segunda-feira, setembro 24, 2012

Cambridge Film Festival 2012 - 10 days, 9 films!

 Today was the last day of the Cambridge Film Festival 2012. Last year Mariana and I went to watch six films, this year we got a bit carried away and chose 10, but ended up only watching 9. It was really great and I'm already looking forward to next year's.

Here are my short reviews of what we have watched this time:
Spoilers alert: These might contain some spoilers!!
  •  Come as you are: A Belgian tragic-comedy about three guys with different limiting diseases that decide to go to Spain to a brothel that specialises in clients with handicaps. This was one of the best films that I watched in the Festival. The film manages to switch between funny to really dramatic scenes with an amazing flow. One of the things that I liked the most was the way they showed these three guys, without falling into a 'feel pity because they have a tough life' type of portrait. Obviously they have a tough life, with many challenges that we can only start to imagine, but they are people like everyone who is healthy. I strongly advise everyone to watch it.
  • Meet the Fokkens: This was the first documentary that we watched in this edition of the Festival. It tells the story of two twin sisters who have worked for over fifty years in Amsterdam's Red Light District. It was the documentary that I liked the least. I thought it was too shallow, focusing solely in the two sisters and their life as prostitutes, without diving into their perception of social changes in the fifty years that they've worked there, not even changes of mentality and/or law in regards to prostitution. It was somewhat entertaining, as it's quite an unusual story, but overall it was disappointing.
  • Camp 14: Total Control Zone: The second documentary that we watched tells the story of a North Korean who was born in a labour camp in North Korea, and who escaped from the camp and fled to South Korea. It is a very powerful documentary, depicting (through very nice animations) a terrifying reality. The rules of the camp (do anything against the rules and your punishment is to be shot), the daily life (prisoners eat the same stuff every day at every meal), the way prisoners are controlled and are formatted to think (the guy in the centre of the story tells one of the guards that his mother and his brother are planning to escape, which results in they being sentenced to death. Something that he does not regret at all), all of that makes you shiver. Some ex-guards of other labour camps are also interviewed for the documentary and that makes it even stronger. Even the conclusion made by the central "character" in the end is terrifying, but understandable in the context. He dreams of going back to North Korea, as he feels that life is too complicated and too full of problems in South Korea. It's really worth to see it, though the pace of the documentary is a bit slow at times.
  • The Intouchables:This French film was really nice to watch. It tells the story of a wealthy quadriplegic who is looking for live-in carer, and finds one in an unlikely person, a young and poor man from the ghettos. The film shows how their work relationship evolves into a really nice friendship. Totally worth watching... and to make it even nicer, it's based in a true story.
  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi: This was definitely the best documentary that we watched in the Film Festival this year. Telling the story of Jiro a sushi chef and his restaurant. The only restaurant in the world that is located in an underground station, to be awarded three michelin stars, and with Jiro being the oldest chef (he was 85 at the time of shooting) still working in a three stars restaurant. The documentary guides us into Jiro's restaurant, Jiro's life, the art of preparing sushi and much more. It has so much depth and information, that it is really a must see. But be careful, 'cause when I left the cinema I was craving for sushi really badly! Oh and if you ever go to Tokyo don't forget to stop by Jiro's restaurant... just remember that you have to book it two months before.
  • Sleep Tight: Recommended by a friend of mine (PedroVB), this Spanish thriller proved to be one of the best films that we watched. Every time I watch a Spanish film I'm always struck with the quality of Spanish cinema. This film is not an exception. The story is really powerful and even scarier. A concierge who claims to not be able to feel any happiness, seems to live with only one goal in life, to make everyone feel as miserable as he is. The things he does to accomplish this are very disturbing, so much that at some point I thought that I would have trouble sleeping in the following days. Funny enough after the film ended I felt more like laughing at the evilness of the guy... I hope that there aren't people as sick as this guy, or at least that I never meet them. I do recommend it! Thanks Pedro!
  • Liberal Arts: When I watched the trailer of this film I thought that it was just going to be another romantic comedy. I was also curious to see how would Josh Radnor (who plays Ted Mosby in the tv series "How I met your mother") do in this film (that he not only acts in, but also directed and produced), would I be able to see more than Ted Mosby? Truth is that I was very surprised with the ending of the film and though sometimes Ted Mosby did come to my mind, there are some noticeable differences between him and Jesse Fisher, the character Josh plays in this film. In the end I think that I did enjoy the film, though as I was expecting a traditional romantic comedy, I was kind of disappointed... but I guess that's not the film's fault. I think it is worth watching.
  • A Trip to the Moon (and Le voyage extraordinaire): Everyone who has watched Martin Scorcese's 'Hugo', has heard of Georges Méliès and his film "Trip to the moon". This time at the Cambridge Film Festival they showed an original hand painted version which was believed to be completely lost, but that has been found in Spain 8 to 10 years ago, and which has now been restored. It was quite amazing to watch something that was filmed 110 years ago, when the cinema had just been born and was still giving its first steps. After the film they also showed the documentary 'Le voyage extraordinaire', which tells the story of Georges Méliès and the process of restoring his "Trip to the Moon". It was really nice to see the passion shown by the people that restored it. If you love cinema, you should definitely watch both of them!
And this is what I thought about the films that we watched. Hope you had the patience to read some of it... and if not, hope you still have the chance to watch some of them!

