October book haul

P1300669.resized

I’ve been buying too many books again lately. This month’s haul included:

– the Divergent trilogy

Count Zero

Capoeira 100

The Student Phrase Book

So many books – how did I end up buying six books in one month?! Let’s see …

After watching the Divergent movie I wanted to know more about the dystopian future and the characters, so I got myself a box set (the box itself is sort of broken already and I don’t know why, maybe I kicked it against some piece of furniture by accident). So far I’ve made it through Insurgent (I had listened to Divergent as an audiobook before) and the first quarter or so of Allegiant. Nice read, but at the moment I’m pausing because I have trouble concentrating again and it’s hard enough to get things done for university and youth group. I just can’t get myself to sit down and read something for one hour straight right now. It was a good bargain, but still a little on the expensive side considering my budget right now; so no new books for me next month.

Count Zero is the sequel to Neuromancer (the beginning of true cyberpunk), which I read a while back and which left me with some questions. Like, who is Molly really? (Apart from being an awesome street samurai, of course.) Used copy I got for cheap, just like the first volume. I have no idea when I’m going to read this, but I finished the first volume mostly on train rides; and as the book is pretty small as well I’ll just throw it into my backpack when I’m done with Allegiant.

Capoeira 100 … uh, I saw this on the internet by chance, read a few pages on Google Books, and decided it was a cool guide to all kinds of moves and their applications. And it has lots of helpful pictures (the artist in me says “hello drawing references”). Originally I intended to put it on my Christmas wishlist, but then I saw that a slightly used copy was available in my country on Ebay. So instead of making my parents struggle with international sellers I jumped in and bought that copy. Buying used is always good.

The Student Phrase Book was introduced to me by a friend at university. She lent it to me for a week and I really liked how it explained the correct use of typical academic vocabulary and phrasing. This will come in handy both for university (I’m working on a presentation right now) and blogging. In my opinion it’s slightly overpriced for the small amount of content, but I guess it’s an investment for many years.

 

What’s new in your bookshelf?

Advertisements

It starts with a word or two. (What I wrote while I waited for my pizza.)

It starts with a word or two, a string of thoughts, a random image, and an empty day will be filled with new poetry. It’s raw, it’s wild, it can’t be forced to grow. Some days will remain emtpy, some will bear threefold fruits.

I want to be made from light and song, bring out the stars with my words

I want to know what creation was like, watch the colours pour into life

I want to know what the world was like when it still was what it was meant to be

I want to know, I want to taste the immense nebulae and every deep, dark creek and crease and fold of time and space

I want to write about all the beauty there is, was, was forgotten and reborn

It starts with words and ends with speechlessness, images too bright and pure and folded in themselves, colours the mind can see but our eyes cannot. Colours twisting into shapes taking up more dimensions than paper and brush and ink and reed can hold, more connections to be made than could be soldered on one wooden board with the finest diamond-sharp tips of midnight tongues.

I want to hold strings of words in my hands, pearls of syllables, hard and soft and round, rolling, rolling

I want to remember the faces, lines of laughter telling stories passing me on the street, manifold

I try to write and sing and live all at the same time, fingers tripping over blurry lines

It started with two simple lines, and it became the plea of help of a soul drowning in a torrent of images unleashed on dry ground, barren land not able to soak up all the wonders as fast as they are poured out, the golden song of dust being washed away too quickly before a microscope could be found to examine every speck down to its poetic make-up of crystal genes.

Thoughts born from interstellar clouds, delivered into bare and empty hands.

