Friday: Was surprised to get a phone call from a friend's girlfriend inviting me to a surprise party for him (30th birthday). I've never spoken with her on the phone before.. the party went pretty well. It wasn't even close to the first time I've been in a crowded room where people spoke English around me halfheartedly just to be polite, frequently switching to another tongue (in this case, Russian, where I only know a few words). I'm generally not much of a party person - I'm much more comfortable with small groups of people, so I kind of wished they would've been more comfortable speaking Russian with me around (as it wouldn't've made a difference). The food was very different - some of the things she cooked didn't even have names in English (to my knowledge). It's pretty cool he's found someone nice he can relate to - it was interesting seeing how most of the others there were couples, some with kids. After awhile I wandered off to the 61c to take care of some things and do some programming. ... parties. I doubt I'll ever really be comfortable at them.
Saturday: Did some more work on the analysis stream for my experiment. I was going to go to another protest today (and was all keen to get pictures of the latest conflict with the cops the anarchists are so enthused about), but the weather became cold rain and I decided to go to the Rocky Horror social event. That turned out to be a good choice - we hung around, chatted, went out for pizza, returned, and watched The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, which is a deeply entertaining parody (way over the top) of 1950s-era science-fiction films. It was pretty nice.
Tomorrow: I'm likely to go to the Beehive if the weather isn't rotten.
I've been thinking about an area between grammar and style in the English language, in particular what it takes to fully master writing. One of the things that helps distinguish someone who's done so is their use of verbs and phrases - there are subtleties in a lot of verbs that are only rarely fully covered by a dictionary - things like how some verbs used in some phrases have nuances in what kind of conceptual or linguistic argument(s) they take, or how some phrases are not idiomatic (even if allowable). I wonder if gustavolacerdaGustavo's wondering on the verbosity of polite Portugese might just take another form in English - that people who speak/read/write the language well are very aware of the nuances in these phrases, most people only get them right to a limited degree, and foreigners generally never get very far along that route (even long after they've lost most of their accent). I wonder if there would be a way to effectively teach this kind of stuff..
On topic of Brasil, I again saw reference to São Paulo having banned billboards recently, which gave me some major warm fuzzies. If only we saw such action in the interest of humanity more often... of course, if people would feel comfortable doing stuff like this on their own more often - I'm always happy to see public advertisements defaced (even if the ghosts of my former libertarian value configuration still gives me little twinges)..
I'm looking forward to my highlights of Hitchcock DVD set arriving - having recently rewatched (and enjoyed) Woody Allen's "Sleeper" and Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein", I wonder what I would put on similar highlights sets for Allen or Brooks if I were assembling them....