Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Are we jaded?

I'm lucky enough that the customer where I'm working at the moment has this incredibly awesome view of our river (Tagus for all you non-Portuguese folk) and I was lucky enough for this image to happen at the same time I was taking a small break.

Now, as I sit here and look at the picture, I make a mental note of all the stuff that's going on in it and I realize just how incredibly small we are.

- Boats: still the main transport system of materials all throughout the world.
- Lisbon harbour: a hub of commerce and transportation, a lifeline that is part of one of the greatest man-made chaos systems: economy.
- Bridge 25 de Abril: While far smaller than it's cousin bridge Vasco da Gama (and many other bridges throughout the world), even this "little" thing is still pretty darn huge. Just the volume of traffic that it has dealt throughout the years is just... mind-blowing.
- Cristo-Rei: a symbol of one religion, religion itself being the driving force behind so many good and also bad things that have happened throughout human history.

And now for the nerdy bits:
- Water: the volume of water involved and present in this small river and the fact that it can rise or drop 3-4m, depending on the tides, which themselves are influenced by the presence of a body that is 1.23% of the mass of our own planet, around 384 thousand km away... if that alone doesn't blow your mind..!
- Clouds: they can give you quite a low mood on a rainy day, but they are responsible for the water cycle on our planet.
- Blue sky: signifies the mixture of gases in the atmosphere that has protected our species (and all others) from having a liiiiittle bit too much tan.
- Sunlight: deadly when unfiltered, a source of life when it is, it comes from a big ball of plasma, more than 1 million times Earth's volume, "sitting" in the middle of the void, just burning away at a "comfortable" 150 million km distance...

And still, when I turn on the news, I only hear about the latest reality show, the latest celebrity scandal or how our country is going down the drain.

I'll be trying to understand the mechanics of nature on that corner over there... call me when sanity has returned to our species.

I'll see you around,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Life is a roller-coaster

It has indeed been a long time since I last posted anything in here. As I browsed the web, I found myself at a friend's blog and noticed she had changed her template. So why the heck not do the same with mine.. and at the same time use it as a kickoff to start blogging again?

The past 8 or 9 months have been a journey of self-discovery. Learning to adapt to a new mindset and, especially, learning to focus on yourself and your own development as a person may sound easy in theory, but it's quite the opposite in reality. These have been some mildly annoying times but fortunately enough, I wasn't alone and there is a handful of people to which I'm more than grateful for opening, or rather re-opening my eyes.

If there is one thing that I've learned this year is how deeply important it is to manage, appreciate and respect yourself. You may surround yourself of your best friends, attend all the parties you want, engage in all the flirting you wish, indulge yourself in every little thing that grants a momentary pleasure... but at the end of the day and when you squeeze all the content of what happened, all that really matters is how you face yourself when you're just standing still. How you look at yourself in the mirror. How you take your thoughts and turn them to reality. How you commit to and achieve your own goals.

The ground where I'm standing on is still a bit unstable at the moment, but at least I'm getting a firmer grasp of the direction on which to aim myself at. The more you realize who you are, the more you begin to filter out what is really important and what is just... well, not important at all.

This whole "Life" thing is one heck of a roller-coaster ride. There are those first frightening moments where your eyes are just slammed shut and you're holding on for dear life. And then the excitement starts to kick in and you start opening your eyes, realizing that no matter what happens, this is your own ride. No one else will enjoy it for you... so might just as well open them eyes and enjoy it while you can! :)

I'll see you around,

PS: As I wrote the title, I just couldn't shake this song's title from my mind, so here it is :D

Saturday, April 17, 2010

As I look up...

Let me start this entry with a question: how long has it been since you've taken the time to look up towards the night sky?

Do it now. If it's night where you are, go outside, go to a window and take a few minutes to just look up to the stars (obviously, this works best in a clear sky setting). And, if possible, do it while listening to the following music:

For the past few months I've been thinking about space. It has always been a passion of mine. I look up to the stars and I can't stop myself from imagining what it must be like to discover the secrets of the Universe like we see on Star Trek.

And this really itches my head from the inside... we, as a species, have always prospered with discovery, with our wish to go towards new horizons, new challenges. And yet, kids nowadays only realistically look forward getting a new smartphone... or better internet access. They don't really care about anything other what provides an immediate and, ultimately, futile pleasure.

But truth be told, they ARE just kids. Kids need idols, icons that they can look up to. And in spite of the awesome work that astronauts do... let's face it, it's not enough. And even that isn't the astronauts fault, I believe they do what they can. It's the damn mentality that the human race has adopted of profit > all!!

Right now, I feel myself on a crossroad. It's scary because you don't really know which path to take. But at the same time it's exciting to realize that you have more options. The ending of 3 and a half years of relationship prompted some priority shifting in my life. Maybe I'll be thankful in a few months... right now, it's chaotic in here.

