Vamp was a Brazilian telenovela (1991-2) about Natasha, a singer-songwriter who surrenders herself to a very important record producer (Vlad) in order to get success. Unfortunately for her, “Vlad” is actually Count Vladimir Polanski, an ancient vampire who believes she is his true love, reincarnated. Natasha is immediately converted by Vlad into a vampire (of the very sexy kind), and, with her goth looks and depressive lyrics, she gets an instant fan base/huge success.

"Sympathy for the Devil"

Meanwhile, Captain Rocha, a former marine, a widower, 6 kids to raise, is now the proud owner of an inn in Armação dos Anjos, a small beach town near Rio de Janeiro. Carmen Lucia, a woman of intellect, a widower, 6 kids to raise, comes to town to investigate intellectual matters. Immediate sailboat passion ensues. They marry, family-merge. Clash between Carmen’s intellectually uptight kids and Cap’s militarly uptight kids. There's also a cluster of rebels on both sides. They learn to respect their differences and bond (but not quite).

Meanwhile, poor Natasha is visited by an angel called Rafa (Raphael) who tells her she can still save her soul if she retrieves a Cross which will destroy Vlad. The Cross seems to be located in Armação dos Anjos, so there she goes (vampires this strong can trot around in daylight, no sparkling).

Natasha is a huge star, so each and every teen boy and girl gets psyched out about her being around. But all the while she’s threatened by Vlad, and kept an eye on by her manager, Gerald. She can’t seem to find the Cross or get help at all; she's depressed, doesn't like feeding off blood(bags). So around the 5th chapter of the novela, Natasha commits suicide - she jumps off a cliff in full intention of dying, but she can’t die, so even though her heart, by all accounts, had stopped, she comes back.

In spite of all the comedy bits in the novela, I thought even at the time (I was eight) that it was a remarkable statement about the pressures of fame and of “staying in character” because of fame.

After getting scolded by Rafa for her failed attempt, Natasha gets new angel-intel about “a man called Rocha [Rock]”, which happens to be the surname of our Captain (and his older son, Felipe), a man who’s supposed to help her. So she tries and gets close to their family. Just-married Carmen Lucia is not happy about this, nor is her prim older daughter, who took a fancy in Felipe.

But the novela got even better. Before marrying Carmen, Captain Rocha was besieged by a resentful low-budget porn-star called Mary, his former sister-in-law, who gets the consolation prize of marrying a lewd, thieving coward called Matoso. His two former-marriage motorbiking sons soon come to stay, and the party (of villains) is complete. Then, one by one, they get vampirized, becoming even more vulgar, comic and villainous.

There’s a Godfather-type old man Matoso pays allegiance to. There’s an English vampire huntress called Alice Penn Taylor (complete with nerdy, goofy helper). There’s a circus with a female medium who unwillingly channels Rafa, the angel. There’s an alcoholic dad who beats up his son. There’s a gifted 10-year old called Sigmund. There’s a mute kid who’s like this because of a trauma. There’s a priest who’s actually a thief who robbed the wrong person and is hiding. He’s friends with the pai de santo [African-Brazilian religion priest].

Anyhoo. When Vlad finally gets strong enough to try and take the world (yes, that goes), Sigmund the 10-year old plays metanarrative chess against him. Like this.

Before "Harry Potter"

I can only say I cannot picture something like this getting greenlighted and carried out in any other place and time than post-dictatorship Brazil (1991-2). People were so caught up with their just-acquired freedom they just wrote whatever came to mind. And then filmed it.

