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?

P1030971

Crappy hotel, fantastic view

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The fault…

…is mine and I’ll put it where ever I want. (“A culpa é minha e eu coloco ela em quem eu quiser”)

Or something like that. I was convinced it was a line from Zaphod Beeblebrox, Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxies, but I can’t find it anywhere. I miss Zaphod.

I feel guilty not putting anything up, so… this has been my life for the past weeks:

1- Studying at home.

I'm picky about my erasers. Staedtler is the latest favourite.

2- Studying at the library.

Favourite picture from the central library. Always think it's a cold war movie.

3- Studying at the lab. *

My Tuesdays afternoons? All spent on various erlenmeyers and various color changes.

*not really, I just wanted an excuse to show these pictures. It’s repetitive and mostly boring work, but it’s preeetty.

And thinking it's pretty it's one of the ways to get pass the What's blue? What's green??? drama.

And as it turns out, knowing what's green for chemists is a very big deal at the lab. Or they'll make you do it again. All three times.

That’s still turquoise.

4- Studying by the bakery

Best hang out spot on campus.

The food engineering factory has a bakery. And it’s gooood. And they have tables. And muffins. And free coffee.

Uuuh.

And my books got here! WorldOfBooks.com really works!

And all the way from across the Atlantic they came :D

I’ve been reading and carrying Solomons around, but Specials will have to wait ’till some tests get over.

I’m so excited to read it!!! At laaast!

Anyways. Have a nice Friday ;)

“If there’s anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.”

Zaphod Beeblebrox (for sure)

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.

Miscellaneous

Ends of holidays always end up being more productive than the rest of it, don´t they?

I´m halfway through a really fun read by Sophie Kinsella, “Twenties Girl”, which I found at a second hand shop last year and had forgotten all about it. I know it´s kind of difficult not to like Sophie Kinsella books, but this one is particularly cute. The main character is one of those annoyingly obsessed female characters who keep on dreaming about their exes, eventhough they aren´t all that great to begin with and are no longer interested – I always wish I could shake them and yell “Have you no self respect, woman?!?”. Luckily, her great-aunt´s  ghost – yup, she wrote a ghost story -, in all her 1920´s glory, is kind of stalking her to find a necklace (and later, go on a date with a, quote, delicious man, unquote) and she´s reaally fun and doesn´t hesitate to voice whatever is on her mind — I´ve found my heroine!!

I´ll quote her later, it´s too good.

Meanwhile, I am slowly crawling with/in Python on the Udacity courses. Have I mentioned I´m absolutely loving both courses? Very impressed with Professor Evans, from CS101 (“How to build a search engine” or something). I had a really good time in Unit 1. And then I got the guts to try CS373, which demands all that Python I neglected over the holidays. It was brutal. Really. But slowly they all began functioning. Not elegant in the very least, mind you, and I´d stare in shock at the much shorter answers prof Thrun gave afterwards, but at least they work. Then I spent all my Sunday afternoon staring in despair at the homework programming assignment. Bloody matrixes. Now it seems to be working. Some bits to sort out. Wednesday.

And all this is being blurted out by yours truly because she chose to believe the official university calendar, as opposed to word of mouth, and bumped into a shut door, at 8am, sleepy and hungry. I love this library. Classes begin tomorrow, so technically I´m still on holiday :)

Have a good week! (;

(more on miscellaneous here)

Happy sunny days

Something has been bugging me. Something my parents aren’t eager to discuss and are equally bugged or worse. Something that will be done and over with by the end of the week and we’ll all have forgotten about by the end of the month. But for now it will bug us.

That’s only because we’re back home, though. You can’t worry much about those things at a sunny beach, or floating around in the big blue ocean with nothing in front of you but endless water and the blue – yes, BLUE – sky, can you?

It had been years since I’d ventured into the water. I used to go with Dad when I was little, but over the last couple of years he’s gotten lazy and stayed put under the tent, holding a well-deserved beer (he’s the one who drives us all the way to the beach). I’m very scared of big waves and so usually stick to the Water Under Belly Buttom Level rule thingie life guards and Dad repeated to me extensively as a child – which is boring as I really like that “bump” of water that comes before the actual wave is formed. I guess they are waves before they break. Over here we call them “marolinhas”. Irrelevant. I love them – something that I blame Dad for, btw – and the good ones are a little further than what would be safe for someone my height and group number (one).

