Date: 2007-10-09 02:29
Subject: "And once again I'm left behind."
Mood:

Being aware of MovableType 2.65's limitations and taste for breaking whenever anything else completely unrelated is updated in the server, and considering more recent versions are no longer free, I have decided to switch to Word Press (instead of going back to Live Journal - imagine that: me, in a "social" site). I am not sure if anyone uses this site's RSS feed (or even if it works), but this post serves mainly to ask anyone who does to visit the new version and subscribe to the new feed instead.

Thank you.

Posted by Etienne


Date: 2007-07-23 18:47
Subject: "But why the big production number? What's the point?"
Mood:

Tramas de novela costumam ter um segredo conhecido por uma ou mais personagens mas não pelo telespectador e outro conhecido pelos telespectadores mas não pelas personagens (ou apenas por algumas).

O primeiro caso é o que gera polêmica; o exemplo máximo é "quem matou Odete Roitman". Outros mistérios menores são revelados antes do último capítulo, mas não vou me esforçar pra dar mais exemplos.

O segundo caso dá aos espectadores alguma base pra tentar determinar a resposta do mistério (ou mistérios) ou serve simplesmente para que o público tenha visão mais ampla da trama. O caso mais notório da atualidade vem da novela das oito cujo nome não faço questão de guardar: a gêmea malvada que mata a irmã e se coloca em seu lugar - exatamente como feito em "Mulheres de Areia", ouvi dizer.

A novela vai passando e esses segredos vão sendo revelados - ou para as personagens, quando o telespectador já sabia, ou para o espectador, quando alguma personagem já sabia. Até que isso aconteça, no entanto, há forte discussão, com base em informações conhecidas e segredos que só os espectadores conhecem, sobre os mistérios ainda não resolvidos. "A Bia Falcão se encontra escondida com o advogado responsável pelo golpe, então deve ser ela que mandou matar a mocinha", conjectura-se; opiniões contrárias e visões divergentes sobre determinados fatos da história são comentadas e analisadas pelos espectadores. Tudo isso sem grande conseqüência: Fulana tem certeza que Bia Falcão matou o cara, com base em X e Y, e dois capítulos depois é mostrado que X e Y não tinham relação com o caso e quem matou o cara foi Tião Gavião por causa de A e B. Fulana estava errada em sua certeza, fica chateada cinco minutos, e procura algo novo para comentar até o capítulo seguinte.

Eis que surge um problema. Se o capítulo não viesse dizer que na verdade foi Tião Gavião que matou o cara por causa de A e B, Fulana ia eternamente ter certeza da culpa de Bia Falcão por X e Y. E ia discutir com Beltrana por horas a fio, tentando convencê-la disso, porque acha absurdo que Beltrana acredite que quem matou o cara foi Maria Harpia por causa de C e Z.

Beltrana não se daria por vencida e colocaria vídeos no YouTube com coleções de cenas que deixam clara a culpa de Maria Harpia. Cicrana, que nem estava na história, deixaria um comentário no YouTube com um link para um post em seu blog onde lista situações similares em novelas anteriores desse mesmo autor e de outros autores contemporâneos e apontaria cenas desta própria novela que levam a crer que foi Tião Gavião por A e B.

Fulana criaria a comunidade de orkut "Bia Falcão matou o cara", que logo teria dois mil membros discutindo as inúmeras facetas da vilã e razões para ela ter matado o cara. Beltrana, que leva tudo muito a sério e não tem muito mais o que fazer, abriria o site tiaogaviaomatouocara.com.br, com fórum, galerias, notícias sobre as últimas armações do vilão, artigos escritos por ela e por convidados argumentando contra outros potenciais vilões no caso da morte do cara, além de encontro bimestral dos membros.

Et cetera. Assim as três e seus exércitos assistiriam aos capítulos existentes vezes e mais vezes e discutiriam infrutiferamente por décadas.

Felizmente, o capítulo do dia seguinte veio pra resolver o mistério, e elas puderam continuar com suas vidas e não traçar o perfil psicológico de Maria Harpia e não fundar a Associação Nacional de Quem Matou o Cara.

Em suma, Machado de Assis está rindo da nossa cara. Maldito.

