Malawi, me, friends, stories, and whatever else I generally find interesting that's going on in this world...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

To Chump

Dear Chump,

I thought about calling you a week ago.

Wanted to tell you about the comment that I found last Tuesday on Daliweb, from way back in 1998.

You said:

"I have loved Dali's paintings since high school. It's good to see it on net too."
Thursday, April 23, 1998 at 01:52:55 (EDT)"


And that made me think back to Mr. Bruggerman's art class, both of us in the back, laffin our asses off, and listening to Nirvana and Beavis n Butthead. You made your "controversial" Mum sculpture, and I did the citadel, and we were both inspired by the hot Malawian sun, laughter, friends, and our first glimpses at Dali.

I wanted to say "Hey... what the hell... we haven't seen each other in 14 years... How's about gettin your sorry self over to Portugal toot-sweet?" as soon as you picked up the fone.

14 years... You were right... time doesn't fly between best buds.

I remember my first day at school, when you came up to me and said "So, you're the guy who went away, and came back?" I said "I guess", and you replied "Huh... you're quiet..."

The last thing we did together was play chicken 3 times in a row at Capitol Hotel pool. Not too bad for a chick! You just know we were invincible... Still have the three battle scars.

I remember running behind you, coming up from the hockey field, in torrential rain. As we hit the old skating rink, I looked in horror as I saw you slip, fly up horizontally, then crash to the ground.
I almost screamed "Are you OK?" as I tried to help you up.
You groaned "I think I broke my butt!", and we both cracked up in the rain.

Youth group and Mr. Dunfords 2000A.D. comics.

I still have the Angels Don't Cry tape cover you made me. And the prayer beads. And the jade leaf.

More than that, I have some of your love for the little things in life.

Some of your smile in mine.
My sense of humor was influenced by your laughter, and I'm pretty sure it'll echo on.
You helped me to grow in a lot of little ways.

November rain, dear.

November.

you were early

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vote for me! Just because I'm Asking you to!!!

I know I normally don't write in Portuguese, but in this case, I think it will be easier to understand when the target audience reads it.



Recebi um mail. Igual a muitos outros, embora difere no conteúdo:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DIVULGUEM COMO ACHAREM MELHOR E MAIS EFICAZ:

O Museu Guggenheim de Nova Iorque está a preceder a um concurso internacional de Design a que chama COMPETIÇÃO DE ABRIGOS ("Shelter Competition"). Os concorrentes têm de enviar o projecto 3D de um abrigo de acordo com as regras do concurso. Foram admitidos cerca de 600 projectos de 68 países.

Dos 600 projectos foram seleccionados 10 finalistas, entre os quais está o projecto do arquitecto português David Mares. É neste projecto que entra a cortiça, aliás a cortiça é mesmo o elemento do qual é feito o abrigo.

O "CBS - CORK BLOCK SHELTER " é um abrigo construído na versátil cortiça. Mas como se não bastasse a já honrosa posição de pertencer ao TOP 10 deste concurso neste momento o abrigo de cortiça está em 3º lugar na votação do público. Pf acedam ao site do concurso e votem "CBS - CORK BLOCK SHELTER " -

http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/education/sackler-center/design-it-shelter/vote-for-shelters!

Além do prémio do público, este concurso contempla também um prémio atribuído por um Júri, que será divulgado na Guggenheim Museum's 50th Anniversary Celebration, no dia 21 de Outubro

------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A sério? Precisam de angariar votos desta forma?
Qualquer pessoa com 2 dedos de testa consegue ver o que está mal neste mail.

Votar num design, só por ser Português? Só porque é feita de cortiça?

E que tal seguir os critérios de votação, escolher o melhor design baseado nos critérios de selecção, e votar nesse? Não?

Já agora, os critérios são: The relationship of the shelter to the built or natural environment around it, How does the architecture of your shelter relate to physical location you have chosen for it, How is your shelter placed on the site, In what ways does your shelter take into account the site’s weather, How does your shelter organize space, Thoughtful use of materials, Adherence to the project specs, e Quality of the SketchUp model.

