Bakerina's comment on my previous post made me aware of some defects in my llama song translation. I believe I've ironed out all the major flaws. Click the link below to view the definitive translation.
A Canção Lhama
Aqui está um lhama,
Ali está um lhama,
E mais um lhaminha,
Lhama felpudo, lhama engraçado,
Lhama lhama pato.
Lhama lhama torta de queijo,
Tablete tijolo batata lhama,
Lhama lhama cogumelo lhama,
Lhama lhama pato.
Uma vez fui casinha de árvore,
Eu morava num bolo,
Mas jamais vi a maneira pela qual a laranja assassinou o ancinho.
Eu só tinha três anos de morte,
Mas contou uma história,
E agora, escute, criançinha, o parapeito de segurança.
Já viu um lhama
Beijar um lhama na lhama
Lhama de lhama
Tem sabor de lhama,
Lhama lhama pato.
O lhama dobrado,
Lhama num carro,
Alarme um lhama
É assim que se conta hoje em dia?
É tudo tão velho assim?
É feito de água de limão?
Maçaneta de porta tornozelo frio
Agora a minha cançao está ficando escassa,
Já perdi a sorte.
Está na hora de eu me aposentar e virar pato.
Deek Deekster left a lengthy comment to last week's book update post in which he raises a lot of really good points, some of which I hadn't yet considered. I've reproduced it here:
My points re: the book.
1. Of course make a dollar!
2. the book's USP (unique selling point) is PRECISELY that it has been evaluated and constructed by bloggers using word-of-blog, which makes it way cool and unique. maybe the title could reflect that to the non-blog world. somehow. i'm thinking.
3. Plan for success. I may be being rather immodest here on behalf of everyone, but the standard of writing in all of these is higher than a lot of stuff in traditional print. I think we need to relax about being brilliant and expect to impress other people JUST A LITTLE BIT. Why not send the book to a REAL publisher once it's available via cafepress/lulu self-publishing?
4. We also should think about the format and how repeatable it is. And again, if it succeeds bigger than just a few copies, whether we have an original enough format to protect it commercially.
5. In any case, we need to construct an agreement which:
a. states each author has copyright in her/his own work, and that the collective copyright in the book is jointly owned by all - or by the editor on behalf of all (or something like that)
b. states the way in which (if the book is republished and/or is distributed and succeeds commercially) individual contributors will share the revenue.
c. maintains the integrity of the project in the case of further commercial exploitation, i.e. so that original contributors work cannot be removed or edited, so that the central ideas about how to present the work are continued.
I'm not a lawyer but I know that if suddenly multiple thousands of dollars are involved, we'll be glad we thought ahead and agreed upfront to something equitable which allowed for commercial exploitation.
Although you may think this far-fetched right now, I've seen it in music before, when a really nice little project with something excellent about it, some measure of the pulse of the time, just hits the population and goes ballistic. I'm not saying this WILL succeed like that - but it has a chance to, and it might. Why not?
Here are my thoughts. (And I hope others who are participating will chime in as well.)
My hope is that if the book is a huge success (a very big if), it will take off incrementally rather than exponentially, so we have time to adapt. As I've said before, I'm hoping this can be an annual publication eventually resulting in several volumes. This first one is the proof-of-concept. For the 2006 version, I'd like to see some of us form a committee, so that all the selections are chosen by a group, and the financial issues are less centralized. I would want to participate on that committee but not as someone with higher authority than the other members. For example, I definitely would not want to President if such a position existed. I'm a bit uncomfortable with how much control I've had for this first volume, but I suppose this is to be expected in the beginning.
I agree that a written agreement would be the way to go, but ideally I should not be the one to compose it. Deek, would you like to write up a rough draft? I will include the main points in the introduction as well, so that every reader has access to it. One point Deek brings up that I hadn't considered is that we need to make it clear that all the material contributed is the property of the individual contributors. That would prevent another publisher from trying to buy up the material from a single source.
In terms of profits, all money made will be distributed equally among all the contributors. (This is after the first $149, which will go toward funding the 2006 version.) If the project suddenly starts generating thousands of dollars, everyone will receive an equal share. I give my word on that here; I will state it again in the introduction to the book; and I am willing to sign a statement to that effect and mail it to whoever requests it. (Ideally the wording would be determined by one of more of the contributors.) Also, I am covering the publishing costs out-of-pocket for the first book to show good faith.
