Book Review – Sharp Objects

7 Aug

maxcnunes

by Max

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

In my last trip to Londrina, my hometown, I finished reading the most difficult book I have ever read in English: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. It was the most difficult because there were a lot words, really a bunch of them, that I have never even seen before. Even with a load of new words I could understand the whole story without any problems. Actually, it was a bit difficult at the beginning. But after some chapters I got the book’s flow and each chapter became easier than the one before. The amount of different words was the same, but it was getting easier to keep reading the book and the story was making me curious to find out the ending.
The story is about a girl, actually a woman, that was around 30 years old. Her name is Camille Preaker and she leaves in Chicago, USA. She is criminal newspaper journalist and she works in a small newspaper company. At some point in time there are some serial murders occurring in her hometown, Wind Gap, and she travels there to write an article about what is happening there.
During the whole book she investigates a load of people, trying to find out who is the murderer and why he/she is doing such horrible things. Also, during the time in her hometown the story describes how the relationship with her mother (Adora) is not good and tells how her sister died young and how her mother was always taking care of her during illnesses. In the mean time, the book also describes how her other half-sister Amma, 13 years old, is popular there and the different personality she has.

SPOILER
In case you would like to read this book, I suggest you stop reading from on, because I am going to tell the story’s ending.

Camille finds out her mother was responsible for her sister’s death. Actually, her mother tried to do the same with her and was also trying to do the same with Amma. She had a serious psychological problem that she only felt loved useful when a child was sick. The feeling a child has when it’s sick, to need being cared for made her feel like she could do anything. She would even give force medications to get her children sick and worst everyday. The need for this weird feeling was so strong that she could not stop giving those medications to her children until their death.

Her mother was not the serial killer, though, that was her sister. Because of her mother’s mental condition, her sister also developed a serious psychological problem. She had the need to be the center of attentions. If someone was important to her, like her mother, was taking care of someone else or paying more attention someone else other than her, she would anything to get the focus back to her. She would even be willing to kill that person. And that is what happened to those poor girls: they had more attention at some point in time and her solution was killing them.

When the murders were solved, both her mother and sister were arrested and Camille had to write about it. What makes it even worst is that she had to write about her own family murder stories…

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Brazil through gringo-eyes: The mother of all traffic jams

30 Jul

kristof

by Kristof

Yes, the traffic situation in Florianópolis could use some improvement, to say the least. Most of the important transit roads between the various areas of the city are narrow, often with only one lane in each direction. On top of that, there are little or no alternative roads you can use when traffic on the main road is getting exceptionally bad. The city’s population has been booming in the last decade, especially with those gringos moving in from all over the world and ruining the place for us manezinhos. The transit system is not built to deal with this kind of population growth, which results in a lot of traffic-related frustration.

It may be a small consolation, but things can always be worse. Traffic in my own home country isn’t too great either: roads are often in a poor state, various long-lasting road works and deviations can turn your morning commute or a simple trip for an afternoon of shopping into an ordeal that will leave you stressed and frustrated. The ring road around Antwerp, Belgium’s second largest city has been a problem area for decades. With several highways coming together, it’s a major traffic hub for Belgium and neighboring countries and the road just doesn’t have the capacity to handle the flood of cars and trucks during peak hours. Add this to the fact that the ring isn’t actually complete (it’s open on 1 side!) and it makes the whole thing a bit shameful.

antwerp

A few weeks ago, however, things really got out of hand. It was a long weekend with some sunny weather predictions, so it was an ideal weekend for a trip with the family. The already existing problems combined with the increased traffic and road works – that were inexplicably done during the day, instead of at night – that closed off 3 of the 4 lanes, created the perfect storm of traffic chaos. Many tourists from the Netherlands and Germany as well as Belgium had to pass by Antwerp on their way to the coast or other holiday destinations and ended up stranded in traffic for up to 3(!) hours. As the day progressed, people started to become dehydrated. Some started to feel unwell or even faint. Emergency services were called and ambulances were sent to help the people in need. The Red Cross also tried to distribute water. Tried, because even that went wrong: As more and more cars joined the traffic jam, people found nothing better, but to use the emergency lanes, effectively blocking them for the emergency vehicles they are meant for. It was reported that it took an ambulance almost 45 minutes to reach a person in need.

