Thursday, 3 January 2013

2012 reads

This seems to be my annual post.. This time round what I've read in 2012.
In a few days I'll post for e.g. how many km I've flown or how much I've spent in beer in the local Spaetie.

A total of 24 books read, up from about 10 in 2011 thanks to my 30's birthday gift, a Kindle.
I started reading science fiction, thanks to my friend Pedro Pita  who has always insisted I read Asimov stuff. Reading all this imagination expanding stuff made my sleeping dreams quite more vivid (and not forgetful) and I notice my conscious creativity has also spiked (though with little productive output).

Most notable reads include Asimov's whole Foundation and Robot series, Arthur C. Clarke's the city and the stars, Orwell's Animal Farm, HG Wells' "The Time Machine" (written in 1895 and still a mind-blow, free from Gutenberg), the Autobiography of Charles Darwin where it seems he's quite a normal party animal.., 13 things that don't make sense, Numbers rule your world, Moonshot.

And still have some to finish including the outrageous 4 hour work-week, When China Rules the world and classics such as Douglas Adam's The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide, HG Wells' "War of the the Worlds", Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Stats about life, 2011

Well, it's quite a surprise that I notice the last time I posted here: one year ago!
I think I just followed the trend of all my acquaintances that had blogs: it's simply forgotten with all the privacy issues and Facebook spam going around.
I'll post some more, at least for posterity: about Cuba, particularities in living in different EU countries, etc.

But, here's some interesting facts about my life, money wise. I'm able to compute these since I have a google spreadsheet for my financial management (see previous post about 2010).
  • books worth 84€ (around 10 I guess); this will change since now I have a kindle and Project Gutenberg to supply me with good old stuff
  • 55 nights out partying, worth around 20€ a night (yes, Berlin is cheap!)
  • 114 dinners out (around 14€ each non-business dinner)
  • 275€ in sport (incl. equipment), up quite a bit from 2010
  • 206€ on a bike (a new one and it's maintenance)
  • 74 lunches, averaging 8€ each
  • 84 coffees, 3.67€ on average: this includes company and cakes since Saturday afternoon is the Kaffee un Kuchen tradition around here 
  • For what it's worth, only 13% of my expenses are made in cash, 10% in credit card
  • Once a week to the supermarket, worth 21€ each time (I go more per week, but mind the holidays, etc)
  • 12 taxi rides, none in Berlin (mostly in Lisbon and Madeira)
  • 7 museum entries
  • 7 brunches, 14€ each
  • 1 movie, €8, I guess in the Berlinale 2011 (talking of which...)
  • 78€ worth of beer bought in the local "Spätie"

Saturday, 5 February 2011


It’s colder in Lisbon than in Berlin. Thanks to L. for inspiring the eye for these particularities…

FireShot Pro capture #012 - 'Lisbon, Portugal Forecast' - www_wunderground_com_cgi-bin_findweather_getForecast_brand=wxmap&query=lisbon%2C portugal    FireShot Pro capture #013 - 'Berlin Alexanderplatz, Germany Forecast' - www_wunderground_com_auto_wxmap_global_stations_10389_html

Friday, 14 January 2011

Levada da Referta

Since I have a GPS enabled android phone, and my mother is a geek about Levada walks in Madeira, I wanted to experiment a bit with the gadget and wandering around.

I used MyTracks to, obviously, track my path and Rmaps for mapping, with offline Google Earth tiles from the location compiled by Mobile Atlas Creator (you can try MapDroyd as well).

I’ll put these Levada walk tracks on a google map over here, joining my other maps with favourite places in Madeira, Berlin, Milan and Lisbon.

View Levadas da Madeira in a larger map

Here’s some data:

Recorded: Wed Jan 12 11:10:27 GMT 2011

Total Distance: 6.06 km (3.8 mi)
Total Time: 1:31:24
Moving Time: 42:02
Average Speed: 3.98 km/h (2.5 mi/h)
Average Moving Speed: 8.65 km/h (5.4 mi/h)
Min Elevation: 296 m (972 ft)
Max Elevation: 360 m (1181 ft)

The elevation data is not so accurate, for known reasons: the error is two or three times the horizontal error, which can explain the 100m-150m difference to the real elevation. Some time ago I was at a beach and it was displaying an elevation of 60m…

During this walk we were heading “against” the flow of the Levada. That is visible in the elevation graphic: it is higher in the end of the track than in the beginning.

Surprisingly, a Levada has also some upward slopes (flow-wise): you can also notice the (real) valleys, depicted as small “hills” in the graph. This is strange since they should transport water by gravity only.  It works because the water flowing upwardly should has enough kinetic energy to make it over the top of these small hills (or there are some ant gravitational fields engineered in 18th century state-of-the-art technology).

We also were more than half of the time stopped because I was shooting some birds photos.


