Wednesday, May 30, 2007

First days in Ann Arbor

So, after almost one week without Internet access, today I finally got one computer on my desk, and now after some problems with my account and password, I am online again, at least while I am at the University. I was thinking about writing this in portuguese but I am gonna write it in english.

First things first. So I will start talking about the trip. What a tiresome trip!!! Damn it!! I have to stay for 12h in Guarulhos Airport in SP, and those were the most boring hours of my life!! My luggage was not dispatched to Detroit directly from Belo Horizonte, in fact I had to get all my luggage in every airport and then dispatch them again, that was not so bad, as the chances for them to get lost were minimum with that, but when I was in SP, I have to carry all that weight around the airport for almost all the 12 hours I was there. When I arrived at Guarulhos Airport, the first thing I did was to look for Delta Airlines Bureau. I crossed all the airport and did not find it, then I went to ask the information desk girl about it and she told me that Delta only set up its check-in desks 3 hours prior to its flights, and their first flight was 9:30PM! Damn it!! I had to carry my stuff around the airport until 6:30PM. A great burden I say! I had a book to read, but I was unable to do that, as I was very drowsy, and I also could not sleep because someone with not so good intentions could simply confound our baggages and take something mine while I was not so aware. I had to stay alert during all this time, carrying more than 40kg of stuff around the airport, only hearing music, and waiting or the time to pass. I knew where Delta would set up their desks and evry once in a while I just passed near it to see. Around 5PM I was wandering around the area when I see a small crowd already in a line near the Delta Airlines Place. So I went there and find out that they were already in the Delta Check-In line, at least one hour before the check-in started. As the Federal Police was in strike, the imigration lines were colossal, and people wanted to do the check in as soon as possible to not lose their flights, so the check-in line started sooner as well. I have entered the line, around 6:30PM the check-in started, around 7PM I have already dispatched my luggage, and then after that I went right away to the imigration line thinking that I would take around 2 to 3 hours until I reach the boarding gates. My mistake, I did not even eat before enter the imigration line, and after less then one hour I was already near my boarding gate, totally hungry, and almost 3 hours before my flight! I have to eat something there, and I never paid so much for anything to eat as I have done there! Bah!!

Doing a fast forward, as I do not have so much more to tell about the rest of the trip. After I got into the plane, I found my seat, and then a couple with a small daughter (I guess) asked me and the girl by my side if we would change places with them (they were in the seats right in front of us), and it was the first file of seats, and the thing between seats in that line did not raise so the little girl could not sleep in their laps. Well... We chanceg places, and we had more space to stretch our legs in that line, as the airplane wall was a little bit further from the seats than the other seats were from one to another. I could barely talk to the girl beside me as I was VERY tired, and almost could not left my eyes opened, and the girl did not seemed to be so receptive, at least that is what I thought around that time. So the trip went on, sitting in that front line I was very close to the airplane kitchen, and in fact if I stretched my legs, then my foot would be inside the kitchen, and just after the kitchen was the First Class. During the flight I saw the stewardesses preparing the first class stuff, and yeah, there is a reason for the price they pay in the ticket to be much more expensive!! The point is not that, the point is that during all the flight I have seen the stewardesses preparing stuff for the first class people, and eventually one of them dropped a glass of wine, and the wine decided to fly in my legs direction!! Fortunately it was not so much wine, but the asian stewardess was very sorry, but could not hide her laugh, well... No problem at all, she help me clean it all after that. I just know that during the night some others small incidents have happened, involving my person, but I did not recall them very well. I just know that the asian stewardess smiled at me every time she crossed me after that, saying something that I could not understand, and I just smiled back. Then my flight arrived in Atlanta just before the scheduled time, around 7AM in the morning.

In Atlanta Airport, I had to take my luggage again, and then left it someplace to it to be dispatched to Detroit. I crossed the imigration section without any problems, as easy as possible. The guy in the bureau asked me about what I would do in the US, I told him, and we started to talk about astrophysics stuff. The officer liked the subject and was not so misinformed about things, it was a fast and nice talk. He stappled a so called I-94 form in my passport, and then a followed my way. I left my luggage in the above mentioned place, then crossed the metal detector, and then I had to find my way around the Atlanta Airport. The Airport was COLOSSAL!! I had to take a train inside the airport to go near my next boarding gate, and I am not kidding!!