*raises glass* here's to choices, may they always be the right ones.

*puts above song on repeat and goes back to contemplate the stars*

I'll see you around! ;)

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Meh... whatever works!

I just came from the movies. Our goal was to watch Alice but tickets were sold out. Some of us wanted to go see "Valentine's Day". Having just come out from a relationship, I REALLY didn't feel like sitting through it. So, we ended going to "Whatever works"!

A little background: As a kid, I enjoyed watching "Sleeper". Again, as a kid. I had no idea what was going on, especially since English isn't my mother tongue. I enjoyed it because it made me laugh and I liked seeing the futuristic ideas present in the movie.

A few years back, a friend "forced" me to watch "Anything Else". He said it was awesome, so I watched it. I didn't really relate to it, but acknowledged that it had some merit.

And that is my Woody Allen experience all summed up.

Back to tonight, I went into this movie not even caring if it was good or bad. I didn't know what it was about. I really didn't know what to expect. And was I surprised

Now, I don't know if it has anything to do with my state of mind right now, but the message really dug itself into me. Presented as a comedy, it approaches some very important issues of society, but in a healthy way.

I'm not going into details since some people may not have watched it yet, but I will talk about my favourite part of the entire movie: the constant 4th wall breaking!

The main character constantly talks directly to the camera and speaks directly to the audience, even going to the point where he attempts to convince other people that we are there, even though he's unable to (the conclusion of his wall breaking was just... delicious!). This, for me, is a constant, bucket-of-ice-water-in-the-face reminder that we aren't there to relate to a character, the movie isn't aimed at making us feel better with ourselves just because we can relate to a character. No, he's there to make sure we understand the way he sees the world and, especially, why.

And that is a big difference. For one thing is to show something through our perspective, trying to make others relate to ourselves. Another thing entirely different is to show something but making sure the observer knows that he or she is doing just that, observing a situation.

Although I don't personally agree with some of the views exposed in the movie (mainly in regards to the meaning of life itself), I'll admit that it is incredibly refreshing to see something that defies us to break the rules set out by society and grab to whatever we can in order to achieve a sense of happiness, albeit temporary as it might be.

I highly recommend people to watch it. If not anything else, it will provide you with some healthy laughter. With luck, it will poke you to reflect on a few things, as it has done to me.

I'll see you around!
Kiauze ;)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


So it's been a bit over 2 weeks since I gave up on WoW. What I have I learned: it was surprisingly easy to quit.

Sure, I still log in from time to time when I'm bored (until the card expires) and do some stuff on the Warrior or the Rogue, but for the most part I'm quite good without it. I do believe it is the first time since I've started playing it actively that I don't spend all day urging for the time to come home and log in.

This has prompted me to reflect a bit on why that is. What has changed in me or the game that has made such less appealing to me. Well, aside from me wanting to pursue some other goals in life other than spending all my free time in a game, the game itself has jumped the shark, imo.

A few days ago I found a few backup DVDs that I had. When I popped them in I found some old school videos from both vanilla and TBC: both The Prophecy videos that I made, TvL's goodbye from Burning Blade, Laintime's videos, Dopefish's videos (including Last Wallwalk and Nogg-a-holic) and I was hit with a wave of nostalgia. I was sent back to 2005, when I first began playing, to the forests of Teldrassil and my first steps as a lvl1 Night Elf Warrior. I remember how that Summer felt, with awe at every sight ingame (especially when I entered Darnassus for the first time).

Flashforward to TBC launch day, me and my girlfriend picking up my Collector's Edition from the shop and installing the game. The first steps through the Dark Portal and the music of Hellfire filling up my ears. The entire trip through Outland was magical to me but to be fair, contrary to most people, I actually enjoyed the fantasy scifi themes (a heck of a lot more than what I like the current theme).

Filled with this nostalgia, I decided to log back in. Did some daily quests. Ran some dungeons in LFG. Logged back out. The feeling was gone.

I've read that a whole lot of people have already defeated Arthas. This made me disconnect even more from the game. The heroic version will be the real challenge, sure... but you can't tell me it's the same as before. Killing a boss in easy mode is killing the boss nonetheless. It's done. It's over. The lore is finished.

I still love Azeroth (and Outland). I have many fond memories of it, memories that I treasure as much as real life memories. The sights and sounds and the feeling they invoked will always be with me (sadly, the following is only of TBC... Vanilla screenshots are "stuck" in my old HDD):

Maybe Cataclysm will surprise me...

...until then, thanks to all who have made this 5 year journey totally memorable! :)

I'll see you around! ;)

Monday, February 01, 2010


So last week I took the decision (again) to quit WoW. And, safe for any last minute massive life-changing event or news, it will be permanent.