Aposto €50 que 98% dos portugueses que votaram na "caixa de cortiça" nem sequer olharam para os critérios de selecção.


Por mim, os designs “A Bamboo Shelter in a Garbage Dump City” (Philipinas) e “Lagoa Azul Shelter: Between Water and Sky” (USA/Brazil) são de longe muito mais interessantes que uma caixa feita de cortiça.

Isto faz me lembrar outros mails que recebi, para votar numa campanha Online feita pela FIFA, para escolher o melhor jogador de futebol do mundo. No mail explicava como se podia "crackar" o sistema, e votar em todos os Portugueses. Várias Vezes.

Embora neste caso em concreto, a FIFA descobriu a "falcatrua" e desqualificou muiiitos votos (não ganhou um português)

Já que terminou o prazo de votar online, escrevi um mail aos organizadores do evento (Podem fazer o mesmo: annualfund@guggenheim.org ) a explicar esta situação, e a perguntar se existem formas de detectar este tipo de manipulação de resultados. Espero receber uma resposta até dia 21 de Outubro (Data que vão escolher o design vencedor), que vou publicar aqui num update.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Friday, September 04, 2009

Shabop Shalom, baby....



"...for the constantillionth time...."

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Think of others


Sometimes in life, people just need to make other people smile.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sudoeste Festival, 2009

Yeah, it was grand!



Started off with a walk through a parking lot coated in a fine brown talc, which would pounce up and hungrilly latch onto your head as soon as you disturbed it.

Obviously, people feel quite artistic upon approaching a festival. (Ok, ok... I did two of these...)

C&M went straight in, and I had to wait for a friend of a friend who had my ticket. He showed up, vodka in hand, and a group of 6 of my buddies showed up at the same time.

Promises of beer, headbutts in the mosh pit, stage diving and more beer were handed out in glorious excess, as we headed in through the giant blue gates.



Brief pat down by the security guard (My trick: Put dirty socks on top of whatever it is you don't want found), and we were in!

It's one of the best feelings in the world!

Walking into a festival like Sudoeste. The mind reels at the assault on the senses.

Dust, grass and people-stench crack you on the bridge of your nose. Your eyes are treated to a feast, seemingly prepared by Jamie Oliver on acid, including an entree of greens and reds, a main course composed of the tiny people on the distant roller coaster flailing their arms around in apparent terror, the bread and butter on the side dish is the chubby chick bouncing, carefree on the bungee-trampolines, and as dessert: the three stages, perched up high and proud like medieval guards in a swamp of smiles, smoke, dust and man-sized frog-angels, sporting little green wings, seemingly stolen from some undiscovered exotic Brazilian parrot species.

Off to the fray!

Thinking it best to prepare for the night and morning ahead, the first group grabbed two tables, and each of us was dispatched to forage for beer, pizzas, greasy, grey-brwon cheese burgers, beer, chips and beer.

The feast only lasted 40 minutes, but it was filled with merriment, catching up on old times, and many a tale of adventures past.

The first group I managed to see was a no-name portuguese band who seemed like they were desperately trying to catch the attention of the 10 fifteen year old kids leaning against the stage perimenter. I really tried, like I do with most new music, but, no... these guys got sent straight to the little leather pouch I keep in my head for those really obscure daliesque dreams I have. (hey... stuff I put in there does seem to mutate and get... more interesting...)

Next up were the Mad Caddies.

These guys were a Ska band (although I knew they hadn't washed earlier... I could still smell the punk and raggae on them...) and this was the first time I had set eyes on their show.


The side-projection screens were roaring out green, yellow and red hues,



and just to make sure you were paying attention, now and again they'd belt you upside the head with a picture or two,



with what can only be described as ancient Zion kings with cool hats,



and great tastes in beards.






Blind Zero were up next, and as they cranked up their luso-made diesel engines, I was brought back to the day I left Portugal, headed back to Africas's Clitoris (yes... not many people know how to find it... but it's kinda cool when they do). I was at Lisbon airport, listening to the Chino-Latvian announcement about the next flight departure, when I decided to purchase their "Trigger" album. Partly because I wanted to try something new, and partly because I thought I might impress the blonde chick standing next to me in the "B" section with my musical taste.



