Thursday, September 18

In the Violent Favelas of Brazil

All these big cities have no go areas, son. Even London has these areas, you have to be careful but some cities are really bad. While I was in São Paulo I was accompanied by an armed guard everywhere. I stayed in the white rich part of town but had to drive through the city. Similarly you will find places like the favelas, drug ridden, crime infested hell holes in places like Mexico City. Mumbai, Delhi, Johannesburg. You name it. 

You know what's the worrying thing is? When the state abrogates its responsibility and hands over the responsibility of an area to the crime lords. That's when you know that the state is weak and you shouldn't live there. Or invest. 

But we have to succeed. You heard about the mafia yesterday. Brave men like falcone and Borsalino gave their lives to eradicate the mafia. That was bravery and courage son. Think like those men. We have to keep a constant fight on against the crime lords, the terrorists and the others who don't want to have a safe place for you and your children. 



In the Violent Favelas of Brazil


Walter Mesquita

Favela da Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, December 2011

My Brazilian friend Marina and I were picking up a visiting friend from New York, who heads an NGO, in her hotel lobby near Paulista, the most prestigious avenue in São Paulo. It was 7:30 on a busy Friday night last October.

We walked up to a taxi outside the hotel. I sat in the front to let the two women chat in the back. Marina asked me to Google the restaurant menu. I was doing so when I saw a teenage boy run up to the taxi and gesticulate through my open window. I thought he was a beggar, asking for money. Then I saw the gun, going from my head to the cell phone.

“Just give him the phone,” Marina said from the back seat.

I gave him the phone. He didn’t go away.

“Dinheiro, dinheiro!”

I didn’t want to give him my wallet. The boy was shouting obscenities. “Dinheiro, dinheiro!”

The boy’s body suddenly jerked back, as a man’s arm around his neck pulled him off his feet. The man, dressed in a black shirt, was shouting; he had jumped the boy from behind. He started hitting the boy. The taxi driver sitting next to me was stoic. He said that this had never happened to him before, but he couldn’t have been more blasé.

The next thing I saw was the boy and another teenager, probably his accomplice, running away fast up the street. The man in the black shirt chased them a bit, then came back panting to the taxi. “Did the bastard get anything?” our savior, whom we later nicknamed Batman, asked. He wasn’t a plainclothes cop, as I’d originally thought; he was just an ordinary citizen who was tired of the criminals.

Wednesday, September 17

How to kiss

Now for something else totally son. I've talked to you about smell. And aromas. And how to use that emotion when you're with your girl. It's very important son. Women actually are living breathing smelling organisms. You've got to not use deodorants and after shaves yourself because of two issues. One is that is stops you smelling the girls. And second is that your natural aroma is much more powerful than any perfume. That's how our physiologies are made. But I've talked to you about understanding your girl by sniffing her delicately. Women are very big on smells and aromas. So learn how they smell because their emotions and feelings and desires are frequently communicated through their aromas. And yes despite their perfumes. 

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about kissing son. At some point in time son you will want to kiss a girl. And then kiss her. As with any human activity son, you need to be prepared. So where do you start? I've included an article by somebody to authors who might want to write about a kiss. And guess what? It's a good checklist of what you need to think about kissing. 

There are few things that your old father has learnt son. So this is going to be a bit of a long missive. 

1.  Kiss frequently and often. As much and as many times you can son. More the merrier. Daily at least 10 times if not more :) no girl has ever said to any boy that he kisses too much. Surprise her. Delight her. Make up a story. Say that your lips were kidnapped by aliens and they have been sent back down to earth to test out the best looking girl in the world and keep sending back regular progress reports. Tell her that you think one side of her mouth is lopsided and you're bearing the kiss that the doctor ordered to fix it. Tell her that that kissing her 28 times every day is part of your religion. You're an intelligent man. Come up with reasons. 

2.  Treat every kiss as a new one. Don't turn kisses into a chore. 

3. Don't slobber. Ever. It's not fun. 

4. You need to keep the lips and other bits connected to the brain all the time. Don't fall asleep. 

5. Just like dancing son, be slightly ahead of the lady at all times. Lead but be prepared to change direction, pressure, technique as soon as you feel withdrawal. At the beginning you may be confused as to what's a withdrawal or the lady is changing but feel the lower back - if it stiffens a wee bit, then you're not in good territory. 

6. You don't kiss to make yourself feel better. Ever. You kiss to make your girl feel better son. Always. And when your girl feels better, you feel good. Always give. Then you get back more. 

7. Plan the kiss son. Have some thoughts about what you want to do. With your arms. With your nose. With your fingers. You may not end up following the plan but at least you've got options. And then it doesn't become boring. And you have a repertoire of things you can do son. 

8. Nibbling is good. Very good. Specially on the lower lip. 

9. Strangely enough the corners of the mouth are very sensitive. Explore them. 

10. Keep your eyes open. Read the girl. Take clues and hints about what she wants. Her fluttering eyelids. Her eyes colours will change if you're good. Nostrils will flare. And your eyes are windows to your soul. Women read eyes. They will see that you really admire and adore her and want to please her in your eyes. 