Posted by Etienne | Comments (1)


Date: 2007-04-12 22:16
Subject: "The tyrant Mordea has no birthright!"
Mood:

Aside from Nexus and Dark Ages, both online, the game I spent the most time playing was Ultima VIII: Pagan. It was the first game from the series I played, and I confess, the only one I played with any seriousness. Ultima VII is considered the best in the series, and I did play it extensively for some time, but for some reason I stopped long before getting very far into it. Perhaps because the quest system was confusing for someone so used to Pagan's style of holding one quest at a time, all equally contributing to the main storyline, perhaps I hit a glitch caused by running the game on a system ten years too advanced for it, or perhaps I just screwed up and got my whole party killed and the last savegame was from six hours before. All things considered, I fully accept U7 is the best Ultima game, but my heart is in Pagan. This is the reason Ultima Online never appealed much to me: for me, Ultima was supposed to happen in Pagan, with the Guardian mocking the Avatar at every corner and the Titans governing everyday life; Earth and Britannia (where U7 takes place, along with most of the other games in the series) were just other worlds that got mentioned now and then by the Guardian.

The great hype raised recently over The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion picked my interest. This is one game I would be quite happy to buy, but the "official" release has all manual and in-game text in Spanish. I do not speak Spanish. Fewer people in this country know Spanish than English. "Spanish is closer to Portuguese than English is", is the obvious argument, but the amount of knowledge of a language needed to play a long RPG in it goes far beyond that of "the language is similar". I could bet my copy of Loom the number of people who bought the game because it was "comprehensible" with Spanish subtitles is far lower than of people who would have bought it in pure English but were completely put off by this language mix-up. Amazon will not ship games here, Play Asia is out of copies, and my recent experience with eBay is slightly sour.

I manage to play Oblivion, however, despite it not running all too well on my little Valhalla and it being hard to see with an eyepatch and hard to control with a hook. It is a great game, after one spends a whole day downloading and setting up "mods" and another day resolving conflicts between them - "vanilla" Oblivion is so full of bugs and problems, it is painful to play (and not only because it comes absolutely unoptimized out-of-the-box). I pity all XBox360 owners who are limited to official, commercial mods.

It dawned on me recently, then, that a full-conversion mod could be made to port Pagan into Oblivion. A non-official Ultima IX running on The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind show similar things have been done, and it would probably not be very different in TESIV - there are plans to make a sequel to the unofficial U9 on Oblivion, in fact. An Oblivion U8 mod could not only encapsulate the entire Pagan storyline, it could go beyond and include The Lost Vale storyline, an add-on to Pagan that never got released, as well as many side-stories that went unexplored in Pagan's linearity.

While I have next to no experience in making game-mods, I would be willing to give this a try, if my life was in a more stable position. My biggest concern in this matter is not the making of the mod per se, but the likely complications that would arise from the minor fact Electronic Arts holds the rights to the Ultima series, which prevents even Richard Garriot, original creator of the Ultima games, from creating another one. Automatic defeat. But it would be awesome.

Posted by Etienne | Comments (1)


Date: 2007-04-06 17:44
Subject: "I'm not walking funny."
Mood:

One day my mother walked by my bedroom door and saw me sitting in front of the computer, looking pensively at a turned off monitor. She asked what I was thinking.

If the computer was enveloped in a bubble and in this bubble time ran faster than outside, how would the computer behave? If turned on, would it use power at a faster rate, increasing consumption outside the bubble as if a more electrically demanding device had been plugged?

Likewise, what would happen if it was connected to the internet? If a download was made, would this download be slower inside the bubble because the server outside, where times flows more slowly, is unable to send data at a rate sufficient to meet the demands of a time-accelerated computer? Or would the download inside the bubble run at normal speed (from the point of view of an observer also inside the bubble) and the server sending data would "catch up" later, long after the bubble computer had the entire file downloaded?

Taking that further: time inside the bubble flowing faster means it will reach tomorrow before common time outside the bubble; would a news site visited by this computer show tomorrow's news? Could e-mails be received, inside the bubble, that have not been written yet? Assuming that, would the computer sometimes inexplicably run out of power, because sometime in the future there will be a blackout?

These examples all share the same core issues: is the future predetermined, so that coming in contact with it from an outside point of view will show precisely what will happen, inexorably?; and how do two lines of time flowing in parallel at different speeds interact?

Unable to enlighten any of my considerations, my mother laughed, commented I concern myself with the most unexpected things, and went on her way.



From xkcd, original here.