....sorry... I'll try keep this short...

Engines roaring, they shifted through gears, and belted out "Shine On" in 4th.

At the end of the 6th song, I was looking away from the stage, hoping to see someone flying off into the now black-blue sky, having gotten thrown off the roller coaster mid-ride by the ticket guy, when I heard Miguel Guedes in the fog of noise saying "...and now we'd like to take you back..."

Battle stations! An "all hands on deck" alert was issued, and I scrambled to pull my camera bag out my back pack, unzip it, power it on and hammer down on the "rec" button in one swift move.

I really gotta practice my technique, because I missed the start by 3 seconds...



Once they finished their act, I wandered off, to do a little people-watching. I was wearing a red scarf over my face because of the dust, and because of this, all through the concert, people would stop me, asking if I was wearing it because of the Flu.

"Flu? What flu?" I retorted.

"You know... the swine pig flu type A HN A pig flu swine.... thingy..."

"Erm, no... never heard of it dude.... I'm just here for the music, and I'm allergic to Zambujeiran dust..."

"Oh... right..."


On my excursion into the bowels of the festival, I saw a frog-angel who had clearly fallen from grace as he was being... how can I put this... forcefully assulted from behind by a drunken band of bearded gorillas. Along this journey, colourful cavemen bonked clubs on each others heads, and although they looked realistic, instead of having an odour of rotting flesh, and unwashed bodies, they smelt like some over-zealous wanna-be Giuseppe Baldini tried to turn a clearly feminine odour into a sneak-attack bi-sexual smelling deodorant.

Off to the end of the festival area, was one of the best things I saw at the festival. I have seen a lot of content from the standar media sites related to the festival, but not one spoke of this attraction.

An array of several cubes made up of multi-coloured lightbulbs, pulsing, squirming and beating to an unheard rythm. It was simplicity itself. A steam-punk adaptation of Humphry Davy's invention of the first electrical light, pulling on the nerve endings of our current tech-culture.



All I can say is that the footage does not do it justice...

Fighting through the masses, I decided to head back to the main stage. Like many around me, I was forcefully pushing through the crowd politely enough not to get kicked, heading for somewhere... closer.

I'll leave this section up to your imagination....













After FNM, our tiny group of 3, who had started out at 10:30 that morning, decided to wonder around the festival, searching for that one last hit.

We were treated to a great rendition of a famous Bob Marley song, which we lapped up with gusto.

We then headed home, enjoying the sweet afterglow of a day well spent.

All in all, it was quite enjoyable.

With all this knowledge and wisdom I gained, I feel I am in the position to give you this one piece of advice:

"Always close up the foil, to keep the steam and flavour in."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Middle of summer? Frikkin no way, man...

Damned if you do... Damned if you don't...


***EDIT***
Thanks to DS, who pointed out that Leviticus doesn't EXPLICITLY say you will go to hell if you do these things.
********


According to the bible, you ARE going to hell if you have done anything on this list not supposed to do the things on this list:

* traveled out of your home town and eaten fruit from a tree younger than three years old. [Leviticus 19:23]
* cross-bred any animals. [Leviticus 19:19]
* grown more than two types of plants in your garden. [Leviticus 19:19]
* worn a cotton+polyester blend T-Shirt. [Leviticus 19:19]
* read your horoscope. [Leviticus 19:26]
* consulted a psychic or fortune teller, or cold reader. (Also, aparently anyone who manufactures alcohol...) [Leviticus 19:31]
* cut your hair. [Leviticus 19:27]
* trimmed your beard. [Leviticus 19:27]
* gotten a tattoo. [Leviticus 19:28]
* planted crops for more than seven years non stop in the same field. [Leviticus 25:4, Exodus 23:11]
* bourn a grudge. [Leviticus 19:17]
* collected interest on a loan. [Exodus 22:24]
* insulted a leader. [Exodus. 22:27]
* mistreated a foreigner. [Exodus 22:21, 23:9]
* spread false rumors. [Exodus 23:1]
* driven a Mercury. Mentioned, read or watched any comics or cartoons with the following characters:
- Thor, Angel, Nemo, Pluto, Hercules. [Exodus 23:13] (Don't believe me? Check it out for yourselves....)