Maybe I’ll be back someday talking about “Que rei sou eu?” [“What Kind of King Am I?”, novela] and Armação Ilimitada [“Artful Inc.”, series].

  link to this post ~ 12:09 AM

I'm just in from the gym - you know, that place where you can simultaneously bore and pump yourself to near-death while listening to divas whining for their being emotionally messed up to a itchy dance background -, and, on a whim, I'd like to give a few pointers to those whose take on the matter is like mine. Which is: I must not get nerdy legs from playing too much Skyrim, and exercising often feels like a waste of time so going to a gym is the most efficient way to get it over with.
I live in Rio de Janeiro, which has warm weather all year round and many outdoor places to go to, some even with gym equipment on them, but no one to tell you how you should use them. I've tried to jog along the ciclovia (the bike track) around Botafogo Bay, but always having to take a pocket knife with me in order to scare away the thugs proved too adventurous for my tastes.

Please, just let me sweat

The coaches will get too friendly sometimes. I don't mean flirtatious, just eagerly talking about why you should come four times a week and pretending they want to know you better by asking gym-unrelated questions. They'll shout good morning energetically while wandering around the running mills. Sometimes, they stop at my mill, ask how am I doing and take my pulse - which they never get right since my running interferes with it. Don't mind that. They're actually instructed to do it - also to keep an eye on the clients, see if they're not exerting themselves too much, lest the gym will get sued if they croak. Besides, in Brazilian culture, niceness of the prying kind is a perk.
So what do I do when they pry and shout GOOD MORNING every three mills so everyone gets their share of sunshine? I tolerate. I nod and I smile until the niceness is finally done with.

To update your bodybuilding training, you should find a coach you least dislike. This person will have some trait reminding you of a friend, and should be the only one updating your training program. That way, you'll only have to answer the prying questions once.

Let your mind wander away from the pain - and the petty talk of gym people.

Learn their vocabulary enough to ask efficient questions about how to do your exercises right, so you won't have to talk too much with them. If you really get how they work, you'll get to avoid most of the boring/embarassing routines (like getting your pulse checked) by countering their questions with stuff that makes sense to them.

Don't smell any glass with whey protein in it. Drink coffee and lots of water instead.

That's all for now.

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  link to this post ~ 8:35 PM

I'm on fire!

Now I've just spelled "labyrinthitis" right from memory!


  link to this post ~ 2:33 PM

I just spelled "photosynthesise" right without a second thought.
Can I try that spelling bee now?


  link to this post ~ 3:40 AM

I dreamt I was reading this century's opus. Part of it was set in a high school. It involved mutants and geopolitics. I remember particularly of how a dilemma was solved: the dog wouldn't eat because it was really a fish (a mutant fish). There was this smiling, ultrapopular guy called Swoomi (Swann + swami + swoon) that wore a striped red'n'white shirt and foresaw the future through his tiniest actions - but he did not know it.
There were at least 3 tomes, and I read parts 2 and 3. Reading, in my dreams, means to incarnate into a character which I identify myself with.
So, after I read the beggining of tome 3, when the few teen survivors of tome 2 gather in a new high school building for their first day of class, I woke up and stared at the ceiling feeling beside myself.
- What's wrong? - JP asked.
- I've just died in an atomic explosion.
- That's good. At least you didn't feel pain.
- Yes, I did. Because I was stupid. I hid behind a lead thingy.
- So... you were stupid. You died slowly and painfully.
- Yes, I did. And they had developed these mini atom bombs. You could see tiny mushroom clouds. There was even time to hug strangers.
- Someone told me about this stupid flick where the guy flees an atomic explosion by going into a lead fridge.
- That's... the last Indiana Jones. I saw it.
- Pretty stupid.
- Now I can say it doesn't work. I know it for a fact. Been there.
Last thing I felt were my wrinkled toes touching each other. And that was all that was.


  link to this post ~ 9:38 PM

Does anybody know an English word that could mean "nail it completely with no helping references"?
I thought up "point-blank", but that's not it. It's driving me nuts.

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  link to this post ~ 1:37 AM

And I post this UKeyed bit here, set at a Brazilian New Year party, specially for Rachel's enjoyment! : ) (I'm pretty sure I made some translation mistakes there, though, and I apologize for them.)