Posted by Etienne | Comments (1)


Date: 2007-03-31 14:37
Subject: "It just works."
Mood:

My recent acquisition of a DVD burner was matched by a severe disappointment at the media I got along with it. I know small planes fly around every day after lunch leaving smoke trails that say "Use only Ridata and Taiyo Yuden media!", but I would have an easier time finding a kangaroo down the street than a pack of Taiyo Yuden priced at less than the burner itself. Looking at a store's shelf, awed by the lack of options, I picked a spindle of fifty Kodak discs, assuming the many years of trusting their camera films could be extended by their discs. No such thing; actually produced by some Umedisc company in Taiwan, the "Kodak" discs are among the worst in any review site Google can lead me to. Regardless of reviews, in a pack of fifty, twenty discs were not even recognized by the burner as recordable. That says enough to me.

What discs I managed to burn were filled with things I can easily get back but were cluttering my hard disks too much. With the newly recovered space, I could reorganize my files and ended up with an entire primary partition completely empty in the secondary hard disk, a partition from which I can boot by changing the priority order in BIOS setup. So I acquired a trial version of Windows Vista Ultimate to see what would happen; I installed it and used it for about two weeks, and loved it.

Then I changed BIOS setup back to use XP again, because many older programs would not run on Vista (nothing I desperately needed, to be honest) and I felt bad using a default, slow driver for my already low-end video card, because nVidia's official driver was "experimental" and remained so until I went back to XP. I heard dreadful tales about those drivers and I had my own terrible experiences with bad video drivers in XP already, I was not willing to put something like that on my brand new OS installation. I had already learned my lesson, too, when I blindly tried to install Alcohol 120% on it and it took me three days to make it boot again. Only then did I go to Alcoholsoft's site and saw the big warning, "older versions do not work with Windows Vista", and many forum posts complaining that Alcohol had made their new system unbootable, and silly people feeling so high and mighty responding "But didn't you see the warning in the site?", because in today's world of high speed internet connection no one keeps a CD, DVD, or even a separate partition or folder filled with useful programs they always install on a new OS installation, or to take to a friend's house when they call saying "My computer broke, can you fix it?" and removing all the adware and spyware would take longer than reformat/reinstall and all they would lose is the "last month's trip to the beach" folder in My Documents\My Pictures which is all already on their fotolog or MySpace or orkut album or Flickr anyway. No, no such thing! At this day and age, with high speed internet connections, it is no trouble at all to check the sites for each program we use whenever we need to reinstall them for whatever reason - even if said programs amass to about fifteen or twenty.

But I admit it was stupid of me to think an old Alcohol 120% would work with Vista. In my defense, Mac users keep saying Microsoft's biggest problem is how each version of Windows keeps backward compatibility and how Mac OS is so much superior for not doing it; I believed them. But this is unimportant, it was fixed, the new version worked, I loved Vista (even though it gave my system a 3.7 score because of my puny video-card). But I went back because it was too early.

With the space there again, with nothing better to put on it, I decided, of course, to try some Linux. "This time I will make it work". This idea was brought by a random stumbling upon the announcement of a new version of Sabayon Linux on digg.com, which I very rarely read. There were many complaints around the internet about how Sabayon takes as much space as Vista because it installs thousands of hardware drivers in case the user ever needs them, but I had space to spare, no worries. What really attracted me was a bit of information saying the x64 version comes preconfigured with many functional 64-bit applications and everything that does not have a x64 compatible version is set to 32-bit by design - in essence, Firefox would have Flash and Wine would work without the need to work all sorts of magic. I tried it.

The mouse cursor was there during installation, both in graphical and text modes, but it did not move. Installation ended, the system booted, the cursor was there, but it did not move. I have a very standard PS/2 mouse, it is recognized by everything under the sun - but not Sabayon Linux's 10GB of drivers. "No matter", I thought, "I read their support is quite good, there is a link to their IRC channel right on the main menu, I will just ask around or check their forums." But no, that was impossible, because in the 10GB of drivers there was also nothing able to make my onboard network card work. No internet and no mouse, it reminded me of my first week on Windows 3.1, except Windows 3.1 was fully usable without a mouse. I kept trying for about a week, then gave up and wiped the partition out.

"Fine, then, I will do what everyone who refuses to use Vista does and install Ubuntu, I can deal with some magic to make Flash and Wine work." Downloaded the latest stable version, 6.10, got it on a CD, booted, set it to install, nothing. A corrupt screen, black and white, with a barely recognizable Ubuntu logo and a flashing bar that seemed to go back and forth but was too garbled to be sure. Then nothing.

