Cloud Appreciation

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Just another day, just outside my window

I can remember the first (and only) time I heard someone describe a cloud as something more than just the warning of precipitation — actually, I remember reading it. My friend had gotten an English correspondent off some band’s forum online and she’d sent him a carefully folded letter that involved a thorough description of her most favorite type of clouds — cumulus nimbus clouds.

At the time, I was about 13, he was about 15 and we both had only heard “Nimbus” from Harry Potter’s Nimbus 2000. Thank God for Wikipedia. We looked them up, picked our favorites (pretty much any cumulus cloud), and that was that. Never heard anyone talking about them clouds in non metereological ways again.

That is, until last week, when I somehow ended up watching a documentary on clouds, cloud spotting and how a professor who needed a catchy name for a speech on clouds ended up with the “Inaugural Speech for the Cloud Appreciation Society” — and found followers. He even created an app (Mac/Android) so you can take a picture and figure out what kind of cloud you’re looking at.

And I’m actually very tempted to pay the R$6,23 to use it, except my phone (for all the good qualities that it embeds, such as not breaking when I repeatedly drop it) does not have a decent camera.

But I’ve found myself looking up at the sky more. And finding numerous different clouds everywhere.

And you know when you’re watching a movie or seeing an ad and you think to yourself “Well, that ain’t real”? Unless I’m in some sort of Truman Show my brain is playing tricks with me, ’cause those clouds up there? They were in my backyard. I was closing my window and I was just “Wow… that can’t be real”. But it was. And I can’t even tell how many sights like these I’ve missed because I was indoors or not looking up.

Also, apparently “Cloud Study” is a thing, and has been a thing way before meteorologists were called meteorologists. There was a guy called John Constable in the early 19th century who did a hundred studies of cloud formations —

Cloud Study 400

John Constable

And apparently they (meteorologists) are taking a closer look at these paitings, now with a cientific purpose, since Constable was very faithful to reality. You can see more of his paintings by clicking on the picture bellow and going into the Tate Museum’s website, and more on his life and work clicking here.

“Cloud Study”, 1822. John Constable

Constable, however, was not the only one to like clouds. It’s just a bit unusual to portray reality. Dutch Jacob van Ruisdael, for instance, created his own clouds to make up dramatic scenes.

“A Landscape with a Ruined Castle and a Church”, 1665-70, Jacob van Ruisdael

As well as (Joseph Mallord) William Turner — who was the only painter whose name got stuck in my head because his paintings were denoted “J.M. William Turner”.

“Raby Castle, the Seat of the Earl of Darlington”, J.M. William Turner

But anyways, all that to tell you I like clouds.

Do you like clouds?

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Crappy hotel, fantastic view

Poor Dudu

I’ve got a stuffed dog named Dudu, who has been my loyal bedside table guest and companion for every trip I have taken in the last… 12 years? Something like that.

During that time, I think he was washed… once? Maybe twice. Which means he has been dusty for years. And for years I have been saying I’ll wash him, but I never seemed to get the courage/time.

Finally, this week, I saw this Instructable on how to wash stuffed animals and got convinced that it was time. He would get drenched. He would look miserable. He would be hanged to dry for a whole day. But at least mom would stop blaming him for all the dust in the room.

Can I call him him? I remember my English teacher saying you could call pets him and her, but I never heard/read anyone say it. Sounds so mean to call Dudu it just because he’s stuffed – he IS my pet.

My actual living pet, Meg, was a little jealous of the attention.*

He/It STILL hasn't dried. It's been 3 hours. I think I'll have to blow dry him later.

*completely off the point (but then, what WAS the point?), did you know that “jealousy” in French is “jalousie” – as in, pretty much the same way it is spoken in English? I was shocked.

Twenties Girl

(I´m sorta skipping class here, be proud.)