Once again, if great success comes, it will probably only come with time. (At least I hope so.) There already exists a very similar book, so we won't have the advantage that comes with being first. Of course, there are all sorts of things we can do to market the book once it comes out. As Deek suggested, we could even send some copies out to big publishing companies.
Whatever we do at this point needs to be done quickly. I said I would try very hard to have the book order placed before the end of January. This week has been hectic for me, though, and I will only have a chance to start assembling everything on Monday (the 31st). Once the order has been placed, a physical sample copy will be sent to me to evaluate, and I will still be able to make changes at that point before giving the final okay.
What I need from all the contributors as soon as possible (I asked for this earlier) is a brief about-the-author blurb on yourself and your blog written in the third person. (Otherwise I will have to write it, and it may not be what you want.) Additionally, I need to know what name or pseudonym you want to use to identify yourself. For some people that's fairly obvious; for others, not so much.
Feedback is definitely welcome.
Today my Romanian teacher needed to give me something to do while she worked with the lower-level students. She took a couple of her six-year-old's toys out and told me to write an essay describing and comparing the two cats. This is what I wrote:
Două pisici sunt aici. Una este mare şi una nu este mare. Este mică. O pisică mică nu este un caîne, şi o pisică mare nu este paîne. Un leu nu este aici.
[TypePad was down for maintenance yesterday, so I had to wait until today to post this.]
I wasn't in Belize for nearly as long as I was in Mexico. Things turned out to be so expensive that I realized I just couldn't afford to stay. As a result of my short time there, nothing truly spectacular happened to me in that country.
I had just crossed over from Mexico on the Batty Brothers Bus service. Instead of going all the way to to Belize City, I decided spend the first day in Corozal, which is right over the border. (This meant that I only got to see the first half hour of Jumanji, which was what was playing on that particular bus ride.)
The contrast between Belize and Mexico was quite striking. It was hard to get used to people, especially those with Mexican features, speaking fluent Caribbean English and saying things like "Hey, Mon!" all the time.
Also, the dogs were very different. In Mexico, all the dogs are scrawny little things that seem to be part Chihuahua and usually limp rather than walk (from being kicked all the time). Sometimes they would yip at me if I got too close, but only because they were afraid. In Belize, the dogs looked a lot healthier and very well fed. Whenever I approached the yard of a house with a dog, it would run to the edge of the property and stop, barking furiously. These were dogs who had specific homes and none of the self-esteem issues of Mexican dogs. It really was interesting to observe how dog culture could differ so much from one country to another.
Anyway, it was my first day in the country, and this fellow sitting on some steps called to me saying, "How's my boy today?" I often meet people like this in my travels. Basically he was another one of those gringo groupies who hang around hoping to befriend American and European tourists and possibly get a bit of money or a present or two out of them. He seemed harmless enough. (He was wearing an American flag bandanna.) And since I had nothing better to do with my time, I didn't try to brush him off, and he talked to me for a few minutes and invited me to meet him again that evening, and he would take me out.
Because of my prosopagnosia, I'm normally a bit leery of meeting people I've just met, since there's a good chance I won't recognize them. But when he told me that he never took off that bandanna, I knew I'd have no trouble spotting him. And I didn't.
He took me to a bar and then through the darkly lit bar to an unmarked rear door at the very back. That was a bit scary. But on the other side of that door was a large room (several times larger than the bar), brightly lit and full of people (all locals). They were seated at several long tables, merrily eating and drinking. The whole setup reminded me of the dining hall where I went to summer camp, with one crucial difference -- there were TVs on the wall at the end of every table playing a movie!
Considering that the only entrance to this place was through the back door of a small bar, the whole thing struck me as very surreal. The only conclusion I could draw was that the hidden entrance served as a way to keep out the riffraff (foreign tourists).
We sat at a table and my friend ordered us drinks. He really wanted me to get a beer, but I wanted a fanta. He ordered us two fantas. (Of course, I was the one who got to pay the check in the end, so that's why he wanted me to get a beer.) We sat there for awhile, and he told me all about Belize and its history. Most of what he said I already knew from reading it in my Lonely Planet, but there were a few tidbits I hadn't heard before. Still, I was more interested in the movie and wished I could have been there by myself to watch it in peace. I still hadn't quite gotten over missing the rest of Jumanji.
