Friday, October 22, 2010

"Son Of A Grifter", by Kent Walker

The full title is really "Son of a Grifter: The Twisted Tale of Sante and Kenny Kimes, the Most Notorious Con Artists in America". It's important to stress out the word "twisted" as it is very appropriate to describe that woman that Sante Kimes was.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

2001 A Space Odyssey, step by step - 1

I love this movie. I love this movie so much I lost count of how many times I've seen it. It became beyond any doubt my favorite movie, and for me, the ultimate argument against the "It was good for its time" appreciation of movies. Greatness in films isn't about the technology, limitations or just trends of the specific year it was made in. It's about intelligence, proper planning, ambition. But that's not what I logged in (after a long time) to talk about.

Monday, March 22, 2010

10 tips for newbie photographers

I'm not all-knowing on photography or even close, and my professional career as a photographer has just begun. But I'm curious and I have learned my share of tricks, and I found that the most important things to remember aren't about equipment or numbers.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Alice in Wonderland, and 3D.

I finally watched a movie that uses the new 3D technology. After watching Up at home and Avatar in a non-3d theater, I went to see Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. I thought it was about time I finally tried it out and I was excited that it would be with a movie with so much visual potential. Conclusion: I'm never ever going to pay for 3D again. Oh, and I didn't really like the movie either.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

About luck.

I just read a quote on a friend's Facebook page, it goes like this:

"Synchronicity holds the promise that if we will change within, the patterns in our outer life will change also. If the people and events of our lives are here because we have drawn them here, then what happens in our lives apparently by chance or fortune is not really accidental." 
Jean Shinoda Bolen

People often misunderstand concepts like fortune, luck or accidental. I feel I should use this opportunity to explain with some detail what these ideas mean to me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

White weddings

I had to opportunity to go over two hours of wedding footage, a typical white princess wedding, the best day of a bride's life. It's up to me to now create a really short piece, about 4 minutes long, compiling the best moments of the whole day - from the dressing up to the after party. What you do is you take many different clips, each only a few seconds, slow them all down to 50% the natural speed, fade them into one another, add some really emotional music and it's 90% done. That is all it is: really really short pieces of video stitched together under some music. But I really do mean short - like I said, a few seconds each. The party was, however, several hours long. The footage covers only two hours of it and, as you may imagine, not all of it were perfect moments.
Unless some heartbroken friend of the bride gets drunk, weddings usually run pretty smoothly. They can't, however (like nothing in reality can), match the bride's expectation. She wants everything to be 100% flawless, and it's frustrating when they can't find the paper for the couple to sign. It's frustrating when no one is really dancing yet and she starts thinking they might be bored. It can be frustrating when the moment comes to throw the flowers and there aren't as many single ladies desperate to catch it as there are in the movies. And when you throw it, honestly, it's not that exciting. Summing it up, it's frustrating when things aren't like the movie they've been playing in their heads for so many years.
I can say weddings are one of those events that are always much better before and after it happens. The couple, or let's be honest, the bride, thinks it will be the most perfect happy day ever. Then it happens. And she will try and remember it as the most perfect and happy day ever. It wasn't though. It's like your graduation trip: it wasn't as fun as everyone says so (maybe except for a couple of guys who REALLY could party nonstop for a week).
What helps in this remembering of the wedding as such a perfect happy day is the photographic and video coverage of the event. What you get from this service is a beautiful compilation of beautiful moments that represent a perfect happy day but that in reality didn't happen spontaneously. If you got married in the traditional way, you know this already (were you disappointed?), and if you don't: trust me. That moment where the groom and the bride peek out behind two trees and walk to each other to meet in the middle in a beautiful inspiring park - yeah that was the photographer's suggestion. It's a good think that wedding videos have nothing but background music as sound, or you'd hear "To the left to the left... alright now chin up a bit... good, now smile... and kiss... put your arm over her head... alright yes just like that".
It's a complete fabrication. Most photographers, this is what they do for you. This is their service. I'm not trying to criticize their work - this is, after all, what people want: memories of a perfect day (in the end, doesn't it all come down to how you remember it?). And this they do well, extremely well. It should matter, however, to the couple. It's hard for me not to judge people when they don't realize that they are creating not a memory of their own unique personal wedding, but a memory that's no different from any other couple's memory. The same photos, the same editing. Other then a few talented exceptions, wedding videos all tell the same fabricated story.
Again, I really want to stress that I'm not taking any value from the photographer's/video expert's work. They do what they set themselves to, they do it well, and it's what people want. I do criticize, however, that people are happy with an impersonal memory of what's supposed to be the greatest day in their life (until their first child is born). It's enough that, by sticking to tradition, the brides are already making their wedding a copy of everyone else's before them - why make the memory of it also the same? Am I being too demanding when I want people to be a bit more conscious and critical about their own life? Maybe I am, I personally don't think so, but wether wrong or right, the truth remains that it's their choice and everyone is entitled to happiness, no matter what it means to them.