It would not work with the defaults, so I poked around for install options. I got the corrupted screen to look smaller on a higher resolution but nothing else I tried had any result. Turning the garbled screen off gave me some information about what was going on. "dma_timer_expiry" a number of times. Back to XP, Google, hundreds of conflicting forum posts with no actual solution. Back to BIOS setup, I disabled the SATA controller and hard disk, leaving only the IDE drive where Ubuntu was to be installed. Same garbled screen, but behind it there were less dma_timer_expiry errors - just one, actually, but enough to prevent installation completely. I kept trying for a few more days with no results. I wiped the partition again.

I think a forum poster got it right with the most elucidative comment, "lol nforce". My puny motherboard is based on the nForce4 chipset. It works with Vista.

Posted by Etienne | Comments (13)


Date: 2007-02-28 22:07
Subject: "Kay-lay lam. Lam piki-piki. Lam eensy weensy. Lam say-say... eunuchy. Snip-snip." "Ahhh... eunuchy!"
Mood:

It bothers me tremendously that TV series nowadays have more prestige and are held in higher regards than movies. Series require continued watching at regular times each week, series have long hiatus, and so often missing one episode means losing track of the story. I often hear, in favor of series, that they require less attention and time to watch than a movie. Granted, a one hour episode (forty-two minutes if recorded) is easier to watch than a two hours movie (three if it is Magnolia and a number of others); but you are forced to watch one hour today and one hour next week and one hour three months from now and another hour the week after that. At the end, you watched about twenty hours in little pieces - that assuming the series is not canceled a few episodes into it, of course, and has an actual ending; more likely, it has a season finale that will make you watch the next season to see how it ends, and on it goes until audience falls too low and writers have to come up with a rushed ending. Two, three years of weekly slavery, months of wait during mid-season hiatus, and you are still left without an ending.

The only advantage I see in series is the ease of giving new stories to good characters. Naturally, these are the series where each episode is a closed story, perhaps with bigger arcs wrapping them up. Such is the formula of everything from the 60s to the 90s. Then someone made the background story more important than the individual story of each episode. One scene I remember quite well from Seinfeld, of which I watched little, is his comment on the "To be continued..." message that used to appear in series years ago. "The episode is almost done but still has lots of loose ends, you know they will never wrap it up in these final five minutes, you start to dread the coming of the message and then bam, 'To be continued'. Sorry, folks, you have to wait one week to see how it ends." I am sure it went nothing like that, but the idea is the same. Some five or ten years ago, everyone dreaded and hated "To be continued" messages, which only appeared in the very rare double-episodes, because we would have to wait an entire week to know how things got solved - and we knew it would be solved next week. Now people will gladly wait one week, then another, then a month, a season to see all things wrapped up - if they are at all! Producers should put some "To be continued" messages at the end of each episode of newer series to see how people would react nowadays - would they still hate it as much, knowing that they already are going to wait for any conclusion? Japanese tokusatsu (live-action series such as Kamen Rider) had "tsuzuku" ("continues") at the end of each episode - until the final episode would bring "owari" ("end"), and all the kids knew it was the end because the "two waves symbol" was changed. This was a bit unrelated.

I watched five episodes of "Lost" and gave up. It was completely pointless. I did it when the series was already near the end of its second season, and by then I knew no matter how good the story seemed, nothing would be solved for another forty episodes, then the gods know how many more. "Ah, Lost is different, other series don't just keep adding more mysteries and characters, they get somewhere." No matter. Watching Bruce Willis deal with some major peril in two hours still beats watching Jack Bauer deal with some major peril in eight months.

Last time I was in a movie theater was to see "The Queen" ("but she wasn't there", haha, ha... ha). Best seat in the whole room, except for the guy right behind (over 30 years-old, no teenager excuse) who failed to realize he was not in his living room and kept on commenting on each and every scene with his girlfriend (not wife, I am sure, but they probably style themselves as "engaged", warp factor three, straight into the Neutral Zone). The girl responded in a low voice, if at all, probably (hopefully) ashamed of the scene the ape by her side was making. "The stag is an allegory of her government" was his most memorable comment - you could see the brilliance pouring from it at the same rate as blood poured from the dead stag - but less inspired comments - such as, during the scene of Princess Diana's funeral, "Look, it's Elton John... and Spielberg... and..." all other celebrities he recognized - won him well deserved reminders that we paid as much as him and we like to get our movie comments from select newspapers and websites, not random movie-goers of questionable knowledge. The couple disappeared from the theater the moment the first line of the credits rolled up; I like to think in his mind was "let's get out of here or I'll have to punch these people who were nagging at me, bastards" and in the girls was "let's get out of here before any of these people sees or even talks to us and I'm even more ashamed than I already am".