 

 

 ~~~

Writing this happened between writing the first paragraph and waiting for the pizza in my oven to be done. I had jotted down these first few words and lines as a Facebook status and then the idea decided to take a walk on the meta-level.

 

 

Keep calm and play capoeira. And buy books.

(http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/keep-calm-and-play-capoeira-16/ … you can even go and vote for their poster! I’d love to get this one to decorate one of our doors.)

I just wanted to tell you I ordered a new book yesterday; and as you might guess it’s capoeira related. The book is called “Capoeira 100” and is a pretty detailed guide to 100 movements, including good photographs, pointers, and ideas for including them in the game/sequences. When it has arrived I’ll tell you more!

 

 

copper sunflower

I saw you blooming, defiant little sunflower,
beside cracked sidewalks and words written on brick walls
(and they were words of laughter and riddles about everything right and wrong in this world)

I saw the sun pour copper on your petal hair,
in the rosy warmth of summer afternoons and in the pale, frosty orange of winter dawn
(and it was a copper halo made of birdseed and the blue collected beyond plane windows)

I saw the storm passing by your grassy lane with force,
on days when nourishing spring rain on knowledge-thirsty coasts turned into a tempest driving ships to harbour homes
(and still you wrapped your roots and leaves and sorrow-frailed smile in origami sheets and let the wind push paper sails across storm floods, and mixing ash and honey pollen tears you painted them with heart-shaped freckles)

 

Capoeira progress report

With winter coming closer it feels so strange to look back to early summer – just half a year since I received my first cord. It feels like a much longer time has passed since that hot weekend. I’ve come a long way since then, though the progress is much slower than I would like it to be.

Endurance: A little progress, I don’t get out of breath as quickly as I used to, but still a long way to go! We’ve been doing a lot of burpees (well … a simplified version without the push-up part) the last few months and it really pays off; so does running to the train station with a heavy backpack. And I don’t cry all the time anymore.

Strength: I’ve built up some muscles, especially in my arms – my Massai bangle doesn’t fit around my upper arm anymore and I had to modify it with a 2-3 cm long strip of elastic! This week I discovered I’m finally able to walk a few steps in a back-bend position, so this is definitely some progress. Talking about back-bends …

Acrobatics: Walking in a back-bend works, turning back into a normal quadruped position only sometimes (and only in one direction). I haven’t managed to reproduce the handstand against the wall, but at least I know I can do it theoretically now. Still working on the queda de rins, I can’t lift both legs at the same time; I should google which muscle groups I have to strengthen for this! My au (cartwheel) is getting better and I’m practising slowing down in the middle to hold a kind of handstand for a moment; this will take some more time I guess. Oh, and doing cartwheels with just one hand isn’t as difficult as it looks, at least one version is manageable and the other one should work with some more training (I keep hurting my shoulder with it, so I guess I lack muscles for control).

Movements/precision: I’m able to do most basic kicks somewhat right now on good days, and understanding/executing simple sequences has become easier. Sometimes combinations still confuse me if they include a lot of turning around, but instead of crying on the floor I go and find someone to help me, which is much more productive. Doing the meia lua de compasso with just one hand one the ground is one of the things I’m working on these days, and I have trouble keeping my leg straight during kicking. Precision is also an issue; due do my lack of strength I do a lot of movements with speed instead of control so far.

Dizziness: still a problem but I’m more actively trying to find solutions now (mostly experimenting with different kinds of food before and during class – yesterday I felt very dizzy and took a bite from my granola bar in the middle of class, which helped a little). I’m still fighting it a lot and often I keep going by sheer will power until I truly can’t stand upright anymore or feel like I’m a danger to others and myself.

Goals for the end of this year: Getting the queda de rins right at least for a moment (Update: managed to lift both legs by mid-November, though not yet with straight legs), doing at least one more handstand against the wall on my own, Update: goal reached on 12/12/2014 by doing not only one but three handstands against the wall and beginning to practise arm presses), managing to do 10-15 simplified burpees without resting in between (Update: reached 15 by 3rd December!). Doing more push-ups at home to build up more arm muscles. Working on keeping my kicking leg straight during spinning kicks. Maybe use my birthday money (if I get any, that is) to go to a one-day workshop (been there, done that, bought the t-shirt^^).

