and I ordered the doors and windows yesterday (that I should have done two weeks ago). I mean to post more pictures ... very soon!

-- Kevin continues going to school with very little complaint. I say "very little" because I think he has finally perceived that school is now an obligation, and not just a fun way to spend his mornings, when and if he feels like it. He is testing our mettle, but we will prevail!
-- His biological clock is still proving to be a challenge. Last week (right after my last blog entry) Kevin woke up twice in the middle of the night, and demanded to watch his "Donald Duck" DVD. (During the previous week, he had awoken afraid, and we had let him watch TV) . On the subsequent nights, he didn't show any sign of being afraid, so we sensed that a disturbing pattern was forming, and decided to nip it in the bud. He cried constantly for a couple of hours, in between screams of "I want to watch Duck!", and woke everyone in the house. But in the end, it seems to have worked... he hasn't been waking up since that night. On the other hand, he has been taking his nap from about 4 pm to 6 pm; right now it's 11 pm and he is still wide awake. This has made it really hard to get him up on time for school ...

-- As I previously mentioned, after nearly three years on leave of absence, Cristina returned to the federal university she teaches at two weeks ago. Ironically, after just two weeks of classes, the teacher's union called for a general strike at almost all federal universities in Brazil, effective as of yesterday (the political situation in Brazil is getting out of control ... I should probably blog about it sometime) . University strikes in Brazil have been know to drag on for months, so there is no way to know how long this one will go on (and who, besides students, really cares if a university is on strike??? oops. Cristina will kill me for saying that! ) But anyway, at least now she will have more time to prepare for her classes!

James & Christian:
-- The homework situation seems to have stabilized a little. Or maybe it's just us that have become more patient and slightly more tolerant. At any rate, everything seems to be going well at the moment. Last week we had a nice Father's Day event at school (Father's day in Brazil is in August). More pictures for my gallery backlog!

-- Today I received two complaints related to my lack of recent posts. Over the last week I actually started 2 different, somewhat "philosophical", blog posts, and abandoned them in the middle when I reached the point where I perceived that they were getting too convoluted and unwieldy to be comprehensible. They have been saved, so maybe I will clean them up and post them some day when I am more inspired. A couple of days ago, another late night attempt to post was lost when, for some reason, Blogger's web tool choked and swallowed my text just as I went to save it. So you see, I actually have been blogging ... just not very... umm ... successfully.
-- I've watched the hits on my website dwindle away ... the few strangers who seemed to be checking in occasionally have probably given up by now. I'll try and do better!

This week I:
-- wrote a couple of proposals.
-- closed a contract to build a data replication solution for a large multinational cosmetics company (to replicate data between their factories in Rio and São Paulo, to implement a rapid disaster recovery contingency plan). It'll be about two months of work. I may have to turn down another 3 months worth of work with an old traditional customer because of having accepted this job. It's just typical: several months with absolutely no work, then suddenly two jobs come up literally simultaneously!

-- My relationship with the dog, basically, continues to be the same( see here and here). However, I did make one discovery (one of those revelations where you go "duh!"). I realized that it's a lot easier just to chain Sam up when it's impossible to allow him to roam free, than to try and carry him to his pen, and keep him in the pen. My quality of life has improved considerably since I rigged up a cable with a running chain beside the pool that keeps him securely restrained but allows him a limited amount of freedom.
-- Sam's latest: I had to buy new shoes for one of the workmen when Sam managed to transform one of his shoes into a leather chew toy.

-- I'm still stunned by the scope and scale of the humanitarian crisis that New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast is facing. I can't even fathom it. I know it's easy to criticize from the sidelines... but... where are the troops??? It just seems to me that if ever there was justification for a massive deployment of federal troops on American soil, this is it. Shouldn't there be aircraft carriers steaming toward the disaster area, and a massive airlift of troops and supplies underway since the day before yesterday, at least? I watch the videos of desperate people with children, elderly people, injured people ... with no where to go. There are bodies floating in the street (the newspapers here in Brazil show the pictures). I mean, Indonesia ... you can kind of understand it taking some time to really figure out what's going on and get mobilized. But we're talking about the United States, aren't we? How can you have people dying and bodies in the street for nearly a week within the United States of America, at the beginning of the 21st century???[/rant]

--The weather here in Rio has been (unseasonably) infernally hot. By unseasonably, I mean really unseasonably: like, 100 deg. f ... and remember, it will be winter in Rio until September 21!
-- We've been infested with mosquitoes. They eat us alive day and night. They are eating me alive right now, as I write. I hate them. Which reminds me, I've been meaning to write a multipart blog entry called "War on Nature", which will detail my continuing battles with the various vermin that we are forced to share our urban natural environment with.