I look forward to next year's edition!

PS: On a completely unrelated note I've noticed that I tend to write less and less (oh the surprise:-o), and was wondering if it's just because I'm lazy or if it is because I'm lazy and I have to write in English... so I wanted to ask if there is any non Portuguese speaker reading my blog regularly... if not, I might just revert to writing in Portuguese. :) Please let me know! ;)

sábado, junho 16, 2012

Shopping for Shoes

I had just finished playing football, and didn't really feel like going home and back to the city centre... So I thought.. What the hell, I'll go straight to the shops! :)

quinta-feira, maio 17, 2012

Are you looking for a Job? We are hiring! # Application period now closed!

We at UNEP-WCMC are hiring for various positions, but I would like to share the adverts for Informatics positions. So if you want to work with us, the creators of Protected Planet and other cool applications take a look at the following vacancies:

- Ruby on Rails Developer
- Front-end Developer
- Geospatial Developer
- Product Manager

   - Just send in an application!
Not interested?
   - Share with your contacts anyway! =)
Any questions?
   - Feel free to use the comments box in this post!

Thank you for reading! :)

And if you wondering who are we, take a look at this presentation:

#Quick guide to the presentation:
- There are 7billion people in the world, there were 5billion in 1985, in 2020 there will be an estimated 5billion people with access to the internet. In the past 6 months we had 1million visits to our applications. This shows that there's a world of opportunities for us. And we as the Informatics Unit of UNEP-WCMC are here to embrace those opportunities and help the Centre (UNEP-WCMC) show its outputs to the world, with exciting new applications. We have a fantastic team of 8 people, and we are hiring! I think that's it. =)

segunda-feira, maio 07, 2012

Stacey Kent in Cambridge, UK

Yesterday I went to listen to Stacey Kent in the Cambridge Arts Theatre, with Mariana and some friends.
I didn't really know Stacey's music before buying the tickets and I knew very little before the concert. When we were buying the tickets Mariana told me that she sang Jazz and Bossa Nova and she showed me some songs, it seemed nice so I agreed to go.
Now, after the concert, I'm really happy that I did so.

It was a really nice evening with great music, sang in English, French and a song in Portuguese... that was dedicated to us! =)

During the show's intermission Stacey's husband (, producer, saxophonist, etc.) was selling some CDs and we went to ask about the prices. During that brief chat he asked us where we were from and we said Portugal. After that he started speaking in Portuguese and he said that Stacey would be very happy to speak with us after the show.
When we got back to the show she sang in Portuguese (a song named 'Corcovado') and noted that she knew that there were some portuguese speaking people in the room. It was really cool. =D

After the show we had the chance to speak with her (in Portuguese!) and she was really nice. She praised Portugal, the portuguese language and she even said that she'd love to live in Lisboa with her husband. It was a really interesting chat.