So, you can see a bit of slow traffic on Beira-Mar Norte isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Next time you’re in stuck traffic in Florianópolis, try not to get wound up too much, but instead remember this heartwarming story and sigh with relief that you’re not stranded for half a day on your way to some relaxing destination, with your whole family crammed into hot and small car, while your children are complaining that they’re hungry and thirsty and your grandmother starting to feel faint and you have to wait 45 minutes for anyone to come give her some water, because the car next to you decided it was ok for him to use the emergency lane. And if that’s not enough to relax you, you can turn your head 90 degrees and take the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful sunset behind the mountains on the continent.

sun

 

Mortal Kombat X – Part 2

27 Jul

guga

by Lucas

Hello everybody, here we are for Mortal Kombat X – Part 2!

first

 

In this post, we’re going to cover some basic concepts of the attack types available in the game:

  • High: attacks that hit high can be blocked simply by holding block (standing or crouching). If your opponent crouches without blocking, your high attack will miss, passing over his head.
  • Mid: like high attacks, mid attacks can be blocked simply by holding block. However, your opponent will get hit by mid attacks if he crouches without blocking.
  • Low: you can only block low attacks by holding block while crouching.
  • Overhead: you can only block overhead attacks by holding block while standing.
  • Throw: cannot be blocked. However, you can crouch without blocking or you can escape by pressing a punch or a kick button (tech).

Mixing all those attacks in different ways (mix up) forces your opponent to guess how to defend. If he does it wrong, in some cases, you will be able to follow your attack with combos and cause high damage!

second

Learn Brazilian

22 Jul

vissini

By Diego

(SE) ACHAR

Lit. to find yourself.

  • To be conceited, arrogant, snobby, full of yourself, to think you are better than others.

Aquele cara se acha só porque apareceu na televisão.

That guy is so full of himself just because he appeared on TV.

TIPS & NOTES
A common adjective to describe people who think they are better or more important than others and behave in a proud and unpleasant way is – metido
Ele é tão metido e adora esnobar os outros.
He is so arrogant and loves to act snobbyshly towards others.

Learn Brazilian

22 Jul

vissini

By Diego

ABOBRINHA

Lit. a small summer squash, zucchini (US), courgette (UK).

  • Baloney, nonsense, rubbish (UK), stupid ideas, comments etc.

Ela conseguiu ser a campeã das abobrinhas

 

 

She managed tobe the champion of stupid ideas..

bbr

Movie Review – Zombieland

21 Jul

laura

by Laura

Hi folks, it’s movies time!!

The last movie I saw was ZombieLand. It was recommended by a friend, who – knowing that I like science-fiction – thought I would like this one, but he advised me: it’s a zombie movie but with a different approach. This different approach was Comedy. Can you believe it? A funny zombie movie?

cover-zombie

I know that sometimes Hollywood surprises us with a lot of bullshit and impossible things, even if such things don’t exist, like zombies. But I decided to give it a chance.

Zombieland is a kind of guy’s journal, with some personal rules that he developed after the virus breakout.

Here the comedy begins: all of us would think rules like “1. Get a gun; 2. Head Shot; 3. Get ammunition;… etc”. However, his rules are totally turned into avoiding conflict and contact with zombies as much as he can:

#1 Cardio: because we have to be able to run as much as possible from zombies.

#2 Double Tab: because you have to make sure that the zombie is really dead, so why not confirm it with a double shot, right?

#3 Beware of bathrooms: even when you need it very much, zombies won’t be kind and wait for you to finish your job in there…

#4 Wear seat belts: car accidents became too common, especially because you can run over a zombie or simple because they can appear right in front of you.

And a lot of other funny rules, but really useful ones.

So Columbus, the guy who is telling the story, is on his way to get to Columbia, Ohio, in order to find his parents and a land zombie-free. In the meantime, he meets a totally crazy guy named Tallahassee, whose hobby/skill is killing zombies! He uses the most different tools to kill them: from a huge gun to a Fiskars gardening tool and a banjo – used to attract zombies. Lol.

banjo

They also meet two girls – sisters – who are trying to reach an amusement park. As nobody trusts anybody, they kind of enter in a conflict between the two pairs. After solving their differences, they build a kind of family and stay together until they reach the amusement park. However, the sisters decided to go by themselves to the park and when they light up the toys, a huge horde of zombies appears.

Trying to get rid of them, the sisters ends up trapped on the tower toy, and suddenly the guys appear to rescue them.

