permanently trying to touch the sky

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Monday

World Press Photo - 2004

Some of the most fantastic photos of the year as acknowledged by the renowned World Press Photo Contest can be seen at Winner's Gallery 2005. These images are nothing short of spectacular, and without a doubt make me realise the power of one of my favourite forms of art: photography.

The winning image:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Arko Datta, India, Reuters. Woman mourns relative killed in tsunami, Cuddalore, India, Tamil Nadu, 28 December

My personal favourites:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Shoeb Faruquee, Bangladesh, Drik Picture Library. Patient at mental hospital, Bangladesh

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Francesco Zizola, Italy. Former girl soldier, Uganda

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Marcello Bonfanti, Italy. Cuban drag queens

Gloriosa vitória da esquerda!

.

PS - 120 mandatos (45,05%) 2002: 95 mandatos
PSD - 72 mandatos (28,69%) 2002: 102 mandatos
CDU - 14 mandatos (7,57%) 2002: 12 mandatos
CDS - 12 mandatos (7,26%) 2002: 14 mandatos
BE - 8 mandatos (6,38%) 2002: 3 mandatos

Abstenção: 34,98% (2002: 37,66%)

Sunday

Victory!

Although I consider myself to the right-of-centre in the political spectrum, I simply could not tolerate Santana Lopes' and his conservative coalition partner's leadership of my country, Portugal. Yesterday's landslide victory of the Socialist party, which for the first time in the democratic history of the country obtained an absolute majority in the Assembly of the Republic, gives us all hope for change and indeed a better future.

Across the border, in Spain, the "Yes" landslide victory in the referendum over the EU Constitutional Treaty is also reason for much joy. We now hope for victories in every country where the treaty is being put to the ballot.

Vitória!

Saturday

Iberia goes to the polls

Tomorrow, voters across Portugal and Spain will go to the polls. Portuguese voters will elect a new Assembly of the Republic and a new government, while Spanish voters will vote over the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union.

The Portuguese Socialist Party is the most probable winner of the Portuguese elections; the question is whether it will obtain a stable majority, or whether it will be forced to form a coalition with other left-leaning parties. In Spain, the electorate is most likely to approve the Constitutional Treaty with a relaxed "Yes" victory. It will be the first country to do so through a referendum; while Slovenia, Hungary and Lithuania have already done so through parliamentary votes.

It is an interesting coincidence that both countries hold elections on the same day. As time goes by, it becomes more evident how the history of these two countries is almost inseparable. Thirty years ago both countries were emerging from decades-long dictatorships that inhibited social, political, cultural and economic growth in the region; today, citizens in both countries express their will through these most solemn democratic acts.

Friday

The Inconceivable

A year ago the darkest period of my life was coming to an end, as I started accepting who I was and as I started the process of letting others know who I really was. I was emerging from a period of depression as I had never in my life experienced, a depression that sparked something extremely beautiful--the acceptance of my sexuality.

A year ago I could not even fathom the possibility of openly and uninhibitedly talking to my friends and family about my sexuality. Today, a year later, I am happier than ever with my newfound liberty. Coming out is not something you deal with once in your life; it's not something that just allows you to sit back as you try to comfortably fit the gay stereotype. To me, coming out is a life-long commitment to personal and collective growth and development; I didn't come out of the "closet" to run into a "birdcage."

Regardless of all the universal negative aspects of the gay community, I still feel at my best. I have never felt so honest to myself and others, so free and ultimately, so happy.

Thursday

City in Blue

Lisboa

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Tuesday

What's Happening?

Three days after New York City health officials alerted the public about a rare, drug-resistant strain of HIV that develops into full-blown AIDS in a matter of months, some researchers and HIV prevention organizations are questioning whether the city's announcement was premature.

Project Inform, a San Francisco-based HIV treatment advocacy group, released a statement calling it "premature to conclude that this event represents evidence of a 'superbug' or a particularly virulent strain of HIV." The group also concluded that more research needs to be done to back up claims made by health commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden and others during last Friday's press conference in lower Manhattan.

PlanetOut

The Czech Republic's parliament has voted to reject a bill offering same-sex couples similar rights to married heterosexual partners.

According to Agence France-Presse, MPs voted against the bill, which would have allowed same-sex couples the right to officially register their partnership.

In a similar package to the UK's Civil Partnerships legislation, couples would have been given inheritance rights as well as next of kin access. However, the bill would have blocked adoption rights.