I've played this game since mid-2005. I went from being a low level, incredible noob warrior in WoW Classic, passing by being an average-playing one to being a hardcore, dedicated, top dps in the best guild that Grim Batol had at the time (IMO, so don't come flaming me for not being a Balance fanboy!) during TBC. As I got a job as a consultant, it pretty much cut down drastically on the time I could devote to playing. I left EX, went the casual way.

Tried being casual twice. In Cartel and in Sanctum Nocturnos. I've met a lot of decent people and also some, rather annoying ones. I met up with people with whom I used to play a long time ago. I had some good times... and also some pretty nasty ones.

Bottomline is: I thrive on competition. I need it in order to give my best. When I got the chance to join EX, I really needed to pull my A-game to show I was worthy of staying there. And my effort pulled off, in the most awesome first kill I ever had, Kil'jaeden (the nerd screams still echo in my ears).

With that as a baseline, it's easy to understand why I simply can't satisfy myself with being casual. If I cannot face up against someone that is clearly a challenge for me, I don't evolve and I stagnate, I lose focus and will. Therefore, I took the opportunity to quit.

My first reaction was to turn "full-time" to EVE or even Star Trek: Online (which I beta tested for an online magazine), but that's just starting the cycle all over again. I'm not quitting videogames, I'm just (finally) taking a more healthy approach to them. I will still report on them (probably EVE), just not as often... I hope!

If all goes well, I will probably start using this blog to also show some concept "art" for my ideas, which I plan on begin development.

And this is the song to which I'm going to have brainstorm sessions to:

I'll see you around! ;)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Abandon ship!!

So, last night I logged into WoW after a few days and I noticed that the Free Migration away from Grim Batol was open. Later on I found out that a few guilds had already moved away, including my old guild EX.

Now, GB has been a server that has given us quite a few headaches as of late. It's incredibly full and it's not unusual to get home at 7pm and only being able to login at 8:30pm because there's a 700++ queue up. Besides that, on big patch day, it's also very usual to get 15 minute wait periods while doing instances, because everyone is doing them. Also, Dalaran changed its name to Lagaran.

And lo and behold, Dalaran was actually enjoyable last night, after a lot of people moved away. It reminded me a bit of when I migrated to GB from Burning Blade, when we migrated in a hurry because the server became empty in 24 hours (very old technical problems with that server).

I'm wondering if I'll migrate or not... I'm quite considering changing my rogue to the Horde, but if I do so or simply migrate, that's one less character to help me with my saronite farm.

Meh, we'll see... only got until tomorrow to make up my mind though... I wonder if the GB Horde is also migrating a lot.

I'll see you around! ;)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Unholy vs Blood

No, I'm not going emo or goth or anything like that. I'm talking about WoW.

Last night, me and my Death Knight Class Leader decided to have a little run on the training dummies in Ebon Hold. We were testing how the current Blood and Unholy specs fair out against one another. One went Unholy, the other Blood and then we swapped.

I went Unholy first and, being Blood all of my DK "career", I had some trouble with the new rotation. But eventually I caught up with it and even managed to hit the 5.1k mark (keep in mind this is without any raid buffs and target debuffs) for a bit, but averaged out at 4.5k. When I tried Blood, I achieved higher numbers, but that can be explained by being more used to it. My CL confirmed my observations.

I always knew that Blood was too "bursty", as in the majority of the higher numbers come from the huge dps spike we get every 90 seconds from the DRW (spikes in the order of 20k DPS are not that uncommon when the planets align themselves), but what I failed to realize is that the sustained damage is a bit way too low. Unholy builds in 3.3 can now greatly compensate for this and outperform Blood easily. Unholy doesn't have much burst, but it does have considerable sustained damage.

So I decided to raid with my new Unholy build and my CL went Blood. I was actually expecting that Blood would scale better with raid buffs, but apparently Unholy also got the upper hand on this. I easily reached the 7-8k margin and this is in ToC25 gear. I can only imagine the sort of scalling I will get once I farm Shadow's Edge and 2pT10. It might be just me, but the set bonuses in T10 just feel... awesome, especially after the 4pT9 nerf.

If you care for combat logs, here's the link to WoL:

I'll see you around! ;)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Stella, oh Stella!

Let's start this post with a little backstory:

In 2003, I went to spend Christmas with my family in the USA. While there, we made a trip to a local BIG STORE (removed the name out of my own paranoia) for some quick shopping. I took the opportunity to browse through the local tech gadgets, since they were cheaper than here in Portugal. As I was walking down an aisle, I felt this big object impacting against my right shoulder and sliding down my arm, making a big *thump* when it hit the ground.

Looking at it, I noticed it was this big cardboard box (about 4 times as big as an old 16' PC monitor) that fell down from one of the top shelves. I heard some hasty steps coming from the other aisle and was greeted by a *VERY* anxious employee. The poor creature was almost pale white, asking if everything was ok, if I had injured myself. Apparently, she had shifted the box too much and it caused it to fall down. Even after I told her that everything was fine, she kept on asking if I was ok. Afterwards, I just went to meet the rest of my family, finding the employee's behaviour strange, but not giving it much thought.