I didn't know the title of the film, but it had to do with Meg Ryan in France. Inspired by the writing of this entry, I've tracked it down on Netflix and added it to my queue. It's called French Kiss and looks truly awful.
I'm so glad yesterday's Mexico entry was such a hit. I'll post an entry about Belize in the next couple of days.
In the meantime, I've put up a booklist in the left margen of everything I read and listened to last year. It's mostly in reverse chronological order. I did this at the beginning of last year as well with my 2003 booklist.
Has anyone noticed lately how the quality of my posts has deteriorated? It's not so much that my entries are bad as that they just aren't all that interesting. I think that sort of reflects the current state of my life, so I'm going to try something different and start writing about incidents that happened during some of the more exciting chapters of my life.
Several years ago, I went on an overland trip from Muncie, IN to Belo Horizonte, Brazil. I just loaded up my backpack, hopped into a Trailways bus and kept going until I reached my destination. A lot of cool and hair-raising stuff happened along the way, as is often the case when traveling alone in the third world, and I got to visit ten Spanish-speaking countries. The whole trip took 97 days to complete. Instead of covering the whole journey, I've decided to tell one exciting or interesting story from each country. Tonight I'll start with Mexico:
It was around my third day in Mexico City, and I was heading out to grab some lunch at the local vegetarian restaurant and then to explore. After just a few blocks, I passed a policeman in riot gear complete with shield, bludgeoning stick, and helmet with a Plexiglas visor. He was just standing there all alone with his back against a building. It was all I could do to keep from bursting out laughing until I had passed him. I kept on going and quickly forgot about him and then spent the next several hours in another part of the city doing something interesting (probably visiting the National Anthropology Museum or the indoor crafts market).
On the way back, just a few blocks from my hotel, I was walking across the Zócalo when a riot broke out. It was all around me. Don't think that I was just not paying attention and walked into something without realizing it. This really did come out of nowhere. One second there was nothing, and the next, about a hundred people, caught completely by surprise, took off running in terror. There was a lot of screaming. And there I was in the middle of it all standing there with a silly grin on my face, because this was just so cool!
The riot went like this. There were people who looked poor, and they were throwing rocks. The police arrived almost instantly (perhaps some had been there from the start) in full riot gear and gradually made their way toward the rioters. Everything quickly coalesced into rioters with rocks on one side of me and police on the other.
I figured I was safe. After all, the police were the ones being attacked by rocks, not me. And I clearly was not a rioter. Certainly the police could figure that out from my clothes. I had on a large pair of purple plaid bermuda shorts, tube socks that went up practically to my knees, and a school backpack. Having never been to a riot before, I resolved to enjoy it from the relative safety of the epicenter of the conflict.
Then a rock came a little too close for comfort. It wasn't a near miss or anything; I'd estimate it cleared me by about ten feet. But I was a bit disturbed that I hadn't seen it coming and also that there didn't seem to be any other intended target nearby. So it was plausible that it had been meant for me. I was also beginning to intuit danger, and since I have a good sense for such things, I decided to exit the riot.
By this point, things had started spilling out into nearby streets, so I decided to go into a building and wait it out. I ducked into a department store in which I found a small crowd of people who were also a bit trepidacious about being out in the open. Amazingly, people outside were still being caught by surprise. Every couple of minutes they would run to the door (which had been locked shortly after my arrival) and knock frantically on the door to be let in, which the manager was fortunately willing to do.
There was a man in front of my with a large gash on the side of his head and a lot of blood coming out. I was quite impressed that neither he nor the other people in the store were freaked out about it. The fellow was very calm and seemed to view it as a minor annoyance. The manager got him some paper towels to help keep the blood in his head. (If this had happened in the US, he would have been rushed to the emergency room.)
It took a little over fifteen minutes (I was keeping track), but things quieted down and the door was unlocked so we could leave. People out in the street were still a bit jumpy, though. A couple hours later, I saw a couple of women go around a corner and suddenly come sprinting back in the other direction screaming like banshees. I walked over to have a look. There was just some guy playing with a stick doing a few martial arts moves with it for practice or just to amuse himself. Some other people saw him and ran away screaming.
That was Mexico.