It is not the first time that some of the newer members of the EU have attempted to update their gay rights policies. Poland has also called for more rights to be given to lesbian and gay couples looking to register their unions. However, the staunchly Catholic country has been criticised by Polish native Pope John Paul II for discussing the idea.

Gay.com

Monday

She made my night!

So I don't mean to brag with this story, but I just think it belongs in this compilation of my memoirs otherwise known as my blog. Saturday night I was having a drink at a bar here in Vancouver, of course this is a gay bar, I was with my friend Roger when suddenly this pretty girl in her late 20s comes up to me and asks me for my name, she then proceeds to ask me whether I am gay, to which I nod and reply "yes." She then replies, "well, I just wanted to say that it is a huge rip off for every girl that you are gay, because you are a truly beautiful man... Really!" she then kisses me on the cheek and I graciously reply with a thank you. I then bump into her at a club just across from where we were, and she comes up to me again and hugs me.

So what I concluded from this episode was that either this girl has some gigantic attraction to me, or she's just looking for a guy to take her in as his fag-hag, or she was way too wasted... I don't know, all I know is that this girl made my night. How could I not have had a huge ego boost after a random yet obviously sincere and innocent (seeing as I'm gay) comment like that?!

Valentine's

Constitution of the glorious EU

A gold-bound copy of the Constitution of the great Union will be sent to the International Space Station, of which the EU European Space Agency (ESA) is an essential member. This symbolises the EU's role as an avant-garde movement that is tied to the greatest developments of humanity - the voluntary integration of states, diluting their borders in an attempt to bring ever-lasting peace and prosperity to the peoples of Europe, is as much an achievement as creating a station in outer space. This is also a move to help raise the profile of the document, and inform Europeans about it. The document has to be ratified by all member states before 2006. Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia have already done so through a vote in their national assemblies. Spain will be the first country to hold a referendum next Sunday. The UK, France, Ireland and Portugal are among the member states also holding referenda.

Friday

The letter that never was

A,

Some people cross our path for only a brief period of time. Our lives touched for seconds, but I will remember you forever. You gave me the sweetest of apples, I took a small bite, and you took it from my hand.

I fondly recall that evening we met in early January, I must admit, I had never met anyone like you. You seemed perfect, perhaps the fact that it is all over (whatever there was or wasn't) is for the best. I will keep your image of perfection, I will continue dreaming and continue looking for a man that matches or surpasses your glory.

There was never anything between us, we only dated... I realise that. But I've been on many dates, with many people, I have met guys from all walks of life, all continents, races and life-styles. No one has ever made me feel what you made me feel a minute into our first conversation.

Perhaps I'm being silly and immature... I feel like a teenage girl! I simply cannot hide what I feel. Tears have been shed: anxiety, fear, anger, lust and pain. Basically a huge crush, because there is simply nothing else we could have been to eachother at this point. What angers me though, is the fact that I know you could have been the one I have been looking for in a very long time. Too bad I wasn't that person for you. I'm also angry at the fact that I'm feeling all these things. For fuck sake, we were just dating and I'm head-over-heels for you! Makes no sense in my otherwise logical head.

I have learnt many things though, namely the fact that I now know that men like you exist; they're not just a fragment of my imagination, they're not just an unattainable dream of mine.

The sun shines out my window, my life is glorious, and I will persevere. I wish you the best in the world, because you truly deserve it. If only there were more guys like you, our world would be so different. I hope all your dreams come true and I hope you find someone to love and someone who loves you back... I thought I could have been him.

I thought I'd see you again
You said you might do
Maybe in a carving
In a cathedral
Somewhere in Barcelona

Love,

A. F.

Wednesday

Gael Garcia Bernal

Ok, so he's somewhat yesterday's news (until he releases another fantastic movie)... but I just couldn't help myself. This boy is so unbearably cute, he simply deserves a place in my wonderful blog. He is, without a doubt, the best thing to come out of Mexico since Guacamole... no I'm joking, I love Mexico and the fine specimens - such as this one - that come out of the great land south or the Rio Grande.

This man is also an extremely talented actor, having played in some of my all-time favourite movies, such as the "Motorcycle Diaries," "El Crimen del Padre Amaro" and "The Bad Education" (by far his hottest movie, though after watching it you realise there was not nearly enough Bernal).

Ah, anyway, here we have an example of yet another man that MUST simply be converted! If only it were so easy?! Oh and I must also know who his hairstylist is, because he always has the coolest haircuts.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Tuesday

What's happening?

Every week I will dedicate a post that briefly exposes queer issues around Canada and the world - the "What's happening?" section!

-
A man who helped beat a gay man to death in Vancouver's Stanley Park was sentenced to six years in prison on Tuesday.