Clinically sober, on I walked, looking for something I was too unfocused to find. Mr. DJ had embarked onto a trippy oldies’ séance and I, pre-morning mode on, stumbled at cabbages who wouldn’t take notice at all. Only the cabbaged attend afterparties.

I envied them. While I moved on and kept my mouth firmly shut, I had this grasp on reality: to me, it was yet another year to end, yet another year to come. The lack of seasons in this town would be the thing to freeze me: non-summer, non-fall, non-winter, non-spring.

A bloke was standing right in the middle of the floor, sweating, holding this cigarette he wouldn’t puff. I examined him closely. I took his cigarette and puffed it; I saw no display of reaction. I put it back, but, as his fingers were frozen, it fell on the lino. That was my cue: fed up I tried to walk away, which ended in a thud.

The body I had thumped upon absorbed the shock as firmly as a rock. I lifted my eyes. The stranger had a grip on my wrist.

The man didn’t just look much more conscious than the rest; he looked a lot more nitid as well. He looked like a Real Man.

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  link to this post ~ 11:33 AM

I decided to post the translated beginning of my book, which I plan to call Nasty Nights in English. It probably looks a bit different of the version that's been taken to Frankfurt Book Fair, but no worries. Sample it, taste it, enjoy it.

He turns to one side. Four in the morning.

He turns to the other. A woman.

By color, shape and smell of it, it should be Amanda. He checks the face.


The skin under her eyes is shiny. But over her cheek, it’s opaque. She called that a mixed skin type.

Her hair was changed. He touches it. The tresses fall apart in between his fingers.

He cannot tell her new colorwave right in this darkness. It’s probably located between color numbers 3 and 6, maybe a mix between two or more tones in the brown-reddish scale. He knows such things because he’s about to complete twelve years of hair intimacy.

She had a perm on the first time he met her, at Paulinha’s, at a time when he was but yet another boy in a trenchcoat in that miserable heat, and when she was considering to hold off college and go lounge around Europe just like her sisters and cousins had. She had spent the ’88 Winter as a redhead, recycling the half-coats and boots worn during her Hitchcock blonde stage (spiral buns and hair-sticks); in ’91 she mimicked a native girl, long dark straight hair, artificially tanned, tribal accessories, only to appear just before New Year’s Eve with a late-yuppie look. He could barely make out he was married to a blonde.

From his vantage point he could see stars, even laying down as he was. Stars. Shining as if nothing was happening. Whilst somewhere in town people were drunk and naked having dirty hot sex. And laughing as if things were granted and easy, not belligerent and covetous.

So stars were bothersome and he would close them curtains if they existed. But they didn’t. His wife had asked for his input and he had said whatever. Now he sorely repented in a china cabinet.

At least he has nothing of interest to be looked upon.

In the trash bin, he discovers an auburn chestnut color. Its name: Tobacco Honey.

Amanda’s watching turned-off TV. Again.

The first time he busted this behaviour of hers, in the middle of a black-out, he was sure she didn’t sit there every afternoon, first thing when home from work, just to watch TV. No way. She was brooding.

He cooks up an approach.

He opens the cabinet door left of the TV.

There’s a half-bottle of whisky.

He quickly closes it.

She had lightened a cigarette. TV still off. Of course, TV does get worse each day, but the fact that she had stopped to bother turning on the TV before complaining about the quality of the programmes, and even allowing the irresponsible color-show to disguise any darker thoughts, was very worrysome.

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  link to this post ~ 11:13 AM
blog_sibylla (English version) - by Simone Campos

New novel

Don't bother to buy any of it, it's all in Portuguese.
Title:A feia noite
Style: obsessive, grotesque, baroque, fabulous
Plot: a political consultant with scruple and a libertine with a cause go awry.
Release: september/2006.

  • Prologue and 1st chapter (in portuguese)
  • Maria Luiza's blog (in portuguese)
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  • No shopping (novel, 2000)
  • Um Sete Um (short story, 2002)
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  • More of the same

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