Goals for next year: Learning one or two nice combinations/sequences to put the queda de rins and other movements into use. Stopping in the middle of the au for a moment without falling over. Working on flexibility to get closer to doing a split. Building overall strength (especially upper body) and gain more control over my movements. Go to more rodas.

I don’t know where I’ll be next year at this time. It’s a little scary and makes me want to run away from my master’s thesis, but there’s no turning back now (“no turning back no backing down …”). Part of me wants to stay, part of me wants to go and start something new. Even if I stay there will be a lot of decisions to be made. I want to stay and keep playing with the people I know.

Musings on Divergent

*May contain spoilers and random fangirling*

So I guess everyone and their dog have watched and/or read “Divergent” by now. Well, okay, most people where I live haven’t, shame on them and blame on the movie guys who decided on really weird “translations” for the movie title and the faction names and the word divergent itself. No, guys, just no – divergent doesn’t mean anything like ‘undetermined’. Go check your dictionary. Arrgh.

I missed the movie when it played so I waited for the DVD release. And what can I say, it was well worth the wait, I really enjoyed watching it a) in the original English version, and b) at home at night with Darling instead of a crowd of random people. We watched the movie. And then the movie with the audio comment. And then at least part of it with the other audio comment. Last week I started listening to the first book online, while browsing jewellery and clothing and stuff. Today I finished it and ordered a box set of all three novels as paperbacks. And I’ll start listening to “Insurgent” right now.

It’s a quite rare thing for me to get weird dreams from movies or TV shows – so far the Stargate: SG1 universe has been the one with the most frequent cameos in my dreamscape. After watching Divergent my brain needed several nights to sort all the images and ideas and awesomeness, resulting in dreams full of hazy pictures and blurry colours. Maybe it was because there are few characters and situations on screen I can relate to in a really intense way or which make me emotional. I have cried on maybe five to ten occasions because of something in a movie, and twice it was Twilight related; which had been totally unexpected and still confuses me. Come on, me crying while/after watching the Twilight movies, really? WTF?

Whatever. So, Divergent didn’t make me cry, but it stirred something inside me. Like Tris I come from a rather conservative background where I was expected to be helpful and friendly towards everyone. I still partly live in this subculture, not really fitting in as I struggle with the idea of helping people who disgust me, of forgiving easily, of being friendly when I want to slap my opponent hard across the face because they seem to be dumber than I can take. A subculture that would be shocked if they knew all the aggression I work hard to channel into more constructive paths. Paths like martial arts and writing and drawing fake tattoos on my hands with eye liner. I’m torn between safety and escaping boredom, between ethics and the fine line to false sweetness easily crossed. I’m intelligent and love learning, but it can’t be my one and all. I want to be so much more. I want to run down stairs in wildness, I want to be noticed in a positive way, I want camaraderie like the Dauntless have and like I see it among capoeiristas sometimes. Just like Tris I’m not exceptionally pretty nor strong, just like her I want to be stronger and able to take care of myself.

Watch me joining the Dauntless bandwagon, wohooo ^^

cinnamon coffee

Hair black as coffee and it unfurls in caffeine-driven curls,
while from obsidian eyes cinnamon sparkles down her cheeks to meet shades of desert rose
(and they match the energy of her mind and the temperament of a day of gale-force warning)

Black thunder clouds of cynicism and sarcasm alternating with iridescent soap-bubble lightness of deep southern-blue skies,
from time to time suddenly expelling a shooting star of childish-sweet glee, an expression of delight at the sight of something big-eyedly cute
(and though these seem mismatched and incoherent they all are sugar-fuelled)

Black tea in a white mug and donut-ringed fingers clicking away the hours,
steaming paper clouds exhaled on cold cashmere scarf days and bleeding ink from sandy feet wandering deserts of malls
(and she works hard to match herself to her belief in the possibility of having it all)

~

Sorry for the weird, random line breaks. I haven’t found a way to decrease the font size and making the text area of the layout wider yet without paying for an upgrade to tinker with the CSS; for now I solved it by using copy-paste from my normal text editor with a slightly smaller font size.