After all, and like I said above, in the end it all comes down to how you remember it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Good fiction vs. Wild fiction

I dislike Harry Potter. I will give you a few minutes to stone me now.

Like I said before, and will probably keep mentioning throughout the life of this blog, I like everything that transpires intelligence and creativity. There is, however, a common misunderstanding about what intelligent creativity is. Imagine the following conversation:

Guy 1: "I have an idea for a video with a flying spaceship"
Guy 2: "Cool, what kind of spaceship?
Guy 1: "One that travels at the speed of light"
Guy 2: "How about if it transforms into a magic flying lion?"
Guy 1: "Yes, one that shoots lasers from his eyes!"
Guy 2: "And can teleport!"
Guy 1: "And disappear!"

This is not creative. It's pure random. As I said before, people tend to think that to be original, you have to get as further away from reality as possible. A magic flying lion that shoots laser from his eyes is way further from the real world than a spaceship that reaches the speed of light, but it is in no way more creative. You can add literally any ability to the lion, and it's the fact that no rules were established regarding what abilities it can have that makes it such an effortless job. There's no intellectual work in making something up in a universe with no limitations as to what you can create; the real creative work comes from using the resources you have within a given set of limits - that's something your brain will have to work on, something you have to dedicate your brainpower to.
Picture it like throwing pebbles into a lake. How hard is it if all I ask you to do is hit the water? It's not hard. You can't really brag about it - "Hey, I was able to hit water with a tiny pebble!". It's something else completely different if I ask you to hit a floating bucket in the middle of the lake. Now that deserves credit and bragging rights. You could boast about it all day and all I'd say is "It's true, I saw it".

That's what I hate about Harry Potter. There are no apparent rules. For starters, too many spells look like all they do is push something or someone away. Then there is a new spell in every movie that for some reason no one thought about earlier, even though it would have been extremely helpful if they did. But this is not where the lack of rules is most evident: apparently, there is an evil spell that kills you instantly. That's right, it's like a bullet but in magic terms. I understand that the good guys can't use dark magic or they'll be corrupted, but if the bad guys can create virtually any harmful effect with their dark magic, why can't the good guys create whatever they want as long as it's defensive? For example: Voldemort (I can't believe Blogger doesn't mark that word as incorrect) shows up with his instant kill spell, that in the very creative Harry Potter nomenclature would be called something like Instantius Killius - at this point, why hasn't anyone thought of something like Impenetrabilius Shildus? - an absolutely impenetrable shield, in case you didn't get it from the amazingly creative name I thought of. If there is no rule as to what effects can or cannot be created by magic, than it's just like throwing pebbles at the lake trying to hit water. Wherever it lands is fine, just like Harry Potter concepts! The author's creative thought process mustn't be very far from the dialog I wrote in the beginning of the post. "Talking trees? Sure why not" (Or is that Lord Of The Rings?).

This is partly the reason why I much prefer science fiction to general magic and fantastic fiction - the existence of rules. In the case of sci-fi worlds, the rules of science, or at least believable science. It's OK if there's a time machine in a sci-fi movie because, although it doesn't really exist, there is some theory regarding the possibility of time travel by traveling at speeds faster than light. Take Avatar for example: despite all the flaws it had, I still enjoyed the movie very much, partly because it had an amazing (and amazingly credible) explanation for what seemed to be the alien deity - an explanation that resembled the construction of the human brain itself, and for those who are interested in cognitive science, made "the upload/download of personalities and memories into a tree" (watch the movie!) something believable.

