Thursday, 25 December 2008

Season's Greetings!

For any and all out there in the dark alleys of the Internet, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May 2009 bring you all you wish for, with niceness, prosperity, harmony and beauty for everyone.

The Sorting Hat has spoken....

I have absolutly no idea how I came to this page, a Harry Potter website. I ended up going through the Sorting Hat cerimony, and what do you know, I'm a Ravenclaw. Have no idea what it means, but am happy none the less.

Want to Get Sorted?
I'm a Ravenclaw!

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Bill Bailey is a genius and his love song is the best ever!

Most of the UK knows who Bill Bailey is. Portuguese readers of this blog might remember him as the long haired guy in Black Books. He is one of my favorite stand-up comedians of all time and he is also an amazing musician. He has the best love son of all time, originally entitled Love Song. I hope you like it as much as I did.

P.S. - Can you tell I just found out how to embed YouTube onto my blog? :)


Those who know me know I am not one who loves poetry uncondicionally. I like it, oh yes, but I'm not one to sit and read poetry for hours on end. This one, however, is an exception....

Perdidamente / Lost

To be a poet is to be taller, is to be bigger
Than men ! To bite the way you kiss !
Is to be a beggar and to give as if you were
King of the Kingdom this side and the other of Pain !

Is to have a thousand splendorous wishes 
Is not even to know that you are wishing
Is to have a flaming star inside
Is to have claws and wings of a Condor !

Is to be hungry, to be thirsty of the Infinite !
By crown, the mornings of gold and satin…
To condense the world in one shout !

And is to love you like that, completely lost
For you to be the Soul, and Blood and Life in me
And tell everyone singing.

The original version in Portuguese:

Ser poeta é ser mais alto, é ser maior
Do que os homens! Morder como quem beija!
É ser mendigo e dar como quem seja
Rei do Reino de Aquém e de Além Dor!

É ter de mil desejos o esplendor
E não saber sequer que se deseja!
É ter cá dentro um astro que flameja,
É ter garras e asas de condor!

É ter fome, é ter sede de Infinito!
Por elmo, as manhãs de oiro e de cetim…
É condensar o mundo num só grito! 

E é amar-te, assim, perdidamente…
É seres alma, e sangue, e vida em mim
E dizê-lo cantando a toda a gente!

Also, this poem was turned into one of the most beautiful songs by the Portuguese band Trovante. Enjoy....

Friday, 28 November 2008

The iPod is the greatest invention since the wheel, chocolate, Star Trek, Dr Who and kittens..

My first one was a Nano, that lasted for about a year, until I washed and dried it, and, shave my legs and call me Susan, it stopped working. Who would have thought it? In my own defense, it was around the time when the period in my life I'm now calling The Never-ending Car-crash was getting into gear, no pun intended. And the poor thing was on my trouser pocket, and was a) immersed in water for about 45', and then spun and dried for a little under an hour. And that killed it, thank you very much. After some very creative saving and financial rearrangement, I managed to acquire a silver Classic, 120 GB. And, in a way - and yes, I am aware it is inanimate.... - it has been a company. I have pictures, audio books, movies, songs, TV series, you name it, its there. Ideal for long coach trips and the 40' each way walking in and out of OUDE (Oxford University Department of Education). Apple hit the bullseye with this technology, I tell ya. Who know, I might get a Mac at some point....

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Old portuguese saying....

I can finally write about it. In the old country, we have many sayings. I guess it was a form of preserving wisdom in an farming/agricultural world, where the next village was half a day away. One of them, roughly translated says: 'Better alone that in bad company.' How very, very true. Why do we keep around us people that are bad for us, when, just out of simple probabilities, there must be at least one other person, out of 6 billion, that is actually good for us? Why do we stay chained to pain and suffering, and tell ourselves lies, and falsehoods, just because, it might turn out OK? It is so much like plugging yourself into the Matrix, you're manipulating the sensory input, changing and adapting what is coming in, so that you see what you want to see, hear what you want to hear and believe.... Whatever you want to believe.

Why oh why didn't I take the blue pill??

