Posts tagged me

So here’s my first (symbolic) picture of this year’s summer holiday (because beaches, boats and swimming pools are boring):

My behaviour during holidays is probably the best proof I am and will be Incompatible With Most People, being very much Unable To Identify with the typical southbound holidaymaker. Beach, for me, is a hot dusty and generally unpleasant place, made only bearable by a warm sea that invites swimming (sadly, not the case this year). I can’t stand the quasi-totalitarian ambience of tourist hotspots focused in one or two activities — i.e. sunbathing and riding high-powered leisure boats (which, had I actually access to one, would perhaps render the whole experience somewhat better) — at the expense of every other kind of human expression. Aseptic hells where no good (or any) coffee is to be had in a range that requires petrol consumption, let alone sitting down and spending an afternoon Reading In Peace. Granted, I already procrastinate in both quality and quantity during the remaining 50 or 51 weeks of the year, so I’m unable to abide to Winding Down or understand the appeal of ceasing to work or think hard for a predetermined and rigid amount of time.

I can’t, for instance, understand why I should force my mind into a low gear that handles at most the reading of formulaic prose bought in an airport. Perhaps there were more guys at the beach today not giving a fuck about looking too white and having a bit of fat in their bellies, but I’m willing to bet nobody else would be insane to take Zizek as beach literature (but hey — nobody’s doing my reading for me, right?). Or take tonight’s example: browsing the web casually while having a beer by the condo’s swimming pool, I found this, telnet’d into an emulated PDP-11 (computing wise, a bit like stepping into a time machine) and soon figured out how to get into BASIC. I find myself writing in a language I didn’t use since perhaps I was eleven (and it came back to me, like riding a bike). Is this proper holidaymaker behaviour, drinking beer while writing in the dead tongue of a 30-year old minicomputer? Do I have to be crazy to admit that was the least boring holiday moment so far?

Misc. links June 13th - 26th

Ten Myths About Introverts. As an introvert myself, I definitely vouch for the article. Too often I felt part of some unrecognized minority and struggled to make myself understood. Most extroverts, like History-writing victors, seem unable to consider others might have different interests, tastes and reactions.

Work has led me away from the Video Editing business in the last few months, so I was a bit surprised (and then again, not) the latest version of Apple Final Cut Pro (dubbed ‘X’) is rubbish. I haven’t used it or seen it in use yet, but the reported loss of backward-compatibility and external monitoring are indeed unacceptable. So great a Fail, it’s mainstream-worthy: here’s Conan O’Brien on the subject.

The Resume is Dead, the Bio is King. I’d certainly hope so, but this rests on the assumption people who hire are, like, readers. The reapparance of a certain CV-optimization industry (which reeks of SEO-for-people sleaze) gives me great doubts. (via Rita Falcão)

How to Land your Kid in Therapy, a great article about the perils of overprotective parenting. Being single and child-less, this is normally not the kind of thing I’d post about or read from start to finish, except that early on the author touches a very important subject: that parents (and I’d say, teachers and the educational establishment) place too much emphasis on protecting their children’s self-esteem from all facts of life; by the time these children get to college their professors and instructors (such as your humble narrator) have to deal with those overinflated ‘self-esteems’ where only a fraction is tied to real accomplishment, and the hypersensitivity to difficulty that comes with it. I’m definitely not for the ‘tough love’ parenting my own parents recall from theirs, but I found the passages about limiting choices and sometimes just letting kids pick themselves up specially spot-on. (via Delivereads)

Werner Herzog reads Go the Fuck to Sleep. Not only a crazy brilliant filmmaker, Herzog also has the best male narration voice I know. Lucky bastard.

Yours truly explains Peer-to-Peer, a performance art piece by the Sem Palco collective which I’m a proud member of, presented during last October’s Future Places festival.

I was born on this very same day in 1979. (photo via Pedro Quintas)

Two out of five

Almost eighteen hours into 2011, I think it’s time to finally time to look back at the last 365 days. I’m going to steal Daily Meh’s idea and rate 2010. With stars, as if it was a movie. Which it felt like, in some (not so good) ways.