The example I always pull out of my pocked in fantasy vs sci-fi arguments is the camouflage technology presented in Harry Potter and Ghost In The Shell, one of my favorite movies of all time (note to self: review this movie later on). In Harry Potter, as you may know, it's an invisibility cloak that you just have to cover yourself with. Like before, no background explanation (how do you find it after storing it in a drawer? What do you see when you open the drawer? The content of the drawer under it?).
With Ghost In The Shell, as expected, it's much more sophisticated, and you can see that someone really lost some time and mental effort to perfect it. It's called thermoptic camouflage, and just from the name you can infer that it will hide whatever you want from optic and thermal radiation (the visible and infrared spectrum). And because technology is never flawless, the concealing isn't 100% perfect and will flicker on occasions such as bullet impacts and the like.
Now, of course that type of advanced camouflage is still fiction. But research on metamaterial and how to bend light is very real and brings sci-fi closer to reality every day.

How can I compare the detailed creation of the makers of Ghost In The Shell, to the random "water hits" of the Harry Potter series' author? It's very clear to me that one is good fiction and the other is wild effortless fiction.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lots of money vs. a good story

It was during one of the solar eclipses of early 90's. My mom took me and a friend to the hospital where she worked. It's a unique hospital, built by the sea, the wards opening to a long sunny balcony over the beach. We made our way up to one of the many wide terraces - their floors reflecting aggressive white as there wasn't a single cloud in the sky, and somehow the sun, even though partially covered by the moon, was brighter than usual. 
As with every eclipse and astronomical event, theories about the end of the world were abundant. For the starters of such theories, everything is a sign of the end of times. Soon there were predictions of fire falling from the sky and mysterious dark rainbows. With our special sunglasses on, me and my friend were looking up at the sun when I said "How about that black rainbow they talk about?". What he replied I never forgot: "If it happens, it'll be in the United States. That's where all those things always happen".

The reason why I still remember this moment and his answer so vividly is because of how truth it is, in a sense. A fictional sense. You could argue that if something is true only in a fictional sense, then I might as well just call it a lie. That's not what I meant though. What I wanted to say is that in the abstract world of fictional works, the phrase holds truth. Think of the movies you've seen - everything happens in the US (unless you're an alternative-indie scene addict). The aliens always land on the US. Ok sometimes they land everywhere, but eventually they are defeated and that happens in the US. Volcanoes, ghosts, tsunamis, end of the world - 99% in America (it's no wonder, after all they are the top action movie makers).
Be it movies or music, paintings or performances, I look for originality in everything, as being original and creative is a sure sign of intelligence (of a kind) and that is something I definitely like. I love when I can tell that a director, a musician or a publicist, before settling for a final version of his work, asks himself "Just how can I make this better?". But let's move on.