"Casino Royale" was the movie I watched before that. I found it interesting that the main character happened to have the same name as the famous fictional spy James Bond, but it was obviously a coincidence. The room was packed. On the row in front a family of twin girls (mp3 players, if I recall), late teenage boy (cellphone set to highest brightness), father (RAZR) and mother (cellphone and smartphone). All the gadgets were used extensively until right before the movie started; none was turned off during the movie; of note: the boy wrote multiple SMS, answered a call, made a call and spent a good five minutes changing phone settings with a bright spotlight in my direction; the father made a call; the mother answered a call. Correction: all devices were used extensively until, 15 minutes before the movie's third consecutive ending, I decided kicking their chairs heartily and blatantly was the only way to spread a bit of our ten thousand years of civilization to that small horde of techno-primates. They looked at me quite puzzled, as if I was a giant black monolith that made a high pitch sound and had just landed behind them, but finally they stopped. They looked at me angry as the credits rolled, but being of the class "Civilized Human" I have Immunity to Ugly Faces +2.

Rewind to five minutes into the movie (post trailers, ads, warnings and bad music), a couple walked into the theater and sat right by my side (it was packed, remember), carrying multiple plastic and paper bags. A distinct smell followed right behind them and was amplified when the pseudo-lady opened her first paper bag and retrieved from it a sandwich with more calories than I ever ate in a day. She used the bag as wrapping to hold it in her hands, resulting in long minutes of a surreal orchestration of munching, paper crunching, and what seemed like the pseudo-man using a fork and knife to cut something on his plate (yes: fork, knife, plate). The bottle of soda they shared during this first dish lasted into the second, where they enjoyed their respective salads, but was empty before the dessert. About half an hour after this madness began they were finally done, with no more food to eat and, consequently, no more comments to make about it (the chicken was good, by the way, or so I heard); from then until the credits they were silent, except for the very heavy breathing that clearly denotes one's terminal lung disease or, more frequently, that one ate way too much. Both seemed to weight more than me and my identical evil twin combined, and they were still prostrated into their chairs, helpless, unable to move as I walked out of the theater, still deciding if I was more revolted or puzzled.

"GoldenEye" is my favorite Bond movie. The only good thing in all other Pierce Brosnan Bond movies is Miranda Frost, but Catwoman kills her. "Catwoman" is probably the worst movie I ever saw, followed by a tie between "The Forgotten" (of which I fittingly remember next to nothing) and "The Bottom End of the Sea".

I went to see "Charlotte's Web" before that. Only available dubbed, but no matter, I doubt the pig and spider and other animals spoke their own lines in the original, and Dakota Fanning is completely unimportant. Another packed movie, but for each adult in the theater there were two children. Other than a baby that cried and was quickly removed by her mother, there was not a single sound or any other distraction during the entire movie.

Children are more civilized than adults. Probably because they are not yet used to watching TV series at home, where the can comment and eat during it. I know the two subjects are unrelated but I wanted to mention the first issue again before the end.

Posted by Etienne | Comments (1)


Date: 2007-01-01 00:05
Subject: "Oh, dash it all!" "Here we are again!"
Mood:

But this year I have a very good excuse!

I was extremely busy for the first half of it. Or at least for the second half of the first half of the year - commonly referred to as the second quarter, or simply Q2 in commercial jargon. For the rest of the months, I bite the bullet and ... make up excuses as I go. They are all very convincing, none the less, I assure you.

January 1st - "This all you givin' me?"
Silenced pistol, from behind, thirty-five paces away - aiming with a mouse, of course. Causa mortis only available for drug dealers, mind you, as they make the fine lads in green who would easily die for a cause refuse to and just sit around all day. That is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, of course. The aftermath of the mentioned precision-shot is piles of money scattered around the body - it amazes me how much money those drug dealers have. When picking it up, C.J., the protagonist, says various phrases. My favorite is "I need this more than you, I think.", but "This all you givin' me?" fit well as title over a year that had too few entries. I could repeat it here, even.

