Sunday, August 28, 2011

California - Wisconsin Road Trip -- (Trying to Sleep at Philz Coffee)

6:10. Starting to get cold. Still sunny, though.

Our moods improved 100% after finding a restroom and snacking. Michael is so relaxed here at this coffee shop that he is actually trying to take a nap as we wait for the best time to go to the bus depot. He's wearing his Packers hat over his eyes, though failing at keeping it there.

"I wish I had my handkerchief here," he just said as his cap starting falling for the tenth time.

Don't think that we're the only people camping here, though. It seems that this place is adored by many other apparently loyal customers. I recognize a few others sitting nearby who arrived at the same time we did. They've been drinking coffee and talking for hours now, looking as relaxed as Michael. I guess it's something about the environment, the shade provided by Tangerine Hair Studio and Togo's, and the cool breeze. It's also very relaxing to observe people walking back and forth. For some reason many girls here like to wear boots even though it's so hot!

I don't know when we'll leave. Perhaps at 9:00 PM, when Philz Coffee is going to close. Hopefully the station will be just as nice. I think our bus leaves at 1:00 AM, and then we stop at Los Angeles at 5:00 AM, and after that we're heading to Las Vegas.

"Lost three handkerchiefs... So annoying. No, lost four handkerchiefs!" Michael just complained and sighed.

California - Wisconsin Road Trip -- (Hanging Out in San Jose)

3:36 PM. My computer failed me. My pen failed me too. It's hot, I'm still grumpy, and we can't find a restroom...

Here are a few photos to show that we're alive. San Jose turned out to be a way more interesting city compared to Palo Alto. Although our bags don't let us walk too far, we still think that we could stay at Philz Coffee until it's time to go to the Greyhound station. Michael is so relaxed that he thinks he could sleep here very easily.

California - Wisconsin Road Trip -- (At Philz Coffee in San Jose)

Afternoon... Hot and sunny, as usual.

We're in San Jose, not too far from Palo Alto. This morning Michael woke me up saying that we were late to check out. Luckily we had already packed everything yesterday, so I just had to run to take a quick shower. The annoying part, however, was that even though we had shipped our bags ahead of us, our backpacks were heavier than we thought they would be. For instance, in my backpack I have two notebooks, some clothes I'll need during the road trip, and other belongings, but everything together makes it feel like I'm carrying bricks. Michael's bag isn't as bad, but it's still pretty heavy, and our food bag is just as heavy. He was trying to carry everything, but my bag (or.. his bag, as he keeps reminding me that I actually borrowed it from him a few months ago) was falling apart as he pulled it, and that made me a little grumpy.

Right now we're just sitting in front of Philz Coffee, sipping iced tea. This area is quite nice, actually, although it's really hot today. There are many benches and at least five lampposts nearby, encompassing what seems to be a little hippie-looking student gathering area. We might stay here until 9:00 PM, when they close.

California - Wisconsin Road Trip -- (Cooking, Packing, Writing, Photographing)

10:22 PM. Still in Palo Alto, CA. Strangely cold...

Michael and I are getting ready. I took a nap this afternoon because I barely slept last night and woke up feeling disoriented. As I watched hurricane Irene on CNN, I remembered I had an article due tomorrow that was half done.

 I ran to finish it, and I just submitted it. Michael has been packing and cooking since I was asleep. He prepared many sandwiches for the trip and our dinner. After taking photos of us and of Glass Slipper Inn, we now can finally sit down to eat our last dinner in this already memorable hotel room.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

Traveling in a Few Days

I have trouble eating when I'm too nervous, even when I feel just slightly anxious. Right now, for instance, I have a half-eaten Korean sandwich by me on the table, and noodles waiting degustation; although I'm hungry, I can't eat. I don't know exactly what's the matter with my stomach, but since I was a kid I was never able to eat before exams, presentations, and other challenging circumstances. Despite my appetite being intact, I get awful burning and aching sensations in my stomach, and it feels as if my throat closes not letting any food, even water, pass. If I force myself to eat, eventually, I end up feeling a little queasy.

We'll be going back to Madison in a few days, and that means I'm not eating properly this week. What's interesting about heading back to Wisconsin this time, though, is that we decided this trip would be the adventure we didn't have a chance to live this summer. In summary, we'll stop at more than 20 cities on the way home. Yesterday I packed our bags, which are going to be picked up this afternoon by a company that ships luggage, so we could just bring our backpacks on the way back. We're leaving Palo Alto and going to San Jose on Sunday, and then our bus leaves on Monday, around 1:00 AM, to Las Vegas. We'll sleep in Vegas, and then take another bus on Tuesday afternoon. If you're wondering how long it will take to go from California to Wisconsin, that's precisely two days on a bus. And my stomach is starting to burn again...

I'm excited and I promise many descriptions, photos, perhaps a video, and more. For now I should try to relax my mind and just wish that everything will work out accordingly. Despite my nervousness, I'm actually looking forward to the stories and the things I'll learn during this trip, which I promise will not include gambling, as Michael and I dislike the idea of spending money like that. Michael, also, seriously needs a break before school starts. And, in general, although this adventure will certainly make me lose weight, I am glad Michael and I will go through all this together, and that's what matters.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Alternative Journalism in Times of Crisis

I just published an article on alternative journalism. I am enthusiastic about this field, and strangely I advocate for pamphleteering as much as I like blogging.