I went to see Avatar a while ago and because I didn't post about it when the topic was hot, it's really of no use to repeat what everyone already said. Good looks, etc. I had already heard people around me say that it had amazing 3D but that the story wasn't that great, but I didn't expect it to be so... polarized. Because the visuals are really good. And the story is really nothing new. And that's not the worst part of it - even inside the "looks" department, I was really disappointed with a few things, mainly the fact that after being able to create such alien yet mesmerizing fauna and flora, such creative designs and ideas for amazing living beings, when it came to stylize the planet's native intelligent race, they just copied our own African tribes. I have to ask "Why?". Why has their creativity suddenly stopped? Were they tired? Why didn't they just took a day off to rest before settling for "rasta" looking aliens with african accent ("Jake soo-lee"? Please)? After all, the movie was 15 years in the making, what difference would another day have made? Aren't 15 years enough to come up with an intelligent alien species that doesn't look like us in every way except bigger and with tails? I honestly don't understand.
Again, it's the American government that's ahead of everything, accompanied by the American army. But hey, it's an American movie.
A few days later I saw District 9 which only made me more disappointed with Avatar. Turns out, you don't need 200 million dollars or whatever the number was to make a really really good movie. I understand what James Cameron does: he does big things but always plays by the rules. So his movies will never be horrible. They'll never be great either.
District 9 starts off by showing you South Africa, the "landsite" of an alien spaceship that has been hovering the city of Johannesburg for years. The alien passengers, instead of shooting everyone, have been marginalized by the local population and now live in what heavily reminds the viewer of a Brazilian Favela, only militarized. Gangs thrive, so does crime and illegal trading of weapons and drugs (which for the aliens is cat food). All of this is shown in a very documental/news report style, a camera sometimes shaky, and even clips from news shows that include footnotes scrolling by, interviews and anchors. The realism this grants to the story is unparalleled by any other movie I have seen. The news report style gradually fades into a usual cinema approach as the story goes from just presenting you with the context to getting familiar with the characters you'll follow, and the main events of the film. The transition was clearly thought out to the detail, either that or edited by someone very, very skilled, but knowing what I know today about moviemaking, I'd put my money on superb planning. Or both. Probably both.
In the end, my liking or disliking movies is very related to how believable things are. This doesn't mean I don't like fiction - I love fiction! But there's smart fiction and "let's just go wild" fiction. Wild fiction is terrible. It has no boundaries and therefore is not creative or imaginative at all (Harry Potter). Intelligence and originality are related to boundaries, most people just don't understand this and think that the further you go away from reality, the more creative you are. The fact is that if you don't retain some link to the real world and its rules, you are just being random, and random is not the same as creative.

I shall differentiate between these two in the next post, let's hope I can do it soon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Skip descriptions

The most common problem reported by those who (at least try to) read "Os Maias" by Eça de Queiroz, is that they can't get past the first 80 or more pages where the author does nothing but thoroughly describing the family house, Ramalhete. Eça is the Portuguese frontman of the artistic movement known as Realism which explains his obsession with describing the house in such a detailed manner that anyone, from reading the book alone, could build the house to match the author's mental image of it exactly.
I wonder, however, if such a long and meticulous description is needed. Take me, someone who read and even liked the book - what exactly do I remember of the Ramalhete? Not much. Almost nothing to be honest. The best I can do is attach to my memory of this house a feeling of austerity typical of monasteries or old boarding schools run by nuns. I remember it silent and abandoned. When inhabited, I remember the insides being overdecorated, almost cluttered, with many fancy objects of the Portuguese higher classes.
Now, is this true about the house? Maybe not All I care is that's what I pictured in my mind throughout the book and even now, years later.  I don't remember what Eça described, what objects, window panes or flower vases. Cracking floors or wallpapers. Yet, in my mind, the image of this house is strangely vivid and realistic. If Eça had just used one paragraph to describe the house like I did here, it would have been enough. He needed only to have said "The house is huge and it looks like a boarding school run by nuns. Dark brooding shadows hover over it and kids don't dare to jump those walls". There. Whatever happens inside, my mind can create images that are perfectly sufficient to let the story unroll peacefully. Horribly incomplete images, but perfectly sufficient.
The truth is, the first adjectives are enough when you're reading. After a certain point, your brain is already a step ahead and if the description stops, you don't really need more. And when it doesn't stop (as with "Os Maias", where it seems to never stop), you are very likely to not memorize whatever comes next. Your self-made initial image, however, you might remember all your life.
It's like our eyes and their blind spot, right in the middle of your field of vision, where the optic nerve is. Your eye can see everything except for that little spot in the middle, but what one eye misses, the other one can see, and it's easy for your brain to compose a full picture of what's in front of you. But when you close one eye, you don't notice anything missing in the middle... (you can read about and test that here) Why? Because your amazing brain is filling in that gap for you, according to what's around that spot. It analyzes the surroundings and fills the blind spot with a color/pattern close enough to fool your perception (a mental photoshop clone/stamp tool). And it's sort of the same when you read... Take characters... authors frequently go through very creative efforts to make characters seem real by describing their structure, hair color or facial features. On any book you are reading at the moment, how many of those do you remember about the characters? But don't you feel like you have a very clear and accessible image of that character in your mind?
Well, this image we have isn't clear at all, it's very very incomplete, and so are the memories we have of almost everything and everyone. It's obvious if you try to draw one of your memories with detail.