If you´re anything like me, if you read the back cover to Twenties Girl (Sophie Kinsella) you won´t want to actually read it. It says  it´s a ghost story. A contemporary ghost story. Not particularly fond of them. But I didn´t even glance at the description when I saw it was from Sophie Kinsella. Sophie Kinsella books make me happy.

At a especially boring Calc class last week I found out it isn´t reeeally all about the ghost of the main character´s great aunt. Or rather, the ghost is there, pretty much every page, but it isn´t really all about her being a ghost. And, to be fair, it´s not even so much about her wanting her neckless back (like the cover claims). It´s more about what was like to be young and lively in the 1920s, about pushing your limits a little, and a bit of family intrigue to stir things up.

Sadie, the great-aunt, is a non-romantic, practical, fun 20s girl. There´s a big, unexpected, lovely twist by the end but that´s pretty much it. She´s got a few pearls of wisdom I have quoted at the end there. It´s a nice contrast to Lara Lington, the main character, who is as annoying as can be for most of the book, chasing around an ex-boyfriend to the point where he changed his number so she´d stop text-stalking him. She´s very big on love, partership, forever – the works. Dunno about you, but that bugs me. A LOT.

Sadie can also make people bend to her will – apparently when ghosts scream at people repeatedly, the words become their thoughts and eventually they cave and do what the ghosts want. Creepy. And a veery good excuse for the several funny scenes in the book.

There are two things that I really, really liked in this book – the first is just this new perspective suggested by Sadie, one that allows people to hold their heads up, and stir themselves a cocktail when things go bad, instead of wallowing endlessly (there´s a quote in there somewhere, but I couldn´t find it on Goodreads). The second is just sort of diluting the idea of what´s proper and what´s embarrassing. That sounded weird. Let me try to explain. Sadie asks Lara to do some stuff for her, in addition to finding the awesome dragonfly/pearl neckless I´ve been looking out to buy, she wants her to dance in a bar, dress as a twenties girl, ask a stranger out… During all those scenes I was so embarrassed for her, clutching at the book, thinking “Poor Lara, can´t believe she´s actually doing it”, when I realised how silly it was.  So what if she entered the conference room of a company she did not work in, late, and asked the guy out, in front of all those people she´d never met? It sounds like fun.

Not to sound too… I don´t know, but why don´t we do something a little crazy just for the hell of it sometimes too? Why should we need a 1920s ghost to make us have a little fun?

Preferably not declaring your great-aunt, who you´ve never met, was murdered, at said aunt´s funeral, and repeating that to the police when they question you, but you get what I mean.

Quotes from Sadie:

“When I was your age, if a boy behaved badly, one simply scored his name out from one’s dance card. ”

“You can want and want and want, but if he doesn’t want you back … you might as well wish the sky were red.”

All quotes on Goodreads

Anywho, excellent quick read that makes you all bubbly happy by the end. And wanting more.

´Till next time

PS –

Reorganised my bookcase (apparently if I move it with all the books inside it, something really bad will happen) - don't my Sophie Kinsellas look happy? Need moore.

Too old, too young

I was looking up on Goodreads some of the promising books from this blog (heart-covered books for the year, in honor of Valentines Day), and though I added three of them to my list (how can I resist a book called The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, featuring British love interest?) I was kind of bummed about the amount of highschool-set stories. Doesn’t it sound kind of iffy to read about them when you’re finally out of there? Not that any of them remotely looked like my highschool, but still… I think I’d like to read some chick flicks set in college. Even if they wouldn’t look like my college either. Heck, I’m even settling for sororities. Just as long as the main character isn’t 17.

I’m saying this full aware I’ll read more of them in the near-future. But asking for recommendations nonetheless. Care to help me?

It’s just a bit weird to realise all my books are either about highschool students or married/soon-to-be-married/divorced women in their mid 20s or early 30s. What about awkwardly transitioning 19 year olds still living with their parents? Too young to be reading about divorcees!

(Picture from here, gotta love Leeds Castle)