11. With one exception. Closing your eyes I mean. That's when you're meeting her after a long time. And too want to take her in one emotion / sense at a time. And you just want to concentrate on the lips. 

12. Have a deal. Whenever she is upset, start kissing her. And apologising. Rinse and repeat. You will be an idiot. You are a man. By definition you're an idiot. But here's a secret son. Girls don't have a defence against kisses :)  I picked this up from our puppies. When you scold them, they start licking you and you cannot stay angry at them. Same concept son. But no licking. Kissing. See above about slobbering. 

13. There are tons of types of kisses. One common confusion is how many times you kiss on the cheek when you meet a slightly formal friend. I go for two. State up front. I'm going to kiss you twice. Avoids embarrassment. 

14. Use your fingertips son. They are like radar receptors. An early warning system. They will signal how your girl wants you to proceed. The temperature. The subtle shifting of the position. The muscles interplay. Very important to read. Think of it as you're blind and you're reading Braille. 

15. One thing which You may particularly fun and particularly nice is to thread your fingers in her hair and gently massage the scalp, scratch it, entwine your fingers in the hair and guide. Or just let the hair wash through your fingers - tugging gently. Interesting results may ensue. Can't do it all the time mind you, specially if you're going out and she's got her hair done or just back from the hair dresser. Have a sense of timing. 

16. Always always always begin and end the day with a kiss. Don't mind the morning pong. Kiss her. Vital. A good solid kiss. Good morning kiss. And good evening kiss. Without fail. 

17. If she's wearing slippers or sandals or is naked feet and if you can observe, check her toes. There's this strange connection. You may have read this phrase, toe curling kiss. Yep. Women do that when it's a great kiss. If you have managed to do that, brilliant kiss son. If you want proof of an over the top kiss, then see if she lifts her leg and leans in. 

18. There the flip side as well son. Learn to recognise kisses. Women cannot lie with their kisses. If she ain't happy with you but is not desirous of making a scene, kiss her. You'll know if you've been a prat or an idiot soon enough if you get kissed with closed mouth or on the cheek or a perfunctory kiss. Then if so, go back to #12 above. 

19. Don't forget to keep on saying things during long kisses. Say how much you love her. Or how wonderful she tastes. Or how soft her lips are. Praise her. Express appreciation. Make love to her mind son. 

20. I think 20 points are enough. So let's end it. Like a speech son, any idiot can start a kiss but it takes considerable skill to end it tidily. Always remember, a kiss is not the end, it's the beginning of something new. Either you will go forward from the kiss or you will want to leave the lady wanting and regretting that the kisses ended. 

Enough blathering on my part. Happy exploring son. May you have a lovely time kissing and practising and making your girl happy all your life. 



How to write a kiss

Rebloggable version, as requested by davrosbro. :)

Oooh!  Yes!  I love kisses.  Kisses are where it all starts ;).

Okay, first, remember that a kiss is much, much more than just lips.  It is lips, but also tongues, teeth, eyes, faces, hands, noses, bodies, heartbeats,  breath, voice- and most importantly, a kiss is emotions.  A kiss without emotion is just wet mushy lips stuck together.  Ew.  Gross.  The most important part of a kiss isn’t the how, but the who- because of the emotions between the two people.

Okay so:

lips- Lips can slide, glide over each other smoothly, or they can be chapped and rough and dry and get stuck on each other.  They can match, top-to-top and bottom-to-bottom, or they can overlap, with one person’s top or bottom lip captured between the other person’s lips (yummy).  If there is lipstick or chapstick there is lipstick or chapstick flavor, otherwise, lips don’t have a taste (can you taste yours?).  Lips also can smack- the sound of two of them coming together or pulling apart, because they’re wet and warm and soft. 

tongue- Tongues are always wet, and always warm.  They’re very versatile.  They can trace over lips, teeth, or another tongue.  They can be smooth and graceful or teasing and flicking.  When tongues are involved, there is drool.  It’s only sexy when you like the person you’re kissing, or else it’s kinda gross. :P

teeth- teeth can clack together awkwardly, or teeth can bite down sensually.  A person biting their own lip is cute, a person biting another’s lips is sexy.  A person biting gently is sensual, a person biting roughly is sexual. 

eyes- Eyes can be wide open with surprise, half-lidded with desire, fully closed with pleasure.  Eyes can gaze lovingly, lustfully, wistfully, hungrily, seductively- it all depends upon the emotions of your characters.  Have them do whatever you like, but don’t leave them out- give them at least a mention!

faces- Faces are what the lips are attached to.  Noses bump, cheeks flush, ears turn red, foreheads either wrinkle or relax.  Kisses can leave lips, quite easily, and become kisses on chins, cheeks, noses, foreheads, ears, necks, throats.  Kisses on noses or foreheads are cute and adorable, kisses on cheeks are sweet, kisses on chins, ears, and throats are very sexual.  And a kiss on the lips can be all of those! <3

hands- Hands are super-important.  In order to describe a kiss, usually you want to also describe the hands.  Where are they?  Does one character have their hand behind the other’s head or back, holding them close?  Are they on someone’s shoulders pulling them near, or pushing them away?  Fingers brushing someone’s cheek or palms grabbing someone’s ass convey two very different kinds of situations, even if the kiss itself is exactly the same.

