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OMG! This song. This video! It was filmed in Guatemala! It was filmed in Antigua! (And Tikal. And Lago Atitlán. And probably Jocotenango.) I wasn't even expecting it, and then all of a sudden OMG I know where that is! I've been there...and there. And chicken buses! Omg, I miss it so much. I think my heart just crumpled into a thousand pieces and bled out my ears.

Ugh, sorry for the sticky nostalgia trip. I am in sort of a maudlin mood anyway because Andres has now been gone since early yesterday afternoon and Matt's shift was extended today, so I had the house completely to my sickly self for a long, long time. It's not as torturous as I thought, though, and Matt is off for the next few days so at least I won't have to be completely alone. I'm glad Andres ended up going to El Paso and that I decided to stay. But at the same time, being too sickly to do much makes it easy for me to get bored or frustrated by things I'd like to be doing but that I don't have the energy for. (Cleaning, yardwork, etc.)

I'm not sure what the point of this post, is. I guess I just had to share the beautiful cinematic slice of Guatemala with everyone.

Jul. 26th, 2012

Muy típico...entiendo todo lo que dice el mexicano (menos 'wango'. Qué es wango?? o.O; ) pero cuando la española empieza a arrojar su propia jerga no entiendo ni madres nada.

De todos modos me dio risa ;P

Common Sense Brilliance

Every once in awhile when I get bored and listless I watch TEDTalks lectures. I started on Netflix, but then I realized they have them on Youtube as well. They're actually pretty fantastic, most of the time--people have really great ideas and talk about some really interesting things.

I think this is my favorite one that I've watched to date:

It strikes me that sometimes the most obvious ideas are lost in a sea of negativity and black-and-white, dismissive rhetoric: No, we can't POSSIBLY deal with electric cars, the technology isn't there yet. The plug and charge model is the only one possible, and it's not viable, therefore electric cars aren't viable. Electric cars are necessarily more expensive and less convenient and therefore there isn't a market for them. Etc. The step from "okay we don't have the technology to work magic yet" to "what can we do to make this work with the technology we DO HAVE" seems like it should be so obvious, so natural, and yet, it's not, somehow. The naysaying drowns it out. But doesn't his proposal make so much sense, after all? If people could set up an extensive infrastructure for transporting and dispensing gasoline--a volatile, toxic, flammable, liquid substance--could it really be *that much harder* to create the plug-in and switch-in-switch-out battery infrastructure that he describes? Only in the sense of pushing it through politically, I'd imagine. Thank god some governments are less deeply mired in oil interests than ours is...

The only thing that makes me kind of sad is that most of the information I'm finding about him/his project is a few years old. What's up with the progress? I wanna see progress. :0

As for me, I know I haven't updated in awhile, but there's not much to say. I've basically just been chilling, trying not to be a vegetable...swimming no longer seems to be helping with my symptoms, which means I've been a sad and miserable panda most of the time. I've been continuing to swim when I can possibly bear it, though, and I recently made a new record for myself--900 yards (36 laps of the pool) in a go. :) My new goal is 1,000.

For awhile I was trying to record some songs--I have 4 prepared, but my voice just refuses to cooperate. My allergies have shown frustratingly little improvement since I moved the cage out of my room, and I basically have 100% congestion all the time. I am wondering if this will get better when we move, and am tentatively hopeful, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up. ><;

The only other thing I've really been doing is studying German like a fiend--what started as a whim has turned into my primary hobby, for the time being. I'm using an online textbook series and just working through the exercises, and I think the way they unfold is almost ideal to my learning style because I feel like I am just soaking everything up and learning so efficiently and so fast. For comparison, I'd dabbled a little bit in German self-study occasionally over the years, and started doing so again a few months ago--yet with all the times I tried to teach myself a little bit, almost NOTHING would ever stick. But this--it's working this time. It's actually kind of jarring how effective this method has been for me. The textbooks have no audio, and they're limited in the sense that they're just, well, written exercises, so I'm clearly missing some things by studying this way, but I feel like it's giving me a really solid foundation and it's a really good start. I want to just work through without stopping but I've been forcing myself to slow down and pace myself so that I actually remember things and don't overload--the waiting is actually hard! I get to learn about genitives next, but I don't get to do them til tomorrow...haha, it's actually kind of sad. :)