I'm certain today that our brain works with the minimum effort, using just enough resources to keep you entertained and oblivious to his methods. There are many ways to make this evident, not only by inspecting our memories and how detailed they are. I hope I have the time to go through a few of them in the future.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Picked up a new flash

Got out of work late. No problem, there's still time to pickup my newly arrived flash unit at the store, it doesn't close before 11 pm.
Yes I got it! Amazing! I need to run home to try it out, I'll sleep in the weekend!

Damn it I don't have any AA batteries.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Those were the games

I recently found about DOSBox. Yes, it's been around for a while, I know that now. But for the last year the only game on my mind was Lineage 2. Ok and FarmVille, but that one doesn't suit the direction I plan to lead this post into today.
But moving on, DOSBox is, in small words, a DOS emulator that allows you to play DOS games on a Mac/Linux system. This is something big for me, since a lot of my childhood memories are attached to technology and internet, and how both of them evolved since. Sometimes, if I want to rescue old memories that don't emerge easy, I think of old video games I used to play, or how I used to search for stuff in Altavista instead of Google (by the way, Altavista is still up and running). I get that "Good old days" feeling... yeah I need to post on that one of these days.
I haven't yet downloaded all the games I want to play again, mainly because their names are still fuzzy.

Alley Cat

I was sooo young when I had the chance to play this.
This is a very innocent game where you play a stray cat that just goes around being... a sneaky stray cat.

From this starting scene you could jump on top of those metal barrels and then upward to the wires and into windows. All while avoiding the angry dog you can see in the lower right corner, the nasty cats on the rope threads, and stuff being thrown at you from the windows. I like to notice the writings on the wood fence. "Hi!"? "Love them mousies"? Yeah those cats were badass.
Anyway, entering the windows you find different situations, some of them containing other scenarios too, like the room with a fishbowl that you can dive into and hunt fish while avoiding electric eels.
Some rooms got really surreal. There's a room with a giant slice of cheese that you can enter via the emmental-like holes (and discover that the holes are connected); a room with a living broom that tries to clean your "footsteps" (pawsteps?) as you move, until it finally hits you; or a room probably belonging to some lonely old hag that collects dogs:

Pizza Tycoon

This one is particularly dear to me. I didn't use to play it as much as a friend of mine did, and it was at his house that I first met the game. You basically open a new pizza restaurant and have to deal with a lot of the problems that come with it. It starts off by picking a world capital to settle in, then searching the neighborhood for a spot that's for rent. You even have to call the estate agent (the right one!). Now you have an empty place that needs furnishing, kitchenware, cooking waiting and managing employees (with whom you can negotiate wages) and so on. It won't be long before the Mafia storms through to ask you for protection money... against themselves.
You'll have the chance to set up your menu, cook the most familiar pizzas in the world and get fame for it if you do it right, and eventually even make money from recipes you make up. And believe me, making up new pizzas is very very entertaining. Not to mention, it makes you want to eat pizza. I had too microwave a frozen pizza I had yesterday. I had eaten dinner already so I left two slices that I'm gonna warm up and eat right now because thinking of the game made me hungry for pizza.
The amount of specific variables to setup when and while you play is what amazes me the most. It's incredibly deep. In no time you'll be buying weapons from an underground crime world so you can torch/blow up/etc your competitors in the pizza market!
Not only that, but it's a game with a sharp humor. Every character you speak to will make you smile at the choice of faces the coders did. The first realtor I contacted was an alien. He wasn't the right one, the right one was none less than Mikhail Gorbachev. Not to mention the mafia guy, who had a pizza for a head (with a green pepper that bent in a smile when I took his offer).
I was about to load DOSBox and the game to get a couple of screen shots for you but I noticed that the website I got the game from already did it for me. Check them out.