“Poios” are platforms built for cultivating the land and they can be seen in the steepest places imagined.
Since this Levada is quite near population, we saw a lot of people working the land. Due to the so-called crisis Portugal is faced upon, being worse in Madeira because of construct-like-crazy-debt, maybe it needs to rethink its priorities nowadays: shift from high tech nonsense to agriculture expertise…?


When you pass along this peace of rock, it smells like sulphur and rust. Almost pure Iron comes straight out of the rock face.


Even though there has been a (fake) economical boom in the past years in Madeira( it passed 105% of mean EU GDP, “confirmed” by yesterday’s news), there are still people throwing TVs and miscellaneous waste into river streams…


Porto Santo was barely visible from the northern shore.
Can you see a strip of it’s golden beach in the photo..?


Can you spot the (female?) Turdus merula?


Magnificent view, in spite of the overcast weather


One of my best photos to date.. but this is not the final one… It will be posted to my flickr.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Stats about life

From the beginning of 2010, I began using a google spreadsheet (with a form to submit amounts) to track my own (and business) expenses. It started simple, but then the German tax system came into being in my life.

I categorized it into different category, means, and sub-categories, organizing it like:

  • Category: Fun, food, transportation, work expenses, rent, house expenses, communication, insurances, health, education, tax;
  • Type of transaction: cash, debit, credit, or income;
  • Account: in which account (or none if cash);
  • Details: for tracking trips abroad, the amount spent in Fodaphone communications or in my Deutsch Course;
  • VAT: because I can deduct German work expenses;

I mind say that the “Filter” function from google spreadsheets is quite powerfull: Excel doesn’t have such simple function.

Here are some interesting facts:

  • 41 go-out at night since May 2010, averaging €18;
  • €16.6 in average in 57 dinners out;
  • 93 lunches averaging €8.5;
  • At least 70 times to the supermarket;
  • €100 spent in music;
  • €130 spent in 8 book purchases (can be more than 1);
  • €150 in sports (mostly swimming at BBB);
  • €105 spent on my bike;
  • more than €600 spent in transportation in Berlin (BVG);
  • Had 63 (paid) coffees, averaging €3.4, meaning that I had company and they were neither Portuguese nor Italian coffees, which are quite less expensive;

Just imagine what banks can figure out from our life.

Monday, 3 January 2011

My mini-babe is gone

A couple of weeks ago, my dear “mini-babe” camera died. It simply displayed the (in)famous Error 18/ “Lens Error, Restart Camera”.


I suspected the lens motor had burned or was stuck with debris so I tried reanimating it by performing CPR (ie, freezing/heating it up, opening it to see if something had blocked the mechanism). No success though.. but the backlight sheet is quite awesome when lit!


Her last photo was on 12.12.2010 at 0:10. I pronounced her dead around December 23rd, noon.

The Canon Ixus 70 had survived 3 years in my hands. It endured rough situations such as my almighty night-go-outs, some noticeable drops to the floor, no casings used (directly in my pocket) and, most astonishing, surviving a full dive into a gin-and-tonic some months ago!

To honour her great adventures I post here some of the great photos it took from my flickr (btw, flickr camera search does not work…).

Workers Chimney Pool Nr 5 Water Chega de Saudades Windows Birds Baneasa Dance, headless Spring Tea Lamp Starwars warp Roman In the air Abstract Brothers Wainting for the star Disco Fever Insane in the laser Secret Walkway Long exposure

PS: I’ll deliver it to the electronic recycling once I’m finished with mourning…

Friday, 29 October 2010


A friend tipped me about a video of the of the flooding on Portugal's capital Lisbon today at noon (see here).

I wanted to see what was the amount of rain that had fallen, through the portuguese meteorological agency's website, as I usually do... but... due to the (web)traffic, it forwards to the simple page displaying nothing really useful for immediate emergency planning.

The main page,, clicking "Imagens de Radar" would forward to the next:

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


Estando de férias na Madeira, não pude deixar de apreciar uma maravilha da inovação gastronómica Madeirense: Tremoços temperados!
Com alho, pimento e salsa, são os que se encontram em qualquer tasca ou até bar de pujante reconhecimento cá na Madeira.

Quais tremoços em água e sal..........

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Um lobo?

Fullscreen capture 20-04-2010 075317.bmp

Será que o IM está a fazer-se de pastorinho malvado?

Radar, precisa-se…

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Daily Fail


Starting as of now, I’ll post daily photos to my flickr account (feed here), as I once did some time ago.

I just didn’t have enough good stuff to post them daily: now I found a good subject to shoot, like the one above.

BTW, my dear Ixus 70 is failing: the inner lens is full of dust and the quality of the pictures is getting worse in every shot. It has been over 2 years with my mini-babe, the go-everywhere in pocket war camera. The 200 is coming?