I had loved the concert, but after that I became a true fan! :) She said that she'd be doing four shows in Portugal in the near future (Lisboa, Castelo Branco, Leiria, and Torres Novas), so if you have the chance, go and listen! It's really worth it! And next year she'll probably come back to Cambridge and she said she'll sing a song in Portuguese named 'Comboio' (Train), that they are preparing with a Portuguese poet named António Ladeira, that was also their portuguese teacher.
That should be cool!


quarta-feira, janeiro 11, 2012

Me on the Radio (Antena 1 in PT)

A few weeks ago Fernando Pires, a friend of mine from my Faculty, asked me if I would be interested in participate in a small Radio Show called "Portuguese in the World" (Portugueses no Mundo). I said yes and he sent my contact details to the journalist. Last week the journalist contact me asking for some more information and after a short talk (3-5minutes) on the phone we scheduled it for the past Friday, 6th of January at 7h25 in the morning... Quite early, no, but the talk was going to be live so it had to be at the time of the show. It was a really nice experience and I'm happy that I did it. I was a bit nervous at first, but I think I didn't do too bad. =) The only "bad" thing was that this happened at 7h25 in the morning, so not many people that I know listened to it live, still there were a few people that were surprised to listen to my voice in the radio. And it was in Antena 1, a national Radio Station which has a market share of 5% (that's around 400k listeners :-o). If you didn't have the chance to listen to my participation you can do it through this link: =) (you might not understand anything if you don't understand Portuguese... =P) You can also check the show's webpage and the podcast, if you want to listen to other editions. =) Hope you enjoy it! =)

terça-feira, outubro 11, 2011

St. Johns College 5-a-side tournament

On Sunday the 9th of October 2011 I took part in a 5-a-side tournament organised by St Johns College's 11-a-side post-graduates football team, actually it was all organised by its captain, Russel. I normally play in St. Johns team but for this tournament I talked with some friends and we registered a team of Portuguese Speakers. The team was formed by 5 Portuguese (myself, João, Bruno, Filipe, and Zé Pedro) and 2 East Timorese (Diamantino and Zé).

Standing up from left to right: Diamantino, Simão, Zé, Bruno; On one knee from left to right: Zé Pedro, Filipe, João
The tournament had 11 teams registered that were divided in two groups. The best two teams of each group would go on to the semi-finals and then the winners of the semi-finals would face each other in the final.

My team did really well in the tournament, having won! =D \o/

We played 6 games: won 5 and drew 1. We scored 26 goals, and conceded 4 (or maybe 5, not entirely sure). I scored two of the 26 goals and conceded 3 (or 4). It was a really good tournament and I'm very happy with the outcome!

Our results were as follows:
  1. 8-0 against Abacus;
  2. 4-0 against Cambridge Assessment
  3. 6-0 against Robinson College Team 2
  4. 2-2 against Wolfson College
  5. 4-0 against Robinson College Team 1 ( Semi-final)
  6. 6-2/3 against Queens College (Final)
Hurrah! =)
Collecting the "award" and having a fruit to recover my energy...

The following text was written by João and I believe that it is real football poetry, unfortunately for my non-Portuguese speaking readers it might be hard to follow. Maybe Google Translator can help you... =)

CUPORTSS 5-a-side Futebol Team vence Torneio de Futebol St. Johns College

Foi sob um ameaçador céu cinzento que no dia 9 de Outubro se deu início ao torneio de 5-a-side do St. Johns College. 11 equipas unidas pelo amor à redondinha aqueciam os joelhos sem ainda saber o que os esperava.
5 jogadores dos quatro cantos de Portugal e 2 jogadores de Timor Leste acordaram cedo essa manhã de domingo para formar a equipa CUPORTSS. Pólos opóstos do globo terrestre encontraram-se sobre um relvado frondoso onde imediatamente se trocaram piadas: uma língua que viajou em caravelas muitos séculos antes da Jabulani ou da “mano de dio” tornou este grupo de pessoas, sem esforço, numa equipa pronta a actuar!
A equipa da Cambridge University Portuguese Speakers Society entrou com calma mas com muita fome de bola. O primeiro golo na primeira jogada exprimiu claramente a superioridade futebolistica que se driblava.
Uma enxurrada de golos não tardou a surgir. O Bruno, o Diamantino, o Filipe, o João, o Simão, os Zés; bolas pela esquerda, bolas pela direita, remates longos e tiros colocados, apenas detidos pela rede da baliza adversária.
8-0, 4-0, 6-0. 20 golos nos primeiros 3 jogos sem qualquer golo sofrido marcavam já nas tabelas da estatística o monstro de futebol que se criara!
Uma equipa de perna leve e olho rápido, detentora de um estado de espírito avassalador, uma frescura psicolóica intimidante e uma organisação tanto plástica quanto férrea. A polivalência dos jogadores permitiu uma plasticidade organisacional que tanto serviu para explorar cada metro dentro das quatro linhas como para baralhar o olho adversário. Quase instintivamente foi-se criando um futebol-espetáculo que se podia respirar!
Não tardaram os atentados á integridade física dos jogadores, conforme a brutalidade e a inferioridade técnica obriga a uma sede que não se pode saciar. Mas a língua do futebol, que neste domingo se falou sempre em português, falou mais alto!
A fenomenal vitória da equipa CUPORTSS foi inevitável!
A equipa levantou o prémio por volta das três da tarde. Enquanto recebia o galhardete – ou a pancadinha nas costas, mais propriamente -  Simão, o capitão, agarrado a uma peça de fruta, pensava já no próximo desafio!
3 vivas à equipa 5-a-side CUPORTSS!    Viva! Viva! Viva!