But I took a chance. And just as I stood there, half submerged in the big blue ocean, staring at the horizon, blogging in my head about how this was the first risk I took in a long time, one almost engulfed me. Meaning it almost broke on me. My very tiny head in comparison to its height.

Have I mentioned I’m really quite scared of waves?

Or that I have a thing about salty water getting on my eyes?

As in, I used to shut them off and clutch to Dad’s half drenched shirt to dry them off?

As in, I really, really don’t like to be under seawater?

But, as indicated by the “almost”, much to the post’s climax’s dismay and much to this author’s delight — it didn’t. Barely. Which, of course, meant I went back in there today and tried to repeat the feat. One did get to me. Not as dramatically, thankfully, but enough to get me out of the water. Eyes burned, but not as bad as I remembered. It was my au revoir to the ocean. Back up the hill I am. We are. Thankfully. Dreadful rain on the road.

Anyways, before I forget, have a nice weekend ;)

~

 

print(“Hello World!”)

Hii, whoever’s listening. I’ve been off a while, going back and forth to a different city for a congress thing on ChemE I’d applied to months ago. It was at the University I was supposed to have gone to, and I always seem to find an excuse to go back there. Anyways, it was awesome, but I did most of the blogging in my head as it was a bit tricky to include quality internet time waking up at 4 a.m. and getting home by 8 p.m., tired, hungry and sticky (too freaking hot).

I’ll throw some stuff I remember here, so it’ll be messier than usual. Just warning.

This week I’m going to the beach, which is a pretty traditional thing to do around here and I’m not usually very fond of it, but this year is so freaking hot I’m really looking forward to having an excuse for little clothing and diving in to very cold pool/ocean. But that also means very poor or no internet connection ’till next week, unless the hotel has finally entered the 21st century ;)

Meanwhile, you know what I’ve taken up for the beach? (I’m going with my parents and we never leave the hotel from 5pm onwards, so I usually have a LOT of free time. Which is really what the holidays are all about, right?) Python programming. I’m really excited about these courses coming up at Udacity.com (total geek, took the aiclass.com and loved it) and one of them requires considerable Python skills, which I do not possess. Yet. I’m kind of hoping my undergrad knowledge of C will help me there (plus knowledgeable computer dad/bf/friends), but we’ll see. If you’re interested in taking up something new for 6 weeks, or maybe you just looove programming, Udacity is currently offering a course for beginners (no previous programming experience required) that will lead to building a search engine, and one on advanced artificial intelligence, that will lead to programming a self-driving car (Python necessary). It’s from the former Stanford professor, Sebastian Thrun, who’s this good-humoured German fella. His “lectures” on aiclass were amazing and you can see he’s passionate about his work and teaching, which is really, really nice. His speech (somebody put the link on facebook, but I seem to have misplaced it) on the experience of teaching 180k students (20k+ of them successfully completed the course) as opposed to 20-100 at a physical class was pretty cool too – it was there that revealed that he couldn’t go back to a small classroom after that, and was no longer a Stanford professor. I had tears. The guy is really something.

Anyways, on to the random posts!

Have a great week, everyone!

 

(Nice, weird-ish songs, courtesy of bf –

Safety Dance – Men without hats

Cat food – King Crimson )

*Geeky shirt from here.

It rains


(From http://prowess.tumblr.com/post/245733007/ieatyouruterus-prettylittlehate-from-heroes, didn’t get if it was the original sketch from Heroes or a fan art…)

I was going to spend my afternoon making snide remarks about all the actors and lines from the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice with my one-year-old, once-met reading club, but as it happened to all the other plans of the group over the last year, it too failed. (It’s a holiday! Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person in my circle of friends who isn’t busy enough to say “Sorry, I’ve already got plans” to whatever invite they make. Should really consider lying next time.)

Then I was going to go look for wallpaper for my room (amidst renovations, after 19 years of begging), only to find out it’s super expensive.

And then it started raining, which I’m taking as an excuse to stay home and do nothing useful (as if that was something new) for hours on end. Let’s see how far the blogging goes today, shall we?

I found (through very cute Brazilian blog who recently started blogging in English too) this band called Puggy that’s very nice indeed (I’m picky). It’s linked to Grooveshark to anyone interested in listening to their fun, cool album (that I’d buy, but it doesn’t seem to be in national grounds, para variar…).

Also, this is nicer than the original rainy sounds through my window! (Oh, the digital world…)

(Very fond of parenthetical remarks today.)