Still, I don't regret it, not really. It is with pain that we grow, and I am (or will be) the better man for it. And it was fun, before the decay started, and all went to dust. You win some and you loose some, I guess. The oriental religions believe in the cyclic nature of the Universe, karma, and all that. I will leave this purified and ready for the next one, in every possible sense of the word! :)

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Words of wisdom

The dictionary defines 'Epiphany' as 'a sudden moment of total insight'. And it can come from the most unusual sources. Yesterday I was watching TV, as I ate dinner, and an add for the Australian tourist board came on. You know the type, 'we are amazing, come and visit us'. It actually had a story: there was this very busy business woman, stressed out of her mind, and then she goes Down under, and washes away her worries is some sort of natural pool in the Outback. Towards the end, there is the cutest aboriginal young girl, no older than 6, that says something that just sucked the air out of my lungs, like I had been punched in the chest. 'Sometimes, to find yourself, you need to get lost first.' Truer words have never been spoken. Look out world, I may have just found myself again.

Friday, 10 October 2008

What would be a really really crap superpower?

Right, this one started as a really silly conversation in the pub. What would be technically a superpower, but a really really crappy one? I came up with 'knowing the type of pizza without opening the box', and another mentioned was 'heightened senses, but just a liiiiitle bit above normal'. Any suggestions out there?

Saturday, 27 September 2008

My first attempt at an Haiku (apologies to 4000 years of Japanese culture)

The running stream
Silver flowing in the light
Everything changes

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The sword, reforged!

Here I am again. Didn't write here for ages, 'cos I had REALLY more important things to worry about, I'm afraid to say. But it's over, now. I'm in Oxford, one of the most beautiful cities on the planet - not as much as Lisbon, but almost! - and enjoying being a student again. More details as they come, stay tuned, folks!

Monday, 5 May 2008

I will try and teach.

Title says it all. Had enough of synthesis, and anyway dunno if I would want to keep it up for the next 10 years or something. So, will try and teach. Always liked it, and had good experiences during the PhD/Post-Doc. As I said in the previous entry, I'm back, baby!

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

I'm still here.

Worst week ever. Complete 180° turn. Life shaken, if not stirred. Recovering. Feeling better. Rising slowly from the flames. Will be stronger for it. You just whatch me.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Take the pebble from my hand, grasshopper....

I trully believe that H is a superhero. For real. The mild mannered graphic artist (and a good one at that, check his Blog, link on the right.) is probably a Kung Fu fighting, spandex wearing, masked caped crusader, jumping over the nightime city's roofs. Either that or he has a cybernetic endoskeleton, and he's here from the future to kill us all. Jury's still out on that one. Oh, and he dances salsa and kizomba and the like. Actually, he teaches them. See what I mean? Seriously, if you see him around, try and see if he's wearing the utility belt by mistake (I haven't had any luck yet). But in his secret identity he's an amazing guy and even better friend. And he's T's husband, so that's another point in his favour. Whatch the night sky, that's all I'm saying....

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Portugal is the best place on the planet! (more or less)

Well, almost. There are minor drawbacks. The health system. The justice system. The endless burocracy. The stone-boyling heat in the Summer. The cost of actually living there (cheaper than UK, but we earn much less). But there are good bits too. Mild Winters. Very friendly people. Great art and history. Fantastic beaches. Amazing food, the healthy kind. (If you like cod, we have 365 distinct ways to prepare it - really!) Wines that are at par with the best in the world. I'm really proud to be portuguese. I think its a great place to grow up and live in, and although destiny brought me to England, a bit of my heart wll always be there, basking in the afternoon Sun. Os tugas sao os maiores! :)

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

By the blind eye of Odin, I think I'm going native....

I was born and raised in a place that is green and lush with plant life, that has geckos in every stone wall over the Summer, and were people eat loads of fruit and veg. And meat and fish, obviously. Really, really good stuff. What we don't do, however - although were big on both of them, separately - is put milk in tea. Ever. You might as well slap your grandmother or kick a small child. It would be ruining a perfectly good cup of milk, and a equally perfect cup of milk. I read somewhere that is the way the Indians (Subcontinent, not native Americans) had tea, and the British just picked it up. And yeast extract, ye Gods, that sounds like something that would be a side-product of beer making, and the concept of putting it on bread would not have occurred to anyone. However.... I must say that, after 4 1/2 years of residence, I like both of these products. Yes, yes, I know. I'm still surprised by the British on a daily basis and bits of their culture will never make sense to me, but I started to like both milky tea and Marmite. I still prefer coffee and butter and cheese, but I have found that there is room for the local traditions. Does this mean I'm going native? Maybe. Is that a bad thing? I don't think so. I just wish I could see the Sun more often around here....