noses- Noses are annoying.  They easily get in the way, especially for first kisses!  People have to tilt their head to one side or the other, and if they don’t, noses bump.  I’d only mention noses if a kiss is supposed to be awkward or uncertain or nervous.

bodies- bodies are either close together, or far away.  Someone can be surrounded comfortingly by someone’s arms, or terrifyingly trapped by them.  Bodies are warm or hot, they are calm or nervous, relaxed or tense.  Body language says a lot.  Is your character pulling away, or moving closer?

heartbeat- Hearts can beat fast or slow, and that’s about all they can do- but there are lots of reasons why they do!  A heart can beat fast with fear or excitement or nervousness; a heart can pound with lust or race with terror or sing with joy.  Hearts can glow, cower, or shatter.  When you really want to drive the emotions of a character home, mention the heart.

breath- To me, the most consuming part of a kiss is the breath.  The air that someone else has just breathed going deep into your lungs is very intimate.  Lips and tongues don’t have a taste, but breath does.  Each person’s breath tastes different, smells different, and surrounds a person differently than anyone else’s breath.  Breath can be warm and sweet, breath can be hot and sexy, breath can be hot and frightening.  It is something that is very present and should not be left out.  A lot of writers leave breath out.  And it’s so important; it’s the most intimate part of a kiss.  Someone else is breathing into your lungs, and it’s either heaven or it’s hell.

voice- Voice conveys much, even without words.  A voice can groan, whimper, gasp, moan, catch, whine, scream, sigh.  Voice can convey emotion powerfully, and while some kisses are silent, usually they’re not. 

emotion-  Emotion is the most important- and the thing you try not to say.  You want to describe it, through all of the things above, so that it’s perfectly clear what your characters are feeling, without you ever using the “feelings words”.  If they’re in love, their bodies will lean close, their eyes will smile, their voices will giggle softly.  If they’re nervous, their palms will sweat, their noses will bump, their voices will shudder.  If they’re afraid, their muscles will be tense, their faces will grimace, their lips will not open.  Emotion is the color that you keep inside your mind as you write; it’s the base line that drives the description behind everything else you say.

Wow, that was a lot!  Gosh I hope it wasn’t too much!  Keep in mind not every kiss has all these things- this is just a list of things to consider when writing a kiss, and based on how long of a kiss you want to make.  Keep in mind that typing “they kissed for a long time”…that’s six words, it takes half a second to read, so that’s a short kiss!  If you want a long kiss, you need long sentences that make the reader linger. 

So maybe to start off, pick three things on the list to describe in your first kiss.  Don’t try to do it all- that would be too much for even the most epic kiss.  Just pick what’s most important to this particular scene, to these particular characters, and describe those parts along with the lips, and you’ve got yourself an awesome, emotional kiss. <3

Tuesday, September 16

The debt to your parents

So I bought this little antiquarian book published in 1889, Hypatia. She is a favourite of mine (here’s a previous post) and bought it as a birthday present.


But this was the interesting part.


Makes on think, eh? beautifully articulated. One doesn't usually find such emotional though wonderfully elucidated dedications these days, they are all namby pamby. In any case, you don't see massively compound sentences anyway. I wonder if there are any people out there with the patience to appreciate compound sentences any more?

Monday, September 15

The Gut-Wrenching Science Behind the World’s Hottest Peppers


I've eaten this ghost chilly. One bite. One chomp. Once. Spat it out. And cried for 2 hours. Involuntarily. It was pain like I've never experienced and I thought that the knee ligament break was bad. Terrifying. I wanted to die but even that wasn't possible. Seriously bad. And then there's the lady who's on YouTube who rubs bhoot jolakia on her eyes. Mad. 

Nagaland is also beautiful son. Go there is you get a chance. You also get dog curry :) it's an acquired taste heh. 



The Gut-Wrenching Science Behind the World’s Hottest Peppers | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine

Chiliheads crave the heat that hurts so good, but nothing compares to the legendary superhot that spices life in remote India

  • By Mary Roach
  • Smithsonian magazine, June 2013, Subscribe

Chilis being transported to the Nagaland’s chili competition. Gloves need to be worn because the chili oils can harm the skin. (Aaron Joel Santos / Novus Select)

The 17 tribes of Nagaland are united, historically, by an enthusiasm for heads. The Nagas: Hill Peoples of Northeast India—my reading matter on the two-hour drive from Dimapur to Kohima, in the state of Nagaland —contains dozens of references to head-taking but only one mention of the item that has brought me here: the Naga King Chili (a.k.a. Bhut Jolokia), often ranked the world’s hottest. “In the Chang village of Hakchang,” the anthropologist J. H. Hutton is quoted as saying in 1922, “…women whose blood relations on the male side have taken a head may cook the head, with chilies, to get the flesh off.” Hutton’s use of “cook” would seem to be a reference to Chang culinary practice. Only on rereading did I realize the Chang weren’t eating the chilies—or the flesh, for that matter—but using them to clean the skull.