The good things about living through 2010:
- Had all basic needs fulfilled: food on the table, clothes, decent housing and hot water. Plus some money for drinks and entretainments.
- Found myself surrounded by a group of friends who where kind and treated me right. No personal dramas.
- I did finish my Master’s Degree with a pretty good thesis.
- Felt pretty eager to learn most of the time: took up computer programming with renewed interest (I previously though I was pretty finished with that); while being engaged in co-directing a performing arts (another new thing).
- Enjoyed a proper holiday for the first time in years.

The bad thing I endured through 2010:
- Anxiety made its ugly appearance, with a few terrifying psychosomatic episodes.
- A persistent acute feeling of inadequacy, with consequences.
- While I don’t feel at liberty to write about the specifics, something happened that put the brakes on my post-Master expectations. I wish for once I could build something nice without anyone immediately pissing on it.
- Creative bankruptcy: I didn’t shoot a single video besides the camera/editor-for-hire stuff, didn’t write anything either (besides the thesis, that is). But still, 2010 was a good learning year, so I’ll consider this phenomenon as part of a brain tide cycle.
- A bad crop in arts and entertainment. I can’t name much in the way of outstanding movies, or plays, or music or books. I’m sure there were, but fell under the radar.

2010: (two out of five). A pretty mediocre year, then.

Couch driving

Machines age and cars do annoyingly so, to the point you realize calling for taxis would be cheaper than the petrol and mechanic bills, which is why that after a year of indecision I finally got myself a new car. While I’m glad to be finally getting rid of the 1995 Fiat Punto I had been driving for the last eleven years as it had become a vehicle of anxiety, I’m pretty wary of my new ride’s confort. The first time I drove my new car I felt as driving a pillow, not an Asian hatchback.

The Fiat Punto’s fuckedupness equated with a ‘raw’ driving experience, but I don’t mean this in the same way those Top Gear guys might. In retrospect, it makes me think that the soft suspension and good sound insulation of a new car make it a better ‘urban capsule’, as a friend of mine used to point out, than the rawness of a hardened suspension and squeaky noises. No wonder: new cars radiate their owners with smugness. It’s hard not to be a dick while driving a confortable couch. But still, being inside a protective cocoon that is somewhat distant from the streets underneath is a feeling that degrade as the car ages: it starts feeling less and less protective and more and more of a cart in direct contact with the asphalt. Like a very nice t-shirt that inevitably fades, an unconfortable car begets status anxiety, that might well trump the mechanical-failure anxiety.

I’m grateful for all the wisdom driving the Fiat gave me. Owning an old car was like having X-ray vision for superficiality. Here’s hoping I don’t lose it. And that the new car lasts as many years as the Punto in good working order.

After two years, many bureaucratic hiccups and barely made deadlines, you humble narrator concluded his Multimedia MSc. With a rocking eighteen-out-of-twenty, Which is nice.

Time to celebrate! Reality resumes on Monday. (picture via Actionlog)

So. It’s done. Yesterday I submitted my Master’s dissertation, a hundred thirty five pages of geekery about a new(-ish) approach to sharing media on the Web. I now need to do some work — of the paying kind.

“How many ‘likes’ will satisfy your need of consolation?”

That is one of the core questions of Peer-to-Peer. The video above includes images of the first presentation of our performance piece, that took place June 4th. Next presentation will be June 26th at Maus Hábitos, so pay us a visit if you’re in Porto that weekend!

In the last few months I’ve been spending my evenings co-directing the local theatre group Sem Palco (i.e., ‘stageless’) along with my friend Sérgio from way back in film school.

We started without a stageplay or a fixed goal in mind, our objective was to perform research on the theme of current technologies’ impact on human behaviour, devising a performance as we went along (think of ‘open source stagecraft’ and you get the general idea). Anyway, come next Friday we’ll finally present some of our work, in the form of the one-hour performance piece Peer-to-Peer. If you’re from Porto or nearby, pay us a visit!

We have a very limited number of seats so be sure to place your reservation early! The contacts are here.