Saturday, April 26, 2008

Of Munchkins and Blunders

With almost a week having been gone since my return from Spain, and having loads of stuff to finish before I travel to AAMAS, things are not looking very good to me. My thesis work has officially started, and this week not only did I have to finishing reviewing papers for a Brazilian conference, I tried to start writing the introduction to my thesis. On a side note, I have read what was probably the worst paper I have ever seen in the process of reviewing papers for SBIA (their website looks a bit lame), since this is my first reviewing assignment, I fear for the worst in the future. But back to the thesis, it is proving incredibly hard to write an introduction and not starting it with something that sounds like bullshit, given that the remainder of the thesis must be strictly scientific. I wish I had the writing skills of Alan Turing, which I had the audacity of quoting in my proto-introduction, and be able to make interesting analogies, but then again, scientific writing nowadays is a bit different from 60 years ago.

On top of my difficulties at work, my home is now semi-occupied by the entire family of my flatmate, which means home privacy is a thing of the past. Every day some new thing hits my nerves making me feel like I am in a Chevy Chase movie! Luckily, so far I am avoiding being entirely like Clark Griswold and making an ass of myself, but there is still one and a half week to go, and I may end up slipping. In order to cope with this problem at home, I am spending increasing amounts of time hanging out at my friend Paulo's place after work, trying to arrive as late as possible in my flat. At these times, I indulge myself in some games from which I have been long apart, and spent some money buying the Munchkin card game, in particular the Cthulhu version of it, as fueled by my recent reading of Lovecraft. I am also about to start learning Go so as to add another level of chic to my nocturnal play sessions. Let's just hope I manage to survive these coming weeks and maintain my sanity for the conference I am about to go immediately afterwards.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Police Squad!

Since my supervisor already caught me during my lunchtime entertainment moment, I feel more at ease in making comments about the crap I watch while I have lunch (just in case he pops by this blog). And this week, after returning from Barcelona, I re-discovered the series that led to the Naked Gun movies, namely, Police Squad!. The episodes of this series are actually perfect for my lunch break, since they are roughly 25 minutes in length, which does not allow time wasting after the food consumption part of the meal. One very funny part of these episodes is its introduction, usually with a celebrity guest that dies right at the end. Youtube, of course, has all episodes neatly divided into parts, which is quite handy, as you can check out below.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pimientos de Padron


Although I spent the past two weeks in Barcelona visiting my significant other, my work schedule was unchanged. So instead of enjoying the Mediterranean climate and dedicating myself to hedonism, I have spent most of my days trying to kick start the write up of my thesis. Moreover, I have spend half a week trying to come up with plans for further work on parts of my thesis, most of which will never be actually carried out. As you can imagine, this is very stimulating. Even if work is pressing, I needed to enjoy Barcelona, which is one of my favourite cities in Europe, so yesterday I went with Anita to the Mercat de la Boqueria The purpose was to get to know the place better, and although this market is significantly smaller the one in my hometown , it was really a feast for the senses. And I managed to get supplied with local delicacies. Among other things, I bought Pimientos del Padron, which were to be the entree for our lunch, since they are easily prepared, and eaten without the help of cutlery. If the local lore (and Wikipedia) is to be believed, about one in ten of those pimientos are supposed to be spicy, but I guess my luck defies this lore, you can call me lukcy if you are Mexican, or unlucky if you are Brazilian, because I managed to get almost all of them of the spicy kind. And by spicy I really mean it, since I felt the effects in my throat and stomach throughout the day, as well as today (on the way out).
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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Low Rider

To try and kick start my writing up yesterday, I obtained the soundtrack from GTA: San Adreas, which so far has been my favorite game on the series, as well as the last one I managed to play for a long period of time, before my obligations overrode my desire to play games. In any case, this game has one of the best soundtracks ever, just because it consists mostly of a collage of great songs from various genres (of course, as far as original soundtracks go, nothing beats Mechwarrior 3). Among the tracks included in the Master Sounds radio is Low Rider, which is a song I always assumed was played by some Latino band, which clearly is not the case, as attested by this video I found in You Tube. The music always evokes in me memories of the famous Cheech and Chong movie, Up in Smoke, which I always assumed were the authors of the song, given these comedians' musical pieces. Well, I stand corrected.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

My new career

Now it's official, I have quit my position as PhD student to pursue my childhood dream of working in a rodeo. More specifically, I have decided to become a rodeo clown and got a position in a Texas rodeo, starting this summer. I understand the seriousness of my decision, but I figured I could not put this off for long in my life. To demonstrate how serious I am in my clown move, I have linked to this post a comic from the Perry Bible Fellowship, which is, by the way, on of the best webcomics I have ever seen on the internet, some of the strips are a bit cryptic, but the level of artistic finesse along with the witty humor make it for a great experience.

This being the first of April, it should take me some time to relocate to Texas and start posting again my experiences as rodeo clown.