I waited for the next flight, arrived in Detroit Airport, that is also a big one, but not even near the Atlanta Airport. Crossed all the airport to find my baggage, then find a taxi to Ann Arbor. The weather was very cloudy but it was not raining. The taxi driver was a paquistanese, I just wonder how he was able to enter the US, but he seemed to be a fine guy, and I not a terrorist! Hehehehe... I arrived at the Hotel around friday 1PM. The room where I am staying is very confortable, there are two queen-size beds there, a microwave, a small fridge, a TV and cable TV. My first problem was to find out how to open the sinker tap! Instead of twist it from one side to the other, you have to pull it out, and then twist it to choose hot water or cold water. The same for the shower tap. Then I took a very long and sought shower, called a University contact that my advisor left me to when I arrived in Ann Arbor. His name is Jesus, and then he took me at the hotel, and showed me the Astronomy Department. I still did not meet my advisor, she did not come to the University since I have arrived. After the University I have returned to the hotel, and have fainted in the bed. When I have woken up it was already 11pm, and then I just went to sleep again. (As you can see I was very tired!)

It was raining during all the weekend, so I did not have much to do. I have explored a bit the city and the region around the hotel, but I did not so much because of the rain. I found a giant bookstore a mile away from my hotel, and I spend a lot of time wandering in the middle of thousands of books, but I did not buy anything, as I still have to read some other books. I have bought some stuff to eat in a nearby grocery, but I spend most of my weekend on the hotel. Monday was Memorial Day, and there was not so much to do either, I walked a bit near the hotel, and then I got back and spend the rest of the day reading or watching anything on the TV. (Training my hearing.)

I am really surprised with Ann Arbor. The city is very beautiful, and there are people from all around the world here. And everywhere you enter people ask "How are you doing today?", even without never seeing you before. And sometimes they even smile at you. But even with that I am a little unconfortable with the place yet, but I guess sooner than later I will be confortable again. And here the sun is setting around 9:30 PM, so it is still day until 10PM or so... I am not used to that yet! And there is green everywhere, and the traffic is totally civilized! All the cars stop for the pedestrians, and such... I now a have a card form the University and I can take any Ann Arbor bus for free! And with a US$5,00 phone card, I can speak for around 5h with people in Brazil!! And the US is really the consumers paradise, but I still did not buy anything!

I am still looking for a place to live here, and have already one option, but I have not decided yet. I am gonna to write more another day! I have already spent to much time writing these things here!

The important thing is: I am alive, and I am well! =D

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Last day in Brazil

It is been almost a week since I have written here for the last time. A lot have happened during this time. Some farewell parties, lots of drinks, and lots of goodbyes. I am finishing to pack my stuff, and tomorrow early in the morning I will be leaving to the airport. I will spend 12 hours without anything to do in São Paulo airport, and by 11PM I will take the flight to US. I'm going to arrive in Ann Arbor friday around noon.

This may be the last time I will be writing here for some time, but as soon as I get a computer there I will write about the things that are happening to me there. Or that have already happened.

I know there has been no much xaos these last days, but unfortunately I had to put some order in my mind these last few weeks. That will be corrected soon... My first mission was completed succesfully, I have received my passport last friday, and everything is ok. The second mission will be very straight forward, and will be to reach the Lamp Post Inn, hopefully without any kind of problems.

I will keep you informed as soon as I can. That is it for now...

Less than a day to leave Brazil...

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Great Surprise called Letícia

So today my niece was born. Her name is Letícia. She was expected to born only next month, but for some fortunate event, she decided to come a week before her uncle leave the country. I am very happy, she is the cutest little girl I have ever seen. =D

I will post a photo of her as soon as I get one! :)

Nothing else for today...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ann Arbor Adventure Update - The Visa

So I got my US Visa, but my passport still did not arrive. I hope it arrives until next monday or tuesday. My trip is scheduled for thursday morning, and I NEED my passport until that time. I will just let time flow... Flow... Almost everything is ready for the trip, I already have my Visa, my airplane ticket, a place to stay in the first week, and I even have made some contacts in Ann Arbor. I am still looking for a more permanent settlement, but I guess that will only be solved when I get there... How will I go from the airport to Ann Arbor? Well... I guess I will let that question to be solved after I arrived at Detroit Metro Airport... What will be the fun to have everything solved before the time comes!? After all an adventure is full of chaos and unpredictable things... The only thing I want to be predictable is that my passport arrives on time... :P