Since I started blogging family birthday announcements (albeit generally belated birthday announcements), I now feel pressured to maintain the tradition, so as not leave anyone out. This is a bad thing, since I am terrible at remembering birthdays. So if you are family and I forget your birthday, let me know. Or just ignore it, because if you are like me, you don't care if people forget your birthday!
-- Yesterday was Gustavo's birthday; I managed to chat with him on Yahoo today. He lives in the Fort Lauderdale area with his family, so they are counting there blessings that Katrina was still a Kat 1 when it passed over the Florida peninsula. (How exactly does one count blessings???)
-- Today is Nanu's birthday (my grandmother). I've been trying to call her, but it turns out she's at my cousin Lisa's house for her birthday party. I'll try again one last time in a few minutes, before going to bed.
-- I think this week was Sheila's birthday also (another cousin!). So happy birthday, Sheila!

Kevin has fallen asleep! Yes! Now I can go to bed!

Oh... still have to call Grandma! Enough rambling for tonight!


At September 02, 2005 11:50 AM, Kim said...

Okay... this Katrina thing. It's absolute devastation and I have to agree with you - where ARE the troops?? How long did it take for Americans to get over there to help with the tsunami victims? Not long at all, yet all those people in Mississippi and Louisiana are dying in the streets because there aren't enough people to help. I hate to criticize the relief efforts, especially since I am doing nothing but sitting here at my computer in the comfort of my home seeing all of the horrible images on TV and the net with a deep sadness in my heart. But I am going to criticize because this IS America and we have the ways and means to help and we don't have far to go to do it. Sure, I could be on my way south to help, but how? I am not a politician or prominent public figure that can get things done. The most I could do at this point is donate money and supplies and pray that it's not too late. And how many celebrities donated millions to tsunami victims? Have any of those people done anything to help their fellow Americans?
I understand Brett Favre has started a foundation to help. Here's a dumb question... how much money does Brett Favre make in a single year? And why is he asking others to donate items when he should be able to donate them himself?

Okay, well, I guess this is a sore subject because I am ranting. I feel bad that I can do so little to help and I feel worse that so many people have lost so much.

At September 02, 2005 2:09 PM, Mark said...

Hear, hear on the Katrina comments. It's craziness. One of the reasons those people are so poor is that about 1/3 of their money goes to Uncle Sam. They do not seem to be getting much benefit out of that.

Loved the comments about Kevin and wanting to watch the Duck video. Ben still sleeps through the night fine, but sometimes when he wakes wailing uncontrollably from a nap, we calm him with a video. He's pretty smart, so I'm afraid it might become a negative reinforcement one of these days. Wow, freshman psych is paying off (yeah, right).

Keep up the good family blog. Too many blogs are idiotic, shallow, or at the very least, vapid.

At September 05, 2005 10:43 PM, Anonymous said...

Actually the U.S.S Bataan (along with your cousin Belinda) was in the gulf returning from Panama and followed Katrina inland. They've been there from day one with their helicopters and their LCU landing craft rescuing people. Unfortunately, it appears that there was a total breakdown beginning with the local government and the lack of a game plan for such a situation (even though we've all seen a hundred Discovery Channel specials about how this would happen to New Orleans). Quite a contrast between the the mayor of New Orleans and Rudy Guliani. And where was the Louisiana national guard? I'm not saying the Feds have no blame but if there is no command center at atleast the state level, where do you begin? Terrible situation...and once again the politicians will ride it's coat tails.

Great pics of the zoo Jim. I'm one of the few who keep checking for more blogs!!


At September 08, 2005 9:14 AM, Anonymous said...

Thanks for the birthday note jim!
As, for the troops being at the hurricane sight, Belinda,(my oldest) is on the U.S.S Bataan and her boat was there and waiting before the hurricane even hit. Unfortunately the government and Fema would not let them move in and help. The boat is still there and troops are finally beginning to move ashore.
P.S. on a happier note, I really enjoy reading your blog and seeing pics of the family.


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