January 28th - "Attack any enemy aircraft anywhere without restriction."
I asked Google to define the word "freelance" out of curiosity; I wondered if the origins were medieval, when some combatants did carry lances. Wikipedia, of course, had the answer, but Google also told me the Indiana Military has it defined as "attack any enemy aircraft anywhere without restriction". I liked it. "So, did you find a job yet?" "No, but I am downing enemy aircrafts without any sort of restriction, 'Top Gun' style! Woo!".

March 31st - "Because when you lie, it's all over your face."
Mr. Garibaldi to Dr. Franklin in a Babylon 5 episode, in response to "Now why do you believe her, and not me?", 'her' being Lyta Alexander. I do not remember Lyta lying, however, but I do admit my memory of Babylon 5 is faded. Regardless, the post was an obvious lie. Except the parts that were true.

April 12th - "Alea jacta est."
Julius Caesar, upon invading Rome just a few January 10's before I was born. "The die is cast." No hidden meaning for this post: I did not go to war, join the military, started playing Civilization seriously, nothing. I had not even taken the plunge and chosen the final theme to my work at this point.

May 20th - "Adult manga, or H Manga, is manga designed for purely pornographic purposes."
Wikipedia's page on "Hentai", one of the hundreds of pages about hentai manga I visited while writing my paper. Yes, my final paper for college was on hentai manga. And it was a blast, with over thirty people watching the presentation, and a near perfect score - the lack of "printed references" cost me half a point, which was completely excused: even the judging teachers only knew two books on the subject that I failed to use, one released two weeks prior, one out of print in Germany. No worries, it was all fine. And I am not a pervert.

May 23rd - "I have a question for Etienne, when will we hunt again?" "Whenever you catch me online. I will probably not be doing anything useful, anyway."
A conversation in the Planet Dark Ages forums, in the "Ask two old Atavism dudes anything (and get wrong answers)" thread. I went back to Dark Ages for a month while working on the paper, to steer away from all the hentai for a bit when I needed a break. As was always natural, I was never doing anything useful in Temuair whenever I was online.

May 27th - "Interlude: Book of Planet"
I love the game Alpha Centauri, even though it is little more than Civilization on heavy make-up. From time to time during a game these interludes would pop up to say what was going on with the planet itself. In theory, the planet is an extra enemy faction for the player to deal with - and for the first time in a game by Sid Meier, a faction you can manipulate or cooperate with, instead of coexisting until an inevitable annihilation. Unfortunately, the planet has very little weight on the game, so these interludes from the Book of Planet serve only to give some background story of little relevance, even if they are well written and a pleasure to read. The chat logs from this post are exactly that: they have little relevance to the matter then at hand (the paper), but were a great way to spend some time.

August 28th - "Glad that you're feeling strong, thought I might lose ya!"
Callisto to Xena in "The Bitter Suite", first (and best) musical episode in Xena: Warrior Princess. The paper was done despite all hell and it was grand. That was all.

September 14th - "We are committed to providing an online meeting place where people can socialize, make new acquaintances and find others who share their interests."
"I am no fan of online social networks or of music, but I joined Last.fm to see what happens." I have not touched it for months. The quote, I believe it is from orkut. I had to actually go there to find a usable line. Feh.

September 20th - "In Brazil, 'Tom Sawyer' was used as the theme music for the television series 'MacGyver'."
From Wikipedia's page about Rush (or possibly "Rush in popular culture"), the musical group. That is no longer true, however: "MacGyver", when shown on open television over a decade ago, did have that theme, and was called more or less "Occupation: Danger", even though everyone just knew it as MacGyver anyway. It moved to cable television in the last few years and regained its original name and theme song. Regardless, it was an interesting fact about Rush that I found randomly and fit well in a post about Last.fm's inability to play it.

October 10th - "`But then,' thought Alice, `shall I NEVER get any older than I am now? That'll be a comfort, one way--never to be an old woman-- but then--always to have lessons to learn! Oh, I shouldn't like THAT!'"
From Alice in Wonderland. The books are so, so much better than Disney's adaptation. The post is just a quote, it speaks for itself.