My thesis title is (in english) "A Computational Model for Magneto-Accretion and Diskwind in Classical T Tauri Stars". The interview guy in the consulate, when read that title in one of the docs I have presented him, just laughed and after that told me that he will give me my VISA. He barely asked me any question, I just have to answer him one or two small questions, I showed him the docs, and he really like my thesis title. So if you want an US Visa, take a document with your PhD or Master thesis' title and you will surely get the Visa! Ah, of course, there are some prohibited keywords that shall never be mentioned in the title directly, like: radiation, nuclear, bio-hazzard, explosives, infections, and so on... So if you have any of those words in the title, just chance them for a more shady expression meaning the same thing. For example, you can change "nuclear explosion" for the expression "atomic core disruptive outbreak", or "nuclear radiation" for "eletromagnetic (for gama radiation) or particle (for alpha or beta radiation) emission generated by atomic core induced or natural decay". Atomic is a suspicious word, so it is better to change atomic for the element name, unless the atom name is Uranium or Plutonium or any other infamous dangerously radioactive element, in that case you can use for example in the Uranium case the expression "A 92-proton stable or unstable (depending on the number of neutrons) nucleus element". "A disruptive outbreak of some moles of 98% enriched mass of 92 -protons meta-unstable nucleus element" is just a primitive atomic bomb explosion! Just be creative and then you can easily get your Visa! :P

Friday, May 11, 2007

Loucuras ou Realidade?

Já passou pela sua cabeça que tudo que acontece com você pode ser apenas uma ilusão da sua mente? Na realidade você é um louco com a imaginação mais fértil do mundo, e que a sua vida é uma grande loucura, e nada é realmente como a realidade é? Ultimamente eu ando pensando demais nisso, e se tudo que está prestes a acontecer comigo for apenas loucura da minha cabeça, e nada for real? Será que teria alguma maneira de saber? Acho que cada dia que passa eu fico mais louco, mas eu vou vivendo assim, e a loucura que me acompanhe... Às vezes, eu já estou internado num sanatório, e talvez esse blog aqui nem exista de verdade, e todas as pessoas que eu conheço sejam apenas sombras fantasiosas de pessoas de um mundo que minha mente não enxerga mais. E se os sonhos que temos são apenas flashes da verdadeira realidade ao invés de fantasias da nossa mente?? Wow...

Tudo bem que eu empolguei, mas isso tudo realmente anda passando pela minha cabeça. O mundo é um lugar muito estranho mesmo, e tem gente muito estranha neste mundo também, e tomara que eu ainda encontre várias destas pessoas estranhas por aí! Só tem um problema, será que existem pessoas normais?? Acho que tem algumas mais normais que outras, mas no fundo todo mundo tem alguma coisa insana dentro de si... Eu quero encontrar as que não tem medo de mostrar essa insanidade, estas são as legais, não as que se escondem nas coisas mundanas do mundo...

Cansei... É isso aí! Escrevo mais qualquer hora dessas!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

15 Days Left...

My mind is so full of things. Lots of internal conflicts, lots of things to do, lots of new things to come, and lots of problems to solve. My docs from the University of Michigan still did not arrive. I have re-scheduled my visit to the American Consulate for the second time, and also my trip to São Paulo. I had to pay a re-schedule tax to change my airplane ticket, and also my visa appointment. This DS-2019 is giving me some headaches, and is draining my money away due to all this re-scheduling thing... And I still have to fill other two forms, and pay some other taxes just to get my US Visa. I guess that in the next few weeks, all my life will be only bureaucracy. (SO BORING!!)

I have made my initial reservation in Ann Arbor's Lamp Post Inn, and I have a place to stay for the first week, and I expect to find a more permanent place in that week, and the move out from the inn. I still do not know how to go from Detroit Metro Airport to Ann Arbor, but I found out that a taxi would cost me $47. I will look for a cheaper option when I get there, I know there buses and I think there is a nearby train station too.

I am sending e-mails to people wanting to share apartments and houses in Ann Arbor, but almost no one answers me. Damn, I never thought it would be so difficult to receive a reply. I hope to have better luck when I am there, but I am not going to stop looking yet.

And then there were some weird facts in The Dreaming last night, that have made my sleep unrestful, and have left me intrigued all day long. I do not know if "unrestful" is an existing word, but I guess you get the meaning. What did happen in the dreaming? Well... Just some strange facts, that would not make any sense to anyone but me, so do not worry too much about that. Dreams are just weird, aren't they? And some of them are just weirder than others... But every night I go to sleep thinking about having weird dreams, they are what make my sleep worth of my sleeping time... :P

Time is flowing, and the time of my adventure is getting nearer. I just think that it have already started, with all this problems to solve... Well... Life is just a big adventure after all... Always changing and churning, so chaotic and fascinating... Always the unknown and sometimes the unexpected ahead of you!!

I am not afraid! And I will not fade away... You can be sure of that! ]-]

15 days to go, and counting down...

