Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy V-Day

I was going to do a bookblog, and I probably still will, but in the spirit of Valentine's Day...

This is from one of Shakespeare's contemporaries, Michael Drayton.
Click here to listen to my reading (my first podcast!)


Three sorts of serpents do resemble thee:
That dangerous eye-killing cockatrice,
The enchanting siren, which doth so entice,
The weeping crocodile—these vile pernicious three.
The basilisk his nature takes from thee,
Who for my life in secret wait dost lie,
And to my heart sendst poison from thine eye:
Thus do I feel the pain, the cause, yet cannot see.
Fair-maid no more, but Mer-maid be thy name,
Who with thy sweet alluring harmony
Hast played the thief, and stolen my heart from me,
And like a tyrant makst my grief thy game:
Thou crocodile, who when thou hast me slain,
Lamentst my death, with tears of thy disdain.

Not that the traditional sonnet is merely sugary. In Shakespeare, as in film comedy, conflict and even insult can be forms of courtship. Here is Shakespeare's contemporary Michael Drayton, with one of the most engaging, meditative first lines in all literature:

Friday, February 10, 2006

Podcasting Delayed...A Little

Oh Cincinnati...how I miss your 24 hour a day fast Internet connection. Sigh. I'm lucky to have what I do here, but I miss my play time, the time to learn how all this new techie stuff works. I need to figure out how to make video files small enough that I can post them on my blog and how to convert existing files into a file format that is smaller as well. For the time being, I'll remain a lurker in the collaborative blogging session! I didn't end up having a spare minute to do my first podcast today, but I plan to give it a try this weekend. Tired of putting these things on my to-do list every week and they never get done. During one of my classes that I taught in the lab this week, I was happy to see that one of my fellow teachers sitting in the back of room was creating his own blogs and asking questions right along with my students!

On another note, I'm also waiting to see if they have much of the 2006 Winter Olympics on tv here. We get a couple of sports channels with the cable, but they only seem to play soccer games! I did get to see some of the U.S. figure skating finals last week, so I still remain hopeful.

Info that I enjoyed finding from this week's blog06 suggestions:

  • What is a blog? If you have any doubts, check out The Weblog Project.
  • A Podcast on How to Podcast. This was very helpful. I'm going to try to make my first audio entry later today.
  • Collaborative Blogging I need to join this.
  • Uwe's Bookblog entries. This week's entry is Bill Bryson's (who I love) Notes from a Small Island. This motivates me to try making my own bookblog. Barranquilla doesn't have a culture of readers, so anything I can do to help my students become more interested in reading would be a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Monday, February 06, 2006

Weather and Customs

It was suggested this week in the course I'm participating in that we discuss the climactic conditions where we live and the impact this has on local culture and customs. Beginning at the end of November here in Barranquilla, there's what they call a "breeze", but it's been more like a strong wind! It was certainly a nice change after the heat, but it doesn't last for long (typically through Carnavales, which is at the end of February). This past week there were a couple of days where the breeze went missing, but thankfully it's back again.

People here often tell me that the costeños, especially the barranquilleros, are "warm, happy, friendly, sociable" people, due in some part to the climate. On the other hand, they label the cachacos (people from the interior of the country, like Bogotá) as "cold, distant, unfriendly, less sociable." Personally, I've not found that to be true of the people that I know from the interior, but then again, my personality is in some ways much more like theirs! I don't mind the going out to dance and drink lifestyle once in a while, but I've no interest in doing that every weekend (a slight problem during Carnavales time that we're in now, since that's all anyone is doing!). Carnaval is all about spreading the happienss. This is a picture of the Garabato parade that I went to last weekend. Besides the dancing, the main event was throwing water, cornstarch, and shaving cream at your friends!

I've heard the same from my Ecuadorean friends--that coastal people from places like Guayaquil are happier and friendlier than people from the colder mountainous regions like Quito. Since I've not yet been to these places, I don't really have an opinion of my own on this subject. I wonder if anyone's ever done a study comparing the coastal cultures in Latin America (let me know if you've heard of one). I've certainly found similarities in the costeño cultres of Caribbean Colombia and those that live on the Pacific Costa Grande in México (where I previously lived and worked).

Going back to how climate affects life in Barranquilla, the Atlantic coast of Colombia is also one of the safest places in the country. I don't worry about walking around by myself in Barranquilla or travelling to other coastal cities like Santa Marta or Cartagena. There's no fighting here, and not near as much crime. That's certainly a plus. But, with the happiness of the people here and the realative safeness of life here also comes the disorder! I'll leave that discussion for later, though.

Friday, February 03, 2006

RSS, Vlogs, and Audioblogs

I'm happy to have discovered Bloglines this week through blog06. I'd heard of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds before, but I've never had the time to play around to figure out exactly what they are until now. Hopefully it will let me keep a little more up-to-date with all of the blogs and websites I try to read every day! I feel guilty for not having time to regularly read the news any more--most days I just glance at the headlines in the NY Times and that's it. There's an online version of El Heraldo, B/quilla's main newspaper, but I maybe get around to that one once every month. Every morning when I'm lying in bed not wanting to get up there's one or two men who walk through the streets by my housing, shouting "El Heraldo," and believe me, I think every time that I should get one so I could know more what's going on in the city I live in. But it just never seems to happen...

This week I've also been tinkering with video blogging. I don't want to have to pay for a service to host my videos, but so far I've not found anything that's been easy to use. Any suggestions? I'm also interested in adding audio, but I need to go buy a microphone first. It would be much easier if I was back in the 'nati where I could simply call from my cell to audioblogger!