But wait.... according to Jesus, the only Unforgivable sin, is denial of the Holy Spirit. In some passages, it is so unforgivable, that the following 4 generations of your family are cursed. Also, if you are not "for him... you are against him... in this life and the next"
This can be found in everything from Mark to Matthew to Luke

Erm... sorry.... it still makes absolutely no sense...

Friday, June 26, 2009

There's a little less hotness in the world today


I think I still have a poster of her out an old portuguese TV Guia.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Myth Busting Rants

Living in Portugal, I have noticed that there a few interesting cultural myths, that everyone takes as wrote.

Now I know what you're thinking (especially if you live in Portugal): This guy is just a Portuguese-Basher. Well... no. I just prefer science to old wives tales.

So, here I list a few myths that I have encountered, and a very cursory explanation of why they are just MYTHS...



1 - My favorite one is this: If you buy a potted Basil plant, and you want to smell it, you can't use your nose to smell the plant directly. This will kill, or at least harm the plant. Apparently, you need to press your hand down on the plant, and then smell your hand.



Reducing this to basics: If you smell the plant with your nose, about 2cm's above the plant, without actually coming into contact with it, the plant will die. If you press your hand onto the plant, then smell your hand, it will not die.

Makes perfect sense..... :|

Especially if you're the guy selling the plants and makin' mad money.
"Yes sir... don't smell the plant... squish it... preferably with a brick... or hammer... Oh, and if youre plant dies (because someone smelt it dierectly) I have more for sale..."

(UPDATE: You got to read this post by Rita on Piano & Raciocinio.) Mythbusting aside, it's a great post...




2 - Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis:




Well, a study of 300 people who had bad habits of cracking their knuckles did not find any evidence that doing so leads to arthritis.
Cracking your knuckles might damage your joints in other ways, or make them weaker, but arthritis is genetic....



3 - Eating too much piri-piri, or spicy food will give you ulcers:


Eating spicy food does not have anything to do with causing ulcers. The work conducted by Australians Robert Warren and Barry Marshall ended up in the awarding of the Nobel Prize, who concluded that stomach ulcers are actually developed by a strand of bacteria known as helicobacter pylori.
So, my friends, eat lots and lots of chilli, ginger and every other spice you can. It IS good for you... Look at people living in India. They have really low levels of heart disease, ulcers and other digestive disfunctions.




4 - You MUST wait 1 / 2 / 4 hours after eating before going swimming, otherwise you will get cramps / die / drown.


(This is the one I have the hardest time trying to explain to people, but no-one will listen to me... Oh well... it just means I get an extra hour or two by myself in the pool after lunch :D )

During digestion of food, more blood is sent to help in the process, with less left around to tend to our muscles. But this represents a very very small percentage of the total blood available in your body.
The few cramps some people might get are associated to other factors, like over exertion, or inadequate fitness levels. Also, if you go from a really hot environment into extremely cold water, you might get a cramp, among other things, but it has nothing to do with whether you ate or not.
If this was anywhere near true, then you wouldn't be able to do a lot of other things after lunch, like climb stairs, have sex, ride a bicycle, go for a jog, etc etc without passing out or getting cramps, or dying, or whatever is supposed to happen to you.




5 - Don't swallow gum / Eat peppers - They stay in your stomach for 3 / 5 / 7 years:



I have tested this, by eating kilos of peppers, and swallowing every piece of gum I chewed on.
Ok, if you still need convincing: Gum is made up of two major components, sugar and a type of plastic. Your body breaks down the sugars and the plastic gum ends up in your stool. There's really no way gum can "get stuck" inside your belly.




6 - If you go outside / get wet / get cold / walk around barefoot you will catch a cold / the 'flu'.



This is the one that I think most people here believe in.
It is also the easiest to prove wrong, if you would just take the time to find out how common colds work in the first place.