I sometimes wish, however, I had been born centuries ago. Despite my belief that it is good that communications are spreading quickly and reaching more people, I can't help feeling that words -- my words, in fact -- are losing strength. Information has become trivial, no matter what the subject is. As we feel we can easily find them at more appropriate hours, we let them pass without giving them proper importance.

Perhaps, just perhaps, today you woke up interested in truly listening to different ideas. Here's my attempt at thinking coherently: Alternative Journalism in Times of Crisis.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

See You Soon, Midwest!

It is almost time to go back..!

I still look at Walmart's college essentials options and can't help feeling nostalgic. I even decided I should get a small desk, cheap enough that I could buy and not feel guilty about it. While most of my friends are getting ready to go back to school this fall, I am done with it. I wouldn't say I am entirely done with school, since I intend to go to grad school soon (possibly next year?), but in general I am getting a weird feeling, particularly when I see former co-workers moving back early for RLA training.

There are so many classes, still, that I would like to take. For instance, I never took Professor McGlynn's creative writing courses. They were always full before I could enroll. I don't know how's the English department at your school, but at Lawrence we often had to fight to get into those writing classes. For centuries students have talked about them, praised them, almost worshiped creative writing at LU. So, if you are still going to college, I suggest taking creative writing.

We'll be moving back to Madison in a few days. There's a lot of speculation on our part regarding the most adventurous way to do so (within reason, of course), but because of my injured knee we'll probably end up being conventional. Yes, I'm getting old, and walking is difficult. Once we're back, it will be work, work, and work. I suppose I should also try watching regularly those Yale online courses in order to feel more included within the college environment that makes Madison what it is. Perhaps a course on Milton?

Good luck to you all!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Great Adventures of Anita

Harry Potter Fever

I am not entirely sure why, but this blog has been getting many visitors due to my post on Harry Potter. Perhaps it has to do with Pottermore and also with the nostalgia that the last book left behind. I've been considering writing an article on the generation that grew up reading J.K. Rowling's series, what they learned from the books and whether their perspective on fantasy fiction changed after meeting Potter, so after the big wave of readers that Writing Room got these last few days I am guessing I should start interviewing a few people as soon as possible. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A Few Thoughts on What's Going on in My Life

Yours truly living the metaphor of taking a new path
It's August already, and three years ago this month represented the beginning of my life abroad. I suppose in my opinion August will always be meaningful, at least for biographical purposes, as it also marked the beginning of my professional life.

As I mentioned a few days ago, yes, I am busy. That probably sounds bad (who appreciates being overwhelmed with tons of things to get done?), but I am actually quite happy about it. I am not exactly obsessed with being busy, but one thing I do need is the feeling of being useful. I guess I am very ambitious, and a strong J (judging) according to the MBTI test, so carpe diem isn't one of my favorite life philosophies.

During my time in Palo Alto I will be working as public relations and general helper (sorting books, decorating, writer etc) at the NGO Friends of the Palo Alto Library. Their offices are 45 minutes away from El Camino, where I live, and I am there from Tuesday to Friday. When I am not at one of the offices, I eventually am doing work from home as I just recently took the challenge to improve their newsletter and website content. What I love about Friends is that they are truly helping support the libraries nearby with donations, and their famous book sales bring many people together and particularly help kids become more interested in reading.

My favorite place, in fact, is the children's books room. They have an entire section particularly devoted to Harry Potter and I would sit there all day. Their fantasy section is also terrific, and according to one nice grandma who was buying books to her grandchildren these are good books because they introduce many aspects of the fantastical, "but aren't too weird."

Other than my work at Friends, I am also going to interview two great authors I hard of last month. Roxanne Sancto and Martin Tarte published in December, 2010, The Pink Boots. The plot follows the life of Jamie Skyla, who was abandoned in a toilet as a baby and who goes through the challenges and difficulties of her generation until she starts reasserting her own identity through love. This is, however, neither a cheesy romance nor the common sex & drugs plot. The story is a lot more intricate and filled with social analogies and moral dilemmas that will certainly turn it into a classic. The authors are extraordinarily intelligent and until now I just communicated with Roxanne, but am looking forward to talking with M. Tarte as well. I'll be very soon interviewing them and writing a review of their book. If you are curious, The Pink Boots is now available on Amazon and on Barnes & Noble. I'll keep you posted on that.

I've also started writing for Demand Media Studios, which sort of works as an agent for freelance writers, filmmakers, etc. They approved my application and I am now one of their writers. I've been writing under their guidance, then, for eHow. I should probably let you know when my articles are available online. Would it be bad to say that one of the greatest things about writing is when you get paid to write?

That's, then, almost everything I am doing at the moment, because on top of the freelance writing, public relations and interviewing, I am almost done working on my last novel, which I am writing in English and aiming at publishing it in the U.S., working on an epistolary novel / writing partnership with an Italian journalist, getting writing done for a few writing contests, and preparing for job interviews that will start hitting my world next week. Isn't that fantastic?

I hope I did not overwhelm you with everything I am doing, but I am guessing that's the life of a writer after college. Wish me luck, and let me know if your writing routine is as crazy as everything I just described. My question, then, is how do you balance writing and your other duties?

P.S. This is the most recent interview I gave and it was on my life abroad. It's a nice way to reminisce my years at Lawrence University. It's part of a series titled Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes and I have a feeling you'll learn a few more secrets about me. Enjoy (and don't tell anyone what you find out)!