 I just hope that the 11-a-side season goes as well as this tournament did!

segunda-feira, setembro 19, 2011

6 days, 6 films

From the 15th to the 25th of September is taking place in Cambridge the 31st Cambridge Film Festival.

As soon as we saw the advertisement for the Festival, Mariana and I decided that this year we wouldn't miss it as we did last year. So we grabbed hold of the festival programme and we chose a few films to watch. I don't know much about films and didn't knew much about what was going to be on screen, but based on some hints from friends and in some curiosity we came up with the following list:
To be honest not all of the films are passing in the Festival, but it looked like a great opportunity to have a cinematographic week. ;)

Yesterday was the first day of this small marathon and it started with Mysteries of Lisbon. I was a bit unsure about this film as it is so long, but after the first half I was really pleased to have decided to see it. It was really worth it. The story is very well written and very well filmed. You barely feel the time passing and I got really curious about every new piece of this well thought social puzzle. I got really immersed in the film and I found it a very interesting portrait of that season.

I think I've never read anything by Camilo Castelo Branco, but now I think I should, and I will.

Today I'll be watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, I hope it is as good as I've been told it is.

quarta-feira, agosto 24, 2011

London to Cambridge Bike Ride 2011

On the 24th of July I have taken part on the London to Cambridge Bike Ride an event that aimed at raising awareness and funds for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

This was by far my longest bike ride ever with a total of 96km(60mi)!

I went with two friends of mine, João Afonso and Bruno Frederico. We woke up early in that Sunday morning and went by train to the start point in London (in the North of London if I remember correctly), and after registering ourselves we just rode... for ninety six kilometres. OK we also stopped a few times, but just to have some quick snacks.

Stopping for a snack.... *nom nom*

The course was really nice with nice landscapes and some challenging hills, specially one that was really, really steep. I was really surprised by this as I thought that this area, between London and Cambridge, was fairly flat.

We finished the 96km in 5hours, but I believe I could have done a few more meters if I had to!

It was definitely an amazing experience which next year I hope to repeat, I might even get a proper road bike. :)

Finished, and I look fresh, no?
Another thing that I really enjoyed was seeing so many different people riding with us. There were people in disguises, people in suits, people in roller blades, a guy that was picking garbage from the road as he rode, and people with very different ages.

The three riders (João, Bruno and me)
I was also able to raise 60pounds! Thanks to all that contributed: Mariana, Alice, Edward, James, and Sérgio.

Surprisingly enough on the following day I didn't feel sore muscles... if it wasn't for the fact that I couldn't move my left knee properly I would have played football on that following Monday. =p

PS: my previous longest bike ride was of about 10km. =)

sexta-feira, junho 17, 2011

My Tech Blog

A few weeks ago I created a new blog (yes, another blog...). The idea came from my boss who said that he thought it was important for a developer to have a blog where he can write about his work and techy stuff.
I agree with him and so after surpassing my laziness I created my new blog and named it (Don't) Debug in Production.
It might not be very interesting to some of you, but I thought it was worth sharing here.

This will continue being my personal blog. Don't think that much will change in terms of frequency of writing... Which doesn't mean much as it varies a lot. :)
Let me know what you think of my it!

segunda-feira, abril 25, 2011

25th of April Forever

Because I appreciate the liberty to speak my mind and heart I will not forget nor cease to celebrate!