Ryan Cran was convicted of manslaughter in December for killing Aaron Webster in November 2001. Two juveniles were also convicted. Another man named Danny Rao was acquitted.

Webster, 41, was killed in November 2001, in an area of Stanley Park frequented by gay men. He was naked when a gang of youths armed with baseball bats and a pool cue chased him, beat him and left him to die from a torn artery in his neck.

CBC

- Powerful U.S. religious groups are sending money and support to allies in Canada to fight same-sex marriage.

Patrick Korten, vice-president of communications for the Knights of Columbus head office in New Haven, Conn., said no limit has been set on the help his organization is prepared to offer.

"Whatever it takes," he said. "The family is too important."

CanWest News

A week

So it has been a week since I started this most fabulous blog and I have already had my thoughts read by some 70 people, I don't think that's bad at all. Like my life, the journey has just begun... I promise I won't do little posts like this every week/month.

Monday

Lisboa - Lisbon

Capital do Imperio - Capital of the Empire

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Closure?

Closure - a word that has almost become a motto for me in the early half of 2005. Or has it? As graduation approaches and my future in this city seems uncertain, I felt like I should start preparing myself for ending my days here in a gracious manner. This included spending quality time with my friends, partying, and enjoying the city and whatever time I have left here... it certainly did not entail meeting amazing boys for whom I could see myself falling in love really easily. This has led me to believe that either:

a. Destiny conspires against me in a hateful, fucked up way
b. I'm meant to stay in Vancouver
c. As always, I over-analyse, and make too big a deal out of everything

Perhaps the correct answer is (c).

We shall see...

Saturday

The exciting things in blogging

I started this most fabulous blog four days ago... now I'm addicted to it. I found it quite odd how excited I felt when I added the little buttons under the "Bits" section on the side bar. It really was quite bizarre. How could my concept of "coolness" have been relegated to that?! Now I'm frightened.

Friday

Tear

If I knew
If I knew that dying
You would cry
You would cry for me
A tear
For just a tear from your eyes
With much joy
I would let myself die.

The Mountain

A long, long time ago, there was an old man with his children living in a mountain village. They lived a very happy life, with only one big problem, they had to climb over a big mountain to go to the field every day. So one day, the old man decided to move the mountain. With his children they began chipping away pieces of rock every day at the foot of the mountain. Wise men passed by and asked: “How can you possibly think that you can move the mountain?” The old man said: “Probably I won’t, but you see, I have children, my children will have children, and they will continue, and the mountain will move.” ~ Banco de Gaia's "China (Clouds not Mountains)"

Casablanca

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

We all want to fly to Lisbon...

Thursday

New Image - Nova Imagem

A TAP Portugal (Antiga TAP Air Portugal) acaba de lançar a sua nova imagem esta semana em Lisboa. A mundaça de imagem é a primeira desde 1979. As novas cores e o novo logotipo irão ser incorporados nos exteriores dos aparelhos a medida que estes entrão a manutenção, todos os 40 aparelhos da transportadora aerea nacional deverão ter a nova imagem daqui a dois anos. A nova imagem será tambem incorporada nos interiores dos aviões, fardas, papelaria, cartazes, aeroportos, handling, etc da companhia. Eu pessoalmente gosto muito da nova imagem, a antiga era completamente 70s. A TAP entra em força em 2005, com lucros pela primeira vez em 2004 depois de muitos anos de receitas negativas.


Officially Obsessed

Frederic Michalak is quite possibly one of the hotest men alive. Not only is his face trully perfect with rich pouting lips and deep dark eyes, but his body is just so unbeliavably hot! His tattoo could be smaller and maybe somewhere else... regardless, this man is the epitome of hotness. He's a rugby player too! Ah... if only he were gay. Who knows? His tattoo is in a pretty 'gay place'... whatever that means.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Wednesday

Global Language

English is a global language in the most strict sense of the word. Not only is it spoken by billions all over the world as a second language, but many different languages, from distant Bengali, to geographically close French have contributed in making English one of the Indo-European languages with the richest vocabulary.

The British and the Portuguese have maintained the oldest continuous alliance in history, in the 14th century the two Crowns became allied and ever since Portugal and Britain have been virtually 'inseparable friends.' How has the Portuguese language contributed to the global language - English?