Monday, 31 March 2008

Welcome Dr.! You've been missed!

Next Saturday, the 5th April, Dr. Who is back on BBC1, for its 2008 season. I just wanted to say, thank you, thank you, thank you sooooo much! I arrived late to Dr. Who, in fact, my knowledge of him was next to non-existent prior to the Christopher Eccleston revamp of 2004. I can explain: in Portugal we have a cable channel called BBC Prime,a type of best of the BBC. And, of course, Dr. Who featured highly in it. However, it was those 5 or 6 episode story arcs. So I would catch 'episode 3 of 6', see these quite cheesy special effects, a bloke that changed every time that I saw it (the different doctors) and some weird story called Revenge of the Bgrughans, or thereabouts. I did, however, realise that I was in the presence of something great. Years later, I then watched the Eccleston doctor and liked it, watched the Tennant doctor, and loved it and am now discovering the previous ones - Tom Baker is my favourite so far. So welcome back doctor. Here's to another spin through the Time Vortex on your blue box. EX-TER-MI-NATE! Delete!

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Will you ever read about Maxwell T. Walters?

About 15 years ago - in 'the before time' - I wrote this short story about a private detective that could jump between dimensions. About 40 pages long, it was the first story I took to completion, instead of just exploding in the launch pad - I have about 10 of those.... Anyway, it's not a bad story, but in rectrospect - hindsight is a beautiful thing.... - it sounds really predictable and childish. Forward a decade. Just before I moved to the UK, I decided to have another go at the story. Max was at the back of my head, scratching to get out. So I kept the carachters, 'cos I thought there was potential there, changed the action from NY to London - even in the year 2105, might as well write about a city that I actually know.... - and adapted the whole interdimensional thing into something more (?) palatable. I then ran out of free time during my PhD. So Max, Jack and Ooze are still there, half emerged from my mind, running around the dirty back streets of the mega-metropolis that is Magna London. I hope you get to read them at some point. As the Brothers for Solar Unity would say: 'Stay in peace, all is One'.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

I like cats, penguins, bats and wolfs.

The title says it all, really. I love animals, but these four are my favourites. Just wanted to mention them.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

My time travel appeal.

Right, this should be easy. Time travel. Oh, yeah,it sounds dynamite on paper doesn't it? Going back in time, correcting things in your life. Or going to the future, and getting some technology that you can pass along as your invention. And then it all goes terribly, terribly wrong. You try and kill someone's mother before they were born, or you prevent your parents from meeting. It is a minefield, folks! I kid you not! Just go to see the pyramids being buit, or go for tea with Genghis Khan. That's fine. But be on guard at all times. You kill a bug, and millions of years later we all have gills. Hang on.... Ok, bad example, that would be a plus. But those are the exceptions. Just be very, very carefull, ok. Thank you.

My brother from another mother.

I met C - Gods, a lot of my friends and relations are named C - what, 15, 16 years ago? Maybe more. And it was a click from the word go. Same tastes, same vibe, finishing each other's sentences. That type of stuff. He's the One I call when I want to discuss interdimensional faster-than-light tranference of matter/spaceships and its use on planetary invasion/bombardments. And seriously, I don't know how all of you out there can maintain a shred of stability when you don't discuss interdimensional faster-than-light transference of matter/spaceships and its use on planetary invasion/bombardments on a weekly basis. He's just the best, and the best physiotherapist this side of Coruscant. You're the best, C!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Why do I like Sci-Fi so much?

I really don't know. Seriously. Don't have the slightest. I It started early, to be honest. My first toy wasn't a toy car, it was a toy space shuttle. It was the late 70's early 80's, the shuttle was the hottest thing ever. And the prototipe was the Enterprise. I mean, how perfect is that! Then came the novels, dozens of them. Then, I think, came Star Trek - The next generation. And it all went downhill from there. I just LOVED IT. Star Wars came in at some point before that, obviously. I know half the dialogue from Return of th Jedi by heart, how sad is that? And I became a consumer of the genre. Babylon 5 was a good one. The new Battlestar Galactica is also very very good. And I've recently found Dr. Who. It's quite the British institution, isn't it? But - and I don't know if this means that I'm turning native.... - it's just amazing. The quality of the stories on a shoestring budget.... I love it all....