Fast forward to present day:

Someone linked me the URL for The Stella Awards (, a site that serves as a compilation of lawsuits across the USA, some of them quite outrageous. And, reading the site, I was thrown back to that aisle on THAT BIG STORE. That's what the poor creature was so terrified about: that I would sue her and the store.

And while I wouldn't be one to make such a ridiculous lawsuit, after reading the awards (where a person actually managed to sue a store for not warning that there were wild squirrels in the vicinity), I get the distinct feeling that I could've walked away from that with a few hundred thousand (if not a few million) extra dollars in my wallet. It's almost like that box was my lottery ticket.

Now... this scares the living bejesus out of me! That one could've used such a dumb excuse to sue someone for large amounts of cash! But I've got to be honest: while this may be downright wrong, it's an imaginative way to make a quick buck! At least in the cases where people find small excuses for this. There is another set of lawsuits that just show how stupid people really are (like suing a hospital for causing you "undue" stress when you see doctors rushing to save your family member).

As I was writing this, I specified the name of the store where I was. Due to my paranoia and realizing that specifying it was a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory if someone related to the store found it, I decided to edit it out.

But truth be told, there is a small, "weasel" part of me that wonders if he could go back and actually sue the store for that outlandish concept that the box had scarred me mentally and that I was no longer able to walk down a supermarket aisle out of fear...

...and then there's the rational and decent part of me that wants to smack that other part of me with my baseball bat.

I'll see you around! ;)

WoW related news

So, this weekend I decided to geek out completely and just chill out. Had plans to actually go outside, but the nasty weather quickly changed my mind.

Played a little bit of everything, with special focus on WoW. I'm currently farming the primordial saronites to craft my Shadow's Edge and, at the same time, trying to equip my rogue for a decent 10-man setup. The two goals are a bit counter-productive though, since every 20 emblems I use on my rogue means that I lose 200g on my run for the saronites (selling gems, that is)... but heck, WoW *really* gets incredibly annoying and boring once you simply use whatever play time to generate income.

Once I get home I should have enough gold from the AH to buy another saronite and that makes it 4. Got enough emblems on the DK to buy another 6, 2 on the rogue, 1 on the mage and almost 1 on the warrior... that brings the total up to 14... I'm over halfway there!! :D

I know the changes to craft Shadowmourne are very slim, but hey... it's not like WoW has any more worthwhile goals nowadays.

In IRL terms, my personal projects are slowly... as in, snail slowly, forming and taking shape. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but if these things come to light, it will be worth it.

I'll see you around! ;)

Friday, January 08, 2010


So for everyone that didn't catch it, it was reported yesterday that the European Union website had been "hacked" (more along the lines of defacing, not exactly hacking) and that the picture of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero had been changed to Rowan Atkinson's face.

In related news, the website of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was also hit, but instead of different images, the "hackers" left a few messages, as told by Mahmoud, making references to Michael Jackson, an incident during Iranian elections last year and also Ayatollah.

Now, this sort of thing might sound funny... and well, in Zapatero's case, it does make you giggle a bit. CNN is reporting it as a case where hackers can install backdoor programs into your computers. I think differently. The issue I have with this is the reasoning behind this sort of action. I compare this to people defacing election candidate's pictures with mustaches and fake beards.

The underlying emotion is that people don't like that person or disagree with something they've done or said. And, in today's political world, one can't really blame anyone for being a bit ticked off. Politicians are corrupt, financial interests take priority over basic rights, such as healthcare or education and "Law&Order" is almost a myth.

But just as important as having solid reasoning behind being angry at something is the manner in which you express yourself. What good is an opinion if you can't express it in what is widely regarded as a civilized fashion?

Now, I'm not a prime example of "coolness". There have been times where I let myself get emotional in debates and I lose track of objectivity, falling into a spiral of mutual insulting that leads nowhere other than me losing a valid argument over a dumb and emotional move on my behalf.

But is the realization that we can fall down like this, reason to ignore everything and go overall ballistic... or is it reason to continue to try and make a civilized argument? There are so many actions one can take in these regards, that letting yourself drop down to a level where you can only deface a site to make your point across... I don't know, it just sounds dumb as hell.

I share the opinion that there are two kinds of actions: the immediate, not thought-through action that leads to an emotional response in the moment, but lacks momentum to carry it's weight forward... and the more organized action, that might not have an impact at the moment due to several reasons (red tape, for example), but is so strong in itself that it carries a lot of momentum, making certain people take notice of it and your efforts, and that can create a snowball effect, that leads to actual change.

I vote for the second kind of action.

I'll see you around! ;)