Screenshots from
Vídeo from


I'll end with this outstanding game. Mostly because I'm honestly tired of sitting here looking for screenshots. That's not a problem with Zork though, the game has no images anyway. That's right, you play it in a command line and type the things you want your character to do.
This game is even more interesting today, where all games have amazing 3d environments created on the go and use very modern digital resources. What every game aims for is to be immersive, that is what the player wants and it explains phenomenons like Grand Theft Auto, a game where your freedom of movement and options is hands down entertaining (I used to spend hours just riding a BMX through town in GTA San Andreas... I know, why not go ride a bike in the real world? Well I can't jump over cars in the real world. Nor hit people for that matter. Not without consequences).
In Zork you can try everything. And that's the most helpful attitude you can have in the game. That and saving frequently. When you start the game you are standing near a house. There is a mailbox near you and you have the options of moving in one of the compass directions (north, south, etc) or interact with objects around you. I bet you are already imagining the place in your head... but here's what's shown to you:

Cool right?
Just imagine the cost of a device that could read the electrical activity in your brain, translate it into pictures and than send them to your computer... not only would that be impossibly expensive, you'd still have to wait for the technology to do it. And you'd probably get a headache. Well Zork is just that, it's the most immersive game I have ever played since everything is just precisely according to my imagination. How can it get better than that?Now just to give you an idea of how the game develops, what you would do in a situation like this is "open mailbox", or if you're careful "inspect mailbox". Even "kick mailbox" if you want. The house is there for your entertainment too, and soon you'll be entering underground mazes filled with magic creatures, beautiful mountain scenes (as beautiful as you want) and killing your head to solve some very demanding puzzles.
There's no map to help you since you're supposed to make one yourself. If you take the path north, the path can turn west or east midway and, wherever you get to, going south won't take you back to the first place. It's sometimes very confusing but you can save the game at any point.
Obviously, if you know the internet, you know someone made maps available including all the details and possible solutions to the puzzles. But when the game was released, that wasn't a possibility, and incredibly detailed handmade personal maps were made in the rooms of thousands of geek boys in the year 1979. Be sure to check out this one that stands out today as a relic:

(Alright I definitely want to mention a game called Another World next time I post)

Monday, January 18, 2010

My big Rs

Alright. After that magic video editing adventure until 5 am, I went to bed and fell asleep one hour later because my roommate wouldn't stop snoring. I woke up at 11, started working at 12h30. I didn't stop until 10h30 am of the next day. That's right. A full 22h hours non-stop working, with meal breaks and walking-back-and-forth-in-the-hotel-room-waiting-for-ideas breaks. All night.
Of this wonderful experience I keep a pointy back ache that I sometimes think it's a kidney stone crisis again. "No problem," said I to my girlfriend Sunday night when we went to bed, "you got a rubber hot water back, I got Nolotil pills, we pretty much got it covered for the night".
Damn it. I got home on friday and my brain was liquid. I felt totally drained. Tried to stay awake until at least 10 pm just so I don't mix up my sleeping times like when I did those three 12 hours night shifts. Eventually I dropped on the bed and slept for 17 hours straight - thank god it was from 5 pm to 10 am and my sleep is kinda regular now.
The thing is, I have loads of stuff I want to type about. I wanna talk about Madonna's lyrics, about a bunch of movies I saw, lots of albums I heard last Summer that I mostly felt nothing about, Michel Gondry, a song by Air, human perception, brain stuff, etc. But working these weird hours, it's like a lobotomy at the end of the day when I come and sit here. All I can do is load a few 30 rock episodes on the player's playlist, sit back eating those amazing Continente strawberry filled tartlets and let my mind shutdown.

Apart from that, I've been listening to Grieg who apparently composed some of the most impressive energizing electrifying epic themes I've ever heard. This is the difference between classical music and those zillion bands I listened to last Summer. I don't get this kick out of 99.99999% of contemporary music. I like Rufus Wainwright, a lot, I like Regina Spektor, Ryan Adams and Radiohead and lately, Infected Mushroom (yeah, I know, what the hell?). Everything else is just... irrelevant music. So I keep cycling Infected Mushroom albums and baroque opera arias, squeezing Regina and Richard Swift in now and then.
But Grieg... I listen to his pieces and little video experiments pop into my imagination. I really need to start working on those.

