#70 Watching Brazil at the World Cup

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Brazilians get very excited about their football.  So much so that they suspend deliveries during Brazil games. I had to settle for an afternoon appointment this Friday with an Internet provider because Brazil are playing in the morning.

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Most of the posts doing the rounds on social media during the Brazil v Switzerland game are two rude to produce here.

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One of the few which is decent enough to be published is the one above comparing Ronaldo and Neymar with famous Brazilian cartoon characters.

Another is a clever photo making it look as though a statue of Lenin has just scored a 3 pointer at Basketball.

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I think my favourite of the day though has to be the goalkeeper exploding when he tried to pop the balloon.

Until tomorrow.

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#69 World Cup Day Three

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So what has been happening on, where are we? Day three? It seems the Brazilians are eager to bury the ghosts of their encounter with the Germans four years ago. They have already done that to a certain extent by beating Germany in a friendly game but these chaps obviously feel they need to reach beyond football to prove something.

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Today I sent off my order to Paninni for the remaining stickers I am missing from my album. The fact that Croatia are playing today drew attention to the team and particularly Domagoj Vida whose likeness to a character from Ghostbusters 3 has not been overlooked.

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We were all disappointed that we didn’t get a chance to see Ezenwa on the pitch. His Paninni sticker claims he is 30 but the photo they used would suggest he is nearer 50.

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The appearance of Iceland however did create a great deal of excitement, especially when it turned out that they stood a good chance against and Argentina side which hadn’t appeared to turn up. There is little love lost between Brazilians and Argentinians as illustrated by the Brazilian tendency to stick the Argentinian Paninni stickers upside down.

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The Brazilians have been highly entertained by these Vikings which seem to be taming the giants of football.

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Brazilians love the concept of Vikings, especially if it means a country with a population of a small municipality on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, beatinging heir neighbours and closest rivals.

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Other things worth talking about is the comparisons between cheating in football and Brazilian politicians cheating the Brazilian people. Lots of parallels being drawn here at the moment.

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And finally, news accusing Portugal of using all the gold it took from Brazil in colonial times in the beautification of Christiano Ronaldo.

What will tomorrow bring? Who knows,  but with Brazil playing their first match, probably little in the way of writing.

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#68 Watching the World Cup

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Very much like the Italian football team, I would like to be in Russia but instead I’m stuck at home watching the games on the telly.

In Brazil that means getting up at 7am to watch France v Australia.  One would be forgiven for thinking that the game had been arranged early for the Australian television audience but as the draw is random it can’t have been can it? Brazil’s first game is at 3pm on a Sunday – family barbeque time and England’s first game 7pm UK time on a Monday night – good news for publicans across the country.

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Here, in Brazil, social media has been circulating a handy drinking game to assist with match entertainment while others have been creating their own stadia to facilitate the process.

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At the opening ceremony, Robbie Williams was a very naughty boy by taking the Russians money and then presenting his middle finger to a nearby camera. Could this be because of his history in supporting LGBT rights and Russia’s poor track record in that respect? It would have been nice to see Purdy Riot at the opening ceremony but I guess that was never going to happen.

Talking of the opening ceremony, Portuguese for the World Cup opening ceremony is Abertura da Copa which also means opening of the kitchen leading to this image doing the rounds on social media (it’s a Brazilian thing).

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Needless to say, watching the World Cup is an excellent way to avoid writing and I hope to be able to keep you updated on how the Brazilians are reacting to the tournament as it progresses.

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#67 Preparing for the World Cup

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It’s that time in the four year cycle where hopes begin unreasonably to rise based on performances in meaningless friendlies. Hopes that will ultimately dashed by the injustice of penalties or ridiculous offside decisions.

With three round one games per day it’s difficult to see how writing is going to be fitted between the games.

Here in Brazil, the games are timed perfectly to watch one at breakfast, one at lunch and one at dinner time. (For readers in Yorkshire that translates as one at breakfast one at dinner and one at tea).

There are small gaps between the games but the chances are that the alcoholic consumption which is inevitable will render any meaningful writing as likely to happen as England lifting the trophy in July.