Here are some curious words:

Portuguese - English - Meaning -> Notes

1. albino - albino - white
2. Bossa Nova - Bossa Nova - new tendency -> Brazilian samba-like dance.
3. brisa - breeze - light wind
4. casta - caste - pure -> Hindu hereditary class.
5. cobra - cobra - hood -> A poisonous hooded snake. One of many animal / bird words from Portuguese.
6. Crioulo - Creole - home-born slave ->A mixed race or language.
7. dodó - dodo - fool -> From the silly appearance of the now extinct flightless bird.
8. embaraço - embarrass - shame
9. fetiche - fetish
10. charme - charm - Worshipped object
11. flamingo- flamingo - flaming -> Tall scarlet wading bird.
12. marmelada - marmalade - quince -> Preserve made from citrus fruit.
13. palavra - palaver - word -> A "palaver" is UK slang for an argument.
14. porto - port - A drink named after its town of origin.

Chez moi?

Le Canada est le Quebec, le Quebec est le Canada. La ville de Montréal fait partie du coeur du Canada, historiqument cette ville est la plus importante du pays. Je ne suis jamais y ete, mais tout ce que j'entend dire sur Montréal est tres posistif (sauf le climat). A mesure que la fin de mes jours universitaires a Vancouver s'approche, l'idee de demanger a Montréal me semble plus possible. On vera!

Voici une belle petite photo de cette merveilleuse ville!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Waltzing Along

James is one of the Brit-pop bands of the glorious 90's. I had known of this band for a while now, particularly thanks to songs such as "Sometimes" and "Laid." I 'acquired' their "best of" compilation recently, and have had a more than pleasant surprise. If you feel nostalgic about those gone-by days, or simply want to listen to excellent pop-rock, James will do the trick.

Here are the lyrics to a song that puts a smile on my face. It makes me realise that life is just journey that should be made while dancing and singing. Life is too beautiful not to be lived like a beautiful dance or a glorious song.

Waltzing Along

by Unknown

Help comes when you need it most
I'm cured by laughter
Mood swings
Not sure I can cope
My life's in plaster

May your mind set you free
May your heart lead you on
May your mind let you be
May your heart lead you on

These wounds are all self imposed
A life's no diaster
All roads lead on to death row
Who knows whats after

May your mind be wide open
May your heart be strong
Maybe your minds will be broken
By this heartfelt song
May your mind set you free
May your heart lead you on
May your mind let you be
May your heart lead you on
May your eyes let you see
May your heart lead you on
May your mind be wide open
May your heart lead you on

Tuesday

The Contrasts in Beauty

"Mar Adentro" (The Sea Inside), recently nominated for the Academy Awards is evidence of the brilliance of Spanish film. A country that has already blessed us with the mastery of Pedro Almodovar, will now be represented at the Academy Awards by this brilliant film. The acting is exceptional (Bardem in particular), as are the beautiful photography and soundtrack; without a doubt, the three most striking elements of this film. The film takes us through a brilliant journey where life and death seem to be intertwined in a cycle of elation; an ambiguous celebration of both life and death - the contrasts in beauty.

The film is set in Galicia, a Spanish region where the sea has been the source of life for centuries, yet it has also been the source of much death. The sea is also celebrated in the glorious contrast it represents.

Few movies manage to portray debates such as the one over euthanasia in an unbiased way. Often-time the viewer is swayed into sympathising with the protagonist's plea for death, or inversely, deploring the apparent "immorality" of euthanasia. This movie, however, presents us with elements that make us celebrate both life, as well as death..

Beautiful film! Muy recomendado!

Spanish Site
English Site

EU: a great gay republic?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The ancient Greeks saw sexuality as a state of ultimate friendship between two human beings. Romantic encounters between men were a part of that philosphy. Many of the great men of ancient Greek history had homosexual affairs; Alexander III of Macedon (AKA "the Great"), for instance; also philosphers such as Socrates or Plato... the list goes on.

Today, the EU and European countries seems to be home to many LGBT politicians, many in prominent positions. The cases of Pim Fortuyn; UK MP and former member of cabinet, Chris Smith; President of the EU Parliament, Josep Borrell are but a few examples. In the past few days, however, we have seen much activity regarding the issue of homosexuality in one of the EU's most conservative and traditionalist countries, Portugal. The man who is most likely set to win the general elections of next February 20th, Socialist candidate José Sócrates has seen his campaign "tarnished" by acusations of his apparent relationship with a well-known portuguese actor, Diogo Infante. In a country where abortion is not even legal, some segments of society vociferously demand the debate over same-sex marriage be open. Will another gay Socrates bring Portugal into the 21st century, the century of Europe, of open-mindedness and liberty? How will Portugal vote? What will Socrates do?

Partido Socialista - Socialist Party