October 30th - "Help stamp out, eliminate, and abolish redundancy!"
A poem by one of Brazil's first presidents and scholar, frustrated for all the dumbness and stupidity and idiocy of his fellow countrymen. Copies of it suddenly invaded the internet shortly after the results to the presidential election were out, with the reelection of the drunken hobbit. The quote is a tagline from the days of BBS and Blue Wave mail reader, used because said poem was being tremendously overused at the time. I heard it on the radio, in fact.

November 30th - "It happened to a friend of a friend of mine."
Little collection of interesting facts and observations under a common cliché for urban legends. But cockroaches do throw up.

December 14th - "That's B.B. King, master of Blues."
The line is in the post itself, fully deserving of the title.

Not a memorable year, eh? Must be something with even numbers; years with odd numbers are always more memorable. Hah.

Happy New Calendar Day.

Posted by Etienne | Comments (2)


Date: 2006-12-04 16:10
Subject: "That's B.B. King, master of Blues."
Mood:

Years ago, when I used to take the train to school and back, one day I witnessed a very interesting situation that I hold as the best memory of my train days.

The line I used to go to school was relatively new, especially the stations closer to here - they were very clean and had music playing all the time. The trains almost matched the stations, but were harder to keep in good shape, I believe. None the less, most of them had music playing all the time.

I eventually learned the music played depended on the conductor. First I noticed the songs were always in the same order, later that each genre matched each voice (from the conductors announcing each station). By the end of a year, I knew rather well what songs played, and sometimes in what order.

One day, however, perhaps because the conductor was tired of playing the same CD over and over, on came a song I had never heard on the train before. Two late-teen guys standing nearby started to comment on it.

"What a weird song. Look at the instruments, it's crazy."
"Yeah, and the guy's voice, I don't think I've seen anyone sing like that. Nuts."
"Nuts is right. What's the conductor on today? What kinda music is that?"

The dialog went on like that for a few more lines, until it was interrupted by one of the most incredible (in the sense of being unable to believe) people I have ever seen. A black man, around sixty, slightly fat, wearing a hat.

"Show some respect. That's B.B. King, master of Blues."

Precisely that, "That's B.B. King, master of Blues.", in a rough voice of slightly fat black man in his sixties, straight out of a park in some famous city in the United States, where he sits during autumn afternoons and shares his taste and knowledge of the good music - Blues, Jazz, Soul, "your rock'n'roll came from this" - with anyone willing to listen to him and his outstanding collection of vinyl records, and maybe play a match of chess to pass the time. If he had not said it in Portuguese, I would have been sure it was a scene from some movie about the theme playing in a big screen on a train for gods know what reason. But it was an actual man, two stations from here; not a character in a movie, not someone in the Central Park or Jackson Square: just a guy in a train I was on, trivially standing there as I waited to get to school.

I have very few complaints about my time riding the train to school. This event made most of them quite worthwhile.

* * *

Adendo ao comentário sobre o Rio de Janeiro: o Rio também tem Iraque, Afeganistão e coisas do tipo: ficam mais perto e são chamados popularmente de "morros".

Posted by Etienne | Comments (0)


Date: 2006-11-30 21:32
Subject: "It happened to a friend of a friend of mine."
Mood:

About a month ago I heard the theme song for Xena: Warrior Princess on the radio. It seemed like an extended version of the opening song without the narration. I am still impressed.

Today I saw a car with a spiral staircase on top. It was quite hilarious.

Also about a month ago I found out that cockroaches throw up. I saw it happening. This is one piece of knowledge I would wholeheartedly prefer not to have.

* * *

Half of the major problems in the world are direct consequence of Communism and/or Islam. The other half is ignorant people being exploited by the less ignorant (this is not Capitalism, by the way). Ecology problems are excepted.

O Rio de Janeiro é um micro-EUA: os americanos enxergam o mundo dividido em estados, Alaska e Havaí um pouco mais longe, e sabem que existe algo chamado Europa onde moram vários tipos de gente estranha; os cariocas enxergam o mundo em bairros, mais Niterói e Angra dos Reis, e sabem que existe algo chamado São Paulo em algum lugar onde moram vários tipos de gente estranha.

Posted by Etienne | Comments (1)


Date: 2006-10-30 21:53
Subject: "Help stamp out, eliminate, and abolish redundancy!"
Mood:
Music: Maureen McGovern - A Morning After

SINTO VERGONHA DE MIM

Continue reading ""Help stamp out, eliminate, and abolish redundancy!""
Posted by Etienne | Comments (0)