Personal opinion: This movie wasn’t on my “to watch list”, but after a friend recommended it to me I decided to give it a shot. And I was really impressed with the way they treated the theme. I really enjoyed the comedy aspects of this movie and it is really good to just spend some time. I loved the scene with the banjo and other strange action shots they did together.
In the movie they didn’t show all of Columbus’ rules, but they say that he has 32 of them. Searching for them on the internet I found the list below. Enjoy reading it! And you should watch the movie if you feel like laughing about crazy zombie-killers.

“Guilty-pleasure movies should not be underestimated. I had a scary-fun-house blast at Zombieland, in which studly Woody Harrelson, nerdy Jesse Eisenberg, sexy Emma Stone and sunshiny Abigail Breslin roam a near-dead world kicking zombie ass.”Rolling Stone

rules

Evolve

16 Jul

will

by Will

The evolution shadow is upon us. Since the beginning of our lives on earth we are constantly facing some kind of discovery and this adventure never ends. We will always be doing new researches, starting new ideas, teaching and learning something new. We get involved with new practices, people try to tell us how we should or shouldn’t be organising our tasks. Well, the meaning of this article will be (quite) the same, with one singular difference: you will be your master on this journey.

First things first, the motivation behind all of this evolution must be the right one. It sounds obvious but thinking about motivational purposes for your main focus should be done yourself. It’s not about the outside world, it’s not about your current job, social position, money or whatever, the focus should reside in your values. What does that mean? Everything you do against your beliefs will turn against you at some point. The stress level will increase, you will lose your focus, start procrastinating and as soon as you realise, everything will be just a memory or frustration.

Values move the next steps further than you can imagine. When based on a strong manifesto everything is possible. You will have a goal bigger than any kind of obstacle. The thing with values can be found all around some of the most influential bloggers, podcasters and leaders of our time. Some good examples are: always be honest, believe in something more important than yourself, share your knowledge, be kind… Find what are yours. In the end this exercise will be worthwhile, believe me.

It will be much easier with a couple of tools. Some of the concepts, some of them a kind of practice, the point is that you can read a lot about getting things done in a plethora of different manners. So, we have strong values, now what? Let’s pass to the next level. The (new) secret weapons of a ninja-esque productivity.

Let’s start the tools part with my favorite one, themes. I had my first contact with this methodology while reading a James Altucher article. I’m a big fan of him and totally recommend that you to check out his work. Well, the magic around themes is that you don’t need to put all of your attention on deadlines. There are, of course, things you need to finish in a certain amount of time, the rule of not doing that applies for almost everything though. The use of themes happens by imagining what you want to achieve in a different perspective, on a higher level perspective I would say. So, instead of creating huge lists of to-dos and keeping yourself stuck to them you should look for a context. For example, instead of: “Write an article about evolution in three days containing X and Y” it would be “Develop my writing” (yes, this is the article, the first one).

Following the tools for evolution we have our habits. The sometimes forgiven and underestimated habits make for one of the most extraordinary things in order to achieve a better life. It’s all about our brain. How is it possible for us to finish an important job, starting (for the 50th time) going to the gym, sending an important email or booking an appointment with the doctor if we keep waiting for the new episode of a TV series to finish? The bad habits will keep us moving towards our nightmares unless we start our counter-attack on them. It’s all about practice, it’s all about starting over and over again. Our brain works as a recording machine with the only difference being that you need to keep feeding it with the same subject to save the tape properly. My tip for this one is to read “The Power of the Habit” (Charles Duhigg) and “The Chimp Paradox” (Dr Steve Peters).

Last but not least, it’s time for emotional intelligence. If you didn’t get the chance to know Daniel Goleman`s work, this is it. If I could write about only one point of improvement for your life, it would be this. The Emotional Intelligence concept got its name relatively recently, but it’s an old and honorable concept. The definition of this term is based on self-awareness, being emphatic, knowing exactly what you are feeling and name it appropriately. Furthermore, these two simple words combined can change your career and life. I Imagine that we all need technical skills to get a new job, but what really matters after getting there is to improve in your emotional area.

evolve-ryu

In the end, there are no secrets. Just a lot of energy to be applied. There is discipline. There is failure and starting over and over again. After some time you find out that it’s ok to fail, it’s ok to not know all the answers. Don’t try to control everything, just do the best you can with yourself. Focus on self-improvement, it’ll take some time. The results will come and it’s all up to you. Life is too short to stand still. Create, use, be, relax… and always remember to smile.