If anyone else is interested in learning German, the books I've been using are available here. Every chapter deals with one or two new grammar concepts, and contains 60-70 practice exercises. The answers are available for each one in an answer key at the bottom of the page. I have also been creating an Anki deck with all the vocabulary from the book as I go, and if anyone is interested in a copy of that I am more than happy to share. :)

So anyway, that's what I've been thinking, and what I'm up to. What do you guys think about this new way of conceiving of electric car infrastructure? And what have you been up to yourselves?

At the Vet's

Today, Andres and I took one of our animals to the vet for the first time. Ever since we got him, Melo has exhibited signs of partial facial paralysis, one of the results of which is that he can't close his left eye. This had mostly seemed to be an annoyance for him moreso than a real problem, until the past week when the eye got noticeably more irritated, started oozing discharge, etc. So, to the vet we went.

I wasn't sure what to expect, because I've only visited a vet a handful of times in my life...but it was actually really amazing. The place we went to is called Central Animal Hospital, and I'd first heard about it from a thread on the Tucson LJ community talking about good vets for unusual pets. It really did turn out to be a good rec. I made an appointment yesterday, and they managed to fit us in for this afternoon. We got there super early, so we ended up waiting for awhile and talked to a bunch of other people in the waiting room (including some colorful characters)--there was a couple with a cat, a couple people with dogs, a dude with some ferrets, a girl with a snake, and even an old guy with a couple of pigeons.

They brought us into an examination room, and we ended up waiting a little while for the doctor, but when he showed up he apologized for the wait and said that this week has been a particularly busy one for the hospital. (By contrast, I've waited more than an hour past the scheduled time of an appointment at a human hospital before, without any apology or even acknowledgement of the wait). The vet himself was wonderful, VERY friendly and nice and gentle, and he obviously has a lot of compassion and patience for little animals. He explained very clearly what he thought was wrong and what he thought we should do about it, and just in general had pretty fantastic bedside manner for both pet and owner. Melo was extremely well behaved (well, given the circumstances), and the vet was totally charmed by him, lol. He said that Melo was possibly the cutest guinea pig he'd ever seen and that he'd never before known a guinea pig to come up and try to climb on people before, which Melo does constantly.

He ended up prescribing a treatment of eyedrops to calm down the irritation in the eye, as well as an oral antibiotic to treat a possible underlying infection that may be the cause of the paralysis. The whole visit, including the consultation and both prescriptions, was 60-something dollars, which was mercifully cheap, since we really had no idea what to expect.

In conclusion, I was TOTALLY blown away by the good service at this hospital; it really went better than I could have expected. I'm really impressed by the wide variety of animals they seem to be able to treat and how awesome the vet was. I realize this is basically an entire entry devoted to praising a veterinary hospital, but I suppose I was expecting a mediocre experience, cause I just can't believe how happy I am. Andres was also really impressed and he even mentioned it might be a good idea to bring all our animals there, not even for specific care, but for general checkups. We'll see--this vet is definitely a keeper though. I guess the only downside is that it's not an emergency clinic, so the business hours are fairly limited.

Now all I can think is that I want to find a REAL hospital and a primary care physician who can leave me feeling similarly satisfied with my experience. It's starting to be time for me to start looking in earnest for who, exactly, I'm going to want to see when July arrives and treatment becomes viable. <3

The Perils of Spanglish*

I'm mostly posting this for diosa_iluminada, jeje. A story in the tradition of biblioteca/librería. ;)

Last night, Andres said he was going to clear off the coffee table so we could paint miniatures.

My laptop was right there in the middle of everything, so I asked him, "quieres que guarde mi computadora?" (do you want me to put my computer away?)