Yeah. Music is like candy to the brain.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


The thing about hotels is that you walk a lot. In the corridors, I mean. Between your room and the bar, or the upper floor just to see the views. Or the pool. The first day is impressive, I add up a few kilometers because I want to explore everything. Like candy, arriving at hotels makes me feel a bit like a kid again. It's like a new extremely interesting playground. I feel like sneaking in everywhere. And it's always so clean and quiet. It's begging me to pretend I'm a ninja and go through staff-only doors, unravel the mysteries of the laundry room where I'm not supposed to be in, perform a silent make believe swift stealth execution on a couple of employees that pass nearby... You know, the usual stuff.
I wish I could live in a hotel. Hotel beds are always better then my own bed. I know it's heavily because someone flawlessly makes my bed and changes my sheets at the hotel, and if I'm lucky they'll leave a little crappy chocolate on the pillow. Yep, crappy. But you know chocolate, it's like sex. When it's good, it's great. When it's bad, it's still good.

So, it's now 5 am, I just got off work. I can't possibly type anything good right now.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A hint

I worked 16 hours yesterday.
In the meantime I noticed how there are over twice more jobs in Oporto right now than in Lisbon or any other area. So not only was I born in the wrong country, apparently I was born in the wrong area too. Not to mention inside my area, the city I was born in. Well at least my parents weren't drug addicts.
Now, did you notice the pattern here? "worked 16 hours"... "jobs"... Yeah, a hint of possible things to come.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Here we go

So here I am again. Blogging.

My history with blogging goes back a few years. I can't tell precisely how many, apparently I have erased my first blog in the meantime... that's me, trashing things from the past. I'm the guy who doesn't keep old photographs, letters from friends and, mainly, letters I wrote to friends that I never sent. Same with old blogs, I guess. They're just not me anymore.
After I quit the first blog (quit, not erase, that was way later) I started a second one that is still up, amazingly. I had the opportunity to go through it recently, and I was amazed that some of the posts I was able to really appreciate and like. I found a lot of trash there too obviously (some of which I immediately erased) but the sporadic moments of good humor or sharp critique, scattered about between 2004 and 2009, were very pleasant reads. I was not expecting this.
So here I am again. By coincidence, sitting on the same chair I typed most of my posts on, even on that legendary pre-2004 first blog. I remember when Blogger wasn't part of Google (it was bought in 2003 so that gives me at least 8 years of blogging now). There was no WYSIWYG text editing bar like you have now. If you wanted colors on your text or even one underlined word, you had to know HTML. Layouts were the ones blogger gave you - more than that you'd have to venture into that pool of code where a misplaced letter or sign could bring your whole page down to a blank. Good days.
There were no widgets, I don't think the word "widget" was even that widespread at that time. There was no "click and drag your page elements to re-organize them" because there were no such things as page elements. Well, the usage of the term was possible. But for what mattered, if you wanted to move things around, it was all code.
I could go on. RSS feeds were around but not this integrated. Following blogs meant having them on your browser's favorites - and having followers listed on your blog with tiny square avatars? That was light-years away. Thank twitter for having it as it is nowadays.
The internet is really an amazing thing, a little miniature of a society with its own rules and meanings and codes and behaviors. You get to know it when you swim around in it for a while, though it never stops surprising you. Changes are hard to predict, but when they happen, you analyze and you eventually think "Yeah it figures it went this way". I remember when YouTube premiered. In a few days, everyone was sharing links and searching it nonstop. I was a late bloomer, and in the first weeks I was still thinking "I don't like this site. What's it good for?". Yeah... "lol", I guess. But the old internet is a topic for another time.
I'm here now, I'm blogging. It will make a couple of people happy. I hope it doesn't make anyone sad. I can't tell what I'll be writing about. I like music and I like movies, so they will come up now and then. Other art forms eventually. I like to speculate on my everyday life, and that's probably what'll make the most of the information here.  I love science (hence the title), so expect science.
We'll see.

Comments are online, I will later on this week work on some minor layout tweaks and fine tuning.