Monday, May 7, 2007

Campanha - 67o. dia

Durante os últimos dias, Gillian, Tabasco, Dalamar e Otto, passaram enclausurados em sua base de operações secreta. Os usuários de magia, passaram parte do tempo estudando, enquanto Otto, ficava com suas obras de ampliação da base secreta. Após alguns dias sem nenhum contato com Oblívia, e já entediados de tanto ficar naquele lugar, Gillian e Tabasco resolvem dar uma passada em Oblívia. O único pensamento de Dalamar é estudar, e ficar mais poderoso, e descobrir uma maneira de se transformar novamente em humano!

Gillian e Tabasco chegam a Oblívia sem maiores problemas. A cidade, recentemente dizimada pelo frio intenso que começou a assolar o complexo subterrâneo, permanece muito quieta, com os poucos habitantes restantes sobrevivendo ao redor de fogueiras no salão central da cidade, onde há alguns dias atrás havia uma gigantesca esfera luminosa e hoje há apenas escuridão e frio. Alguns deles se revezam na tarefa de conseguir comida para o resto dos habitantes, mas a maioria ainda desolados ainda não voltaram às atividades diárias. Gillian se encontra com seu "namoradinho", Rufio, e sai com ele para dar umas voltas, e saber das novas fofocas da cidade, que agora nem são tantas assim. Tabasco como sempre, fica atrás da tia, só ouvindo, e pensando em como se apropriar indevidamente de itens alheios. Após um tempo resolvem visitar Filto, o anão e um dos ferreiros de Oblívia, que está enclausurado em sua oficina-casa, e só pensa em trabalhar, desde que as centenas de mortes começaram a ocorrer alguns dias atrás. Filto estava começando a trabalhar em um machado de adamantite para Grumsh, mas não estava conseguindo trabalhar direito devido à falta de recursos para moldar a liga praticamente indestrutível, sem ajuda mágica a tarefa fica praticamente impossível, mesmo para um anão.

Depois de uma breve conversa com Filto, os halflings, saem de sua oficina, e já pensando em voltar para a base, percebem uma leve brisa soprando, e um leve ruído indo em direção ao salão central da cidade. Ambos correm em direção ao salão central. Durante o caminho, Tabasco um pouco paranóico, já utiliza uma magia para deixar seu estilingue mágico, mas alguma coisa dá errada (como acontece quase sempre), e começam a nascer várias folhas pelo braço direito de Tabasco. Tenta novamente e desta vez funciona, e continuam em direção à fonte do ruído.

Acabando de chegar na entrada do salão, eles ouvem um estrondo do lado oposto do gigantesco salão, como se algo muito pesado tivesse acabado de cair ali, mas a fraca iluminação das várias fogueiras no local só consegue mostrar o local ainda vazio. Mas não por muito tempo, alguns instantes depois, uma figura gigantesca e negra começa a se materializar. Uma gigantesca figura reptiliana e humanóide de mais de 4m de altura, chifres pela cabeça e olhos esverdeados quase brilhantes. A criatura não porta nenhuma arma além das imensas e afiadas garras, e se veste com roupas muito bonitas, mas bem leves, nada além da espessa camada de escamas servindo como uma armadura negra. Ela aparece, e começa a observar a movimentação e barulho no salão. Várias pessoas gritando e correndo apavoradas para longe dali. Gillian e Tabasco passam a se aproximar furtivamente do visitante. A criatura após algum tempo só observando e sem menção alguma de atacar, de repente, numa voz trovejante, pergunta:


As pessoas ficam em silêncio, a maioria delas sem entender uma única palavra que foi dita. Sem obter respostas, a criatura tenta novamente.


Algumas pessoas entendem, e alguns instantes de silêncio depois, indo em direção à grande criatura negra, se dirige Lilja, a atual prefeita e líder de Oblívia. Uma mulher já não tão bonita assim, mas emandando um certo ar de liderança, já com cabelos compridos, lisos e grisalhos, e aparentando uma idade não tão acima dos 40 anos. Pouco atrás dela, está seu marido, Randall, o outro ferreiro da cidade, e pouco mais velho que Lilja. Lilja se aproxima e diz na língua élfica:

- Eu sou Lilja, a prefeita e atual líder de Oblívia, quem é você? O que você quer?


O silêncio se faz reinar durante alguns instantes. Apenas alguns murmúros de pessoas que não entenderam o que foi dito perfuravam o silêncio. Lilja, após momentos de exitação, dirige a palavra à criatura:

- Mestre? Tributo? De onde você surgiu? As coisas não são tão simples assim. Quem você pensa que é?