And he said, "no, porque vamos a hacer la aplicación primero" (no, because we're going to do the 'application' first).

So, let me say, in Spanish, "aplicación" means "application", but only in the sense of applying something to something else. Since my mindset was on painting, I interpreted this as "the application of a coat of paint".

So I thought he was saying, "don't put your computer away so we can paint, cause we're going to apply a coat first". Ummmm...okay, not sure I follow??

He repeated it 2-3 more times and laughed at me for being so dense before he finally realized what word he SHOULD have been using: solicitud.

Cause, what he was TRYING to say is that we were going to fill out the application for a lease on a new house before we started painting. Which, the application is online, so we'd need my computer for that. "vamos a hacer la solicitud primero". Magic! It all makes sense.

The moral of this story: Spanglish can be a serious threat to communication, kids. Employ it with care. xD

*Disclaimer: I LOVE Spanglish, but cases like these just make me laugh.

Downtown Tucson

o.O This video actually makes Tucson look all metropolitan and sexy:

Downtown Tucson Partnership Promo from John Sears on Vimeo.

I also would never have believed that the Ronstadt Transit Station (read: downtown bus depot) could ever be portrayed in a graceful and attractive light, but I guess I was mistaken. xD

I went swimming with Matt again today! Apparently I can join the gym under his membership for a super low rate (as he has a grandfathered account there), and so we're going to do it! We hope to go back to the gym on Friday--it seems like getting out and exercising is really helping. :) Not making me totally better, of course (I mean, I was in pretty decent shape when I first started getting sick), but at least making me feel a little bit better overall. Or it could be a false correlation, but I hope not.

Send me good vibes! <3


This morning has been odd. I am completely on a nocturnal type schedule recently and can't seem to rectify this, so Matt and I have been hanging out a lot by night. At 5AM we ended up at McDonalds (I DO IT FOR THE HASH BROWNS, OKAY.), and I consumed two things that are almost certain to end badly for me, sickness-wise: well, hash browns, duh, and iced coffee. But afterwards I didn't just feel okay, I felt invigorated, and Matt invited me to go swimming with him at LA Fitness as he has a membership there. o.O; I was so so hesitant and reluctant but TEMPTED and he finally convinced me.

We did 300 yards in laps! And it felt GLORIOUS. :) I'm so glad I went. It was my first time swimming since the wedding in Texas last summer, and wow, I've missed it a lot. I think that part of the reason I've been so much worse/sicker this year versus last year is the lack of exercise, but it's also a Catch-22 because if I feel sicker then I'm obviously less capable of exercise or motivated to do it. But it's nice to catch a window of non-sick in which to actually do something physical and not IMMEDIATELY regret it. Good times.

It felt good to wear a bikini, too, in spite of the scratches all over me. xD

The only annoying thing is that even though I showered in the locker room, my hair is still kind of full of chlorine and nasty. But I think I'm just gonna say fuck it and go to bed. xD


dflkjfljdfs. No sleeping for Rachel..again. Apparently. Sadly, El Universal videos aren't working for me (again...), I'm too burnt out to read anything and absorb it, and my hands are DEFINITELY too shaky for painting, so...

Meme! Bwaha. Stolen from jetaimerai, only from Tumblr, heh.

Yay wasting time.Collapse )

84 and Counting...