My hopes rest on Iceland.  For me they embody the spirit of teamwork which is becoming rarer in the top flight of the game. I hope we see much more of this spirit with players being honest and getting on with the game rather than simulating and trying to cheat and deceive to gain an advantage. Shame on the players who stoop to these levels.

Well our flags are up. All that remains is to draw the sweep and submit my entry to the prediction league, another excellent way to avoid writing.

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#66 Swimming at SESC

pexels-photo-863988I have been thinking it’s about time to add number 12 to the list of the Top ten best things about living in Sao Paulo.

Number 12 is SESC, a network of leisure and cultural centres funded by the private sector. Think of council leisure centres and arts centres rolled into one and funded by private companies because the Brazilian councils don’t have the funding. Could be glimpse of the future of British leisure and arts if the current funding strategies continue.

In actual fact, the Brazilian SESCs are very good. They provide an extensive programme of sports, art, music, theatre and other recreation at a very low price (often free) to members and non-members alike.

After two and a half years of not getting around to signing up for my membership card, then getting a card but letting it expire before I took my dermatological inspection, then renewing the card and, after a couple of attempts, finally getting my feet and armpits checked, I was now eligible to use the free swimming pool.

The consequence was that I went swimming three times this weekend and I feel much better for it. I now intend to be a regular visitor to SESC, taking advantage not only of the free swimming pool and the low prices restaurant serving delicious food and a rather nice Merlot, but also of the varied theatre programme and the free WiFi.

Yes, it has distracted me from writing for a few days but I hope that in the future their relaxing communal areas will provide the ideal location for stimulating my muse as well as the solution to blog #5 Try to get fit.

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#65 Complying with GDPR legislation

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In recent weeks, the self-publishing world has been getting itself very excited about the new GDPR regulations due to come into effect tomorrow, May 25, 2018.

The GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulations, is tightening up the rules on who can store data and why. It is all about consent and it is a big issue for self-published authors who rely on their mailing lists as a means of communicating with their fans.

The regulations state that in order to hold data on individuals,  and for authors this includes email addresses used to send updates and offers, you must have consent from that individual.

For authors who made it clear, when they offered a free book, that the individual’s email address would be added to a list which would be used to send them updates then they should not have much to worry about because they can argue that consent was received when the individual gave them their email address. But the law has changed and it seems that books can no longer be given away in exchange for email addresses. The individual needs to understand completely that they are giving their email address to be added to the mailing list.

Authors who gathered email addresses by more dubious means have more to worry about, as do lots of companies who now worry that maybe they don’t have consent from the individuals they have added to email lists. Many companies are panicking which explains a large number of emails you may have been receiving asking you whether you still want to stay in contact.

But therein lies the rub. If you already have consent from people to send them emails then you don’t have to worry. However, if you don’t have consent from people then you will be breaking the law if you email them to ask if they want to stay in touch because you don’t have permission to email them in the first place.

I am confident I have consent from everyone on my email list. However, I have created a new privacy policy which I have added to the main menu of this website and a cookie policy which can be accessed from the privacy policy page.

It’s all very dull but it is something of which every self-published author needs to be aware.

Once all this is over \i might be able to get back to writing.

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#64 Recruiting beta readers in hospital waiting rooms

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Since my last post I’ve been struggling along with novel number 4 while at the same time rewriting novel number 3 for what I hope could be a July launch.

The first step in this process is to get a group of beta readers to read my first draft and point out all of the horrible mistakes and areas ripe for improvement.  I have a small band of loyal beta readers but have decided to try and expand this team.

To this end, I set up a Google Form for anyone who might be interested in joining the beta team to sign up.

While all that has been going on I have been continuing to give away copies of my first novel in order to build my mailing list and setting up cross list promotions with other authors.

I’ve also been spending a reasonable amount of time in hospitals. First my daughter was ill with a kidney infection and then I developed some kind of digestive bug.  Oh well, at least all the waiting around helps me to catch up on my blog.

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