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

R.I.P. Arthur C. Clark

We lost a great author today. A man, that, hand in hand with Carl Sagan made me want to be a scientist. The theme to 'Arthur C. Clark's Misterious World' brings shivers down my spine to this very day. And the program itself created my curiosity for borderline science - Atlantis, superhuman powers, etc. I have most of his books, and I love every single one of them. Resquiat In Pace, Mr. Clark, enjoy the heavens that you described so well to a wide-eyed pre-teen.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

What would be my superpower....?

Right, this one is a tricky one, and something that has concerned me, in a way, over the last 20 years: what superpower would I pick? The problem is, we are spoiled for choice. To pick just one publisher, Marvel Comics has been pumping out super-powered creatures like there's no tomorrow, for the last 60 years. So, what to pick? Underwater breathing? Flight? Teleportation? Telepathy? Telekinesys? Invisibility? Shape-shifting? All of the above?

I guess that, if hard pressed, I would have to say pyrokinesys - ability to create/manipulate fire. Silly, I know, but there you go. Or telekinesys - moving stuff around with your mind. Another good one. Problem is, I KNOW that being bitten by a radioctive spider doesn't give you the proportional powers of a spider, it would give you a nasty poisoning and some creative decontamination at your local hospital....*sigh....*

Monday, 17 March 2008

Friends will be friends

Friends are a wonderful invention. Trully, they must be up there with fire, the weel and StarTrek, when it comes to the greatest inventions of Man. I've been blessed with a number of them - someone said that he that has a close friend is trully blessed - more than I deserve, I feel, at times. The are trully there for me, my personal Peter, the Rock upon whick I build my emotions and my well being. Amongst them, I need to mention T. We met going on 14 years now, and she has been the best and closest friend anyone could ask for. She has always been there, even at times when - by personal choice or not - no one else was. We have sometimes not seen eye-to-eye, but that just made it better in the long run, I think. I love you with all my heart, Doutora, and here's to another bunch of decades.
(Check out her blog, very good indeed,

Monday, 25 February 2008

Birds, our feathered friends....

On Saturday, I found mesself in an bird of prey sanctuary, after setting out to see a nuclear submarine. No, they weren't next to each other. It is a very long story. I've always had a thing for falcons. Dunno, might have been a falconer on a previous life. I even have Horus as my favourite Egyptian god. But there you have it. Eagle Heights, there is a website. Lovely place, friendly staff, and birds flying at 100+ mph inches from your head. Bliss.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008


Now, I like cold as much as the next person. Nothing wrong with that. Freezers, for one. Ice cream for another. Liquid nitrogen. Dry ice. All, in one way or another fun/interesting/useful/fun to watch. I, however, start to draw the line at atmospheric temperatures. Its been just below freezing for 3 or 4 days now, and methinks enough is enough. Most of my portuguese friends would be in deep cryogenic sleep by this point. Its supposed to go up over the next 48 hours.... Watch this space....

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Trains, rice and sardines....

I'm not being funny, and I never had a major upset with trains in the UK - never had a cancelation, or more than a 30 min delay - but for a country that actually INVENTED the whole thing, why oh why is the UK train system so completely crap? I mean, its like the chinese having crap rice, or the portuguese having crap sardines. (Wouldn't know, can't stand the bloody things)

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

1st Blog entry.... What to write?????

I start this blog with the certainty that it will forever be lost amidst the endless Petabytes of the internet. Still, if someone, somewhere, somewhen comes across it and reads it, and smiles, I should take as mission accomplished.... So, start at the beguining: Name's Rui, nice to meet y'all, almost 33, born and raised in Portugal, currently working in the UK; Organic Chemist by trade with a good chunk of Sci-Fi nerdiness inside. See the pics, you'll see what I mean. I intend to post something, at least once a week, a small tirade of what is happening in The Eye of the Storm, i.e. my brain.This week's been a bit on the crazy side, as per usual: work, applying for more work, cooking, etc. Same old, same old, really, but it doesn't make it better. Saw a great movie over the weekend, though: Daywatch. Russian fantasy, if you can believe it. I loved it, and recommend it, although my mate C - fluent russian speaker says the original book in the original russian is sooo much better. Totally agree, having read The Lord of the Rings in both portuguese and russian, I know exactly what she means.... Other than that, I'm just enjoying this magnificent sunshine, the Gods know that in Birmingham its not usual....