Yesterday I went to get myself an Arizona State ID since my Massachusetts one, which I've been using for ID for the past 5 years, finally expired. I was incredibly excited when I first received my new card, because I noticed that it has no expiration date. Seriously. In the spot where the expiration date should be, it's just a blank space. (And, really, that makes sense--driver's licenses for non-minors in Arizona are valid for ~45 years if you aren't arrested for anything, so it would follow that they wouldn't care about the renewal of non-driver ID cards...at all). Unfortunately, my dreams of forever-ID were shattered when I noticed that you have to register a change of address within 10 days. Seeing as we'll definitely be moving in August, that means that this new ID is also doomed to be short-lived. Which is kind of a shame, being that the picture on it was actually fairly cute and I NEVER TAKE CUTE ID PICTURES THIS IS A FOREIGN CONCEPT. But, oh well. Life goes on. xD
**It's also worthwhile to note that the infrequency with which such documents expire here, while kind of sketchy (at least in my opinion) has at least one positive side-effect: The DMV experience is *actually pleasant*. Like, you go in, and employees are cheerful and helpful and nice to you and don't appear jaded or frustrated at all. And it all goes fast. I have been to the AZ DMV twice and neither time did I wait more than ~30 minutes to have *all* my services completed. That includes time to fill out paperwork. Massachusetts readers probably understand fully why this is shocking and noteworthy--but I kid you not. When the place isn't necessarily exploding with people trying to renew everything all the time, it's so, so easy. *_*

Yesterday I also finally finished my second read-through of Elena Poniatowska's Hasta No Verte Jesús Mío, throughout which I was careful to make a written note of every single word or phrase that I didn't completely understand. Or even words that I *did* understand, but wanted to add to a list anyway so that I could practice recalling them rather than just recognizing what they mean. Right now, I'm on page 22 of the book out of 317, and my list of words and phrases is already 84 long. AHAHAHAH. There are going to be thousands. But oh well, I'm ready, bring it on. After all, that just means that there are going to be thousands more things that I newly understand after I finish this project! Yei. :3

I guess I better go back and work on that, eheh. >.>;

Musical Vindication

Bwahahaha, so last night/early this morning I found the following song, and I think it sums up like 75% of the frustration that I have with learning Spanish. Everywhere you go, any word you know probably means something different from the definition you learned for it, and therefore your vocabulary always carries the potential of getting you into trouble. The best part is that these guys are from Colombia...I feel so vindicated that people who actually speak Spanish do realize that this is a huge problem for foreigners, haha. This video is going to potentially be long and tedious for people who don't know or care about Spanish, but if you do like Spanish, I highly suggest you watch it!

My transcription and translation are below. The [bracketed] parts in the actual transcription are parts I couldn't get on my own, or parts that I changed/refined after looking up lyrics. In the translation, the brackets indicate the English meaning of the previous word (a lot of the jokes depend heavily on keeping the Spanish word there).

I didn't get everything, of course, but I was really pleased with how much I *was* able to understand, given how they put on a bunch of weird accents and go pretty fast. @_@/ Anyway, my translation doesn't do the song justice, but I don't think *English* does it justice being it's about the craziness of Spanish. Still, if you like languages, wordplay, and language problems, you might find the translation funny too, idk.

SpanishCollapse )

EnglishCollapse )

This is also part of the problem of trying to learn Spanish and living in the US, too. One of the lines is "si lo aprendes [el español], no te muevas de region"-- "If you learn [Spanish], don't move to another region", because people will use words completely differently there. But in the US, there are tons of Spanish speakers from everywhere! How do you "not change regions"? I guess you just have to learn Spanish from one person and never talk to anyone else. Or something similarly silly, lol.

Also also self-serving change of topic, but...! Tonight Andres and I went out to a fancy Mexican restaurant where I think the waiters are instructed to speak to you with Spanish thrown in, even if you obviously can't speak it. (They always do this--maybe it's in order to seem authentic or exotic? idk) The Spanish addressed towards me always encourages me to gather all my courages and actually respond in Spanish, and today I just went for it and the waiter seemed surprised, but happy. When he brought us our check at the end, he asked me where I'd learned Spanish and that "lo tenía muy bien pronunciado". It made my night!!!! And possibly my week/month ^^; I normally notice all the ways in which I fail at speaking (in any language, including English) or how much I suck at, well, everything, so getting a compliment like that about my *pronunciation in Spanish* of all things from a random stranger was, well, pretty great. :) I feel like little moments like tonight are what make all sorts of struggling and anxiety and self-doubt suddenly worthwhile. <3 I'll never give up on Spanish, ever. In spite of all the difficulties and frustrations it's something I find worth fighting for.