Colds are the result of a simple virus that we get from breathing in from the air. People stay inside more during winter, with all the doors and windows shut. This makes for a drop in fresh air circulation, creating more opportunities for you to breathe in those pesky cold viruses.

Conclusion: NOT going out to catch some fresh air, and staying inside will increase your chances of catching a cold.




7 - If you shave your face / legs / arms / armpits, the hair will grow back stronger / thicker / longer / darker.



This is another one most people believe.
Shaving your hair has nothing to do with the growth of new hair. If it did, wouldn't your balding father/grandfather be spending extra time shaving his head? The reasons for thinking this way relates to the length of the hair follicle.
The shorter it is, the more it seems to be thicker/stronger/darker. In addition, hair is only alive in the scalp, or under the skin, so cutting it off does nothing to affect its growth.
(please note: I am talking about SHAVING, not waxing or laser hair removal which damage the hair follicle itself...)




8 - Reading in low light / candle light will damage your eyes / make you go blind:


This one is actually common to most countries I have lived in.

In essence, what people are affirming is that everyone had really poor eyesight / or were blind before the lightbulb was invented.

Another one I think is glaringly obvious, but if you really need to be convinced, Enlighten Yourself.


The links I have included were just the first link of MANY given in a really fast Google search. If I was to dig deeper (i.e.: click on a couple of more search results), there is lots more subject matter out there to bust these myths.
I really appreciate good discussions on all subjects, but I would prefer not to see comments along the lines of "Well... you're wrong, because I once heard of a friend of a cousin who read in the newspaper a story about a news bulletin which referred to a second hand recount of an experience someone else had, so it must be true, and.. and... well... you're just wrong..." If you have scientific evidence to prove any of this wrong, I will happily update this post, and include any corrections credited to you.

Blast from the Past

Anyone remember this guy?



I'll give you a hint: "I from Barcelona... I know nothing...." Well... lets refresh your memory...

Born: Andreas Siegfried Sachs
Date of Birth: 07 April, 1930 — Andrew Sachs shares a birthday with Jackie Chan, Francis Ford Coppola and James Garner.
Place of Birth: Berlin, Germany

Andrew Sachs fled to England from Germany with his family when he was aged eight. His family had been planning to emigrate anyway when his father was arrested one night shortly before Kristallnacht. He was later released but the threats to a Jewish family in a Germany under the Nazis were too much so they fled to England.

He played Manuel in the hit series "Fawlty Towers"


:D


cool...


Also, according to BroadcastNow:

"The cast of Fawlty Towers have been reunited for the first time in 30 years.

The four main stars of the show got together for the launch of two special programmes, which look back on the classic sitcom.

John Cleese, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth and Prunella Scales all contributed to the new shows, which will air on digital channel G.O.L.D later this month.

In one of the programmes John Cleese revealed that the show very nearly didn't get made after it was branded "dire" by someone who worked at the BBC.

Fawlty Towers ran for only 12 episodes and two series. It is widely regarded as one of the best sitcoms ever made.

Fawlty Towers: Re-opened and Fawlty Exclusive: Basil's Best Bits air on G.O.L.D on 10 and 17 May respectively at 9pm."


YAY!!!

Festival of the flesh


This weekend, I went to the Estoril Open as a "VIP" guest.

Being a VIP, I thought I would be treated to proportionally Very Important Treatment.

Instead, inside the ominous VIP tent, there were ample leather sofas, free drinks at the bar and scantily clad, heavily bosomed females.

Now, I do enjoy appreciating the female form as much as anyone else, but all this flesh smacked of soulless exploitation of the girls hired by each of the companies to represent them. Nothing against the girls who were there, but my first thought was that the brain to boob mass in the tent was very low indeed.

One thing I must comment on: Outside the VIP Tent, there were a lot of fun activities going on, like playing virtual tennis with a rudimentary Wii-like tennis racket, a fairly difficult "catch the black ball" game, where the prizes were gigantic tennis balls, plus a myriad of shops giving out samples of their wines, cheeses & smoked meats.

So next time, I know...

If I want to spend the afternoon looking at boobs, I'll go VIP. If I want to spend the afternoon having a laugh, I won't go VIP.