Thursday, August 31, 2006

Brazil advice

I got the most romantic compliment last week (on my birthday, as well!): that I have a good memory compression algorithm. Contrast this to Tiago Galvao's opinion on good compliments (third comment). It's in Portuguese, though.
All this to say that my algorithmic friend is planning to go to Brasil and asked me for advice, knowing full well that I have never gone to Brazil. He just thought I'd remember things I'd read...

Anyway, all of you who HAVE gone to Brazil, please leave your tips for him in the comments or greetz box. If you find it easier to give advice on this issue in Portuguese, you can, as he is Portuguese himself.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Location: Cambridge

The Guardian last Saturday had an interesting article on the work section. Apparently a survey of values across cultures and religions revealed that there are six values that are universal. I think I rate pretty highly in five out of six - which if you don't know me well enough to already guess the one low one will show you which one it is. Funny that my faults are all lumped together in one, lacking, universal value, huh? Here are all six:

Wisdom - Curiosity, love of learning, judgement, ingenuity, emotional intelligence and perspective

Courage - Valour, perseverance and integrity

Humanity - Kindness and loving

Justice - Citizenship, fairness and leadership

Temperance - Self-control, prudence and humility

Transcendence (which refers to the virtue of escaping the self and its general pettiness) - Appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, spirituality, forgiveness, humour and zest

All of you out there who want to tell me where your strengths lie feel free to tell me and if I know you well enough I'll tell you if I agree. Or just do some surveys.

At the moment, I'm feeling quite un-humble anyway as I managed to make chapattis for the first time. Woohoo!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

When you start thinking ...

Location: Cambridge
(London on Monday)

that you might actually have to ditch the low-cut top - when you notice out of the corner of your eye that one of the characters of a British sopa opera on tv is using it. Nooooo! Waited until the end of the program to check which it one it was - it's Emmerdale. Soap opera specialists - is that very bad, terrible or do I have to torch the top right away?

Bright side, after about one hour of fiddling about whilst waiting to check which program it was, I managed to get the VPN connection on my laptop working again. On my own! I fought the computer...and I won! This is something that most people install straight away and never have a problem with again, of course...

And the news is that I have passed to the second stage of the selection process for pharma and science events developer. This actually involves a test project. I was quite happy doing one anyway, but the topic of this test is fascinating. I'm not going to say anymore as i think this is a real events project and so might be hush-hush.

Oh, and in case you were thinking that I've got my priorities all wrong, I've ordered the topics in ascending order today. Just for a change. And the location thing at the top is that friends have been mentioning that they can't keep track of where I am, country or city. So there you are: you have no excuses for not inviting me to parties, while I still have the old thesis excuse to say no. Win-win for me (in the loose-loose that is writing a thesis of course).

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


"Quando morrer voltarei para buscar os instantes que não vivi junto do mar"
Sophia De Mello Breyner Andresen.

Muitas vezes os Britanicos perguntam-me de que e que eu sinto falta de Portugal. O problema e que a maior parte destas coisas e impossivel de explicar sem ser na lingua Portuguesa.De vez em quando os Portugueses tambem me perguntam o que e que eu sinto falta la em Inglaterra. E o que eu noto, realmente, sao ausencias.

- So quando vim para ca e que compreendi a expressao "cor de burro quando foge". Essa ausencia de cinzento, como se olhassemos para cima para a barriga de um burro gigante a fugir o mais rapidamente possivel para paragens mais hospitaleiras, e exactamente a (ausencia de) cor do ceu de Londres.
- Muitas vezes sinto um vento na cara que sopra numa determinada direccao e que me causa logo um sentimento de ausencia de maresia. Eu sou uma daquelas pessoas que sou completamente incapaz de dizer para que lado fica o Norte, Oeste, Sul e Leste (ou seja, sou uma daquelas pessoas com dois cromossomas X), mas inconscientemente sinto sempre quando sopra um vento que em Portugal teria o cheiro do mar.
- A ausencia de contacto fisico regular, rotineiro, com amigos, familia, conhecidos, sem razao especial, e daquelas coisas que normalmente nao se nota. Eu ate (para os padroes portugueses) nao sou muito dada a abracos, beijoquices, maos dadas (entre homens que acham que isto e maricas, substituem por murros e lutas a fingir). So quando voltei a primeira vez a Portugal e dei por mim a abracar toda a gente e que percebi que nao era so a falta de sol que me estava a deprimir..

- A falta de cafeina tambem nao se nota. Dizem que e a intensidade do ritmo de Londres que nos deiza exaustos nas primeiras semanas. O certo e que varios anos a tomar quatro ou cinco cafes por dia criam um vicio que nao desaparece. Uma pessoa habitua-se a ausencia da sensacao de estar completamente desperta.

- E claro, as torradas. Logo uma das coisas que eu gosto mais nos cafes portugueses, e aquela que nao se consegue arranjar em Inglaterra.

Monday, August 07, 2006

It wasn't the top after all. Maybe British chemistry just can't handle FOUR WHOLE weeks of summer.
I have also managed to finish another chapter of my thesis. Which would be more ego-satisfying than any amount of requests for phone numbers, except that it just is TAKING TOO LONG! (I was almost going to swear there, so you can see how frustrated I'm getting).

Friday, August 04, 2006

Reality is stranger than fiction...and is fiction stranger than reality?

I know that by now second life is old news to most of you. But I just read about it now! And although I think there are enough interesting things to see in this reality, and I have already enough trouble to figure out who the real me is, never mind an alternative persona, it still is really interesting. Imagine, you can make real moeny selling things in an unreal world. You have gigs and exhibitions! All created so you can be a person who is a virtual pounds thinner or more muscled (without the effort).