The Carnation Revolution (Portuguese: Revolução dos Cravos), also referred to as the 25 de Abril (the 25th of April), was a left-leaning military coup[1] started on 25 April 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal, coupled with an unanticipated and extensive campaign of civil resistance. These events effectively changed the Portuguese regime from an authoritarian dictatorship to a democracy, and produced enormous changes in social, economic and political structures of Portugal, after two years of a transitional period known as PREC (Processo Revolucionário Em Curso, or On-Going Revolutionary Process), characterized by social turmoil and power disputes between left-and right-wing political forces.
Source: Wikipedia

And here is one of the songs I remember waking up to on every 25th of April of my life...

segunda-feira, abril 04, 2011

Short tale of a busy period!

Starting in the end of February and finishing in the end of March, it has been a really busy period here in Cambridge. All in all Mariana and I had 13 visitors, divided in multiple visits with varying lengths!

First was Mariana's sister, Margarida, and her boyfriend, João. Then six friends of ours, Cláudio, Patrícia, Ana, Pedro, Cláudia e Ricardo. Just one or two days later Hélder stopped by on his way to Bucharest. On the following Weekend we had two visitors from Poland, Maro and Kuba, who I had met in Denmark during my Erasmus. Then we rested for a weekend and on the last week of March João Pedro and Kiko spent an evening and a few hours of a night here in Cambridge, before flying with me to Dublin to visit Manel.

It was really, really, nice to have had you all here in Cambridge!! Thank you for coming! I know that it might be a bit rude of me to write only one post about all of your visits, but you know that I'm a bit lazy about writing in my blog, so no hard feelings... =)

With so many visits I think that Mariana and I are becoming quite the experts in showing Cambridge to visitors. Sometimes it even seems that we are following a script, but we assure you that we are not... we've simply been having a lot of practice! =)

For instance during one of the visits we were doing a punting tour in the river Cam and I even managed to correct the punter (the guy that pushes the punt)...

cambridge é um postal por todo o  lado.
A punter, punting the punt in the River Cam

Funny enough these visits have showed me that Cambridge is bigger and has more stuff to see than what I had thought before! Which I find great, and which make my legs hurt a bit with every visit. ;)

So, who's next? =)

sexta-feira, março 18, 2011

Vinicius de Moraes @ Graduate Union in Cambridge 24th of March

As a member of the Cambridge University Portuguese Speakers Society here is our invitation for our next event, a Film Night:

For the next film night, we invite you to come with us to the other side of the Atlantic with a documentary about the Brazilian artist: Vinicius de Moraes (October 19, 1913 – July 9, 1980). Tenderly nicknamed as “O Poetinha” (“The little poet”), Vinicius wrote more than 400 poems and around 400 lyrics. He was a poet, a composer, a playwright, a diplomat and an interpreter of his own songs. Together with Tom Jobim he is one of the fathers of Bossa Nova, a Brazilian music style which combines a bit of samba with jazz. In this documentary we will have a chance to get to know Vinicius a little bit more (his life, his friends, his loves..) and also Rio de Janeiro, through archive pictures, interviews and the interpretation of his classics.

* Which film?* Documentary about “Vinicius de Moraes”
* When?* Thursday – 24th of March – 7.30 pm
* Where?* Graduate Union University of Cambridge; 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge CB2 1RX
* Why? * Because Vinicius de Moraes is a singular artist in the Portuguese speaking world with a charming life story.

We hope to see you there!

If you are in Cambridge on the 24th, join us! =)

terça-feira, março 01, 2011

The News!

For some days now I have been thinking about posting something here, but I had no clue what to post about and today someone* brought to my attention that I had something very important to post. Mariana was on the News of her Department here in the University of Cambridge!!

She had her PhD's second year presentation in February and was awarded the best presentation award of her session. Which I personally think it's awesome, and makes me very proud! =)

For those of you who have no idea what she's working on you can find a short description on that page, which I copy here:

"Mariana Domingos presented her work on Turbulent plumes with heterogeneous chemical reaction on the surface of buoyant bubbles. She said, "In this project we aim to understand how chemical reaction, dissolution and phase change affect the motion of turbulent plumes. This may help mitigate problems caused by plumes, such as the Icelandic volcanic cloud and the Gulf of Mexico oil plume.""

Congratulations to her!! =D

* No, it was not Mariana. =)