Neste instante, Gillian e Tabasco já mais próximos da criatura, e sem se fazer notar por Kurnfalud, cometem um ato impensado e decidem atacar. Gillian com o pequeno arco em mãos, escolhe uma flecha, mira e atira em Kurnfalud. A flecha se quebra ao se chocar com a pele escamosa da criatura. Tabasco, recitando alguns encantamentos para ficar mais ágil, termina e desaparece. Kurnfalud vira lentamente a cabeça na direção de Gillian, e com um sorriso cruel no rosto, e agilmente com uma das garras, pega a prefeita, que não tem chance nenhuma de escapar. Abre suas gigantescas mandíbulas, e fecha rapidamente deixando apenas parte dos troncos e pernas do que a instantes atrás fora a prefeita. Joga o resto do corpo contra uma parede distante, e mastiga a cabeça e a parte superior do corpo de Lilja para logo após cuspi-los em meio a população, agora, em estado de choque. Gillian não acredita na agilidade e na crueldade da criatura, fica paralisada. Kurnfalud se vira para a população e para Gillian, e diz:


Gillian então grita:

- Ela não fez nada, por que você a matou?? Quem te atacou fui eu!!


Após estas palavras, Kurnfalud desaparece novamente, e o silêncio volta a reinar agora. A população em estado de choque com a crueldade da morte de Lilja, e com o monte de sangue espalhado pelo grande salão. Randall e seu filho Lex, olham desolados para os pedaços do corpo de Lilja jogados pelo local. Tabasco reaparece alguns instantes depois com um pequeno tentáculo saindo da parte superior das costas.

Ambos se dirigem até Randall, mas este não devolve palavra alguma, devolve apenas um olhar gélido para Gillian. Os poucos que não se apavoraram com a visão de Kurnfalud, e nem com a crueldade do monstro, também não olhavam com bons olhos para Gillian, nem mesmo Rufio. Não querendo se meter em maiores problemas ali, Gillian e Tabasco resolvem voltar para casa, e relatar os acontecimentos em Oblívia para Dalamar e Otto.


Friday, May 4, 2007

Homem Aranha 3

Ontem fui assistir ao Homem-Aranha na pré-estréia, como sempre cinema ultra-lotada, e fila gigantesca que começou horas antes do filme. Acho que já estou ficando velho demais pra ficar horas numa fila, num lugar abafado, esperando a estréia de um filme. Por que as pessoas têm essa mania de filas?? Infelizmente nos cinemas não tem lugar marcado, e tem muita gente à toa ou sem nada o fazer, que consegue chegar horas antes de qualquer coisa para começar uma fila (como se eu nunca tivesse feito isso na minha vida!? :P).

O importante é que o filme é muito legal, e no fim das contas eu nem me arrependi de ter ficado mais de 2h na fila. Não vou comentar nada sobre o filme, mas se for para dar uma nota, eu dou 8.5 em 10. Como eu não sou nenhum crítico de cinema, e nem entendo tanto de cinema assim, a nota é apenas minha nota pessoal de fã.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Ann Arbor Adventure - Update I

It is been sometime since I have written here. I was not so occupied, but I have other things to do or to think about. This trip to the US is taking all my mental processing time these days.

Monday I started to organize my musics, so I could take them with me. I have spent a good part of monday, and yesterday all day long doing that, and I still could not organize every music I have. I guess I am gonna spend the next few days doing that. I still have more than half o my CDs, and some musics in my computer yet to organize. I just hope that they could fit inside my 20GB MP3 player.

The documents the University of Michigan should send me, have been sent already, but I still do not know when they will arrive, and I need these documents until monday. Monday I am going to São Paulo, and tuesday morning I am going to the consulate to obtain the US Visa. I still have to fill all the required forms. I will do that these days.

I guess I find a good and cheap place to stay in my first days at Ann Arbor, but I am still deciding about it. It is a place called Lamp Post Inn, and is around a mile from the University Central Campus. Yes, I have to get used to this english metric system. Measuring averything in inches, feet, miles, pounds, ounces, and whetever more... Damn it! Or I can speak everything using the metric system, and then everyone there will get confused. :P

Next mission objectives is to discover how to go from the Detroit Airport to Ann Arbor.

Primary mission objectives: Obtain the US Visa - Status: Standing by...

Secondary mission objectives: Look for a place to stay in the first days - Status: Processing almost done, last calculations in progress...

Tertiary mission objectives: How to go from Detroit Metro Airport to Ann Arbor - Status: To begin.

22 days to go and counting down...